The purpose of this policy is to establish a clear purchasing accountability framework for the Library enabling the procurement of goods and services as approved through the annual operating budget and replacement reserve plan. The establishment of this policy will enable purchasing efficiencies and benefits to be realized by the Library and ensure the Library meets best purchasing practices.
- This policy applies to all members of the Greater Victoria Public Library who are procuring supplies, goods, equipment, and services for Library activities.
- This policy is limited by British Columbian and Canadian laws governing the sales of goods, competitive bidding, contracts, and other laws of general application; and by generally accepted public sector purchasing policies.
- This policy is limited by the Greater Victoria Public Library's Library Operating Agreement.
1. The Board meets its obligations by establishing purchasing policies and directions as it deems appropriate and by delegating responsibility to the Chief Executive Officer for meeting the purchasing goals of the Library.
2. The Chief Executive Officer shall exercise general supervision and control over procurement of goods and services within the approved limits and policies established by the Board. He/she is authorized to make and issue such administrative procedures as are required to implement the policy, and may delegate, as appropriate, to any other person or persons any part or parts of the duties set out in this policy.
3. The Chief Executive Office may direct or assign negotiations for the purpose of co-operative consortium buying procedures with other municipal or government bodies and agencies as may be deemed advantageous to the Board.
4. The Chief Executive Officer may remove a vendor's name from consideration for contracts under this policy on the basis of poor performance or non-performance on a Library contract.
5. Practices for purchasing supplies, goods, equipment, and services will be established by the Finance Manager, who is accountable to the Chief Executive Officer, based on the Board policy. These practices will be communicated to the Library community and contractors and made available to the Library community through the website.
6. Established purchasing practices will align with the value of the planned purchase, such that a more rigorous process will be established for those purchases that have a higher impact on the Library in areas such as finance, safety or reputation.
7. Established annual operating budgets, approved by the member municipalities by May 1st, and replacement reserve plans are the source of authority for all expenditures.
8. The Library will not incur expenditures in a year which in total exceed the approved annual operating budget. Or, if funds have been approved for one purpose in an approved annual operating budget, use the funds for another purpose unless the funds reallocated comprise less than two percent of the approved annual operating budget. Only emergency expenditures can dictate an additional requisition for funding from the municipalities after May 1 st.
9. The Library will seek to obtain the best value for its purchasing dollar. Factors to be considered will include:
a. Fitness for purpose;
b. Maintenance and running costs over the lifetime of the product;
c. The advantages of buying locally (e.g. shorter delivery times, local servicing, availability of spare parts);
d. Contribution to the achievement of other government policy objectives such as industry development and employment creation;
e. The potential for creating strategic partnerships and cooperative product development;
f. Quality assurance;
h. The capacity of the supplier (e.g. managerial and technical abilities)
i. Environmental considerations;
j. Energy conservation; and
k. Disposal value.
10. The Library will ensure that the purchasing process is impartial, open and encourages competitive offers:
a. Using transparent, open, purchasing processes so that potential contractors and the public can have confidence in the outcomes;
b. Adequately testing the market, whether by open tender or by seeking quotations, whichever process is applicable;
c. Avoiding biased specifications; and
d. Treating all suppliers consistently and equitably.
11. The Library will conduct purchasing activities ethically and in accordance with the all legislation and codes of conduct. In practice, this will mean:
a. Being fully accountable for purchasing practices used and the decisions made;
b. Keeping detailed records for every purchase throughout the purchasing process:
i. For low value purchases, this may include recording quotations and indicating which the successful offer was.
ii. For more complex purchases, records will include information on tenders/quotations called and received, evaluation criteria and weightings, decision-making process, and decisions made and the reasoning behind the decisions;
c. Ensuring that decisions are not influenced by self-interest or personal gain (e.g. buyers must not accept gifts or any other benefits from suppliers);
d. Identifying and dealing with conflicts of interest. Conflicts of interest shall be declared by any Board member or staff member who has private interest in conflict with the public interest;
e. Maintaining confidentiality;
f. Ensuring that all purchasing is undertaken in accordance with legislation or applicable laws (refer to section entitled Legislated References).
