How do CRCOG IT Services Programs save my town money?
By utilizing the concept of group purchasing, CRCOG is often able to negotiate a lower price than municipalities would leverage individually. We represent a group of interested towns which allows the vendor to lower their standard price. Each IT Services program RFP is specifically drafted to enable piggybacking to encourage new towns to take advantage of the group savings. The prospect of additional towns allows CRCOG to secure favorable pricing.
In addition to cost savings, the CRCOG IT Services Cooperative saves municipal staff time. The RFP process is complex and requires dozens of staff hours to conduct. Each program has already been through that process, allowing municipalities to purchase the product/services immediately. This also expedites the purchasing process because there is no need to wait weeks to collect bids and evaluate proposals like the traditional RFP process.
I am not a CRCOG Town. Can I still take advantage of one of these programs?
Yes. The CRCOG IT Services Cooperative is available to Connecticut municipalities, boards of education, libraries and other public entities. The CRCOG IT Services Cooperative is a combined effort of the CRCOG Service Sharing Initiative, the Capitol Region Purchasing Council (CRPC) and the Connecticut Council of Small Towns (COST). If you are a member of one of these organizations, you can access the CRCOG IT Services Cooperative. If you are not a member of any of these organizations, you can join the Cooperative as an independent organization for a small annual membership fee.
Can I purchase a service/product through CRCOG without going out to bid?
Yes. According to Connecticut State Statute Sec. 4a-53 (Formerly Sec. 4-110c) and Sec. 4a-53(b), the State of Connecticut is permitted to join in cooperative purchasing plans and purchase equipment, supplies, materials, and services from a current contract negotiated by a political subdivision when in the best interests of the state. Consequently, municipalities have the ability to purchase services through cooperative purchasing. CRCOG is classified as a political subdivision of the State of Connecticut and has the authority to submit Request for Proposals (RFPs), evaluate bids, and enter into contracts with private vendors for equipment, supplies, materials, and services on behalf of other government agencies.
As long as piggybacking isn’t explicitly restricted by your municipality’s charter, you are able to use our contracts to purchase items directly from our vendors.
What is CRCOG’s involvement after the service/product is implemented and functional?
CRCOG staff take a proactive approach to improving our programs. CRCOG actively solicits feedback from the program participants which is passed on to the vendor. Because of the nature of the software industry, feedback is vital when updating the product to better serve the end user. With an anonymous feedback loop providing accurate and constructive criticism, vendors are well equipped to serve the towns and adapt their offerings accordingly.
Should any issues with the product/service arise, CRCOG staff can act as a mediator to facilitate communication between the vendor and the municipality at any time. This can often help expedite the problem solving and remediation process and ensure both parties are content with the outcome.
There is a software that we are interested in purchasing that is not part of the current IT Services Collaboration. Can you help us?
Due to the nature of public procurement, municipalities are only able to purchase current goods and services offered through the current vendors because they have been selected as part of a competitive process. However, CRCOG is always looking for new ideas. If your municipality is interested in purchasing any software or IT related service that you think will be of interest to other towns, please contact the IT Services Program Manager. All IT purchase inquiries are brought to the Municipal Services Committee for deliberation. If there is sufficient interest from the Committee, CRCOG staff is authorized to start the procurement process. The initiating Municipality is often selected as a pilot town and offered a position on the program review committee. Pilot towns often have their initial and maintenance costs subsidized by CRCOG or other grant fund sources.