Central Service is a relatively new ministry, created in 2013-2014. It offers service support to some 12,000 government employees, as well as procurement services for information technology and major government projects.
To provide the most accurate historical comparison, we included former ministries and divisions that were folded into Central Services over the years. This includes Government Services, the Information Technology Office, Property Management and the Public Service Commission.
Central Services was singled out by the Provincial Auditor for its rapidly expanding roster of consultants. She found spending of $22 million on 83 consultants, compared to $8 million spent in 2008-2009, a 175 per cent spending increase.
Our research identified $82 million spent on 176 consultants in 2013-2014, compared to $13.6 million spent on 39 consultants in 2005-2006 among the major agencies and ministries that would later comprise Central Services.
Beyond the codes
Our findings were significantly higher in all years for two reasons.
First, the auditor included the former Government Services ministry and Information Technology Office in her data. On the advice of retired senior civil servants, our historical comparison additionally included Property Management and the Public Service Commission, which were also folded into Central Services.
Second, our search was broader. The auditor used the government’s internal MIDAS system’s financial code for specialized technical, technical and management consulting, and the code for system consulting.
Without access to a code search, we instead did a comprehensive review of all the companies listed, searching corporate registry records, company websites, bid documents and other sources to find out how companies identified their services.
As a result, we found many may not have fit into the auditor’s code search but called themselves consultants, in areas such as employee recruitment, market research, organizational planning, communications strategies, and other planning and project management functions.
From this list, we were highly selective which were included in the data. We found a great many described themselves as “consultants” who provide “solutions” to government – whether they were plumbing a building or leasing office equipment.
"A majority of the consultant websites had obscure descriptions which made it challenging to determine who did what, let alone whether or not the were really a consultant," noted researcher Kendall Latimer.
"(Provincial Auditor Judy) Ferguson was correct when she noted there was no real tracking of what the consultants are acutally doing for the Government of Saskatchewan."
Therefore, some subjective decision-making had to be employed to determine which individuals and companies were primarily involved in providing advice and/or helping design projects and systems, as opposed to primarily providing a specific good or service to a project. "There were times when I had to delete private companies off of the spreadsheet because they they appeared to be consultants, further deeper research revealed they were not," said Latimer.
Building the list
For example, we included IT firms that advised on systems design and management. Chief among these, IBM was included because it identifies itself as a consultant, public tenders referred to IBM's work as consultancy, and it fits within the definition of technical/systems advice used by the provincial auditor. Oracle was also included because it does similar work to IBM. This did not include capital assets, which are found elsewhere in Public Accounts.
Because of the major impact these companies had on the bottom line - over $30 million in 2013-2014 - we have also listed them separately on the spreadsheet.
There were many engineering firms listed. They were included only if they primarily identified their work as consulting, as opposed to performing specific engineering services.
Architects and designers were excluded with the exception of Kreate Architecture and Design. Kreate was included because the firm received $284,188 to conduct design consultations for Lean implementation in 2013-2014. The company received $325,531 the previous year as well, however it fell under capital asset aquisition, so was not included as a consulting cost.
Property management firms that appeared to be mainly leasing property were excluded. However, some property-related firms more broadly described their work as advising government on procurement and management of property; such firms were included.
Communications firms were not included. However, we noted that many provide services that cross the line into consulting, such as strategic communications planning and market research. (see 'The Communicators')
Even after selective culling, the list of companies was long. Consultancy in Central Services vastly outpaced growth in all other ministries. The nearest competitors in 2013-14 were Health, at $17.2 million and Highways, at $7.4 million. Aside from the $30 million IBM contract, the next-largest suppliers we identified in 2013-2014 included:
- Fujitsu Consulting (IT consultants, $4,417,415)
- Solvera Solutions (IT and business management consultants, $4,304,061)
- Paradigm Consulting Group (Portfolio, program and project management, $4,404,194)
- CGI Information Systems and Management Consultants Inc. (Business/IT consulting, $3,238,810)
- Business Systems Consulting Inc. (IT consulting, $2,468,033)
For a full listing of all companies contracted under Central Services – including those we excluded – readers should consult the Public Accounts Volume II reports. Our selected list is provided in a downloadable spreadsheet, below. Given the complexity of the research task, we invite readers to alert us to any errors or omissions.
