Procurement affects and is affected by the public sector organization as a whole, and the community it serves, whether at the local, state, or national level. Therefore, participation in the collaborative development and adoption of Public Procurement Values and Guiding Principles by all stakeholders is desired. As a way to show support for this collaborative initiative, professional organizations may join as a Supporting Organization. There is no time or financial commitment to becoming a Supporting organization. It simply means that the organization supports NIGP’s collaborative efforts to develop public procurement values, principles, and standards of practice. If the organization can share the word about the project with its members, that would be very valuable.

For more information, or to be added as a Supporting Organization, please contact Tina M. Borger, CPPO, Research Director for NIGP at

Guiding Principles Overview

Guiding Principles establish the fundamental norms, rules, or ethics that represent what is desirable (values) and affirmative for our profession and help us determine the rightfulness or wrongfulness of our actions.  Principles are more explicit than values, and are meant to govern action. 

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.
As shown above, separate pages have been created to allow for comments on the group of Guiding Principles aligned with each Value.  We hope you will visit each page to review the Principles and offer comments.


  1. AnonymousMay 12, 2010

    I paragraph 2: I feel that our vendors are also our stakeholders and we should use all means at our discretion to train them in what they can expect from us as well as what we expect from them.

  2. AnonymousMay 12, 2010

    Anonymous said it so well. Vendors are also our stakeholders.

  3. Carol CooperMay 22, 2010

    Vendor/suppliers are also stakeholders, I agree. In the stakeholder sentence you say "managers". I feel all empolyees who work for the entity where I am employeed are also stakeholders, not just the managers.

    Maybe say "elected officials, entity employees, .... - something more inclusive of all co-workers