Improving Government Procurement Processes

 The Plan of Adjustment to cut the Commonwealth debt by 80% provides Puerto Rico with a path to real, sustainable economic growth. Fiscal responsibility and government that works for the people and businesses is another critical element of Puerto Rico’s future prosperity, and the Government of Puerto Rico and the Financial Oversight and Management Board are working together to transform public services. 

One important step in this transformation is to empower public servants and enhances their skills. The result is measurable progress. 

The latest initiative by the Government and the Oversight Board is the Procurement Transformation Initiative. The pilot project starting this new initiative has launched with the Department of Public Safety (DPS), which oversees Police, Firefighters, Medical Emergency, Emergency and Disaster Management, Special Investigations, and 9-1-1 agencies. 

The Oversight Board and DPS jointly identified opportunities to simplify, streamline, and further optimize DPS’ procurement processes. A related initiative will digitize DPS procurement processes. 

To empower DPS employees, the Oversight Board is holding capability building workshops with staff from the six bureaus who are involved in procurement processes. A recent session focused on problem-solving skills and teamwork. 

During the problem-solving skills session, the Oversight Board divided DPS leaders into breakout groups that completed a series of group exercises focused on defining and structuring issues; prioritization and workplans; and analyzing, synthesizing, developing solutions. The examples presented were related to real situations in the DPS procurement process. Working together, DPS leaders debated and agreed on definition of core problems, bringing the best approach to the situations, and ensuring reliable results. 

For example, one systems technician worked on a problem-solving diagram with her colleagues to determine how to expedite the procurement process. The technician has worked in government for over 20 years and said the exercise helped her to identify the problem more clearly and find workable solutions. 

“There are different ways to see a problem and present solutions. This kind of problem solving can be used in many areas, not just for procurement. While problem solving can be defined in many ways, this 7-step problem-solving skill methodology of sharing and learning is beneficial to address any complex challenge in DPS and across all government agencies,” said Kevin Borja from the Oversight Board’s Commonwealth Fiscal Plan & Budget team, who led the workshop. 

While the Procurement Transformation initiative is in its early stages, the Oversight Board and the Government are working towards implementing this initiative in other agencies, just as with the Civil Service Reform and the Time and Attendance project. 

These programs will improve the way government works for the people of Puerto Rico. The Oversight Board will continue to invest in these initiatives to provide professional growth opportunities to public employees. 

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