How To Videos - Understanding and Responding to Government Procurement Processes

Learn more about government and proponent concerns during a Request for Proposal (RFP) process in this series of short “How To” videos.  Each video is designed to be of benefit to both vendors seeking to compete for contracts with the Province as well as government writers and evaluators of RFPs.  “Walk a mile” in each other’s shoes and build a better understanding of all aspects of the Province’s procurement processes. 

These videos were created as part of a two-day course developed for the Government Non-Profit Initiative (GNPI).  Although the audience was mostly from the non-profit, social service sector, the majority of the information contained in these videos can apply to any type of service contract.

The following videos are presented for informational purposes only.  They are not intended to provide legal or other advice and should not be relied upon in that regard.  Please note that the information contained in the videos is frequently changing and therefore, some of this information may be out of date. For example, the Request for Proposals (RFP) corporate template has been revised since these videos were recorded and updates to the videos are coming soon.  For specific information on the latest corporate template, please refer to the following guides:

NOTEThe Sample RFP and Sample Evaluation Handbook are for the sole purpose of the original course and these videos. They are intended to assist viewers with understanding the procurement process. In no way are these samples intended to be an actual representation of services purchased or needed by the Province. 

Additionally, some processes may have changed since filming this series in 2011, and some ministries may have their own policies or procedures different from what is presented in these videos. If other information on this website or the ministry-specific information differs, please use the ministry-specific guidance or the website information or contact the ministry’s procurement specialist for more information.

Users will need an up-to-date Adobe Flash Player or HTML5 supported browser to view the videos. Ministry employees on managed workstations can access the Self-Serve Software Centre and search for “Flash” to install Adobe Flash without administrative rights or an iStore request

Course Topics

  1. Procurement Principles
  2. Roles, Objectives and Purpose
  3. Communicating with Vendors
  4. Mandatory Criteria
  5. Desirable Requirements (i.e. Weighted Criteria)
  6. Terms and Conditions
  7. Procurement Law
  8. Trade Agreements, Policy and Direct Awards
  9. BC Bid Overview
  10. Solicitation Methods
  11. RFP Overview
  12. Proposal Format
  13. Proposal Development
  14. Proposal Changes and RFP Questions
  15. Partnerships (i.e. Joint Proposals)
  16. Golden Rules
  17. Evaluation Handbook
  18. Evaluation Process
  19. Evaluating References
  20. Non-Compliant Proposals
  21. Debriefs
  22. Freedom of Information Legislation
  23. Vendor Complaints
  24. Contracts
  25. Procurement Files


1. Procurement Principles

This video provides a review of the principles that guide procurement planning [6 min 12 sec]



2. Roles, Objectives and Purpose

Meet the instructor, Liz Busch (formerly Lowe) and learn about the differences between the roles of the government purchaser and the vendors, as well as the objectives and purpose of the original course [3 min 21 sec]



3. Communicating with Vendors

This video explains some of the key language used in RFPs, the back-and-forth communication process with proponents during an open solicitation, and gives real case examples where communication issues lead to problems. The instructor provides advice on how to manage the communication process to achieve the best outcomes for all. Topics include: 

  • Definitions for a shared understanding
  • Communication methods for open solicitation processes, including how to manage questions and proponents’ meetings
  • Importance of communicating through a named government contact
  • Examples of solicitation questions for the course case study [15 min 04 sec]



4. Mandatory Criteria

Learn how critically important mandatory criteria are to the solicitation process. Topics include:

  • Use of the word “must” and “will”
  • Examples of issues with mandatory criteria
  • Asking questions about mandatory criteria
  • When mandatory criteria should be checked
  • Consequences of missing mandatory criteria [12 min 20 sec]



5. Desirable Requirements (i.e.Weighted Criteria)

This video describes how the weighted criteria (also known as desirable requirements) should be written in the RFP, and why this is important for proponents / respondents [1 min 05 sec



6. Terms and Conditions

Learn how terms and conditions affect the solicitation process and the contract. Topics include:

  • Meaning of the language on the RFP front cover page
  • Requesting changes to terms and conditions
  • Contract terms and conditions [15 min 57 sec]



7. Procurement Law

This video provides an overview of Contract “A” and Contract “B”, and how this legal precedence affects solicitations. Topics include:

  • Equal treatment for all proponents
  • Compliant submissions
  • What is and is not negotiable between the buyer and the successful proponent
  • The importance of writing a clear and competitive RFP  [12 min 39 sec]

NOTE:  The instructor for this video is not a legal professional, and the information it contains is not intended to be legal advice. Viewers are strongly advised to consult with their legal counsel in respect of any issues arising in relation to the subject matter of this video.



