Here at NASPO, we love hearing about the interesting things happening at central procurement offices across America! D.C. recently hosted an international delegation of government officials and public workers from Israel to discuss best practices when procuring social service contracts. This was the third international delegation the D.C. procurement office hosted this year. The D.C. office was kind enough to share the lessons they learned from these experiences. We talked to George Schutter, the CPO of D.C., Nancy Hapeman, the Deputy Chief Procurement Officer, and Keysha Taylor, their General Counsel, about their visit. They found that “even though [they] are from different countries and have a different set of laws and a different set of regulations, there are similar procurement issues…that [they] are both dealing with”.
Both delegations found that they faced similar issues with social service contracts. Deputy Chief Procurement Officer, Nancy Hapeman explained, “Their [Israeli Delegation] focus was really more on how to proactively provide social services to people-and they had some of the same concerns we had. So, we discussed the process that we had for our human care agreements.” The two groups discussed the types of contract vehicles they use to procure different services. Such as what to do when a beneficiary is the one to choose where to receive services. Nancy further explained, “We develop a roster of people who can provide a particular service and it’s a late schedule and it’s not an agreement to provide anything less we send a specific task order and they[Israeli delegation] were interested in that concept because they didn’t know over time how many services they need so the idea of having a type of service where you have the rates agreed upon and then you just order them as needed- that was certainly one aspect we talked about.”
D.C. explained that in their Human Care Agreements, they prequalify firms and other nonprofits and set up terms and conditions, including pricing. However, there is no obligation for the government until a beneficiary chooses to use their services. An issue that comes along with the beneficiary choosing their provider is how to keep control over how much is spent with a particular provider. To deal with this, D.C. places a ceiling on the providers who then contact them when they are at 75% of this ceiling payments. This increases the lead time the procurement office has to increase the contract value and avoid an unauthorized commitment scenario.
The Israeli delegation was interested in how D.C. split their pricing of these contracts into an administrative fee, which is a set cost, and a variable fee, which is a per client per day rate. The delegation also had questions about what type of procurement metrics D.C. used to measure the effectiveness of a social service program. Using the example of a job training program, the D.C. delegation explained that payment is broken down by how far the clients proceed in the program. This incentivizes the provider to retain their clients and support them throughout the program. The key is to figure out the goals you want to provide incentives for, such as a client getting their GED, and base the payments on that.
Through these discussions both groups found that there were more similarities than differences between their procurement practices. Mr. Shutter likened it to the discussions that occur between the states, “the jurisdictions are a little bit different, but government jurisdictions have similarities”. Just like the discussions that occur on the NASPO Network, the D.C. procurement team discussed common issues and innovative ways to address them with the Israeli delegation. These discussions were in some way, “A validation that these are not just District specific issues but are issues that arise with the type of services we are trying to get with procurement,” recapped Mr. Schutter. Even though the Israeli delegation is from a different country, both procurement offices are “doing their best to address the needs of their residence and citizens”.
Although they are oceans apart, these two procurement offices shared the same goals and faced some of the same issues. These international delegations provide a great opportunity to share ideas and realize, that although they speak different languages, they have more similarities than you might think.
Is there anything your office is doing that you want to share with the NASPO community? Reach out to us! Contact us at [email protected] and we’ll set up a phone call so we can stay up-to-date on the innovative things happening in state procurement!