The Government of B.C. is introducing a new procurement strategy that aims to change the way government buys goods and services and make it easier for businesses to access opportunities.
In its June 25 announcement, the provincial government said its modernized approach to procurement will remove barriers for small, medium and Indigenous businesses; promote innovation; increase the focus on social, environmental and economic outcomes for people and communities; and enhance procurement capacity within ministries. The strategy also improves transparency in the Province’s purchasing processes.
The major changes in the strategy 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.
Reaction to the new B.C. procurement strategy varies according to a story in the Journal of Commerce that quotes VRCA President Fiona Famulak.
“I think it’s a good thing. Government, like every sector including our own, is reviewing how it does business in order to optimize use of people, leverage best practices and use technology in order to do more with less,” Famulak said.
“From a construction point of view, when looking at goals one through four in the strategy, we agree that procurement must be underpinned by fair, open transparent business practices.”
British Columbia Construction Association president Chris Atchison also voiced his support for the new strategy in the Journal of Commerce article.
“We’ve needed changes for last decade at least. We’re pleased they’ve taken this on and feel confident they’re paying particular attention to the nuances and needs of procuring construction for province,” Atchison said.
B.C.’s new procurement strategy included input from over 200 vendor representatives and industry groups from the technology, construction and economic sectors, as well as government ministries.
The B.C. government spends over $6 billion annually on goods and services.