12. The Library will seek to enhance opportunities for local business by actively seeking bids from local businesses, particularly those which have previously requested the opportunity to quote. Providing local businesses the opportunity to bid is not the same as giving preference to local business.
13. The Library will ensure that the necessary goods and services are procured with due regard to the natural environment, encouraging vendors to supply goods made by a method resulting in the least damage to the environment and incorporating recycled materials where practicable.
Purchasing Methods and Thresholds
Request for Quotation (RFQ) is defined as a statement of price, terms of sale, and description of goods and services offered by a vendor to a prospective purchaser: a bid. When given in response to an enquiry, it is generally considered a sales offer.
Request for Tender (RFT) involves a more formal form of a quotation (i.e. a tender). An RFT is defined the same as an RFQ and involves a tender that is advertised (i.e. public) and is allocated a specific closing time, date and place of lodgment. The tender process requires opening of all tenders received as specified after the closing of the tender has elapsed.
Less than $5,000
Requirement is straight-forward
Obtain verbal quotations with, if at all possible, at least one sought from a local business. There will be circumstances where there is a competitive environment for goods and services but a competitive analysis is not required. However, it is recommended where a competitive market place exists, to invite competitive offers to obtain value for money responses.
Less than $5,000
Requirement is complex
Verbal or written RFQ
Same as above. The Library may choose to provide the vendor with written specification and request written quotations to be assured that the businesses thoroughly understand the requirement and the same goods and/or services are being evaluated.
Between $5,000 and $25,000
Requirement is straight-forward
A minimum of three (3) written quotations is required with, if at all possible, at least one sought from a local business.
Between $5,000 and $25,000
Requirement is complex and/or the Library is not sure of the market
Written RFQ or RFT
A minimum of three (3) written quotations is required with, if at all possible, at least one sought from a local business. To be sure that the Library has adequately tested the market and receiving value for money, the Library may choose to advertise the RFQ or use a public tender process.
Greater than $25,000
The specification can be clearly defined
At least one tender should, wherever possible, be sought from a local business. The RFT must be broadly advertised, including posting on the Library's website.
Greater than $25,000
The specification can be reasonably well-defined in terms of outcomes, but suppliers are encouraged to present flexible and innovative solutions
Same as above, but as a variety of solutions will be offered, the choice of effective evaluation criteria is of particular importance, as it may not be possible to compare similar bids.
Sole Source Process
1. A sole source is a situation where the specifications of an item(s) limit its purchase to only one known source of supply. A brief statement on a sole source situation, stating the reason(s) for the specifications and why alternatives are not acceptable, is required from the budget authority, and must be defensible. The sole source statement must be signed by the budget holder requesting the goods and/or services before being forwarded to the Purchasing Officer.
2. End users should be aware that although the item may not be tendered to a number of suppliers, the Purchasing Officer may still issue a tender document to the supplier to establish specific contractual requirements that would benefit both the end user and the Library.
3. The Chief Executive Officer and Finance Manager shall be kept apprised of any purchases over the $5,000 threshold in which a non-competitive procurement process was used.
Other Exceptions to Purchasing Methods and Thresholds
1. Non-competitive procurement may be used in the following additional exceptional circumstances:
· When there is a statutory- or market-based monopoly on the item
· When no bids were received in a competitive process
· When the required item is covered by an exclusive right such as a patent, copyright or exclusive license
· When the purchase is already covered by a lease-purchase agreement where payments are partially or totally credited to the purchase
· When it is necessary to ensure compatibility with existing products or to avoid violating warranty/guarantee requirements when service is required
· When the required item is in short supply due to market conditions
· When competitive sourcing for low value procurement would be uneconomical or would not attract bids
· When an urgent procurement is necessary for fulfilling a statutory order issued by a federal or provincial authority, such as an environmental, public health, or workplace safety compliance order
2. A brief statement on the exceptional situation, stating the reason(s) for the specifications and why alternatives are not acceptable, is required from the budget authority, and must be defensible. The statement must be signed by the budget holder requesting the goods and/or services before being forwarded to the Purchasing Officer.
3. As with the sole source process, end users should be aware that although the item may not be tendered to a number of suppliers, the Purchasing Officer may still issue a tender document to the supplier to establish specific contractual requirements that would benefit both the end user and the Library.
