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  • 1. Review of the Use of Request for Proposals Process For Settlement and Language Services Ministry of Attorney General Final Report Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. October 10, 2006
  • 2. This page has been intentionally left blank
  • 3. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Executive Summary The purpose of this report is to express CC Purchasing’s opinion on the best and most practical method of acquiring settlement and language services through a process that is open, fair, transparent, and accountable. The report also assesses the effectiveness of the current Request for Proposal (“RFP”) process used by the Settlement and Multiculturalism Division (“Division”) as an appropriate solicitation method for procuring settlement and language services. To understand why the independent review was commissioned, CC Purchasing conducted a review of the history of contract solicitation/procurement and award methods for settlement and language services in BC and the external and internal environments in which the Division operates. CC Purchasing learned there were two events that fundamentally changed how the Division obtained settlement and language services: the signing of the Agreement for Canada-British Columbia Co- operation on Immigration (“Canada-BC Agreement”) in May 1998 and the change in selection process. The second event resulted in the following changes: a. the selection process switched from an application process to a RFP process; b. the role of the Division changed from a funding contributor of programs to a purchaser of services with the resulting agreement changing from a contribution agreement to a provision of services agreement; and c. Streams 1 and 2 were no longer restricted to not-for-profit organizations. In review of the internal and external environments we learned the Division is committed to continuous review and improvement of its procurement practices to ensure compliance with the government's procurement environment and processes that are flexible and meet the needs of its clients, the new immigrants. The environmental scan also indicates that the service providers of the settlement services required collaboration to ensure the clients receive the best services while Stream 3, which accounted for the 73.7% of the total budget for settlement and languages services, was viewed by the service providers as the most suitable for the RFP process. In identifying the current requirement, CC Purchasing noted that the Division is striving for a selection process that meets the demands of two diverging requirements. The first diverging requirement is the government policy for the use of open, fair and transparent process in the selection of service providers and the resulting contracts is managed in an accountable manner while adhering to the Division’s principles and values to be collaborative and inclusive with their service partners and with the public they serve. The second diverging requirement is the Canada-BC Agreement requires the Government of BC to ensure a broad range of service providers is eligible for funding, within a fixed Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 1 October 2006
  • 4. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review administrative budget. In addition to these two diverging requirements, the Division also needs to take into consideration that it is not the recipient of the services and therefore the new immigrants’ needs for continuity of services and collaboration amongst service providers is required. To select the best and most practical procurement process for selecting service providers for settlement services and language services, we considered the following criteria: 1. the Division is not the recipient of the services and therefore frequent changes of service providers is not desirable (continuity of services); 2. the Division values collaboration and therefore, the process needs to encourage collaboration; 3. a broad range of services providers are to be eligible for funding; 4. the government policy requires the process to be: a. open, b. fair, and c. transparent; 5. the Division is accountable for their decision and meeting the settlement needs of immigrants; 6. legal implications due to the process not adhering to the laws of tendering; and 7. cost incurred by both the internal and external stakeholders. Using the above criteria, analysis was conducted on the following seven alternatives: 1. Application Process, 2. Direct Award, 3. Request for Proposals, 4. Request for Expressions of Interest followed by a Request for Proposals, 5. Request for Qualifications followed by a Request for Proposals, 6. Two Envelope Request for Qualifications List, and 7. Request for Expressions of Interest followed by a Request for Qualifications and a Request for Proposals. Considering the current situation, the procurement environment the Division operates, and the analysis of each of the above seven alternatives, CC Purchasing determined the one stage RFP process, currently used by the Division, is not the most effective method of acquiring settlement and languages services due to the competitive nature of the process counteracting with this sector’s Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 2 October 2006
  • 5. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review collaborative efforts to provide the best services to its clients, the new immigrants. This process also requires the redirection of resources, by both external and internal stakeholders, to respond and evaluate proposals for any additional requirements as the Division would be required to issue a new RFP to all potential service providers. Instead CC Purchasing recommends the Division use a two envelope procurement process to establish a list of qualified service providers (“Two Envelope RFQ List”) as the best and most practical method for acquiring settlement and language services for Streams 1, 2, 3 and 1/3. The proposed process allows the Division to establish a list of qualified service providers for its current and future requirements while expediting the procurement process for the current requirements by having a second envelope for the proposal. This process also enables the Division to establish and maintain province wide program and performance standards while acquiring settlement and language services through a procurement process that is accountable and within the laws of tendering. It also provides an opportunity for qualified service providers, in service areas with more than one qualified service provider, to propose a collaborative approach to service delivery. Since this process is currently not available as a separate procurement process in the Core Policy and Procedures Manual, the Division will need to work with the Procurement Governance Office in conducting a test of this process for circumstances where collaboration within a sector is important before it can be incorporated into the Corporate Policy and Procedures Manual for similar applications. To test the feasibility of the Two Envelope RFQ List process, while taking into consideration the timing of the RFP posting for the different Streams from the survey results, CC Purchasing proposes the following schedule, with the new contracts commencing July 1, 2007 for Streams 1/3 and 2 and July 1, 2008 for Streams 1 and 3: Stream RFQ Development Period Posting Date Stream 1/3 October – January 2006 February 2007 Stream 2 October – February 2007 March 2007 Stream 1 March – September 2007 October 2007 Stream 3 May – December 2007 January 2008 In conclusion, CC Purchasing would like to commend the Division in its efforts to transition the settlement and language services sector from an input based funding arrangement to an output based provision for services agreement. Given its value of collaboration, the Division is willing to listen to the concerns of its service providers and is committed to implementing a process that allows the selection of the best qualified service providers, in order to fulfil its Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 3 October 2006
  • 6. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review commitment to provide settlement and language services to its clients, as well as being accountable by ensuring the selected contractors meet province wide program and performance standards. With Procurement Governance Office’s willingness to test the new process, in conjunction with additional vendor training and dialogue on the Two Envelope RFQ List process, the Division will continue to improve its procurement practices while meeting the needs of its clients and encouraging opportunities for collaboration to the service providers. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 4 October 2006
  • 7. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Ministry of Attorney General Response to Final Report for Review of RFP Process March 21, 2007 Introduction The Ministry of Attorney General has received the final report on the Review of the Use of Request for Proposals Process (RFP) for Settlement and Language Services (the ‘Review’). We are pleased to have the opportunity to respond to the recommendations and comments made and thank Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. in working to provide us with a final recommendation. In the spring of 2005, the Minister Responsible for Immigration made a commitment to stakeholders to conduct a review of the manner in which contracts related to immigrant settlement and language services were established. The Review set out to acquire recommendations on the RFP process’s effectiveness as an appropriate solicitation method for procuring these services. The Review considers numerous solicitation methods and their advantages and disadvantages, and while the Ministry agrees with some of the recommendations and comments, it is uncertain if the adoption of the major recommendation of a Two Envelope Request for Qualification (RFQ) List will be fully satisfactory to the Settlement and Multiculturalism Division or to its service providers. This document highlights the key recommendations and comments made in the Review and provides the Ministry’s response to each of them. Key Comment: “Purchasing Services determined the one stage RFP process currently used by the [Settlement and Multiculturalism] Division is not the most effective method of acquiring settlement and language services…” Ministry Response: The Ministry wishes to clarify that it is not currently using the same precise RFP process that was used in 2004, which is the subject of the Review. Since 2004, the Ministry has implemented several changes to the RFP process it uses, such as issuing draft RFPs prior to issuing final RFPs and including response templates within RFPs, among other changes. Additional details on these changes are provided below in response to other recommendations made in the Review. As the Review does not distinguish between past and present RFP practices, the Ministry is concerned that this comment is ambiguous and may be subject to different interpretations. Key Recommendation: Implement a Two Envelope Request for Qualification (RFQ) Process Ministry Response: The Two Envelope RFQ List provides an opportunity for collaboration among potential service providers by allowing the submission of one collaborative proposal by multiple service providers rather than separate and competing proposals. The Ministry supports collaboration activities and, in fact, has observed that several collaborative partnerships resulted from the previous RFP process, despite its competitive nature. While the new process recommended by the Review more explicitly encourages collaboration, the Ministry is concerned that this model may not be practical or efficient in the format presented. Among the Ministry’s main concerns are whether potential service providers may find it overly burdensome to submit independent proposals prior to submitting collaborative proposals, whether the recommended timeline for service providers to submit collaborative proposals is realistic, and whether Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 5 October 2006
  • 8. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review the expectation for service providers to collaborate on a single proposal in communities where many organizations are qualified will be acceptable to all service providers involved. The Ministry is further concerned that this collaborative model, as pointed out in the report, may be less workable for service providers delivering English Language Services for Adults (ELSA) than to those providing other settlement services, such as Information and Support Services, Community Bridging Services and blended services. Key Recommendation: The Ministry should post future tendering documents as drafts in order to allow interested proponents to propose changes prior to final documents being issued. Ministry Response: The Ministry has already implemented this practice in recent solicitation processes and will continue to do so. Key Recommendation: The Ministry should consider including response templates in its procurement documents in order to assist proponents with less experience in proposal writing in responding. Ministry Response: The Ministry recently added a response template to an RFP it issued for Labour Market Focused English Language Services for Adults and will solicit feedback from proponents involved in this RFP as to whether this template made it easier for them to submit their responses. Key Recommendation: Tendering documents for different streams of service should be posted at different times in the future rather than all at once. Ministry Response: The Ministry agrees that this would be a preferred approach to decrease the burden on proponents interested in delivering more than one stream of service, as well as on Ministry staff assigned to assess the proposals, and will endeavour to do this in the future. Key Recommendation: The Ministry should provide vendor training for proponents if new tendering processes are implemented. Ministry Response: The Ministry agrees that this is advisable and in fact provided half-day training sessions on RFPs in six locations throughout the province in 2004. It will endeavour to provide similar training if solicitation methods are changed. Next Steps: In order to address its concerns about the recommended Two Envelope RFQ process, the Ministry intends to organize a meeting within the next month with organizations that participated in interviews or submitted surveys during the preparation of the Review to solicit feedback on the Review’s major recommendation. If these organizations indicate that this recommendation (or a slightly modified version) is acceptable to them, the Ministry is willing to consider piloting the recommended approach for select services in select service areas during future tendering processes. If, however, the Review’s major recommendation is deemed to be unsatisfactory to these organizations, the Ministry will continue to use its current methods to procure services, which include a combination of RFPs, RFQs and Direct Awards, depending on the nature of the services required and the availability of qualified service providers. The Ministry appreciates the efforts of Capital City Purchasing Services to provide it with recommendations on the best and most practical methodology for acquiring settlement and language Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 6 October 2006
  • 9. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review services. Given the complexity of this issue, the Ministry appreciates the work Capital City Purchasing Services has done in presenting a new option for the Ministry to consider. The Ministry looks forward to discussing the Review’s major recommendation further with organizations that provided input into the Review and obtaining their feedback before making a final decision as to whether this option will be piloted. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 7 October 2006
  • 10. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Table of Contents EXECUTIVE SUMMARY...........................................................................................................................................1 Ministry Response to RFP Review ......................................................................................................................5 INTRODUCTION.......................................................................................................................................................11 PART 1 – BACKGROUND.....................................................................................................................................13 1. KEY HIGHLIGHTS IN HISTORY.................................................................................................................................13 a. Canada-BC Agreement.......................................................................................................................................13 b. Change in Selection Process.............................................................................................................................14 2. ENVIRONMENT........................................................................................................................................................15 a. External..................................................................................................................................................................15 i. Laws of Tendering....................................................................................................................................................................15 ii. Agreements...............................................................................................................................................................................16 iii. Settlement and Language Services in Other Jurisdictions...............................................................................................17 1. Government of Ontario............................................................................................................................................................17 2. Government of Alberta............................................................................................................................................................18 3. Government of Manitoba........................................................................................................................................................18 4. CIC – Ontario Region..............................................................................................................................................................19 iv. Settlement and Language Services Sector.........................................................................................................................20 b. Internal...................................................................................................................................................................22 PART 2 – REQUIREMENT IDENTIFICATION AND ALTERNATIVES..........................................................25 1. REQUIREMENT IDENTIFICATION..............................................................................................................................25 2. ALTERNATIVES........................................................................................................................................................28 a. One Stage Selection Process............................................................................................................................28 i. Application Process..................................................................................................................................................................28 ii. Direct Award.............................................................................................................................................................................30 iii. Request for Proposals (“RFP”).............................................................................................................................................31 b. Two Stage Selection Process...........................................................................................................................32 i. RFEI – RFP...............................................................................................................................................................................33 ii. RFQ – RFP...............................................................................................................................................................................35 iii. Two Envelope RFQ to establish a List of Qualified Service Providers-RFP (“Two Envelope RFQ List”)………...36 c. Three Stage Selection Process........................................................................................................................39 d. Summary..............................................................................................................................................................41 PART 3 – RECOMMENDATION, IMPLEMENTATION AND CONCLUSION..............................................43 1. RECOMMENDATION...............................................................................................................................................43 2. IMPLEMENTATION..................................................................................................................................................52 Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 8 October 2006
