Here’s a potential resource for public bodies that need a list of recommended best practices to run an efficient cooperative purchasing program. It’s titled the “AZNIGP Model Cooperative Procurement Program Master Process Guideline.” The list can be used as a guide to cooperative procurement best practices and can be edited as appropriate by public agencies. Public buyers in cities, towns, counties, state agencies, higher education and school districts can find insight in the guide.  

The guideline was developed and reviewed by the Cooperative Committee of the Arizona Capitol Chapter of NIGP. Many Arizona public procurement professionals provided input in the guide’s creation. Go to this site to download the guide. The download link is next to the publication name: AZNIGP Cooperative Procurement Program Guidelines.

The document outlines best practice recommendations for an efficient cooperative procurement program including:
Benefits of Cooperative Purchasing
Strategic Procurement Planning
Sources of Information for Public Agencies
Data Analysis for Public Agencies
Target Contract Format
Types of Contracts
Types of Solicitations
Composing the Solicitation
Minimum Legal Policy Requirements for Lead Public Agencies
Contract Administration
Audit Requirements/Results

The guidelines can be adjusted to meet a particular agency’s needs, says Gary Barkman, a procurement specialist supervisor for the Mesa, Ariz., Public Schools. “The document is designed to be another tool for Arizona public procurement agencies when they are looking to purchase cooperatively. The document serves as a starting base that can be tweaked, changed, etc., to include each agency’s nuances with regards to requirements and such,” Barkman says.

Each procurement entity is unique, Barkman explains. “Each agency type has either differences within their requirements or the way they handle terms and conditions in solicitations. What may be a requirement for some may not be for others.” That diversity in public sector agencies, adds Barkman, spurred the public buyers to work on the resource. “Procurement professionals from all different walks came together through our NIGP AZ State Capitol Chapter Cooperative Committee to build/design the model cooperative procurement program guideline.”

The Arizona cooperative committee has produced and issued two other resources that may be helpful to public buyers in the U.S. The documents are:

"Justification for Utilizing a Cooperative Document" — the document is presented as Appendix A in the guideline package. A download link for the package is presented above.

"Cooperative Committee Review Questionnaire" — go to this link to download this resource.

The committee put together the questionnaire and cooperative organization responses as a helping tool for public procurement personnel in Arizona and anyone else. The committee compiled the information from questionnaire responses throughout the 2016 calendar year, during the cooperative committee’s monthly meetings.

According to Barkman, the review questionnaire and responses are more tools in the toolbox for anyone that relies on cooperative purchasing for their agency’s acquisitions. “The resources are meant to create an equal comparison of cooperatives based on responses to the same set of questions.”

Editor’s note: In addition to the resources mentioned above, readers may want to consult the NIGP site for helpful tools for cooperative buys. The NIGP: The Institute for Public Procurement’s Global Best Practices website has useful procurement resources, including a “Use of Cooperative Contracts for Public Procurement Guide” that has checklists for administering cooperative contracts.

For more information about NIGP NAC Accredited Cooperatives, click here

Michael Keating is senior editor for American City & County and the GPN web site. Contact: michael.keating@penton.com

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