Implementing the Procurement Lever

The Government Performance Lab’s Framework for Procurement Excellence is a good guide for thinking about each stage of the procurement cycle and how it can be used to advance equity and job quality. Consider how efficiency, fairness, and equity can help your organization achieve your desired results at each step in the process.


Consider each concept and how it can help drive the change. For example: 

  • Efficient and Fair - Creating standardized, documented processes that can be communicated transparently. Connecting the dots between goals and strategy demonstrates “why” a particular element is being required or data point is being collected.

  • Results Driven - Requirements/data collection that are not specifically related to your goals (and ultimately captured in the logic model) should be questioned. “Is this absolutely necessary? If so, why or why not?” Taking a results driven perspective will also help to jump start an evaluation plan as you consider what the procurement hoped to achieve and can inform specific metrics to be used throughout the effort.

  • Equitable - Outlines a set of activities, outputs and outcomes that are related to all partners/individuals/organizations participating in the procurement. Deviation should be reviewed to assess whether there is an inequity in the process or additional information has been received which requires a change to the initial model.

Procurement Cycle Stage

Sample Ways to Build in Engagement and Accountability

Sample Data Collection Opportunities to Measure Success of Process

Community Needs and Market Research

  • Create pre award town hall, Q+A or learning opportunities to gain insights

  • Budget funding to compensate individuals for their time responding to qualitative data collection

  • Track participation and reach of outreach to unearth any gaps

  • Monitor compensation trends to ensure individuals are receiving a living wage for their time

RFP Drafting

  • Establish technical assistance programs that are available pre award and during implementation

  • Use human centered design practices to guide program design and development

  • Prioritize (e.g. awarding of points or other preference, set asides of local jobs) demonstration of job quality components

  • Track provision/use and themes from technical assistance, break down by type of organization (e.g. BIPOC lead, immigrant owned to surface any inequities)

  • Track budget available for training to equip diverse participants to engage in human centered design process

  • Track job quality component data as well as trends in who/what organizations are able to participate

RFP Promotion

  • Create plan to diversify locations/sources for funding notification

  • Embed funds to train/mentor trusted communicators in the program or effort to help get the word out

  • Track # of submissions by source and change in diversity of awardees over time

  • Track # of individuals served with funds to better understand full costs the work

Proposal Evaluation

  • Engage diverse individuals in creating and carrying out a set of fair, unbiased evaluation approaches

  • Track who is selected to participate in evaluation committees and results by trend to surface any gaps or inequities (e.g. is a BIPOC owned business more likely to be selected when a greater number of BIPOC owned individuals are on the committee or is living wage more likely to be encouraged when workers from the field are included)


  • Communicate clear expectations for the partnership

  • Establish and communicate continuous feedback loops

  • Assess use (#, timing, user) of feedback loops throughout process and adjust where needed - e.g. diversification of mediums, message carriers

Active Contract/Grant Management

  • Request contractor insights on the approach before initiating evaluation

  • Conduct worker voice surveys to understand progress

  • Facilitate interviews or focus groups on particular topics of interest to contractors

  • Provide incentives (financial or process) for co-design of evaluation measures as those carrying out the work know the space best.  

  • Assess qualitative responses from surveys, interviews and focus groups to identify job quality bright spots and gaps and use to inform contract modifications

Quick Start Guide

1. Identify whether the organization currently tracks, prioritizes, or incentivizes participation of diverse respondents and/or job quality principles through your procurement, purchasing or grantmaking.

2. Determine what type of impact the organization would like to use procurement to achieve. 

3. Select an approach. See sample approaches in the table below. The desired result will directly influence what the draft language says, what type of training/outreach is needed, and what data can be collected.

3. Establish a standard set of job quality metrics for incorporation into procurement and purchasing guidelines.

4. Explore existing flexibilities for use of alternative contract structures such as performance based or pay for performance to incentivize job quality.

5. Implement or expand training, education and technical assistance alongside of your JQ procurement implementation. 



Building a representative competitive landscape

Efforts to increase the diversity of potential bidders who are aware of and can compete for RFPs. This can include expanding pre-RFP technical assistance, working with trusted community organizations to distribute the RFP, changing contract design process, and offering payment advances.

Engaging Communities in Planning and Selection of Funded Projects

Incorporating and compensating community members that represent a project's intended target population in the procurement design, selection, and implementation process.

Evidence-Based Scoring Preferences

Agencies can require and/or provide preference scoring for projects and programs that have a demonstrated track record of influencing one or more job quality features (e.g., earnings) through the RFP selection process.

Living Wage and Other Job Quality Ordinances

Policies or Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) that require all (or specific types of) contractors to pay a living wage and / or provide other job quality features for their employees (paid time off, healthcare benefits, stable scheduling, heat protections) as a condition of contracting with the agency, city, county, or state.

Local Hire / Target Hire Requirements or Preferences

Requiring employers on a project to set aside a specific number of jobs for local and/or disadvantaged members of the community. This may include a certain number of entry level / apprentice jobs, for residents of specific zip codes, or that they look to specific workforce agencies that help to staff these individuals for employees as a first source. These can be contract requirements or preference points in a procurement.

Community Benefits Agreements

An mechanism by which community organizations and representatives can negotiate directly with developers for the benefits most important to them.  A CBA is a legally enforceable contract between a coalition of community-based organizations and the developer of a proposed project where the developer agrees to contribute benefits to the local community in exchange for local support. The result is a smoother approval process for the developer and a better project for the community.

Job Quality in Contract Award and Contract Management

Award: Practices that consider the job quality of subrecipient / contractor staff as a significant factor in scoring as part of the selection and contract award process.

This may include considering the impact of specific contracting decisions related to allowable expenditures (e.g., staff training / tuition assistance), performance targets and caseload sizes, staffing patterns, and other job design features directly or indirectly impacted by your agencies contracting and reimbursement practices.

Management: Practices such as training and upskilling contractor staff, monitoring the employee satisfaction of contractor staff, considering contractor frontline staff job quality when making contract amendments and information requests of contractors, annual cost of living adjustments, and other contract management practices that can promote job quality of contractors after contract award.


Selected your lever(s)? Now move on to documenting your goals.