Consultancy to support OCP with scoping and supporting U.S. Cities & Counties on getting better economic and social results from procurement
OCP’s goal is to help frontline city and county teams in the U.S. to respond, recover and rebuild better together by using open contracting. We are looking for a smart consultant or firm to help us tailor and deliver an open contracting program for U.S. local governments that focuses on a more equitable and effective recovery from COVID-19. In late January 2021, we are launching the call for applications for generation II of Lift and we are looking for a consultant who will help us to do outreach and implementation support for Lift. Ideally we can support cities and counties that can create a demonstration effect for other state and local governments, and the federal government. We need a critical thinking partner who can help us sharpen our understanding of U.S. local governments, help us define entry points and smarten our offerings.
Open, effective, and collaborative public procurement has the potential to play a critical role in improving the recovery to the COVID-19 pandemic but also its recovery. Cities and counties can use procurement to better target their spending to serve those with the greatest need, to promote innovation and inclusion and to rebuild the devastated small business sector. Shrinking city budgets mean that cities must make the most out of every dollar. Procurement can be a lever to deliver better results during these challenging times.
OCP is already working with local governments and countries around the world to support them in their recovery through our impact accelerator Lift. This program is designed to support teams of reformers to radically improve public services and expand economic opportunity through procurement. Current municipal Lift teams include the City of New Orleans and the City of Buenos Aires, both of which are working on expanding opportunities for local small business owners, and Mexico City, which is leveraging the renewal of its bikeshare program to expand access to this affordable and green transportation and pilot new open contracting practices within the city. In addition, we are also working with teams in Ecuador and Moldova on systemic reforms that have already demonstrated the power of open contracting during the pandemic to deliver stronger outcomes for emergency procurement. In the past we also worked with the City of Philadelphia and the City of Los Angeles together with the Sunlight Foundation. We supported Philadelphia in testing performance driven contracting strategies for $25 million USD worth of city catering contracts and food services for residents. In Los Angeles, we helped the city to gather feedback from women-, minority-, and veteran-owned businesses and begin to think about new policy and data processes that would enable the city to award more contracts to small, local, and underrepresented businesses.
We now want to bring our learning and insight from these engagements together to lift up reform efforts of procurement teams in U.S. cities and counties. We want to support bold U.S. local government reformers who want to use procurement as a lever to achieve change. Ideally we can work with cities that can create a demonstration effect for other cities, states and the federal government. We are especially keen to create a demonstration effect on key issues such as transparent, fair and effective COVID-19 recovery, inclusion of women-, black- and minority owned businesses and the use of the Open Contracting Data Standard for better government decision making.
Objective and Outcome
Our goal is to help frontline local government teams in the U.S. to respond, recover and rebuild better together by using open contracting. Ultimately we hope to have several U.S. cities and counties that can demonstrate measurable improvements in public services, goods, works or economic inclusion through better procurement practices. This could be boosting opportunities for women-, minority-owned or local businesses to participate in public procurement, equipping public city schools with the supplies and infrastructure needed to serve students and their families, expanding access to affordable and green city transit or increasing competition and reducing sole sourcing in city contracting.
In working with U.S. cities and counties we want to complement and lift up the strong ongoing work of allies, such as What Works Cities, Government Performance Lab, Living Cities, the Center for Government Excellence at John Hopkins, others. Our aim is not to replicate or compete with these programs but to fill potential gaps and collaborate with them.
We want a smart implementation partner to help us identify potential local government partners and provide implementation support on as needed basis. We believe this would be predominantly through our Lift program and also through continued outreach and support to U.S. cities and counties based on demand.
As mentioned our key goal is to help selected U.S. cities and counties promote a more equitable and effective recovery from COVID-19 through open contracting. We want to hear from you how OCP could best do that and which activities this consultancy should therefore include.
For now, we envision that you would help us with (in order):
Refining our value proposition to U.S. cities:
Help us to identify current barriers to open, collaborative and results driven procurement and how OCP could help address these in a COVID-19 context. From our past engagements we have an emerging sense of city needs but we would like to sharpen and validate our assumptions through light research and interviews with U.S. cities and counties.
We expect that this would include some desk research, interviews with 15 city reformers, tech partners, local CSOs and implementation partners and also a virtual workshop with the OCP team to distill our learning and insight.
