What is document management?
Document management involves the life cycle processes, which include planning, creating, indexing, updating, distributing, tracking, retiring and storing, and disposing of written information. Agencies must maintain written documentation of their procurements according to the state’s procurement and records retention policies.
Sound document management practices ensure transparency and accountability in the public procurement process. The procurement file demonstrates the effectiveness of a procurement organization’s document management practices and its stewardship over public information. Some of the reasons a procurement file is accessed include:
- Public records requests.
- Legislative inquiries.
- Research into past practices.
A procurement file plays a significant role in providing an account of an agency’s actions and serving as evidence of an agency’s decision making in the procurement of products and services. To respond to the requirements of this role, an agency must establish and maintain written documentation in a procurement file for each purchasing transaction.
The procurement file must contain all written documents created by a requesting and a procuring agency. In addition to the documents created by a requesting agency, a procurement file must contain all the written documents that DAS Procurement Services provides the agency.
When to employ document management
A procurement file must contain all information related to the procurement. Document management, therefore, begins in the planning phase and extends through procurement, contract administration, closeout and beyond, according to the state’s retention requirements for the type of the procurement.
During the planning phase, an agency must document and file all research that the agency conducts and collects, analysis that the agency prepares, and plans and requirements that the agency develops. These written documents will guide and support the agency’s procurement method, supplier selection, contract execution and management processes and are key outcomes of the planning phase.
During the procurement phase, any documentation that is related to the procurement must be included in the procurement file; this includes, among other items, the authorization, purchase request and specifications. Additionally, any communications regarding discussions, negotiations, addenda, suppliers’ questions about terms and conditions, specifications, amendments, or related matters, and the procuring agency's answers to suppliers’ questions must be documented in the procurement file. During this phase, telephone conversations and meetings regarding the solicitation must be documented in the procurement file.
A procurement file retention period varies by the type and method of procurement. A procurement file must be maintained according to the state’s records retention policies. Refer to the Secretary of State’s Records Management website for information on records retention policy and requirements for purchases and contracts and agreements.
How to employ document management
An agency’s procurement professional must establish and maintain a document management practice in a manner that allows an authorized individual, such as a contract administrator, the ability to access the file for the authorized purpose.
The procurement professional is responsible for ensuring that all the documents relating to a specific procurement are placed in one file. The procurement professional must coordinate with the contract administrator to maintain a complete and accurate recording of written documentation in the file.
Procurement file documentation
The procurement file is the foundation upon which the contract file will be built. An agency should document its authority to purchase through the selected method, the basis for selecting a method outside of the Buy Decision priority, if applicable, and any other written documentation specific to the selected procurement method.
The procurement file must contain:
- All written documents delivered to an agency from DAS Procurement Services, including approvals, revocations, orders, modifications, or other actions related to the documents’ subject matter and action.
- An executed contract, if awarded, and any ordering instruments.
- The record of the actions used to develop and administer the contract.
- A copy of the solicitation, if any.
- The name of the contract administrator and any delegates.
- Any required findings or statement of justification for the selection of the supplier and sourcing method according to applicable provisions of state law.
- Documentation of contract administration, as applicable to the selected procurement method:
- list of prospective suppliers notified of the solicitation.
- method used to advertise or notify prospective suppliers.
- copy of each response to a bid or proposal that resulted in the contract award.
- record of any negotiation of the statement of work and results.
- record of all material communications regarding the solicitation by interested suppliers.
- all information describing how the supplier was selected, including the method and basis for awarding the contract.
- copy of the Request for Special Procurement, if applicable.
- documentation for a federal program purchase.
- documentation related to Cooperative Procurement.
Resource: Use the DAS Procurement Services Contract File Checklist as a tool for tracking procurement file contents.