Completing the Request for Proposal
After the contract strategy has been determined, the next task is to finalize the other elements of the Request for Proposal (RFP).
The first step is to choose the work stream that best meets the project's requirements. Remember that Professional Audit and Support Services (PASS) suppliers are pre-qualified in work streams where they have demonstrated experience and qualified personnel.
Next, the department's security personnel should be consulted to determine the level of security needed to carry out the work. Their recommendation will ensure that the work requirements are not too strict (limiting the number of potential bidders) or too lenient (compromising the sensitivity of the information). The three most commonly used levels of security are:
1. Enhanced reliability
This security clearance will meet the needs of most projects. Enhanced reliability covers the following types of protected information:
Unauthorized release could cause injury, such as embarrassment or a loss of privacy.
Unauthorized release could cause serious injury, such as prejudicial treatment, or loss of reputation or competitive edge.
Unauthorized release could cause extremely serious injury, such as a significant financial loss or loss of life.
While enhanced reliability pertains to individuals and organizations, a secret clearance is pertinent to the national level. The unauthorized release of secret information could cause serious injury to the national interest.
3. Top Secret
Information classified as top secret refers to information whose unauthorized release could cause extremely serious injury to the national interest.
Security, Controlled Goods and Insurance
Most requirements under PASS only need the Security Requirement clause and possibly the Controlled Goods clause. Insurance will likely be required for high-dollar value, complex requirements.
PASS has five sets of pre-approved security clauses and associated Security Requirements Check Lists (SRCLs). In addition, there are other clauses and SRCLs for controlled goods. Occasionally, none of the standard SRCLs may be suitable, and it may be necessary to create a new SCRL.
When selecting an SCRL, the project authority should consult the department's security personnel. For more information on the pre-approved clauses and the associated SRCLs, consult Annex C of the PASS RFP template.
Types of certifications
To be awarded a contract, bidders can be asked to provide certifications in the following areas:
- Employment equity – Certifications are required in two situations: the bidder employs 25 to 200 employees, or the bidder employs more than 200 employees and conducts contracts valued over $200,000.
- Official Languages – Bidders will be asked to attest to the ability of their employees to work in one or both of the official languages of Canada.
- Former public servants – To comply with Treasury Board policies and directives on contracting, bidders who are former public servants must provide proof that the contract will not affect their pensions or any associated lump-sum payments.
- Canadian content certification – This certification ensures Canadian content in the procurement of professional services valued over $25 thousand but under $76.5 thousand. Services valued over $76.5 thousand must respect international trade agreements, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement.
- Certification of education and experience – Proof of the education and experience of all personnel who will be working on the project must be provided.
- Rate or price certification – The bidder must certify that all prices will be as specified.
Not all certifications are required for every RFP. To determine which certifications are appropriate, consult the PASS RFP, Part 5.
There are two options for requesting certifications from bidders:
- Option 1 – Certifications must be provided after bid evaluation, but before contract award.
- Option 2 – Certifications must accompany the bid in order for the bid to be considered for evaluation.
If your needs are urgent, select Option 2 to ensure that the winning bidder has the appropriate certifications.
For contracts under $100,000
The project authority can request bids from a minimum of three suppliers pre-qualified under PASS. The department can choose which three suppliers receive the RFP.
For contracts over $100,000 and less than the department's Treasury Board delegated authority
The RFP needs to be sent to all PASS suppliers.
For contracts over the department's Treasury Board delegated authority
Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) becomes the contracting agent for the department. In consultation with the project authority, PWGSC will develop and manage the RFP.
Once sent to PASS suppliers, a RFP must remain open for a predetermined period, depending on the complexity of the requirements:
- Low complexity requirements: 10 calendar days
- The requirement is for a self-contained team that can complete predefined areas of the audit engagement phase.
- The RFP covers the supply of resources only. It does not require a work plan, an approach or a methodology, and the evaluation is generally based on mandatory requirements and lowest cost.
- Medium complexity requirements: 14 calendar days
- The requirement is for a large team of resources to provide a solution.
- While this solution is more comprehensive than a low complexity requirement, it is not a total solution to a contracting need; the project authority may continue to perform planning or contribute to the work execution.
- High complexity requirements: 18 calendar days
- The requirement is for a total solution, from scoping, planning, conducting and reporting on an audit to providing quality assurance of the work conducted.
- A large team composed of resources, bidders or both is invited to propose a solution to a complex problem, requirement or objectives, and detailed bids.
Forensic audits: For urgent requirements, the minimum bidding periods specified above can be reduced to one day with the approval of PWGSC.
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