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The Department of Procurement Services (DPS) today unveiled the first Consolidated Buying Plan at the 2015 Vendor Fair, an outreach event hosted in partnership with Cook County. The Consolidated Buying Plan builds on the City of Chicago’s Buying Plan, which is a 12 to 16 month forecast of goods and services that the City plans to procure. This special Buying Plan includes, for the first time, the upcoming contracting opportunities for the City as well as nine additional government purchasing entities. Entities participating in the Consolidated Buying Plan are: Chicago Board of Elections, Chicago Housing Authority, Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Transit Authority, City Colleges of Chicago, Public Building Commission, Cook County and the State of Illinois.
“The Consolidated Buying Plan is an example of the continued progress we have been making over the past four years to reform our contracting process,” said Mayor Emanuel, “Creating a world-class procurement process for the City of Chicago is an important step in our larger goal of supporting our small businesses and creating jobs in all of our communities.”
The Buying Plan was the result of a recommendation from the Government Procurement Compliance Forum (GPC Forum). Under the leadership of Mayor Emanuel, DPS initiated a series of meetings with the City’s sister agencies and invited County, State and Federal government as well as non-profit assist agencies representing the vendor community.
Those meetings grew into the Government Procurement Compliance (GPC) Forum, a strategic planning effort, resulting in a number of working subcommittees tasked with researching and reviewing best practices and recommending solutions to shared challenges. The inclusion of non-profit assist agencies has allowed a continual stream of communication between government entities and the local, small, minority and women-owned business community.
Further procurement improvements will be recommended by the newly formed Procurement Reform Task Force, which will be co-chaired by the Inspector General and the City's Chief Procurement Officer. By studying procurement processes, contract compliance, data systems and oversight, the Task Force aims to distinguish successful practices, identify areas for improvement and promote a greater level of uniformity across City government and each sister agency. Specifically, the Task Force will propose best practices for all procurement methods across agencies; including MBE/WBE/DBE compliance plans, contracts monitoring, and good faith efforts for compliance; as well as methods for sharing information about contractors and debarred vendors.
This year’s Vendor Fair, held at the UIC Forum in Chicago, IL, featured 85 exhibitors discussing contracting opportunities in all areas, including professional services, technology, work services, and commodities from federal, state and local government agencies. The event also included free customized workshops and targeted networking sessions.
Over 1,000 individuals representing hundreds of companies, suppliers and manufacturers pre-registered for the event, seeking information on hundreds of projects of all sizes and dollar amounts.
In addition to the government agencies, all City of Chicago sister agencies and numerous trade associations, chambers of commerce and business groups participated in the Vendor Fair to encourage greater networking with participants. Outreach events like the Vendor Fair ensure continued fairness and transparency of the procurement process by having staff available to answer questions regarding upcoming opportunities.
The Vendor Fair is one of over a hundred outreach events that DPS participates in annually. To complement the focus on transparency in contracting opportunities, from day one in office, Mayor Emanuel has recognized the importance of strengthening small business by providing access to capital and financial assistance to those firms interested in bidding on government work. The City, working with the vendor community, will host its 2nd Annual Financial Symposium on July 16, 2015 at the UIC Forum. This symposium will convene financing institutions, lenders, chambers, government entities and assist agencies to provide resources to small, minority and women-owned businesses to support growth and build capacity. For more information on all upcoming outreach events, visit www.cityofchicago.org/dpsevents