A paperless society?

Prior to being named the top bureaucrat at the ministry of children and family development, Lesley du Toit earned $23,000 thanks to a three month contract with the West Annex. But that contract - under which Ms. du Toit would "provide advice and assess progress on transforming and regionalization of children and family services in British Columbia and assist in developing a response to the recommendations of the Child and Youth Review Panel" - produced no written deliverables. This, according to records obtained by Public Eye via three separate freedom of information requests filed with the premier's office.

The records also appear to indicate no emails related to that substance of that work were sent between the premier's office and Ms. du Toit during the length of the contract. That's somewhat surprising because, as the deputy minister of children and family development, Ms. du Toit regularly communicates with her leadership team via email.

In an interview with Public Eye, British Columbia Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Association executive director Darrell Evans speculated the lack of such documents may mean all of Ms. du Toit's advice was delivered orally. "And if that is so, (the Campbell administration is) taking oral government to new cave man depths. They're entering the cro-magnon period and rapidly going toward the neanderthal."

Ms. du Toit - who was brought in from South Africa to work for the Campbell administration - also billed $13,180.17 in expenses as part of her contract. Those expenses included $9,312.15 in air travel. The following is a complete copy of an undated note to file justifying the government's decision to direct award that contract.

***

Note to File:

Lesley du Toit

The contractor has been retained to provide advice and assess progress on transforming and regionalization of children and family services in British Columbia and assist in developing a response to the recommendations of the Child and Youth Review Panel.

The contract was direct awarded in accordance with the exception criteria included in the Core Policy Manual section 6.3.3. The services are of a confidential and privileged nature; the contract has recognized and extensive expertise in this area and is available to perform the services. In 2001, Ms du Toit was appointed to an international panel to advise the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

The term of the contract will commence on February 9, 2006 up to and including April 28, 2006. The maximum contract amount is $60,000 (fees: $35,000; expenses: $25,000).

5 Comments

"The most open and accountable government in Canada." (BC Liberals, 2001 election promise)

"The most open and accountable government in Canada." (BC Liberals, 2001 election promise)

"provide advice and assess progress on transforming and regionalization of children and family services in British Columbia and assist in developing a response to the recommendations of the Child and Youth Review Panel"

What expertise is the government referring to here?:
"the contract has recognized and extensive expertise in this area"

"Recognized" by whom? "Extensive" by what standards?

This from a government which has put so much emphasis on accountability in the context of contracts?

Re "open and accountable" how much money is being spent by MDFD on Consultants and what have they produced?

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