The Procurement Process

Service Information

Competitive Process

Public competition is one of the core pillars to our procurement program. Our competitive solicitations are announced in the Chicago Tribune, notifications are sent to vendors registered in the Bonfire Vendor Portal when a solicitation is advertised, and our solicitations are posted on the OCPO’s home page.  Our competitive processes include:

Invitation for Bids (IFB)

A price driven solicitation where the award is made to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder. There is no contract or pricing negotiation. 

Request for Proposals (RFP)

A contract is awarded to the responsive and responsible proposer(s) whose proposal is scored the highest by an Evaluation Committee based on the evaluation criteria outlined in the RFP. Price is considered but is not the primary determinant for award. 

Request for Qualifications (RFQ)

Qualifications based selection used to establish a pool of pre-qualified responsible firms eligible to submit a response to a future project. Award(s) are made to the responsive and responsible submitter(s) whose qualification package(s) are scored the highest by an Evaluation Committee based on the evaluation criteria outlined in the RFQ. Price is not among the criteria

Job Order Contracting (JOC)

A JOC is an indefinite contract covering one or more job orders at different locations for Cook County Departments. Contracts may be awarded based on best value in terms of technical qualifications and price. 

Non-Competitive Process

In some cases, we use a non-competitive rather than a competitive process.  Non-competitive solicitations include the following:

Piggyback/ Reference Agreement

A form of intergovernmental purchasing in which the county is utilizing the pricing, terms, and scope of work of another public agency’s (lead agency) contract. 

Sole Source

A single source solicitation due to a lack of competition. Typically, there is one vendor or supplier who possesses the unique skills or capacity to meet the particular requirements of the Scope of Work or specifications. 

Consortium/ Group Procurement

These are procurements made pursuant to the County’s membership or participation in a purchasing consortium, so long as the Board has approved the membership or participation, for, at least in part, the purpose of obtaining advantageous pricing and other efficiencies for the County.


Used when necessary due to a threat to public health or safety, for repairs to County property in order to protect against further loss or damage, to prevent or minimize serious disruption in County services, to ensure the integrity of County records, or in the reasonable opinion of the CPO, for the best interests of the County.

Small Purchase

Procurements less than $25,000 do not require a competitive process.

Contract Categories

UNSPSC Categories

OCPO purchases goods, services, and equipment using the United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC), which is an open, global, multi-sector standard for efficient and accurate classification of products and services. UNSPSC codes allow OCPO to track and report procurement expenditures by category. These categories include commodities (office supplies and equipment, food and beverage products, vehicles, etc.), construction, construction management services, professional services (financial, insurance, legal, real estate, social services, IT services, etc.), architecture and engineering, and work services (equipment leasing, vehicle maintenance, plumbers, movers, electrician, etc.). Below is a breakdown of active contracts for FY23.