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Calgary crunches data on new procurement approach

Russell Hixson
Calgary crunches data on new procurement approach
SHUTTERSTOCK — B.C. construction groups gave their thoughts during the consultation process for budget 2023. Their concerns included prompt payment, resilient infrastructure and rising risks.

After more than a year in place, Calgary’s Benefit Driven Procurement (BDP) approach is revealing the impact contractors have on the community.

The policy was operationalized in May 2021 as a way for the city to leverage its dollars by encouraging suppliers to help and support the community. The city has been including what is known as the BDP questionnaire into Requests for Proposals. This questionnaire is about five per cent of the evaluation total and influences which supplier receives the contract.


Creating a policy

In 2018, the questionnaire was developed in collaboration with the BDP Advisory Task Force and an external consultant specializing in social procurement.

The questionnaire asks about things like diverse suppliers and socially inclusive supply chains, economic opportunity and integration for underrepresented groups, apprenticeships and paid work experience opportunities, and living wage policy.

Officials stated partnering with suppliers who score high on these questionnaires, such as Chandos and Commercial Truck Equipment, helps the city to continue providing services at the same high quality and value, while identifying businesses who are also committed to improving the community at large.


Crunching the data

From Sept. 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022, 79 per cent of the procurement opportunities posted to market included the questionnaire as part of their supplier selection criteria.

Out of that 79 per cent, only two per cent of suppliers did not indicate they were doing any social procurement initiatives.

During this time, the city awarded $228 million of contracted value through the procurements that included the questionnaire.

Here is a breakdown of the approximate contracted value that have been allocated to the targeted outcome areas of the questionnaire:

  • 69 per cent awarded to small- or medium-sized enterprises.
  • 80 per cent had apprenticeships (only applies to construction contracts), of which 46 per cent targeted
  • underrepresented groups.
  • 84 per cent have work experience opportunities, of which 56 per cent target underrepresented groups.
  • 86 per cent have committed to paying a living wage, of which 15 per cent have a living wage policy.
  • 62 per cent have shown advancement for the integration of underrepresented groups in the workforce in the last three years.

According to the city, the questionnaire responses have shown a steady increase in the number of potential suppliers who indicate they are advancing or planning to advance their work in the social targeted areas that are identified in the questionnaire.


Improving the process

“The Benefit Driven Procurement Program has increased awareness within our supplier base to work on social aspects of procurement,” said Amit Patil, director of supply management. “The city’s expectation to look beyond the cost of procurement has been well received by industry.”

The city intends to continuously improve the program including creating a digital version of the questionnaire, developing a list of underrepresented potential suppliers for the city to use, identifying high-impact categories of potential spending and establishing additional benchmarks and performance measures to track and demonstrate the impact BDP is having.

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