Vendor Information: Procurement Concierge Program
The Province of BC is interested in hearing from vendors about their innovative products and services. The Procurement Concierge Program matches vendors with innovative ideas and potential public sector buyers by enabling the exchange of information and ideas between them.
Procurement Concierge Program Overview
The Procurement Concierge Program (the Program) is a new and innovative way for government to learn about and benefit from market-driven innovation and make it easier for companies of all sizes to work with the Province.
Launching as part of the BC Procurement Strategy, this Program will help streamline how government plans for the procurement of goods and services by allowing government to take advantage of emerging technologies and businesses to pitch cutting edge solutions that government may not be aware of through other types of pre-market engagement (otherwise known as market research). In addition, buyers have the option to use an outcomes-based Opportunity Statement Negotiated Request for Proposals (OS NRFP) to streamline the procurement process.
Information for government buyers on the Program is available at Procurement Concierge Program.
Government can face many challenges and issues when delivering programs and services intended to meet its mandates and objectives. However, government buyers are not always aware of what’s currently available in the marketplace to help, particularly in those industries with rapid change or new technological advances. Vendors have an in-depth understanding of the goods and services they sell, but often have little or no insight into government’s challenges and issues, and no clear path to identify government buyers that might be interested in what they have to offer.
Pre-market engagement is intended to solve both issues. Government issues Requests for Information (RFIs) on BC Bid, where the information sought regarding a problem, issue, or intended outcome is described and vendors are asked for their ideas on how to address what’s needed. Specific questions will be included, as well as the ability for vendors to suggest various or alternative approaches that may not be known by the government buyer.
Although some RFIs will ask for written responses only, the Procurement Concierge Program RFIs may also include the following:
- Discovery Sessions: Meetings specific to one or more RFIs that anyone interested can attend to discuss the government’s needs, ask questions, and see who else may be interested.
- Private Meetings: Interested vendors can request a private meeting with the government buyer to explain their information and ideas in a more confidential setting. Private Meetings are only available if offered by the government in the RFI.
Note that RFIs are intended to gather information that will be helpful for the government buyer to decide if, what and how to purchase, which may include a subsequent solicitation. Participating vendors should not share intellectual property or trade secrets, even in a Private Meeting, to ensure that such information is not publicly disclosed.
Once the desired market information is collected via the RFI process, the government buyer should be in a better position to decide what – or if – to buy. If a decision is made to buy, how to select the contractor is the next step. This may include:
- A direct award, which is a contract awarded directly to one vendor without a competitive solicitation, or
- A competitive solicitation.
There are a number of options for a competitive solicitation, which are described in Vendor Information: Types of Solicitations and Other Opportunities, or government buyers may issue an OS NRFP as described below.
Opportunity Statement Negotiated Request for Proposals (OS NRFP)
The OS NRFP is an outcomes-based solicitation process based on Arizona State University’s Best Value Model. The OS NRFP:
- Is streamlined and efficient for determining the highest scoring proponent;
- Encourages proponents to propose alternative approaches; and
- Includes extensive planning of the contract before it is signed.
Each OS NRFP will describe an intended outcome or problem to be solved and will also include:
- Background information leading to the decision to release the OS NRFP, that will help proponents to understand the current situation;
- Known constraints and issues;
- Requirements that must be met, if any;
- The buyer’s envisioned purchase (i.e. what the buyer expects to buy, but would be willing to consider alternatives);
- The available budget; and
- The format of contract that will be used.
Proponents are required to complete submittal forms, each of which has a maximum page count; overall, proposals will typically be under 10 pages. All but one of the forms will be anonymous, so that evaluators will not know whose proposal they are scoring. A shortlist process will follow, where the individuals proposed for the work will be interviewed and those scores added to the proposal score to determine final ranking.
Because proposals are not lengthy, the time needed to determine the highest scoring proponent will be much faster than conventional RFPs. However, more time will be spent negotiating the contract, to ensure that the full scope of the purchase is planned and thereby reducing the need for unexpected change orders.
The OS NRFP allows for more flexibility in negotiating the contract with the highest scoring proponent than conventional Request for Proposals processes. Considerable additional detail is expected between the successful proposal and the final contract.
Procurement Concierge Program Web App
Coming Soon: More information on how the Web App will work for both buyers and vendors.
The Program was launched in January 2019, using a phased approach. In phase one, general information is available through this website, and vendor outreach sessions were scheduled to ensure the Program will meet vendor needs.
The first release of the Concierge Web App is now available. Public sector buyers and vendors can create profiles to identify their areas of interest for buying or selling goods and services. By creating profiles early, public sector buyers and vendors will be ready for the subsequent functionality, as it becomes available. Click here to get started.
Subsequent phases of the Program are in development; updates will be made to this page as each is launched.