  • 11. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review 3. CONCLUSION.........................................................................................................................................................53 GLOSSARY OF TERMS.......................................................................................................................................55 BIBLIOGRAPHY.....................................................................................................................................................58 APPENDIX A – REVIEW PROCESS..................................................................................................................60 1. TERMS OF REFERENCE........................................................................................................................................60 2. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY..................................................................................................................................61 APPENDIX B – OVERVIEW OF THE DIVISION...............................................................................................65 APPENDIX C – 2004 AND 2005 RFP RESULTS.............................................................................................67 APPENDIX D – EXTERNAL STAKEHOLDERS’ QUESTIONNAIRE............................................................69 APPENDIX E – SURVEY RESULTS...................................................................................................................78 APPENDIX F – TWO ENVELOPE RFQ LIST PROCESS FLOW CHART...................................................84 Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 9 October 2006
  • 12. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review This page has been intentionally left blank. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 10 October 2006
  • 13. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Introduction In response to several community agencies and other external stakeholders’ negative reaction to the change in selection process for service providers of settlement and language services and their request for an independent review, a verbal commitment was made by the Government of British Columbia (“Government of BC”) to conduct such a review. The commitment, made by the Ministers responsible for immigrant settlement and the executives of the Ministry of Community, Aboriginal and Women’s Services (“MCAWS”) in February 2005, was to review the use of the Request for Proposal process, currently used by the Settlement and Multiculturalism Division, and its effectiveness as an appropriate solicitation method for procuring settlement and language services. To fulfil this commitment, Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. (“CC Purchasing”) was retained in March 2006 to conduct the independent review. 1 The purpose of this report is to express CC Purchasing’s opinion on the best and most practical method of acquiring settlement and language services through a process that is open, fair, transparent, and accountable. The report also assesses the effectiveness of the current Request for Proposal (“RFP”) process used by the Settlement and Multiculturalism Division (“Division”) as an appropriate solicitation method for procuring settlement and language services. A need assessment of service gaps, a review that encompasses broader social services, and one of the BC Settlement and Adaptation Program (“BCSAP”) streams, Stream 4 – Sectoral Support and Delivery Assistance (see Appendix B for information on the different Streams) are outside the project scope. The key requirements for this review were to: 1. research the procurement processes used in other Canadian provinces and the Canadian federal government; 2. consult with key stakeholders throughout the province (both internal and external to the BC provincial government) to determine their views on the use of RFPs and other procurement methods; 3. identify potential options to the current RFP process for settlement and language services, including analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of each; and 4. based on the collected stakeholder information and review data, provide a determination on what the best and most practical methodology would be for acquiring settlement and language services. 2 1 Information regards to the selection of CC Purchasing for this review can be found under “Review on Open Tendering Process for BCSAP” on the right side of the Division’s webpage www.ag.gov.bc.ca/sam/bcsap/index.htm. Information about CC Purchasing and its qualifications is available at www.ccpurchasing.com. 2 Government of BC, Ministry of Attorney General, RFP AG:2006-FAD-0001 Review of Use of Request for Proposal Process for Settlement and Language Services, December 1, 2005, Section 4.2.1 Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 11 October 2006
  • 14. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review The complete terms of reference and the research methodology used for this review are provided in Appendix A – Review Process. To determine the best and practical method of acquiring settlement and language services, the report has been divided into three parts: Part 1 – Background provides the key highlights of the Division’s selection history and the external and internal environments in which it operates. Part 2 defines the acquisition requirement and identifies and analyzes alternate solicitation processes taking into consideration the advantages and disadvantages of each. Part 3 recommends the best and practical method for acquiring settlement and language services, provides an implementation plan for the recommendation, and concludes the report by assessing the effectiveness of the current RFP process, used by the Division, as an appropriate method for procuring settlement and language services. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 12 October 2006
  • 15. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Part 1 – Background3 To understand why the independent review was commissioned, CC Purchasing conducted a review of the history of contract solicitation/procurement and award methods for settlement and language services in BC and the external and internal environments in which the Division operates. The first section of this part summarizes the key highlights of the Division’s history for the past 10 years. Section 2 provides insight to the external environment, in particular the tendering laws, agreements, other jurisdictions, and external stakeholders that influence the Division’s operations while section 3 outlines the Division’s internal environment. 1. Key Highlights in History Two fundamental events have changed how the Division obtains settlement and language services for new immigrants. The first event was the signing of the Agreement for Canada-British Columbia Co- operation on Immigration (“Canada-BC Agreement”) in May 1998. The second fundamental event was the switch from an application process to a Request for Proposals (“RFP”) process in the selection of service providers for settlement and language services in May 2004. The following subsections describe how the two events changed the Division’s acquisition process and resulting agreements. a. Canada-BC Agreement The signing of the Canada-BC Agreement resulted in the Government of Canada transferring the design, administration and delivery of settlement and integration services for immigrants and refugees in British Columbia to the Government of BC. Along with this transfer of responsibilities, the Division’s “program budget increased from approximately $5 million in 1998/1999 to over $30 million in 1999/2000 and its staff complement increased by 26 FTEs to 56”. 4 Prior to 1998, the selection process was conducted by having all service providers complete one standard application form with no division amongst the different streams of services being provided to new immigrants. Organizations who were interested in applying for different services only needed to 3 For readers unfamiliar with the Settlement and Multiculturalism Division of the Government of British Columbia, Appendix B outlines the role and responsibilities of this Division. 4 Government of BC, Ministry of Finance and Corporate Relations, Office of the Comptroller General, Internal Audit Branch, Report on Community Liaison Division, March 2001, page 4. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 13 October 2006
  • 16. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review fill in one application form. With the expansion in funding by the Canada-BC Agreement, the Division redesigned the application process to reflect a balance of community needs and program management requirements. The redesigning was done in consultation with community stakeholders, including representatives from not-for-profit organizations, school districts, municipalities and other governments, and privately funded organizations in five regions of the province. In the1999/2000 application process, the program was divided into four funding streams. One application form was used for Stream 1, Stream 2, and Stream 1/3 Blended (when this Stream was added) while Stream 3 and Stream 4 had separate application forms. Organizations seeking funds to deliver services for different Streams, or carry out other initiatives, were required to apply for those funds using different application forms. As before, all the forms and information about selection criteria for funding were available on the ministry’s public website. Since access to the application process was limited, only contractors who had former experiences in providing immigrant settlement services were aware of the funding, and the contracts were renewed on an annual basis. The provision of Stream 3 was open to both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, while Stream 1 and Stream 2 were exclusive to not-for-profit organizations. The resulting agreement for all Streams was a contribution agreement with the Division funding a program. b. Change in Selection Process Having experienced a substantial increase in budget and personnel, the Division requested an internal audit to ensure the necessary controls have been put in place for contributions and grants within the Division as well as to provide advice and guidance to: • “assist the division in its current initiative involving implementation of the certain continuous service agreements; and • assist the division in developing a methodology and a model for conducting compliance reviews of agencies funded by the division.” 5 After the 2001 audit report identified areas for improvement, changes were made to the application form and process. Although the process was improved, with incidents such as applications being accepted after the submission deadline and Division staff assisting organizations in the completion of forms, the manner in which the process was being administered still raised concerns. 5 Government of BC, Ministry of Finance and Corporate Relations, Office of the Comptroller General, Internal Audit Branch, Report on Community Liaison Division, March 2001, page 5. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 14 October 2006
  • 17. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Recognizing that the application process was not meeting the Government’s mandate to award contracts through an open, fair, transparent and accountable process, a decision was made to implement a gradual two-year phase-in approach to implement a selection process that was consistent with the government policy in January 2003. This decision led to the second event, the use of a RFP process for all Streams, resulting in the following changes: a. the selection process switched from an application process to a RFP process; b. the role of the Division changed from a funding contributor of programs to a purchaser of services with the resulting agreement changing from a contribution agreement to a provision for services agreement; and c. Streams 1 and 2 were no longer restricted to not-for-profit organizations. With the selection of service providers for all Streams, being done through a RFP process, the sector was reshuffled and the Division received negative reactions to the implemented changes, particularly in regards to the use of the RFP process. To understand the parameters the Division operates within, we need to consider its external and internal environments. 2. Environment For the external environment, CC Purchasing analyzed the laws of tendering, the overarching agreements that influence the Division’s actions, how other jurisdictions acquire settlement and language services and the external stakeholders’ consultations. For internal environment we analyzed the parameters in which the Division operates that pertain to the selection process for the provision of services. The following sections summarize our findings. a. External i. Laws of Tendering Traditionally the tendering process was governed by contract law and thus no legal obligations occurred until an offer was accepted. The Supreme Court of Canada made its landmark decision in the 1981 case of the Government of Ontario versus Ron Engineering and Construction (Eastern) Ltd. In order to maintain the integrity of the tendering process and to give effect to the reasonable expectations of the parties who engage in it, the Supreme Court of Canada introduced the ‘two contract’ model into the law of tendering. “Under this model, the tendering process consists of the formation of two separate contracts: Contract A and Contract B. Contract A, also known as the bid Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 15 October 2006
  • 18. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review contract, governs the manner in which the tendering process is to be conducted. Contract B is the substantive construction contract to perform the work that has been bid.” 6 “Recognizing the effort expended and expense incurred by a contractor in preparing a bid, the Courts imply certain obligations on the owner under the bid contract in order to maintain the integrity of the process.” 7 That is, the owner of the procurement document is obligated to follow the rules of process it outlines in Contract A as well as the implied overall arching duty of procedural fairness and good faith. Thus, an owner is obligated to treat all bidders fairly and equally without the application of hidden preferences or undisclosed evaluation criteria, to not conduct bid shopping and to not accept non-compliant bids. Although the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision was made based on a tender for a construction contract, the principles apply to all procurement processes and must therefore be taken into consideration when determining the best and most practical method of acquiring settlement and language services. ii. Agreements Two agreements influence the Division in regards to the selection process for service providers of settlement and language services. This section highlights the terms and conditions of these agreements that pertain to this review. The first agreement is the Agreement on Internal Trade (“AIT”). As a signatory of the AIT, the Government of BC is committed to eliminating barriers of inter-provincial trade. To fulfill this commitment, it encourages all its requirements for goods and/or services be done in an open, fair, and competitive process that is appropriate for the value, complexity and profile of the requirement unless a specific exemption exists under AIT Chapter 5. One such exemption is health and social services. This service is identified in AIT Annex 502.1B, point e as being exempt from Chapter 5. 8 The part of the second agreement, the Canada-BC Agreement, which influences the Division on its selection process for service providers is “British Columbia will administer the funds transferred under this annex in a way that: a. is responsive to community priorities; b. ensures that a broad range of service providers are eligible for funding, with service quality and 6 Singleton, John, Q.C. and Stephen Berezowskyj, Tendering Law, http://www.singleton.com/publications/construction/Singleton_Berez_TENDERING_LAW.pdf, page 1. 7 Ibid. 8 The Internal Trade Secretariat, A Consolidation of the Agreement on Internal Trade, August 2002, page 62. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 16 October 2006
  • 19. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review cost effectiveness as key considerations; c. recognizes the needs and concerns for the immigrant sectoral supports to provide professional development and support services for program delivery changes; and 9 d. acknowledges federal funding contributions.” What this means is that the acquisition of settlement and language services, as a social service, is considered exempt by AIT, and therefore the Division is not required to advertise its requirements through a medium that is available to all potential service providers across Canada. However, the Canada-BC Agreement requires that the Division ensure that a broad range of service providers are eligible for funding. To meet the Canada-BC Agreement requirement, the use of a medium such as BC Bid allows the Division to ensure all service providers are given the opportunity to be eligible for funding. iii. Settlement and Language Services in Other Jurisdictions Given its semi-devolved immigration model, the Division is responsible for the design, administration and delivery of all settlement and integration services in British Columbia and in 2004 it moved from the role of a fund contributor to a purchaser of settlement and language services. In our investigation of how service providers in other jurisdictions were selected and the relationship between the service providers and the Government of Ontario, the Government of Alberta, the Government of Manitoba, and the Government of Canada (as represented by the Citizenship and Immigration Canada – Ontario Region) 10 , CC Purchasing learned the selection process is predominately through an application process and settlement services was administered through contribution agreements or grants. The following subsections details how each government handles its settlement and language requirements. 1. Government of Ontario The Government of Ontario operates under a co-managed immigration model with the Government of Canada for settlement and language services. For its settlement services requirements, the Government of Ontario currently provides grants to qualified not-for-profit community settlement organizations. The services providers are qualified through an application process which is restricted to not-for-profit agencies with a funding limit of $95,000 per agency. During 2005-06, the Government 9 Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Agreement for Canada-British Columbia Co-operation on Immigration, 2004, section 5.3. 10 See Appendix A regards to how the other jurisdictions were selected and the research methodology used to obtain the information. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 17 October 2006
