Overview of the Western States Contracting Alliance (WSCA)
Published: July 02, 2013
The Western States Contracting Alliance (WSCA) is a cooperative purchasing program created more than 20 years ago to serve as the primary cooperative purchasing program of the National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO).
The success of WSCA, which was built upon the collaboration 13 original participating members, can be found in the number of contracts that are currently in place. In 2012, $8 billion was spent on the WSCA portfolio of more than 40 contracts that include commodities and services from computer equipment, to IT services, to infant formula.
Due to its success, WSCA/NASPO repositioned the program as its own entity in January 2013, reaching out to all 50 states and their political subdivisions to help grow innovation, efficiency and competition in the market.
WSCA uses a competitive procurement process, with a lead-state model to ensure open, competitive cooperative contracts. WSCA contracts are awarded by a competitive solicitation process – usually a request for proposals (RFP) released by the lead state. The alliance carefully defines the solicitation process as a 4-way relationship that involves the lead state, the participating entity, the end user and the contractor. The following descriptions from WSCA’s website will help with the cooperative purchasing process:
The lead state
The role of the lead state is to develop the solicitation, evaluate responses, and award the contract. After it’s been awarded, the lead state must manage the cooperative contract under terms and conditions established by NASPO, but must also be valid under the lead state’s procurement policies.
The participating entity
The participating entity will most likely be the state’s central procurement office, but in the case that the state does not participate, it may grant permission for entities in that state to participate in the WSCA contract. States may also elect to participate in the cooperative contract so the local governments within the state have access, but may limit or restrict the access of the state’s agencies.
The end user
The end user is any entity given permission by the participating state to use the contract. The end user must follow all of its state’s requirements and procedures when using the cooperative contracts.
The contractor or vendor who desires to bid on a cooperative solicitation must contact the lead and/or administering state. All NASPO and WSCA contracts are awarded on a competitive basis. Neither NASPO nor WSCA maintain a vendor registration program. Contractors will not be added to a contract after the deadline specified in the solicitation.
As the 4-way relationship shows, a WSCA contract differs from a state term contract as it is a multi-state contract. WSCA cooperative purchasing contracts provide benefits to the state, its political subdivisions, and the vendors who participate in the program. The states receive a competitive reduced price on commodities and services, while the vendors, once awarded a contract, are able to sell to multiple states and entities who participate in the contract.
How can Deltek help contractors gain insight into WSCA contracts?
Deltek’s GovWin IQ features a State and Local Term Contracts Resource with more than 15,000 IT cooperative term contracts, including WSCA/NASPO agreements. The WSCA contracts in the database offer details such as lead state and participating states for a particular contract. The resource can help vendors determine which contracts might be of interest for their company, and also offers competitive intel with regard to pricing.
Key Take Away
WSCA/NASPO contracts are a form of cooperative purchasing that encourages collaboration amongst states. They use a unique procurement process that involves a lead state and participating entity mentioned in the 4-way relationship.
The WSCA/NASPO program is gaining momentum with the creation of the new entity in early 2013, and is growing in popularity as it strives to reach all 50 states and their political subdivisions by providing greater price discounts and better service agreements. WSCA/NASPO will continue to develop their program and ultimately encourage more collaboration among states to help facilitate innovation and competition in the market.