|01 MILLENNIUM CONSULTING INC||$54,672|
|101049086 SASKATCHEWAN LTD||$1,194,097|
|ACTIVE NETWORK LTD||$482,186|
|AEC POINT CLOUD CONSULTING||$51,000|
|AMEC ENVIRONMENT & INFRASTUCTURE DIVISION OF AMEC AMERICAS LIMITED||$122,841|
|AMERESCO CANADA INC||$190,501|
|ARC BUSINESS SOLUTIONS INC||$198,606|
|ASNET TECHNOLOGIES INC||$164,666|
|AUGUST PROFESSIONAL GROUP INC||$224,536|
|BUSINESS SYSTEMS CONSULTING INC||$2,468,033|
|CCI GROUP INC||$69,500|
|CGI INFORMATION SYSTEMS & MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTS INC.||$3,238,810|
|CLIFTON ASSOCIATES LTD||$64,081|
|COMMON SENSE CONSULTING||$144,690|
|CONDUIT SOFTWARE TECHNOLOGIES INC||$367,479|
|CONROY ROSS PARTNERS LIMITED||$66,699|
|DANIELS WINGERAK ENGINEERING LTD||$84,302|
|DAVID ANDERSON CONSULTING INC||$110,800|
|DESTINATION LEADERSHIP INC||$57,707|
|DEVFACTO, TECHNOLOGIES INC||$475,326|
|DIONA TECHNOLOGIES CANADA INC||$352,385|
|DROBOT MANAGEMENT LTD||$100,079|
|EAGLE PROFESSIONAL RESOURCES INC||$494,004|
|ELITE INFORMATION SYSTEMS & CONSULTING INC||$180,897|
|FCI ACCELERATED SOLUTIONS INC||$1,512,464|
|FRONTIER CONSULTING LTD.||$157,115|
|FUJITSU CONSULTING (CANADA) INC.||$4,417,415|
|GADSBY TECHNOLOGIES INC.||$85,980|
|GLOBAL VILLAGE CONSULTING INC||$556,542|
|INFORMATION SERVICES CORP||$536,734|
|INFRASOFTTECH CANADA LIMITED||$89,628|
|INFUZION TECHNOLOGIES LTD.||$104,559|
|INVERNESS CONSULTING LTD.||$738,385|
|ITC INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY CONSULTANTS LTD||$476,268|
|J.C. KENYON ENGINEERING INC||$63,720|
|JETSTREAM CONSULTING INC||$198,851|
|KAIZEN FOODSERVICE PLANNING AND DESIGN INC||$79,314|
|KD MECHANICAL LTD||$160,163|
|KENNEDY MANAGING CONSULTANTS LTD||$295,200|
|KGS GROUP CONSULTING ENGINEERS & PROJECT MANAGERS||$53,940|
|KONI AMERI TECH SERVICES (CANADA) INC||$926,143|
|KREATE ARCHITECTURE & DESIGN LTD||$284,188|
|KSI RESEARCH INTERNATIONAL INC||$291,271|
|LEADINGEDGE PAYROLL GROUP INC||$123,213|
|LEARNING BAR INC||$632,400|
|LEIDOS CANADA INC||$139,188|
|MARINER INNOVATIONS INC||$165,601|
|MATRIX EQUITIES INC||$147,243|
|MDM INVESTMENTS LTD 150682 ALBERTA LTD||$357,880|
|MIDGARD PROJECT MANAGEMENT LTD||$69,870|
|NADINE INTERNATIONAL INC||$62,936|
|NESTOR CONSULTING INC||$71,222|
|NEWWEST ENTERPRISE PROPERTY GROUP (SASK) INC||$1,261,661|
|NORTHERN STRANDS CO. LTD||$289,246|
|ONPATH BUSINESS SOLUTIONS INC||$151,636|
|ORION SYSTEMS INC||$98,688|
|OXFORD LIBERO CONSULTING LP||$730,304|
|P. MACHIBRODA ENGINEERING LTD.||N/A|
|PARADIGM CONSULTING GROUP INC||$4,404,194|
|PRAKASH CONSULTING LTD||$95,756|
|RITENBURG & ASSOCIATES||$139,813|
|RAVEN BAY SERVICES||$105,018|
|SCOTT SMALL BUSINESS SOLUTIONS||$156,776|
|SECURITY RESOURCE GROUP||$1,880,510|
|SIERRA SYSTEMS GROUP||$1,576,288|
|SOMOS CONSULTING GROUP||$116,800|
|SWABZ SYSTEMS INC||$67,026|
|TOEWS CONSULTING LTD||$133,342|
|WEST CENTRAL DEVELOPMENT||$139,298|
Central Services dowloadable data spreadsheet (Excel file)