Examples of cooperative purchasing language for your government contracts

There are many reasons to add cooperative language to your government agency's solicitation and contract templates as a default. Including this language supports other governments, lowers the costs of selling into the government market for suppliers, and can even generate significant revenue for your agency.

Examples of cooperative purchasing language for solicitations and contracts


If you’d like to add cooperative purchasing language to your solicitation and contract templates, here are some examples of what we’ve seen from other public agencies to get you started. You’ll want to consult your agency’s legal counsel for final approval of any language. A few call-outs:

  • It’s best to have cooperative language included in the bid solicitation document as well as the final contract document.

  • While many agencies include cooperative language in all contracts, unless the supplier explicitly asks for it to be removed, some agencies prefer to have the supplier respond to the option to include cooperative language in the contract at time of bid submission.

  • Some agencies include the supplier’s bid as part of the final contract, and therefore the cooperative language in the bid solicitation makes its way into the final contract document. (See example from City of Lee’s Summit, Missouri below.)

  • Some cooperative language includes an administrative fee and/or reporting requirement for the supplier; many local agency contracts do not.

  • While some agencies limit the geographic range of cooperative use to agencies in a region or a state, others do not. When in doubt, we suggest leaving this language as broad as possible so as not to eliminate opportunities for other agencies that have a shared need.

Examples from the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area

These examples are taken from member agencies of the Columbia Chapter Intergovernmental Cooperative Purchasing (ICP) Group, which seeks to foster public procurement collaboration in the Portland, OR metro.

Portland Public Schools

In this example, cooperative language appears in the solicitation document under section 5.12:

Portland_Public_Schools_Coop_Language.png

City of Portland

The City of Portland includes cooperative language in many of its bids and contracts. The below language is taken from this contract with Ferguson Waterworks (see document). Note that the City of Portland also includes an administrative fee in its contracts, which can generate revenue for the City:

City of Portland Cooperative Language

Home Forward

Home Forward, a public housing authority serving Multnomah County, the City of Portland, and the City of Gresham, and other communities has recently approved the following language for their bid solicitations and contracts:

Solicitation language:


INTERGOVERNMENTAL COOPERATIVE PROCUREMENT
Proposers agree to extend identical prices and services under the same terms and conditions to other contracting agencies. Requirements stated herein reflect only those of Home Forward and any other contracting agencies identified in this solicitation. A contracting agency wishing to utilize like services will execute its own contract with the successful Proposer(s) for its requirements. The successful Proposer(s) shall provide usage reporting of Home Forward as well as that of other contracting agencies to Home Forward Procurement as listed in the resulting contract on a quarterly basis. The successful Proposer(s), by written notification included with their proposal submittal, may decline to extend these services, prices, and terms and conditions to any other contracting agency.


Contract language:


PERMISSIVE COOPERATIVE PROCUREMENT
Pursuant to ORS 279A.215, as additional consideration for this Contract, Contractor agrees to extend an option to purchase any Products or Services covered under this Contract at the same prices as are specified in Exhibit A: Contractor’s Price, and under the same terms and conditions, to other contracting agencies. Each contracting agency shall execute its own contract with Contractor. Contractor shall provide usage reporting of Home Forward as well as that of other contracting agencies to Home Forward on a quarterly basis.

Examples from the Kansas City, Missouri metropolitan area

The following examples are from the Mid-America Regional Council’s Kansas City Regional Purchasing Cooperative (KCRPC) program and its member agencies. KCRPC creates cooperative contracts its members can use and helps promote sharing of contracts across its membership.

The Kansas City Regional Purchasing Cooperative (KCRPC)

Since KCRPC’s objective is to create contracts that its member agencies can utilize, it includes cooperative language in its solicitations and contracts. Its documents have an explanation of cooperative agreements, which can help suppliers understand the value of cooperative language as they review the bid document. Here’s an example from KCRPC’s contract with Ka-Comm for Public Safety Radios. Note that language can be found both in the solicitation document and the contract document, which outlines the administrative fee obligation for the supplier. This language also constrains utilization of contracts to agencies in the KCMO metro area.


Solicitation language:

KCRPC Solicitation cooperative language

Contract language:

KCRPC Administrative Fee

The City of Lee's Summit

Local agencies like City of Lee’s Summit in Missouri include cooperative language as a default in bid solicitations. In this case, City of Lee’s Summit provides the supplier an opportunity to opt in or out of cooperative purchasing in their bid response. If the supplier checks the “yes” box, and their bid is accepted, the bid document with this language becomes part of the final contract. Note that this language also restricts piggybacking agencies to the agencies in the Greater Kansas City Metro area.

Here’s an example from a City of Lee’s Summit contract with Schendel Pest Services from 2016 (see language in contract):

Lee's Summit Cooperative Language

King County, Washington

This example does not mention “cooperative procurement” in its description, but the language still establishes broadly the ability of other public agencies to utilize the contract. It is very general language:

3.15 Other Public Agency Orders



Other federal, state, county, and local entities may utilize the terms and conditions established by the Contract if agreeable to all parties. The County does not accept any responsibility or involvement in the purchase orders or contracts issued by other public agencies.

Dorchester County, South Carolina

Dorchester County, SC includes cooperative language as a default in bid solicitations. The below language was shared directly from the county's Purchasing Services Manager.

UTILIZATION BY OTHER PUBLIC AGENCIES CLAUSE

The use of this solicitation and resulting contract shall be made available to other local governmental agencies and agencies established for the public benefit (“Public Agencies”). The parties agree to allow other governmental agencies to enter into separate agreements with the Contractor under the terms and prices in effect between the County and the Contractor. The parties also agree that any other agency utilizing the terms and prices of this agreement shall not be deemed to be an agent or employee of the County of Dorchester for any purpose whatsoever. The parties further agree that any Public Agency will enter its own separate contract with the Contractor.

The County is not otherwise responsible for the Public Agencies’ performance of the Contract between the individual Public Agencies and the Contractor or for any obligation or liability accruing to the Public Agencies in the performance thereof. The Public Agencies and the Contractor further agree to waive any rights they may have in making the County of Dorchester a party to a dispute between a Public Agency and the Contractor.

Share your agency’s language

If you’d like to share the language that your agency uses in its solicitations and contracts, please reach out! We’ll continue to add examples to this article after publication.