Highlights in the January Issue:

Upcoming Events and Webinars 


Cronin Finalist Webinar
     DE's Copier, Printer & Multi-
        function Device
January 22 - Noon ET
Optimizing Value - Xaas in the 
Public Cloud
January 26 - 11:00 am ET

Miss a NASPO webinar? 
Catch yourself up!

Green Purchasing Webinar: 
     State Green Purchasing
     Best Practices
Cronin Finalist Webinar:
     TN Vehicle Fleet Mgmt

Cronin Finalist Webinar:
     eVA Mobile Apps
Cronin Finalist Webinar:
     TN Innovations in Facilities
NASPO Launches Bills and Regs Tracker
New from NASPO! Check out the Bills and Regs Tracker on the NASPO Network to review procurement related state and federal legislation and regulation. This new member service provides you real-time access to bills and regulation that matter most to your procurement office, such as public-private partnerships, social impact programs, sustainability, contracts, bids, procurement reform, IT procurement and much more.

A team of NASPO members on the Strategic and Intergovernmental Relations Committee review and select newly filed bills and regs year round. NASPO staff and SIRC members will produce quarterly trend reports throughout 2015.

The tool is available to NASPO Members only through the NASPO Network. To access, please log in to the Network and go the "Resources" tab. A brief Members Guide is available here. If you have any questions or feedback on bills or regulation to monitor, please contact Sarah Razor at srazor@naspo.org.
New NASPO State and Local Government: A Practical Guide is on the Way
Copies of the new "NASPO State and Local Government Procurement: A Practical Guide" are scheduled for arrival at NASPO Headquarters later this month and will be available for purchase shortly upon arrival. 

State members will receive a complimentary copy of the book, but may order additional copies at their discretion via the NASPO website. Please note that state members may use their professional development funds for book purchases. Pricing is Members: $45.00 each and Non-Members: $60.00 each. NASPO is committed to ongoing professional development and education. To honor that commitment, this year we will also be featuring a special rate of $40.00 for participants in courses offered through the NASPO Procurement University and/or students.

We are also pleased to announce that for the first time "NASPO State and Local Government Procurement: A Practical Guide" will also be available as an e-book. The e-book version will be available in mid-February through both Apple and Kobo platforms. We will have more information forthcoming for ordering and pricing.

This version features new chapters on Human Services and IT Procurement, refreshed content, and new emerging issues in state procurement, and much, much more.

NASPO would like to personally thank the members of the Practical Guide Task Force, the editors, contributors, and content experts who helped with the new version.

For more information on the release of "NASPO State and Local Government Procurement: A Practical Guide" please contact Krista Ferrell, NASPO Director of Strategic Programs at 859-514-9195 or via email at kferrell@naspo.org.
Data and Government: Making the Information Matter
What is data? Data is facts or information used usually to calculate, analyze, or plan something. So how can something as simple as data be used to improve government? That was the question addressed at the December 11 NGA Expert Roundtable Discussions on "Using Data and Evidence to Improve Policy, Programs, and Practice" in Washington, DC.

These expert roundtables are a part of NGA Chair and Governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper's "Delivering Results" initiative. Dean Stotler, CPO for the State of Delaware and Past President of NASPO and NASPO Director of Strategic Programs, Krista Ferrell attended on NASPO's behalf. Attendees included representatives from the National Governor's Association (NGA), National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), National Association of Chief Information Officers (NASCIO), as well as academics, authors, and vendors.

Among the topics discussed were the use of data and metrics in delivering governmental services. Focusing on performance management system, using evidence and data in operational functions of government, capitalizing on graphic information system to visualize data, and leveraging performance based metrics. Pay for performance and other performance based contracting methods, social impact bonds, and rapid cycle evaluation were also focal areas of discussion.

