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Open for opportunity: Re-imagining Procurement through Open Contracting

Photo by Dan Eckert / CC

It is clear from the 360 degree view from the City Hall Observation Deck that Los Angeles is in the midst of a transformational period — a once-in-a-generation moment of change.

With billions of dollars a year in spending on public contracts, openness and opportunity are at the heart of the City’s procurement process. As the City continues to make investments to better serve its residents, it is essential to create an inclusive, diverse, and dynamic economy where everyone can share in the opportunities Los Angeles creates.

As part of the City’s efforts to modernize and open up the procurement process, the Mayor’s Office, Sunlight Open Cities, and Open Contracting Partnership (OCP) are collaborating to transform how businesses compete for opportunities. Clear and usable open data on the contracting process is critical to keep businesses, officials, and other stakeholders apprised of upcoming and ongoing opportunities, and prevent folks from missing out on contracts.

“This project with Sunlight Open Cities and Open Contracting Partnership will help make the City’s procurement process more streamlined and inclusive for small, local, and diverse businesses throughout the City,” said Michael Owh, Los Angeles’ Chief Procurement Officer. “The knowledge provided by the data we offer will drive innovation and equity for our business community.”

Tools like Tactical Data Engagement from Sunlight and the Open Contracting Principles and Open Contracting Data Standard from OCP will help the Chief Procurement Officer ensure contracting data will serve — and be used by — the City’s business community. With the support of Sunlight Open Cities and OCP, the City is seeking to improve the experience of companies bidding on opportunities and encourage economic empowerment of all residents and business owners.

Working together, Sunlight, OCP and the City hope to achieve the following:

  1. Smarter Procurement. Improving data governance can have a significant impact on internal efficiency, saving the City both time and money and promoting better understanding of who does business with whom across all departments. A lack of data sharing among departments can lead to inefficient and duplicative processes and contracts.
  2. Diversity and Accessibility. Los Angeles is home to thousands of diverse businesses. By investing in local companies and providing crucial public data, the City can create a healthy economic ecosystem.
  3. Quality in Practice. Transparency and community engagement can help shape business inclusion practices to effectively create a procurement environment that is friendly to all companies and stakeholders.
  4. Data-Driven Decisions. Open data and partnerships with vendors can provide insight into the life-time performance of a contract, ensuring partnerships with vendors are efficient and effective.

Los Angeles is a city of opportunity. Harnessing the power of data, and using it to create a level playing field for all those competing for City contracts, will help Los Angeles reach new heights.


Photo by Dan Eckert / CC

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