Study of Selected Local Procurement Systems and Checklist and Guidelines for Evaluating Local Procurement Systems:

Opportunities for Improvement in Local Government Purchasing, Parts 1 and 2

PSAD-78-95: Published: Aug 1, 1978. Publicly Released: Aug 1, 1978.

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The procurement procedures of five local government entities were studied in order to: make local officials aware of the importance of the procurement function by demonstrating the nature, extent, and cost consequences of weaknesses in local procurement systems; illustrate how cooperative procurement arrangements can work and their benefits; and provide procurement managers and auditors with a checklist method for identifying procurement weaknesses and a companion audit guide to assess the consequences of the weaknesses identified.

Little attention has been given to assessments of efficiency, effectiveness, and the economy of local purchasing programs. While all of the five governments placed purchasing responsibilities in one official, three of the departments operated in a manner that ignored the benefits of centralized purchasing. None of the governments required accountability of the performance of the procurement functions, and only one government obtained any benefits from cooperative procurement arrangements. Weaknesses uncovered during the study resulted from the lack of adherence to recognized procurement principles and the lack of requirements by local officials for accountability through goal setting and performance measurement. Included in part 2 is a listing of quantitative and qualitative indicators for use in measuring procurement performance, a checklist for evaluating procurement functions in local governments based on recognized procurement principles, and an audit guide to the checklist that can be used to assess purchasing functions in several perspectives.

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