SERVICE N.S.: Alternative service delivery update

Service Nova Scotia is looking to see if there is industry interest and expertise to partner with government to provide some registry services. A vendor pre-qualification will be issued later this summer on providing motor vehicle, land and companies registry services. It will also ask interested companies or vendors for their qualifications.

Initial analysis has indicated that alternative service delivery offers a potentially viable option to make the registries more sustainable while providing more benefits to Nova Scotians. For example, the technology and infrastructure needed to maintain and operate the registries is in need of investment. Under an alternative service delivery partnership, the responsibility for ensuring the most up-to-date technology is available to support the registries would be transferred to a partner.

"We know that an industry sector partner is in a better position to adopt the latest technologies and can upgrade much more quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively than government," Service Nova Scotia Minister Mark Furey said in a July 21 announcement. "This would not only increase the reliability of the technology, but would allow government to focus more of its limited capital resources on core priorities such as education and health care." 

Other provinces have experienced increased operational efficiency and enhanced client service levels from alternative service delivery partnerships between industry, labour and government.

The process will provide more information as to whether alternative service delivery is the best method for the identified registry services. The recommendation is expected to be ready between late fall and early winter. The vendor pre-qualification does not commit the government to undertake any further action.

"Although no decision has been made to proceed with alternative service delivery at this time – and no decision will be made without a supporting business case – our objective is that if a decision is made to proceed, it will be a partnership between government, labour and industry," said Mr. Furey. "This is about leveraging the resources of a partnership between industry, labour and government to benefit Nova Scotians and create a sustainable path forward for government; it is not about achieving cost savings or staff reductions." 

Should a decision be made to continue exploring a partnership, the next phase would be a request for proposals which typically takes several months, followed by negotiation and implementation phases. Any potential alternative service delivery model would see government retaining ownership of the registries and client data, as well as control and responsibility over policies and regulations governing the registries.

"These processes take time and we are not rushing any decisions," said Mr. Furey. "Every stage of this exploratory work is being grounded in thorough analysis to ensure any decisions are evidence-based. No matter what decision is made, this analysis work and research will help us determine the best path forward to make the registries more sustainable while providing better service to Nova Scotians."

Vendors will have five weeks to respond and may choose which of the three registries they are interested in. There is no requirement for a vendor to express interest in all three registries as a bundle.