November 22, 2016
Strengthening Our Economic Foundation
Minister Introduces New Act Respecting Procurement by Public Bodies
In keeping with commitments set out in The Way Forward: A Vision for Sustainability and Growth in Newfoundland and Labrador, a new act respecting public bodies will undergo second reading in the House of Assembly today. The Act Respecting Procurement by Public Bodies will help modernize procurement by provincial public bodies by replacing the decades old Public Tender Act with legislation that responds to feedback from public consultations, as well as a 2008 report by Read and Associates that recommended changes.
“A recent Atlantic Provinces Economic Council study noted Provincial Government procurement and capital spending totalled $4 billion combined in 2014, which speaks to the importance of having processes that achieve the best value for dollars spent. Our goal in modernizing the approach used by public bodies to buy goods and services was to shift the focus from just getting the best price to getting the best value. With this new act, we have taken an important step in strengthening the province’s economic foundation.”
- The Honourable Eddie Joyce, Minister of Service NL
The Act Respecting Procurement by Public Bodies will govern the acquisition of goods, services, public works, and leasing of space by government funded bodies in the province, including municipalities, health boards, school boards, academic institutions, crown corporations, and government.
Key enhancements made possible by the new act include increased oversight over a broader range of procurement activity, more transparency in the procurement process, increased consistency in procurement practices, and greater flexibility in how public bodies can proceed with buying what they need. Professional services previously not included in the Public Tender Act will now be subject to greater oversight than before. In addition, the new act will limit the exemptions that previously existed for Nalcor and the Research Development Corporation. Procurement activities by those entities, such as buying office space, supplies, and furnishings, were not within the scope of the legislation before but are now included. Public reporting will be required on remaining exempted activities.
This initiative is one of more than 50 included in The Way Forward: A Vision for Sustainability and Growth in Newfoundland and Labrador, available online at www.gov.nl.ca/pdf/the_way_forward.pdf . The vision guides Provincial Government actions to achieve greater efficiency, strengthen the province’s economic foundation, enhance services, and improve outcomes to promote a healthy and prosperous province.
- An Act Respecting Procurement by Public Bodies will undergo second reading in the House of Assembly today. The act will modernize public procurement with a focus on following best practices and achieving best value for dollars spent.
- Establishing this new act is the first step in modernizing the procurement framework within the province, with departmental reorganization, new policies and regulations, and training activity to be implemented over the course of 2017.
- The Read and Associates report that informed the development of the new act can be found at: www.gpa.gov.nl.ca/publications/procurement_review.pdf
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Media Relations Manager
Overview of Changes to Procurement Legislation
Key enhancements made possible by the new Act Respecting Procurement by Public Bodies include:
- Enhanced oversight and transparency: the Government Purchasing Agency will become the “Public Procurement Agency” to increase focus on its monitoring and compliance role. As part of this, a Chief Procurement Officer role and a Procurement Advisory Council will be established to oversee all public procurement activities across the Province. The Chief Procurement Officer will be selected through the Independent Appointments Commission process, and the advisory council will be comprised of officials from provincial public bodies.
In addition, the purchase of engineering services, architectural services, accounting, land surveying, voice telephone services, most banking services, insurance services, and other services previously not included in the Public Tender Act will now be subject to greater oversight than before.
In the coming months, new regulations and policies will be put in place to make the procurement process more transparent for vendors, and allow public bodies more opportunity to hold suppliers accountable for their performance.
- Opportunity to update the thresholds governing buying activity: Many representatives from public bodies stated in consultations that the current thresholds for requiring open calls for bids are too low, which increases the red tape involved in small scale procurement, and inhibits the ability to buy locally. The new act creates opportunity to respond to these issues through regulatory changes.
- Greater flexibility in the way public bodies purchase what they need: The previous approach was prescriptive in that it encouraged tenders over Requests for Proposals (RFPs). The new act will make it easier to use additional approaches such as RFPs and calls for expressions of interest.
- Increased consistency in procurement practices: With respect to considerations such as the timelines used for procurement process, the sharing of information between buyers and suppliers, and the application of procurement policies, the new act will promote greater consistency in the approach used by all public bodies.
- Limited Exemptions for Nalcor and the Research Development Corporation: The new approach limits the exemptions that previously existed for Nalcor and the Research Development Corporation.
Nalcor’s exemptions are now limited to the following situations:
- Procurement involving energy and energy products;
- Strategic partnerships, joint ventures, or equity investments with other public bodies or private sector entities; and
- To meet the requirements of a benefits arrangement.
These exemptions are necessary, and responsive to the nature of work carried out by these entities.
2016 11 22 11:40 a.m.