##PROCUREMENT COMMODITIES - Frequently Asked Questions

###How does the payment data relate to the contract information data?

The payment amount reflects the payments made in the given quarter against the contract and not the total payment amount for the life of the contract. Additionally, some contracts may not show the correct contract amount. If a contract was reassigned or additional endorsements are made against the original contract limit our reporting system, at times, could not capture the accurate contract amount. Consequently, there are some records that may show more paid than the contract amount.

###Why do Procurement contracts follow different bidding requirements than professional services contracts?

The bidding requirements for both types of contracts are established by City law: the Home Rule Charter and the Philadelphia Code. Procurement contracts follow those rules found in Section 8-200 of the Home Rule Charter as well as some found in Title 17 of the Philadelphia Code. Professional Services contracts follow the rules found in Chapter 17-1400 and elsewhere in Title 17 of the Philadelphia Code. There are other requirements that guide both bidding processes that are found in State law, Mayoral Executive Orders, and/or department regulations.

###What are some examples of "non-professional services"?

Examples of non-professional services include but are not limited to: snow plowing, towing services, car washing, maintenance and monitoring of alarm systems, pest control services, various repair services, disposal of hazardous and electronic waste, janitorial services, HVAC maintenance, landscaping, security guard services , courier services and court reporting.

###Why is "SS&E" listed as a department name for some contracts and not others?

Due to the manner in which data is captured for public works contracts versus how it is captured for supplies, equipment and non-professional services contracts (SS&E), a department name is not available for SS&E contracts as it is for public works contracts. As such, the names for departments are only available for public works contracts but not for SS&E contracts.

###What do the data fields Total_Contract_Months and Remaining_Contract_Months represent in the CSV file?

The two data fields "Total_Contract_Months" and "Remaining_Contract_Months" are fields that taken together reflect the current contract length remaining on a procurement contract. The City typically contracts for one year with up to three one year renewals at the City's discretion and may elect to enter into contracts with terms for less than a year. The total contract months are a reflection of the total possible months (including renewals) under the current contract. The remaining months are the number of months remaining on the total contract term. At times, the City may amend a contract beyond the original contract term as signed by the contractor. This requires the City and the contractor to sign an amendment agreeing to a new contract length. When this occurs, the original Total Contract Months are overwritten and replaced with the new length of time. The renewals reflect if there are any additional months agreed to under the amendment.

###Why is the information for Procurement contracts different than the information for professional services data?

There are two distinct contracting databases the City uses to manage Procurement contracts and professional services contracts. For this reason, the information and reports available for either type of contract may vary.

###Why is the data on professional service contracts and Procurement contracts found on two different pages on the Open Contract Data site?

At this time, the City is unable to consolidate data on professional services and Procurement contracts into one file. However, we are working on it! We hope to provide a comprehensive picture of all the contracts awarded by the City in future versions of Open Contract Data site.

###For some Procurement contracts, why does it look like the City paid very little under the contract?

With Procurement contracts, there are two types of bids: firm limit bids and requirements bid (or Open End Contracts). Firm limit bids are "one-time" bids for a fixed quantity of goods or services with a prescribed delivery schedule (ex: the purchase of two police vehicles). A requirements bid is for goods or services that is needed consistently over a period of time (typically one year) and represent anticipated purchases by City departments (ex: paper). The quantities and contract limit provided in the contract are generally estimates so it’s possible that the payments may be less or sometimes more than the contract award amount.

###Why isn't a contract type listed for some contracts?

A contract type is typically not listed for contracts that do not follow the City’s standard bidding procedures. These types of contracts include, but are not limited to:

  • Cooperative Contracts: These are contracts that are entered into by another purchasing entity (ex: the State) and the City "piggy-backs" onto the contract. Cooperative contracts will have the vendor name and cooperative bid number listed in the "Contract Description" field
  • Emergency Orders ("e-Orders"): These are contracts for emergency purchases in which the formal bidding procedures are suspended to prevent harm to public health or safety.
  • Contract Reassignment: A missing contract description may also represent a contract assignment to a new vendor. These assignments will be reflected as two distinct contract records with the same bid number but a different contract number, one of which, will begin with an alpha-numeric character.

###I noticed that the Public Works contracts do not have end dates. Why is that?

Public Works contracts have anticipated end dates that are not included in this report. These dates are managed by the department overseeing the construction contract and as such, the end dates are not reflected in the contract system from which the data for this report is pulled.

###I'm interested in viewing the contract documents for one of the contracts found on this site. How can I obtain that information?

If you want to view the pricing and bids received by the City of Philadelphia for a particular contract, you can contact our Customer Service Unit at 215-686-4720 or bid.info@phila.gov to schedule an appointment to review the contract in person. If you would like a physical copy, you can complete the Bid Results Request Form and submit with payment of $10 and a self addressed envelope (at least 9 ½ x 12 ½) for each bid requested. The request form can be found just before the terms and conditions section of any SS&E bid that is posted on the Procurement website.

###I'm interested in bidding on one of the contracts that is expiring soon. Where can I find bid information for the contracts listed on this site?

Bids for Procurement contracts can be found on the Bids Online website. The default page shows the Services, Supplies & Equipment (SS&E) Bids. The link at the top entitled “Public Works bidding opportunities” will bring you to the Public Works Bids. Please note: SS&E contracts marked as Remaining months “0” may be contracts that the City will be putting out as a new competitive opportunity to replace an existing contract. Typically, a bid opportunity will be posted to this site 2-to-3 months in advance of the expiration date if the City decides to replace the existing contract with a new one. Although a contract may be expiring in the next quarter, it does not guarantee the City will put out a new bid for that good or service. The needs of the City may change or the City may contract for those items via an alternative contract vehicle. If you have questions about any bid, you may contact Procurement’s Customer Service Unit at 215-686-4720 or bid.info@phila.gov.

###What do all the acronyms and abbreviations mean?

At times, we must use acronyms or abbreviations when inputting contract data into the City's main contracting and financial databases. You may also find that some of the department names may not reflect the current department names (ex: Division of Technology is now the Office of Innovation and Technology). The following is a list of some of the acronyms and abbreviations found on the site and their meanings:

  • SSE: (Non-Professional) Services, Supplies and Equipment
  • PW: Public Works
  • Sch: Schedule (The Procurement Department manages bids to a schedule assigned a number)

###I noticed that some of the contracts have “EOrder” as their bid number. What does that mean?

An EOrder, or Emergency Order, is when the City’s standard bidding and procurement procedures are suspended in order to purchase a supply, service, or equipment on an emergency basis to avoid risk to public health or safety. An example of an EOrder is for the purchase of generators during a natural disaster.

###How can I provide feedback on this website?

We welcome your comments and feedback on how we can make this website most useful to the public. Please contact the Office of the Chief Integrity Officer with your comments at integrity@phila.gov.