Regional Services Consortiums
Over the past two years, the Regional Services Consortiums project has managed several collective purchasing events for a total of 36 municipal clients, bidding out more than $20 million in municipal contracts, and saving participants nearly $2 million. Since the program's 1998 birth, three consortiums have been formed.For additional information on the Regional Services Consortium (RSC) Program or services, please contact Director of Municipal Governance Steve Daly and complete the RSC Interest Form.
Overview of the Consortiums
Communities sharing geographic proximity, which have an interest in addressing common issues with collective action, pay an annual membership fee to participate in a consortium, a membership-based local government cooperative. Organized by geographic location, membership ranges from 11 to 13 municipalities. As many as 37 communities participate in the following three consortiums: Metro Northwest, Northern, and South Shore.
The Chief Administrating Officer (CAO) for each member community serves as a trustee. Trustees meet periodically to generate an agenda, which is carried out by MAPC staff with occasional guidance from consortium leaders or focus committees.
MAPC engages in several types of work with consortiums:
Coordinate regular regional forums where CAO's can discuss local government policy and service delivery issues, as well as explore opportunities to partner in the formulation and implementation of solutions.
Partner with consortiums to pursue interlocal initiatives
Administer a Joint Municipal Training program, scheduling and coordinating trainings for municipal employees
Administer Collective Procurement programs for participating consortium members
By employing the state's collective purchasing statutes (Massachusetts General Law Chapter 30B and Massachusetts General Law Chapter 7, Section 22B) on behalf of a large group of local governments, MAPC is bringing the price and convenience advantages of volume purchasing to the local level, and helping local staff save time and money by not having to engage in the complex municipal procurement process themselves. Savings occur in two ways:
Time savings: those who would normally be entangled in the Massachusetts public procurement process can be freed to address more immediate local needs.
Dollar savings: aggressive competition among providers for large contracts results in high volume discounts. Regional service contracts, which remain in effect for three years, allow system managers to easily engage services at any time during the contract period at guaranteed prices.
Many municipal purchasing procedures require departments to complete a requisition for needed goods and submit that requisition to the town's financial and purchasing divisions for approval before funds can be encumbered and the goods ordered. This process can take several days or weeks from start to finish. For smaller purchases, this situation is clearly not cost-effective.
One cost-effective solution is the use of procurement cards. Similar to credit cards, procurement cards simplify purchasing procedures by giving authorized town personnel the flexibility to buy low-dollar, routine goods without having to do formal purchase orders. Individual participating members are free to contract with any of the recommended procurement card companies. View a sample contract.
Highlight: the Metro Northwest Consortium's Procurement Card Bidding Process
In partnership with the Metro Northwest Consortium, MAPC did the "leg work" and performed a Request for Proposals (RFP*) to find the best procurement card programs available. MAPC received proposals from six highly qualified institutions ready to assist the participating entities** in setting up Procurement Card Programs. An Evaluation Committee chose three proposals they considered the most highly advantageous to recommend to the Consortium.
*Although Procurement Card Programs are exempt from MGL Chapter 30B, the Consortium and MAPC determined that performing a RFP was the most efficient way of evaluating the programs offered by competing institutions.
**Participants: The Towns of Arlington, Bedford, Belmont, Billerica, Burlington and Lexington; the City of Cambridge; and MAPC.
Since 2004, the Greater Boston Police Council (GBPC) has partnered with the MAPC, which acts as purchasing agent for the GBPC and issues all bids and contracts in compliance with Chapter 30B.
The GBPC is a non-profit corporation, led by a 10-member Board of Directors comprised of member Chiefs of Police. It maintains an integrated public safety communication system and provides training and collective purchasing services for the benefit of its member agencies and their communities.
MAPC acts as the purchasing agent for the Fire Chiefs Association of Massachusetts (FCAM) and issues all bids and contracts in compliance with Chapter 30B.
FCAM is a membership-based corporation that provides technical assistance and advice to member municipalities and other fire and emergency medical service providers throughout Massachusetts.
For additional information on the Regional Services Consortiums program or services, please contact Director of Municipal Governance Steve Daly at 617.933.0763 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information on the procurement card RFP and/or regional service contracts, please contact Manager of Municipal Procurement Services Heidi Anderson.