The Boston Public Works Department’s contracts for road resurfacing were overly focused on achieving mileage targets to the detriment of other key goals, such as maintaining steady work flows and minimizing inconvenience to constituents. With pro-bono technical assistance from the GPL, the city incorporated results-driven contracting strategies to reorient the roadway resurfacing contracts around a holistic set of goals, provide vendors with incentives to meet these goals, and increase the flow of performance data enabling the Department to course correct issues in real-time. The new contracts, worth $6 million a year, set out a performance payment structure to align stakeholder interests and reduce vendor uncertainty around anticipated work hours. The Public Works Department has expanded this pilot and is implementing results-driven contracting strategies in all of the City’s yearly capital programs (worth $40 million per year).
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Procurement Systems Projects
The City of Boston spends over $120 million on construction projects every year but lacked the infrastructure to systematically share project information and effectively coordinate project management across departments. As a result, multi-departmental projects were falling behind schedule and running over budget. With pro-bono technical assistance from the GPL, the city launched a problem-based procurement for a cross-department capital project management IT system. The procurement aimed to standardize project management processes, increase the flow of data, and improve service delivery both across and within departments. After receiving more than twice the number of anticipated proposals, the city purchased a new standardized IT system that has promoted the sharing of best practices, process improvement, and increased coordination across departments.
Boston faced a number of challenges with its bike share system – some stations frequently had no available bikes while others were completely full, total ridership was lower than expected, and access was limited in low-income and minority communities. To address these challenges, the GPL provided pro bono technical assistance to help the city reshape the bike share system through the procurement of a new system operator. The procurement implemented performance metrics that better capture the user experience, improved system operations by balancing operator oversight and flexibility, and recruited private financing for the system expansion. As a result, Boston and neighboring municipalities will expand the bike share network by more than 70 stations over the next two years without spending additional public dollars, increase access for low-income and minority communities by reaching new neighborhoods, and incorporate new procedures to improve the user experience.
As part of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities initiative, the GPL provided pro bono technical assistance to help Boston improve its vendor diversity by contracting with more Minority- and Women-owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs).
Boston aimed to increase the racial and gender diversity of its vendors. The city established concrete vendor diversity goals and, with pro-bono technical assistance from the GPL, created a performance tracking system to monitor progress, streamline procurement practices to improve accessibility and transparency, and expanded technical assistance for diverse vendors. Initial signs, including an increase in vendor diversity for maintenance contracts, suggests that these strategies are working. Additionally, the city launched a New Small Business Center to serve as a one-stop resource for small business owners and entrepreneurs, providing professional training, networking, and one-on-one coaching sessions.
As part of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities initiative, the GPL provided pro bono technical assistance to help Charleston increase price flexibility for the City's waste collection contracts, and ultimately, improve service delivery.
In Charleston, the city provides a mix of in-house and contracted waste collection services and seeks to ensure that seeks to ensure that all neighborhoods – regardless of service provider - receive safe, high-quality, and timely waste pick-up. With key contracts for waste collection services set to expire, the GPL provided pro bono technical assistance to help the city develop a new procurement process that targets the city’s goals and is oriented around clearly-defined performance metrics (such as route completion and response times). The new procurement improves the collection of key data, provides vendors with the incentives to meet the city’s goals, and encourages excellent performance of waste collection services across the city.
Developing strategies to improve the use of results-driven RFPs and active contract management for priority programs
As part of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities initiative, the GPL provided pro bono technical assistance to help Indianapolis increase competition, reduce costs, improve service quality, and enhance the City’s information technology (IT) capabilities by adopting results-driven contracting strategies for its IT application services contracts.
The Government Performance Lab is using results-driven contracting strategies to enhance IT capacity in local government. In Indianapolis, the city sought to improve the performance and value for money of its contracted IT application services. To do so, the GPL helped the city create several performance metrics to track the outcomes of IT application services, including timeliness of project work and department satisfaction surveys. The city then designed a competitive procurement approach which enabled them to compare vendor competencies in an actual project setting and accommodate both recurring support and special project needs through a new pricing structure. The GPL also made a number of recommendations to improve contract management and unbundle services from the master IT application services contract. In 2017, Indianapolis negotiated a contract renewal that reduced annual costs by approximately $900,000—nearly $3.6 million total over the remaining life of the contract.
As part of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities initiative, the GPL provided pro bono technical assistance to help Little Rock adopt results-driven contracting strategies across its entire procurement portfolio, improving consistency, vendor management, and data usage throughout the City.
Little Rock aimed to reform its entire procurement portfolio and to improve the city’s procurement process. With pro-bono technical assistance from the GPL, a new outcomes-focused procurement template was designed based on in-depth interviews, and a vendor performance review form was created to better track vendor performance. Little Rock has transitioned 100 percent of their procurements to the outcomes-focused template, and regularly uses the performance review form to discuss project progress with vendors. As a result, there has been a decrease in re-procurements and change orders, increased cost control, and poor performing vendors are beginning to be replaced. Furthermore, the city has created a cross-departmental Procurement Task Force to review existing procurement policy and make recommendations for changes based on best practices and the work done with the lab.
