Document imaging services

Fairness monitor final report, May 27, 2015

Addendum to final report, January 13, 2016

Submitted to Director, Fairness Monitoring Program

Submitted by Knowles Consultancy Services Inc. and Hill International Inc. in Joint Venture

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Background and introduction

As Fairness Monitor (FM), Knowles Consultancy Services Inc. and Hill International Inc. in Joint Venture (hereafter referred to as the Fairness Monitor) hereby submits its Fairness Monitor Contractor’s Final Report (FM Final Report) pertaining to the competitive procurement process for the Document Imaging Services (DIS) project. This competitive process was undertaken by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) through Letter of Interest (LOI) Solicitation Number EN929-142184/A, LOI Solicitation Number EN929-14184/B and Request for Proposal (RFP) Solicitation Number EN929-14184/C.

Knowles Consultancy Services Inc. and Hill International Inc. in Joint Venture is an independent third party with respect to this activity.

This Final Report covers the activities of the FM chronologically from April 2, 2014 through the Letters of Interest (LOI) Industry Consultation phase, the RFP phase, the evaluation of proposals and the selection of the recommended bidders.

This report includes our attestation of assurance, a summary of the scope and objectives of our assignment, the methodologies applied, and details of our activities, including any relevant findings from the activities undertaken.

Project requirement

The purpose of the DIS project is to satisfy the requirements of the Accounting, Banking and Compensation Branch (ABCB) of PSPC), to obtain the services of multiple contractors to provide complete document imaging services, including: to receive and convert paper and micrographic material, digital and other hard copy records to electronic images; to generate and/or capture identified metadata and index data, mailroom services, and to store and/or provide images and data that will integrate into specified document management systems, business systems or databases for future retrieval and use.

Contracts will be issued as follows: up to three (3) contracts will be issued for the imaging of unclassified documents for amounts over $100,000.00 and outside of the National Capital Region (NCR); up to five (5) contracts for the imaging of up to Protected B documents with the option of Protected B documents with an IT link and the option of Protected B documents with Secret level handling; and up to two (2) contracts for the imaging of up to Secret documents. Bid solicitations will be issued through a process of Task Authorizations (TAs) to the companies holding contracts on an as and when required basis.

Attestation of assurance

The Fairness Monitor (FM) hereby provides the unqualified assurance statement which follows concerning the competitive procurement process for Document Imaging Services (DIS).

It is the professional opinion of the Fairness Monitor that the competitive procurement process for the Document Imaging Services was conducted in a fair, open and transparent manner.

“Fair” is defined as decisions made objectively, free from bias, favouritism or influence and conform to established rules.

“Open” is defined as an activity that is accessible to all potential participants, without unjustified restrictions as to who may participate.

“Transparent” is defined as providing information to the public and interested parties in a timely manner that facilitates public scrutiny.

Note: For all references in this report concerning fairness related comments being provided to project officials, it is confirmed that, as necessary, project officials provided clarification to the FM or took appropriate action to address the comments, and as a result no fairness deficiencies were recorded.

Original signed by
Roger Bridges
President
Knowles Consultancy Services Inc.
FM Contractor’s Representative

Original signed by
Peter Woods
FM Team Leader

Original signed by
Bruce Maynard P. Eng.
FM Specialist

Objectives of the fairness monitor assignment and methodology

The overall objective was to provide independent observation of the process and to submit fairness related comments to project officials for the procurement, as early as possible, so that appropriate action could be taken to address the comments before fairness was impacted. The Director Fairness Monitoring would be advised of any fairness related concerns that were not addressed promptly. At the conclusion of the procurement process an assurance statement as to its fairness would be provided.

