The Purchasing Department provides a centralized purchasing service for the procurement of materials, supplies, equipment and services required by the Division’s schools, outreach programs and all administrative departments.
Reporting to the Director of Finance
Purchasing manages the Division’s procurement cycle by assisting end users in determining specific requirements, selecting sources of supply, negotiating prices, terms and conditions of sale, conducting competitive bid processes, issuing purchase orders and providing follow up to ensure timely delivery.
Objectives and Goals
The overall objectives and goals of the purchasing department are to:
Buy competitively and wisely, ensuring the procurement of all supplies, materials, equipment and services are consistent with quality and the lowest cost of ownership.
Develop reliable, alternative sources of supply
Standardize products and equipment wherever possible
Develop strong favorable supplier relationships
Achieve maximum integration with other departments and school personnel
Promote and apply ethical business practices
Warehouse inventory control
Develop purchasing procedures that will accomplish the departments and Division's objectives at the lowest reasonable operating cost.
Contacting The Purchasing Department
The Purchasing Department is located in the Education Center at 433-15 St. South, Lethbridge, AB, T1J 2Z4. For further information, questions or inquiries pertaining to the purchasing function at Lethbridge School Division contact:
Sheri Lacey, Co-ordinator of Purchasing
Phone: (403) 382-2161
Fax: (403) 327-5520
Amy Magson, Division Administrative Assistant
Phone: (403) 380-7393
Fax: (403) 327-5520
Open Bid Opportunities
|RFQ Open Date||RFQ Bid Number and Title||RFQ Closing Date|
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Bid documents may be obtained by contacting the Purchasing Department by:
Phone: (403) 382-2160 / (403) 382-2161
Fax: (403) 327-5520
Or by picking up documents at:
The Education Center
433-15 St. South
Lethbridge, AB, T1J 2Z4
Parties requesting documents should do so by referencing the bid file number and title of the documents required.
Bid submissions must be received at the office of the Purchasing Department, 433-15 St. South Lethbridge, AB, T1J 2Z4 by no later than 2:00p.m. local time on the closing date. Bids received after the closing time shall be rejected and returned to the bidder without further consideration.
Regardless of whether the type of competitive bid process used is a Tender, Request for Proposal (RFP) or Request for Quotation (RFQ), these basic methods of contracting are all designed to provide the overall best value to the District.
It is the added responsibility of the Purchasing staff, while endeavoring to fulfill this objective, to also conduct all competitive bid process in accordance with the Laws of Competitive Bidding thereby ensuring that:
- All bidders receive fair and equal treatment.
- Bid documents have all terms, conditions and obligations to be imposed on bidders, disclosed and clearly stated.
- All bid documents shall disclose all evaluation criteria and bids shall be evaluated fairly according to the same disclosed criteria and process.
- There shall be no hidden agendas regarding the award of contracts – all proponents shall be given an equal opportunity to be the successful bidder.
No proponent shall be given a special advantage or benefit denied other proponents.
In the solicitation of competitive bids Lethbridge School Division shall utilize one of the following three bid processes:
- Request for Proposals
- Request for Quotations
The size, value and complexity (scope) of the proposed project shall determine the type of competetive bid process employed.
Competitive bids of all types shall be evaluated and awarded in accordance with a predetermined set of evaluation criteria stated in the competitive bid document. Parties who have submitted a bid may request bid results by contacting the Purchasing Co-ordinator. The following information pertaining to bid results will be made available on request:
- List of Bidders
- Successful Bidder(s)
- Evaluation Criteria
- Evaluation Committee Members
Other information particular to the responses of other bidders shall not be released (i.e. Unit prices, evaluation summaries, bidders correspondence and responses) as doing so may contravene the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. A copy of the act (FOIP) can be obtained through the Queen’s Printer.
Chapter Five (Procurement) of the Agreement on Internal Trade introduced new regulations on how public organizations approach the procurement of goods and services. The objectives of the agreement are to provide for open, non-discriminatory procurement practices for all federal, provincial, and territorial governments. Annex 502-4 of the Agreement describes the procurement provisions as they apply to the M.A.S.H. (Municipalities, Municipal Organizations, School Boards, publicly funded academic, health and social service entities) sector. This Annex is applicable to all purchases made by these entities for goods and services exceeding $100,000 and construction contracts exceeding $250,000. Under the Annex, the M.A.S.H. sector has a number of commitments or obligations with respect to their procurement practices:
Tendering managers shall not differentiate or discriminate between suppliers/contractors on the basis of geographic location. All forms of discrimination based on the province of origin of goods, services, construction materials, the supplier of such goods, services or construction materials shall be prohibited from the procurement practices of the entities covered by the Annex. This equates to open and fair competitive bidding practices where suppliers/contractors from other provinces shall be given as equal an opportunity to do business and be the successful bidder, as the local suppliers.
