RFP process discourages

I write to explain why, as the only local firm asked to bid on the city’s website, we did not submit a proposal as reported.

On behalf of my firm, Mediability, I write to explain why, as the only local firm asked to bid on the city’s website, we did not submit a proposal as reported in last week’s Observer.
We were delighted to be invited and appreciate council’s current effort to review the process. It appears, however, that council still believes that our firm “did not wish to put in the hours of work required to submit a proposal because of the costs.” To be clear, we were more than willing and prepared. It’s how we’ve done business since 1999.
We did not submit because the RFP called for speculative design—free work that is done in exchange for consideration of a contract. As a design firm, we adhere to professional standards that prohibit this. We wrote the city stating as much. We received no reply.
When you apply for work, your resumé helps an employer decide if you are best suited for a job. Speculative design is the equivalent of an employer asking candidates to work for free before one is hired. If the city were buying roadwork, it would not require that each proponent pave 100 metres as a sample prior to awarding the job. The reward of any contract mustn’t come at the expense of the free work of others.
We will happily tell you all about our pricing, experience, capabilities and philosophy. We will not provide original design to win you over. It’s critical to understand that public RFP processes should never request nor reward free services or products.
Salmon Arm is full of willing, talented, creative and innovative people whose commitment to Salmon Arm will not impact in any way, shape or form our new website – except for the tax dollars we raised to pay for it.
Clearly, an opportunity for improvement exists. I’m not here to cry over spilled milk. I merely ask that we are more careful in how we pour it next time.

Louise Wallace