6.0 Introduction

In alignment with the Virginia Public Procurement Act (VPPA), all Commonwealth information technology (IT) procurements must be based on the principles of fair and open competition, neutrality in contracting and the effective and efficient use of tax dollars. IT procurement decisions should be neutral and geared toward seeking the highest quality IT goods and services at the best price, thus ensuring that the Commonwealth is a responsible steward of citizens' tax dollars. IT procurement in the Commonwealth must be fair and open to ensure that all suppliers, including small businesses and small businesses owned by women, minorities and service-disabled veterans can compete for business on a level playing field. VITA promulgates competitive market procurement policies and standards that drive IT value for the Commonwealth through sourcing technology goods and services from a range of suppliers and which encourage suppliers to be innovative and invest in the Commonwealth's technology success while helping smaller firms overcome barriers to competition.

The Commonwealth spends more than $1 billion on IT goods and servicesannually. Competitive pricing, product innovation and performance improvements are some of the benefits that come from fair and open procurement practices. Open procurement ensures that state government gets the best value and maximizes taxpayer dollars. The VPPA reinforces the goal of fair and open competition:

§ 2.2-4300(C) "To the end that public bodies in the Commonwealth obtain high quality goods and services at reasonable cost, that all procurement procedures be conducted in a fair and impartial manner with avoidance of any impropriety or appearance of impropriety, that all qualified vendors have access to public business and that no offeror be arbitrarily or capriciously excluded, it is the intent of the General Assembly that competition be sought to the maximum feasible degree, that procurement procedures involve openness and administrative efficiency, that individual public bodies enjoy broad flexibility in fashioning details of such competition, that the rules governing contract awards be made clear in advance of the competition, that specifications reflect the procurement needs of the purchasing body rather than being drawn to favor a particular vendor, and that the purchaser and vendor freely exchange information concerning what is sought to be procured and what is offered. Public bodies may consider best value concepts when procuring goods and nonprofessional services, but not construction or professional services. The criteria, factors, and basis for consideration of best value and the process for the consideration of best value shall be as stated in the procurement solicitation."

VITA is committed to fair and open competition through the implementation of IT procurement policies, procedures and processes that are transparent to its IT suppliers and the public. All VITA IT procurement professionals and those given delegated IT procurement authority from VITA should understand and accept their accountability to the taxpayers. All IT suppliers should be provided the opportunity to do business with the Commonwealth. VITA will use and encourage the use of competition as much as possible to achieve maximum value for the Commonwealth's IT dollars.