Fair Acquisition Process
Procurements covered by the Annex ($100,000 goods and services, $250,000 construction contracts) shall be conducted through a Competitive Bid process. All bidders participating in the competitive bid process must be treated in an equal and fair manner throughout the competitive bid process and award.
Entities participating in group purchasing activities through Buying Groups or Consortiums shall ensure that such activities are conducted in a manner consistent with the Annex.
Competitive Purchasing/Buying Groups/Consortiums
The Purchasing Department is responsible for the procurement of goods and services at the best price for the right products from the right source at the appropriate time. To assist in the achievement of these goals, the District is an active participant in two co-operatives or buying groups – The Lethbridge Public Purchasing Consortium (LPPC) and the Southern Alberta Computer Consortium (SACC). The sole primary objective of these groups is to make the procurement cycle more efficient and cost effective through the purchase of goods, services and equipment in conjunction with other school boards and public organizations.
Lethbridge School District 51 is an active member of the LPPC of which the following entities are members:
- Lethbridge Community College
- City of Lethbridge
- Chinook Health Authority
- County of Lethbridge #26
- Holy Spirit School Division #44
- Lethbridge School District #51
- Palliser School Division #26
- University of Lethbridge
The mandate of the LPPC is to employ co-operative purchasing, whenever possible, as a means to obtain maximum value for monies spent on behalf of their respective entities; and the promotion of efficiency in the purchasing and materials management fields.
The Southern Alberta Computer Consortium (SACC) was formed in the summer of 1996. The consortium was formed to maximize the use of government funding made available for the purchase of classroom computers. The objectives include:
- To achieve improved student learning by making the greatest possible number of computer workstations available for students in schools
- To share information on the issues of computer use in schools
- To share information about computer hardware and software
- To seek cost-effective means to network student and administrative workstations
- To utilize the principals of co-operative purchasing and volume discounts to:
- Effectively reduce the price of computer hardware
- Standardize hardware components
- Maximize service levels
- Maximize warranty coverage
- Expedite deliver of equipment and services
As of March 11, 2001, seven of the ten SACC members participate in a computer supply contract with Compaq. Canada for the supply of all required PC based computer workstations, monitors and notebooks. These seven jurisdictions include:
- Grasslands Regional Division #6
- Horizon School Division #67
- Lethbridge School District #51
- Livingstone Range School Division #68
- Medicine Hat School Division #76
- Palliser School Division #26
- Westwind Regional School Division #9
General Guidelines and Regulations
Only those forms provided by the Purchasing Department shall be used for requisitioning and purchasing goods and services.
An online form used by schools and departments to requisition supplies, equipment and furniture through the Purchasing Department.
A Purchase Order is a legal document issued by the Purchasing Department to vendors for the purpose of contracting for the supply of materials, equipment and services.
The various types of Purchase Orders used by the District in the procurement function are:
- Standard Purchase Order- created by the Purchasing Department in response to a requisition, and used when ordering most supplier equipment and services
- Publication Purchase Order – used for the purchase of all printed materials (books, school agendas, magazines, periodicals, etc.), and staff conference registrations. These purchase orders are issued directly by the school or end-user to the vendor of choice. Written procedures and guidelines on how to use this order form are available from the Purchasing Department.
- Capital Equipment - Equipment with a unit value exceeding $300.00.
- Due to quality standards and safety regulations that must be met, the purchase of all capital equipment remains the sole responsibility of the Purchasing Department.
- Ordering Procedure: The school forwards a requisition to the Purchasing Department.
- Technology - All technology purchases are centralized and channelled through the technology & purchasing departments.
- Ordering Procedure: The school forwards a requisition to the Purchasing Department
- Supplies – Operating supplies and materials whose unit cost is less than $300.00. The following supplies are tendered annually:
- General School Supplies
- Art Materials
- PE Supplies
- Caretaking Supplies
- Ordering Procedure: Requirements are listed on the appropriate tender order form and forwarded to Purchasing. Tender order forms are issued to the schools by the Purchasing Department as per the timetable below:
- General School Supplies - October 1
- Art Materials - October 1
- PE Supplies - February 1
- Caretaking Supplies - April 1
- Printed Matter – books, publications, periodicals, newspapers, subscriptions and other articles of print.
- Ordering Procedure: Ordered by schools directly from supplier using the Publications Purchase Order.
- Day-To-Day Stationery Supplies - Stationery Contract with Staples Advantage
- Ordering Procedure: Orders are placed directly by schools via Staples Advantage website or through the Purchasing Department.