  • 20. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review of Ontario funded 79 agencies with a funding value range of $17,000 to $95,000. The grants are made through two equal payments. For language services, the Government of Ontario “does not have a competitive selection process for the delivery of language training services. Currently, provincially funded adult non-credit ESL programs are delivered through school board adult continuing education departments. The funding process is under review.” 11 2. Government of Alberta With a co-managed immigration model with no funds being transferred from the Government of Canada, the Government of Alberta is responsible for determining how they will provide services to newcomers without accountability for their funding decisions to the federal government. For the provision of settlement services, the Government of Alberta uses conditional grants which are renewed every 2 years through calls for proposals. The settlement services are provided by not-for- profit agencies while Language Instructions for Newcomers to Canada (“LINC”) is done through the public education system. The Government of Alberta does not use a formal RFP process for settlement services or language services; however it does use a RFP process for its Enhanced Language Training (“ELT”) requirements on a yearly basis. 3. Government of Manitoba The Government of Manitoba, like the Government of BC, operates under a semi-devolved immigration model and is responsible for the design, administration and delivery of settlement and integration services. The Government of Manitoba uses an open tendering process only when the Immigration and Multiculturalism identifies a requirement that is not currently being offered and it is not aware of any service providers who may be capable of providing the services and/or interested in providing the identified service requirement. The budget is allocated into two groups, the core requirements and other requirements. Once the funding requirements for the core requirements have been allocated, any remaining funds are put aside for other projects. For its core requirements, the Government of Manitoba has a select group of service providers. Each year an application form is made available to current service providers and pre-qualified service providers. Before an application form is provided to a potential service provider, they are interviewed by the Government of Manitoba to determine whether the proposed services will complement the existing services, if there is a need for the service, and whether they have the qualifications to deliver the proposed services. Approved service providers will then enter into a contribution agreement. 11 E-mail from Senior Policy Advisor, Immigration and Settlement, Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, April 7, 2006. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 18 October 2006
  • 21. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review 4. CIC – Ontario Region Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) is in the process of developing a unique to Ontario procurement plan. The new plan will be based on an open Request for Expressions of Interest to pre- qualify approximately 250 settlement service providers. The qualified providers will then receive applications (Direct Awards) or Calls for Proposals to deliver services. The decision on whether an application or Calls for Proposals will be sent to the qualified providers will be determined by immigrant needs, geographic remoteness, existing service delivery networks, or assessed gaps in services. The new two step procurement process will not be restricted to not-for-profit agencies. The evaluation of the proposals will take into consideration the service providers’ governance and financial conditions, human resources policies and management structure, organizational staff and experience, working with newcomers and newcomers issues, demonstrated connections to the community, and data management and reporting. Consideration will also be given to the geographic area of operation and the area of expertise in selecting the service providers. Plans have not been finalized as to how long the qualified suppliers list will be established however consideration is being given to the addition of new qualified suppliers to the list. Although the agreement term has not been finalized, the agreement will be a contribution agreement with payments being made for actual costs. The new plan is scheduled for implementation this year with the list of qualified suppliers established by the fourth quarter of 2006 and the second step commencing in first quarter of 2007. A similar plan is not being considered for language services at this time. 12 Based on the information attained, CC Purchasing found the Division, like other jurisdictions, is committed to continuous review and improvement of its procurement practices to ensure compliance with the government's procurement environment and processes that are flexible and meet the needs of its clients. The difference is the Division has made the fundamental leap from being a contributor of funds to a purchaser of services through the use of the RFP process and the provision for services agreement. The Government of British Columbia is no longer building capacity in the settlement and language services sector but rather purchasing services from established organizations. To assist in the development of the best and most practical procurement method the following section describes the settlement and language services sector and the differences amongst the four Streams. 12 E-mail from Regional Program Manager, Ontario Region, Citizenship and Immigration Canada. May 1, 2006. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 19 October 2006
  • 22. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review iv. Settlement and Language Services Sector During the in-person and phone interviews, CC Purchasing discovered the service providers of the settlement and language services sector to be passionate about the services they provide to new immigrants. Many of the respondents had been with their organizations for years and have had first hand experiences in the sector’s changes during the past ten years. Stemming from this passion and the strong reaction to the RFP process, out of the ninety-nine questionnaires distributed CC Purchasing received thirty-three responses (see Appendix D for a copy of the questionnaire). Although this response rate was good the results are not statistically significant as the selection of the external stakeholders was not done randomly from all service providers in this sector. The recipients of the questionnaire were proponents who submitted proposals to the 2004 and 2005 RFPs, since all interested parties may not have responded to either RFPs, the questionnaire respondents cannot be considered as a true representation of the sector. However, the responses can be viewed as providing a good perspective of the sector’s view on the selection process for settlement and language services. To get a better understanding of the sector, we need to separate out the different service providers for the four Streams. As noted in Appendix B, Stream 1 service providers are the first point of contact for the new immigrants and often the services are provided in the first language of the immigrant. Of the $19 million allocated in the 2005/06 budget for settlement and language services, Stream 1 accounted for $3.9 million or 20.5% of the total budget. The 2004 RFP split the province into sixteen service areas with annual budget ranging from $6,900 to $1.8 million for Metro Vancouver. Eight of these service areas had annual budgets below $100,000; however majority of these service areas also had more than one proponent. The 2004 and 2005 RFP resulted in twenty-seven contracts for Stream 1 with sixteen of these having contract values less than $100,000 while six had contracts valued greater than $200,000. Further details on the results of the 2004 and 2005 RFP are available in Appendix C. Stream 2 service providers match new immigrants with volunteers from the host society to assist the newcomers to better understand Canadian life and culture. This Stream was allocated a budget of $892,800 (or 4.7% of the total budget) with 70% of this budget allocated for service area A, which included Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, and Greater Victoria areas, and 30% for service area B, the rest of the province. Of the seventeen contracts awarded, fourteen were for values less than $100,000 and one for a contract value greater than $200,000. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 20 October 2006
  • 23. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Stream 1/3 Blended is for the provision of support services and English language instructions to multiple-barriered immigrant and refugee newcomers. This Stream accounts for $336,000 of the $19 million or 1.7% of the total budget. Of the five contracts that were awarded, three of them were for less than $100,000 and none of the contracts awarded were for values greater than $200,000. The above three Streams, prior to the 2004 RFP, were restricted to not-for-profit organizations while Stream 3 had both not-for-profit and for-profit organizations as service providers. Stream 3 is responsible for the provision of English as a second language instruction to adult immigrant newcomers to assist them with their settlement and adaptation to Canadian society. Of the four Streams, it has the largest budget with $14 million or 73.7% of the total budget allocated to it. The 2004 RFP identified twenty-six services areas with allocated budgets ranging from $14,000 to $7,217,300. The service areas with the highest allocated funds; Metro, Tri-Cities, Surrey/North Delta, and Richmond/South Delta; experienced the most number of proposal submissions: Metro area alone had twenty-eight proponents submit fifty-eight proposals. Given Stream 1 service providers refer new immigrants to the Stream 2 and Stream 3 service providers and amongst themselves, in situations where they are not able to provide support services in the first language of the new immigrant, an atmosphere of collaboration is required to ensure the client, the new immigrant, is receiving the best services available. Although collaboration amongst all service providers would be beneficial, it is not necessary for the service provision of all Streams. However, as noted by Table 2 in Appendix E, a good portion of the service providers provide services in more than one Stream and hence the perception that collaboration is a requirement of all Streams. When asked if the Government of BC should use the RFP process for settlement and language services in the External Stakeholders’ Questionnaire (see Appendix D and Table 3 of Appendix E), nineteen of the respondents indicated that the RFP process should be used for some requirements while twelve indicated the RFP process should never be used. In response to which requirements the RFP process should be used for, ten respondents indicated for Stream 3 only and seven for all Streams. Some of these respondents also indicated that the RFP process should be used for all requirements of the Streams while others propose the RFP process be only used for new requirements, for replacement service providers due to poor performance or after all other options have been exhausted. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 21 October 2006
  • 24. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review During its research, CC Purchasing noted this industry sector had matured during the past ten years. Through the use of contribution agreements, the Government of Canada and the Government of BC has established an infrastructure for settlement and language services in BC. For example, the Stream 3 service providers are no longer reliant on one source of funding but have evolved so they can maintain operations with or without providing English as a second language for adult training to new immigrants. The Streams 1 and 1/3 service providers are also capable of generating revenue through the provision of services, such as interpretation and translation services, for a fee; although not at the same capacity as the Stream 3 service providers; in maintaining operations without providing services to new immigrants. CC Purchasing found some of the Stream 2 service providers to be community based and relying solely on donations, volunteers and government funding to maintain operations, while other service providers are generating additional revenue through the provision of services for a fee. Facing budget constraints, and recognizing a need to change the contractual relationship from a contributor of funds to a purchaser of services, the Division made the decision to move from an application process to a procurement process. Having learned the differences amongst the Streams and the respective service providers, CC Purchasing notes one method of selection may not be suitable for all Streams. Before identifying the current requirements and alternative selection processes, we need to consider the internal environment the Division operates within. b. Internal The Multiculturalism and Immigration Branch’s mission is “We are responsible in government to meet the settlement needs of immigrants and refugees, to promote multiculturalism and to eliminate racism.” 13 This is to be accomplished through its values: 1. “To be performance and service focused. 2. To honour members of the ministry and support them in their learning and development. 3. To act with professional integrity, independent from interference. 4. To be forthright and strategic. 5. To be collaborative and inclusive with our service partners and with the public that we serve. 6. To adhere to the core values of the British Columbia Public Service, namely integrity, 14 accountability, responsibility, respect and fostering innovation in providing services.” 13 Government of BC, Ministry of Attorney General, 2006/07-2008/09 Service Plan, http://www.bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2006/sp/ag/MinistryOverview4.htm, 2006. 14 Ibid. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 22 October 2006
  • 25. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review In addition to the Division’s mission and core values, when considering the internal environment in which the Division operates in, we must also take into consideration the Government’s core policy and procedures pertaining to the public procurement and contract expenditures. In the Government of British Columbia, the application of public procurement and contracts expenditures chargeable to the Consolidated Revenue Fund must comply with the Procurement Services Act. The Core Policy and Procedures Manual define the parameters all ministries must adhere to when acquiring goods and services. According to Section 6.0 of the Core Policy and Procedures Manual, all requirements with an estimated value over $100,000 must be advertised on BC Bid or distributed to all vendors on a source list maintained for the specific service or type of construction. For requirements with a value of $50,000 or more a Notice of Intent is to be posted on BC Bid when a direct award is intended on the basis that only one vendor can provide the services required. The posting is not required if a ministry can strictly prove that only one contractor is qualified or available to provide the services. 15 The Core Policy and Procedure Manual also outlines the conditions under which a ministry can enter into a Continuing Agreement with a contractor for the delivery of community health and social services, which includes multicultural/immigration services, to a third party on behalf of the Government for a period of not less than 3 years. It requires the selection of the contractor be originally done through a competitive selection process and the contractor must meet documented ministry performance and program standards. Based on discussions with government representatives, CC Purchasing learned the Government of BC is reviewing the use of Continuing Agreements and is encouraging the use of competitive selection processes for all acquisitions of goods and services, including community health and social services. Given the Government of BC’s review, the use of Continuing Agreements for future contracts may not be an option. By taking into consideration the external and internal factors that influence the Division’s procurement activities, in particular the laws of tendering, the AIT, and the Core Policy and Procedures Manual, CC Purchasing was able to assess the Government’s procurement environment. The laws of tendering stipulate that the Government of BC will enter into a two contract model when it issues a solicitation for settlement and language services. Contract A obligates the Government of BC to not have any hidden preferences or undisclosed evaluation criteria, to not conduct bid shopping, or to accept non- compliant bids. Contract A also obligates the Government to follow the process outlined within its 15 Government of BC, Ministry of Finance, Office of the Comptroller General, Core Policy and Procedures Manual, May 2006, page 11. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 23 October 2006
  • 26. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review solicitation document and to treat all bidders with fairness and good faith. Although the AIT exempts social services requirements from being publicly available to all interested parties across Canada, the Government of BC’s Core Policy and Procedures Manual requires all requirements with an estimated value over $100,000 be advertised or made available to a pre-established list. Thus, with the Government’s mandate for accountability, the Division operates in a procurement environment that requires the selection process for the delivery of settlement and language services be conducted in a manner that is open, fair, transparent and accountable. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 24 October 2006
  • 27. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Part 2 – Requirement Identification and Alternatives 1. Requirement Identification In order to select the best and most practical selection process for acquiring settlement and language services, we need to define the current situation and how we are going to evaluate each alternative. Earlier this year, the Division exercised its option to renew for the first of two optional periods of one year. With less than two years before the Division must solicit submissions for its core requirements, both the Division and the sector service providers are concerned about the next selection process. The 2004 RFP was an unpleasant experience that all stakeholders would like to avoid. The service providers view the RFP process as being competitive and disruptive in creating a collaborative sector. It should be noted, whether the selection is made through an application process or a procurement process, like a RFP process, the process itself is competitive as the probability of all submissions being accepted is minimal. This probability was further reduced in 2004 when the Division faced budget reductions. CC Purchasing also noted that although one of the Division’s values is to be collaborative and inclusive with its service partners and the public they serve, this value does not obligate the Division to be collaborative with all service providers in this sector nor does it require the Division create a collaborative environment for this sector. We also noted that although collaboration amongst the service providers is a requirement for settlement services, since some of the settlement service providers are also providers of language services it is a nicety, not a necessity, in the provision of language services. In determining which factors to consider when evaluating the different alternate solicitation processes, we need to consider two things. First item to consider is that the Division is not the recipient of the services. The Division is responsible for providing settlement and language services to new immigrants; it is not the recipient of the services. To meet its obligations, the Division has decided the most practical method of service delivery is through third party contractors versus in-house resources. With the Division’s clients obtaining services at a facility that is owned, or leased, and operated by the third party contractor, changing service providers has an impact on the clients. Secondly, the Division would like a selection process that meets the demands of two diverging requirements. The first diverging requirement is the government policy to use an open, fair, and transparent process in the selection of service providers with the resulting contracts being managed in an accountable manner while adhering to the Division’s principles and values to be collaborative and inclusive with their service partners and with the public they serve. The second diverging requirement is the Canada-BC Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 25 October 2006
  • 28. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Agreement requires the Government of BC to ensure a broad range of service providers is eligible for funding within a fixed administrative budget. In order to meet the accountability requirements of the Canada-BC Agreement, the Government of BC must monitor the performance of its service providers, which is costly, so with a fixed administrative budget the Government of BC needs to reduce the number of contractors it monitors yet find a balance to ensure a broad range of service providers are eligible for funding. Understanding the current circumstances, to select the best and most practical procurement process for selecting service providers for settlement and language services, we need to consider: 1. the Division is not the recipient of the services and therefore frequent changes of service providers is not desirable (continuity of services); 2. the Division values collaboration and therefore, the process needs to encourage collaboration; 3. a broad range of services providers are to be eligible for funding; 4. the government policy requires the process to be: a. open, b. fair, and c. transparent; 5. the Division is accountable for its decision and meeting the settlement needs of immigrants; 6. legal implications due to the process not adhering to the laws of tendering; and 7. cost incurred by both the internal and external stakeholders. Before we proceed to analyzing the alternatives, we need to understand what each criterion means. For continuity of service, we are assessing whether the process allows the Division to select service providers and thereby ensure recipients do not need to switch service providers. As the term of the contract is outside the selection process, it will not be considered when analyzing this criterion. For the purpose of selecting the best and most practical selection process, CC Purchasing defined “encourages collaboration” as including a step in the selection process where “all parties work together and build consensus to reach a decision or create a product/service, the result of which benefits all parties.” 16 For a process to allow for a broad range of service providers to be eligible, CC Purchasing considered whether new service providers would be given the opportunity to provide services. This was viewed as slightly different from the criterion of open. While open means the 16 Wikipedia – The Free Encyclopedia, Article: Collaboration, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collaboration Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 26 October 2006
