Vendor Complaint Review Process

Overview
Links to Ministry VCRPs
Procurement Governance Office VCRP
VCRP Flowchart
VCRP Form
VCRP Policy


Overview

The government Vendor Complaint Review Process (VCRP) provides the vendor community with access to a consistent, fair and timely process to address complaints concerning government's procurement processes. It also helps to identify ways to make continuous improvements in those processes.

Ministries and Shared Services BC (SSBC) are responsible for undertaking procurement processes, and are primarily responsible under the VCRP for reviewing vendor complaints about their procurement processes. Each ministry and SSBC has its own complaint review process that is consistent with the VCRP framework, but may contain modifications specific to their structure and operations.

The Procurement Governance Office (PGO), as a governance body independent of the procuring entities, provides overall management of the VCRP and reviews complaints not satisfactorily concluded by ministries and SSBC.

The VCRP is limited to issues of procurement policy and procedures for direct government. It is not intended to limit access to other complaint review or dispute resolution processes. No compensation will be awarded to a complainant under the VCRP.

Links to Ministry VCRPs

Procurement Governance Office VCRP

Procedures for the PGO Vendor Complaint Review Process

The PGO Vendor Complaint Review Process deals with complaints that have not been satisfactorily concluded by the ministry or SSBC. The PGO may, only in exceptional circumstances, consider a complaint that has not been submitted to the ministry/SSBC process.

1. Registering a Complaint

1.1 A complaint must be submitted in writing to the Chief Procurement Officer, PGO by mail, facsimile, or email at the following address:
 

Chief Procurement Officer
Procurement Governance Office
Office of the Comptroller General
Ministry of Finance
P.O. Box 9413 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria BC V8W 9V1
Facsimile: 250 356 6164
Email: ProcurementGovernance@gov.bc.ca

1.2 Complaints concerning a competitive process or a pending or awarded contract may be submitted by a complainant to the PGO at any time during the competitive process, and up to thirty (30) business days after they have received notification from the ministry/SSBC of the final outcome of their complaint review process.

2. Complaint Format and Information Requirements

The complaint must include:
  • name, title, company name, address, e-mail address, fax and telephone numbers of the complainant.

  • the signature of the complainant. Where an email complaint has been received, it will be deemed to have been signed by the originator of the email.

  • competition or contract number.

  • a detailed description of the complaint, the background leading to the complaint, including relevant dates, and actions of involved parties.

  • copies of relevant documents, including the Vendor Complaint Review Form submitted under the ministry/SSBC process.

  • the name of the ministry or SSBC representative contacted to review the complaint originally, and the results of the discussions or correspondence within the procuring entity's vendor complaint review process.

  • request for a review of the complaint.

  • actions/remedies being requested of the Province.

  • information establishing that the person submitting the complaint is a valid complainant as per the definition (section 6.2.1).

  • a statement that no other review process is currently underway for the complaint.

3. Processing the Complaint

3.1 Within fifteen (15) working days of receiving a complaint, the PGO will gather the appropriate competition documents, other correspondence and information related to the ministry/SSBC complaint review process. The PGO may also informally meet with the ministry/SSBC and/or the complainant if the PGO considers it necessary.
3.2

The PGO will consider the merits of the complaint and may, at its discretion, dismiss a complaint on the grounds that:

  • the complainant does not have sufficient interest in the subject matter of the complaint;

  • the complaint is not substantiated; or

  • at the same time as the complaint is received, the complainant has initiated legal action, or has submitted a complaint to the Ombudsman, or has engaged in another review process pertaining to the complaint.
3.3 Where the PGO dismisses a complaint, the Chief Procurement Officer will inform the complainant and the ministry/SSBC against which the complaint was registered and will state the reasons for refusing to undertake a review. A record of the dismissal of the complaint will be retained by the PGO.
3.4

The PGO will consider all the circumstances relevant to the complaint including:

  • the seriousness of any deficiency found in the procurement process; and

  • whether the parties acted in good faith.
3.5 If the complaint has been determined to have merit, possible outcomes include, but are not limited to:
  • PGO to recommend to the ministry or SSBC to acknowledge the validity of the complaint and to undertake a renewed commitment to policy and procedure;

  • PGO to initiate enhanced training for procurement staff;

  • PGO to recommend to the ministry or SSBC to review the ministry or an individual's expense authority (i.e. authority to undertake procurement activity) and adjust as necessary;

  • PGO to initiate enhanced communication/interpretation of procurement policy;

  • PGO to recommend change in ministry or SSBC procurement procedure;

  • PGO to initiate a review, clarification or change of government procurement policy; or

  • PGO to recommend cancellation/amendment of the competition where a serious flaw has been identified.
3.6 Within fifteen (15) working days of determining the facts (as in 3.1 above), the PGO will, after analysing the information, prepare a report and recommendations regarding outcomes.
3.7

The PGO can extend the 30-day time requirements for review and final determination of the outcome when, in its judgement, circumstances require it. Where this occurs, the complainant will be advised, in writing, of the reason for the delay and when they may expect a response.

4.0 Replying to a Complaint

4.1 A report on the vendor complaint, including the outcome and reasons for the outcome, will be made in writing no later than thirty (30) working days after receipt of the complaint by the PGO.
4.2 Copies of the report will be sent to the complainant, the senior official delegated by the Deputy Minister of the ministry/SSBC and/or the purchasing contact in the ministry or SSBC.
4.3 Copies of all reports will be available upon requestInternal Audit and Advisory Services, the Auditor General, or to other officials as authorized by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act or the Auditor General Act.

5.0 Records and Documentation

5.1 The PGO shall ensure that complete documentation and records on each complaint received by the PGO, including a record of all communications with complainants, are maintained in order to allow later verification by participants, auditors or senior officials to determine whether or not the procurement process was carried out in accordance with government procurement policy and that the complaint was submitted and handled in accordance with the VCRP.
5.2

The records on each complaint reviewed by the PGO shall contain a copy of the following:

  • the complaint identifying the complainant's name, address and the nature of the complaint;

  • the competition documents, including the specifications or portions thereof relevant to the complaint;

  • any other documents that are relevant to the complaint, including the bids received, if judged appropriate;

  • a statement setting out the facts, actions and recommendations, and response to the allegations of the complaint; and

  • any additional evidence or information that was necessary to review the complaint.

VCRP Flowchart

VCRP Form

VCRP Policy



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