There are a few basic assumptions concerning the Proposed Guiding Principles.
- The principles are broadly intended to cover all levels and variations of public sector procurement. However, some practitioners will work in contexts in which following a particular Guiding Principle cannot be done for good reason. The Guiding Principles are not intended to constrain such practitioners when this is the case. However, such exceptions should be made for good reason (e.g., legal prohibitions against certain actions), and public sector procurement professionals who find themselves in such contexts are encouraged to consult colleagues about how to proceed.
- The principles are intended to guide the professional practice of public procurement, and to inform procurement stakeholders (elected officials, managers, citizens, etc.) about the principles they can expect to be upheld by public procurement professionals. Of course, no statement of principles can anticipate all situations that arise in the practice of public procurement. However, principles are not just guidelines for action when something goes wrong or when a dilemma is found. Rather, principles should proactively guide the behaviors of professionals in everyday practice.
- The principles are not independent, but overlap in many ways. Conversely, sometimes these principles will conflict, so that public procurement professionals will have to choose among them. At such times, public procurement professionals must use their judgment and knowledge of the setting to determine the appropriate response. Whenever a course of action is unclear, these individuals are encouraged to solicit the advice of fellow procurement professionals about how to resolve the problem before deciding how to proceed.
- These principles are the official position of NIGP on these matters and are intended to set the standard of practice for all public sector procurement professionals. These principles, however, are not intended to replace standards supported by other disciplines in which procurement professionals participate.
- These principles were developed in the context of North American cultures, particularly the United States, and so may reflect the experiences of that context. The relevance of these principles may vary across other cultures, and across subcultures within the United States.
- These principles are part of an evolving process of self-examination by the profession. These principles should be revisited and examined for possible review and revision on a regular basis - at least every three years.