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Oregon procurement manual

What is the OregonForward Program?

The OregonForward Program is an Oregon state government procurement program managed by the Department of Administrative Services (DAS). The program is intended to encourage and assist individuals with disabilities achieve maximum personal independence through productive and gainful employment. The program assures an expanded and constant market for OregonForward products and services, thereby strengthening an OregonForward employee’s vocational goals and capacity for self-support.

What is an OregonForward Contractor (OFC)?

An OregonForward Contractor (OFC) is a non-profit rehabilitation corporation that employs individuals with qualifying disabilities to provide products and services. The DAS OregonForward Program is responsible for qualifying a rehabilitation program as an OFC. OFCs must employ individuals with qualifying disabilities for at least 75% of the hours of direct labor across the entire company. An OFC's mission must include providing vocational services that enable employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
Once qualified by DAS, and found suitable for providing products and services through the program, the OFC is placed on the OregonForward Program Procurement List. The list details the products and services offered by an OFC, which DAS has determined to be suitable for purchase by public agencies.

When to use an OFC

ORS 279.850 mandates state agencies to procure products and services that are included on the OregonForward Program Procurement List available on the DAS website. Agencies that seek to procure products or services found on this list must procure through the OregonForward Program, provided the product or service meets the agency’s quantity, quality, and delivery specifications.

The OregonForward Program allows an agency to acquire directly from the OFC and does not require a competitive procurement. If more than one OFC provides the needed product or service, the agency may engage multiple OFCs, and may, based on preference, select the one that best demonstrates that it:
  • Complies with applicable labor standards, ordinances and resolutions; and
  • Provides wages, benefits, and services that exceed those provided by private employers to employees who perform similar job functions in the same industry or county.

How to process OregonForward procurements

Agencies must make their Buy Decision in the priority order specified in administrative rule (OAR 125-247-0200). The OregonForward Program is the second priority source and an agency may not elect to procure through a lower priority source, unless it is determined that the procurement need cannot be met due to factors such as inability to meet quantity, quality or delivery. Agencies may not develop overly restrictive specifications in an effort to avoid use of OFC products and services.

Procurement of products

​Process ​Description
​Check availability
​Visit the DAS OregonForward website and search the OFC Program Procurement List to locate the product.
​Verify specification: quantity, quality, delivery ​1. Is the product available through a listed OFC?
  1. If yes, send the specification to the OFC to verify the product meets agency specifications. Note: Review established OFC price agreements in ORPIN. If a OFC price agreement isn't established, contact the OFC for pricing.
  2. If no, the agency should assess Buy Decision priority 3 - Inmate labor.
Evaluate responses ​1. Is the OFC responsive to the procurement need?
  1. If yes, evaluate the non-profit agency for compliance with local ordinances and wage, benefit, and services criteria, and select the OFC accordingly.
  2. If no, the agency should assess Buy Decision priority 3 - Inmate labor.
Conduct legal review of contracts over $150,000
If contract value exceeds $150,000, the agency must submit the final negotiated contract to the Attorney General for required legal sufficiency review.

Procurement of services

​Process ​Description
Check availability
​Visit the DAS OregonForward website and search the OFC Program Procurement List to locate availability of the service in the applicable county.
​Verify specification: quantity, quality, delivery
​1. Is the service available through a listed OFC?
  1. If yes, is there an existing statewide price agreement that can be purchased from directly? Otherwise, send the Statement of Work (SOW) to one or more OFCs to verify that the provided service meets the agency's specifications and obtain quotes for the service.
  2. If no, the agency should assess Buy Decision priority 3 - Inmate labor.
​Prepare response (OFC) ​1. In certain cases, the agency may invite one or more OFCs to a site visit to review the SOW and allow them to assess the area where the service is to be provided.

2. In its response to the SOW, the OFC will provide a cost workbook outlining the costs associated with providing the needed service.
Evaluate responses
​1. The OregonForward Program reviews the responses to:
  1. Verify the OFC is qualified for the service and that they are in good standing.
  2. Review and approve the SOW or specifications, the costing workbook, and any additional information such as square feet of the area to be serviced, delivery requirements, and any other useful information to determine the cost of providing the service.
2. Are responses consistent with requirements of the OregonForward Program?
  1. If yes, the agency proceeds to evaluate and select a preferred provider if more than one. Note: if the initial price of the OFC response exceeds its budget estimate, an agency is expected to make a good faith effort to give the OFC a chance to negotiate with the agency on the price of the service.
    An agency should coordinate with the OFC Program to assist in the evaluation of OFC capabilities relative to agency requirements if questions arise.
  2. If no, agency to assess Buy Decision priority 3 - Inmate labor.
​Conduct legal review of contracts over $150,000 ​If the contract value exceeds $150,000, the agency must submit the final negotiated contract to the Attorney General for required legal sufficiency review.

Additional considerations

Working with OFCs

If an agency requires a product or service not currently included on the OregonForward Program Procurement List, it may conduct due diligence with the OFC to determine its ability to satisfy this requirement. If so, the OregonForward Program must verify that the OFC is qualified to provide the requested product or service and that it is in good standing. Additionally, the OFC is required to file information to demonstrate their suitability for providing a particular product or service.

The Program will also review and approve the cost workbook submitted. While this may add time to an agency’s procurement, future procurements for this particular product or service will be expedited as a result of the investment in expanding the OFC products and services market. The legislature intends for close cooperation between the OregonForward Program, agencies, OFCs, and people with disabilities to efficiently realize the objectives of the Program.

Negotiating with OFCs

If the initial price of the OFC response exceeds an agency’s budget estimate, it should make a good faith effort to give the ofc a chance to negotiate on the price of the product or service. The OFC could have a misunderstanding about an agency's requirements or might have made a mistake somewhere in their price calculation. It could also be that the agency specifications exceed the allotted procurement project budget. When the agency and OFC have reached a negotiated agreement on price, the OFC and the agency must submit that price to DAS on an approved form for final determination.

Note: DAS may be invited by either the agency or the OFC to facilitate any negotiations.

Contract and performance management

One of the biggest advantages of doing business with a OFC is that it is a relationship, not just a one-time competitive bidding arrangement. OFC businesses are established to provide stable, ongoing employment for Oregonians with disabilities. Agencies should expect the same quality products and services from a OFC as they expect from any other contractor. Agency procurement professionals and contract administrators serve in a unique position to advance the important outcomes of the OregonForward Program.

When a contract is initiated in an agency, the contract administrator should meet with the OFC to discuss the contract and assure that both parties understand what is expected of them and to clearly set performance expectations for the OFC. For example, if a OFC is doing custodial services, it might benefit everyone involved to plan a joint walk-through on a weekly basis at the beginning of the contract.

The contract with the OFC should be treated like any other state contract.
  • If a change is required, both the agency contract administrator and the OFC representative should work together to formally document an amendment.
  • If an issue arises, the agency contract administrator should communicate the issue to the OFC representative immediately. If a problem cannot be resolved after properly escalating the concerns to the OFC representative, the agency should involve the OregonForward Program to help mediate the problem.
  • If the problem can still not be resolved, the agency has authority to terminate the contract just as it would with any other state contract.