4. The Chief Executive Officer and Finance Manager shall be kept apprised of any purchases over the $5,000 threshold in which a non-competitive procurement process was used.
a. General - In general all tender documents shall:
· clearly define the contractual obligations of the parties
· use general conditions within tender documentation that are standard in the industry with appropriate special conditions only where necessary
· provide full details of all supplies and/or services required by the tender document
· provide information known to the Library which may affect the risks in the project
· clearly identify any special conditions or obligations within the tender document which are not normally part of the standard conditions
· specify any supporting information required from suppliers
· identify a person(s) for the provision of additional information
· specify the precise format required of the tender submissions
· specify whether or not alternative submissions and part submissions are acceptable
· specify obligations regarding identification of and relationship with third parties
· where appropriate, consider quality assurance procedures for work and service
· provide guidance to suppliers as to the process of evaluation of the tender submissions, and measurement of performance of the eventual contract
· provide encouragement to suppliers to incorporate innovation, by allowing submission of alternatives, while still satisfying the Library's objectives
· provide tender evaluation criteria that take into consideration assessment to achieve best value for money as specified. Weighting factors where used will be specified in the tender
· ensure compliance with standards/regulatory requirements
· request details as to delivery/completion time
· request warranty provisions in maintenance or actual operation of equipment
· request direct, indirect and operational costs
· request financial capability, technical and managerial capacity to fulfill the requirement
b. Period Term for Tender Document
Where period terms for tender documents are to be established they should not, as a general rule, run to periods in excess of three years unless there is sound value for doing so. The period may be up to 3 years or offered in one or two year segments, with options to extend to a maximum of three years.
2. Changes to Tender Documentation
a. Interpretations shall be made in reply to queries from suppliers only in the form of written addendum. When it becomes necessary to revise, delete, substitute or add to a tender document under call, the Purchasing Officer shall execute the issuance of an addendum.
b. Addenda shall be forwarded to each participating supplier who obtained tender documentation. In certain cases where the addendum requires additional time commitment from the suppliers, the tender closing date may require extension to meet the requirement and will be provided on the addendum.
3. Technical Specifications
a. In general, specifications should be appropriate for the purpose and capable of being readily understood by all prospective suppliers. Care should be taken to avoid unnecessarily restrictive specifications, or specifications which may favour a supplier, particularly when standard products from other suppliers could satisfy the needs.
4. Conditions for Tendering Document Closing
a. All tender documents are to clearly identify the place, date, time and contact for tender document closing. Tender submissions will be accepted in person and via courier. Electronic format, such as facsimile and email, may be accepted, if stated as acceptable on the tender documentation. Tenders conveyed orally will not be considered.
b. Tender submissions received after the specified closing time and date will not be considered unless the supplier provides explicit and conclusive evidence that the tender submission was delivered to the issuing office in time and that under normal circumstances, the tender submission would not have been received late.
c. Any tender submission that is not accompanied by the requirements stated within the tender documentation may be rejected. Any tender submissions in which information is not legible are liable for rejection.
5. Conditions for Tender Submissions
a. Submission of a tender shall be taken to mean that the supplier has obtained all information necessary for its accurate preparation.
b. The Library reserves the right to accept a tender submission for all of the items or for each or any item.
c. Unless otherwise specified by the supplier, tender submissions shall remain valid for a period of ninety (90) days from closing date of the tender document.
d. The supplier may be called upon to supply information additional to that shown in the tender submission. The supplier shall, within the time specified, comply with any such requests.
e. In addition, the Library reserves the right to interview or inspect the premises of any supplier prior to contract or order allocation.
f. All tender submission information and responses to inquiries must be submitted in writing and are to follow the request format as outlined in the tender document. Content of the submission may be incorporated into and be made part of any contract or order between the Library and the supplier.
g. A supplier may submit alternatives if allowed within the tender document. Where an alternative is offered, the supplier shall include a fully detailed description, which allows its technical acceptability, methodology, time and price to be fully assessed, and to state clearly the manner in which it differs from that specified. Separate prices are required for any alternative offers.
h. The tender submission shall include net pricing (less all discounts), including all direct and indirect costs, ensuring the standard of service called for is maintained consistently throughout the contract or order.
i. Taxes shall not be applied to the unit pricing of goods or services in the tender submission.
