Advocating for Choice: The Benefits of Cooperative Purchasing

by Marc Selvitelli, Executive Director, National Coalition for Public Procurement

A 2014 survey conducted by Government Procurement magazine revealed that 47 percent of public agencies see their use of cooperative purchasing increasing over the next three years. Despite that outlook, some states have passed — or are seeking to pass — laws limiting cooperative purchasing agreements.

The National Coalition for Public Procurement (NCPP) was formed by two of the largest procurement programs for public agencies, educational institutions and non-profit organizations in the United States to serve as the united voice on advocacy issues that have the potential to impact the industry. The two founding organizations, National Intergovernmental Purchasing Alliance (National IPA) and National Joint Powers Alliance (NJPA) are joined by National Purchasing Partners (NPP) to form the Board of Directors. Together, they support a procurement process that is open, transparent and consistent with public disclosure laws.

NCPP invites national cooperative/contract purchasing organizations to join them. Cooperative purchasing agencies joining NCPP agree to abide by the organization’s Standards of Excellence and Professional Conduct, ensuring that membership is a meaningful designation.

It is NCPP’s stance that cooperative purchasing benefits everybody. Some of these benefits include:

  • Giving government and educational entities another resource to ensure they are getting the best price, quality and service for the taxpayer’s dollar
  • Reducing the administrative burden of time and resources
  • Offering the opportunity for greater efficiency and economies of scale in acquiring goods and services — both of which save money.

Bills that limit cooperative purchasing in favor of one or two companies limit a state’s ability to realize these benefits. To protect the right for entities to have the ability to utilize cooperative purchasing, NCPP is staying abreast of proposed bills at the state level, monitoring this activity. It will create grassroots action when necessary, and educate legislators on the benefits of cooperative purchasing to make sure they recognize the potential gains of keeping this channel open as a possibility for government agencies.

Ensuring the appropriate use of public dollars is one of, if not the, main goal of public procurement professionals. The organizations that make up NCPP joined forces so public procurement professionals can continue to ensure the appropriate use of those dollars. We believe wholly in this cause and all of our focus and energy goes toward making sure cooperative purchasing is available to as many entities as possible, coast to coast.

Marc Selvitelli, CAE, is the executive director of the National Coalition for Public Procurement. Its members include cooperative purchasing organizations, suppliers, professional associations, nonprofit agencies, education facilities, public procurement practitioners and state and local governments. For more information on NCPP, visit  www.publicprocurementcoalition.org.

Find out more about cooperative purchasing through a special 3-part series of Webinars. Each webinar offers perspective and an approach to creating a cooperative strategy. Visit http://www.publicprocurementcoalition.org/page/Education for details.

To learn more about cooperative contracts awarded to Xerox, click here.

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