OIG Annual Report 2021: Regulatory and Compliance Division

Part XI of the Office of the Inspector General's 2021 Annual Report

The Regulatory and Compliance Division (Regulatory Division) supports the Office’s mission to promote good government and prevent the misuse of public funds. To that end, the Regulatory Division provides educational materials, classes, trainings and a confidential technical assistance hotline to the public, state and local government employees, procurement professionals, and individuals in the private sector who conduct business with public entities.

Header for the OIG's R&C Division

As part of this work, the Regulatory Division interprets and provides technical assistance about the application of the Uniform Procurement Act, Chapter 30B of the Massachusetts General Laws (Chapter 30B). Chapter 30B governs the sourcing and award of public contracts for supplies, services and real property by cities, towns and other governmental bodies as well as the disposal of surplus supplies and real property. The purpose of Chapter 30B is to ensure open and fair competition for public procurements by requiring public entities to allow qualified vendors an equal opportunity to enter government contracts.

The Regulatory Division also leads the Office’s Massachusetts Certified Public Purchasing Official (MCPPO) training program, which prevents fraud, waste and abuse through education. The Office established the MCPPO training program 25 years ago, in 1997, with legislative authorization. Since then, the MCPPO training program has grown to include a broad range of classes, including government operations, internal controls, cybersecurity, governance, contract administration, prevailing wage laws, emergency procurement and fraud prevention. Because participants often have a variety of training needs, limited availability and limited budgets for professional development, the MCPPO training program offers a low-cost option for jurisdictions to develop expertise in these topics.

Since 2012, the number of MCPPO training program participants increased from about 1,200 annually to more than 5,000 in 2020. The number of classes and training sessions offered by the MCPPO training program over the course of a year more than doubled from 47 trainings in 2012 to 110 trainings in 2021. Since 2012, the demand for classes offered by the MCPPO training program increased dramatically. In response, the MCPPO training program expanded its class offerings and increased its outreach through the use of online training and learning management software.

In 2021, the Regulatory Division continued to help state and local government employees use best practices and comply with Massachusetts public purchasing laws. The Regulatory Division collaborated with external agencies on trainings about prevailing wage laws and building construction, added new MCPPO classes such as Sustainable Procurement and Promoting Procurement Diversity Using Chapter 30B, simplified the MCPPO training program’s designation and certification process, developed new publications and guidance, and used technology to streamline its online technical assistance request form.

Table of Contents

I. New Training Collaborations

The Office created the MCPPO training program to ensure that public purchasing officials have the tools necessary to operate effectively and comply with public procurement laws. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office significantly developed its remote learning capabilities. As a result, the MCPPO training program has introduced new ways to educate participants, including through 60- to 90minute webinars and asynchronous online trainings. These new formats not only increased participation in the MCPPO training program – attracting, this year, a total 4,347 participants – but they enabled MCPPO to more easily collaborate with external agencies on new trainings about important topics. 

The Regulatory Division continued its work with the Attorney General’s Office to train public purchasing officials on the prevailing wage law – a law which requires that covered employees on public works projects be paid a minimum hourly rate set by the Department of Labor Standards. During 2021, the Attorney General’s Office presented a 90-minute segment on Prevailing Wage Law Enforcement. Along with incorporating information about the prevailing wage law in several classes, the Office also offered a full-day class presented by the Attorney General’s Office called Prevailing Wisdom — Confronting Potential Pitfalls and Applying Solutions on Prevailing Wage and Public Construction.

In collaboration with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA), the Regulatory Division offered a Story of a School Building training webinar about construction at Bartlett High School in Webster. This two-hour training webinar addressed differences in how school officials should approach a public-school building renovation as opposed to a new public school building construction project. The training webinar discussed how school officials can reimagine a school’s dark spaces, like internal classrooms, which are devoid of natural light and proper ventilation, and transform them into vibrant learning spaces. Finally, the training webinar discussed how a major renovation can cost less than a new building. 

Other agencies and local jurisdictions that provided their expertise to the MCPPO training program include the State Ethics Commission, the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance, the University of Massachusetts Building Authority,  the City of Cambridge, the Department of Energy Resources, the Edward J. Collins, Jr. Center for Public Management at UMass Boston, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, the City of Boston, the Supplier Diversity Office, the Operational Services Division and the MassCyberCenter. Several experts, including retired public employees, lent their support to the MCPPO training program as well.

Lastly, the MCPPO training program partnered with different governmental entities to offer trainings about the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) passed by the federal government in 2021.36 Massachusetts state, county, tribal and local entities received or will receive funds through ARPA to respond to the public health and economic impacts created by the COVID-19 pandemic. These expenditures trigger compliance obligations with public procurement laws in the Commonwealth.

II. Classes and Participants

In 2021, the Regulatory Division held 110 classes through the MCPPO training program, including 25 speaking engagements to other governmental entities and professional organizations.

Figure 10. Speaking Engagements (2021).

Figure 10. Speaking Engagements (2021).

Office staff presented to a wide variety of professional groups on topics including public procurement, fraud prevention, bidding basics and MCPPO designation changes. Audiences included state and local government employees, procurement professionals, individuals from professional associations, and individuals in the private sector who conduct business with public entities. 

During 2021, the Office offered 85 classes through the MCPPO training program and participated in 25 separate speaking engagements – the most classes and speaking engagements combined to date.

