Local agencies test contractor registry

National Institute of Governmental Purchasing

Local governments are testing a contractor registry as a central point of contact for agencies nationwide similar to one now available at the federal level.

One of the two pilot tests under way to test Achilles Information Ltd.'s Catalist system is specifically for information technology vendors. The National Institute of Governmental Purchasing, a not-for-profit organization providing resources, education and research for state and local procurement officials, is organizing both tests.

Governments participating in that test include Dallas; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Detroit public schools; and Miami-Dade County, Fla., said Donna Beach, director of research and technical resources at the institute.

Versions of the Catalist system are already in use in different market sectors across Europe, including portions of the public sector in the United Kingdom. The version being developed for the United States starts with the same basic database functionality as the federal Central Contractor Registration system, allowing vendors to register once with all of their qualifications, product and services information in order to do business with agencies across the country.

It also provides a performance-monitoring solution, Beach said. Agencies can leave feedback on product quality, service quality, project management, oversight of subcontractors, documentation and many other criteria. Company officials can also leave their opinions on various portions of the agency's contracting process.

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