By Korie Marshall

The Village of Valemount’s updated and expanded procurement policy, approved a recent Council meeting, is now in effect.

A staff report to Council noted the previous policy from 2003 did not address a binding trade agreement between BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan. It also did not give spending thresholds that would trigger “procurement procedures,” such as advertising for bids; and it did not adequately address issues of “spending authority, competition, documentation
and exemptions.”

The new policy, according to a report from Deputy Corporate Officer Braden Hutchins and Director of Finance Lori McNee, addresses all these issues and others.

The old policy stated the Village would annually update a bidder’s list, and that if a project was likely to exceed $10,000, the Village could prepare an invitation to tender which would be faxed to “each relevant bidder on the bidder’s list.” It also defined a “local” contractor as someone who resides in or has their business office within the municipality, and stated that a local contractor would be allowed a price preference of up to 10 per cent. Both of these policies are contrary to recent legislation.

The New West Partnership Trade Agreement came into effect in 2010 and is now fully implemented. It is binding on government and public entities in BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan. The trade agreement defines certain price thresholds for projects that must be fairly advertised and awarded, according to principles of transparency and non-discrimination. This means governments are not allowed to give preferential treatment to their residents. It also requires that tenders and requests be advertised on a provincial website.

The Village’s new policy for purchasing sets out seven principles that are intended to “guide performance, ensure applicable legislation is met, ensure maximum value is realized, and ensuring the process is properly documented,” as the Village is subject to the freedom of information legislation.

“It is critical that the Village not only follow its own policy but is able to demonstrate compliance,” says the new policy.

The village will now follow four recommended methods of purchase:

Informal quotes: for low dollar value or commodity type items; employees will typically get quotes from multiple sources.

Request for Quote (RFQ): for an item that is a known and identifiable product, and expected to be over $10,000; the Village will issue and manage a formal quote process.

Request for Proposal (RFP): if the project is expected to be over $25,000, and the Village needs help deciding how to complete the project; the Village will issue and manage a formal proposal process.

Request for Tender (RFT): if the project is expected to be over $25,000 and the specifications or required results are known; the Village will issue and manage a formal tendering process.

The policy also identifies some exceptions such as emergency purchases and when goods or services are only provided by one available supplier, and identifies the justification required in these circumstances. The new policy includes a schedule of signing authorities and of recommended methods of purchase for various types of goods and services.