Figure 11. MCPPO Classes through the MCPPO Program by Calendar Year.

Figure 11. MCPPO Classes through the MCPPO Program by Calendar Year.

Figure 12. MCPPO Participants by Calendar Year.

Figure 12. MCPPO Participants by Calendar Year.

Since 1997, more than 34,000 students have attended classes offered by the Office through the Regulatory Division’s MCPPO training program. In 2021 alone, the Office provided classes to 4,347 participants in the MCPPO training program. 

Figure 13. Class Attendance by Year Since MCPPO Program Creation.

Figure 13. Class Attendance by Year Since MCPPO Program Creation.

III. MCPPO Training Program’s Class Selection

In 2021, the MCPPO training program expanded the types of webinars it offers and developed four new online webinars:

  • IT Procurement: Hardware, Software & Cybersecurity
  • Promoting Procurement Diversity Using Chapter 30B
  • Chief Procurement Officer Responsibilities and Delegation Authority
  • Preventing Common Frauds and Scams

Other online classes that the MCPPO training program provided in 2021 include:

  • Sustainable Procurement
  • Promoting Procurement Diversity Using Chapter 30B
  • Hiring Legal Counsel and the Attorney-Client Privilege
  • Procurement Best Practices for Sewer System
  • Surplus Supply Disposition Practices Under Chapter 30B
  • How to Navigate an Investigation by an Oversight Agency
  • Massachusetts Public Construction Bid Laws & Workforce Participation Goal Requirements
  • Public Sector Ethics

IV. MCPPO Designation and Certification Processes

The MCPPO training program continued to offer MCPPO designations and certifications through an application process. Designations and certifications are based on class participation and scores of 70% or better on competency assessments related to statutory compliance and best practices associated with public procurement, public records and laws that govern the conduct of public employees and officials. An MCPPO designation or certification, which must be renewed every three years, signifies that the holder has a competent understanding of Massachusetts public purchasing laws.

An MCPPO designation requires an individual to take three classes offered through the MCPPO training program and pass an assessment with a score of 70% or higher. The classes include: (1) Public Contracting Overview, an introductory class that provides an overview of Massachusetts’ procurement laws; (2) Supplies and Services Contracting, a more in-depth review and application of Chapter 30B to a set of facts; and (3) Design and Construction Contracting, which provides in-depth instruction on the procurement laws governing public design and construction in Massachusetts. 

The Regulatory Division also offers specialized classes, such as a four-day Certification for School Project Designers and Owner’s Project Managers class. The Office created this class in 2007 in response to a MSBA regulation that requires that public school designers and owner’s project managers be certified to work on MSBA-funded school projects that trigger public procurement laws. 

The Regulatory Division also continued to offer a two-day Charter School Procurement class in response to a statutory mandate requiring certification for charter school procurement staff. In this class, charter school employees learn about how to conduct open and fair competitions in accordance with Chapter 30B.

V. Enrollment and Participation Technology

As the MCPPO training program transitioned all classes to an online platform, it introduced new ways for participants to access staff and receive support, including a dedicated email address called “Askthe-OIG-Instructor@mass.gov.” This email address enables participants to ask class-related questions to MCPPO instructors both during and after class. In 2021, the program received 1,068 inquiries. The “Ask the Instructor” email operates daily and ensures that participants’ education continues beyond the MCPPO training program’s formal classes. 

The Office also operates a an MCPPO training program helpline, accessible by phone or email, which supports enrollment and participation in the MCPPO training program. In 2021, the MCPPO training program email received and responded to 2,364 emails and 632 calls. The MCPPO training program helpline operates daily. 

VI. The Chapter 30B Hotline and Publications

The Regulatory Division operates a hotline through which it assists callers with questions concerning Chapter 30B, public construction bidding laws, local purchasing requirements, fraud prevention and internal controls. In 2021, the Office responded to 1,493 inquiries and questions. 

In 2021, the Regulatory Division introduced the Chapter 30B Technical Assistance Form. The form contains a list of resources and provides a new way for individuals with questions about Chapter 30B to get assistance. The hotline operates Monday to Friday, except holidays. Individuals can email the hotline directly or leave voice messages 24 hours a day. 

The Regulatory Division also publishes a wide range of materials to educate and inform public employees, vendors and members of the public about compliance with public procurement laws. The Regulatory Division continues to publish responses to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and other related articles in the Office’s quarterly publication: the OIG Bulletin.

Contact   for OIG Annual Report 2021: Regulatory and Compliance Division


Available 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., M-F. Our confidential Hotline is for public employees and individuals with Chapter 30B procurement questions. Direct questions related to design and construction procurement to the Attorney General’s Office.

We welcome non-English speakers to contact us. Confidential translation services are available in most languages. Call Chapter 30B Assistance Contact Information, We welcome non-English speakers to contact us. Confidential translation services are available in most languages. at


Office of the Inspector General
One Ashburton Place, Room 1311, Boston, MA 02108

36 The American Rescue Plan Act, Pub. L. 117-2, passed by the federal government in March 2021, is an economic stimulus bill intended to respond to the public health and economic impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Massachusetts public entities are administering $25 billion in American Rescue Plan Act funds.

Date published: April 29, 2022

Help Us Improve Mass.gov  with your feedback

Please do not include personal or contact information.