Needs Assessment

A needs assessment helps to understand program goals and objectives for a future contract.  Assessing and analyzing the need is the first task in proper planning. The needs assessment is completed by the purchasing organization and allows for an assessment of the work or services that are needed compared to what currently exists.

Note that some ministries may have their own approved needs assessment template; refer to the ministry links found on the Plan page.

Examine the current situation and compare it to the objectives or desired  outcomes of the task or project identified.  Objectives may be long-term, intermediate or short-term in nature.  A basic analysis between the current situation and the proposed objectives should highlight the gap between today's reality and tomorrow's future state. 

The approach to assessing the need can be summed up as follows:

Project (Why):

State the project/activity and how it relates to the mandate of the branch/division/ ministry. Who will benefit and how?

Objective (What):

Identify the desired objectives and outcomes of the project.  E.g. cost savings, improved customer service, better turnaround time, safer environment for the public, etc.

Deliverables (What):

Define the deliverables/outputs in measurable terms.  E.g. units produced, hours of service, clients served, participants trained, sessions conducted, reports produced, etc. Identify project/contract risk exposures and treatment plans.  Determine if core policy dictates a government entity that must be involved or if a supply arrangement exists that meets the need.

Qualifications (Who):

Identify human resource requirements, including the experience and qualifications needed.  E.g. professional engineer, accountant, management consultant, etc.

Standards (How):

State any applicable service or performance standards or other requirements that will ensure the quality of the deliverables.

Time Period (When):

Estimate how long the project will take, identify critical deadlines, and establish progress milestones and target dates.  Include contingency plans for missing any important dates.

Location (Where):

Determine the locations where this work needs to be performed and the impact on scheduling, logistics, resources and monitoring.

Referring to the planning questions and information found on the Plan webpage may be helpful in completing a needs assessment.  For additional assistance, contact the ministry's Procurement Specialist or Procurement Services.

  • Next Step: Complete a feasibility study to see if internal resources could meet the need, and if external expertise exists.