State and local governments across the country spend an estimated $2 trillion in goods and services every year. This means that $2 trillion flows from public to private entities for everything from city services, such as trash pickup and park maintenance, to public health programs, to the purchase of textbooks for students, to the complex technological systems that undergird many public services.
Given the immense amount of public money transferred to the private sector through government contracting, it is crucial that local and state governments use an approach to procurement that drives toward equity.
Our newly released report – a joint collaboration between In The Public Interest and the Local Progress Impact Lab – offers a roadmap for community advocates and local elected officials to examine how governmental entities can better design their procurement processes to incorporate public values.
Incorporating requirements and standards that reflect public values can turn procurement into a multifaceted tool that can help governmental entities tackle pressing issues, such as the undermining of public services, eroding economic security and worker power, racial inequities, climate change, and more.
Informed by interviews with government officials, policy advocates, and local elected leaders organizing in their communities, the report focuses on:
- The nuts and bolts of the procurement process
- Common issues that come up during the process
- Special and emerging issues related to technology contracts, including AI
- Best practices and recommendations for improving procurement policies
The report is grounded in how procurement can advance equitable access to public goods, advance workers’ rights, support environmental sustainability, and maximize transparency.