8. Trade Agreements, Policy and Direct Awards

Note: The information on this page and any linked reference page has not yet been updated to reflect changes that may be required by the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (effective July 1, 2017, replacing the Agreement on Internal Trade) and the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (expected effective date in September, 2017).  This work is ongoing, and will be made available as soon as it is complete.  In the meantime, government staff are advised to contact their ministry procurement specialist, Procurement Services Branch, Procurement Governance Office, and/or Legal Services Branch for advice on how to ensure compliance on specific procurement projects.

Discover the impact of trade agreements and core policy on the procurement process in BC. Topics include:

  • Proponents from within and outside of British Columbia
  • When the Province must go to competition
  • Reasons for direct awards [6 min 59 sec]

NOTE:  This video addresses only two of the applicable trade agreements – the Agreement on Internal Trade (which was replaced by the Canadian Free Trade Agreement as of July 1, 2017) and the New West Partnership Trade Agreement. Other international trade agreements also apply.



9. BC Bid Overview

This is an introduction to the BC Bid e-procurement application. Topics include:

  • Searching for opportunities
  • Services for vendors – eNotification and eBidding
  • Downloadable guides for vendors and government staff
  • Amendments during the posting period [11 min 14 sec]



10. Solicitation Methods

The instructor describes the different types of BC Bid opportunities and when to use each (e.g. Request for Information (RFI), Request for Proposals (RFP), Notice of Intent (NOI) Invitation to Quote (ITQ), Invitation to Tender (ITT), etc.) [4 min 44 sec]



11. RFP Overview

Learn when and how to use an RFP [5 min 17 sec]



11A. RFP Development

This video provides an overview of how the RFP is developed, including:

  • Number of staff involved in writing RFPs
  • Posting period
  • Complexity of RFPs [min 24 sec]



11B. RFP Front Cover Page

This video provides information on the front cover page of the RFP, including:

  • Importance of the government contact
  • Delivery of proposals
  • Announcing proponents’ meetings
  • Closing date and time
  • Proponents’ section – terms and conditions [6 min 05 sec]




11C. RFP Administrative Requirements

This is an introduction to the RFP administrative terms and conditions, with a specific emphasis on the clauses that address the following:

  • Addenda and receipt confirmation form
  • Late proposals
  • Changes to proposals
  • No lobbying [6 min 07 sec]



11D. RFP Supporting Information

Learn what’s expected to be included in the following sections of the RFP, and how such information can be useful to proponents:

  • Summary of the Requirement
  • Additional Definitions
  • Ministry Situation / Overview, including Background information [4 min 41 sec]



11E. RFP Scope, Budget & Term

Learn the importance of disclosing the scope and term of the contract resulting from the RFP, and determining whether or not the budget should be disclosed.  Topics include:

  • Describing what is in and out of scope
  • Choices when the budget is disclosed
  • Term of the contract, including options to renew [9 min 58 sec]



11F. RFP Requirements Overview

Learn how to draft and respond to specific requirements, including:

  • Approach (i.e. how services are proposed to be delivered), capabilities (e.g. experience, facilities, etc.) and price
  • Difference between proposed price and proposed budget
  • Disclosing benchmarks of what is being sought [8 min 23 sec]



11G. RFP Requirements: Approach

Learn how to draft and respond to the requirements in the "Approach" section, specific to how services will be delivered [7 min 25 sec]



11H. RFP Requirements: Capabilities

Learn how to draft and respond to specific requirements in the “Capabilities” section. Topics Include:

  • Organizational experience
  • The difference between references and letters of support
  • Staff capacity
  • Location & facilities
  • Accreditation
  • Key personnel experience and qualifications [21 min 48 sec]



11I. RFP Requirements: Price

Learn how to daft and respond to specific requirements in the "Price" section. Topics include:

