September 20, 2019

Special Edition: Changes to Procurement Fundamentals and Planning/Strategy (Part 2 of 6)

This special edition of the State Bureau of Procurement Newsletter offers highlights and need-to-know information about the change to the new SPM Manual. This is the second part of a series of special editions that will run over the next month. In this edition we are focusing on the notable changes in policies that are now in the 100-Series (Introduction and Procurement Fundamentals) and 200-Series (Planning and Procurement Strategy). This newsletter features the most notable changes; for more information about changes made to all policies, see the SPM Reform Summary, found on the ‘Other Resources’ accordion of the new SPM website.


What’s in 100-Series, Introduction and Procurement Fundamentals?

This section of the Manual provides an introduction to key procurement concepts, definitions and thresholds. Fundamental information related to the core principles of public procurement in Wisconsin, ethical guidelines, required systems and coding structures and delegation can be found in the 100-series. There are ten (10) policies in the 100-Series.


PRO-101: State Procurement’s New “Dictionary”

Unless a definition is critical to the understanding of a standalone policy, all official terms and definitions found in procurement law or rule have been moved into one new master reference policy, PRO-101, Procurement Definitions and Thresholds. PRO-101 also contains all the monetary thresholds that apply to procurement processes so in the event of future changes in these amounts, those changes will be made in only one central place. Use PRO-101 like a reference dictionary on an as-needed basis.


Reminder: Post Your Continuing-Use and Cooperative Contracts on VendorNet

We have updated all references to procurement systems, removing reference to systems that have been decommissioned. In the new PRO-103, Procurement Systems and Bidders Lists, agencies and campuses are reminded to post contract information to VendorNet for any contract that is for continued use (i.e., not a one-time purchase) or have cooperative purchasing as an option.


New Form for Procurement Recordkeeping & Retention

Policy related to procurement recordkeeping, retention and access can be found in PRO-105. This policy clarifies what constitutes a complete procurement file for competitive solicitations and RFIs, and also clarifies that drafts are not to be considered part of the final, official procurement file. Most importantly this new policy comes with a newly required form for agencies and campuses to use for their recordkeeping purposes, DOA-3840: Procurement Recordkeeping Checklist. Effective September 16, 2019, complete this form and keep it with your procurement record for best judgment, simplified bids, and Requests for Bid (RFB); Proposal (RFP); and Information (RFI). The most current versions of all official forms will remain on the VendorNet Forms tab. Questions or feedback about forms changes can be sent to Terri Hagstrom or by phone at (608) 266-5669.


Public Procurement Principles Now in Policy

During procurement training classes, we talk a lot about the importance of ethics and the high standards of Wisconsin public procurement to promote competition, integrity, consistency and openness. We have also clarified rules related to prohibited endorsement, testimonial or promotional activities with suppliers, in line with the importance of impartiality in State procurement. We codified those standards and principles in the form of policy; see PRO-108 and 109.


What’s in 200-Series, Planning and Procurement Strategy?

This section of the Manual covers the various methods of obtaining pre-solicitation approvals and the tools available to agencies to properly plan for procurement activities. Specifically, policy about contractual services, procurement plans, RPAs, life cycle costing and sustainability practices in procurement are included among other topics. There are ten (10) policies in the 200-Series.


Enhancements to Procurement Plan Form and Policy

Procurement plan policy, PRO-201, and the form used to submit procurement plans, DOA-3720, have changed significantly. Specifically:

  • Agencies no longer need to send a proc plan when buying directly from the federal government (intergovernmental).

  • Agencies need to submit a proc plan if they are doing a bid that is largely for commodities but has a service component with an estimated value over $50,000.

  • If an agency intends to award a contract that will be open to other agencies, and/or if an agency is requesting that a contract have extended period status, you must identify that on the proc plan form.

  • Proc plans for high risk IT or telecom solutions (i.e., valued over $1 million) must include a technical contact and an agreement to follow IT procurement policy PRO-508. This specific requirement does not apply to UW campuses.


One-Stop-Shop for Contractual Services

All special requirements for contractual services procurements, as required under §16.705, Wis. Stats. and administrative code, are discussed in policy PRO-204, Contractual Services Procurement. Some have reference to other policies that cover the topic in more detail (e.g., Cost Benefit Analysis). This policy contains requirements related to American services, protest/appeals, documenting a justification of need for services, maintaining independence and avoiding employer/employee issues, background checks and the importance of a contract administrator among others. This policy also reiterates the requirement for agencies to send a copy of all protest response decisions, regardless of outcome, to the Department of Administration.


New Tools for Running Request for Information (RFI) and Similar Events

Through PRO-207, we have clarified the parameters for running a Request for Information, and added reference to other pre-sourcing methods that are available for agencies to use to test the market and get supplier feedback before an official bid or RFP is posted (e.g., draft RFP for vendor comment). In addition, we have posted new tools on the PRO-207 SPM webpage, including an updated sample RFI, another sample RFI specific to IT solutions and a template cover letter to use when posting a draft solicitation.


Procurement Has a Role in Sustainability

A new policy, PRO-209, creates an umbrella term (“sustainability”) to refer to the various responsibilities of agency and campus procurement offices to promote purchasing of recycled or recovered materials, minimizing solid waste generation through procurement activities and revising specifications and bid processes to promote these goals. Reference to other policies related to energy-efficient equipment and using lifecycle costing are also contained in this policy.


Coming Soon! SPM Special Edition Series, Part 3

The next SPM special edition of the newsletter will focus on the notable changes we made in the 300-Series (Competitive Solicitations). The Bureau is also collecting written questions and will post answers in the form of a SPM Frequently Asked Questions document in the near future. As you review the new website and policies, please send any questions to