Values and Guiding Principles of Public Procurement

Shaping, Empowering, and Elevating the Public Procurement Profession through global values, principles, and standards of practice.

In October 2010, the Values and Guiding Principles were finalized and adopted by the NIGP Board of Directors. From that point forward the Values and Guiding Principles began to be adopted by many stakeholder organizations and work on Public Procurement Practices began.


We depend on values to construct the frameworks of our professional lives. They:

  • Are enduring beliefs or ideals shared by public procurement and our stakeholders about what is and what is not good or appropriate in our actions.
  • Exert major influence on the behavior of an individual
  • Serve as broad guidelines
  • Influence how we make choices, what choices we make, and how we are to be judged on our actions by the stakeholders.

The Values:

Ethics Values & Guiding PrinciplesETHICS

Doing the right thing. This value is essential to deserve the public's trust.

Impartiality Values & Principles


Unbiased decision making and actions. This value is essential to ensure fairness for the public good.

Accountability Values and Guiding PrinciplesACCOUNTABILITY

Taking ownership and being responsible to all stakeholders for our actions. This value is essential to preserve the public trust and protect the public interest.

Professionalism Value & Principles


Upholding high standards of job performance and ethical behavior...essential to balance diverse public interests.


Obligation to assist stakeholders. This value is essential to support the public good.

Transparency Values & Principles


Easily accessible and understandable policies and processes. This value is essential to demonstrate responsible use of public funds.

Guiding Principles

Guiding Principles establish the fundamental norms, rules, or ethics that represent what is desirable (values) and affirmative for our profession and help us determine the rightfulness or wrongfulness of our actions. Principles are more explicit than values, and are meant to govern action.

There are a few basic assumptions concerning the Guiding Principles.:

  • The principles are intended to guide the professional practice of public procurement, and to inform procurement stakeholders (elected officials, managers, citizens, etc.) about the principles they can expect to be upheld by public procurement professionals. Of course, no statement of principles can anticipate all situations that arise in the practice of public procurement. However, principles are not just guidelines for action when something goes wrong or when a dilemma is found. Rather, principles should proactively guide the behaviors of professionals in everyday practice.
  • These principles were developed in the context of North American cultures, particularly the United States, and so may reflect the experiences of that context. The relevance of these principles may vary across other cultures, and across subcultures within the United States.
  • The principles are broadly intended to cover all levels and variations of public sector procurement. However, some practitioners will work in contexts in which following a particular Guiding Principle cannot be done for good reason. The Guiding Principles are not intended to constrain such practitioners when this is the case. However, such exceptions should be made for good reason (e.g., legal prohibitions against certain actions), and public sector procurement professionals who find themselves in such contexts are encouraged to consult colleagues about how to proceed.
  • These principles are intended to set the standard of practice for all public sector procurement professionals. These principles, however, are not intended to replace standards supported by other disciplines in which procurement professionals participate.
  • The principles are not independent, but overlap in many ways. Conversely, sometimes these principles will conflict, so that public procurement professionals will have to choose among them. At such times, public procurement professionals must use their judgment and knowledge of the setting to determine the appropriate response. Whenever a course of action is unclear, these individuals are encouraged to solicit the advice of fellow procurement professionals about how to resolve the problem before deciding how to proceed.

Adopt and/or Support

the Values & Guiding Principles

More Information

Adopting & Supporting Organizations & Chapters


Values & Guiding Principles


Professionalism Guiding Principle
Transparency Guiding Principle
Service Guiding Principle
Impartiality Guiding Principle
Ethics Guiding Principle

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