6. Tender Submission Selection Criteria
a. The following criteria will be taken into account in determining the successful supplier:
- Completeness (basic tender document compliance)
- Conformity with specified requirements
- Price in relation to the tender document
- comparative evaluation based on achieving best value for money
- past performance
- local factors
- total cost of ownership/whole of life cost
- quality including equipment/method to be used
- alternative proposals and innovations where permitted
- environmental factors
- known commitments
- financial capability and technical and managerial capacity
b. Suppliers shall provide sufficient information on the above criteria together with any other information that is available to allow an accurate assessment of their tender submissions.
7. Tender Submission Acceptance
a. The Library shall not be bound to accept the lowest or any tender, and no tender shall be deemed to have been accepted unless and until notice in writing is provided by the Library to the successful supplier in the form of a contract or order.
b. The tender document, any subsequent written amendment, the offer and the notice in writing of acceptance of the offer shall constitute the agreement between the Library and the successful supplier.
c. Tender submission evaluation shall be undertaken by Purchasing Officer and the user department who have the relevant skills and knowledge appropriate to the value and importance of the requirement, and who are free of any conflict of interest which might undermine the objectivity of the assessment.
8. Confidentiality of Tenders
a. Details of tender submissions received are considered confidential. Copies may be provided for internal use by the Library only.
9. Notification of Unsuccessful Suppliers
a. Where written tender submissions have been provided, the unsuccessful suppliers shall be advised by letter as soon as practicable after the contract or order has been awarded.
b. Unsuccessful suppliers may ask the Library to specify the reasons why their tender submissions were unsuccessful, to enable the suppliers to improve competitiveness in future tendering. Information should not however be divulged about the pricing details of the successful suppliers' submission.
10. Pre-Qualification of Suppliers
The Library reserves the right to request suppliers to qualify prior to receiving tendering documents. Once a supplier has qualified, that supplier will be added to the vendor list for that commodity for future tender document submissions. Pre-qualification of suppliers will be left to the discretion of the Purchasing Officer, dependent on practicality. Pre-qualification information for suppliers is available from the Purchasing Officer.
1. Where the purchase order is based on a written quotation or tender, such quotation or tender will form part of the order.
2. Purchase orders will be issued by the Purchasing Officer and shall be required for most purchases of goods and services, including those paid for using an Employee Purchase Card. There will be some exceptions to this requirement, which include, but are not limited to the following:
a. Library materials purchases (refer to item 5 of this section)
b. Training and education expenditures
c. Other allowable expenditures (as defined by the Travel, Education and Other Allowable Expenditures policy)
d. Payroll costs
e. Tax remittances
f. Utilities and telecommunication services
The Purchasing Officer will make the determination of when a Purchase Order is required, in compliance with this policy.
3. Staff can initiate a purchase by completing a Purchase Request Form located on the Intranet. The Purchasing Officer will ensure that such requests comply with the terms of this policy and that proper authorization has been obtained.
4. Where the ongoing regular supply of goods and services from a single source are deemed necessary, a Standing Purchase Order may be issued. Standing Purchase Orders shall be established in accordance with the "Principles" of this policy and reviewed every five (5) years, to ensure compliance with this policy and to ensure that the Library is receiving the best value.
5. The acquisition of "Library Materials" is recognized as a vital and specialized activity, which by its inherent nature requires the establishment of a relationship with vendors and suppliers and agencies on an ongoing basis similar to a Standing Purchase Order basis. Such arrangements shall be established in accordance with the "Principles" of this policy and reviewed every five (5) years, to ensure compliance with this policy and to ensure that the Library is receiving the best value.
1. The conditions of contract are contractual terms which define the obligations and rights of the parties concerned.
2. Contracts shall be in one of two formats:
a. A standardized General Service Agreement (GSA) for services.
b. Based on the standard terms and conditions as set out in the tendering documents. The tender document, any subsequent written amendment, the offer and the notice in writing of acceptance of the offer shall constitute the agreement and form the basis of the final contract between the Library and the successful supplier.
