Relationships

There are many different roles and persons involved in contracting processes with the province. These may include:

  • All levels of ministry staff
  • The service providers
  • Community umbrella organizations and employer associations
  • The clients/persons served

The ministry has divided the province into geographic Service Delivery Areas (SDAs) and further into Local Service Areas (LSAs). View the Service Delivery Area Map (PDF). The ministry’s service delivery division is accountable for the success of service delivery and is contract management.

The following are standard ministry contracting roles. This section does not designate classifications, job titles or designation of duties and should be used as a reference point for roles and responsibilities only.


Expense Authority

Expense authority may be granted to ministry staff enabling them to:

  • Authorize the purchase of goods or services
  • Approve grants or entitlement
  • Approve financial transactions, including contract payments

A ministry staff member who signs a contract must have appropriate levels of expense authority as part of their position, authorizing them to approve the financial commitment. The scope of authority provided is tracked in a ministry delegation matrix.

Responsibility for financial transactions and accountability is split between the expense authority and the qualified receiver to ensure segregation of duties. The expense authority initiates and signs a contract, and actual payment requires the qualified receiver's confirmation of the receipt of the contracted services.

The expense authority could be a Program Director or Manager, such as an Executive Director of Service, and may also be the contract manager; however they cannot also be the Qualified Receiver.

CPPM 4.3.2 outlines Expense Authority requirements. Expense Authority training is available for government staff through the BC Public Service Learning System BC Public Service Learning System.


Qualified Receiver

The qualified receiver inspects the goods or services to ensure they meet the contract requirements, before payment is authorized. The qualified receiver may be any government employee who has firsthand knowledge of the goods and services received. CPPM 4.3.2 outlines qualified receiver requirements.


Contract Manager

The Contract Manager manages the contract on behalf of the ministry and is the point of contact for the service provider. The contract manager is supported by:

  • The Procurement and Contract Management Branch whose staff provide procurement and contract management support and advice in the ministry
  • The Financial Services Branch and Service Delivery Finance and Decision Support Branch staff who provide financial support to the ministry
  • The Ministry of Finance, which sets government-wide financial policies

Contract managers may be, but are not limited to, Community Services Managers (CSM), Project Managers, Program Managers and other managers or government staff. They manage internal ministry operations or provincial programs and services on behalf of the ministry or clients. The Contract Manager is supported by other ministry staff, which may include the Procurement and Contract Management Branch and Service Delivery Finance and Decision Support staff.

The Contract Manager is accountable for the success of service delivery - including, ensuring the right services are available in the right areas and, delivered by a qualified service provider in order to achieve identified outcomes for the children, youth and families being served - and acting as the expense authority for the associated budget.

The Contract Manager:

  • Is accountable for the contract and the entire procurement and contract management process
  • Is the point of contact for the service provider
  • Liaises with the offices that have operational relationships with the service provider
  • Provides information and support that relates to the service provider's contract
  • Ensures the service provider understands the contract deliverables and their responsibilities
  • Promotes a spirit of cooperation and collaboration
  • Manages the monitoring of program service delivery
  • Receives and shares feedback from and with the service provider, clients, the community and/or the ministry
  • Communicates any concerns to the service provider as soon as they are made aware of them
  • Ensures payments to the service provider are timely and accurate

Contract Administrator

The Contract Administrator manages the flow of documents and transactions throughout the procurement cycle. They are often Procurement and Contract Management Branch staff.

The Contract Administrator:

  • Supports the Contract Manager throughout the procurement cycle
  • Prepares contract and procurement documents and coordinates approvals and contract signing
  • Supports the contract payment and evaluation process

Procurement and Contract Specialist

The Procurement and Contract Specialist supports the Contract Manager by planning, procuring, monitoring and evaluating the efficiency and effectiveness of contracted resources in carrying out services. Procurement and Contract Specialist are often Procurement and Contract Management Branch staff.

