Blog | 02.11.19

Reviewing Policies and Procedures Best Practices in Public Procurement

During my annual physical last year, my doctor peered over his bifocals and asked, ”When was your last tetanus booster shot?” My blank expression spoke volumes.  His reply was, “If you can’t remember, you’re probably overdue.”  Sure enough, my last booster was in preparation for working on houses in New Orleans after Katrina.

As I speak with public procurement departments each week, a similar refrain is heard regarding policy and procedure reviews.  Some have antiquated policies and procedures, some can’t remember the last time they were dusted off and reviewed in a systematic fashion.   Given that NIGP’s current best practice is a review at least every three to five years, I suspect many agencies are long overdue.

Policy and Procedure reviews should accomplish the following objectives:

  • Compliance – how are the current policies and procedures complying with federal, state and local legislation?  Federal Uniform Guidance, state statutes and local ordinances impact procurement and agencies must be diligent to ensure that the policies and procedures are keeping up.
  • Completeness – Many agencies face their biggest challenges when a procurement or an issue falls between the gaps in stated policies and procedures.  Periodic reviews force the agency to examine recent issues, industry best practices, comparable agencies and the ABA model procurement code to identify shortcomings in policies and procedures and seek remedies.  In addition, policies and procedures should be examined for strategic pruning, to remove antiquated or obsolete sections.
  • Continuity – Hand in hand with completeness is continuity.  How do current policies and procedures the reflect and unbroken and consistent existence or operation over time? Departments, suppliers, and executive management look to procurement to provide a consistent environment for the sourcing of goods and services through the contracting process.
  • Commitment – By proactively reviewing policies and procedures, the procurement organization demonstrates a commitment to excellence in operations. While this may appear to be window dressing, the underlying message to procurement’s customers is that the organization is not just a paper pushing bureaucracy, but a strategic partner in making the entity successful.

The NIGP Consulting group provides a standard policy and procedure review as part of its offerings to state and local government.

The review includes:

  • Ordinances, statutes, procurement policies and procedures to ensure consistency with current practices and industry best practices in the profession
  • State legislation that impacts the entity
  • Regulatory constraints that may impede efficiency
  • Other policy and procedures manuals related to purchasing practices and procedures, such as P-card programs and vendor guides
  • Comparison to two similar agencies
  • Preparation of a Recommendations Report to guide the organization in making modifications

Contact John Walters at jwalters@nigp.com, (512) 329-5158 for additional information.