News & Updates

Boston Planning & Development Agency provides update on Equitable Procurement Plan

Nov 18, 2021

The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) today announced the completion of the implementation of the first phase of its Equitable Procurement Plan. The BPDA adopted an Equitable Procurement Plan in May 2021 to ensure that M/WBEs are represented and benefit from the agency’s contracts. 

Through the Equitable Procurement Plan, the BPDA has redesigned the procurement process to increase the number of opportunities for M/WBEs to participate in the agency’s contracting. The BPDA has increased training and staffing to better equip the agency to successfully diversify the yearly contract spend. Most notably, the agency has hired a Supplier Diversity Specialist, who reaches out directly to M/WBEs to provide notifications of upcoming contract opportunities. In addition, communications have increased to make the public aware of new Requests For Proposals (RFPS), Request for Quotes (RFQs), and Solicitations for Quotes (SFQs).That outreach also includes a public buying plan, and additional information on the Equitable Procurement Plan is now available to the public on the BPDA’s website. Going forward, the BPDA will collect data to measure the impact the Equitable Procurement Plan has on diverse contracts, and provide quarterly updates to the BPDA Board. 

In the last six months, the agency has been working towards the goals of the Equitable Procurement Plan through the work of the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, which has created an ecosystem of resources by partnering with different organizations and firms. This list includes:

  • Amplify Latinx
  • Black Economic Council of Massachusetts (BECMA)
  • Center for Women and Enterprise (CWE)
  • Greater New England Minority Supplier Diversity Council (GNEMSDC)
  • Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce
  • Mass Fallen Heroes (InnoVets)
  • Massachusetts LGBT Chamber of Commerce
  • National Association of Asian American Professionals
  • Supplier Diversity Office (Commonwealth of Massachusetts)
  • US Small Business Administration (SBA)
  • Work Without Limits

These strategic partnerships allow the agency to diversify the bids received for different contracts, and advise on the creation of more equitable opportunities and the outreach process. 

The BPDA has also released a Buying Plan: a tool for engaging these partners. The Buying Plan is a list of contract opportunities expected to be released in the next two years. The forecast is intended to help businesses prepare for upcoming opportunities, raise awareness about opportunities, and help increase transparency into BPDA spending. The plan is also now available on the BPDA website.

The BPDA is also dedicated to providing ongoing technical assistance to firms interested in applying for procurement opportunities. The BPDA partnered with the City of Boston’s Equity and Inclusion Unit to expand technical assistance programming. The Agency released an RFP on November 8th seeking consultants to help craft a technical assistance program that compliments existing City programming and establishes a new program within the BPDA to support business owners seeking information about government contracting. The agency is currently working with the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts (BECMA), Amplify Latinx, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, on three separate engage and connect events to ensure equal opportunity in upcoming procurement opportunities.

Some of this work is a direct result of the BPDA’s  work with Living Cities, where agency staff served as part of a City Accelerator program regarding inclusive procurement, with nine other cities. This experience learning from other similar cities helps as the agency continues to implement strategies that increase contracting opportunities. 

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