The Procurement and Contract Specialist:

  • Supports the development of procurement strategies to meet program needs, confirming they are guided by established policies and procedures
  • Assesses procurement outcomes to improve future procurements
  • Prepares solicitation documents
  • Plans for the delivery of services through establishing contract criteria
  • Examines and monitors specific contracts on behalf of the Contract Manager
  • Develops service targets with the contract manager
  • Communicates with ministry staff and service providers about contract needs, program requirements procurement policy, procedures and contract processes
  • Confirms compliance with procurement policy and effective contract management
  • Conducts financial reviews
  • Provides contract training to ministry staff

Procurement and Contract Management Branch

The Procurement and Contract Management Branch delivers services that enable transparent, equitable, value for money and accountable procurement and contract management which helps ensure that the ministry receives quality services.

The vision of the Branch is to provide procurement and contract leadership to support effective and efficient contracted services. The goals include:

  • Managing consistent procurement and contract practices across the ministry (e.g. technology, templates, application of approaches, processes and pricing)
  • Supporting best practice in contracted service delivery in adherence with legislation and policy
  • Facilitating consistent and usable data collection, analysis and reporting to support decision making and address ministry questions regarding service provision, trends and outliers

The Branch supports best practices in contracted service delivery through the following services:

  • Providing procurement governance
  • Implementing consistent procurement and contract management practices across the ministry which include quality assurance and opportunities for innovation and continuous improvement
  • Providing procurement and contracting advice based on knowledge of ministry programs and services, the service provider community and procurement training and expertise
  • Supporting relationship building with the service provider community by supporting service providers within communities through information provision and guidance on reporting and strategically through the Sustainability and Innovation Working Group
  • Identifying procurement and contract options and offer recommendations.
  • Managing the procurement process including preparing the solicitation and evaluation package and supporting contract negotiation, the vendor complaint process and the creation of contracts to ensure contracted services are in place where needed
  • Contract administration which supports contract management
  • Performance management, which helps to determine the efficiency and effectiveness of the contracted services, involves:
    • Conducting performance analysis reviews based on financial, output and outcome data
    • Identifying issues and supporting performance-issue resolution
    • Supporting contract reviews to help ensure that the ministry is receiving the services for which it contracted
    • Completing practice audits and financial reviews
  • Data analysis involves: 
    • Analyzing financial, output, outcome and service data for trends, gaps, service overlaps and outliers
    • Corporate contract reporting
  • Stakeholder management and engagement, including leading or supporting contract-related issues management, the vendor complaint process and estimates
  • Supporting and implementing ministry initiatives:
    • Support for service delivery and program areas service redesign with contract data, knowledge and experience of contracts, ministry specific contracts, local service provider community and sector service providers

Program Director or Manager

The Program Director or Manager oversees program delivery and ministry operations. They exercise expense authority and are accountable for program spending decisions.

The Program Director or Program Manager:

  • Develops procurement strategies to meet program needs, based on service and program plans and policies and procedures
  • Monitors the performance of all the contracts within a portfolio
  • Leads Issues Management and Conflict Resolution at the program level with respect to individual contracts

Details on the division of duties between the Program Director/Manager from the ministry's service delivery division and the procurement resources from the Procurement and Contract Management Branch are outlined in the tables below.

Planning

Function

Contract Manager – Program Director/Manager

Procurement and Contract Management Branch      

Annual Procurement Plan

  • Identifies new program/service requirements and contracting priorities for the year
  • Develops the procurement plan for the year with the service/program area (focus of project/improvement activities, e.g. specific contract types)

Procurement Required

  • Identifies the need for contracted services (existing program/service – Catalogue of Services; new – defines program requirements)
  • Secures funding / confirm the budget
  • Creates a cost / benefit justification for the contract (contracts greater than $100,000)
  • Identifies procurement options and provides recommendations on approach

 

 

Pre-Award and Solicitation

Function

Contract Manager – Program Director/Manager

Procurement and Contract Management Branch

Solicitation Document

  • Specifies program/service requirements
  • Determines outcomes, reporting frequency
  • Identifies qualifications
  • Specifies selection criteria
  • Confirms score weightings
  • Conducts reference checks
  • Selects successful proponent
  • Leads contract negotiation
  • Leads procurement debriefs

 

  • Drafts solicitation document (based on unique requirements, Catalogue of Services and Program Logic Model)
  • Develops evaluation plan (e.g. evaluation guide)
  • Manages conflict of interest
  • Leads procurement process (e.g. proponent sessions, chair evaluation committee)
  • Supports contract negotiation
  • Supports contract debriefs
  • Determines financial position of the agency
  • Engages legal counsel and/or Risk Management Branch as needed
  • Manages procurement documentation
 