  • Price evaluation process overview 
  • Fixed vs unit pricing
  • Incentive payments
  • Time and materials contracts
  • Errors with and changes to pricing [11 min 49 sec]



12. Proposal Format

This video provides an overview of how to assemble proposals, and how to structure the RFP to ensure clear instructions for proponents. [1 min 50 sec]



13. Proposal Development

Learn how to write the better RFP and proposal. Topics include:

  • Assistance available to government staff for drafting RFPs 
  • Challenges in writing proposals and the importance of issuing very clear RFPs  
  • The value of debriefs 
  • Risks when using the word “could” in proposals
  • Deciding whether or not to participate in an RFP [6 min 29 sec]



14. Proposal Changes and RFP Questions

Learn what to do if changes are needed to a proposal that has already been submitted, and how to ask questions on an open RFP [2 min 42 sec]



15. Partnerships (i.e. Joint Proposals)

This video is a discussion on the advantages and risks of submitting a joint proposal, where more than one organization is delivering services [2 min 32 sec]

NOTE: By “partnership”, this video is referring to joint proposals where two or more organizations partner to deliver the services.  It is not intended to mean legal partnerships, where a legal entity is formed as a partnership.



16. Golden Rules

This video is an overview of the golden rules for government staff writing and proponents responding to RFPs [0 min 53 sec]



17. Evaluation Handbook

The instructor provides some basic tips for government staff on how to develop and use the evaluation handbook. Topics include:

  • Ideally, who should develop the evaluation handbook
  • Rules to keep in mind when writing the evaluation handbook
  • Avoiding hidden preferences
  • Process to complete the evaluation handbook
  • Challenges when using the evaluation handbook [3 min 52 sec]



18. Evaluation Process for the Case Study

The following four videos are specific to the case study that was part of the course held in 2011. They contain some valuable advice on how to structure RFPs and proposals, but are best understood in conjunction with the sample RFP and sample evaluation handbook

The RFP template and the sample documents have been updated since this course was delivered; therefore, references to section numbers in the videos may not exactly match the numbers in the samples.  However, section titles have not changed.


18A. Case Study: Approach Evaluation

Describes how the proposals written for the case study were evaluated for the various Approach section of the RFP [8 min 56 sec]



18B. Case Study: Issues with Mandatory Criteria

Identifies some issues evaluators found with the case study proposals meeting mandatory criteria [1 min 30 sec]



18C. Case Study: Experience Evaluation

Describes how the proposals written for the case study were evaluated for the various Capabilities section of the RFP, including organizational experience and key personnel [9 min 48 sec]



18D. Case Study: Price Evaluation

Demonstrates how the case study was designed to evaluate the unit pricing requested in the RFP, including how instructions may have been misinterpreted [6 min 41 sec]



19. Evaluating References

Learn how to use references in the evaluation process, and the importance of government sharing its evaluation of contractor performance with that contractor [5 min 07 sec]



20. Non-Compliant Proposals

This video provides a definition and the consequences of a proposal that is non-compliant [1 min 31 sec]



21. Debriefs

This video is an overview of the debrief process for government staff and proponents. Topics include:

  • Timing of debriefs
  • Importance of offering and accepting debriefs
  • Information that can be shared
  • Importance of evaluation documentation
  • Government attendees
  • Deferring questions
  • Other information available [11 min 12 sec]

Refer to Guidance for the Release of Information and/or Documents Related to Competitive Procurement Opportunities for more information on what can be released upon request.



22. FOI Legislation

Learn how Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOI) requests can be made for additional information in procurement debriefings [2 min 39 sec]

NOTE:  This information was compiled in 2011; therefore changes to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and/or decisions of the BC Information and Privacy Commissioner may affect what has been suggested in this video.



23. Vendor Complaints

Learn the difference between vendor complaints and appeals, and how the formal Vendor Complaint and Review Process works [7 min 02 sec]



24. Contracts

This video describes what both government staff and vendors need to know about the contract that results from the RFP.  Topics include:

  • Importance of reading contract terms and conditions
  • Changes to contracts, including options to renew
  • How to manage significant scope changes to a contract
  • Adding services to an existing contract [7 min 52 sec]



25. Procurement Files

Discover what documents the Province should keep on file specific to RFPs [min 58 sec]





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