October 9, 2015

Mayor Emanuel and Department Of Procurement Services Announce YouTube Channel to Increase Transparency of City Procurement Process

Channel will also increase accessibility and opportunity for MBEs/WBEs and small businesses

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Department of Procurement Services (DPS) today announced the creation of a YouTube Channel and livestreaming capability, designed to bring additional transparency to the procurement process.

“From day one, government transparency has been a priority of my administration,” said Mayor Emanuel. “We are committed to creating an open and fair government to level the playing field so that local small, minority and women-owned businesses have opportunities to participate in contracting with the City of Chicago.”

Earlier this year, the City’s Bid & Bond Room moved to Room 103 of City Hall to be more easily accessible to the public. This move has made it easier for businesses to pick up or drop off bids and learn about upcoming opportunities to do business with the City. The build-out included video and livestreaming capability to allow the public to view activities in the Bid & Bond Room from their work or home computers or mobile devices.

“Under the leadership of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, we are continually working to be service-oriented and provide more resources to the business community,” said Chief Procurement Officer Jamie L. Rhee. “The transformation of the Bid & Bond Room will benefit small, minority and women-owned businesses by making their interaction with the City more convenient and efficient, so that they can keep their focus on their core business.”

A new YouTube Channel, www.youtube.com/ChicagoDPS, will broadcast all City of Chicago bid openings. Also broadcast will be 15 different workshops on procurement and certification related issues, at no cost to the public. Through these classes, DPS shares knowledge on governmental contracting policies and procedures in order to increase the existing vendor pool and maintain transparency in contracting. Between these two activities, there will be an estimated 300 broadcast events annually.

In addition to the livestreamed events, the ChicagoDPS YouTube Channel will feature educational videos about topics related to doing business with the City of Chicago and the certification of minority- and women-owned businesses.

This is the latest initiative to expand communications and outreach about procurement opportunities. Previous efforts include the creation of procurement Facebook and Twitter platforms, a DPS Alert email newsletter and hosting and participating in 120 events and workshops annually.

In addition to announcing the YouTube Channel and livestreaming capability, DPS announced the year to date M/WBE contract payment numbers. In order to present the most accurate reflection of spending impact, DPS reports actual dollars spent (instead of contract values) with certified minority- and women-owned businesses, which provide more accurate and meaningful information. These payments, made against contracts between January 2015 and August 2015, totaled $828.7 million.

Of the total payments made during this year’s period, 27 percent went to MBEs and six percent went to WBEs. African American firms were paid $81.6 million, or 10 percent. Hispanic firms were paid $115.5 million, or 14 percent. Asian American firms were paid $37.0 million, or four percent. Finally, women-owned firms were paid $36.4 million, or four percent.

Today’s announcement is the latest in a series of efforts made by Mayor Emanuel to increase transparency and opportunity for MBEs/WBEs and small businesses. Additional announcements have included the MBE/WBE Mentorship Program, Diversity Credit Initiative, and the Graduation Phase-out Program for MBEs/WBEs.

  • The Project Area Subcontractor Bid Incentive awards up to 2% bid off of the contract base bid to prime contractors that are utilizing subcontractor whose facility and workforce is located within the project area of a City-funded construction job.
  • The Veteran's/Small Business Bid Incentive is a 5 percent bid incentive off the contract base price to joint ventures between small local businesses and veteran-owned businesses.
  • The M/WBE Mentorship Program was designed to foster improved economic opportunity for MBE and WBE businesses throughout Chicago by offering five percentage points of MBE or WBE credit for contractors that agree to take on a mentor/protégé relationship with an MBE or WBE firm. 
  • The Graduation Phase-out Program allows M/WBEs that have exceeded the program’s size standards to continue to participate for a period of three years to gradually exit the program, with 75 percent credit allowed in year one, 50 percent in year two, and 25 percent in year three. 
  • The Diversity Credit Program allows private sector firms who also bid on public work to obtain up to five percent M/WBE utilization credit on a City contract for work performed by a certified firm on one or more of the prime’s private sector contracts.
  • Alternatively Powered Vehicle Ordinance. ½ % bid incentive for companies located in 6 county region when 50% or more of the company's fleet are alternative fuel vehicles.
  • To further communication and transparency, DPS sends regular email newsletter (DPS Alerts). Registration is available on the DPS website (www.cityofchicago.org/dps). For more information, follow DPS on Facebook (www.facebook.com/ChicagoDPS) or Twitter (www.twitter.com/ChicagoDPS) for the latest information.