Award

Function

Contract Manager – Program Director/Manager

Procurement and Contract Management Branch

Contract New, Renew, Modification

  • Signs contract (Expense Authority)
  • Identifies need for contract changes
  • Leads contract renewal/modification

 

  • Creates contract
  • Ensures insurance requirements are met
  • Supports contract renewal/modification
  • Manages contract sign-off
  • Initiates payment process (complete CF25)
  • Advises on contract changes                             
 

Administration and Monitoring

Function

Contract Manager – Program Director/Manager

Procurement and Contract Management Branch

Service Delivery

  • Day-to-day contract management
  • Ensures services are being provided at an acceptable level
  • Acts as qualified receiver
  • Leads contract review
  • Manages contract expiry
  • Manages contract file
  • Reviews on-site policy and procedure (address reporting and procedural issues)
  • Supports contract review (background work and attend)

Address Performance Issues

  • Identifies performance issues
  • Supports issues analysis based on output/outcome reporting

Manage Budget

  • Ensures that services are provided within the agreed-upon contract ceiling  

 

Manage Unearned Revenue

  • Identifies potential unearned revenue
  • Reinvests unearned revenue funds (2014/15 exemptions only)

 

  • Determines unearned revenue amount
  • Collects unearned revenue funds
  • Modifies contract accordingly

Termination

  • Identifies the need to terminate contract
  • Manages termination review and documentation (e.g. consult with legal; identify financial position)
 

Reporting

Function

Contract Manager – Program Director/Manager

Procurement and Contract Management Branch

Service/Program Reporting
Financial Reporting

  • Reviews analysis and service/program reports
  • Manages the reporting process
  • Analyzes service/program reports and provides analysis to the program manager
  • Reviews financial reports to identify potential issues
 

Post-Contract Evaluation

Function

Contract Manager – Program Director/Manager

Procurement and Contract Management Branch

Lessons Learned

  • Identifies opportunities to improve service delivery and better understand service needs
  • Identifies opportunities to improve procurement and contracting procedures
 

Relationship Management

Function

Contract Manager – Program Director/Manager

Procurement and Contract Management Branch

Service Provider Management

  • Resolves service delivery issues
  • Resolves conflicts

                                                                                      

 

 

Executive

A member of the ministry’s executive team is accountable for ministry policy and procedures and ensures that resources are available to support procurement and contract management operations. Examples of executive include the Deputy Minister (DM) and Assistant Deputy Ministers (ADMs).

An executive member:

  • Ensures procurement strategies meet program needs
  • Ensures compliance with government procurement policy, procedures, and practice
  • Acts as a decision maker for vendor complaints

Each service provider is unique and may have a different organizational structure. Ranging from a single sole proprietor, to a provider with only few staff, to a large complex organization. The organizational structure may influence how the service provider enters into and manages contracts.


Example:

An organization with a board structure may need to seek board approval before entering into a contract or applying on a solicitation. They may also have legal departments who may need to be consulted.


The ministry ensures programs and services are clearly defined, measured and managed. Accordingly, the ministry follows the accountability framework defined within the Core Policy and Procedures Manual that:

  • Formalizes the expectations of accountability for both government and service providers
  • Introduces government;s reliance on service-provider controls and evaluation processes, as well as third-party assurances wherever appropriate
  • Acknowledges that collaboration between government and service providers is essential to be able to account for how public funds are spent

Government's procurement and contract management policy promotes the principles of fair and open public sector procurement to provide goods or services to the government or on its behalf:  CPPM 6.1

Ministry Accountabilities

The Ministry acts as a steward of public funds and is accountable to citizens for achieving desirable outcomes. The ministry strives to ensure all potential ministry clients have access to information about:

  • What services are available in their service delivery area;
  • Where the services are located; and
  • How to access the services.

The ministry is accountable to the citizens and taxpayers. Regular reporting to the public on the outcomes of services and programs illustrates accountability.

The ministry is also accountable to provide appropriate information and guidance to its service providers.

As the ministry relies heavily on contracted services to deliver social programs, the ministry recognizes the responsibilities of service providers.

Standards of Conduct for Public Service Employees

All public service employees must follow Standards of Conduct for Public Service Employees as part of their employment agreements. Those involved in any stage of procurement processe must in addition, follow the Standards of Conduct for Public Service Employees Engaged in Government Procurement Processes.