  • 29. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review process must be accessible by all, broad range of service providers meant new potential service providers would be given the opportunity to provide the services. To be fair, all interested parties must be treated in the same manner and therefore everyone has access to the same information. To be transparent, the process must identify and adhere to how the contractor will be selected during the evaluation. In order to be accountable the Division must be able to demonstrate the service requirements of the clients are provided by the best qualified service providers at pre-established performance and program standards. Using the above identified parameters, CC Purchasing assessed the alternatives, identified in the next section, to determine the best and most practical method for acquiring settlement and language services. CC Purchasing considered each criterion as equally important in relation to the other criteria and therefore no weighting was assigned. In making the final recommendation, we also need to ensure the following concerns raised by the service providers in the responses to the External Stakeholders’ Questionnaire are addressed: 1. Insufficient consideration of their previous experience working with the Division; 2. Need for distinction in the point distribution for community links by giving more points for established versus proposed links; 3. Erosion of collaboration within the sector; 4. Poor geographic distribution of services resulting in longer travel time for clients; 5. Redistribution of resources to submit proposals versus delivery of services; 6. Service disruption; 7. Unfair advantage by bigger organizations using professional proposal writers versus volunteers by smaller organizations; 8. Distinguish process for organization requesting smaller dollar contracts versus those with higher dollar proposals; 9. Propose planned budgets for subsequent years which forecast inflation and wage increase; 10. Long term planning and leasing of space is difficult; 11. More structured response requirement; 12. Consideration for investment in social capital; and 13. Regional differences. Although the Division may have considered and incorporated changes to the current RFP process to address some of the above concerns, CC Purchasing assume these concerns may have been expressed in the questionnaire as not all service providers participated in the 2005 RFP and would therefore be unaware of the changes, that were incorporated, or the questionnaire respondent felt the changes did not sufficiently address their concerns. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 27 October 2006
  • 30. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review 2. Alternatives This section has been divided into four sub-sections: One Stage, Two Stage, Three Stage Selection Processes, and Summary. The first sub-section includes the application, direct award, and Request for Proposals processes as alternate selection processes. The Two Stage Selection Process describes three more alternatives: Request for Expressions of Interest – Request for Proposals, Request for Qualifications – Request for Proposals, and a Two Envelope Request for Qualifications List – Request for Proposals. The third sub-section outlines the Three Stage Selection Process in which a Request for Expressions of Interest is followed by a Request for Qualifications and then by a Request for Proposals. For each alternative a description of the process is provided along with a table outlining the alternative’s advantages and disadvantages. The last sub-section summarizes the analysis for the seven alternatives. a. One Stage Selection Process i. Application Process The first alternative is the application process. This process is usually used for the selection of recipients of grants and contribution agreements. Since it is not normally used for the acquisition of goods and/or services, such an opportunity would not be made available on the BC Bid website; instead the application form with a description of the requirement, the submission requirements, and the evaluation criteria for selecting the recipients of funding would be made available on the Division’s website. As a structured form, the application form defines and provides space for the requested information. Unlike a selection process made available on BC Bid, the application process does not have a structured method of managing inquiries about the form and making corrections to the document after the opportunity has been made available. After the submission deadline date, the applications are evaluated and based on funding availability, a grant or contribution agreement is made. The following table outlines the advantages and disadvantages for this process: Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 28 October 2006
  • 31. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Advantages Disadvantages • This process is familiar to internal and external • Given their familiarity with the process, the stakeholders and therefore the learning curve external stakeholders may overlook any is minimal. changes to the process. • The process is viewed as a non-competitive by • The application process does not have a step, both the internal and external stakeholders. within the process, whereby applicants are given the opportunity to collaborate with other applicants. • With the opportunity being available only on • The process is unfair as questions about the the Division’s website, the process is form is responded to individually and not considered closed, and therefore the service distributed equally to all applicants. providers are constant and continuity of services is not a concern for clients. • The structured form is easier to complete. • The process is not transparent as applicants are not given the opportunity to assess whether they were evaluated in accordance to the evaluation process outlined in the application form. • The administration of this process is not as • As the opportunity is only available on the stringent as those used for the acquisition of Division’s website, this process is considered goods and/or services which are governed by closed as the opportunity is available to existing the laws of tendering. service providers or those who are diligent to make inquiries about government grants and contribution agreement opportunities. • The cost of responding to and evaluating is • Without an established program or performance lower than a multi-stage procurement process. standards being monitored, the Division would not be able to demonstrate the best qualified service provider is the recipient of the funding. For example, if a grant is made upfront without any requirements for the recipient to demonstrate the outcome based on the funding, accountability is questionable. For contribution agreements, there is some accountability as fund recipients are required to submit receipts demonstrating the funding is being applied as originally proposed. • Due to the standard practices of the application process not having to adhere to the laws of tendering, legal implications exists if the application process is used for the acquisition of services. • The cost, incurred by internal and external stakeholders, for responding and evaluating is higher than a direct award. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 29 October 2006
  • 32. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review ii. Direct Award Another method of selecting a service provider is to make a direct award. In this situation, the Division would issue a Notice of Intent (“NOI”) on BC Bid advising interested parties that a direct award is going to be made to a particular service provider for certain reasons. If a service provider does not agree with the Division’s assessment, then they must challenge the Division’s decision. Another method of leading to a direct award is to use a Request for Expressions of Interest (“RFEI”). This is usually used in situations where the Division is unsure of the existence of other service providers and identifies the requirement in the RFEI and asks any interested parties to submit a letter indicating their interest in the opportunity. As part of the terms and conditions of the RFEI, the Division would stipulate how they would handle situations where only one or no expression of interest is received. This selection process would allow the Division to meet the settlement needs of the immigrants and with the establishment of the performance monitoring system, this process would be considered partially accountable. As there is a possibility that potential service providers may view challenging the Division’s decision would result in a RFP that puts the challenger at a disadvantage, the direct award does not ensure the best service provider is selected and therefore the process is not considered fully accountable. The following table identifies this process’ advantages and disadvantages: Advantages Disadvantages • This process will ensure the continuity of • This process does not expand the range of service and minimize the impact on the service providers, unless a new service client as there is no transition from an provider challenges the NOI. existing service provider. • As an announcement is made on BC Bid, • This process does not provide potential the process is considered open. service providers an opportunity to collaborate. • Through the use of performance monitoring • For a NOI, interested parties must challenge for contract renewal, this alternative is only the Division’s decision. partially accountable as the selection process does not guarantee the best qualified service provider is providing the services. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 30 October 2006
  • 33. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Advantages Disadvantages • The process is easy to administer as no • The process may be viewed as unfair and action is required by a service provider not transparent, as potential service unless they are expressing an interest or providers were not given the opportunity to challenging the NOI. demonstrate their ability to meet the Division’s service requirements. • This is a low cost process for both the • This alternative cannot be used for all of the internal and external stakeholders. Division’s requirements as some of their service areas have high number of service providers who would question the Division’s decision that only one particular service provider can meet its service requirements. • The laws of tendering are not applicable. • If a NOI receives a valid challenge or expressions of interest are received, the Division must conduct a procurement process. • If the NOI is challenged, additional costs may be incurred. • The best qualified service provider may not be providing the services. iii. Request for Proposals (“RFP”) A RFP process is used for requirements where price is not the only evaluation criterion for selecting the successful service provider(s). The RFP, detailing the requirements of the Division, the evaluation criteria and the process for selecting the successful service provider(s) and the contract terms and conditions the successful proponent will enter, is posted on the BC Bid website. Governed by the laws of tendering, the RFP process ensures questions and responses are made available for all interested parties to consider before submitting a proposal. The process is best suited for situations where only one successful proponent will selected or for provision of services where a division can be made between service providers without their performance being impacted by another service provider’s actions. The advantages and disadvantages for this process are: Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 31 October 2006
  • 34. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Advantages Disadvantages • Depending on the contract term, it could • Initially erode continuity of service for clients provide continuity of service to clients. if the existing service providers are not selected. • By using an RFP process the Division will • The RFP process does not include a step in be able to expand the range of service the process whereby potential service providers who are eligible for funding. providers are given an opportunity to collaborate. • The process is governed by the laws of • It requires all interested parties to submit a tendering. proposal. • The process is considered open as the • Without the ability to select locations of the opportunity is made available on the BC Bid service providers within a service area, website. particularly a service area that is large in size, the settlement needs of the immigrants may not be completely addressed. • The process is fair as the same information • A new RFP is required for future is provided to all interested parties. requirements. • As the evaluation is conducted in • For some service providers, this process will accordance with the criteria outlined in the cost them approximately the same or less RFP and proponents are able to learn how than a multi-stage procurement process, but they compared to the Division’s is more expensive than a direct award. If a expectations, the process is considered service provider is unsure if they will meet the transparent. minimum qualifications, this process may be more costly to complete than a two stage procurement process. • The process is accountable as the best qualified proponent is selected and the use of performance monitoring ensures the service levels meet or exceed the program and performance standards. Five out of thirty-three respondents selected the one stage RFP process as their preferred competitive selection process in the External Stakeholders’ Questionnaire. b. Two Stage Selection Process Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 32 October 2006
  • 35. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review i. RFEI – RFP This two stage procurement process option requires a Request for Expressions of Interest (“RFEI”) to be issued first and then followed by a RFP, if required. The RFEI terms and conditions would stipulate that in the event a service area had: 1. no interested service providers the Division would source and possibly build capacity; 2. one service provider, the Division may enter into negotiations; 3. more than one service provider, the Division will issue a RFP. As there may be a situation whereby only one expression of interest is received and the Division is aware of other service providers in a service area, point 2, above, uses the word “may” versus “would”. Since the Division will already be issuing a RFP for other service areas where more than one service provider exists, the addition of one more service area would not add more work but it will ensure the best qualified service provider(s) is selected. The RFEI-RFP process has the following advantages and disadvantages associated with it: Advantages Disadvantages • Long term contract could establish • Initially erode continuity of service for clients continuity of service for clients. if they existing service providers are not selected. • As the process is open to all interested • The process does not include a step, within parties, the range of service providers the process, to encourage service providers eligible for funding may be expanded. to collaborate. • The process is considered open as the • Like the RFP only process, without the ability opportunity is made available on the BC Bid to select locations of the service providers website. within a service area, particularly a service area that is large in size, the settlement needs of the immigrants may not be completely addressed. • The process is fair as the same information • Qualifications of service providers may vary is provided to all interested parties. between those who are selected through the RFP process from service areas with only one service provider. • As the evaluation is conducted in • For the Division this process’ costs may accordance with the criteria outlined in the balance out, as they do not have to evaluate RFP and proponents are able to learn how proposals from those service providers where Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 33 October 2006
  • 36. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Advantages Disadvantages they compared to the Division’s expectations, only one exists, while it will incur additional the process is considered transparent. costs to administer the RFEI. The same applies for the service providers. In service areas with only one service provider, they would not need to expend resources to submit a complete proposal while service areas with more than one service provider will require the service providers to respond to both the RFEI and the RFP expend more resources to complete the two stage process. • The process is accountable as the best qualified proponent is selected and the sue of performance monitoring ensures the service levels meet or exceed program and performance standards. • Legal implications are minimized as long as the administration of the process adheres to the laws of tendering. • This process would reduce the time spent, and thereby costs incurred, by the service providers in preparing a proposal and evaluation time for the Division for the eight service areas in Stream 3 and the five service areas in Stream 1 where only one proponent submitted a proposal in the 2004 RFP. The External Stakeholders’ Questionnaire noted that only two out of thirty-three respondents selected this alternative as their preferred process. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 34 October 2006
  • 37. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review ii. RFQ – RFP This alternative requires the Division to issue a RFQ to pre-qualify service providers for the next stage of the procurement process, the RFP. The RFQ allows the Division to establish a province wide performance and program standard for all service providers. The RFQ terms and conditions would outline that services areas with only one qualified service providers will result in a contract established through negotiations. If no qualified service providers exists, the RFQ terms and conditions should stipulate that the Division reserves the right to build capacity in that service area. Service areas with more than one qualified service providers would be required to respond to a RFP. This process is best suited for circumstances where a limited number of qualified respondents are selected to proceed to the RFP, which results in one successful proponent. The advantages and disadvantages of the RFQ-RFP process are: Advantages Disadvantages • Long term contract could establish continuity • Initially erode continuity of service for clients of service for clients. if the existing service providers are not selected. • This alternative provides the added bonus of • The process does not include a step, within having all service providers meeting the same the process, to encourage service providers performance and program standards across to collaborate. the province while eliminating the need to evaluate proposals from service areas with one qualified service provider. • As the process is open to all interested parties, • Like the RFP only process, without the ability the range of service providers eligible for to select locations of the service providers funding may be expanded. within a service area, particularly a service area that is large in size, the settlement needs of the immigrants may not be completely addressed. • The process is considered open as the • This process will be more costly to administer opportunity is made available on the BC Bid for both the internal and external website. stakeholders. The costs will be higher for those service providers who are qualified and then proceed to participate in the second stage - RFP. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 35 October 2006
