Procurement Process for Municipalities and Counties
1. What will be Purchased
For Professional or Consulting Services, the Competitive Proposal method is most advantageous to the Administrator.
- Determining factor: Provider qualifications, experience, knowledge
- Example: Consultants engaged to manage program administration; Architects; Engineers; Licensed Surveyors; Real Estate Appraisers
2. Procurement Type: Competitive Proposal
The Competitive Proposal method requires the Administrator to publicly solicit the best qualified professional based on established selection criteria, such as qualifications, knowledge, and experience. The awarded contract and price are subject to negotiation.
3. Identify Staff Involved in Purchase Process
Individuals involved in the procurement process may include, but are not limited to:
- Program Director or Manager
- Construction inspector or manager
- Quality Control
- Accounting/budget/audit professionals
Avoid Conflict of Interest
Administrator must ensure there is sufficient separation of staff duties among individuals involved in the procurement process in order to avoid conflicts of interest. For example: Someone other than the person(s) conducting the purchasing processes should review and approve payment for the goods/services procured; employees in the purchasing function should not have record-keeping responsibilities in the cash disbursement system; employees involved in the receipt of goods from vendors should not be involved in the purchasing or cash disbursement processes.
Conflict of interest occurs when a "covered person" inappropriately benefits, either directly or indirectly, as a result of:
- Procurement actions taken in the administration of federal funding; or
- Receipt of assistance provided by federal funding
Covered persons include:
- All employees, officers, elected or appointed officials, and agents of the Administrator, and their family members, partners, and associates
Covered persons cannot:
- Participate in procurement of the beneficiary for contractual award or selection of the beneficiary for assistance
- Conduct business with the procured provider or the assisted individual
- Solicit or accept gratuities, favors, or items of monetary value from the procured provider or the assisted individual
One individual may assume several of the duties outlined below as long as the assignment maintains separation of duties and avoids conflict of interest.
Procurement Oversight: The individual responsible for procurement oversight assumes all responsibility for ensuring that the procurement process is compliant and timely.
Compliance with Internal Policy: The individual responsible for ensuring compliance with Administrator's internal written procurement policy and procedures must:
- Ensure free and open competition
- Use appropriate methods for soliciting goods and services in accordance with applicable rules, regulations, and policies
- Determine the best value for goods and services purchased
- Comply with local/state/federal requirements
Contract Management: The individual responsible for overseeing contract management must ensure the following factors are appropriately addressed:
- Compliance with applicable local/state/federal rules, regulations and administrative policies and procedures
- Development of contractual timelines to ensure program benchmarks are met
- Records management and documentation
- Appropriate expenditure of funds
- Quality goods and services obtained at lowest reasonable prices
- Development and negotiation of contracts/agreements awarded
- Post-procurement monitoring of contractor performance
Timeline Tracking: The individual responsible for overseeing procurement timelines must ensure that procedures are undertaken in a timely manner so that goods/services are received in sufficient time to allow compliance with program requirements and contractual benchmarks. Any variations must be acknowledged and the procurement timeline adjusted as necessary. See Step #4 for additional guidance.
Development of Scope of Work: The individual responsible for developing the Scope of Work must be qualified to assess the technical requirements for the goods/services being procured and be able to provide a detailed written description of the materials/products/services needed. See Step #5 for additional guidance.
Evaluation of Proposals Received: Administrator must designate a committee or individual responsible for the objective assessment and selection of proposals based on established evaluation criteria. See Step #8 for additional guidance.
4. Establish Timeframes
Ensure procurement procedures are undertaken in a timely manner so that goods/services are received in sufficient time to allow compliance with program requirements and contractual benchmarks. Consider the following factors:
- Time required to develop the Scope of Work
- Goods/services – requires analysis of product/services required and descriptive write-up for solicitation of proposals
- Time required to develop Request for Proposal (RFP)
- Required publication period for RFP
- Time required for submittal of proposals by service providers
- Time required to review and/or negotiate proposals
- Time required for formal approval by city/county/board (if applicable)
- Time required to develop an appropriate contract (if applicable) and execute the agreement
- Allowance for unforeseen circumstances or delay
- Allowance for potential bidder protest
- Be aware of contractual benchmarks or terms
Contract or Agreement Terms: Consider the length of the contract being awarded, and include sufficient time for the vendor/service provider to prepare, implement and finish the entire project.
Threshold or Production Timelines: Consider including performance thresholds with specific benchmark completion dates identified in the contract.
5. Develop Scope of Work
Create a thorough, detailed description of the goods/services to be purchased. Include specifications, standards, and minimum qualifications desired. Factors to be considered in the Scope of Work include, but are not limited to:
- Essential characteristics of the required product/service
- Quality and quantity of materials/products/services
- Minimum required standards for labor or materials, as applicable
- Requirements related to:
- Program rules and regulations including but not limited to:
- Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUBs)
- Section 3 (Economic Opportunities for Low Income People)
- Nondiscrimination and equal employment opportunity
- Bidder protest procedures
- Conflict of interest
- Debarment status (state and federal)
- Applicable codes/standards and plans/specifications (especially as related to construction)
- Methods and materials
- Program rules and regulations including but not limited to:
- Required date of completion
6. Create Proposal
A Request for Proposal (RFP) is created and published when procuring professional services for which factors other than lowest price are being considered. Establish minimum qualifications and request documentation of qualifications, experience, certifications and/or licenses. Include a clear and concise description of the work required for the professional service being procured. Identify required timeline for completion of the work. Include instructions for responding to the RFP. Reference the applicable funding source or program, including contract or award number. Identify location/date/time at which proposals must be received. Identify evaluation factors and their relative importance. Include protest procedures for proposal respondents.
Sample Documents (Step 6)
7. Begin Proposal Period
The bid period begins when the Request for Proposal (RFP) is published or posted. Publically advertise the RFP. Respond to any questions from interested parties. Document all activity at this time.
Sample Documents (Step 7)
8. Accept and Evaluate
- Administrator's designated committee or individual must record the receipt of at least two (2) proposals. Proposals must be:
- Responsive – fully conforms to specific information requested
- Reasonable – include reasonable costs and materials in line with industry practice and work required
- Responsible – provider possesses suitable skill-set to accomplish the job and evidences ability to perform with integrity and reliability
- Proposals for professional services may be opened, reviewed, and/or negotiated as received.
- Selection of proposal for professional services must be based upon qualifications, not solely based on price.
- Confirm and document the absence of conflict of interest. Confirm and document the vendor has not been state debarred or federally debarred.
- Proposals may be rejected if there is a sound documented reason.
- TDHCA pre-approval is recommended if only one proposal is received.
- Accept the most responsive, reasonable, and responsible proposal and document approval by City Council or Commissioners' Court or approved designee, as applicable.
9. Make Award
- Notify the accepted service provider and unsuccessful providers. Allow time for exercise of protest rights by unsuccessful providers.
- Prepare and execute the contractual agreement with the accepted service provider.
- Document the steps of this process and ensure copies of all documents are retained in the procurement file.