Review of the Use of Request for Proposals Process
                        For
        Settlement and Language Services
  ...
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BC Ministry of Attorney General                                    RFP Process Review


Executive Summary
The purpose of t...
BC Ministry of Attorney General                                    RFP Process Review

administrative budget. In addition ...
BC Ministry of Attorney General                                     RFP Process Review



collaborative efforts to provide...
BC Ministry of Attorney General                              RFP Process Review

commitment to provide settlement and lang...
BC Ministry of Attorney General                                    RFP Process Review


                               Min...
BC Ministry of Attorney General                                    RFP Process Review


the expectation for service provid...
BC Ministry of Attorney General                                   RFP Process Review


services. Given the complexity of t...
BC Ministry of Attorney General                                                                                           ...
BC Ministry of Attorney General                                                                                     RFP Pr...
BC Ministry of Attorney General                RFP Process Review



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Capi...
BC Ministry of Attorney General                                      RFP Process Review


Introduction
In response to seve...
BC Ministry of Attorney General                                   RFP Process Review



The complete terms of reference an...
BC Ministry of Attorney General                                        RFP Process Review


Part 1 – Background3

To under...
BC Ministry of Attorney General                                       RFP Process Review

fill in one application form. Wi...
BC Ministry of Attorney General                                    RFP Process Review

Recognizing that the application pr...
BC Ministry of Attorney General                                       RFP Process Review

contract, governs the manner in ...
BC Ministry of Attorney General                                      RFP Process Review

         cost effectiveness as ke...
BC Ministry of Attorney General                                        RFP Process Review

of Ontario funded 79 agencies w...
BC Ministry of Attorney General                                       RFP Process Review




                             ...
BC Ministry of Attorney General                                     RFP Process Review


               iv. Settlement and...
BC Ministry of Attorney General                                    RFP Process Review



Stream 1/3 Blended is for the pro...
BC Ministry of Attorney General                                      RFP Process Review



During its research, CC Purchas...
BC Ministry of Attorney General                                     RFP Process Review



In addition to the Division’s mi...
BC Ministry of Attorney General                                   RFP Process Review

solicitation document and to treat a...
BC Ministry of Attorney General                                      RFP Process Review


Part 2 – Requirement Identificat...
BC Ministry of Attorney General                                            RFP Process Review
Agreement requires the Gover...
BC Ministry of Attorney General                                     RFP Process Review
process must be accessible by all, ...
BC Ministry of Attorney General                                     RFP Process Review
       2. Alternatives
This section...
BC Ministry of Attorney General                                       RFP Process Review

                  Advantages    ...
BC Ministry of Attorney General                                    RFP Process Review
       ii. Direct Award
Another meth...
BC Ministry of Attorney General                                   RFP Process Review


                  Advantages       ...
BC Ministry of Attorney General                                   RFP Process Review
                   Advantages        ...
BC Ministry of Attorney General                                       RFP Process Review
               i. RFEI – RFP
This...
BC Ministry of Attorney General                                 RFP Process Review


                   Advantages        ...
BC Ministry of Attorney General                                     RFP Process Review


ii. RFQ – RFP
This alternative re...
BC Ministry of Attorney General                                     RFP Process Review


                    Advantages   ...
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  1. 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
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  3. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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

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