To accomplish the objective we undertook the following activities and, where applicable, provided fairness related comments to the Contracting Authority:

  • became familiar with the project governance structure and background information
  • reviewed the LOIs and RFP in draft and final form
  • reviewed all amendments to the LOIs and RFP as well as questions submitted by bidders and answers provided
  • observed the Bidders’ Conference
  • reviewed the procedures to be used for the evaluation of responses and the guidance provided to the evaluation team
  • observed the evaluation of responses to the RFP to ensure that the specified bid evaluation and contractor selection procedures and departmental policy were followed and consistently applied during the evaluation and selection process
  • observed the debriefing of bidders. (This activity will be reported on in an addendum to this report after any debriefings.)

Fairness monitor specific activities and findings

Fairness monitor activities and findings during the letter of interest phase

During the period September 3 to 25, 2014 we reviewed draft versions of the LOI, which included details on the draft RFP and proposed procurement approach, and provided fairness related comments. Appropriate action was taken by project officials. On October 11, 2014 we reviewed an LOI that had been released to buyandsell.gc.ca on October 8, 2014 (Document 1). No fairness related deficiencies were identified. During the period October 11 to November 5, 2014 we reviewed draft and final versions of Amendments 1 through 9 to the LOI including Questions and Answers (Documents 2 through 10) that were released to buyandsell.gc.ca. No fairness deficiencies were identified. On October 21, 2014 we observed an Industry Day consultation meeting during which an overview of the Document Imaging Services project, including the proposed procurement process, was presented to interested companies. No fairness related deficiencies were identified. The LOI closed on November 6, 2014.

On November 27, 2014 we reviewed a second LOI in draft form that was to be issued in order to add One-on-One meetings with interested companies to the Industry Consultation Phase. No fairness deficiencies were identified. The second LOI was released to buyandsell.gc.ca on December 4, 2014 (Document 11). The RFI closed on December 18, 2014. During the period January 5 to 16, 2015, we observed One-on-One industry consultation meetings concerning the proposed procurement approach. Fairness related comments were provided as necessary concerning the One-on-One meetings and appropriate action was taken by project officials.

Fairness monitor activities and findings during the request for proposal phase

We reviewed the final version of the RFP as published on buyandsell.gc.ca (Document 12), bidders’ Questions and draft and final Answers (Qs & As) and draft and final versions of Amendments 1 to 13 (Documents 13 to 29) during the period March 6, 2015 to April 14, 2015, and provided fairness related comments to the Contracting Authority. Appropriate action was taken by project officials. The RFP closed on April 16, 2015.

Fairness monitor activities and findings on the evaluation phase

On March 5, 2015 and April 13, 2015 we reviewed the draft and final versions respectively of the Evaluation Plan Instruction document and provided fairness related comments to the Contracting Authority. Appropriate action was taken. During the period April 22, 2015 to May 14, 2015 we observed the consensus evaluation meetings for the DIS project and provided fairness related comments to the evaluation teams and the Contracting Authority. Appropriate action was taken.

On May 19, 2015 we reviewed the financial evaluation results and the application of the basis of selection. The financial evaluation and basis of selection had been carried out by the Contracting Authority and independently by a second procurement officer. The results obtained were the same. No fairness deficiencies were identified.

Reference documents

The following documents are referenced by number in the attached report. These documents are available through the DIS project office.

Table summary

The following table includes a list of documents referred to in the report such as the Request for Proposal (RFP), amendments, clarification letters, debriefing letters, etc. Each row is numbered, followed by the document title, then a document identifier such as a date or document number.

