PRO-311 Reverse Auction

Section​ ​Title



    The purpose of this policy is to establish the official procedure for obtaining approval, and subsequently conducting, a reverse auction.


    A reverse auction is a procurement method used to obtain bids for commodities or services where something is purchased from the lowest bidder (which is the "reverse" of a typical auction wherein something is sold to the highest bidder).

    Reverse auctions are normally conducted via the Internet whereby bidders anonymously bid against each other for an item (or group of items) needed by an agency. The State of Wisconsin has the legal authority to conduct such events, but consideration is given to competitive bidding and reverse auctions are exceptional.

    Prior to requesting approval to run a reverse auction, agencies will consider all competitive solicitation options to determine the method that is in the best interests of the state. See PRO-301, Competitive Procurement Policy.

    If the State Bureau of Procurement (Bureau) approves the use of a reverse auction, it will do so in writing and the agency will follow the procedures prescribed by the Bureau.

    Unlike competitive bids, there is no mandatory public opening of reverse auction responses and no mandatory public viewing of the reverse auction event. However, responses and reverse auction logs are considered public record. See PRO-105, Procurement Record Retention and Access.

    Protest and appeals procedures apply to reverse auctions for contractual services valued over the official sealed bid threshold. See PRO-101, Procurement Definitions and Thresholds. The right to protest the solicitation in a reverse auction is determined by the date of the state's decision to invite/not invite a vendor to participate in a reverse auction ("invitation to participate"). See PRO-204, Contractual Services Procurement.

    Legal/public notice requirements apply to reverse auctions valued over the official sealed bid threshold. See PRO-601, Legal/Public Notice.


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PRO-311 Reverse Auction