On February 1, OPM Secretary Benjamin Barnes sent a memo to the Commissioners of DDS, DMHAS, DCF, DOC, DPH & DSS directing them to make important reforms within their Purchase of Service contracting systems and that action was in response to the hard work initiated and advocated for by Nonprofit Liaison Deb Heinrich, the work of the Commission on Enhancing Agency Outcomes, the Commission on Nonprofit Health and Human Services and the Governor’s Transition Team Human Services workgroup.

The changes are listed below for your review. One of the most important points within Secretary Barnes’ memo is Governor Malloy’s commitment to partner with private providers. He also addresses his priority to ensure that human services are contracted for in a manner that is cost-effective and efficient for both the private providers as well as the State.

Each agency is to submit an action plan to OPM by March 31, outlining how they will implement the following directives:

• Timely Execution of Contracts:  Agencies need to take the necessary steps to ensure that 95% or more of contracts are executed no fewer than 15 days prior to the commencement of services. Secretary Barnes notes that “the late execution of contracts imposes costs on nonprofit providers and is not an acceptable business practice for either the State or its providers.”

• Multi-Year and Consolidated Contracts:  By having contracts of an appropriate term and by consolidating the number of contracts an agency has with the same provider, the State can reduce the overall administrative burden imposed on both State agencies and nonprofits.

The memo also calls for the creation of a Multi-Agency Group to Streamline and Standardize Contracting Systems. This group will be led by Deb Heinrich and Bob Dakers, Executive Finance Officer at OPM (and co-chair of the Commission on Nonprofit Health & Human Services). The group has 60 days to report back and will work on the following issues:

• timely payments and electronic payments/fund transfers

• budget flexibility

• reporting requirements and systems

The Governor also requests that a liaison or work group be established and designated in each agency to address these issues and to be able speak on behalf of the agency.