Business to Government in Canada | Supplier Recourse – Part 1

Supplier Recourse – Government of Canada | Part 1

From time to time, small and medium enterprises may feel that they have not been fairly treated by a government department or agency regarding a particular procurement. The federal government maintains the Office of the Procurement Ombudsman with the following mandate:
to ensure the fairness, openness and transparency of government procurement by reviewing the practices of departments for acquiring materiel and services to assess their fairness, openness and transparency and making any appropriate recommendations to the relevant department for the improvement of those practices
the Office of the Procurement Ombudsman can review any complaint about the award of a contract for the acquisition of goods below the value of $25,000 and services below the value of $100,000; it can review any complaint respecting the administration of a contract for the acquisition of materiel or services by a department, regardless of dollar value; and it can ensure that an alternative dispute resolution process is provided, if both parties agree to participate
It is not necessarily made clear to suppliers that such an organization exists, or that it has the powers it does. Should suppliers know of its existence, there is likely a general feeling that regardless of the mandate of the Office, little will change subsequent to an investigation. Further, the complaining supplier may be under the impression that it will be treated badly in future procurement activities. There may be some truth to both of those impressions, although it would be completely impossible to prove either as true, particularly for such small procurements. Notice that the Office mandate does not extend to reviewing the awarding of contracts over the stated dollar amounts – just to the administration of such contracts. Complaints for the larger dollar value contracts are handled by the Canadian International Trade Tribunal, of which more in the next discussion.
The prevailing approach for suppliers who feel they have been unfairly treated, especially if it is a small contract, or they are busy, or they want the opportunity to try for more business of a similar nature, is simply to keep quiet, and to put more effort into marketing. It would not, however, be appropriate to discourage suppliers from using the mechanisms put in place to assist them, particularly in the area of supplier recourse. The reality is that specific types of commodities are bought by specific buyers. If one of them feels aggrieved or antagonized by a supplier because of a complaint, then it would only be human nature for that procurement officer to accord that supplier less attention the next time a requirement arises for which the supplier is qualified.
The decision on whether or not to use the recourse mechanism should be taken in the light of all theses factors, plus the suppliers’ relationship with the contract authority.
Government Name Services – United States

Business to Government in Canada | Supplier Recourse - Part 1

From time to time, small and medium enterprises may feel that they have not been fairly treated by a government department or agency regarding a particular procurement. The federal government maintains the Office of the Procurement Ombudsman with the following mandate:

To ensure the fairness, openness and transparency of government procurement by reviewing the practices of departments for acquiring materiel and services to assess their fairness, openness and transparency and making any appropriate recommendations to the relevant department for the improvement of those practices the Office of the Procurement Ombudsman can review any complaint about the award of a contract for the acquisition of goods below the value of $25,000 and services below the value of $100,000; it can review any complaint respecting the administration of a contract for the acquisition of materiel or services by a department, regardless of dollar value; and it can ensure that an alternative dispute resolution process is provided, if both parties agree to participate.

It is not necessarily made clear to suppliers that such an organization exists, or that it has the powers it does. Should suppliers know of its existence, there is likely a general feeling that regardless of the mandate of the Office, little will change subsequent to an investigation. Further, the complaining supplier may be under the impression that it will be treated badly in future procurement activities. There may be some truth to both of those impressions, although it would be completely impossible to prove either as true, particularly for such small procurements. Notice that the Office mandate does not extend to reviewing the awarding of contracts over the stated dollar amounts – just to the administration of such contracts. Complaints for the larger dollar value contracts are handled by the Canadian International Trade Tribunal, of which more in the next discussion.

The prevailing approach for suppliers who feel they have been unfairly treated, especially if it is a small contract, or they are busy, or they want the opportunity to try for more business of a similar nature, is simply to keep quiet, and to put more effort into marketing. It would not, however, be appropriate to discourage suppliers from using the mechanisms put in place to assist them, particularly in the area of supplier recourse. The reality is that specific types of commodities are bought by specific buyers. If one of them feels aggrieved or antagonized by a supplier because of a complaint, then it would only be human nature for that procurement officer to accord that supplier less attention the next time a requirement arises for which the supplier is qualified.

The decision on whether or not to use the recourse mechanism should be taken in the light of all theses factors, plus the suppliers’ relationship with the contract authority.

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