As part of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities initiative, the GPL provided pro bono technical assistance to help Louisville design and pilot a strategic procurement system to improve the outcomes of the City’s contracted dollars.
As part of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities initiative, the GPL supported the City of Mesa, AZ in procuring for a partner organization to implement the Love Your Neighborhood (LYN) program, which is a community engagement and home rehabilitation initiative. The City wanted to provide residents with resources and services to create sustainable improvements in a neighborhood that was particularly challenged with high instances of code violations, graffiti, police calls, and vacancies. A program was launched to help homeowners qualify for and implement home rehabilitation activities and to engage residents with information and resources related to home and property maintenance. After a pilot run, the city realized that a third-party partner was needed to deeply engage community members, identify homeowners to participate in the program, and carry out home rehabilitation projects. The GPL worked with the City to strategically procure for a partner organization, while emphasizing key performance metrics like number of exterior home rehabilitation activities completed and number of households engaged in community training. The GPL then helped the City implement strategies of active contract management that enabled the city and partner organization to meet frequently to discuss opportunities for collaboration, celebrate successes, and flag program challenges in real-time.
As part of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities initiative, the GPL provided pro bono technical assistance to help Saint Paul expand the pool of vendors that bid on street reconstruction contracts and improve vendor management during construction.
The City of Saint Paul faced several key challenges with their street reconstruction contracts. Vendor competition was low, and projects ran past agreed-upon budgets and timelines. With pro bono technical assistance from the GPL, the city conducted a vendor survey and implemented pre-bid meetings to improve vendor competition, streamlined project management responsibilities from design to construction completion, and created a dashboard to track vendor performance and enable real-time improvements. As a result, the city has seen a significant expansion of the vendor pool, and there are early indications of fewer contract amendments for recent projects. In addition, the Procurement Office has continued to foster a culture of continuous feedback by following up with vendors at the end of each project to understand strengths and opportunities for improving the procurement process.
As part of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities initiative, the GPL provided pro bono technical assistance to help the City of Tempe apply results-driven contracting strategies to improve the outcomes of its employee wellness program.
In Tempe, the city’s employee wellness program provides low-intensity supportive health and wellness services to all employees. However, the city had not clearly articulated the goals of the program nor set in place a method for evaluating the impact of the services. With the help of the GPL, Tempe reworked the procurement process to incorporate performance metrics of interest, such as reduction in negative health outcomes and increase in physical activity. The city also established a governance structure to review progress and refine program design over the course of the contract in order to continuously drive towards better outcomes. This process will provide the city leadership with insight into the overall impact of the program and help identify which components of the program have the greatest impact.
As part of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities initiative, the GPL provided pro bono technical assistance to help Wichita reform its solicitations for grounds maintenance and landscaping services to improve the quality of City parks while reducing costs.
Wichita aimed to improve the quality of the city’s parks while reducing costs. In 2015, grounds maintenance bid amounts were up 30 percent over the prior year, contractors were failing to meet parks inspectors’ quality standards, and Wichita City officials had received numerous complaints about the height of the grass on playgrounds and playing fields. With pro-bono technical assistance from the GPL, the city created a mobile tool to track performance on key indicators (including grass height, debris on site, and property damage) for inspectors to fill out on-site. They then conducted a competitive procurement to select vendors for smaller parcels based on both quality of service and price, and included a bonus payment to reward strong performance. As a result, the city boosted overall competition (number of vendors submitting responses rose by 38 percent, and more than 95 percent of parcels had more than one bid) while keeping costs roughly the same as during the prior year. Most importantly, residents’ lives have improved as indicated by the fact that complaints to the City Manager about grounds maintenance have substantially fallen.
Exploring the use of PFS to improve social service delivery
Develop a framework for prioritizing capital works projects across multiple departments
Developing public-private partnerships related to smart street lights initiatives
Drafting an RFP for a constituent relationship management software system
Drafting a results-driven RFP to identify a developer to build a high-quality, affordable housing on City land
Build out the Governor's performance management system and direct work with the Office of Behavioral Health
Developing an RFP template for asphalt and concrete resurfacing services
Developing a Vendor Evaluation Form to be incorporated into City contracts with vendors
Employing results-driven contracting strategies on after school education services in community recreation centers
Piloting open contracting data practices
Conducting Pay for Success feasibility analyses across several policy areas connected to health and human services
Restructuring independent service coordination contracts and internal processes to obtain better outcomes for individuals with developmental disabilities
Adopting vendor report cards to evaluate vendor performance
Developing a new outcomes-focused RFP template and streamlining general procurement operations
The GPL is helping the City of Los Angeles create a formalized outcomes-oriented strategic procurement system that aims to modernize and improve the results of their contracting process. Currently, the City has a decentralized procurement system, which has contributed to departments often not achieving top results from their contracted dollars.
Adopting vendor report cards to evaluate vendor performance
The GPL improved operational processes across state Secretariats by increasing agency staff's project management and performance improvement abilities.
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