NIGP: The Institute for Public Procurement has announced that the U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Alliance is the first cooperative program to earn the NIGP Accredited Cooperative (NAC) accreditation.

NIGP’s CEO, Rick Grimm, congratulated U.S. Communities for its “tremendous achievement that further distinguishes the program in the cooperative marketplace and reflects its commitment to supporting the values and principles of professional practice in public procurement. Our members asked us to set the standard for good cooperative procurement practice. We accepted that obligation through the NAC accreditation that was developed by and for senior public procurement officials who formed our NAC Design Team. And U.S. Communities, in turn, was bold to apply for the accreditation under stringent criteria. With their achievement, we anticipate that other regional and national cooperatives will consider NAC as a benchmark for excellence and will pursue the accreditation based on market demands.”

“U.S. Communities strives to be a leader in cooperative purchasing and provide value to the public agencies we serve. Being the first cooperative program to meet the rigorous process and requirements of the NAC accreditation further supports our efforts,” says Kevin Juhring, Executive Director of U.S. Communities. “We applaud NIGP for creating an accreditation program that sets a standard for excellence. The NAC will help the procurement profession benchmark and distinguish cooperative options through specific criteria and standard best practices.”

NIGP established the NIGP Accredited Cooperative program in 2015 to preserve the integrity of cooperative practice as a long-term, viable procurement option and to quickly identify those programs that can demonstrate the highest standard of practice in the cooperative marketplace.

NAC accreditation requires cooperative programs to undergo a rigorous assessment process conducted by the NIGP Consulting program. The NAC standard’s 141 criteria are applied across three domains of cooperative procurement practice: cooperative program management, contracting agency management and contracting processes. Every contracting agency and contract identified for assessment must earn a minimum score of 90% to qualify the program for NAC Accreditation. Thus, successfully achieving consistently high scores across independent agencies and the contracts they establish is quite difficult.

NAC accreditation is awarded for a three-year period. Prior to their term’s expiration, accredited programs must undergo reassessment for compliance with the then-current NAC standard in order to sustain their accreditation status.

NIGP estimates that current spending through cooperative program contracts exceeds $40 billion. National cooperative programs frequently cite more than 40,000 public entities are registered with their programs. The substantial growth in the number and purchasing volumes of cooperative programs in public sector suggests the value of third-party monitoring.

NIGP Accredited Cooperative criteria and a comprehensive NIGP Accreditation Guide providing all accreditation requirements are available for download at this site.

For additional NAC program information, e-mail NIGP at coopaccreditation@nigp.org.

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