THE Auditor General for the City of Vancouver, Mike Macdonell, has released a performance audit report on the topic of office furniture purchases.
The City purchases office furniture as part of facilities renovations, to support new hires, to support its ergonomics and office space planning programs, and to replace unusable or broken furniture. The City spent $5.96 million during the 30-month audit period to purchase, repair and install office furniture.
The audit determined that the City, with some exceptions, made office furniture purchases with due regard for best value within established City policies, guidelines and priorities. Among the findings reported: the City used weighted criteria assessments to select office furniture, had a reasonably comprehensive procurement policy, generally followed its procurement and purchasing policies for purchasing office furniture, and used up-to-date supplier agreements.
However, the audit found exceptions related to the processes the City used to qualify office furniture suppliers and deficiencies in the Procurement Policy related to trade agreement obligations. Additionally, the City had not defined how often to update assessments to ensure continued best value in office furniture selections, did not have sufficient documentation for one assessment, and did not conduct assessments for newly introduced furniture items.
The report contains five recommendations to enhance the City’s ability to achieve best value in the purchase of office furniture and to mitigate some of the risks associated with procurement. The City’s Supply Chain Management, and Real Estate and Facilities Management departments have accepted all of the recommendations and provided action plans in response.
Macdonell said: “For the most part, we found that our audit criteria were met. Although some opportunities for improvement were identified, overall we found that furniture purchases were made with due regard for best value during the audit period.”
IN response to the report, Armin Amrolia, Deputy City Manager and Acting General Manager of Real Estate and Facilities Management, and Patrice Impey, the City’s Chief Financial Officer and General Manager of Finance, Risk, and Supply Chain Management, released the following statement:
“We thank the City of Vancouver’s Office of the Auditor General (OAG) for his report and conducting an objective and comprehensive review in accordance with professional auditing standards. The independent qualified auditors and subject matter experts involved followed a very structured and professional approach to collect, analyze and summarize large amounts of information to gather evidence necessary to assess performance against best practice criteria and make conclusions and recommendations with the purpose of focusing on opportunities for improvement.
“Additionally, we appreciate the report has taken the opportunity to highlight positive findings as well as performance improvements to contribute the objectives of public service that is ethical and effective and a civic administration that is accountable to taxpayers and its elected officials.
“Many of the comments and recommendations contained within the report will inform senior management to update policies with recent regulatory requirements, create procurement strategies, change templates and standard operating procedures and continue to build upon existing processes in preparation for the next procurement of office furniture and other future purchases.
“We would also like to take this opportunity to recognize that staff from the departments involved acknowledge the value of this auditing process, the findings of the report and are supportive of the recommendations put forward, accepting that it will require resources and organizational capacity to prioritize the implementation over competing priorities.
“We look forward to working with the Auditor General to implement the City’s response and next steps as outlined.”