Office of General Services

Agency Use of Purchasing Flexibility Option Known as OGS or Less

Generally, State agencies are expected to purchase commonly used commodities through statewide contracts that are awarded and administered by the Office of General Services. In 1996, guidelines were issued allowing State agencies to purchase commodities directly from vendors, rather than through the statewide contracts, if the direct purchase price was lower than the contract purchase price. We examined the extent to which this purchasing option has been used by State agencies. We found that the purchasing option has been rarely used because, according to agency officials, the commodities available through the statewide contracts have good prices, contract vendors have proven track records, and the cost of shopping for lower prices does not seem worthwhile, especially with limited staff resources. However, some agency officials told us they were not aware of the purchasing option or do not use the option for more expensive purchases, where potential savings are greatest, because of difficulties created by certain other purchasing requirements. We recommend that Office of General Services officials do more to publicize the option and consider easing requirements that may discourage the use of the option.

For a complete copy of Report 96-S-47 click here.
For a copy of the 90-day response click here.