CPPM Policy Chapter 6: Procurement

This comprehensive Core Policy and Procedures Manual chapter includes policy for all aspects of procurement of goods, services and construction.

6.0 Application

This policy applies to the Procurement of goods, services, or construction. Unless otherwise provided under Chapter 21, Government Transfers, this policy does not apply to Government Transfers.

This chapter does not apply to disposals of government assets, which are covered under Chapter 8, Asset Management.

The Procurement Practice Standard (government access only) provides supplemental policy guidance on the Procurement obligations specified within this chapter.

The Capital Asset Management Framework provides guidelines and tools to support procurement activities related to capital asset management.

6.1 Objective

The objective of this chapter is to establish Procurement policies that support the Procurement principles identified in the Procurement Services Act and applicable Trade Agreements including:

  • accountability
  • transparency
  • competition
  • fair, open, and non-discriminatory processes
  • value for money
  • demand aggregation

6.2 Roles and Responsibilities

Deputy Ministers:

  1. Deputy Ministers are accountable for Procurements in their ministries including compliance with applicable legislation, Trade Agreements, directives, policy, frameworks, and standards.
  2. Deputy Ministers must ensure proper delegation of responsibility for ministry Procurements.
  3. Deputy Ministers must ensure employees are aware of their delegated responsibility.

Ministries are responsible for:

  1. Planning, managing and fully documenting their Procurements.
  2. Ensuring their Procurements comply with applicable legislation, Trade Agreements, directives, policy, frameworks, and standards.
  3. Aligning Procurement decisions with the Procurement principles identified in 6.1.
  4. Ensuring Procurement systems, processes and procedures are clearly defined, documented, and communicated within their ministries.
  5. Establishing and maintaining a ministry-specific Vendor complaint process as described in the Vendor Complaint Review Process and adhering to the Bid Protest Mechanism.
  6. Engaging the Procurement and Supply Division, Ministry of Citizens’ Services in the Planning Phase if:
    1. the Procurement involves goods with an estimated value equal to or above $10,000;
    2. the Procurement involves services with an estimated value equal to or above $250,000;
    3. the Procurement impacts or involves multiple ministries;
    4. the Procurement is high risk; or
    5. a customized Solicitation Template is required, including negotiated processes or joint solutioning.

The Office of the Comptroller General (OCG) is responsible for:

  1. Procurement governance activities.
  2. Developing, maintaining, and interpreting corporate Procurement policies.
  3. Developing, maintaining, and overseeing the corporate Procurement Practice Standard (government access only) and corporate Procedures.
  4. Managing Contract Templates.
  5. Establishing and maintaining the Vendor complaint process as described in the Vendor Complaint Review Process.
  6. Performing internal audits and compliance reviews on Procurement.

In addition to the Ministry of Citizens’ Services Minister’s powers and duties under the Procurement Services Act, the Procurement and Supply Division, within the Ministry of Citizens’ Services is responsible for:

  1. Managing the acquisition of goods, services or construction when required by policy or when engaged by a ministry for that purpose.
  2. Providing advice and consultations on the Procurement phases.
  3. Identifying opportunities for demand aggregation and establishing and managing Corporate Supply Arrangements and Multi-Use Lists for corporate use.
  4. Managing Solicitation Templates.

6.3 Policy

6.3.1 General

  1. Deputy ministers must delegate responsibility for ministry Procurement administration to their Executive Financial Officer, or to an Assistant Deputy Minister depending on the size, structure, and activities of the ministry.
  2. Appropriate approvals, including funding, must be secured before undertaking any Procurement.
  3. Procurements must comply with applicable legislation, Trade Agreements, directives, policy, frameworks, and standards.
  4. Employees involved in Procurement must comply with the Standards of Conduct.
  5. Use of a Purchasing Card must comply with the Purchase Card Manual.
  6. Verbal contracts must not be created on behalf of government.
  7. Information must not be divulged that could impair the negotiating position of the government or that could provide a competitive advantage to one Vendor over another.

