Tuesday, January 6, 2009

District of Columbia Opens New Window on Procurements

Today the District of Columbia Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) announced the launch of two new sites that open major government procurement transactions to public view for the first time in District history. Now anyone can watch procurements unfold, step by step from start to finish.

The new procurement transparency portals represent another step in OCTO’s Digital Public Square initiative. The Digital Public Square brings citizens together and helps them hold government accountable through data catalogs, data feeds, mapping applications, transparency websites, social media tools and more. Anyone can discover and participate in the Digital Public Square by visiting dps.dc.gov.

One of the new procurement transparency sites is contracts.dc.gov. There visitors can see and participate in major current procurements conducted by OCTO and other District agencies. For example:

  • The Smart Access and Attendance Solution (SAAS) site provides information on OCTO’s procurement of a turnkey state-of-the-art system that will become the main access, security, and attendance solution for the public schools and eventually, other DC government agencies;
  • The Evidence Warehouse site tells visitors about the District’s procurement for a state-of-the-art Evidence Control and Storage Facility for the police department;
  • The Information Technology Staff Augmentation (ITSA) site is a comprehensive source of information about OCTO’s innovative master contract for information technology staff augmentation.

Each of the sites reveals every major step in the procurement from beginning to end, including the Request for Proposal (RFP) and other documents, questions and answers, and videos of pre-bidding conferences, public announcements, and other live events.

In addition, OCTO has created a new data site that offers complete information on OCTO’s procurements of contract staff. The new site, http://data.octo.dc.gov, reveals details of every IT staff engagement, including position, hourly rate, start date, and subcontracting vendor. A map on the site shows virtual “pins” for every award at the business address of each subcontracting vendor. Site visitors can see at a glance which vendors have been most successful in competing for OCTO contract staff business.

“We are driving transparency by practicing government in the public square,” said District Chief Technology Officer Vivek Kundra. “With our new procurement sites, we’re opening a window on District procurement and inviting the public to examine and comment on the ways we spend taxpayer dollars.”