Amendment to the Governmental Joint Purchasing Act Allows Governmental Units to Conduct Joint Purchases by Competitive Solicitation
Jan 30, 2013
The Governmental Joint Purchasing Act (the “Act”) was amended in late 2012 by Public Act 97-895, and it now allows joint purchases with in-state or out-of-state cooperatives to be conducted by competitive solicitation. Prior to the amendment, the Act required joint purchases to go through a low bid sealed bid process.
The Act provides school districts, community colleges, and other governmental units with the authority to purchase personal property, supplies, and services, but not work jointly with one or more other in-state or out-of-state governmental units. When exercising this joint purchase authority, the Act’s provisions supersede any bidding requirements under the School Code, Community College Act, or other statutory provisions.
Section 3 of the Act governs the new competitive selection process as follows:
- When two or more governmental units exercise their joint purchasing authority, one of the governmental units must conduct the competitive selection process.
- The expenses associated with the competitive selection process may be shared by the participating governmental units in proportion to the amount of personal property, supplies, or services each unit purchases.
- The acceptance of responses to the competitive selection process shall be governed by the agreement between the governmental units.
- The personal property, supplies, or services involved shall be distributed or rendered directly to each governmental unit taking part in the purchase.
- The person selling the personal property, supplies, or services may bill each governmental unit separately for its proportionate share of the cost of the personal property, supplies or services purchased.
- The credit or liability of each governmental unit shall remain separate and distinct. Disputes between bidders and governmental units shall be resolved between the immediate parties.
Section 4 of the Act provides additional parameters regarding the bids and proposals:
- Bids and proposals shall be solicited by public notice inserted at least once in a newspaper of general circulation in one of the counties where the materials are to be used and at least 5 calendar days before the final date of submitting bids or proposals. Such notice shall include a general description of the personal property, supplies, or services to be purchased, and shall state where all blanks and specifications may be obtained and the time and place for the opening of bids and proposals.
- The governmental unit conducting the competitive selection process may also solicit sealed bids or proposals by sending requests by mail to prospective suppliers and by posting notices on a public bulletin board in its office.
- All purchases, orders, or contracts shall be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder or highest-ranked proposer, taking into consideration:
- the qualities of the articles or services supplied;
- their conformity with the specifications;
- their suitability to the requirements of the participating governmental units; and
- the delivery terms.
- Where the State of Illinois is not a party, all bids or proposals may be rejected and new bids or proposals solicited if one or more of the participating governmental units believe the public interest may be served thereby.
- Each bid or proposal, with the name of the successful bidder or proposer, shall be entered on a record which shall, after the award of the purchase or order or contract, be open to public inspection.
- A copy of all contracts shall be filed with the purchasing office, clerk, or secretary of each participating governmental unit.
If you have any questions regarding joint purchasing generally or this amendment to the Act, please contact Ken Florey in the firm’s Chicago office.
David G. Weldon of the firm’s Chicago office prepared this Law Alert.
 30 ILCS 525/1 et seq.