6.3.2 Procurement Phases

Planning Phase

  1. Alternatives to a new Procurement must be considered (e.g. use of existing resources including equipment and personnel).
  2. Supply Arrangements and any Multi-Use Lists established must be used when they meet the business need.
  3. When determining the appropriate Solicitation method to use consider:
    1. the goods, services or construction being procured;
    2. the method of evaluation;
    3. the value and complexity of the opportunity;
    4. the appropriate Solicitation document;
    5. the appropriate form of Contract; and
    6. whether Procurement and Supply Division should be engaged.
  4. When determining the value of a Procurement the following must be considered:
    1. the entire scope of the opportunity including but not limited to: products, services, licensing, installation, maintenance, updates; and
    2. the entire estimated value of the opportunity including:
      1. fees, expenses, and other remuneration; and
      2. all potential options for extensions or renewals.
  5. Procurements must not be structured to avoid policy and applicable Trade Agreement requirements.
  6. An internal vendor reference check must be conducted for Procurements of services where the estimated value of the Procurement is equal to or above $10 million in accordance with Procedure O, Internal Vendor Reference Check.
  7. Expense Authorities must approve the maximum amount of a proposed Procurement including all potential options for extending or renewing a Contract.
  8. Treasury Board staff must be engaged prior to any commitment where Procurements would result in Multi-Year Contracts.

Solicitation Phase

  1. Subject to section 36, Solicitation Templates must be used. Legal Services Branch must prepare or advise on new Solicitation Templates or changes to the existing Solicitation Templates.
  2. Other Solicitation documents or processes, including software applications that use or function as Solicitation Templates, may be used provided Legal Services Branch has prepared or advised on the alternative.
  3. In a competitive Solicitation:
    1. information must be provided to all Vendors in a non-discriminatory manner;
    2. evaluation criteria, including any weightings or any reference check requirements, must be disclosed;
    3. Vendors must be provided with sufficient time to submit responses; and
    4. any other information necessary to permit a Vendor to respond to the Solicitation must be provided.
  4. In addition to section 37, Solicitation documents establishing a Multi-Use List must:
    1. be posted on BC Bid continuously and remain open for Vendors to apply for inclusion on the list;
    2. disclose the length of time the list will be in effect;
    3. identify the procuring entities that can access the list; and
    4. describe how Qualified Vendors will be selected for subsequent Procurement opportunities.
  5. Solicitations must be posted on BC Bid unless one or more of the following applies:
    1. The goods, services or construction are being obtained under an existing Supply Arrangement.
    2. The Solicitation is open only to Qualified Vendors.
    3. The estimated value of the Procurement is below one of following thresholds:
      1. $10,000 for goods; or
      2. $75,000 for services; or
      3. $100,000 for construction.
        ​in which case a minimum of three quotes must be attempted.
    4. A Direct Award is issued under the criteria below. Direct Awards must not be used for the purpose of avoiding competition. Opportunities should be competed to the extent reasonable.
      1. the Contract is with another government organization;
      2. it can be strictly proven that only one contractor is qualified, or is available, to provide the goods, services or construction;
      3. an unforeseeable emergency exists, and the goods, services or construction could not be obtained in time by means of a competitive process;
      4. a competitive process would interfere with a ministry's ability to maintain security or order or to protect human, animal or plant life or health; or
      5. the acquisition is of a confidential or privileged nature and disclosure through an open bidding process could reasonably be expected to compromise government confidentiality, cause economic disruption or be contrary to the public interest.
    5. An exception allowed by a Trade Agreement may be used, but only if that same exception is available under all other Trade Agreements to which the procurement is also subject.

Evaluation Phase

  1. Procuring entities must participate in an evaluation process, unless the goods, services or construction are being obtained under an existing Supply Arrangement.
  2. Vendor selection must be based on the evaluation criteria disclosed in the Solicitation document.
  3. The rationale for the ranking of all Vendors must be documented.
  4. A Vendor must be promptly informed in writing of its own ranking once the evaluation phase is complete. After a Contract is signed, Vendors must be offered feedback on how their responses were evaluated and how the Vendor might have improved its response, if applicable.

