Social Impact Procurement Guidelines

These web pages contain guidelines for Province of B.C. Ministry purchasers to follow if considering social impact in points-based solicitations (typically SRFPs, RFPs and RFQs) for services with a total value under $75,000. Government purchasers may want to bookmark this page for ongoing reference as it is subject to change as policy continues to develop in this area.

Purchasers wishing to consider social impact in any purchase of services over $75,000, or in any other type of procurement, should contact Legal Services Branch and Procurement Services Branch to obtain advice regarding incorporating social impact elements into the specific procurement.

The Ministry of Citizens’ Services has developed the information on this webpage in association with the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction and the Ministry of Finance, Procurement Governance Office.

Social Impact Purchasing

Social impact purchasing can mean different things to different purchasers depending on whether the purchaser, like the Province, has certain trade and policy compliance obligations, or is a private sector purchaser that is not constrained in the same way. Likewise, it can mean different things to the vendor community. Some vendors describe themselves as social enterprises of various sorts while others may simply incorporate social impact measures into their operations without adopting a special designation. 

For the purposes of the Province, social impact purchasing, broadly described, is the use of purchasing power to create social value and support social policy objectives. For the guidance on this web page, social impact elements that may be considered, on a case-by-case basis in a procurement and measured through a contract, include supplier diversity and workforce development: 

  • Supplier diversity means creating opportunities for diverse suppliers such as Indigenous peoples and employment equity seeking groups which could include people with disabilities and other traditionally underrepresented groups.

  • Workforce development means offering apprenticeships, skills training and other developmental support to employees, contractors or volunteers, including diverse supplier groups. 

It is intended that, where appropriate, use of social impact purchasing will both reward vendors for actions that add social value, and encourage vendors to look for new ways to increase their social value to improve their ability to compete for future procurement opportunities that may include social impact criteria.

There are other dimensions of social impact purchasing contemplated by the Province’s Policy and set out in CPPM 6: Environmental and Aboriginal purchasing considerations. For information regarding those topics see CPPM 6.3.1 (14) and the incorporated Green Procurement Pages and CPPM 6.4.8 and the incorporated Aboriginal Procurement Guidelines.

The Connection between Purchasing and Social Policy Objectives

The BC Procurement Strategy was launched in June 2018 and recognizes that government procurement in BC is based on principles that include value for money, transparency and accountability.  The Strategy provides high-level direction from government on determining value for money:

Goal 1: To realize best value and increased benefit to British Columbians by using procurement strategically to improve social and environmental outcomes.

When including social impact criteria in an appropriate solicitation, in accordance with these guidelines, an assessment of value for money will include evaluating the vendor’s willingness or ability to comply with the specific social impact elements that have been included in the procurement document and that become part of the resulting contract obligations.

All procurements, whether they include social impact criteria or not, must follow the Core Policy and Procedures Manual, including Chapter 6, which provides policy direction and reflects government’s commitments to domestic and international Trade Agreements. Contact your Ministry and Support Services Procurement Contacts with questions.

When to Use these Guidelines

These pages provide guidance on incorporating social impact criteria into commonly used point-based solicitations for purchases under $75,000. Point-based solicitations are typically issued in the following templated procurement documents:

  • Short-form Request for Proposal (SRFP)

  • Request for Proposal (RFP)

  • Request for Qualifications (RFQ)

Point-based solicitations are typically used for procurement of services; points are awarded for value attributes: typically experience, price and approach, and may include, in accordance with these guidelines, social impact value attributes.

Purchasers wishing to consider social impact in any purchase of services over $75,000, or in any other type of procurement, should contact Legal Services Branch and Procurement Services Branch to obtain advice regarding incorporating social impact elements into the specific procurement.

How to Consider Social Impacts in Procurement

The Province’s SRFP, RFP and RFQ templates each include a section that allows for purchasers to describe the requirements and desirable attributes that points may be awarded for in the evaluation process.  Please note that:

  • Social impact criteria are properly applied as desirable, and not mandatory criteria.

  • It is recommended that no more than 10% of the total points be awarded to social impact, to ensure that quality and price remain the most important criteria.  If environmental impact criteria are also applied in the same procurement, purchasers should adjust points to ensure that the combined points for social impact and environmental impact criteria do not exceed 10% of the total points for any given procurement. 

Some or all of the following criteria can be included in the appropriate section.

[copy and paste the following example criteria into the procurement document, as appropriate to the specifics of the procurement]

For the purposes of this procurement the following terminology applies:

  • Supplier diversity means creating opportunities for diverse suppliers such as Indigenous peoples and employment equity seeking groups which could include people with disabilities and other traditionally underrepresented groups.

  • Workforce development means offering apprenticeships, skills training and other developmental support to employees, contractors or volunteers, including diverse supplier groups. 

To realize best value and increased benefits to British Columbians through this procurement, the Province will award points [not to exceed 10%] to vendors that demonstrate that they have met or, if applicable, exceeded the social impact criteria to be evaluated as set out in the specific procurement. This could include any or all, of the following:

  • The vendor can demonstrate a commitment to supplier diversity and workforce development as described above (identify vendor practices and procedures that support this criteria); or

  • The vendor offers job skills training or employment opportunities in support of supplier diversity (identify types of training and/or opportunities, groups represented, current and planned activities); or

  • The vendor purchases goods or services (such as janitorial services, catering, office supplies, etc.) from vendors that support supplier diversity and workforce development (identify types of goods or services purchased, and how the vendor’s supply chain supports supplier diversity and workforce development).

Instructions to Proponent/Respondent:

With respect to each of the bulleted points above, describe how the Proponent/Respondent meets or exceeds the criteria.

[end of copy and paste example criteria]

Monitor and Measure

Evaluators should keep detailed records of all evaluation scoring, including social impact criteria, and be prepared to provide explanations for their rationale should they be required to conduct a debriefing. Records should be filed in the procurement file with all other documents.

Performance monitoring of all contracts is required by CPPM 6.3.6 (c). Monitoring social impact purchasing obligations is important to ensure that in addition to the satisfaction of deliverables generally, the social impact deliverables are also being met. It is recommended that, in addition to information provided in proposals, contractors provide a final report listing specific social impacts realized through the term of the contract.