Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

What purchasing process will the BCEM use to establish contracts for goods and services on behalf of school districts?

The BCEM will use the approach outlined below for collaborative procurement projects:


1. Goods or services for project consideration are identified through surveys, end user suggestions or other methods.


2. A project team is formed comprised of subject matter experts representing all districts from all regions of the province.


3. The project team will work together to define the potential opportunity and identify the data requirements for further research.


4. Purchase history data or other information related to the goods or services to be researched are requested from school districts.


5. The project team analyzes the aggregate data to determine whether there is potential benefit in a collaborative contract and whether to initiate a competitive bid process.   If yes, the project proceeds to the next step.  If no, the project will stop at this stage.


6. The project team develops competitive bid documentation defining the opportunity for potential suppliers including detailed specifications, service requirements and regional considerations.  The team also develops an evaluation process that will be used to assess the bids received.


7. The BCEM forwards a memo to school districts inviting them to participate in the competitive bid process.  The agreement to participate does not obligate the school district to commit to the final contract.


8. The competitive bid is publicly posted inviting suppliers to submit proposals in response.  The competitive bid opportunity is defined based on the potential contract volumes of participating school districts with details of how the proposal will be impacted if lower final contract volumes are committed.


9. The project team evaluates bid submissions and determines the lead bid(s) for further negotiations.  The contents of the lead bid(s) relevant to each district is considered the framework agreement.  Depending on the complexity of the opportunity the contract could be split provincially, regionally or awarded to multiple vendors.  The project team will determine the optimum deal structure based on the results of the bid evaluation process. 


10. The details of the framework agreement(s) relevant to each school district are communicated asking districts to assess the offer and decide whether they will participate in the final contract.


11. Final contract negotiations proceed between the project team and the supplier(s) based on committed contract volumes.   If there are any negative impacts to the framework agreement through final negotiations, the revised details will be sent to school districts and they will be provided with the opportunity to review their participation commitment.


12.  Details of the final agreement between the BCEM and the supplier(s) are communicated to participating school districts.  The agreement between the BCEM and each supplier will be a Master Agreement detailing the pricing, service terms and duration of the contract.  School districts will then enter into direct agreements with the supplier(s) for their requirements under the Master Agreement.


13. The BCEM assists districts and the supplier(s) with contract implementation and maintenance throughout the term of the contract.


14. The project team assesses the results of the project to identify potential improvements for future projects.  The results of the assessment are then integrated into the next BCEM project in a continuous improvement cycle. 


15. The project team initiates the next project in their area of subject matter expertise or is disbanded if there are no additional projects.

What is the BC Education Marketplace (BCEM)?

The BC Education Marketplace (BCEM), established July 2015, is a purchasing consortium for K-12 schools. BCEM leverages the purchasing volumes of the sector to establish cost-effective products and services contracts for school districts.

How will the BCEM determine which commodities to procure collaboratively?

The BCEM will work with districts to research and identify which commodities are the best candidates for collaborative procurement. Purchase history and information will be collected from districts to determine which commodities offer the best opportunity to generate cost savings for the sector. The Procurement Steering Committee is responsible for reviewing and approving all projects.

How will BCEM provide value to school districts?

Contracts under this initiative will be established with input from subject matter experts, deliver cost savings at the school district budget level and reduce the requirement for local staff to negotiate purchase agreements for each school district.

Is the BCEM going to purchase and warehouse goods on behalf of all school districts?

No, the BCEM will not purchase or warehouse goods on behalf of all school districts. School districts will be responsible for placing their orders through provincial standing offers, obtaining their deliveries directly from contracted vendors and processing their own invoices.

What does my school district do if there is an existing agreement with a purchasing group (e.g. EDCO, ERAC)?

School districts should continue to honor their existing agreement with their current vendor. As existing agreements expire, BCEM will work with districts and our shared services partners to determine our procurement strategy for the sector for the relevant goods or services. 

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