  • 38. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Advantages Disadvantages • The process is fair as the same information is provided to all interested parties. • As the evaluation is conducted in accordance with the criteria outlined in the RFP and proponents are able to learn how they compared to the Division’s expectations, the process is considered transparent. • The process is accountable as the best qualified proponent is selected and the use of performance monitoring ensures the service levels meet or exceed program and performance standards. • As long as the administration of the process is in accordance to the laws of tendering, the legal implications would be negligible. Six out of the thirty-three respondents selected this alternative as their preferred competitive selection process in the External Stakeholders’ Questionnaire. iii. Two Envelope RFQ to establish a List of Qualified Service Providers-RFP (“Two Envelope RFQ List”) The last of the two stage procurement process is the establishment of a list of qualified service providers through a two envelope RFQ. CC Purchasing, taking into consideration the unique requirements of the settlement and language services sector, developed a process which includes a step for encouraging qualified service providers to collaborate. Recognizing competition is a nearly- insurmountable roadblock to which the service providers must overcome to submit a collaborative proposal, this new process provides an opportunity for collaboration without enforcing it. This alternative is similar to the RFQ-RFP process; however it expedites the process by having respondents submit their qualifications in the first envelope and their proposal in the second envelope. That is, the Division would open the first envelope to assess whether a respondent is qualified, once a respondent has been deemed qualified the second envelope would be opened. However, before opening the second envelope, the Division would provide qualified service providers in a particular service area the opportunity to submit a collaborative proposal. If the qualified service providers are unable to develop a collaborative proposal, which is inclusive of all qualified service providers for the particular service area, during the allotted time, the second envelope would be opened, evaluated, and Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 36 October 2006
  • 39. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review contract award based on rank. The second unique feature of this alternative is that qualified service providers would remain on the list for the remainder of the Two-Envelope RFQ List term. Being on the list, these qualified service providers would be invited to submit proposals for future requirements. This list would be updated annually or at a frequency the Division would like to add or delete qualified service providers. The process is dependent on the terms and conditions outlined in the RFQ. For example, in situations where this is only one qualified service provider, the Division may reserve the right to enter into contract negotiations. In situations where there is no qualified service provider, the Division may reserve the right to build capacity. As long as the Division identifies how it plans to award contracts and under what circumstances and administers the established list in accordance with the RFQ, the Division is in compliance with the laws of tendering. By making the opportunity available on the BC Bid website, in conjunction with its administration plans for the list, the Division complies with the Government’s Core Policy and Procedures for use of a RFQ process. The advantages and disadvantages of the Two Envelope RFQ List are: Advantages Disadvantages • This alternative includes a step in the process • Initially erode continuity of service for to allow qualified service providers to submit a clients if the existing service providers are collaborative proposal. not selected. • Long term contract could establish continuity • As a new process, it may take longer to of service for clients. implement as assistance from Procurement Governance Office and Legal Services Branch will be required. • If a collaborative proposal is received, the • Like the RFP only process, without the settlement needs of the immigrants may be ability to select locations of the service addressed and the ability to select locations providers within a service area, particularly within a services area is not required. a service area that is large in size, the settlement needs of the immigrants may not be completely addressed. • As the process is open to all interested parties, the range of service providers eligible for funding may be expanded. • The process is considered open as the opportunity is made available on the BC Bid website. • The process is fair as the same information is provided to all interested parties. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 37 October 2006
  • 40. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Advantages Disadvantages • As the evaluation is conducted in accordance with the criteria outlined in the RFQ and respondents are able to learn how they compared to the Division’s expectations, the process is considered transparent. • The process is accountable as the best qualified proponent is selected and the use of performance monitoring ensures the service levels meet or exceed program and performance standards. • As long as the administration of the process is in accordance to the laws of tendering, the legal implications would be negligible. • This alternative provides the added bonus of having all service providers meeting the same performance and program standards across the province. • As the list of qualified suppliers would be established for a long period of time, only new respondents need to be assessed for addition to the list for new requirements. • This process will cost more than a direct award, however it will cost less than a multi- stage procurement process as this process is similar to the one stage RFP process for the Division and the qualified service providers. Since the process will be conducted less frequently, it will cost less in the long run. It will be less costly for the new requirements, as the qualifications requirements will not be included in the new RFP’s evaluation process. This alternative was not one of the proposed procurement processes outlined in the External Stakeholders’ Questionnaire. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 38 October 2006
  • 41. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review c. Three Stage Selection Process The three stage selection process requires the Division to first issue a RFEI to determine whether competition exists in all service areas. The RFEI would indicate that in the event only one service provider expresses an interest in a particular service area, the Division would enter into negotiations with that service provider. It would again stipulate that for a service area with no interested service providers, the Division reserves the right to source and build capacity. For service areas with more than one expression of interest, a RFQ would be issued. The RFQ would qualify the service providers and thereby assist respondents to learning whether they have the organization capacity and capability to meet the performance and program standards of the Division. Only those who are qualified would then be eligible to submit a proposal to the RFP. The following table lists the advantages and disadvantages of this alternative: Advantages Disadvantages • Long term contract could establish continuity • Initially erode continuity of service for clients of service for clients. if the existing service providers are not selected. • As the process is open to all interested • The process does not include a step, within parties, the range of service providers eligible the process, to encourage service providers for funding may be expanded. to collaborate • The process is considered open as the • Like the RFP only process, without the opportunity is made available on the BC Bid ability to select locations of the service website. providers within a service area, particularly a service area that is large in size, the settlement needs of the immigrants may not be completely addressed. • The process is fair as the same information is • Qualifications of service providers may vary provided to all interested parties. between those who are selected through the RFQ-RFP stages of the procurement process from service areas with only one service provider. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 39 October 2006
  • 42. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Advantages Disadvantages • As the evaluation is conducted in accordance • This process adds an additional stage in the with the criteria outlined in the RFP and process and is more costly than the two and proponents are able to learn how they one stage procurement processes. It is compared to the Division’s expectations, the costly to both the Division and the external process is considered transparent. stakeholders, particularly to those who end up participating in all three stages. • The process is accountable as the best • The process does not allow the qualified proponent is selected and the use of establishment of a list of qualified suppliers performance monitoring ensures the service who would compete for new requirements. levels meet or exceed program and Each new requirement would be a new performance standards. procurement process. • This process would reduce the time spent by the service providers in preparing a proposal and evaluation time for the Division for the eight service areas in Stream 3 and the five service areas in Stream 1 where only one proponent submitted a proposal in the 2004 RFP. • As long as the administration of the process is in accordance to the laws of tendering, the legal implications would be negligible. This process was selected by 13 out of the 33 respondents as their preferred option. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 40 October 2006
  • 43. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review d. Summary The following table summarizes the alternatives on whether they meet the nine parameters for the best method for selecting the service providers for settlement and language services: Process Application Direct RFP RFEI – RFQ – Two RFEI – Award RFP RFP Envelope RFQ – Process RFQ List RFP Parameters Continuity of Service Yes Yes Maybe Maybe Maybe Maybe Maybe Encourage Collaboration No No No No No Yes No within the Process Range of Service Providers No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Open No Yes* Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Fair No Maybe Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Transparent No Maybe Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Accountability Maybe Maybe Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Legal Implications Yes N/A No No No No No Cost Low to Low Medium Medium Medium Low to High Medium to High to High Medium * Direct award is considered “open” when a Notice of Intent has been issued on BC Bid. Of the above seven alternatives, the Two Envelope RFQ List is the best and most practical method. Like the RFP, RFEI-RFP, RFQ-RFP, and the three stage procurement process, this process was allocated a value of “maybe” for continuity of services as the initial award may result in some changes from the existing service providers. The Two Envelope RFQ List is the best and most practical method as it is the only alternative which provides a step in the process for the qualified service providers to submit a collaborative proposal and establishes a list of qualified service providers that is longer than the contract period, this in turn reduces the costs associated with the process for both internal and external stakeholders. Also by providing service providers, not on the list of qualified service providers, to response to the RFQ annually for inclusion on the list for future requirements, the process will not be as time-consuming for the Division as issuing a RFQ or RFP every three years. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 41 October 2006
  • 44. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review With collaboration a key issue for service providers of settlement services, this alternative is the best and most practical method for Streams 1, 2, and 1/3. Since collaboration is a nicety but not a necessity for Stream 3, CC Purchasing considered using the RFQ-RFP process for the acquisition of language services. One concern with the separating out Stream 3 is the Division staff and those service providers who provide Stream 3 and another Stream would need to learn two different processes. Another concern is the added costs of conducting a RFQ-RFP process for future language services requirements. By using one process for all Streams, the Division would minimize the administrative costs as well as risk of error resulting from variations between the two processes. According to Table 2 of Appendix E, approximately 45% of the respondents provided services in Stream 3 and another Stream. With these concerns and no additional benefits in using the RFQ-RFP process, CC Purchasing recommends the Two Envelope RFQ List process be used in the acquisition of all settlement and language services. The following part details what the Division should consider when implementing the recommended process and concludes as to the effectiveness of the one-stage RFP process for the acquisition of settlement and language services. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 42 October 2006
  • 45. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Part 3 – Recommendation, Implementation and Conclusion 1. Recommendation Considering the current situation, the procurement environment the Division operates, and the analysis of each of the above seven alternatives, CC Purchasing recommends the two stage procurement process to establish a list of qualified service providers as the best method for acquiring settlement and language services for all of the Streams. The proposed process allows the Division to establish a list of qualified service providers for its current and future requirements while expediting the procurement process for the current requirements by having a second envelope for the proposal. This process also enables the Division to establish and maintain province wide program and performance standards while acquiring settlement and language services through a procurement process that is accountable and within the laws of tendering. It also provides an opportunity for qualified service providers to propose a collaborative approach to service delivery. Since this process is currently not available as a separate procurement process in the Core Policy and Procedures Manual, the Division will need to work with the Procurement Governance Office in conducting a test of this process for circumstances where collaboration within a sector is important before it can be incorporated into the Corporate Policy and Procedures Manual for similar applications. To provide the qualified service providers in a service area, with more than one qualified service provider, the opportunity to submit a collaborative proposal, the Division would provide instructions, in the notification letter advising who are on the list of qualified service providers, to all respondents on how the qualified service providers for a service area would advise the Division of their interest in submitting a collaborative proposal. In order for collaborative process to work, all qualified service providers in the service area must sign off on the response letter. If a response letter is not received within five business days from the notification letter being faxed off, the Division would then open the second envelopes to evaluate and rank the proposals for contract award. For example, if the service area for Victoria had four qualified service providers for language services, the Division would require a response letter signed by all four qualified service providers advising they will be developing a collaborative proposal. The signed response letter must be received by the Division within five business days from the date of the notification letter. If no letter is received, the Division would then proceed with opening the second envelope for each qualified service provider. If a properly executed letter is received, then the Division would hold off opening the second envelope for a period of twenty business days. After the twenty business days have lapsed and no collaborative proposal is received, the Division would then open the second envelopes for each qualified service provider. If a collaborative proposal is received, the second envelopes will remain sealed and the collaborative proposal will be opened and evaluated by the Division. Appendix F provides a flow chart for the Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 43 October 2006
  • 46. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review recommended process for the initial two envelope RFQ stage. To test the feasibility of this process, as a pilot project, CC Purchasing recommends the Division and the Procurement Governance Office consider the following factors in the development of the RFQ and its associated evaluation handbook: a. The term of the list is recommended to be for a period of six years with an option to cancel if qualifications requirements change and an option to extend if the qualifications requirements remain the same. This would allow all stakeholders to focus on service delivery versus responding to a competitive selection process; b. Incorporate a provision to add qualified service providers to the list annually during the term of the list by posting the opportunity on BC Bid. This would allow the Division to meet the Canada-BC Agreement requirement for a broad range of service providers be eligible for funding; c. The contract term for the core requirements is recommended to be for a period of one year with an option to renew for two additional one year periods. According to the External Stakeholders’ Questionnaire results, this was the most frequently proposed contract term. This provision would provide continuity of service to the clients for a period of, up to, three years, from when the initial contract was established; d. Provide a detail process on how the list will be used for both the contract award for core requirements and the RFP process for future requirements. For example, the RFQ could stipulate that the initial contract award will be based on the ranking in the list, geographical needs, and the Division’s budget within the service area. It could also detail the award process by including a provision for allowing the Division to fill service gaps. A provision like the Division will award up to 75% of the Division’s budget based on rank for service areas with more than one qualified service provider or where no collaborative proposal was received, and the remaining budget will be allocated to fill any service gaps that arise due to geographical needs. Such a provision allows the Division the flexibility to ensure all service requirements are being met. The more detailed the provision and adherence to this provision will increase the accountability of this process; e. Include a provision to allow for capacity building for service areas with no qualified service provider; f. To address situations where service providers do not meet the pre-established performance standards, the Division should also stipulate in the RFQ terms and conditions the circumstances under which service providers would be deleted from the list; g. CC Purchasing recommends the Division consider a standard of measure for cost of living allowance be incorporated for subsequent years for all contracts and thereby eliminate the need to negotiate pricing annually; Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 44 October 2006
