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Transparency Stars

Contracts and Procurement Guidelines

Follow the guidelines below and add the required documentation to your entity's website to qualify for a Contracts and Procurement Transparency Star. To be eligible for this Transparency Star, your governmental entity must first receive the Traditional Finances Transparency Star.

Policymakers and the general public have increasingly turned their attention to transparency as it pertains to contracts and procurement. Senate Bill 20, passed in the 84th Legislative session, for example, aims to increase accountability and transparency in state agency contracting processes. The guidelines below provide a platform for local governments to show their commitment to transparency in this area.

Contracts & Procurement Summary

This summary should include the following items for the most recently completed fiscal year, as well as a narrative overview with explanations of terminology:

  • Spending on procurement and contracting activities expressed as total and per capita or per student amounts
  • Total number of publicly posted bidding and contracting opportunities opened (invitation for bids or requests for proposal)
  • Total number of closed bids/solicitations or awarded contracts
  • Total dollar amount of bids received from invitations for bids or requests for proposals
  • Total dollar amount awarded from contracts

Note that the Comptroller defines contracting and procurement activities per those subject to competitive bidding requirements described in Local Government Code 252.021-.0436, 262.021-.030 and 271.021-.029, which apply to purchases exceeding $50,000, as well as Texas Government Code 2669.101-.411 and Texas Education Code 44.031. Also note that you may wish to include additional pieces of data that provide context reflective of standards or conventions particular to your entity type. See the sidebar for an optional form you may use to complete the Summary section.

Visualizations

Post data visualizations to your website showing the following:

  • Time trend showing authorizations versus actual procurement expenditures for past five years
  • Total contracts broken down by business sector (i.e., construction, non-construction, etc.) or other meaningful categories or subcategories for the last completed fiscal year.

Note that you may wish to include explanations or subsets of these trends in the visualizations, or post additional visualizations that provide context reflective of standards or conventions particular to your entity type. See the sidebar for Excel templates you may choose to use to create required visualizations. The visualizations must be posted on the page itself and must be – like all the required information on the transparency page or section – easy to view and to interpret.

Documents

Post the following documents separately from audits and annual financial reports:

  • Bid documents
  • Intent to award documents
  • Awarded, competitively bid contracts
  • Vendor registration forms and/or guide
  • Procurement manual or written purchasing procedures document
  • Glossary of procurement terms

Downloadable Data

Make the following data available for download to aid in researching your local government entity:

  • Vendor check register dataset (date, type of transaction, amount, purpose, etc.) for the past 36 months
  • Dataset on open contracting and bidding opportunities and closed solicitations for the past 36 months

Other Information

Your transparency site should also include the following:

  • Links to contracting and procurement statutes such as Local Government Code 252.021-.0436, 262.021-.030 and 271.021-.029, Texas Government Code 2669.101-.411 and Texas Education Code 44.031.
  • Links to applicable GASB statements or other reference resources.
  • Local contact information of procurement/purchasing officer (i.e., email and phone number)

Get the word out: