Are states effectively managing contracting and procurement activities? Are they striking the right balance between central administrative control and empowerment through delegation? How effective is training and monitoring? How do these practices compare to the principles of best practice? What role will information technology play in the future for procurement and contracting? As part of the Government Performance Project, budget, procurement, and contracting managers in 48 states were surveyed, providing descriptions of their procurement and contracting practices. There are numerous developments that speak to the practical details of contemporary public management. Five key findings are (1) information technology needs are challenging states, with some responding well, but others struggling, (2) in most states staff training needs to be improved, (3) restrictions prohibiting “best value” purchasing need to be removed, (4) states can learn from and improve practices by partnering with other governments and private organizations, and (5) most states use a hybrid of both centralized and decentralized management structures when it comes to contracting and procurement.
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