  • 47. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review h. To ensure external stakeholders have the opportunity to understand the RFQ terms and conditions as well as have the ability to suggest changes to the document, CC Purchasing recommends the Division issue a draft RFQ approximately 6 weeks before the final RFQ is posted. The posting of the draft RFQ should be followed with vendor training to explain the new procurement process, the evaluation process, and how the contracts will be awarded and administered. The Division should also have the first draft of the evaluation handbook completed before the draft RFQ is posted so that most of the concerns, that may be submitted as questions and answers, regarding the evaluation criteria and response requirements have at least been considered if not addressed; i. To address the concerns about professional proposal writers being hired, the Division should develop a response template similar to the one used in their application form. This may not be required in the future when Purchasing Services Branch’s electronic bidding online template becomes available on BC Bid in 2007; j. Issue each Stream RFQ at different times so the Division could develop a group of in-house experts for developing the Two Envelope RFQ List procurement document and evaluating the responses. Having the same individuals evaluate all responses, at minimum the first envelope contents, will also ensure consistency in scoring for all service areas; k. In developing the RFQ and the evaluation handbook, the Division should ensure all preferences are defined in the RFQ and evaluated accordingly. For example, if the Division has a minimum requirement that a respondent has community links whether they exist or are proposed and the Division has a preference for a respondent who has existing community links, this should be stated and the evaluation handbook reflect how the scoring will be assessed. To elaborate, using the above scenario, let us assume the award score is out of ten, the Division may assign six to a respondent who does not having existing community links but proposes a detailed process on how they will establish the links, which is acceptable by the Division. A respondent who has some existing community links and provides details on how they will expand their links may be assigned a score of eight while a respondent with existing community links that meet all of the Division’s requirements would be assessed a score of ten; l. CC Purchasing recommends the Division review the responses to the External Stakeholders’ Questionnaire regards to the evaluation criteria and the cost comparison (questions 13 and 14) to determine if there are other factors that could be considered in assessing the qualifications of service providers and the reasonableness of the points for these evaluation criteria. For example, in Stream 3, the Division could request pricing per class and also request how many classes are acquired for economies of scale to occur. The ranking may be based on one class pricing but the Division may opt at contract award to acquire more classes to get the better pricing; Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 45 October 2006
  • 48. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review m. As part of evaluation process, CC Purchasing recommends the Division include site visits as an evaluation criterion. If timing makes this infeasible for the initial Two Envelope RFQ List, CC Purchasing proposes the site visits be conducted during the term of the initial contract period and incorporated into the evaluation of the RFP for the second contract. That is, site visits will be conducted for all qualified service providers during the first three years of the RFQ List term. As new service providers are qualified, a site visit will be conducted using the same standards. Thus, when the second RFP is issued, the Division will have a score for each qualified service provider for their facilities. In the event a qualified service provider relocates, they must notify the Division so a site visit of the new facility can be conducted; n. CC Purchasing recommends the evaluation process include a conflict of interest declaration letter to formally document any relationships that may exist and what risk mitigation actions were taken in the event an individual who may be in conflict, actual or perceived, is still required to participate in the evaluation; o. CC Purchasing recommends the Division also consider including a conflict of interest declaration by the respondents; and p. As the Two Envelope RFQ List process may require terms and conditions that are not standard to the RFQ template, CC Purchasing recommends the Division obtain legal consultation to ensure the interest of the Government of BC is protected. To minimize legal costs, it is recommended the draft RFQ, before it is made available to the service providers, be provided to in-house legal counsel for their review. By implementing the above suggestions into the RFQ and the evaluation process, the Division will also address the following concerns expressed by external stakeholders in their responses to the External Stakeholders’ Questionnaire. The table also indicates actions taken by the Division and/or some of their findings from the 2004 and 2005 RFPs. Concerns Actions Taken or to be Taken 1. Insufficient consideration of their previous In the development of the 2004 and 2005 RFPs, experience working with the Division; the Division considered whether previous experience working with the Division or whether experience providing the required services should be considered. Recognizing some service providers may not have been aware of the Division requirements before; it was decided previous experience providing the requested service was a requirement while the provision of services to the Division was not. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 46 October 2006
  • 49. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review 2. Need for distinction in the point The 2004 and 2005 RFPs indicated a preference distribution for community links by giving for existing links versus proposed links and points more points for established versus were assigned accordingly. proposed links; CC Purchasing recommends the Division consider a wider spread between the points assigned for established versus proposed. 3. Erosion of collaboration within the sector; After review of the 2004 and 2005 RFPs results and discussions with the Division internal stakeholders and with external stakeholders, CC Purchasing learned some service areas experienced erosion of collaboration while others had formalized their collaborative efforts by submitting collaborative proposals. To encourage collaboration within the sector, CC Purchasing proposes the inclusion of a step in the Two Envelope RFQ List procurement process to allow qualified service providers the opportunity to submit a collaborative proposal before the second envelope is opened. 4. Poor geographic distribution of services As the Division does not restrict eligibility based on resulting in longer travel time for clients; where the client resides, it is difficult to assess whether travel times have increased for clients. For some clients, it may be they prefer a service provider to be located closer to where they work versus where they reside. For situations where a service gap may exist due to the contract award by ranking, CC Purchasing proposes the Division allot 75% of the budget in a service area based on the list rank and the remaining budget be awarded based on list ranking and geographical needs. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 47 October 2006
  • 50. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Concerns Actions Taken or to be Taken 5. Redistribution of resources to submit Whether an application process or a procurement proposals versus delivery of services; process is used to select the best qualified services providers, a redistribution of resources is required by interested services providers. To minimize the redistribution of resources, CC Purchasing proposes the list of qualified service providers be established for 6 years and thereby those service providers who are qualified do not have to respond to a RFQ for the remaining RFQ List term. The qualified service providers will however need to submit a proposal for any future requirements. 6. Service disruption; The initial RFP did result in a service disruption due to the short period between when the notification was made and when the contract was to commence. To allow for a smoother transition in the next selection process, CC Purchasing proposes the Division commence the selection process now in preparation for the new contracts. CC Purchasing also proposes the selection process for the four Streams be separated out instead of being done at the same time. 7. Unfair advantage by bigger organizations In review of the 2004 and 2005 RFPs results, CC using professional proposal writers versus Purchasing learned the bigger organizations with volunteers by smaller organizations; professional proposal writers did not necessarily do as well as the smaller organizations using volunteers. To mitigate for this concern for future requirements, CC Purchasing proposes using a RFQ response template. 8. Distinguish process for organization To establish province-wide performance standards requesting smaller dollar contracts versus and use a multi-year contract, the Division is not those with higher dollar proposals; able to use separate process for organizations requesting smaller dollar contracts versus higher dollar ones. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 48 October 2006
  • 51. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Concerns Actions Taken or to be Taken 9. Propose planned budgets for subsequent As the funding from the Government of Canada years should include forecast inflation and does not have a provision for inflation, to address wage increase; this concern the Division may need to reduce service requirements. CC Purchasing proposes including a provision for a standard of measure for cost of living allowance, but recognizes that this may also result in a reduction in services provision to the clients. 10. Long term planning and leasing of space With Continuing Agreements being phased out, the is difficult; Division tried to address this concern by establishing 12-18 month contracts with two optional years. Based on the feedback received through the External Stakeholders’ Questionnaire, CC Purchasing recommends the Division continue with a one year contract with an option to renew for two additional one year periods. 11. More structured response requirement; To address this concern, CC Purchasing proposes the use of RFQ response and RFP proposal templates. 12. Lack of consideration for investment in This concern is difficult to address as it requires the social capital; and Division to assess who has or has not invested in social capital. With many for-profit organizations contributing funds, goods/services and employee times to support not-for-organizations, the assessment process would be complicated. 13. Regional differences. This concern will be addressed by having a provision for capacity building where no qualified service providers exist, basing contract award based on ranking in the list, geographical needs, and the Division’s budget within a service area, and use of a RFQ response template. The recommended process, meeting the requirements of the laws of tendering, the AIT, and the Core Policy and Procedures Manual, will assist the Division to select the best qualified service providers to provide settlement and language services through a process that is open, fair, transparent and accountable. This process encourages collaboration within the sector while allowing the Division to establish performance and program standards that are consistent across the province. The list of qualified service providers also allows the Division to meet the Canada-BC Agreement’s requirement to have a broad range of service providers eligible for funding. By establishing the list of qualified Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 49 October 2006
  • 52. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review service providers for a term of six years, the Division will minimize internal resources costs as well as those of their service providers. With the implementation of electronic bidding online response template through the BC Bid website, scheduled for 2007, the response and evaluation process will be streamlined and costs associated with the selection process will be reduced further. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 50 October 2006
  • 53. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review 2. Implementation To test the feasibility of this new process, with its first optional year exercised on July 1, 2006, the Division has less than two years to develop a well thought out Two Envelope RFQ and evaluation handbook for each Stream. Using the feedback received from the questionnaire, the Division is able determine when it is best to post the Two Envelope RFQ and for how long. Based on the results from the 2004 RFP, CC Purchasing recommends the Division issue a Two Envelope RFQ for Stream 1/3 followed by Stream 2 and Stream 1 before tackling Stream 3. With some of the service providers providing services in more than one Stream, feedback would be beneficial in developing a Two Envelope RFQ for Stream 3 if majority of the questions/concerns have been previously addressed. Taking into consideration the timing of the RFP posting for the different Streams from the survey results, CC Purchasing proposes the following implementation schedule with the new contracts commencing on July 1, 2007 for Streams 1/3 and 2 and July 1, 2008 for Streams 1 and 3: Stream RFQ Development Period Posting Date Stream 1/3 October – January 2006 February 2007 Stream 2 October – February 2007 March 2007 Stream 1 March – September 2007 October 2007 Stream 3 May – December 2007 January 2008 In the above table, additional time has been allocated to Streams 1 and 3 to allow the Division ample time to address concerns regards to the cost ratios and the number of service areas involved. During the development of the Two Envelope RFQ, a detailed analysis of the responses to the External Stakeholders’ Questionnaire should be conducted to ensure all concerns have been considered and if applicable, addressed in the RFQ terms and conditions. Future requirements would have an invitational RFP being issued to qualified service providers. The proposals will be grouped into service areas and determined if more than one service provider or collaborative proposal has been submitted. If so, the Division would send a notification letter giving the qualified service providers in the service areas, with more than one proposal, an opportunity to collaborate using a process similar to the one used in the initial two envelope RFQ stage. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 51 October 2006
  • 54. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review 3. Conclusion After analyzing the seven alternatives, CC Purchasing determined the one stage RFP process, currently used by the Division, is not the most effective method of acquiring settlement and languages services. This process is better suited for situations where the Division would like to select one service provider for all its requirements versus their current situation of having multiple service providers within multiple service areas. Although the one-stage RFP process appears to be the most effective as a one step process that addresses all requirements, unlike the direct award that addresses only certain circumstances, it also have side effects that reduces its effectiveness. The competitive nature of this process counteracts with this sector’s collaborative efforts to provide the best services to its clients, the new immigrants. The process is also time-consuming as the internal resources must due-diligently evaluate all aspects of a proposal to be fair and transparent, and to provide feedback to a proponent during a debriefing. Although the one-stage RFP process is not the best and practical method for acquiring settlement and language services, a simpler RFP process still has a role in the selection of qualified service providers for future requirements in the recommended two stage procurement process. Working with the Procurement Governance Office, the Division could test out the recommended Two Envelope RFQ List process to determine its feasibility for use as a selection process in circumstances where collaboration within a sector is important. By implementing the Two Envelope RFQ List process in the acquisition of settlement and language services, the Division is able to meet its two diverging requirements. The Two Envelope RFQ List is in compliance with the government’s policy for a process that is open, fair, transparent resulting in contracts that are managed in an accountable manner while adhering to the Division’s principles and values to be collaborative and inclusive with their service partners and with the public they serve. The process also assists the Division in ensuring there is a broad range of service providers eligible for funding within a fixed administrative budget. The drawback of the recommended process is that it is a combination of a RFQ and a RFP process and therefore, is not currently covered in the Government’s Core Policy and Procedures Manual. As a RFQ, it cannot be used to make contract awards for values greater than $100,000 unless the Division can justify the contract award is necessary due to circumstances like a single service provider. As a RFP, the provision to establish a list of qualified service providers for future requirements is unheard of. Thus a change to the Core Policy, to allow contract award of values greater than $100,000 off of a pre-established list, is required if the use of the RFQ List process is to be used for similar applications where collaboration within a sector is important. In conclusion, CC Purchasing would like to commend the Division in its efforts to transition the settlement and language services sector from an input based funding arrangement to an output based Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 52 October 2006
  • 55. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review provision for services agreement. Given its value of collaboration, the Division is willing to listen to the concerns of its service providers and is committed to implementing a process that allows the selection of the best qualified service providers, in order to fulfil its commitment to provide settlement and language services to its clients, as well as being accountable by ensuring the selected contractors meet province wide program and performance standards. With Procurement Governance Office’s willingness to test the new process, in conjunction with additional vendor training and dialogue on the Two Envelope RFQ List process, the Division will continue to improve its procurement practices while meeting the needs of its clients and encouraging opportunities for collaboration to the service providers. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 53 October 2006
  • 56. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Glossary of Terms Term Definitions AIT Means the Agreement on Internal Trade BC Means British Columbia BC Bid Means the electronic tendering service maintained by the Province. BCAMP Refers to the British Columbia Anti-racism and Multiculturalism Program BCSAP Means the British Columbia Settlement Adaptation Program Canada-BC Agreement Means the Agreement for Canada-British Columbia Co-operation on Immigration CC Purchasing Means Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. CIC Means Citizenship and Immigration Canada Continuing Agreement Means a form of contract type used by the Government of BC in circumstances: 1. “services is to be rendered to a third party on behalf of the government; 2. service provider continuity is desirable and the services are to extend for three years or more; and 3. the services are applicable community health and social services” 17 . Multiculturalism/Immigration service is considered one of the services permitted to use a Continuing Agreement. Division Means the Settlement and Multiculturalism Division, Immigration and Multiculturalism Branch, Ministry of Attorney General ELSA Means the English Language Services for Adults ELT Means Enhanced Language Training Government Means the Government of BC LINC Means Language Instructions for Newcomer to Canada MCAWS Means the Ministry of Community, Aboriginal, and Women’s Services Ministry Means the Ministry of Attorney General NOI Means Notice of Intent as described in Part 2, section 2.a.ii. RFEI Means Request for Expressions of Interest. RFP Means Request for Proposals. RFQ Means Request for Qualifications. 17 Government of BC, Office of the Comptroller General, Core Policy and Procedures Manual, Policy 6 – Procurement, Section 6.3.2.d Continuing Services Agreements, http://www.fin.gov.bc.ca/ocg/fmb/manuals/CPM/06_Procurement.htm#1632d , March 2006. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 54 October 2006
  • 57. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Streams Means the BCSAP services and service supports provided by third party service providers to new immigrant and refugees to the province of BC. Two Envelope RFQ List Means the procurement process for establishing a list of qualified suppliers for making contract awards for core requirements and for use with subsequent selection process for future requirements. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 55 October 2006
