Approved Purchasing Cooperatives
Purchasing Cooperatives are a type of cooperative arrangement to agree to aggregate demand to get lower prices from selected suppliers. It is often used by government agencies to reduce costs of procurement. Purchasing Cooperatives are used most frequently by governmental entities, since they are required to follow laws requiring competitive bidding above certain thresholds. Counties, municipalities, schools, colleges and universities in the majority of states can sign an agreement or contract that allows them to legally use a contract that was procured by another governmental entity. This form of procurement is not currently allowed under public works law; this is only applicable to competitive bid law.
The Alabama Legislature passed Act No. 2012-557 allowing local boards of education to purchase items through certain purchasing cooperatives. The provisions of the Act have been codified in the Code of Alabama 1975, Section 16-13B-2. Among other things, the Act provides that the purchases of goods may be made if they are part of any purchasing cooperative sponsored by the National Association of Counties, its successor organization, or any other competitive bid nationwide cooperative purchasing program, or other national or regional governmental cooperative purchasing program.The competitive bid process used by the cooperative must be approved by the Alabama Department of Examiners of Public Accounts.
For a list of the most commonly used purchasing cooperative contracts, please visit Purchasing Cooperative Contract List. While most of these cooperatives allow you to contact the vendor through their website and send your requisition directly to the vendor, some require you to go through the cooperative instead. Make sure to follow the purchasing guidelines for each cooperative and include the applicable cooperative contract name and number on your requisition. You can also refer to links below to determine vendor discounts and special offers.
To use an approved purchasing cooperative by the Department of Examiners of Public Accounts click the links below:
Note: Alabama Code 16-13B-2 states that purchases of goods made as part of any purchasing cooperative should meet all the following criteria: approved by the Department of Examiners of Public Accounts, not at the same time available on the state purchasing program or available at a price equal to or less than that on the state purchasing program, and purchased through a participating Alabama vendor holding and Alabama business license. Contracts entered into in violation of this chapter shall be void, and anyone who violates this chapter shall be guilty of a class C felony.