NLPES Question of the Month

July-September 2005:

HAS YOUR OFFICE DEVELOPED STANDARDS FOR EVALUATING STATE AGENCIES' CONTRACT MANAGEMENT PRACTICES?

Cindi Stetson, Colorado

Our Office routinely audits contract management practices on our performance audits.  Although we don't have a standard audit program for this purpose, we do have standard criteria.  Our statutes provide some specific guidance, and our Department of Personnel and Administration, which handles policies and procedures statewide for procurement and contract management, has established certain rules and guidance in this area.  We use this as criteria for auditing contract management practices, and we view contract management as a high-risk area that routinely provides useful findings.

Our audit teams typically use audit programs from prior audits and modify them as appropriate to audit this area.  We are implementing TeamMate this year, and will be developing a standardized audit tool for this area as part of our implementation.  Last year, we hired a contractor (Deloitte) to do an audit of our statewide contract management practices, and the resulting report relied on some best practices from other states as criteria in certain areas.  To access the electronic version of this report, click on the February 2005 performance audit report called “Colorado Statewide Contract Management Practices” at the following site:http://www.leg.state.co.us/OSA/coauditor1.nsf/ReportPublicType?OpenForm&Start=1&Count=900&Expand=3&Seq=1


Catherine Pollino, Oregon

Not sure if anyone has sent this to you yet or not, but the National State Auditors Association Performance Audit Committee has been pulling together best practices documents in various areas—contracting being one of them.  Here is the
link:http://www.nasact.org/onlineresources/downloads/BP/06_03-Contracting_Best_Practices.pdf


Ethel Detch, Tennessee

We've not developed standards for evaluating agencies' contract monitoring practices.  Contracting in Tennessee has centralized approval of contracts and standardized formats and language.  The Comptroller's Office is one of the approving authorities over most state contracts in Tennessee, so I forwarded the question to one of the staff who do that.  Here's what she said:

“We have some standards regarding contract management, as set forth in Tenn. Code Ann. Section 12-4-109(d):

The procuring department or agency shall be responsible for the effective management of all contracts procured herein under its purview.  Notwithstanding, the commissioner of finance and administration, in the manner consistent with the approval of regulations promulgated in § 12-4-109(a)(1)(A), shall develop regulations that define service contracting fundamentals, including, but not limited to, contract management and monitoring of vendors, grants and subrecipient relationships.  The regulations for monitoring shall, at a minimum, require the filing of the monitoring plan with the department of finance and administration before any contracts are approved.  Also, see Rule 0620-3-3-08 (http://www.tennessee.gov/sos/rules/0620/0620-03/0620-03)

The Department of Finance and Administration in the executive branch has staff who monitor compliance with some contracts.


Julie Leung, Texas State Auditor’s Office

Julie sent a link to Texas’ “Contract Management Guide,” developed by a multi-agency team of staff working in the contracting area:  The document is at:http://www.tbpc.state.tx.us/stpurch/contractguide.html 


Joel Alter, Minnesota

Our office issued a report on “Professional/Technical Contracting” in 2003.  The report is available at: http://www.auditor.leg.state.mn.us/ped/pedrep/0302all.pdf

Chapter 2 of the report is called “Contract Management Principles and Practices,” and it begins with a discussion of 18 principles of effective contract management developed by our office.