The Government Performance Lab Procurement Excellence Network (PEN) is a free online hub to support state and local public procurement professionals as they drive reform and make procurement more efficient, fair, results-driven, equitable, and strategic.
Our resource library include quick reads, templates, and how-to guides available for free download. Check out our publication Using Government Procurement to Advance Racial Equity, which highlights innovative procurement strategies to advance economic mobility.
Events & Opportunities
Join us for roundtables and trainings that will support your growth as a leader. Our interactive events are also a great opportunity to learn from your peers about how they’ve implemented procurement reforms in their jurisdictions.
About Our Community
PEN members are doing big things! Our members come from state and local governments of every structure and size, but they all have one thing in common: a desire to transform procurement.
Resources & Templates
A growing resource library of high-quality templates, guides, and cutting-edge innovations
Events & Opportunities
Virtual peer roundtables and interactive trainings to learn and workshop best practices
A member directory and online discussion board to connect with peers
Office hours with GPL experts for live one-on-one and
About the Procurement Excellence Network (PEN): Transforming Procurement
Procurement is one of the most powerful tools state and local leaders have to improve resident outcomes and equitably deliver services. But in many state and local governments, procurement simply isn’t working the way it should -- RFPs take too long, not enough companies bid on contracts, and archaic procedures make it impossible to implement innovative solutions.
The goal of the GPL Procurement Excellence Network is to help cities, counties, and states transform their procurement practices—so that, ultimately, governments achieve better outcomes for residents, businesses, and community stakeholders.
Pillars of Procurement Excellence
The Government Performance Lab's Procurement Excellence Framework is a set of strategies designed to help governments use procurement and contracting to achieve better outcomes for residents.
Efficient & Fair
Transforms the procurement process to be efficient, inviting, and transparent
Improves the outcomes of contracted programs, products, and services
Invests in equity to improve economic mobility and achieve better outcomes for historically marginalized populations
Elevates and resources procurement as a strategic function
Director, Office of Financial Empowerment
"In my department, we partner with contracted local organizations to run programs that advance economic mobility for the Lansing community. We’ve increasingly worked to write RFPs that aren’t so prescriptive, which has enabled the vendor community to offer more innovative solutions. It’s a win for us, our vendors, and the residents of Lansing."
Director, Department of Human Rights & Equal Economic Opportunity
Saint Paul, MN
"In Saint Paul, a priority for us is helping more small and diverse businesses bid on and win construction contracts. As we deepen our efforts to make procurement more equitable, we look forward to learning from other cities during virtual PEN roundtables - to hear what strategies they’ve found to be most promising to advance racial equity."
Michael McKenna Miller
Director of Strategic Procurement
"Our vision in the City of Boston is to transform procurement from a compliance function to a force for achieving our policy goals and addressing income inequality. Tools, support and templates from the GPL have helped us leverage procurement as we work to make change."
Events & Opportunities
PEN Informational Webinar #2
The Procurement Excellence Network (PEN) is a community for procurement professionals who know procurement is a tool for effecting lasting change, a place where innovators and change-makers in state and […]
Roundtable: Vendor Performance Evaluation
Many governments do not have mechanisms in place to formally track the performance of their vendors. Without an understanding of how vendors are doing, governments are limited in their ability […]
What Is Procurement Excellence?
Many of the most important functions of state and local government – from building roads to sheltering the unhoused – involve contracting for goods and services supplied by the private […]
Solicitation Getting Started Toolkit - Overview
A purchasing office can be a valuable partner in collaborating with departments or agencies on solicitations by providing strategic support, whether through helping staff write effective and clear specifications, guiding them to use correct procurement processes, or by informing them of existing contracts that meet their needs. This quick read introduces PEN's toolkit for getting solicitations started on the right foot, including a procurement intake form, a kickoff meeting slide deck, and an RFP getting started worksheet.
Using Government Procurement to Advance Racial Equity
Exclusionary barriers have historically prevented organizations led by people of color from receiving their fair share of government contracting dollars while simultaneously making it easier for white-owned businesses to win contracts. Disrupting this cycle requires governments to take action in two important ways: vendor diversity and equitable service delivery. This how-to guide highlights innovative procurement strategies that can help governments increase investments in historically marginalized communities.
Assessing and Tracking Vendor Performance
Without an understanding of how vendors are doing, governments are limited in their ability to improve performance or to make well-informed decisions about hiring a vendor in the future or renewing a contract. Setting up a vendor performance evaluation system can enable governments to track important data about performance over time and to support vendors in improving how they deliver goods or services. This how-to guide will help you get started in setting up a vendor performance evaluation system in your government.