Idaho’s management of contracts with the state – including multimillion-dollar deals – falls short in two key areas, according to a performance evaluation released this afternoon by the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee: Training and monitoring. The report lays out a series of recommendations, including a checklist for best practices to be developed by the Division of Purchasing for all agencies; having the Legislature consider bringing all agencies under the oversight of the Purchasing Division for large or high-risk contract awards and monitoring; and updating state laws and administrative rules regarding contract awards and oversight to make them more “user-friendly.”
A survey of agency staff who are involved with contracts throughout the state found that they find Idaho’s rules and laws regarding contracting unclear, not useful and challenging to comply with. The report also found that there’s no overall requirement to monitor all contracts after they’re awarded.
“Agencies are not necessarily properly trained,” analyst Amy Lorenzo told the lawmakers on JLOC. “They’re still responsible for the management of that contract, even if they have not had any training.” That puts them at risk, she said. The report’s recommendations include creating new training programs and adding a new full-time position at the Division of Purchasing specifically to provide statewide training. More training for agencies is the “single biggest way” Idaho could improve its contracting process, Lorenzo said. The full report will be posted online here Tuesday morning.