Many countries, including the United States and Australia, have successfully used unsolicited proposals to give the private sector greater opportunity to propose innovative solutions to infrastructure challenges on which the government planning process has not yet focused. The private sector can often bring a commercial focus, particularly on revenue generating opportunities, which government may lack.
An unsolicited proposal framework was a key part of the Canada Infrastructure Bank’s mandate to invest alongside the private sector in transformative revenue generating infrastructure. At the same time, several provinces, including Alberta, introduced their own unsolicited proposal processes.
Unsolicited proposal frameworks provide much greater flexibility than traditional government procurement but ensure there’s a disciplined approach to the investment of taxpayer dollars and sufficient competitive tension to ensure cost effective outcomes.
An unsolicited proposal sounds like it’s an unwanted proposal, which it’s not. In many cases, projects which start off as unsolicited private sector proposals become part of a more formalized selection process as they evolve.