NIGP's global best practices provide definitions, context, and guidance on relevant public procurement topics. They result from collaboration by and input from content experts and are subject to public review. Our goals are:

  • To provide useful and applicable guidance for public procurement professionals
  • To elevate the procurement profession


The Practices

NEW3Invitation for Bids (IFB) AKA Invitation to Tender (ITT)

This practice differentiates between an IFB, which is the solicitation document, and the competitive sealed bid (referred to as a “bid”), which is the response to the IFB. To be eligible for recommendation of award, a bid must be “responsive” and the bidder must be “responsible.” For procurements that fit the criteria for use of an IFB, adherence to the practice guidance supports the procurement professional in navigating a successful IFB process and the achievement of desired outcomes.

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This practice, number two in the series, takes a closer look at IT software procurement and its unique considerations such as licensing, source code, and data ownership.


Developing Evaluation Criteria

Before issuing the solicitation, procurement professionals and applicable stake-holders must establish the criteria by which the resulting bids or proposals will be evaluated. Once the appropriate procurement method is selected, criteria should be established to evaluate bids or proposals for the most economically advantageous offer for the contracting authority, or for the lowest price.

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Developing a Procurement Policy Manual

A policy is a governing set of principles which establish the general parameters for an organization to follow in carrying out its responsibilities.

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Distinguishing Between Scope of Work and Statement of Work

This practice defines the terms scope of work and statement of work, distinguishing between the two and setting a standard for how these terms are used in the professional language of public procurement. 

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Ethical Procurement

Ethical procurement prohibits breach of the public’s trust by discouraging a public employee from attempting to realize personal gain through conduct inconsistent with the proper discharge of the employee’s duties.

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The Evaluation Process

The receipt, opening, and evaluation of requested documentation from potential suppliers must be carried out by a competent evaluation panel and in accordance with all applicable laws, as well as the principles of impartiality and transparency. Those involved in the process must maintain integrity and professionalism in all aspects of evaluation. All submissions received must be kept secure during the evaluation process. The confidentiality of the submitted documents must also be maintained subject only to applicable freedom of information or public records legislation.

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Information Technology (IT) Procurement

This practice is the first in a series and refers to the procedures and processes needed to acquire hardware and software products and services. Knowledge of the specific IT area for the commodity being procured including terminology and attributes is essential.

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Lease Purchase Decision

Lease-Purchase Decision is a decision based on the results of a cost/benefit analysis of the costs to own, costs to lease, and the advantages and disadvantages of any relevant qualitative factors. (ISM, 2000).

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Outsourcing: An informed decision by an organization to contract outside of the organization for a product, service or business process that had previously been provided internally (in-house).

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Performance Based Contracting

Performance Based Contracting is a results-oriented contracting method that focuses on the outputs, quality, or outcomes that may tie at least a portion of a contractor’s payment, contract extensions, or contract renewals to the achievement of specific, measurable performance standards and requirements. These contracts may include both monetary and non-monetary incentives and disincentives.

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Performance Management

Performance measurement is the process by which procurement establishes criteria, based on strategic planning goals, for determining the results and quality of its activities. It involves creating a simple, effective system for determining whether procurement is meeting its objectives.

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Performance Measurement

Performance measurement is the process by which procurement establishes criteria, based on strategic planning goals, for determining the results and quality of its activities. It involves creating a simple, effective system for determining whether procurement is meeting its objectives.

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Performance Metrics

Performance Metrics is the term given to the measurement of performance. An analytical application of measurements that allows comparison of performance standards.

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The placement of Procurement should be operationally distinct from other departments and divisions.

The 'Place of Procurement' refers to positioning Procurement within the entity to optimize the influence and impact of Procurement on internal and external stakeholders.

This best practice builds a case for the strategic placement of the Procurement function. This placement maximizes the effectiveness of Procurement within the entity and is critical for the entity to fully benefit from Procurement operations.

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A protest is defined as a written objection by an interested party to a solicitation or an award of a contract with the intention of receiving a remedial result. Procurement must ensure that a protest policy is established and documented for the entity. Understanding the context and motivation for the filing of a protest may be as important as the specific protest issue. The procurement professional should ensure that the legal department or legal counsel is aware of and may advise on action regarding protests. Throughout the solicitation process, Procurement and stakeholders should employ procurement best practices that promote transparency, accountability, and maximize competition. Conducting a protest closeout assessment after a protest has been resolved supports continual improvement in the procurement process.