3. Contracts shall be required for all tendered (RFT) purchases and all services.
4. Contracts are optional for purchases involving requests for verbal and written quotations (RFQ), unless they are for services, in which case a General Service Agreement shall be used.
5. Where applicable, the contractor's health and safety policy shall also form part of the contract.
6. Contracts of $50,000 or more shall be reviewed by legal counsel.
7. Contract process shall be reviewed once every three (3) years.
Employee Purchase Cards
The Library offers an Employee Purchase Card program. The Employee Purchase Card Program - Procedures and Responsibilities are attached to this policy (Appendix A). The Procedures may be amended by the Board to allow a higher standard of care to be achieved.
The main purpose of the Employee Purchase Cards is to facilitate arrangement for conferences, professional development and travel expenses, to reduce low value purchase orders, simplify payment of suppliers and improve financial internal control procedures for credit card purchases.
The purchase cards are the property of the Greater Victoria Public Library Board and will be issued jointly in the name of the cardholder and the Library. The cardholder is responsible for all business expenses charged to the cards. The Finance Manager will ensure that card expenditures are monitored on a regular basis and that all expenditures are for legitimate Library business and supported by appropriate documentation. The Employee Purchase Card Program will be independently audited, with a scope and frequency commensurate with the risks posed by the program, and upon recommendation from the auditor. The first audit will be performed after one full year of implementation of the program.
o British Columbia Library Act
o British Columbia Local Government Act
o British Columbia Sale of Goods Act
o Canadian Competitive Bidding Law
o Federal Government Agreement on Internal Trade
o British Columbia Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA)
o British Columbia Social Service Tax Act
o Federal Goods and Services Tax Act
o Canada Customs and Revenue Agency Act
o Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement between British Columbia and Alberta (related to goods procurement with estimated value of $10,000 or more, services procurement with estimated value of $75,000 or more and construction procurement with an estimated value of $100,000 or more)
- Purchase Request Form
A - Employee Purchase Card Program - Procedures and Responsibilities
B - Additional security guidelines for Internet purchases
Employee Purchase Card Program - Procedures and Responsibilities
To facilitate arrangement for conferences, professional development and travel expenses, to reduce low value purchase orders, simplify payment of suppliers and improve financial internal control procedures for credit card purchases.
1. The purchase cards are the property of the Greater Victoria Public Library (GVPL) Board and will be issued jointly in the name of the cardholder and GVPL. The cardholder is responsible for all business expenses charged to GVPL purchase cards. The cardholder's personal credit rating is never affected by activity on the cards. When an employee completes the GVPL Employee Purchase Card Holder Agreement, he/she agrees to use the card for business purposes only.
2. The GVPL Purchase Cards are BMO MasterCard credit cards issued by BMO Financial Group as part of the master umbrella contract with the BC provincial government Shared Services (Ministry of Labour and Citizen's Services, Procurement and Supply Services). The agreement is between BMO and GVPL, but allows for participation in provincial government terms, including purchase rebates and reduced service fees.
3. Some merchant controls and spending limitations will apply as a condition of the agreement with BMO and memorandum of understanding with Shared Services. More information is available from the Purchasing Officer.
Authorized cardholders will be limited to the following:
a. Chief Executive Officer
b. Management Team
c. Executive Assistant
d. Purchasing Officer
e. Information Technology Solutions department
f. Technical Services department
g. Branch Heads
h. Other staff members, on application, and on approval by Finance Manager
Applying for a Card
1. The GVPL Purchase Card is intended to be used for the following purposes:
a. To secure accommodation, travel and registration for conference and workshop attendance by GVPL Board, staff and contractors, as necessary (i.e. program presenters, training seminar presenters, etc.)
b. Other allowable expenses, including meals and hospitality costs (refer to Travel, Education and Other Allowable Expenses policy)
c. Purchase of library materials
d. Purchase of goods and services up to card credit limit (and within established spending limits and authorities)
e. Purchase computer hardware, software and peripherals
2. The card must never be used for personal purchases. Use of the GVPL Purchase Card for personal use may result in cancellation of the card. If personal purchases are charged to the card, the cardholder is obligated to pay GVPL back immediately. Cardholders authorize GVPL to obtain reimbursement of any non-business charges through payroll deduction.