Prior to the NGA Roundtable Discussions, NASPO polled the membership concerning state government practices regarding performance-based contracting. It was found that some states, such as Florida and Maine have statutory requirements to use performance based contracting for all of their human service contracts. Iowa and Mississippi also use performance based contracting when awarding child welfare contracts. The State of Washington issued an Executive Order in 2010 directing all state cabinet agencies to meet performance based contracting standards in all new contract for both goods and services. Alaska has recognized success in their performance based contract for travel services that has been in place since 2009. Data and performance metrics are key in the management of these types of contracts. Measurements such as past performance, safety, claims history, past satisfaction, cost, response time, and maintaining required staffing levels topped the list of measurable performance outputs.

NASPO would like to extend our appreciation to our strategic partner, the National Governors Association for the opportunity to participate in this informative and productive discussion.
RFPs & Competition - A Home Run for All Involved
Every purchaser, supplier, and average Joe has heard of the term RFP. RFP stands for Request for Proposals. Some jurisdictions use a different term such as Request for Responses to define the same type of competitive purchasing method. Both commercial and government procurement professionals use the term and process with various degrees to solicit competitive proposals from suppliers of goods and services.

RFPs offer flexibility by allowing for best value through negotiations and other determining factors in the evaluation, in addition to price.

RFPs are currently used in the public procurement world as a solicitation method by which competition is conducted for a contract. RFPs in the public sector are often more process-based than in the private sector to assure that the integrity of the bidding process is maintained and that competition is sought.

One of the unique features of an RFP is that after the proposals are opened, negotiations are often permitted. It is standard practice to include price considerations as an evaluation criterion for contract awards and use evaluation committees to evaluate proposals for public contracts.

A common misconception is that RFPs are onerous, especially for suppliers who want to win a government contract, but are not versed in the process. You may even hear arguments that it is not worth responding to RFPs, because the supplier may have already been chosen, or the specifications have been written such way to favor a particular supplier. In other words, the claim is that the public entity is "just going through the motions" and issuing an RFP to comply with statutory or legal requirements. In fact, state laws require that all contracts be solicited through fair and open completion and often specifically address these charges. This misconception can be disheartening and discourage small businesses from even considering competing for government contracts. While there may be such isolated cases of extremely unethical behavior, they are clearly the exception and not the norm; public procurement officers strive to apply basic principles of fostering competition, transparency, and fairness when they write policies and develop processes for public acquisition of goods and services. Many states even allow supplier the right of protest if they believe that the RFP was solicited in an unfair manner.

Many times it is asserted that RPFs are costly for governments and generate a lot of inefficiencies in terms of the paperwork, time, and the multi-step bureaucratic process that ensues. Quite to the contrary, RFPs create a competitive environment that can generate savings by considering factors such as quality, service, and life cycle, allowing the entity to public the best value versus the lowest cost. Often used on large scale projects, the RFP process ensures that the project is well-thought and efficient in all stages of the procurement process.

Additionally, RFPs ensure that public contracts are not awarded to suppliers based on unfair criteria such as a public or elected official's preference for a supplier or an agency's expressed preference to contract with a supplier solely based on trust or past performance.

Public procurement has defined processes and procedures in place which mitigate the risks for such types of unethical practices. Even more detrimental to tax payers' trust in government are extreme circumstances and unacceptable behavior by elected officials or public employees, where contracts are steered towards a preferred supplier and awarded without competition in exchange for kick-backs. Thankfully, those are rare egregious violations which are eventually sanctioned and reported by the media. This is one more reason why RFPs are the appropriate solicitation vehicles to be used to provide evidence of a fair competitive process where all suppliers have a fair shot.

One takeaway for all suppliers responding to RFPs for a public procurement is to remember that even if you don't win, you had a chance to participate in an open, fair, and transparent competitive process which would not be possible if RFPs did not exist.
UPPCC Exam Dates

Visit the UPPCC site for more details.          
Committee and Work Group News
Crowdsourcing Opportunity for NASPO Members
The Publications and Resources Work Group needs your help! We would like to maximize the collective intelligence of the NASPO membership and identify valuable non-NASPO publications (print and online state procurement resources) for reviewing by our work group.

