The Commonwealth of Virginia ranked second in the nation in the Governing Institute’s inaugural Procurement Survey of the States. The rankings recognize states for technological innovation, transparency and strategic methods in providing public bodies with goods, services and information technology.
In a joint submission by the Department of General Services (DGS) and the Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA), Virginia was ranked based on the policies, programs and practices detailed in 10 categories covering key areas including state governance, organizational leadership and training, procurement processes, relationship management and the use of eProcurement technology. Among other state procurement functions, DGS manages Virginia’s web-based vendor registration and purchasing system known as “eVA,” which has facilitated more than $58 billion in contracting spend on goods and services for state agencies, higher education and local governments since 2001. VITA, the consolidated information technology agency, manages technology and telecommunications contracts worth more than $800 million per year to support the IT requirements of executive branch agencies and other public bodies.
Speaking about the announcement, Governor McAuliffe said, “Building a new Virginia economy requires us to lead by example. If we want to make the Commonwealth a better place to do business, that starts by making it easy to do business with the government. This recognition shows that Virginia is one of the best in the nation when it comes to providing fiscally responsible purchases of the goods and services needed to keep government running, and doing so with an eye toward innovation and building strong relationships with our business community.”
Virginia and other top-ranked states will be honored at a reception in Washington, D.C., in February, and the results will be featured in the March 2016 issue of Governing magazine. The comprehensive review of state procurement practices is intended to raise awareness of the critical role procurement plays in state government and to create a future guide for public procurement best practices.
“Our goal at DGS is to lead the way in change and innovation, and this honor recognizes how we’ve been able to do that through eVA, our best-of-breed eProcurement system,” said Christopher L. Beschler, Director of the Department of General Services. “A strong procurement program is critical to government’s ability to deliver services, and we’re honored to be recognized as having one of the nation’s best.”
“VITA, like our colleagues at DGS, works with our suppliers to provide the best procurement solutions to meet the Commonwealth’s business needs. These partners include small, women, minority and service-disabled suppliers. We take an integrated approach to ensure we get the most possible out of these relationships. This approach involves understanding our agency customers’ technology needs, taking those requirements to the marketplace, establishing performance-based agreements with suppliers and then managing the ongoing relationships,” said Nelson Moe, Chief Information Officer of the Commonwealth and VITA agency head. “VITA shares a core value with DGS to safeguard the public trust through integrity, transparency, and fair and open dealings with suppliers and citizens.”
Moe added, “We are most proud of our staff. They work diligently every day to embody our values, serve our customers, respect our suppliers and strive to obtain the best value possible for the Commonwealth and its citizens. VITA is honored to have partnered with DGS in this this outstanding recognition for Virginia.”
Virginia has long been recognized as having one of the most ambitious and successful state government procurement systems in the country. eVA has received numerous accolades for improving operational efficiencies for suppliers and buyers and reducing the costs of acquiring goods and services. It also has provided increased transparency through easy online access to billions of dollars of current and past purchases and the rules governing state procurement, as well as information necessary to enable small businesses to succeed, such as historical data, current solicitations and future business opportunities. In addition to managing eVA, the DGS Division of Purchases and Supply negotiates and manages over 400 statewide contracts, trains public procurement professionals through its Virginia Institute of Procurement, and procures and distributes over 1,000 essential materials, food items and janitorial supplies to Virginia agencies, institutions, colleges and universities, and localities through its Virginia Distribution Center.
“Public procurement is a specialized team and it does complicated work for the benefit of all Virginia public bodies, suppliers, citizens, and other key stakeholders. Recognition by Governing is particularly valuable, as it helps us validate that the leading best practices we have undertaken are effective, and that Virginia is driving its procurement activities in the right direction,” said Robert Gleason, Director of the DGS Division of Purchases and Supply. “These are exciting times to be in public procurement, and we look forward to sharing with others, as well as learning from the good work they are doing.”
In addition to the awards and recognition in the magazine, the Governing Institute will provide individual state reports that will highlight best practices, address strengths and identify opportunities for improvement.