Procurement Protest Protocol

The protocol sets out the process for suppliers to formally challenge a procurement process through a procurement procedure.

Suppliers will use the procurement protest procedure to raise concerns with a tender issued by BCNET and the use of a direct award. This protocol should be read in conjunction with BCNET’s Procurement Policy.

Scope of the Procurement Protest Process

The procurement protest process set out in this protocol is meant to provide an opportunity for suppliers to voice complaints and to assist BCNET in identifying any gaps or shortcomings in its procurement policies and practices. The procurement protest process is intended to help resolve issues that involve no significant factual or interpretive disagreement between the parties. It is not intended to resolve fundamental disputes over facts or legal rights and obligations or to establish a mechanism to adjudicate such disputes.

Restrictions

A supplier may follow the procurement protest process to challenge either a competitive process or a non-competitive procurement. A supplier that brings formal legal proceedings against BCNET is precluded from availing itself of the procurement protest procedure.

Prerequisite

Before a bidder can formally challenge a competitive procurement process, they are required to first participate in a debriefing.

Questions

Any questions regarding this protocol should be directed to procurement@bc.net.

Procurement Protest Process
  1. The protocol is available for all suppliers 
  2. A supplier that wishes to challenge a procurement process is required to submit a written request for a review to procurement@bc.net within thirty (30) days of notification of award. A request for a review must contain the following:
    • A clear statement as to which process the supplier wishes to challenge; and
    • A clear explanation of the supplier’s concerns with the process, including specifics as to why it disagrees with the process or outcome.
       
  3. BCNET will send an acknowledgement of receipt of the supplier’s concerns within 5 business days of receipt of the supplier’s request to review. The acknowledgement will set out a date within 20 business days of receipt of the supplier’s concerns by which BCNET anticipates contacting the supplier with a response.
     
  4. Once a supplier’s request review has been received, it will be reviewed by the working group in charge of the procurement process. e) The procurement officer, with the input of the working group, will prepare an internal memorandum outlining the background and history of the procurement process at issue.
     
  5. Once finalized, the memorandum, together with the supplier’s correspondents, will be submitted to the BCNET’s procurement review committee which should include the head of Chief Procurement Officer, legal services and the working group that was responsible for the procurement process.
     
  6. The procurement review committee will convene a meeting and, as a group, review the correspondence outlining the supplier’s concerns, together with the internal memorandum setting out details of the procurement process.
     
  7. If necessary, the procurement review committee may invite the supplier to give an in-person or teleconference presentation of its concerns. It must be communicated to the supplier in the invitation to same that the purpose of the meeting is solely for the supplier to present their concerns and that no decisions will be made during the session.
     
  8. If the procurement review committee is satisfied that the supplier’s challenge does not have merit, BCNET will provide written notification to the supplier indicating that it has reviewed the supplier’s concerns and has found that the process was conducted properly.
     
  9. If the procurement review committee finds that the supplier’s concerns have some merit, it should seek further legal advice and, as appropriate, make any subsequent correspondence on a “with prejudice” basis. Any further action will depend on the nature of the supplier’s concerns.
     
  10. If the supplier is not satisfied with the result of the procurement dispute process, then the supplier may consider its other options, including challenges under the applicable trade treaties or other legal avenues of challenge.