Use the Code
At this year’s 2011 Forum, NIGP continues to roll out the Values and Guiding Principles (VGP) for the organization. A truly collaborative effort, the project has encompassed procurement, legal, financial professionals in public sector as well as the supplier community. As the custodian of the NIGP Code, Periscope Holdings endorses the Values and Guiding Principles effort as part of our membership on the NIGP Business Council. One of our colleagues in public procurement asked, “That’s great, but what does it mean?”
Simply put, it means that we commit our organization to align our actions and interactions with public procurement with the Values and Guiding Principles. In addition, how do we support procurement to reach these goals? More to the point, how do we make sure the NIGP Code enables public procurement professionals to live up to the Values and Guiding Principles?
For anyone who has been hiding under a rock this past year, the NIGP Values include Accountability, Impartiality, Ethics, Professionalism, Service and Transparency.
So how does the NIGP Code play a role? My favorite example is in the area of transparency, described as easily accessible and understandable policies and processes, which are essential to demonstrate responsible use of public funds. Here are a few ways the NIGP Code can be used to promote transparency in public procurement:
Vendor registration – the ability to assign NIGP Codes to suppliers to uniformly describe what products and services they provide to the public.
Supplier analysis – having assigned codes to suppliers, the agency can now analyze commodity grouping to determine if there is true competition or if additional outreach is needed. In addition, cross-referencing MBE/WBE/DBE and veteran status to the NIGP Code provides a better picture of representation for the competitive landscape and opportunities for outreach.
Solicitation management – being able to target suppliers by commodity and to be able to demonstrate that the competition was fair and truly competitive.
Spend management – being able to report on spend, providing public access to where the money is going within an organization, which is key to promoting public trust in the procurement function.
While this is not an exhaustive list, it is clear that the NIGP Code can and does provide support for transparency in public procurement. In the coming months, we will explore how the Code supports the Values and Principles for public procurement by compiling case studies related to the Value statements. If you wish to participate, we welcome your input.
For additional information on NIGP’s Values and Principles project, visit: http://www.principlesandpractices.org/.
About the author
John Walters is president of NIGP Code Services at Periscope Holdings, the custodian of the NIGP code on behalf of NIGP. He has been involved in public procurement since 1997 and has served as a consultant, trainer and speaker. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.