Frequently Asked Questions on the Short-Form Request For Proposals (SRFP)
What is an SRFP?
- The two-page, short-form request for proposals – the SRFP – is a procurement template that was developed to help ministries acquire goods and services valued at $250,000 or less per year, on average.
- While the SRFP is primarily used to acquire services, it can be used for goods.
- The SRFP is used when price is not the only selection criteria; other factors may include qualifications, experience, and approach.
Who can use the SRFP?
- The SRFP is to be used by ministry staff in the B.C. provincial government. Vendors respond to an SRFP by explaining how they meet the requirements stated to supply the goods and services being requested.
- Other public sector organizations (i.e. the broader public sector) may consider adapting the SRFP for their own use. Since the SRFP binds parties to their statements, it is important for the broader public sector to work with their internal legal counsel and other advisory bodies to make sure that the SRFP is an appropriate tool before using it.
Why did the Province create the SRFP?
- The SRFP was identified as a corporate commitment through consultations with many stakeholders and individuals, particularly the small business community in B.C.
- The SRFP was developed in line with principles outlined in the B.C. Small Business Accord, established to help foster a progressive business culture where government initiatives support current and future generations of small business owners.
What's unique about the SRFP?
- It’s shorter: Due to the complexity of what government is asking for in larger dollar value opportunities, current conventional RFPs average around 18 pages but can be 80 pages or more; submitted responses can be much longer, sometimes up to a few hundred pages.
- It’s based on user research: In-depth user research was conducted through consultations with 132 vendors and 141 public sector staff in 14 sessions held across the province from October to December, 2013.
- It’s a SmartForm: The SRFP has been designed as a SmartForm. A SmartForm is a fillable PDF file that has rules built right into the document. This format provides greater consistency for ministry staff and vendors using the SRFP. Relevant sections of the SRFP are pre-populated into the document used for vendor responses (Appendix A, the proposal form), making it easier for vendors to develop their response, and faster for ministry staff to evaluate responses.
- The rules and terms and conditions aren’t embedded in the document: The SRFP Rules, also known as terms and conditions, are not embedded in the SRFP document itself. Instead they reside in an external webpage and are incorporated by reference using a hyperlink. However, these terms and conditions form an integral part of the SRFP, and apply as contractual obligations to the SRFP process. It is very important to review, understand and agree to these SRFP Rules prior to submitting a proposal in response to an SRFP. When the SRFP Rules change (which is not expected to happen very often), the website will clearly indicate what is different, and the effective date of those changes. Proponents should note that there are multiple sets of rules and that they need to be mindful to be sure to refer to the set of rules that apply to the SRFP within the date range specified on the linked webpage.