Canadian government to strengthen public opinion research procurement rules
Canada's Marketing Research and Intelligence Association (MRIA) has welcomed efforts by the country's new Conservative government to tighten-up rules governing the procurement and delivery of public opinion research.
The government announced yesterday that it plans to amend its communications policy to include a requirement that the contracting of advertising and public opinion research be “open, fair, transparent and competitive”.
MRIA president Nik Nanos said: “We fully endorse the government's initiative to strengthen and enhance its procurement process. Our industry has worked with the federal government for many years to improve procurement rules for public opinion research. The result has been better value for Canadians and a better process for our industry.”
The move follows a November 2003 report by Canada's Auditor General that called for improved management practices within departments “to ensure that value for money is obtained in public opinion research activities”.
Although the report found that, for the most part, “the federal government was managing public opinion research in a transparent manner and with adequate controls”, it expressed concern that some departments “did not always establish clear objectives for the results of public opinion research projects” and that more custom research reports needed to be made public within the required three-month post-delivery timeframe.
As part of a new Federal Accountability Act introduced yesterday, government departments and agencies will be required to send a final written report of research findings to Library and Archives Canada within six months of data collection being completed. The Act also prohibits the delivery of “verbal-only reports”.