CPS to Adopt Several Recommendations From Independent Third Party to Strengthen Procurement Process 

Accenture LLC completes thorough review of CPS' sole source contract process
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                                
Wednesday, August 26, 2015                                                                        

For more information, contact:
CPS Office of Communications  
Phone: 773-553-1620                                                                                                                    
Website: http://www.cps.edu                                                                                                                     

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced today that an independent review conducted by Accenture LLC determined the District's sole source procurement process is sound and similar to peer organizations. The report recommends further enhancements, including creating a distinction between sole and single source procurements and publishing sole and single source contracts online to improve transparency to the public and potential alternative vendors.

CPS has already adopted some of Accenture's recommendations and will adopt several more over the next six months to further strengthen this procurement process.

“This report provides a thorough review of our sole source procurement process, and we will spend the next months thoughtfully implementing many of the report's recommendations to strengthen our procedures,” said Forrest Claypool, CEO of Chicago Public Schools. "By ensuring our procurement processes result in the most competitive and cost-effective bids, we can ensure that every dollar possible is being spent in the classroom."

The independent, third-party review was ordered as one of the first acts of then-Interim CEO Jesse Ruiz. CPS has already\ adopted some of Accenture's recommendations, including a policy distinguishing sole and single source procurements and publishing sole and single source contracts online in advance of Board meetings to create transparency and alert other possible vendors to the contracts.

“One of my first acts as Interim CEO was to halt any new sole source contracts and order a review of the process.  Adopting these recommendations improves efficiency and transparency in our process,” said Jesse Ruiz, Vice President of the Board of Education. “The report reaffirms the strength of CPS’s process, but also made recommendations to improve transparency and install greater faith in the system.”

Sole source vendors will now be defined as those who offer a unique product or service that no other organization can. The definition of single source vendor acknowledges that while others offer a similar product or service, there may be substantial reasons for the single source such as the impact of switching vendors, cost, or specific expertise and experience.

Over the next six months, CPS will implement additional recommendations from the report, including the formalization of the Non-Competitive Procurement Review Committee charter and the modification of the company ownership checklist to require single or sole source requestors to disclose any past or present business or personal relationships with the vendor. These recommendations will be thoughtfully implemented over the coming months to allow CPS to adopt the measures in a way that enhances current District practices.

After being selected through a competitive process, Accenture spent several weeks conducting a thorough review of CPS’ process and systems, along with comparing information on peer school districts such as New York City, Los Angeles, Clark County Nevada, as well as the University of Illinois and the University of California. Accenture also compared sole source process used by Cook County, the State of Illinois, New York State, and the State of Maryland.

CPS remains committed to upholding high ethical standards and providing transparency in our practices for all stakeholders as we work toward our top goal of improving educational opportunities for students.

Chicago Public Schools serves 396,000 students in 664 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.

Page Last Modified on Thursday, August 27, 2015