The Government of British Columbia is open for business. Each year, the province spends over $6 billion procuring a wide variety of goods and services for British Columbians and their communities; many of which come from small and medium enterprises.
A new procurement strategy is being introduced to streamline the way government buys these goods and services, making it easier for business to access opportunities. As part of this process, the province’s 20-year-old BC Bid system is being replaced with a modernized structure and some major changes to the overall procurement strategy. These changes include:
- Streamlining processes to make access to opportunities more transparent and less cumbersome by replacing the 20-year-old BC Bid system.
- Designing clear, simple-to-use processes targeted to the size of the procurement.
- Introducing a “procurement concierge” program, to act as a matchmaker between government buyers and suppliers of innovative products.
- Creating opportunities for start-ups to co-develop solutions with buyers, and ensuring, wherever possible, local supply lines are utilized.
- Ensuring B.C. suppliers are preferred, while still meeting trade obligations.
- Creating a new analysis process for large strategic contracts to improve opportunity for businesses of all sizes.
- Introducing new social and environmental purchasing guidelines to realize added benefits for British Columbians.
- Implementing a centralized tool to manage pre-qualified contractor lists.
How it Affects Small and Medium Businesses
The Government of British Columbia’s new approach to procurement promises several advantages for BC-based businesses.
The new BC Bid will allow suppliers to set up a profile, create a dashboard and review past submissions.
The new streamlined, automated process will make submitting bids for government procurements much quicker.
The process to pre-qualify suppliers will be more transparent; ministry-qualified supplier lists will be centrally accessible to government buyers.
A new Procurement Concierge Program will issue opportunities using BC Bid. This new process is designed to fairly evaluate ideas that are new to government. A short response is required for first-round evaluations, with only the highest scoring supplier required to provide further details as part of a negotiated process.
Government-to-market engagement will have a new framework to guide impartial sharing of market intelligence before procurements are run.
The Year Ahead
An important focus in the first year will be modernization of the BC Bid platform. It will take at least one year to implement the new technology across government. Over that time, government entities will work with both buyers and suppliers to configure intuitive templates, help buyers build libraries of evaluation criteria, and help suppliers create profiles that will cut down on the time it takes to submit a proposal.