These standards protect employees; therefore, all employees should read these documents and, if necessary, seek clarification in order to avoid placing themselves in conflict with the standards.

Service Provider Accountabilities

Service providers are obligated to provide services as set out within their contract.  Service providers are accountable to the:

  • Ministry to provide the agreed to contracted services according to the terms
  • People and communities who use their services, in order to ensure sustainability, strong business practices, and maximize outcomes

This accountability includes the requirements to:

The ministry promotes the use of collaborative relationships with service providers, taking into consideration the need for continuity of care for children, youth and families.

Collaborative relationships can be built into all phases of the procurement cycle, right from Planning through to Post-Contract Evaluation.

Collaborative relationships balance short-term gains with long-term sustainability. Such relationships are essential to community long-term benefits and help ensure the ministry receives quality deliverables and the services required while service providers are adequately compensated. An environment of trust and open communication is developed where challenges or issues can be shared and addressed.

Collaborative relationships are based on a shared purpose, and are sensitive to the needs of the organizations involved. Combined with differing insights and core competencies, this may result in innovation. Innovation can result in more efficient operations, faster problem resolution, improvements to quality, the ability to reduce costs, and/or greater ability to respond to needs with new or enhanced services.

Relationship Management represents the first phase of the procurement cycle for two key reasons:

  1. It is the basis upon which all other phases must build
  2. It must be held prominent throughout all of the other phases of the cycle

Effective working relationships are the responsibility of both the ministry and service providers and are essential to positive outcomes. An effective relationship can make working through the standard problems that often arise in a contracting relationship easier.  Issues Management and Conflict Resolution for more information.

A well-structured contract with well-articulated and relevant terms, conditions and service requirements is foundational to a successful contracting relationship. A good relationship with the service provider will not only improve the quality of a written contract, but it will also breathe life and vitality into the entire procurement cycle. Relationship management and interpersonal and proactive skills are important in a Contract Manager.

Effective, respectful relationships fall most naturally from proactively committing time and energy into building the relationship. Best practice has found that this up-front dedication can save time and money in the long term.

Collaboration

In a collaborative relationship, ministry staff, the service provider and potentially members from the client group work together to identify and build upon complementary abilities. They work together throughout the procurement cycle to achieve positive outcomes for clients.

Features of Collaboration

The common features of a collaborative practice include:

  • Mutual trust and respect
  • Understanding each other’s skills and knowledge
  • Benefits to the Ministry, Service Provider and Clients
  • Clear division of roles and responsibilities

Collaboration is a welcomed approach within Aboriginal communities. Aboriginal children, families and communities benefit from relationships that reflect their unique cultural approaches. The significance of this approach to procurement and contract management has been recognized by the Office of the Comptroller General in the Aboriginal Procurement and Contract Management Guidelines and this thinking is embedded in this document.

Ministry Actions to Develop Collaboration

  • Define roles and responsibilities clearly
  • Understand common ground and individual responsibilities
  • Understand each other’s skills and knowledge
  • Build in openness, accessibility and regular communication

Defining roles clearly

Within a contract, the deliverables need to be clearly defined. While the ministry maintains control over the contract deliverables, the service provider maintains control over how the deliverables are met within the parameters of the ministry’s policies. For more information, see Employee/Employer Relationships.


Example:

The ministry determines:

  • Program and contract standards.

The service provider determines:

  • How best to provide services while meeting the standards and outputs defined by the ministry.

Collaborative Practice:

Can aid in decision making around program and contract standards and may lead to enhancement of services.


Optimum service outcomes can best be achieved by working together. This is particularly critical when working respectfully with Aboriginal organizations and communities where there is a strongly held value that Aboriginal people are in the best position to provide the unique service solutions (i.e. “the how”) in meeting the needs of their communities.

Understanding Common Ground & Individual Responsibilities

The ministry and the social services community maintain individual and shared responsibilities:

  • The ministry is a steward for both public funds, their stakeholders and clients
  • Service providers are accountable to their clients, communities and other stakeholders

Both entities share common interests and values, such as service continuity, quality client services, and the preservation of community. These shared interests and values serve as a foundation for strengthening ministry-service provider relationships. Communication should leverage this common ground while respecting the unique responsibilities of each party.


