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Chapter 6 - Fair and Open Competition in IT Procurement

6.1 VITA's competition principles

The following principles facilitate fair and open competition and should be used in the sourcing of all VITA and VITA-delegated IT procurements:

  • Promote full and open competition to the maximum extent practicable.
  • Allow acquisitions without competition only when authorized by law or policy.
  • Restrict competition only when necessary to satisfy a reasonable public requirement.
  • Provide clear, adequate and sufficiently defined information about public needs to allow offerors to enter the solicitation process on an equal footing.
  • Publicize requirements and provide timely access to solicitation documents (including amendments, clarifications and changes to requirements) for all suppliers.
  • Solicitations should state the basis to be used for evaluating bids and proposals and for making the award.
  • Evaluate bids and proposals and make award(s) based on the criteria in the solicitation and applicable law. Enable transparency and public access to procurement information consistent with the protection of trade secrets, proprietary or confidential source selection information and person privacy rights.
  • Ensure that all parties involved in the procurement process participate fairly, honestly and in good faith.
  • Recognize that adherence to the principles of competition is essential to the maintenance of the integrity of the IT procurement process.
  • Promote the expansion of contracting opportunities for small businesses, including small businesses owned by women, minorities, and service-disabled veterans (SWaM), and micro-businesses.

Competition enables the Commonwealth to achieve value in its IT purchases through:

  • Increasing the quantity, quality and diversity of IT suppliers. Fair and open competition incentivizes IT suppliers to submit bids and/or proposals that meet the Commonwealth's needs.
  • Creating incentives for suppliers to deliver IT projects with emphasis on time, quality and cost.
  • Motivating suppliers to innovate and invest in Commonwealth IT projects.

VITA operates on the premise that fair and open competition in IT procurement achieves the following objectives for the Commonwealth:

  • Instills public and supplier confidence about the integrity and cost effectiveness of public sector procurement.
  • Maximizes the most economically beneficial outcome for the taxpayers ensuring that the procurement process produces an optimal solution at a reasonable price.
  • Ensures that all IT suppliers desiring to conduct business with the Commonwealth are given a reasonable opportunity to do so.
  • Guards against favoritism, fraud and collusion and allows qualified suppliers an opportunity to obtain Commonwealth business.
  • Ensures that all solicitation documents reflect the requirements and desired outcome of the Commonwealth and that all bidders and offerors are subject to equivalent terms, conditions and requirements.