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Public-Private Partnership (P3): Facilities and Infrastructure

P3s are procurements that combine design and build components under one contract between the public sector and the private sector. This practice provides guidance to the public procurement professional who is considering a Public-Private Partnership (P3) as an appropriate solution to a stated need or requirement. It defines P3s in the context of the construction of public facilities and infrastructure and is intended as a reference, to be shared with elected public officials, government executives, and private sector executives on the use of and procurement through P3 contracts.

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Qualifications-Based Selection for Architectural and Engineering Services

Qualifications-Based Selection (QBS) is a procurement process for the competitive selection of architectural and engineering services under which the most appropriate professional or firm is selected based on qualifications such as knowledge, skill, experience, and other project-specific factors, rather than on fees. Fair and reasonable fees are negotiated with the top-ranked firm for an agreed-upon scope of services.

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Risk Management

Risk management is a process including the identification and analysis of risk; and the decision to either accept or mitigate the exposure to such risk when compared to the potential impact on the achievement of the organization’s objectives.

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Specifications define precise requirements of commodities (i.e., goods and services) sought through a solicitation process. To understand the context in which the commodity will be used and with clear knowledge of statutes, regulations, policies, market availability, budget, and the strategic plan of the entity, procurement professionals collaborate with end users to translate a particular need into detailed requirements. Written with an intent to maximize competition, specifications should use language that is relevant to and understood by potential offerors.

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Spend Analysis

Spend Analysis is the process of collecting, cleansing, classifying and analyzing expenditure data from all sources within the organization (i.e. purchasing card, eProcurement systems, etc.). The process analyzes the current, past and forecasted expenditures to allow visibility of data by supplier, by commodity or service, and by department within the organization. Spend analysis can be used to make future management decisions by providing answers to such questions as: what was bought; when was it bought; where was it purchased; how many suppliers were used and how much was spent with each; how much was paid for the item.

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Strategic Procurement Planning

Strategic planning is the process of creating alignment and consistency of action that results in documents that establish the long-range objectives and overall strategy or course of action by which an organization fulfills its mission.

Strategic Procurement Planning (SP2) is the transformation of an organization’s mission, goals, and objectives into measurable activities to be used to plan, budget, and manage the procurement function within the organization. The ultimate goal is to bring about positive change in organizational culture, systems, and operational processes.

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Supplier Relationship Management (SRM)

Supplier Relationship Management (also called Vendor Relationship Management) is a set of principles, processes, and tools that can assist organizations to maximize relationship value with suppliers and minimize risk and management of overhead through the entire supplier relationship life cycle.Supplier Relationship Management has two aspects, which are: clear commitment between the supplier and the buyer, and the objective of understanding, agreeing, and whenever possible, codifying the interactions between them.

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Sustainable Procurement Practice

Sustainable procurement is a purchasing and investment process that takes into account the economic, environmental and social impacts of the entity’s spending. Sustainable procurement allows organizations to meet their needs for goods, services, construction works and utilities in a way that achieves value for money on a whole-life basis in terms of generating benefits not only to the organization, but also to society and the economy, while remaining within the carrying capacity of the environment”.

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Procurement Technology helps accelerate business improvements. It allows for the making, modification, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems, or methods of organization, to solve a problem, improve a pre-existing solution, achieve a goal, or perform a specific function in relation to procurement and the procurement process.

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Transparency in Public Procurement

Transparency can be defined as timely, easily understood access to information. Transparency assists in ensuring that any deviations from fair and equal treatment are detected very early, and makes such deviations less likely to occur. It protects the integrity of the process and the interest of the organization, stakeholders, and the public.

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Use of Cooperative Contracts for Public Procurement

Cooperative Procurement is a term that refers to the combining of requirements of two or more public procurement entities to leverage the benefits of volume purchases, delivery and supply chain advantages, best practices, and the reduction of administrative time and expenses. Cooperative procurement efforts may result in contracts that other entities may “piggyback”.

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Values and Guiding Principles

Impartiality guiding principle

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Research Report 193 x 204

A Guide to Public Private Partnerships (PPPs): What Public Procurement Specialists Need to Know


NIGP's CEO speaks about the practices

Rick Grimm, Chief Executive Officer, NIGP talks about Public Procurement Principles and Practices with Federal News Radio.

Listen to the Interview

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