Help us develop a list of state procurement-specific resources to be used in conjunction with the UPPCC body of knowledge for the Procurement University initiative that NASPO is launching. Please respond with your most favorite state procurement resource(s) that you came across in your studies for the public procurement certification or recertification, or resources that your state procurement office is currently using for your state procurement training and/or certification program.

We have prepared this spreadsheet for you to plug in your recommended publication with a description and explanation as to where it fits in terms of the topics covered. Please email Elena Moreland at emoreland@naspo.org with the completed spreadsheet including your top non-NASPO publication(s) that you recommend us review and include in the NASPO-endorsed list.

Thank you!
Elena Moreland, NASPO Staff Lead on behalf of John Utterback, Publications and Resources Work Group Chair
Additional Volunteers Needed for the Publications and Resources Work Group!          
NASPO Members,
The Publications and Resources Work Group is seeking volunteers! Please email Elena Moreland at emoreland@naspo.org if you would be willing to enlist in the Publications and Resources Work Group.

The goal of this work group is to develop NASPO resources as well as identify non-NASPO resources from outside procurement organizations addressing issues specific to state procurement that complement the existing resources which will be referenced as study materials for the Procurement U professional development offerings. You will be working alongside a few other great procurement professionals and dedicated NASPO volunteers under John Utterback's leadership. Work group members are expected to participate on monthly 45 minutes to 1 hour- long conference calls, review publications and provide input in terms of content relevant to the body of knowledge, as well as communicate on an as-needed-basis via email and NASPO Network between the monthly conference calls. The work group meets on the second Monday of every month, between 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm ET. 
  • John Utterback (Honorary Member, Work Group Lead)
  • Brenda Pape (Nebraska)
  • Jay Jackson (Oregon)
  • David Gragan (Life Member)
  • Ellen Phillips (Honorary Member)
  • Mike Wenzel (Honorary Member)
  • Tony Des Chenes (Honorary Member)
Thank you for your interest!
Elena Moreland, NASPO Staff Lead on behalf of John Utterback, Publications and Resources Work Group Chair
NASPO Collects State Procurement Training Resources
NASPO needs your help to grow its library of state procurement training resources. This valuable resource for NASPO members serves to increase collaboration among the states, as well as provide access to best practices in training. With more than 200 resources already available, NASPO is now looking to expand the number of states represented in the library and add additional content.

Training resources from your state may include, but are not limited to:
   - Procurement training powerpoints
   - Procurement training course material, including state-specific content
   - Sample forms and documents
   - Links to state procurement training websites
   - Instructional and informational videos

Be sure your state's staff training materials are represented in this NASPO member resource! Submissions may be made online here or may be sent to Meghan Penning at mpenning@naspo.org.

Interested in gaining access to these training resources? Contact Meghan Penning at mpenning@naspo.org to request user access.
 *Note: state directors will be notified prior to granting user accounts to procurement staff.
NASPO Network
Substantial Growth in 2014
Check out the growth of the NASPO Network between 2013 and 2014!  We hope you're benefiting from the resources we've added to the Network over the last several months including the Bills and Reg Tracker and Member Central.  If you haven't visited the Network home page in a while, be sure to stop by to view the new layout which is more mobile friendly and streamlined: community.naspo.org.
Member News
Soza Offers Insight on Common Hurdle in Procurement


NASPO member Jason Soza, Chief Procurement Officer for the state of Alaska, recently posted the following article on LinkedIn:   

Overcoming the Public Procurement Boilerplate Hurdle

In my 15 or so years in the public procurement field, a question I have been asked time and time again in candid conversations with vendors is this: Why do you, the government, make the process for my company to offer my services to you so difficult?

This is an excellent question and one for which, unfortunately, there isn't an equally simple answer.

To even begin to formulate a response, we need to take a look at the roots of public procurement.  Read the full blog post here.

NASPO's mission is to help our members achieve success as public procurement leaders in their states through promotion of best practices, education, professional development, research, and innovative procurement strategies.