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  • 59. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Bibliography Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Agreement for Canada-British Columbia Co-operation on Immigration, 2004. Government of BC, Application Form - 2003-04 BC Settlement and Adaptation Program for English Language Services for Adults (ELSA) Stream 3, 2003. Government of BC, Application Form - 2003-04 BC Settlement and Adaptation Program for Information and Support Services (Stream 1), 2003. Government of BC, Ministry of Attorney General, RFP AG:2006-FAD-0001 Review of Use of Request for Proposal Process for Settlement and Language Services, December 1, 2005. Government of BC, Ministry of Attorney General, 2006/07-2008/09 Service Plan, http://www.bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2006/sp/ag/MinistryOverview4.htm, 2006. Government of BC, Ministry of Community, Aboriginal & Women’s Services, RFP-000311 English Language Services for Adults, June 1, 2004. Government of BC, Ministry of Community, Aboriginal & Women’s Services, RFP-000321 Community Bridging Services, June 1, 2004. Government of BC, Ministry of Community, Aboriginal & Women’s Services, RFP-000324 Information and Support Services, May 31, 2004. Government of BC, Ministry of Community, Aboriginal & Women’s Services, RFP-000325 Information, Support and English Language Services for Adults, June 2, 2004. Government of BC, Ministry of Finance, Internal Audit & Advisory Services, Final Report – Contract Baseline Review, March 21, 2003. Government of BC, Ministry of Finance, Internal Audit & Advisory Services, Final Report – Settlement and Multiculturalism – Request for Proposal Project, July 20, 2005. Government of BC, Ministry of Finance, Office of the Comptroller General, Core Policy and Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 57 October 2006
  • 60. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Procedures Manual, http://www.fin.gov.bc.ca/ocg/fmb/manuals/CPM/CPMtoc.htm , March 2006. Government of BC, Ministry of Finance and Corporate Relations, Internal Audit Branch, Report on Community Liaison Division, March 2001. Government of BC, Procurement Services Act, Queen’s Printer, 2004. Government of Manitoba, Manitoba Immigration Facts: 2004 Statistical Report, 2005. Hunter, Dale for ELSA Net, Comparison: Qualification and Direct Award (informed by Performance Measurement) vs. RFP as basis for funding allocation for BCSAP services, February 11, 2005 Margalit, Ita, Phase 1 of Tendering Implementation - The Research Phase Report A & B, July 11, 2003. Riano-Alcala, Pilar in cooperation with Irene Policzer, Open-Solicitation Process Fails to Meet Community Needs: A Report on the State of Settlement Information and Support Services for Northeast and East Vancouver Immigrants, February 2005. Singleton, John, Q.C. and Stephen Berezowskyj, Tendering Law, http://www.singleton.com/publications/construction/Singleton_Berez_TENDERING_LAW.pdf The Internal Trade Secretariat, A Consolidation of the Agreement on Internal Trade, August 2002. Vancouver Coalition of Immigrant Youth Community Bridging Service Providers, Response Letter to the Draft RFP ON-000510 (MCAWS: Community Bridging Services), April 5, 2005. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 58 October 2006
  • 61. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Appendix A – Review Process 1. Terms of Reference The terms of reference for this project are as per the following excerpt from the Request for Proposals # AG:2006-FAD-0001 - For the Review of the Request for Proposal Process for Settlement and Language Services: “The Contractor will conduct a review of the use of the Request for Proposal process currently used by the Settlement and Multiculturalism Division and provide recommendations to its effectiveness as an appropriate solicitation method for procuring Settlement and Language services. At a minimum, the Ministry requires the Contractor to: 1. examine and demonstrate a basic understanding of the Settlement and Language Services provided by the Ministry; 2. review the procurement policies and procurement environment of the Province; as they relate to the procurement of Settlement and Language Services; 3. research the procurement processes used in other Canadian provinces and the Canadian federal government for the procurement of similar immigrant settlement and language services; 4. review the history and trends in contract solicitation/procurement and award methods for Settlement and Language Services over the past 10 years in BC and provide a brief history of key highlights; 5. consult with key stakeholders throughout the Province (both internal and external to the BC provincial government) to determine their views on the use of RFPs and other procurement methods for Settlement and Language Services (travel may be required if the Proponent determines that in-person meetings with stakeholders is part of their proposed service delivery); 6. review and consider the legal and practical (including cost) implications of adopting procurement methods for Settlement and Language Services that could be an alternative to an RFP, or that change the existing RFP processes; 7. identify potential options to the current RFP process for Settlement and Language Services, including analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of each; 8. based on the collected stakeholder information and review data, provide a determination on Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 59 October 2006
  • 62. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review what the best and most practical methodology would be for acquiring Settlement and Language Services; and 9. based on the collected stakeholder information and review data, provide a determination on what impact, if any, the proposed changes to the Settlement and Language Services would be on the procurement policy and procurement environment of the Province.” 18 2. Research Methodology In conducting this review, CC Purchasing employed primary and/or secondary research methods in the following four stages of the process: a. Document Review, b. Stakeholders’ Consultations, c. Other Jurisdictions’ Consultations, and d. Analysis and Recommendation. Details on the purpose and the methods used for each of the four stages are provided below. a. Document Review The purpose of the document review was to get a good understanding of the role and responsibilities of the Division, the current RFP process, and the changes that transpired during the past ten years in the acquisition of settlement and language services. The document review also provided an opportunity to get an understanding of the environment in which the Division operates by examining the governing purchasing policies for the Government of BC, relevant agreements, reports, and reference documents provided by external stakeholders. Approximately 50% of the project time was focused on this stage which included obtaining and reviewing the vendor training documents, proponents’ meetings transcripts, RFP documents, evaluation records, debriefing notes and some of the proponents’ proposals. b. Stakeholders’ Consultations The purpose of the stakeholders’ consultations was to get a better understanding of the events that occurred which were documented or required confirmation. The discussions also allowed an opportunity to learn about the stakeholders understanding of the procurement tools available and their sense of the appropriateness of the tools application in the selection of service providers. 18 RFP AG:2006-FAD-0001, Review of Use of Request for Proposal Process for Settlement and Language Services, December 1, 2005, Section 4.2.1. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 60 October 2006
  • 63. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review The tools utilized for conducting the stakeholders’ consultations were in-person interview, telephone interview, and an email questionnaire. With a small number of internal stakeholders, CC Purchasing decided to conduct all internal stakeholders’ consultations through in-person interviews. With approximately one hundred external stakeholders, and given this review’s objective to obtain input from as many stakeholders as possible, it was decided to utilize three different types of consultation tools: in-person interviews, telephone interviews, and email questionnaires. The list of in-person and telephone interviewees was generated through a random selection which was conducted with the assistance of the Ministry staff. First, twenty external stakeholders were selected. Then, out of the twenty, five were randomly selected for the in-person interviews and the remaining fifteen were to be interviewed by telephone. Based on the in-person and telephone interviews, a questionnaire was developed for distribution to all external stakeholders. The outcome of this random selection method proved to be objective and fair, as the selected stakeholders for in- person and telephone interviews were well represented, eleven out of the twenty were successful proponents (including both new and previous contractors), four were unsuccessful proponents who were previous contractors, and five were unsuccessful new proponents. c. Other Jurisdictions’ Consultations To appreciate the difference amongst the jurisdictions across Canada; using the statistical data in Table 1, below, CC Purchasing and the Ministry agreed to the investigation of the procurement processes used by the three provinces with the highest influx of new immigrants: With a possibility that not all provinces would be willing to participate in the review, it was decided to contact the Governments of Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec, and the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”). With the Governments of Quebec, Manitoba, and British Columbia being the only three provinces with arrangements with the Government of Canada where the provincial bodies are responsible for the selection of third party service providers for the settlement and language services, special effort was taken by CC Purchasing to obtain information from the Governments of Quebec and Manitoba. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 61 October 2006
  • 64. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Table 1: Immigration Levels for the Top Five Provinces 19 Number of Immigrants Province 2002 2003 2004 2005 Ontario 133,641 119,741 125,110 140,497 Quebec 37,627 39,551 44,239 43,408 British Columbia 34,000 35,228 37,020 44,734 Alberta 14,729 15,830 16,469 19,333 Manitoba 4,621 6,492 7,427 8,089 Following the methodology proposed for external stakeholders’ consultation, CC Purchasing conducted an in-person interview with the Government of Alberta, telephone interviews with the Citizenship Immigration Canada Ontario (“CIC Ontario”) and the Government of Manitoba. Information regards to the Government of Ontario’s selection process for service providers of settlement and languages services was obtained through their website and by e-mail correspondence. Details on the selection processes used by the Government of Ontario, the Government of Alberta, the Government of Manitoba, and the CIC - Ontario are provided under Part 1, section 2.a.iii. – Settlement and Language Services in Other Jurisdictions. d. Analysis and Recommendation With an understanding of the settlement and language services in BC, the external and internal environment it operates within and how it differs from other jurisdictions, CC Purchasing identified the requirement and the evaluation criteria for assessing the alternatives and then developed the recommendation for this report in Parts 2 and 3. 19 This table was created using statistics from the Government of Manitoba, Manitoba Immigration Facts: 2004 Statistical Report, 2005, Page 8 and the Government of Alberta, Human Resources and Employment, Chart B – Selected Provincial Immigration Agreements, 2005. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 62 October 2006
  • 65. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Appendix B – Overview of the Division For readers unfamiliar with the Settlement and Multiculturalism Division of the Government of British Columbia, this appendix outlines the role and responsibilities of this Division and creates a foundation for the report on the best and practical method for the acquisition of settlement and language services. The Settlement and Multiculturalism Division (“Division), Multiculturalism and Immigration Branch, Ministry of Attorney General is responsible for the provision of settlement and language services for immigrants and refugees in the province of British Columbia. The Division’s mission is to meet the settlement needs of immigrants and refugees, and promote multiculturalism and anti-racism through leadership and funded initiatives. Its goals are: 1. Strong communities that recognize and value cultural diversity; 2. Immigrants and refugees that have settled and adapted within society; 3. Community partners and leaders that are engaged with the Division; and 4. Equitable access to funded programs, services and opportunity for all British Columbians. To meet its mission and goals, the Division is organized into four units : 1. Programs and Regional Operations Unit , 2. Performance Design and Evaluation Unit , 3. Program Integration and Stakeholder Relations Unit , and 4. Anti-racism and Multiculturalism Unit . The four units administer the Division’s two key programs, the B.C. Settlement and Adaptation Program (“BCSAP”) and the B.C. Anti-racism and Multiculturalism Program (“BCAMP”). Since the RFP Process review is limited to the BCSAP, more details on this program are provided below. The primary goal for BCSAP is to support the successful settlement and adaptation of new immigrants and refugees to the province. The Division oversees the planning, funding, implementation and management of BCSAP with most of its funding being provided by the federal government under the terms of the Agreement for Canada - B.C. Cooperation on Immigration. To assist newcomers in adapting to Canadian society, the Division contracts with third-party service providers and works with communities on anti-racism and multiculturalism initiatives. BCSAP is delivered through the following five “streams” of service and service supports: STREAM 1 - INFORMATION AND SUPPORT SERVICES Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 63 October 2006
  • 66. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review The services included in this stream are initial needs assessments; orientation to and information about community and government services and systems, and Canadian norms; and referral to services. These services are provided in most cases by settlement workers employed by third party service providers contracted to provide these services and are often available in the first language of the newcomer. STREAM 2 - COMMUNITY BRIDGING SERVICES This stream matches immigrant and refugee newcomers, which includes youth/adult individuals or families, with volunteers from the host society to assist the newcomers to better understand Canadian life and culture, develop friendships and a sense of connectedness, and learn to access services in the community. The host volunteers will also benefit from these friendships and learn more about immigrants and immigration. STREAM 3 - ENGLISH LANGUAGE SERVICES FOR ADULTS (ELSA) Stream 3 provides English as a second language instruction to adult immigrant newcomers to assist them with their settlement and adaptation to Canadian society. In order to reduce barriers to access, many of the third party service providers also provide free on-site child minding for dependent pre-school aged children of ELSA learners. STREAM 1/3 BLENDED - INFORMATION, SUPPORT & ELSA Stream 1/3 Blended provides multiple-barriered immigrant and refugee newcomers with the support services of Stream 1, while at the same time providing them with English language instruction. STREAM 4 SECTORAL SUPPORT AND DELIVERY ASSISTANCE Sectoral support is for the enhancement of settlement services delivery through the establishment and maintenance of effective and supportive networks and a professional workforce within the immigrant-serving sector. Delivery assistance aims at the improvement of settlement services through the development of new tools, methodologies and service delivery models. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 64 October 2006
  • 67. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Appendix C – 2004 and 2005 RFP Results Description Stream 1 Stream 2 Stream 3 Stream 4 # of service areas 16 2 26 N/A Anticipated # of Contracts 40-50 20-25 50-60 10 Actual # of Contracts 27 17 44 5 # of Contractors 24 16 34 5 Anticipated Budget for $3.9 Million $892,800 $14.0 Million $336,000 2005/06 $23.5K- Contract $ range $7.3K - $637K $14K - $225K $21K-$2.68mil $121K # of Contracts under 16 14 14 3 $100K # of Contracts over $200K 6 1 20 0 Year 2004 2005 2004 2005 2004 2005 2004 2005 # of Proposals 54 16 29 5 121 16 10 N/A # of Proponents 45 15 25 5 78 11 8 N/A # of Contracts 19 7 12 4 37 3 5 N/A To meet client needs, direct awards were made in services areas Kootenays (Stream 1), Penticton (Stream 2), Campbell River, Vernon, Duncan and Quesnel (the four remaining areas were for Stream 3). The Division currently has a total of 93 contracts across the 4 Streams and 50 different contractors. Eight of these contractors are providing services in Streams 1, 2 and 3. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 65 October 2006
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  • 69. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Appendix D – External Stakeholders’ Questionnaire A. Background Information Respondent Name: Click here and insert your name Phone Number: Click here and insert # including area code Organization Name: Click here and insert the org. name Email Address: Click here and insert your email address a. Stream 1 – Information and Support Services Click on the yellow box and mark a “X” in one of the yes/no fields and b. Stream 2 – Community Bridging Services indicate the year or “both” in the third field for each stream: c. Stream 3 – English Language Services for Adults d. Stream 1/3 Blended – Information, Support and English Language Services Yes No 2004, 2005 or both for Adults Yes No 2004, 2005 or both Yes No 2004, 2005 or both Yes No 2004, 2005 or both Are you a current BCSAP contractor? Yes No If yes, for what streams are you a contractor? Click here. Indicate the streams you are providing services for. In 2004, the Settlement and Multiculturalism Division (SAM Division) issued province wide RFPs for Streams 1, 2, 3 and 1/3 Blended. Subsequently, in May 2005, the SAM Division conducted a smaller RFP process to allocate funding remaining from the first process. During the second process, draft RFPs were posted for input from external stakeholders before the final RFPs were issued Taking into consideration the RFP process changes implemented by the SAM Division between the first and second process, the following questions have been developed to seek input from external stakeholders. The questions are separated into four categories: Use of the RFP Process, Alternates, RFP Process Improvements, and Concerns and Suggestions. The first section deals with whether the RFP process should be used for settlement and language services, Alternates is seeking suggestions on how to select the best qualified service providers without using a competitive selection process, the third section seeks input for process improvements if a competitive selection process is to be used, and the final section seeks input on concerns that may have not be addressed by the questionnaire. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 67 October 2006
  • 70. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Question Response Use of RFP Process Mark one of the following with a “X”: 1. Should the Government of BC (Government) use RFPs for For all requirements For some requirements settlement and language services? Never Indicate stream #s using the guide provided above under 2. If the Government should use it for some requirements, for what Background Information. streams should the RFP process be used? And under what circumstances, should the RFP process be used? Please elaborate under what circumstances the RFP process should be used. 3. If you answered question # 1 with RFP processes should never Please elaborate why a RFP process should never be used. be used, please elaborate why not. Mark one of the following with a “X”: Significant positive impact Some positive impact 4. What level of impact do you feel the Government’s use of RFPs No impact has had on your organization, its services and/or its ability to collaborate with other service providers, either positive or Some negative impact negative? Significant negative impact If the use of RFPs has had some or a significant impact, please elaborate on what this impact has been. Alternate Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 68 October 2006
