Approval to Go to Market
Bids or proposals for goods and/or services should not be solicited from vendors without first obtaining the prior approval of the appropriate expense authority within the ministry.
Prior to obtaining this approval, ministries must ensure that there is not a mandate to obtain the goods or services required through another government entity or through an already available corporate supply arrangement. Ministries must use corporate supply arrangements where one exists that can meet their need (see the Core Policy and Procedures Manual (CPPM) section 6.3.2.a.1).
Approval processes vary between and within ministries. Check with the ministry’s Procurement Specialist or finance branch to determine the appropriate approval process applicable to the ministry.
Ministry staff can refer to their individual expense authority levels to determine if their position has been delegated the authority to initiate contracts.
- Verify expense authority authorizations using the Corporate Signing Authority System (CSAS).
Expense authority is delegated to ministry employees by the Deputy Minister. The authority delegated to a ministry position gives the following authority and responsibilities to the person holding that position:
- Initiate expenditures against their appropriation when sufficient funds are available in the budget;
- Take reasonable steps to ensure the purchase is necessary for program delivery;
- Are fully accountable for expenditures being in compliance with the position’s authority;
- Cannot be both the qualified receiver and expense authority for the same purchase;
- Cannot be the expense authority for any payment to themselves;
- Ensure that invoice account verification procedures are carried out by competent personnel;
- Can get assistance from staff but cannot delegate on-line approval or responsibilities; and
- Review monthly financial reports and take required corrective action.
The Core Policy and Procedures Manual, section 6.1 is clear that “ministries only engage in a competitive process with the full intent to award a contract at the end of that process”. Proceeding without expense authority approval may lead to an inability to award a contract or purchase order from the bids or proposals received. As vendors bear some expense in preparing bids and proposals, the ministry may be liable for those costs if a solicitation was cancelled because approval was not ensured prior to going to market. Approval to proceed with a solicitation for services is typically obtained after the following have been completed:
- Cost Benefit Analysis;
- Cost Estimate;
- Terms of Reference; and
- Development of the submission evaluation criteria.
Note: Information technology services valued between $100,000 and $500,000 must be reviewed by the Procurement Services Branch prior to proceeding with solicitation or contacting qualified suppliers. Information technology services valued over $500,000 must be planned in conjunction with the Procurement Services Branch (see Core Policy and Procedures Manual section 6.3.5.a.9).