1. Agreements - Upon receiving approval of application for a card and receiving a purchase card, the cardholder will complete the Employee Purchase Card Holder Agreement. The cardholder signs the form to acknowledge receipt of the credit card and his or her responsibilities and obligations to the Library.
4. Documentation - All MasterCard purchases must be documented with original purchase receipts. When ordering by telephone and a receipt is not available, packing slips and shipping documentation should be retained in lieu of a receipt. When ordering on the Internet, a printed copy of the confirmation page and/or receipt is required. The cardholder must maintain a record of transactions and receipts for reconciliation with the monthly MasterCard statement.
Failure to submit a monthly MasterCard statement and expense claim form within the required time period three (3) times within a six (6) month period may result in your purchase card being suspended or cancelled.
8. Surrendering cards - Immediately upon retirement, termination of employment or upon the request of an authorized representative of GVPL, the cardholder will return the card to the Purchasing Officer or Finance Manager. It is the responsibility of the departing employee to ensure that his/her account is settled prior to departure.
Purchasing / Accounts Payable Responsibility
1. The Purchasing Officer reviews all charges to the GVPL MasterCard program on a monthly basis and investigates non-compliant transactions.
2. The CEO or Finance Manager reserves the right to cancel card charging privileges for cardholders in violation of this procedure.
3. Accounts Payable pays the Library's total outstanding MasterCard charges on a monthly basis. Cardholders are never assessed late payment fees.
An independent audit and verification process will be established to monitor and maintain an efficient and effective program, evaluate management controls and review transactions for evidence of fraudulent activity or misuse. The audit will be performed by a third-party, such as Shared Services (BC Ministry of Labour and Citizen's Services, Procurement and Supply Services) or the Library's external auditor, and as arranged by the Finance Manager from time-to-time. The scope and frequency of the audit will be commensurate with the risks posed by the program and upon recommendation by the auditor. The Employee Purchase Card program was expanded in 2008 and the first audit of the expanded program will be performed after one full year of implementation.
Application for Employee Purchase Card
Employee Purchase Card Holder Agreement
Additional security guidelines for Internet purchases
It is recommended that only those transactions with "reputable" companies and over "secure" sites be authorized. "Reputable" is generally defined to mean companies that have been established for some time and that are known to your organisation.
Additional guidelines are as follows:
1. Do not transmit your credit card number unless the locked padlock icon appears on your browser. This icon indicates that the Internet connection relies on security protections that encrypt the information moving between your browser and the merchant's electronic commerce system, which ensures that your credit card information is shielded from prying eyes.
2. When using a security connection, such as Secure Socket Layer (SSL), the Web site address usually will have "https" in the address instead of the usual "http". An icon of a locked padlock will appear in the border of your browser window, indicating that your connection is secure. You can click the locked padlock to verify the identity of the site to which you are connected.
3. You should be aware of the "Pagejacking" or "Spoofing" phenomena. This illegal activity consists of replicating an existing web site to mislead visitors. It consists of stealing the contents of a Web site by copying some of its pages and putting them on a site that appears to be the legitimate site. People are then invited to the illegal site by deceptive means. The problem most typically occurs when clicking site descriptions that result from searches at major search engine sites. It is important that users verify the results of the address search with the actual address of the desired merchant's site, if possible.
4. It is important to know whom you are dealing with. Some key features such as an e-mail address, postal address (not a PO Box) and telephone number will facilitate your communications with suppliers should you need to do so. You should also look for details such as a "Quality Sea" that will describe how the company will protect customer privacy, how well they disclose sales terms, the warranty of the products being purchases, the exchange and/or reimbursement policies and how they handle customer complaints.
5. Buying internationally involves more risk so be extra diligent when dealing with companies outside of Canada. Different laws and standards apply, and it may be difficult to get local authorities to act on a complaint if something goes wrong.
6. If you think you've given credit card information to a fraudulent site, immediately notify the Finance Manager at the Central Branch of GVPL, 735 Broughton Street.