Effective January 1, 2011, the Illinois Procurement Code (30 ILCS 500/1-1 et seq.) requires procurement communications be reported to the Illinois Procurement Policy Board. The statute states, in general, "any written or oral communication received by a State employee who, by the nature of his or her duties, has the authority to participate personally or substantially in the decision to award a State contract and that imparts or requests material information or makes a material argument regarding potential action concerning a procurement matter, including, but not limited to, an application, a contract, or a project, shall be reported to the Procurement Policy Board, and, with respect to the Illinois Power Agency, by the initiator of the communication, and may be reported also by the recipient." 30 ILCS 500/50-39(a).
The Southern Illinois University Ethics Office
will try to help guide you through questions you may have regarding
such communications and reporting. However, each employee
is responsible for making the ultimate determination as to whether a
particular communication should be reported. Conversely,
employees are permitted to make a good faith determination and may wish
to review the FAQs provided below. Each scenario or question will
undoubtedly involve various and unique facts and circumstances for you
to consider. If you feel that the communication should be reported,
you are obligated to do so.
It is important to note that the guidance given by the Ethics Office or campus representatives does not constitute legal advice.
***ALERT! Important Updated Information***
On February 17, 2011, the Executive Ethics Commission (EEC) repealed the emergency rules adopted on January 7, 2011. The EEC rules were intended to interpret and implement the Procurement Communications Reporting Requirement.
As a result of the EEC's repeal of its rules, the Office of the Governor developed and distributed on February 22, 2011 new guidance for Agencies under its jurisdiction, as a temporary measure in response to the repeal by the EEC. Effective December 2016, the guidance issued by the Office of the Governor in February 2011 has been updated to reflect changes in the law, policy, and practice of implementing this section of the Procurement Code.
Please carefully read the attached document Guidance Regarding Procurement Communications Reporting Requirement 30 ILCS 500/50-39 as it will supersede all other interpretations of the Procurement Communication Reporting statute 30 ILCS/50-39.
Who is required to report?
Under the statute, all employees who communicate with vendors (verbally or in writing) may be required to report their communication. This may include p-card holders, fiscal officers and delegates, principal investigators, deans, directors, business managers, support staff, and members of a procurement selection committee. University employees who have no participation/influence on procurement decisions are not required to report communications under the Procurement Code.
Please note, University employees who are issued the authority to make procurement decisions may not delegate procurement decisions to individuals that are not recognized as having procurement authority. In accordance with University policy, improper delegation of authority can lead to removal of procurement authority.
All employees involved in the procurement of goods and services will be required to take training on the PPB website. An employee training module/tutorial is available click here.
What communication should be reported?
The intent of the law is to increase transparency and stop inappropriate interference from vendors, lobbyists, and others into University purchasing decisions.
The law requires you to report all material communications with vendors that attempt to influence your purchasing decisions. A material communication is defined as “any written or oral communication received by a State employee that imparts or requests material information or makes a material argument that a reasonable person would believe was made for the purpose of influencing procurement decisions, including but not limited to:
Examples of the procurement communications that require reporting.
Yes, this communication may develop into to a “sales pitch,” and steer the purchaser towards a certain product and if it does, it is probably material and should be reported. If, however, the communication is limited to facts such as the features and price of the equipment, it might not be material and need not be reported.
Yes, Section 50-39(a) of the Procurement Code specifically mentions change orders, so they need to be reported so long as the vendor or another person is attempting to influence the decision to make the change order, i.e., it is a “material” communication. Please note, the EEC insists that change orders are effectively new procurements, so you can’t avoid the procurement code law by calling something a change order.
It appears that the communication to invite the vendors to campus is not an attempt to influence a procurement decision, so no reporting is required. However, the communication with the vendors during the presentations would be material and an attempt to influence a purchasing decision; therefore, it should be reported unless it was held in a public forum.
What types of communications are excluded?
Examples of the procurement communications not required to be reported:
In the vast majority of cases reporting would not be required. Only if there is a communication from the vendor that requests a change in how the University conducts business or suggests or proposes changes in a purchasing decision.
No. Contracts exist for commodities available through an IPHEC agreement; hence, no reporting is required. Per the Procurement Policy Board, communications related to purchases under an existing contract do not require reporting unless the communication is related to the execution of a change order.
Normally no; but, if a vendor tries to influence the University’s buying habits in addition to or rather than offering a price, the communication should be reported.
No, since grants to the University or issued by the University are exempted from the procurement code.
Not necessarily. If the communication is simply about prices, parts numbers, availability, dates of delivery, etc., the communication would not be material and need not be reported.
No, only if the vendor tried to change your buying decision. An example would be if a vendor told you that you needed to replace rather than repair the furniture.
No, unless the vendor is attempting to change your purchasing decision. Furthermore, in this change order example, the communication is not material, so it need not be reported.
How do I file a report?
Communications are to be reported to the Procurement Policy Board via its website at https://pcrs.illinois.gov.
University employees will be required to create an Illinois.gov ID before accessing the reporting system. To obtain an Illinois.gov ID, if you are on the reporting website, (https://pcrs.illinois.gov) click on “Sign Up” next to the question “Don’t have an Illinois.gov ID or go directly to id.illinois.gov and click on “Create Illinois.gov Account”. Follow the prompts, making sure to answer “yes” to the question “are you a State of Illinois employee?” After obtaining your user name and password, employees may report communications. The domain name employees will select when logging in is "Other Employees SPS Accounts".
SIU has no control over the PPB reporting system. Please contact the Illinois Department of Innovation & Technology (DoIT) at 312-814-3648 or 217-524-3648 for issues related to accessing or use of the system.
What needs to be reported?
The on-line reporting tool will allow you to enter your information and to submit your report directly to the PPB.
What happens to my communication report after it has been filed?
All reported procurement communications are reviewed electronically submitted and then made available to the general public on the PPB website.
Is there a deadline or timeframe for filing a report?
Reports should be submitted upon receipt of a communication; but no more than 30 days after receipt of the communication.
Are there penalties for not reporting a procurement communication?
Guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. Also, State employees who knowingly and intentionally fail to comply with the reporting requirements will be subject to suspension or discharge. 30 ILCS 500/50-39(e).
If I need some guidance who can I contact?
Frequently Asked Questions have been developed by the PPB and may be found on the PPB website under Procurement Communications Reporting. Click here.
If you have questions or require further guidance please contact Michelle Taylor, Ethics Officer at:email@example.com or 618-536-3480.