Contract Phase

  1. Subject to section 45 Contract Templates must be used. Legal Services Branch must prepare or advise on new Contract Templates or changes to existing Contract Templates.
  2. Other forms of Contracts, including Vendor-provided Contracts may be used provided Legal Services Branch has prepared or advised on the alternative.
  3. Before a Contract may be signed, extended, or renewed by the Province, a Tax Verification Letter must be received unless one or more of the following applies:
    1. the Contract value is estimated to be less than $100,000;
    2. the Contract is being entered into in response to an unforeseen emergency;
    3. the Contract is a Direct Award on the basis that the Contractor is the only Vendor qualified or is available to provide the good, service or construction.
  4. Every Contract must specify at a minimum:
    1. the Contract term, including the initial term and any extension or renewal options;
    2. the Contractor’s legal name;
    3. the good, service or construction to be provided;
    4. any processes relating to assets that will be provided to, created, or acquired by the Contractor including ownership of the assets and accountability for maintenance and disposal of the assets;
    5. pricing information, including any fees and expenses;
    6. payment arrangements, including, if advance payments are permitted:
      1. how advance payments will be deemed to be earned;
      2. if services are not subsequently rendered, how advance payments will be repaid; and
      3. what interest rate, if any applies;
    7. a maximum Contract amount (including fees and expenses and excluding taxes) unless unit prices are utilized;
    8. Contractor performance measures or deliverables;
    9. how disputes will be resolved;
    10. applicable schedules (e.g. insurance, security, privacy protection and tax verification); and
    11. copyright and intellectual property ownership rights.
  5. Contracts must not:
    1. include a cost overrun clause;
    2. create an employer/employee relationship between government and the Contractor and any Contractor must be independent and operate at arm’s length from government;
    3. include options to extend or renew, or multi-year terms, unless specified in any applicable Solicitation document;
    4. allow for Contractor’s amortization costs for Contractor assets, acquired with government funding; or
    5. be used as a form of a business subsidy.
  6. Contracts must be in writing and signed by authorized representatives of the parties.
  7. Contracts must be signed:
    1. before services or construction commence or goods are delivered; or
    2. in the case of an unforeseen emergency, as soon as possible thereafter.
  8. After a Contract is signed, Contract award decisions for Solicitations competed on BC Bid must be posted on BC Bid.

Contract Management Phase

  1. A Contractor’s performance under a Contract must be monitored.
  2. A Qualified Receiver must confirm that the goods or services were received.
  3. Any performance concerns or deficiencies must be identified, documented, and communicated to the Contractor.
  4. A record of payments made against each Contract must be maintained.
  5. Contract disputes need to be resolved according to the terms of the Contract.
  6. Contracts must not be terminated early unless Legal Services Branch has advised on the early termination.

Contract Amendments

  1. Contract Amendments must not substantially change the nature and intent of the original Contract.
  2. Where a Contract Amendment will result in the maximum Contract amount being exceeded, consideration must be given to whether the amendment is unavoidable or whether a new Procurement is required.
  3. Contract Amendments must be justifiable, be in writing, approved by an Expense Authority and signed by an authorized representative. Approval must be for the total value of the Contract and not just the value of the amendment.
  4. Contract Amendments must use the corporately approved modification agreement template (DOC) unless Legal Services Branch has prepared or advised on an alternate document.

Close-Out Phase

  1. At the end of every Contract with a value equal to or above $75,000 a written evaluation of each Contractor’s performance is required.

6.3.3 Unsolicited Proposals

  1. On behalf of government, only the Ministry of Citizens’ Services will receive proposals from any sector, industry, Vendor, or government organization that are not submitted in response to a Solicitation document for goods or services. Unsolicited proposals related to construction cannot be received.
  2. The Ministry of Citizens’ Services will review the unsolicited proposals received and may forward them to any appropriate ministry for consideration.
  3. Procurement processes and Contracts resulting from unsolicited proposals are subject to all the requirements within this chapter.

6.3.4 Vendor Complaints and Bid Protest Mechanism

  1. Vendors must be provided with an accessible and timely process to submit complaints regarding Procurements governed by this chapter in accordance with Procedure N, Vendor Complaints.
  2. The Vendor Complaint Review Process is designed to identify opportunities to improve Procurement processes and procedures and:
    1. is limited to issues of policy compliance and procedures;
    2. is not available for issues related to any parties’ performance or conduct during a Contract and other operational activity;
    3. does not limit or impair the rights of any Complainant to seek a review through any other process;
    4. is limited to the process used to evaluate responses to a specific Procurement and how the evaluation criteria were applied, but may not include issues pertaining to individual point ratings given by an evaluation committee to a Procurement’s specific evaluation criteria; and
    5. will not result in any financial compensation being provided to the Complainant.
  3. Where a complaint of a similar nature has been initiated under another process, the Vendor Complaint Review Process may be extended or suspended until after the other process has concluded.
  4. Vendor complaints and responses to Vendors must be documented.
  5. Where a request for consultation has been received under the Bid Protest Mechanism, the terms of the Bid Protest Mechanism must be adhered to and Legal Services Branch must be immediately notified.

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