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sdo panoramic imageOn November 2, the Baker-Polito Administration filed legislation entitled, “An Act to Elevate the Supplier Diversity Office to Ensure Equal Opportunity in State Contracting,” which establishes the Supplier Diversity Office (SDO) as a separate state agency under the authority of the Executive Office for Administration and Finance.

SDO Responsibilities Expanded

The SDO will continue to oversee monitoring and reporting of agency diverse spending and the development of annual comprehensive diversity spending plans for agencies. The Legislation also creates a Supplier Diversity Compliance Unit within the SDO which will systematically audit and review direct and indirect spending data to ensure compliance and accuracy in three areas: certification, contractor compliance, and agency compliance.

The Administration also announced it will implement several other improvements in the supplier diversity space. These improvements include:

  • A more active role for the SDO in engaging diverse and small businesses in public procurements;
  • Expanded reporting for spending between state contractors and their diverse business partners;
  • The publication of minority-business-enterprise spending by race and ethnicity;
  • Increased bid evaluation percentages for certain procurements to promote more diversity; and
  • The translation of SDO materials into multiple languages.

“Our administration is committed to continuing to promote growth and opportunity and ensure the Commonwealth takes every opportunity to support and benefit from its diverse business community,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “In launching these new initiatives, we have worked closely with leaders in the minority business community, Black and Latino Caucus, and Black Advisory Commission and Latino Advisory Commission. We look forward to continuing our work with these partners to strengthen the state contracting process with greater diversity, transparency and accountability.”

Secretary of Administration and Finance Michael J. Heffernan said, “We look forward to continuing to work closely with the minority business community, our colleagues in the Legislature, and other key stakeholders to enact and implement these critical measures to support and promote any businesses seeking to work with the Commonwealth.”

These new measures build upon the Administration’s previous efforts to optimize the Supplier Diversity Program, including:

  • Expanding the categories of diverse businesses that participate in the SDP;
  • Streamlining and simplifying the certification process;
  • Upgrading systems to allow for electronic applications and to better manage records;
  • Entering into multi-year agreements with third-party certification organizations to provide free certifications for Massachusetts businesses;
  • Increasing compliance with program guidelines;
  • Implementing new training; and
  • Hiring additional personnel to further improve the program.

Currently, the Operational Services Division is working out the details to ensure a smooth transition for staff and resources to the new agency, which will continue to be known as the Supplier Diversity Office. We will communicate these efforts as plans are finalized.

 

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