  • 71. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Question Response 5. Do you have any suggestions on an alternate process, to the RFP process, the Government could use to select service Please describe the process being proposed as an alternate to providers for settlement and language services while being the RFP process open, fair, transparent and accountable? Please list and elaborate on the advantages and disadvantages 6. What are the advantages and disadvantages to the process you of the process you are suggesting as an alternate to the RFP are suggesting? process. RFP Process Improvements Mark one of the following months with a “X”: January February March April 7. When do you think is the best time to issue a RFP? If you May June July August submitted proposals on more than one stream, does the best time for issuing a RFP change? If so, indicate which month for Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec. each stream. If RFP issue month is different depending on the stream, please indicate the month the RFP should be issued for each stream. 8. Do you think the closing date should be 6 weeks from the date Indicate the number of weeks the RFP should be open. weeks the RFP is issued? Or should it be shorter or longer? 9. How much notification do you require to implement a new Indicate the number of weeks you require to start a program. program upon contract award? weeks Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 69 October 2006
  • 72. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Question Response 10. How much notification do you require to discontinue a program Indicate the number of weeks you require to cancel a program. upon contract cancellation? weeks 11. What is a reasonable contract term for settlement and language services? The 2004 RFPs resulted in contracts expiring on Indicate a reasonable contract term and whether the term is a June 30, 2006 with an option to renew for two additional one fixed period or includes optional periods. For example, the year periods. Should this period be shorter or longer? Please initial contract term should be for one (1) year with an option to elaborate and provide suggestions as to what would be a renew for two (2) additional one (1) year periods for a possible reasonable contract term. contract term of three (3) years. 12. To make the process more transparent, do you think the RFP should provide guidance on how much information is required and if there is a preference for a particular type of information? For example, would it be more helpful if the RFP requires a 1 to Mark the following with a “X”: 3 year or greater business plan that the RFP indicates that the Yes No business plan is to be summarized into approximately 10 pages in length and there is a preference for business plans that are 5 years or longer? Suggestions: Do you have any suggestions that would make the process more transparent? Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 70 October 2006
  • 73. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Question Response 13. What criteria should the Government use to select the best qualified services providers for settlement and language Other criteria to be considered are: services? The following are the criteria currently being used: Indicate the evaluation criteria that should be used to select the a. Organization Capacity – which includes governance and best qualified service providers. financial condition, organization and staff experience, connection to the community, data management and reporting; b. Approach to Proposed Services – which includes planning service delivery, service location and facility, service delivery, childcare provision (Stream 3 only), service quality plan; and c. Cost to Proposed Services – The cost varied depending on the streams: i. Stream 1 – cost per service hour = total annual cost over total # of service hours provided in the year ii. Stream 2 – cost per service unit = total annual costs over total number of volunteers hosts and newcomer clients matches and weighted based on volunteer hosts to newcomer client ratio iii. Stream 3 – cost per student contact hour = total annualized proposal cost/total weighted # of student contact hours iv. Stream 1/3 Blended – participant cost per hour = the proposal cost over annual hours times class size Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 71 October 2006
  • 74. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Question Response Reasonable (mark one of the following with a “X”): 14. Was the comparison of the cost ratio, described in question Yes No 13, reasonable? Are there any other ways the cost per proposed services should be available. Please identify the streams that you view as being reasonable. If not reasonable, provide alternate cost ratios: Please indicate which streams you are suggesting the cost ratio is to be used for. 15. The RFPs’ evaluation criteria had the following point Reasonable (mark one of the following with a “X”): allocation: 30 points for organization capacity, 50 points for Yes No the approach to proposed services, and 20 points for cost. Is the point allocation reasonable? If not, what do you think is a If no, provide a more suitable point allocation: more suitable allocation of points? 16. Should a site visit be part of the evaluation? How many Mark one of the following with a “X”: points do you think should be allocated for the site visit? Yes No What do you think should be evaluated during the site visit? How many points should be allocated for the site visit? Indicate # of points Points What do you think should be evaluated during the site visit? Site visit evaluation criteria Comments/suggestions Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 72 October 2006
  • 75. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Question Response 17. In the event the RFP process is determined to be suitable for Rank the following, where “1” is the highest preferred process: settlement and language services, should the Government use a one, two or three stage procurement process, as One Stage Procurement Process (RFP) illustrated below? One stage: The 2004 RFPs is an example of a one stage Two Stage Procurement Process (Option 1) procurement process. Two stage (Option 1): The first option for a two stage Two Stage Procurement Process (Option 2) procurement process is to use a Request for Expression of Interest (RFEI) followed by a Request for Proposals (RFP). Three Stage Procurement Process Two stage (Option 2): A second option of a two stage process would be to use a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) Comments/suggestions followed by a RFP. Three stage procurement process: In this process, the Government would first issue a RFEI to assess whether a competitive selection process is required by requesting potential service providers to submit a letter stating their interest. If there are two or more interested parties in a service area, the Government would then issue a RFQ to select qualified service providers, using the criterion organization capacity. Once qualified service providers are selected, these service providers would then be invited to a RFP. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 73 October 2006
  • 76. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Question Response 18. In one of our interviews, a suggestion was made that the Mark one of the following with a “X”: qualified service providers be given the time to collaborate Yes No and propose one proposal to the Government. In discussion with other interviewees, a comment was made that this may Please elaborate as to why you think the Government should or result in a more adversarial situation should one or more of shouldn't provide an opportunity to collaborate. the qualified service providers not want to collaborate. Do you think the Government should provide the qualified service providers an opportunity to collaborate and submit one proposal representing all the qualified services providers in a service area before a RFP is issued? 19. In the 2004 RFPs, the Government did not reserve the right Mark one of the following with a “X”: to negotiate. For service areas where the next highest Yes No qualified service provider’s proposal exceeded the remaining budget, the Government had to issue a subsequent RFP to If no, should the Government invite the remaining qualified obtain the remaining service requirements. Should the service providers to a subsequent RFP or open it up to all Government reserve the right to negotiate with the next service providers? Mark one of the following with a “X”: highest qualified service provider to obtain the remaining service requirements? Invitational RFP Open RFP to All Comments/suggestions Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 74 October 2006
  • 77. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Question Response 20. The Government is currently issuing draft RFPs before Mark one of the following with a “X”: issuing the final RFP for settlement and language service Yes No requirements. If the Government decides to proceed with a two or three stage competitive selection process, do you Comments/suggestions think they should still issue a draft RFQ and/or RFP before the final RFQ/RFP is posted? 21. Do you think the Government should be alternating Mark one of the following with a “X”: competitive selection processes between the Streams? That Yes No is, should they conduct a competitive selection process in year 1 for Stream 3 and then conduct a process in year 2 for Comments/suggestions Streams 1, 2 and 1 & 3? Concerns or Suggestions Thank you for taking the time to participate in the BCSAP Use of the RFP Process Review. Please return the completed questionnaire via e-mail to sal@ccpurchasing.com or via fax to (250)412-7243. Sincerely, Anna Becker and Angie Chen Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 75 October 2006
  • 78. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Appendix E – Survey Results To obtain a better understanding of this sector’s services and the service providers’ experiences during the 2004 and 2005 RFP process, CC Purchasing conducted 5 in-person interviews and 15 telephone interviews. Through these interviews, CC Purchasing got a sense of the external stakeholders’ concerns regards to the procurement process and what differentiates the settlement and language services from other government service requirements. The interviews also assisted in the development of a questionnaire for distribution to all external stakeholders who expressed an interest in providing services to newcomers to BC during the 2004 and 2005 RFP. Appendix D is a copy of the questionnaire that was distributed to 99 external stakeholders via e-mail. A response rate of 33.3% was achieved with 33 out of the 99 external stakeholders submitting a completed questionnaire. Of the 33 respondents, 31 were current BCSAP contractors of which 2 were Stream 4 contractors. Details on the respondents contractual relationship with the Division is portrayed below in Table 2. A summary of the responses from the survey are provided in Table 3. Table 2: Streams for which Respondents were BCSAP Contractors Stream Number of Respondents with Contracts Stream 1 4 Stream 2 3 Stream 3 9 Stream 1/3 0 Streams 1 and 2 1 Streams 1 and 3 3 Streams 1, 2, and 3 6 Streams 1, 2 and 1/3 2 Streams 3 and 1/3 1 Total 29 Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 76 October 2006
  • 79. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Table 3: Survey Summary* Item # Question Responses 1 Should the Government of BC (Government) use RFPs Never = 12, for settlement and language services? All = 2, Some = 19, No response = 1 2 If the Government should use it for some requirements, N/A =10, for what streams should the RFP process be used? And No response = 1, under what circumstances, should the RFP process be Stream 3 = 10 with conditions mostly to do with new service used? requirements or cancellation of existing due to performance issues, contracts or extensions valued over $30K, Stream 2 = 2 after all other options have been exhausted, All streams = 7: some indicated for all requirements, others indicate for situations where performance was an issue, new services or increases are over 25%, None = 3, One suggested qualifying instead of RFP. 3 If you answered question # 1 with RFP processes Response = 16, the response concerns range from the RFP not should never be used, please elaborate why not. taking into consideration community connections, previous experiences, regional differences, and detriment to the collaboration efforts of the sector 4 What level of impact do you feel the Government’s use Significant positive impact = 3, of RFPs has had on your organization, its services Some positive impact = 2, and/or its ability to collaborate with other service No impact = 0, providers, either positive or negative? Some negative impact = 8, Significant negative impact = 17, Some positive & some negative impact = 2, No response on impact using rating = 1 but provided comment on impact 5 Do you have any suggestions on an alternate process, Suggestions ranged from direct awards, use of calls for to the RFP process, the Government could use to expression of interest, RFQ, involvement of the service select service providers for settlement and language providers in establishing evaluation criteria, service provider services while being open, fair, transparent and representatives being involved in the assessments, block accountable? funding, and contribution agreements Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 77 October 2006
  • 80. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Item # Question Responses 6 What are the advantages and disadvantages to the Recognition that new service providers may not be able to process you are suggesting? contracts, advantages included continuity of services, and time and resources not wasted on proposal writing 7 When do you think is the best time to issue a RFP? If Stream 1: Jan = 3, Feb = 4, Mar = 1, April = 4, May = 3, June = you submitted proposals on more than one stream, 1, Sept = 1, Oct = 4, Nov = 1 does the best time for issuing a RFP change? If so, indicate which month for each stream. Stream 2: Jan = 2, Feb = 2, Mar = 2, Apr = 1, May = 1, Jun = 2, July = 1, Sept = 1, Oct = 3, Nov = 1 Stream 3: Jan =6, Feb = 5, Mar = 3, Apr=4, May = 4, July = 2, Sept = 1, Oct = 2, Nov = 1, Dec = 1 Stream 1/3: Jan = 1, Feb = 2, and Oct = 2. 8 Do you think the closing date should be 6 weeks from 4 weeks = 1, the date the RFP is issued? Or should it be shorter or 6 weeks = 11, longer? 6-8 weeks = 1, 8 weeks = 9, 8-10 weeks = 1, 10 weeks = 5, 12 weeks = 1, Depends = 3, N/A = 1 9 How much notification do you require to implement a new program upon contract award? 2 weeks = 1, 4 weeks = 3, 5 weeks = 1, 4-6 weeks = 1, 6 weeks = 3, 6-8 weeks = 1, 8 weeks = 9, 10-12 weeks = 1 , 12 weeks = 3, range of 12 to 18 weeks (1 month = 4 weeks) = 5, Depends = 5 Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 78 October 2006
  • 81. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Item # Question Responses 10 2 & 2.5 weeks = 2, 4-6 weeks = 1, 6-8 & 8 weeks = 5, 10 weeks = 1, How much notification do you require to discontinue a 12 weeks = 6, program upon contract cancellation? 12-16 weeks = 3, 16 & 17 weeks = 3, 12-24 weeks = 1, 24 to 28 weeks (6 months) = 7, Depends = 4 11 1 + 1 + 1 = 7, What is a reasonable contract term for settlement and 2 + 2 = 2, language services? The 2004 RFPs resulted in 3 + 1 + 1 = 3, contracts expiring on June 30, 2006 with an option to 3 = 2, renew for two additional one year periods. Should this 5 = 2, period be shorter or longer? Please elaborate and Perpetual was suggested 4 times but the initial contract period provide suggestions as to what would be a reasonable varied between 1.5, 3, 3+3, and no initial period. contract term. Other variations included 2 + 1 + 1, 3 + 2 + 2, 1 + 2 + 1, etc. 12 To make the process more transparent, do you think Yes = 30, the RFP should provide guidance on how much No = 1, information is required and if there is a preference for a No response = 2 particular type of information? 13 More emphasis on previous experience and performance, What criteria should the Government use to select the community consensus, regional differences, and cultural best qualified services providers for settlement and sensitivity language services? 14 Yes = 15, Was the comparison of cost ratio, described in question No = 17, 13, reasonable? Are there any other ways the cost per No response = 2 proposed services should be evaluated? 15 The RFPs’ evaluation criteria had the following point Yes = 13, allocation: 30 points for organization capacity, 50 points No = 17, for the approach to proposed services, and 20 points No response/comments = 3 Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 79 October 2006
  • 82. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Item # Question Responses for cost. Is the point allocation reasonable? If not, what do you think is a more suitable allocation of points? 16 Yes = 24, No = 7, No response/comments only = 2 Points range: Should a site visit be part of the evaluation? How many 0 pts = 5, points do you think should be allocated for the site visit? 5 pts = 1, What do you think should be evaluated during the site 5-10 pts = 1, visit? 10 pts = 6, 10-15 pts = 1, 15 pts = 2, 20 pts = 6, 25 pts = 1, 50 pts = 1 17 One stage = 5, 2 stage option 1 = 2, In the event the RFP process is determined to be 2 stage option 2 = 6, suitable for settlement and language services, should 3 stage = 13, the Government use a one, two or three stage No response = 1, procurement process, as illustrated below? Did not pick = 5 # 1 wasn’t one of the 4 choices = 1 18 In one of our interviews, a suggestion was made that the qualified service providers be given the time to collaborate and propose one proposal to the Government. In discussion with other interviewees, a Yes = 15, comment was made that this may result in a more No = 11 , adversarial situation should one or more of the qualified Maybe = 2, service providers not want to collaborate. Do you think No response/comments = 5 the Government should provide the qualified service providers an opportunity to collaborate and submit one proposal representing all the qualified services providers in a service area before a RFP is issued? Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 80 October 2006
  • 83. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Item # Question Responses 19 In the 2004 RFPs, the Government did not reserve the right to negotiate. For service areas where the next highest qualified service provider’s proposal exceeded Yes= 28, the remaining budget, the Government had to issue a No = 1, subsequent RFP to obtain the remaining service Yes and No = 1, requirements. Should the Government reserve the right No response = 3 to negotiate with the next highest qualified service provider to obtain the remaining service requirements? 20 The Government is currently issuing draft RFPs before issuing the final RFP for settlement and language Yes = 22, service requirements. If the Government decides to No = 7, proceed with a two or three stage competitive selection Maybe = 1, process, do you think they should still issue a draft RFQ No response/comments = 3 and/or RFP before the final RFQ/RFP is posted? 21 Do you think the Government should be alternating Yes = 15, competitive selection processes between the Streams? No = 6, That is, should they conduct a competitive selection Maybe =1, process in year 1 for Stream 3 and then conduct a No response/comments = 11 process in year 2 for Streams 1, 2 and 1 & 3? 22 Are there concerns or suggestions you would like to Range from continue to use competitive bidding processes, express that have not been identified or addressed in process is time consuming to process is not suitable for this this questionnaire? If yes, please elaborate on your sector. concerns or suggestions. Concerned about: 1. Insufficient consideration of their previous experience working with the Division; 2. Need for distinction in the point distribution for community links by giving more points for established versus proposed links; 3. Erosion of collaboration within the sector; 4. Poor geographic distribution of services resulting in longer travel time for clients; Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 81 October 2006
  • 84. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Item # Question Responses 5. Redistribution of resources to submit proposals versus delivery of services; 6. Service disruption; 7. Unfair advantage by bigger organizations to high professional proposal writers versus use of volunteers by smaller organizations; 8. Distinguish process for organization requesting smaller dollar contracts versus those with higher dollar proposals; 9. Propose planned budgets for subsequent years which forecast inflation and wage increase; 10. Long term planning and leasing of space is difficult; 11. More structured response requirement; 12. Consideration for investment in social capital 13. Regional differences. *In some cases the respondents provided more than one response, depending on the Streams, so not all questions have a total number of responses equally 33. Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 82 October 2006
  • 85. BC Ministry of Attorney General RFP Process Review Appendix F – Two Envelope RFQ List Process Flow Chart Capital City Purchasing Services Inc. 83 October 2006