SRFP for Buyers

This page is designed for Province of B.C. buyers that are using the two-page, short-form Request for Proposals (SRFP) to acquire goods and services valued at no more than $250,000 annually, on average.

Access the SmartForm SRFP template here (last updated August 2017).

Refer to Changes to the SRFP SmartForm template for a description of what has changed.

Note: The SRFP is NOT suitable for the following types of contracts:

  • software licensing
  • software acquisitions
  • IT maintenance or support services
  • help desk services
  • data processing services
  • telecommunications services
  • equipment support services
  • software or code development
  • cloud computing
  • open source software
  • a combination of IT goods and services
  • any Vendor’s form of Contract that the Province is expected to sign

The conventional RFP should be used for any of the above contracts.  More information on the scope of the SRFP can be found below.

Technical note: Chrome, Firefox and Safari's PDF viewers do not handle SmartForms. If you are unable to open the SRFP, please right-click and save the form or use Internet Explorer Accessing the SmartForm through DTS may also create issues. Read tips on how to download and use the SRFP or view this video

For Buyers Using the SRFP

  1. Scope – When to use the SRFP
  2. Exposure Matrix for the SRFP
  3. Process – How to use the SRFP
  4. Templates – Intro to SRFP Tools
  5. Components of an SRFP, including Rules: Terms and Conditions
  6. Deciding What Template To Use

 

1.  Scope – When to use the SRFP

Ministries should consider using the SRFP process for all contracts that fit within the SRFP scope. 

Although the SRFP has many advantages, including reducing the time required for both proponents and ministry staff, it is not suitable for all competitive procurement processes.  The following table can be used to determine whether an opportunity is in scope for use of the SRFP.

 
IN-SCOPE

OUT OF SCOPE ( A contract for one of the services bulleted at the beginning of this page, OR meeting even one of the following criteria means that the contract is out of scope)

The overall contract value is expected to cost no more than $250,000 annually (some years can be at a higher value, provided that on average, when all options to extend are included if applicable, the average cost is no more than $250,000). The overall contract value is expected to be over $250,000 annually, on average.
No Corporate Supply Arrangement exists that would meet the ministry’s need.  See the Core Policy and Procedures Manual section 6.3.2.a.1 for more information. The goods / services can be obtained through a Corporate Supply Arrangement.
A rationale for direct award, as allowed in policy, does not apply.  See the Core Policy and Procedures Manual, section 6.3.3.a.1 for more information.

A direct award is permitted as per the Core Policy and Procedures manual section (see Direct Awards) although ministries can choose to compete the opportunity if preferred.

The opportunity will result in a Ministry contract where the contract format is known. 

The contract format can be one of the 

General Service Agreements or another contract format that has been approved by the Legal Services Branch.

The contract format, or parts of the contract are not known prior to selecting the highest scoring proponent.  If the full contract has elements that will be negotiated, the SRFP is not the appropriate template to use.
More than price is evaluated.  The intent is to award the contract to the highest scoring proponent, which may or may not be the lowest price. Price is the only differentiating factor (i.e. the award will be made to the lowest price that meets specifications).  Consider using the Invitation to Quote for Services (ITQS) instead of the SRFP.
The purchase is specific to goods, and additional value is being sought that warrants spending more than the lowest price proposed for goods that meet the specifications. The purchase is specific to goods, and no additional value will be obtained by spending more for a product that meets specifications.
The contract scores 3 or less in the exposure matrix below. The contract scores 4 or more in the exposure matrix below

 

2. Exposure Matrix for the SRFP

The table below defines what is considered lower and higher exposure for the purposes of the SRFP only.  Exposure definitions will vary for other purposes; this matrix should not be used for determining procurement exposures specific to other solicitation processes.

If the contract meets all other elements defined as in-scope as above, use the following matrix to determine whether or not it also would be considered a lower exposure.  Most contracts will have some elements of lower and some of higher exposure, as defined in the table. It is at the ministries’ discretion to choose the procurement tool that best meets their operational needs.  If uncertain, this table provides criteria that ministries can apply to assist in determining whether or not the SRFP will meet their needs.  If multiple higher exposure criteria, as identified below, apply to the contract, the SRFP may not be the appropriate tool to use; if only one or two higher exposure elements apply to this contract, the SRFP may still meet the ministries’ needs.

EXPOSURE MATRIX

Score 1 point for each criterion determined to be “higher exposure”, and 0 points for each considered to be “lower exposure”.
 
