Do you provide goods or services to the federal government or plan to do so in the future? Having the government as one of your clients offers benefits and opportunities that are too fruitful to ignore. While there are legislative and regulatory requirements to make sure that the procurement process is transparent and fair, there can still be times when you feel that a contract was not awarded fairly or that the government did not administer a contract as agreed upon.

This is where the Procurement Ombudsman, Frank Brunetta, comes in. His office was created in 2006 to promote the fairness, openness and transparency in federal procurement.

An ombudsman is a position created by a government or private organization to investigate complaints from the public. Generally, an ombudsman is an employee of the organization who takes a neutral stance when investigating an issue on behalf of the public. In the case of federal procurement, the Office of the Procurement Ombudsman looks into complaints respecting the award of contracts involving goods with a value of $25,000 or less, or services worth $100,000 or less, as well as complaints about the administration of contracts of any value. The Ombudsman will also ensure that you have an alternative dispute resolution process, such as facilitation, as long as you and the government department concerned agree to participate.

As a business person, you are encouraged to inform the Office of the Procurement Ombudsman of any procurement issues. This information can help the Ombudsman identify systemic issues and provide input for the planning of future procurement practice reviews. If you feel that a federal department's procurement process was unfair or that a department is not respecting the terms of a current contract, contact the Office of the Procurement Ombudsman. For more information, visit the Office of the Procurement Ombudsman's website.