Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Performance and Quality Improvement (PA-PQI) 6: Contracting Practices

The agency enters into contracts as a purchaser of services with due regard for practices that promote positive service recipient outcomes and efficient use of resources.

Interpretation

The standards in PA-PQI 6 apply to all contracts entered into by the agency in which it acts as a purchaser of (1) social and human services or (2) staff training and other personnel development services.  This includes contracts with provider organizations as well as contracts with independent contractors.
NA Contracting is managed by an external department.

NA State-administered agency regional office
2020 Edition

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Purpose

 An agency-wide performance and quality improvement system effectively engages staff, persons served, and other stakeholders in advancing the agency’s mission and achieving strategic goals through continuous, integrated, data-driven efforts to improve service delivery and administrative practice. 
1
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions: exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
2
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement.
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented. 
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.
3

Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  

  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.  
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.  
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
4
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed administration and management infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
County/Municipality Administered Agency, State Administered Agency (Central Office), or other Public Entity
  • Contracting and procurement policies, procedures, and applicable regulations
  • List of applicable contracts
  • Sample of three applicable contracts
State Administered Agency (Regional Office)
  • Evaluated at the Central Office Only
County/Municipality Administered Agency, State Administered Agency (Central Office), or other Public Entity
  • Additional contracts
State Administered Agency (Regional Office)
  • Evaluated at the Central Office only
County/Municipality Administered Agency, State Administered Agency (Central Office), or other Public Entity
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Agency head
    2. Contract manager(s)
    3. Contracted providers including independent contractors
State Administered Agency (Regional Office)
  • Evaluated at the Central Office only

PA-PQI 6.01

The pursuit of contracts is:
  1. consistent with the agency’s mission and practice model; 
  2. aligned with, and supportive of, the agency’s service array and resource development goals; and
  3. responsive to the identified needs and desired outcomes of persons served.

PA-PQI 6.02

The agency:
  1. establishes a system of standardized contracting practices; and
  2. conducts due diligence in contracting activities including review of possible risks.

PA-PQI 6.03

The agency has a process for verifying that prospective contractors:
  1. have sufficient human and financial resources to fulfill the terms of the contract; 
  2. are licensed or otherwise legally authorized to provide the contracted services; 
  3. employ appropriately qualified staff; and 
  4. have a history of satisfactory performance under previous contracts with the agency, as applicable.

Interpretation

The agency should have a process for verifying the qualifications of independent contractors or personnel employed by contracted providers including confirmation that providers:
  1. possess relevant licenses and/or credentials;
  2. have the desired expertise and competencies for the contracted service, including cultural responsiveness and sufficient experience delivering services to the population served; and
  3. receive appropriate supervision.