No. Document Additional information
1 Letter of Interest (LOI) Released to buyandsell.gc.ca October 8, 2014
2 Amendment 1 to LOI Released to buyandsell.gc.ca October 10, 2014
3 Amendment 2 to LOI Released to buyandsell.gc.ca October 16, 2014
4 Amendment 3 to LOI Released to buyandsell.gc.ca October 17, 2014
5 Amendment 4 to LOI Released to buyandsell.gc.ca October 20, 2014
6 Amendment 5 to LOI Released to buyandsell.gc.ca October 22, 2014
7 Amendment 6 to LOI Released to buyandsell.gc.ca October 27, 2014
8 Amendment 7 to LOI Released to buyandsell.gc.ca October 29, 2014
9 Amendment 8 to LOI Released to buyandsell.gc.ca October 30, 2014
10 Amendment 9 to LOI Released to buyandsell.gc.ca November 5, 2014
11 Second LOI Released to buyandsell.gc.ca December 4, 2014
12 RFP Released to buyandsell.gc.ca March 6, 2015
13 Amendment 1 to RFP Released to buyandsell.gc.ca March 16, 2015
14 Amendment 2 to RFP Released to buyandsell.gc.ca March 17, 2015
15 Amendment 3 to RFP Released to buyandsell.gc.ca March 18, 2015
16 Amendment 4 to RFP Released to buyandsell.gc.ca March 19, 2015
17 Amendment 5 to RFP Released to buyandsell.gc.ca March 20, 2015
18 Amendment 6 to RFP Released to buyandsell.gc.ca March 20, 2015
19 Amendment 7 to RFP Released to buyandsell.gc.ca March 24, 2015
20 Amendment 8 to RFP Released to buyandsell.gc.ca March 26, 2015
21 Amendment 9 to RFP Released to buyandsell.gc.ca March 27, 2015
22 Amendment 10 to RFP Released to buyandsell.gc.ca March 27, 2015
23 Amendment 11 to RFP Released to buyandsell.gc.ca March 30, 2015
24 Amendment 12 to RFP Released to buyandsell.gc.ca March 31, 2015
25 Amendment 13 to RFP Released to buyandsell.gc.ca April 2, 2015
26 Amendment 14 to RFP Released to buyandsell.gc.ca April 7, 2015
27 Amendment 15 to RFP Released to buyandsell.gc.ca April 8, 2015
28 Amendment 16 to RFP Released to buyandsell.gc.ca April 13, 2015
29 Amendment 17 to RFP Released to buyandsell.gc.ca April 14, 2015

Addendum to the final report
January 13, 2016

Addendum to fairness monitor final report dated May 27, 2015, concerning document imaging services

This Addendum to the Fairness Monitor Final Report covers the period following the conclusion of the evaluation phase through contract award and the debriefings of bidders.

It is noted that project officials neglected to provide draft or final regret letters and contract award letters to us which had been sent to bidders in July and August 2015. However, on November 10, 2015, we reviewed the contract award letters that had been sent to the five (5) successful bidders on July 31, 2015 and August 1, 2015, and the regret letters that had been sent to the eight (8) unsuccessful bidders on August 5 and 6, 2015. The regret letters sent to the unsuccessful bidders provided information on any mandatory requirements which the bidder had failed, the technical and financial scores and overall rating achieved by all responsive bidders. No fairness deficiencies were identified.

Three bidders requested face-to-face debriefings. However, the face-to-face debriefing of one bidder was cancelled after the bidder sent a legal Statement of Objection to Public Works and Government Services Canada (now Public Services and Procurement Canada) on August 19, 2015 concerning the results of the evaluation of its bid. Instead of the planned face-to-face debriefing, a written debriefing was provided to the bidder on September 24, 2015 which explained the reasons why the bidder had been found to be non-compliant to a mandatory requirement. No fairness deficiencies were identified.

On September 9, 2015 we observed the face-to-face debriefing of a second bidder and on September 18, 2015 we observed a debriefing by teleconference of a third bidder which was unable to attend a planned face-to-face debriefing. No other bidders requested debriefings in addition to the written debriefings that were provided in writing on the dates referenced above. No fairness deficiencies were identified.

Fairness monitor attestation of assurance

It is the professional opinion of the Fairness Monitor that the post evaluation activities, including the debriefings and contract awards, were carried out in a fair, open and transparent manner.

Original signed by
Roger Bridges
President
Knowles Consultancy Services Inc.
FM Contractor’s Representative

Original signed by
Peter Woods
FM Team Leader

Original signed by
Bruce Maynard P. Eng.
FM Specialist

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