 
Exposure Factor Lower Exposure Contracts Higher Exposure Contracts
Contracting History The Province has contracted for substantively the same services in the past. This is a new service, or substantive changes were made to how services have been delivered.
Scope The scope is well known and can be defined. The scope is vague, as a number of solutions could address the need/problem, or future undefined phase(s) apply.
Standards Industry or provincial standards and/or performance measures exist and can be referenced. No standards or performance measures currently exist.
Business Requirements The Province’s requirements can be described within the two-page limit of the SRFP (noting that URLs and/or appendices are acceptable). The requirements are complex, and are difficult to adequately describe in the two-page limit.
Interaction with Proponents Face to face contact is not needed. Answers to Proponent questions can be managed through written addenda, and no Proponents’ Meeting or shortlist process (e.g. interviews, presentations, user testing, etc.) is required. A Proponents’ Meeting is required OR a short list process (e.g. interviews, presentations, user testing, etc.) is essential to differentiate proposals.
Proponent Experience Proponent experience can be evaluated by addressing only ONE of the following:  organizational experience; one individual’s experience; or the experience of a collective team of key personnel. To ensure a fully qualified contractor, evaluation of the organization’s and one or more individuals’ experience is required.
Pricing What is to be included in price and how price will be evaluated can be clearly described. Price is complex, requiring considerable definitions for what should be included, and/or how price will be evaluated is complex.


Contact the ministry's procurement specialist or Shared Services BC for assistance if using this exposure matrix produces an unclear or ambiguous result.

Note: The procurement file should include documentation on how the contract meets or does not meet the criteria to be considered in scope for the SRFP process. A Scope Analysis template for this purpose can be found in Appendix 2 of the Ministry Writers' Guide: Developing & Managing Short-Form Requests for Proposals.

 

3. Process – How to use the SRFP

Depending on the circumstances, SRFPs can be posted on BC Bid as a “Short-form Request for Proposals” or they can be directed to selected proponents only.

If posting on BC Bid, be sure to select the “Short-form Request for Proposals” option, as this will ensure that BC Bid draws proponents’ attention to the SRFP Rules: Terms and Conditions that apply.

SRFPs should always be posted to BC Bid, unless one of the following conditions applies:

  • The service contract, including all options to extend (if applicable) will cost less than $75,000 in total OR the goods will cost less than $10,000, in which case at least three known vendors can be selected and the opportunity restricted to just these invited vendors; or
  • The opportunity is being restricted to a Prequalification List, which was created specifically for the services or goods required, through a Request for Qualifications posted on BC Bid.  

If not posting the SRFP on BC Bid, be sure to send the SRFP Rules: Terms and Conditions to the invited proponents with the SRFP package.  As the SRFP rules are updated from time to time, be sure to provide those that are in effect as of the SRFP's issue date. The link alone will not be sufficient; the SRFP Rules: Terms and Conditions should be sent as either a separate file electronically, or as part of the package faxed to the selected proponents.

 

4. Templates - Intro to SRFP Tools

Each SRFP will explain how to submit proposals. Buyers should allow for both hard copy and electronic submissions via BC Bid and/or email, as this is a convenience to vendors. If allowing email proposals, be sure to refer to Accepting Email Submissions for guidance on how to manage risks associated with this option.

Note that proponents are advised in the Proponents' Guide: How to respond to the Short-Form Request for Proposals ("SRFP") that they should not send two versions of the proposal (i.e. one in hard copy and the other electronically through BC Bid). 

Detailed information about how buyers should create SRFPs and Proposal Forms are outlined in the Ministry Writers’ Guide: Developing & Managing Short-Form Requests for Proposals (SRFP).

 

5. Components of an SRFP, including Rules:

Terms and Conditions

All SRFPs are composed of at least two documents: the SRFP itself (which includes by reference the SRFP Rules: Terms and Conditions, accessible through a web link), and the corresponding SRFP Proposal Form. 

  • The SRFP describes what is being purchased; 
  • The SRFP Proposal Form is the document that proponents fill out to respond to the SRFP; and
  • Optional: additional appendices.
Proponents must use the SRFP Appendix A - Proposal Form for their proposals, as it has been designed to work specifically with the SRFP and will help ensure that proponents provide complete and pertinent information.
 
There are rules that apply to the SRFP. Vendors intending to respond to any Short-form Request for Proposals are encouraged to read and understand the SRFP Rules, as submission of a proposal constitutes acceptance of an agreement to be bound by these SRFP Rules: Terms and Conditions.

 

6. Deciding What Template To Use

Not sure what procurement template to use?
Use Select a Solicitation Process and Template Guidelines to work through the available options and select the most appropriate tool. The corporate B.C. Government templates are used by ministries for solicitation processes and preparing contracts, unless a ministry has received approval from Legal Services and Procurement Services to use a ministry-specific or other form.