Pennsylvania streamlines contracting 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 prequalified 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 less than $100,000, agencies can select any vendor

on the master list. For goods and services more than $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.

The state's "Invitation to Qualify" can be found at its procurement

Web site (www.itq.state.pa.us).

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