- Supplies Stocked at the Education Center Warehouse – many commodities used in large quantities by all departments are purchased in volume for distribution to schools as they are required.
- Ordering Procedure: Using the online warehouse requisition, order these items from Purchasing referencing the product catalogue.
Cancelling or making modifications to the quantity, specifications, price, or terms and conditions of Purchase Orders is the sole responsibility of the Purchasing Department. End-users requesting such changes shall channel their requests to Purchasing as opposed to contacting suppliers directly. Purchasing will issue a Lethbridge School District No. 51 Change Order authorizing the vendor to make the changes and notifying Accounts Payable of any adjustments in the payment terms.
In the event an end-user receives a damaged or short shipment, the Purchasing Department shall be notified immediately. The end-user should provide Purchasing with the following information:
- Purchase Order Number
- Shipper’s Bill of Lading Number
- Description and details of shortage or damage
Regulations, as well as carrier terms and conditions of transport require that the District notify carrier of shortages and damages within 48 hours of receipt of shipment. Failure to comply with these regulations, terms and conditions, may result in the rejection of your claim.
Requests by end-users for permission to return supplies or equipment to vendor for adjustment, exchange or credit must be channelled through the Purchasing Department and NOT BY DIRECT CONTACT WITH THE VENDOR. Acceptance of the return by the vendor is by no means automatic and negotiating the terms of return (i.e. freight charges, restocking charges, etc.) is the responsibility of the Purchasing Department. Furthermore, a change order must be issued authorizing the return and notifying the Accounts Payable department of any impending credit, restocking charges, etc.
In the event of an emergency requirement for supplies or equipment, an end-user may contact the Purchasing Department for immediate processing.
Although a requisitioner or end-user is encouraged to suggest a possible source of supply when submitting his/her requisition, the authority for the final selection of the vendor is the sole responsibility of the Purchasing Department.
It is the policy and practice of purchasing personnel to decline personal gifts from vendors. Business lunches are acceptable, but should be reciprocated. All District staff involved in the procurement cycle should exercise this same discretion.
The Purchasing Department, as a general rule, does not enter into contractual agreements with any employee or their immediate families. Acquisition from a business in which an employee has a financial interest is prohibited unless first approved by the office of the Superintendent. Financial interest is deemed present if the employee and/or his or her immediate family maintain assets or ownership in a business with which the District does business.
It is in contravention of Board Policy to issue District Purchase Orders for personal purchases. Vendors are under no obligation to offer negotiated District discounts to employees making personal purchases and it is both unethical and unacceptable for employees to use their position as a District employee to request and obtain such discounts.
Capital equipment and furniture that is obsolete, worn out or not required by a user department is considered surplus. The Purchasing Department has the responsibility for the disposal of all obsolete equipment and furniture. Surplus and obsolete equipment shall be disposed of in accordance with the Board Policy, generally as a trade in for new equipment, transfer to another school or department, sold through public auction or public sale, or as a give-away to the general public or to a non-profit organization.
In those instances where it is deemed necessary for the school or end-user to perform the purchasing function and deal directly with the supplier, the following guidelines shall apply:
- School or end-user shall obtain a Purchase Order number from the Purchasing Department prior to contacting the supplier.
- Sound, ethical purchasing practices shall be employed
- All District purchasing policies and regulations shall be followed.
- When the value of the transaction warrants it, three quotations shall be obtained.
- Award shall be made in a fair, ethical and unbiased manner.
The Purchasing Department performs all the functions involved in the procurement of materials and equipment from the time a need or possible need is known until the material/equipment is received. Types of activities, tasks and functions include:
- Determination of Requirements
- Functional co-ordination with end-users to determine needs
Source selections, soliciting bids, cost/price analysis, negotiations, formations and issuing of contracts, expediting and contract administration, negotiating adjustments with suppliers and the termination of contracts.
- traffic, transportation costs and analysis, economic order quantity determination, inventory requirements and control, materials handling, disposal of surplus/obsolete equipment
- prepare and issue purchase orders
- expediting overdue orders
- manage the competitive bid process
- co-operative purchasing and group consortium initiatives
- standardization of products and equipment
- formation of Purchasing Handbook, manuals, and procedures
- provide product information, specifications, brochures, catalogues
- equipment specifications
- provide samples for the testing of new products
- resolution of discrepancies (errors in shipping, overshipments, missing goods between school and supplier)
- consult and give directions with regards to customs duties, regulations and brokerage for orders placed in foreign countries
- processing freight claims for materials damaged in transit
- sale of surplus materials and equipment