Example

Ministry Responsibility:

  • A contract manager may have time constraints related to the procurement cycle, budget cycle, estimates, or larger project

Collaborative Practice:

A contract manager can communicate to the service provider the purpose and logic of these time constraints to assist in greater understanding and respect from the service provider.


Example

Service Provider Responsibility:

  • A non-profit agency may have implementation issues related to board responsibilities that could impact their ability to participate in the procurement process or to implement the contract as currently written; or
  • An aboriginal organization may have specific responsibilities to the local aboriginal community.

Collaborative Practice:

Service provider input can be used to identify and incorporate responsibilities into the planning phase before decisions are made.


Above are just two of an infinite number of examples that demonstrate how procurement and contract management processes can be conducted in a collaborative manner.  Working together to understand common ground and individual responsibilities, the ministry and social services community can sustain an inclusive approach to planning and decision making that supports respectful and timely communications.

Understanding Each Other’s Skills & Knowledge

Collaborative practice is defined by mutual trust and respect, along with and an understanding of each other’s skills and knowledge. The development of mutual trust and respect involves actions that indicate you value the knowledge and skills of others and that you are open to shared learning.

While it's important for a service provider to understand the expectations of the procurement cycle, it's also important for a contract manager to understand the needs of the communities in which they work. For a ministry Contract Manager, this could mean becoming familiar with several micro-communities within their service delivery area. See Ministry Contracting Organization Structure and the Service Delivery Area Map (PDF).

Openness, Accessibility & Regular Communication

Effective communication is the backbone to all good relationships. Good communication:

  • Identifies problems for early resolution
  • Identifies and implements service quality improvements sooner
  • Enables more efficient and effective service delivery

When building or strengthening relationships, communities and organizations, it is useful to remain open to unique ideas regarding where and how communication might happen. Ministry staff may be invited into an organization, the community, or to a ceremony as part of this communication. It is a good idea to ask the person making the invitation, whether there are any unique behavioural or social protocols to respect.

Ministry Actions to Open Communication

Contract managers can use:

  • Openness and accessibility to encourage communication with service providers
    • Build mutual trust, respect and understanding through the collaborative process. A potential barrier to receiving open and candid communication can be the authoritative nature that is inherent in all contracting relationships. Clearly state the kinds of information desired from service providers
    • Show service providers that they can trust your reaction to the information they share
    • Share examples from the past of issues that were raised and resolved to the mutual benefit of all interested while keeping in mind disclosure of contract information requirements
  • Regular, consistent and respectful communication:
    • Before the contract starts, discuss with the service provider the channels of communication to be used
    • Hold regular review meetings to support the joint monitoring and managing of performance standards and assist in dealing with tactical or operational problems or issues as they arise:
      • Regular meetings provide a formal channel of communication that can be counted on and prepared for by each party
      • The required frequency and duration of these meetings should be appropriate to the relative complexity or criticality of the contract
      • Simpler contracts will require an annual review meeting at the very least, while more complex contracts may require review meetings on a more frequent basis

Negotiation is part of the procurement lifecycle. The MCFD Negotiation Protocol sets out the basic responsibilities expected of those involved in negotiations between the ministry and contracted service providers. This protocol includes principles that support effective, balanced and respectful communication and reinforce consensus building and accountability in the negotiation process.

The protocol is referred to in the Ministry Service Agreement.

Sometimes issues arise between contracting parties. These issues are addressed through the MCFD Conflict Resolution Protocol, which is a three-stage process outlining the approach that service providers and government contract managers will undertake to resolve issues. This protocol is referred to in the Ministry Service Agreement. 

This protocol highlights collaborative relationships and encourages the discussion of problem areas as they arise. Either party may initiate the protocol. Contractually stated time lines for conflict resolution may be modified upon agreement. As the intent of the protocol is to promote efficient, timely resolution of disputes, steps may be omitted where mutually agreed to by both parties.

If a client complaint can't be resolved at a local level to the satisfaction of the client, the Service Provider must direct the client to the outlined Client Complaint Process and the Service Provider must cooperate with the process. Service Providers must inform clients about the Client Complaint Process described under Complaints.

For complaints related to a procurement process, see Vendor Complaint Process.