MRSC, SAO Update Online Contracting Requirements Tool
Procurement and competitive bidding laws can be complicated, often varying based on government type, the nature of the procurement, and the estimated cost — and it can be difficult to wade through existing requirements or stay updated on new ones.
This is why MRSC, in partnership with the State Auditor's Office (SAO) Center for Government Innovation, originally developed the Find Your Contracting Requirements tool in 2015. This free tool helps local governments identify and understand their statutory legal requirements for purchasing and contracting. We ask up to three simple questions, then provide you with a summary of your competitive bidding and contracting requirements.
MRSC and the SAO Center for Government Innovation recently updated the Find Your Contracting Requirements tool to further clarify procurement requirements.
Updates and Enhancements
Updates made to Find Your Contracting Requirements include additional projects types, an expansion of the types of agencies, and guidance on federal funding.
Update 1: New procurement type for electronic data processing and telecommunications equipment/services
Procuring electronic data processing or telecommunications equipment, software, or services to support your agency’s internal administrative functions — potentially including things like computer hardware, custom or off-the-shelf software, or various audio, video, Internet, and data systems — can be confusing. Is it an equipment purchase? A service? Would installation be considered a public work?
To answer these questions and more, a new project type has been added to question #1: What type of procurement is this?
Local governments can now select “Acquisition of electronic data processing or telecommunications equipment, software, or services” to review requirements when purchasing electronic data processing or telecommunication equipment, software, or services. Furthermore, this selection prompts a review of the optional competitive negotiation process required under RCW 39.04.270.
Update 2: Expanded agency types
For public works and purchases, we have updated the menu options to make it easier to find housing authorities and public development authorities (public corporations). These agency types were included previously, but they were harder to find.
Update 3: Federal funding sections added
We have added new guidance for all procurement types. Each project result page now has a section titled: “Federal Funding," which provides specific information regarding federal funding requirements based on the unique project type selected.
Note that when your procurement process involves federal funds, you will still need to work closely with your granting agency and carefully review your state and federal requirements regarding federal funds, using the most stringent of the two options.
While Find Your Contracting Requirements is based on reliable interpretations of Washington State statutes relating to purchasing and contracting, a local government should work with its legal counsel and should consult local ordinances and policies before contracting for any public works, purchases, or services.
MRSC offers a variety of resources related to purchasing, bidding, and contracting for local governments in Washington State. An additional resource, the Alternative Public Works Contracting Methods webpage, has been created in partnership with SAO as a companion project to the Find Your Contracting Requirements tool. We also offer MRSC Rosters, connecting agencies with businesses for small public works projects, consulting opportunities, and the procurement of goods and services, and early this year began an electronic bidding program. Agencies interested in joining MRSC Rosters or the new electronic bidding program should reach out to program coordinator Theresa Gonzales.
MRSC is a private nonprofit organization serving local governments in Washington State. Eligible government agencies in Washington State may use our free, one-on-one Ask MRSC service to get answers to legal, policy, or financial questions.