The outcome of this work would be that OCP has a deeper understanding of which kind of cities we can help best, on what topics, and what types of implementation support cities need most through Lift. This could be captured in a short internal note on U.S. cities and counties to inform our Lift outreach and implementation and our U.S. local government work more broadly.
We expect that most of this work would happen in February and March.
Outreach to U.S. cities:
Help us identify which U.S. cities and counties we should encourage to apply to Lift (pls see our generation I selection criteria here). We are looking for local governments that have ambitious and feasible reform plans, political buy in and capacity. Ideally the city would also have a demonstration effect for other cities, states and the federal level.
Lead outreach to cities and counties and invite them to apply to Lift and more broadly to engage with OCP and raise their awareness and understanding of open contracting so that we can build up a community of cities that want to pursue open contracting over the medium term. This could also include organizing a webinar or other online outreach event, creating social media content and personalized outreach.
Support OCP in the selection process of Lift with regards to U.S. cities.
As an outcome of this work we expect 5 applications from U.S. local governments to Lift.
We expect most of this work would be done in February.
Once we have cities that could advance their reform agendas through open contracting and with OCP’s help, we envision that the consultant would provide assistance to the cities on an as-needed basis. We expect that we would provide high-intensity support to 2 cities, one or both of which would be participating in Lift, and additionally we provide lighter support to local governments on an ad hoc basis. We would expect the consultant to help us tailor our support under Lift to ensure that cities and counties can make progress.
We expect that implementation support would start in the early Summer of 2020 and involve bi-weekly calls, 1 potential trip to the city, and tailored support on procurement issues for 4 hours per week per high-intensity engagement. Light support would be provided to other cities up to 4 hours per week based on demand.
Support would also include adapting existing guidance to the U.S. local government context. We already have a suite of offerings from supporting cities around the world, but based on cities needs we want to adapt a set of existing key resources (such our technical OCDS assessment, Theory Of Change Guidance, and other resources to be decided upon in collaboration with OCP) and make them available to our community.
Document progress, guidance and insights in blog posts and reports and joining webinars, etc.
The outcome of this work would be progress in selected U.S. cities and counties on their contracting practices and how these practices contribute to social and economic change.
We estimate that most of this work would be done between March and September with most of the support happening in the summer and fall.
At OCP we work collaboratively, so the consultant/consultancy would become part of OCP’s Lift team, and be expected to participate in a weekly Lift team meeting, exchange insights with staff, and be a strong member of our open contracting community. We are eager to hear your ideas of how OCP could best achieve its objectives and how you would adjust these proposed activities.
Budget, Deliverables and Timeline
We would like to kick this work off in late January 2021 and begin implementation support to selected cities in the summer.
We will prioritize proposals under 45,000 USD between January and the end of September 2021 when our fiscal years end.
If our collaboration is successful and cities are making progress, we would hope that this engagement would continue in the new fiscal year.
We are eager to hear from the consultant what smart deliverables could include but to achieve our objectives we envision we might need:
Up to 15 user interviews with local government reformers and allies for initial research and testing of a draft support model
2 team sessions with OCP for capturing insights related to cities’ support needs, agree on selection criteria for city (in addition to the Lift criteria)
Short note on city selection criteria and effective support model
Long list of potential city partners with outreach to cities and counties
Implementation support to 2 cities for about 1 day a week for 4 months
Light support to other U.S. local governments on as needed basis through emails, calls, etc, could be up to 4 hours per week
Adaptation of about 5 existing key resources based on local government need and feedback during implementation that we will make available to the community
2 blogs to document progress and learning from the U.S. local government work
Deep understanding of U.S. local government context, their procurement opportunities and challenges and connections to government reformers in cities
Extensive knowledge on open contracting, including on procurement data (ideally the Open Contracting Data Standard,) procurement policies, vendor engagement and results driven contracting
Experience in designing, testing and delivering projects with local government teams that lead to results
Track record of developing products and services on reform management, procurement data and processes
We invite you to send us a short proposal for this engagement. Please let us know how you would approach this work and why you (and your team) are a great choice for this engagement. Please include a budget and CVs of all project members who would work on this project. Please apply by January 18 2021. For any questions please contact Kathrin Frauscher at firstname.lastname@example.org.