the interlocal purchasing system

What is The Interlocal Purchasing System (TIPS)?

It is common for public agencies, especially those with significant purchasing power and responsibilities, to use a generic contract to acquire goods and services. These contracts are often referred to as interlocal purchasing systems (TIPS), which allow public agencies to improve the efficiency of their procurement process. This article will explore the history of TIPS contracts and discuss how they can benefit both public entities and suppliers.

What is The Interlocal Purchasing System?

TIPS is a centralized purchasing system that provides government contractors, vendors, and suppliers access. The interlocal purchasing system was developed by the National Association of Interstate Compacts (NAIC) to provide states with an efficient means of procuring goods and services for their agencies through an electronic marketplace.

The genesis of the interlocal purchasing system began in 2009 when NAIC recognized that many state governments needed help with their current procurement systems due to budget constraints, technology challenges, and limited resources available within state agencies responsible for managing these programs. In response, they developed TIPS in order to provide states with new resources that would increase their purchasing flexibility while lowering the costs associated with conventional methods like paper bids/proposals or mail-order catalog/catalog orders placed through already-existing databases maintained by each state agency.

The Structure of TIPS

IPS Governing Board: The IPS Governing Board is the governing body for TIPS, composed of representatives from each participating jurisdiction. It sets policy for TIPS, oversees its operations, and facilitates new member participation in the system.

IPS Members and Participants: There are currently 21 members of TIPS, including all Colorado cities except Denver (which has its purchasing program). A representative from each jurisdiction is appointed to the IPS Governing Board; this person collaborates with employees of the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) to create the rules that govern daily operations of TIPS. Someone from one of these jurisdictions will probably profit financially when you make a purchase through TIPS; we hope they make good use of their money!

Benefits of The Interlocal Purchashing System

The interlocal purchasing system can help you save money and time on procurement while providing access to high-quality products and services. The program offers the following benefits:

Cost savings through TIPS

Through TIPS, local governments have reduced costs by up to 30%. This is because purchasing organizations can leverage buying power by working as one large group instead of individually negotiating with each vendor. In addition, they can use their combined knowledge of what works best in their industry (e.g., equipment specifications) when making purchasing decisions for their respective communities or regions.

Streamlined Procurement Process

By participating in the interlocal purchasing system, local governments have been able to streamline their procurement process by eliminating duplicated efforts between different agencies within each jurisdiction; this allows them more time for other important tasks, such as developing policy initiatives that benefit residents’ quality of life in those areas where these agencies operate.”

Utilizing TIPS Contracts

The County of Los Angeles and its municipal governments work together in a public-private partnership known as the Interlocal Purchasing System (TIPS) to exchange information about impending contracts and purchase orders. TIPS is a tool that helps cities find suitable contracts, navigate vendor relationships, and submit bids on time.

There are two ways you can use TIPS contracts:

Finding Suitable Contracts

Using the “Contract Search” tab on their website’s home page, you can look for current contracts that might be suitable for your requirements. Before displaying any results from their database, this will lead you through a number of questions regarding the kinds of goods or services that are required, how much money must be spent annually on those goods or services (if appropriate), etc.

Navigating Vendor Relationships

If there aren’t many options available within this database, then another option would be contacting vendors directly; however, this may not always work out favorably because sometimes they don’t want other companies to know what they’re doing unless there’s some sort incentive involved

Compliance and Accountability

The Interlocal Purchasing System (TIPS) ensures legal and regulatory compliance. TIPS contracts are audited to ensure all laws, regulations, rules, and policies are followed. Contractors must also submit reports on the services they provide under each contract.

TIPS and Sustainable Procurement

The interlocal purchasing systemis a great tool for supporting sustainable procurement. It can help your organization to:

  • Use less energy and water, reduce waste, and cut greenhouse gas emissions by purchasing products with lower carbon footprints.
  • Support local economies by buying products that are made or grown locally.
  • Utilize renewable energy sources in your operations or buy renewable energy credits (RECs) to offset electricity use at the facility to lessen your dependency on fossil fuels.

TIPS vs. In-House Procurement

Schools and Municipalities can buy products and services at a discount using the TIPS purchasing system. It is a good option if you are unsure of what you need or need more time or resources to look for something yourself.

In-house procurement is when an organization purchases goods, equipment, supplies, and services directly from another entity within its group (i.e., it does not use TIPS). In-house procurement may be more efficient than using TIPS because there are fewer steps involved in making purchases; however, there are some drawbacks.


How Does Tips Benefit Its Members?

TIPS offers its members the advantage of cost savings, streamlined procurement processes, access to a wide range of products and services, and compliance with procurement regulations. It simplifies purchasing by providing pre-negotiated contracts from various vendors.

Who Can Participate in Tips?

Educational institutions, government entities (including municipalities, counties, and state agencies), and eligible non-profit organizations in certain states can participate in TIPS. However, specific eligibility criteria may vary by region.

What Types of Products and Services Are Available Through TIPS Contracts?

TIPS contracts cover a diverse range of goods and services, including but not limited to office supplies, technology equipment, furniture, facility maintenance services, educational materials, and more. The contracts are established based on competitive bidding, ensuring quality and value.

How Can an Organization Join TIPS?

Organizations interested in joining TIPS can typically start by completing a membership application available on the TIPS website. Once approved, they gain access to the contracts and benefits offered by the program.


TIPS allows local government entities and schools to improve their procurement processes, increase efficiency, and make better decisions about where the money goes. It allows them to work together on large-scale projects that would otherwise be too costly or time-consuming for any jurisdiction to handle alone. TIPS contracts can save governments up to 30% on their purchases by leveraging economies of scale across multiple jurisdictions while still providing competitive pricing options so taxpayers aren’t paying more than necessary. Invicta PCs is a registered vendor at TIPS website.

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