Each year, the Government of British Columbia spends approximately $7 billion procuring goods and services. A new program has been launched that aims to simplify and streamline the procurement process, making it easier for small businesses to get involved.
B.C.’s Procurement Concierge Program allows businesses to pitch cutting edge solutions to government business challenges, prior to the start of the formal bidding process. This system is a departure from traditional, rigid procurement systems that require government buyers to already have potential solutions in mind before issuing a tender. Under the new program, buyers will work with vendors to help ensure the end product meets the needs of both government and British Columbians.
“We’re changing how government does business. Our new concierge program aligns with the demands of today’s marketplace by making it simpler, faster and less costly for companies to work with government,” said Jinny Sims, Minister of Citizens’ Services. “This collaborative approach makes it easier for the Province to access innovative, cutting-edge solutions and services on behalf of British Columbians.”
Modernizing the Bidding Process
The current system used for procurement, BC Bid, is over 20 years old and difficult for businesses to navigate. The Government of British Columbia consulted with over 250 vendor representatives and industry groups from the technology, construction and economic sectors in creating the new procurement strategy.
Minister Sims also announced progress on two key projects to modernize government purchasing during an event with the BC Chamber of Commerce.
CGI has been awarded a contract to replace BC Bid. When completed in 2020, the new system will make the bidding processes more straightforward. Improved search functions will make it easier for vendors to find opportunities in or near their communities.
New social purchasing guidelines have been published for all government ministries directing them to not only consider the value for money aspect, but also whether there are additional benefits for people and communities that can be realized through contracts. When evaluating a proposal, buyers can award points to vendors that propose benefits, such as new job opportunities and employment training for people under-represented in the workforce.