Pa. streamlines vendor procedures

New procedures may grease the wheels for Pennsylvania agencies wanting to contract for information technology services.

Since 1996, vendors could apply once a year to be added to a master list of those pre-qualified for state business. Now the state has established an open enrollment policy allowing vendors to apply for pre-approval at any time.

The open enrollment is only for vendors that supply IT services, including consulting, computer training and programming. Such a policy is especially essential for technology services because the industry changes so rapidly, said Scott Elliott, a spokesman for Gov. Tom Ridge.

Elliott said the new policy will allow state agencies to contract with vendors in a matter of days instead of the weeks or months required under the previous policy.

For procurements under $100,000, agencies can select any vendor on the master list. For goods and services over $100,000, agencies must request bids from three vendors on the list.

To get pre-approved, vendors supply information such as years of experience, level of expertise and references, which are evaluated by the state. Elliott said there are currently 224 vendors on the master list, but he expects that number to swell in the coming weeks.

The state's "Invitation to Qualify" can be found at its procurement Web site (www.itq.state.pa.us).

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