What are statewide contracts and why use them?
Statewide contracts establish terms, conditions and pricing for hundreds of products and services and are written to meet the needs of public purchasers. Statewide contracts or Price Agreements offer Commonwealth purchasers a means of procuring quality, or "best value" goods and services easily and efficiently.
There are many benefits associated with using a statewide contract for your procurement. The following represent just a few:
- Time Saver: The specification writing, bidding, and evaluation have been done for you by a professional contract manager and team of public entity purchasers who have proficiency and experience with the products/services sought.
- Buying Power and Cost Savings Potential: Save money by using contracts that wield the state's purchase of over $1.0 billion annually in goods and services to run state agencies and programs. Aggregate-purchase discounts and the right to negotiate prices downward are two benefits of the state's purchasing power.
- Contracting Expertise and Assurance: We all know that cheapest is not always best. Better terms and conditions, delivery guarantees, top order-fulfillment priority, performance measures, premium or extended warranties and mandatory reporting are just some of the features the state is able to include in its contracts.
- Vendor Management and Oversight - Why hassle with vendors? When issues arise, the state contract managers are available to assist in resolving any contract problems.
- Reduced Environmental Impact and Improved Public Health: Currently hundreds of EPPs are available through statewide contracts that enable purchasers to utilize recycled materials, conserve energy or water, limit their use of toxic substances, reduce their disposal loads and more. Agencies and departments are encouraged to take advantage of these contracts in starting or expanding their environmental purchasing programs.
Who can use statewide contracts?
All Executive departments are required to use Statewide Contracts for their purchases. Departments can purchase using a Statewide Contract without having to conduct their own competitive procurement or execute contract documents.
While Executive departments are required to use Statewide Contracts, many other public and quasi-public entities are eligible, though not required, to use the Commonwealth's Statewide Contracts. These eligible entities include, but are not limited to:
- Cities, towns, districts, counties and other political subdivisions
- Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches, including all departments and elected offices therein
- Independent public authorities, commissions, and quasi-public agencies
- Local public libraries, public school districts, and charter schools
- Public hospitals owned by the Commonwealth
- Public institutions of higher education
- Public purchasing cooperatives
- Non-profit, UFR-certified organizations that are doing business with the Commonwealth
- Other states and territories with no prior approval by the State Purchasing Agent required
- Other entities when designated in writing by the State Purchasing Agent
Other eligible entities, such as cities and towns, may need to execute the appropriate contract documents; however, they are not required to conduct a separate competitive procurement since all Statewide Contracts are the result of a competitive process.