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


VALUE - Ethics

Acting in a manner true to these values.  This value is essential to preserve the public’s trust.


1. Act and conduct business with honesty and integrity, avoiding even the appearance of impropriety.
2. Maintain consistency in all processes and actions.
3. Meet the ethical standards of the profession.


  1. csmccurdy@gmail.comMay 12, 2010

    #1. "Act in a Just & Upright Manner". Totally Unacceptable. Totally Subjective. It will mean any principal put forth. I believe it is What I, "Charley" says it is. And my principals are on par with any Nationally Recognized, World Renowned, Public Procurement Professional and CPPO. Bettter re-lick that cat! Charley

  2. I would delete #1. Just and upright is not the correct words. I like the rest of the principles.

  3. AnonymousMay 12, 2010

    Eliminate #1 and reword #2 to say Conduct business with honor and honesty.

  4. Nancy K PrzymusMay 12, 2010

    Add to Anonymous #1. Tell the truth as you know it.

  5. AnonymousMay 12, 2010

    I agree with Annonymous, Eliminate #1 and reword #2 to say Conduct business with honor and honesty.

  6. AnonymousMay 12, 2010

    Honor is a subjective term as well, though. Just eliminate #1 entirely with no other re-writes. I think the other 3 principles capture the intent adequately.
    p.s. There will be no cat licking under my watch!

  7. Doug CrenshawMay 12, 2010

    I would add that as custodians of the public trust, we must avoid even the appearance of impropriety.

  8. AnonymousMay 12, 2010

    You can't "act just and upright" but you can conduct business with honesty and integrity.

  9. Sandra ScamardiMay 13, 2010

    "Act in a just and upright manner" IS subjective. As procurement professionals, our first and foremost obligation is to follow and abide by the law, procedures and policies and do so while conforming to principles 2, 3 and 4.

  10. I'm not sure about No. 1; "just and upright" is a bit subjective. Consider replacing this with "Shall act in a professional manner that promotes honesty and fairness".

    Also, on No. 4 - "shall meet the ethical standards of the profession" - as defined by who or what? This too may leave a little too much room for interpretation.

    Certainly the principles must be malleable to withstand the test of time; however, they must be clear enough that individuals will see them as valuable and enforceable and thereby adopt them as their own. (This same struggle is evidenced in current international relations and obscure treaties or policies which fail to accurately define and enforce key elements; leading to non-compliance of some because they cannot see the value of submitting to such)

    There is a great article on competing ethical standards within the profession in the latest edition of NCMA's "Contract Management" magazine.

  11. Expanding on my prior comment, in regards to No. 4.

    The following excerpt from Ellen Parsons 2005 article, "The Construction Industry's Ethical Dilemma" emphasizes the need for clarity of ethical standards.

    "According to Doran, a lot of 'games' happen because people have a different understanding of what the rules are, citing reverse auctions, which are basically eBay in reverse, as a good example. “There are owners in the industry and others who view reverse auctions as important and valuable in the procurement process, but for every one of those, there are still a hundred that view it as nothing more than another form of bid shopping,” he says.

    While few of the survey respondents disagreed that reverse auctions were unethical, Doran says more discussion among interested parties is necessary to further define the issue. For example, if owners who use reverse auctions as a method of securing contracts make the bidding rules clear up front for all parties, is ethics still in question?" (

    Any thoughts?

  12. AnonymousMay 14, 2010

    I'm OK with this.

  13. AnonymousMay 14, 2010

    sometimes we have to swallow our integrity when the administration puts us in a sticky position. we can do our best to convince them that their request raises ehtical procurement issues, but at the end of the day we still want our jobs. something should be added to address dealing with bosses that are political.

  14. Sure, the listed statements are subjective, but I happpen to think that's okay at this level - however, as more detailed materials get developed, they need to be definite and relevant (in line with Candace's comments).

    Prompted by the prior comment, I agree that it would be good to draft these principles in a way that addresses them not just to what procurement folks need to do, but also with the audience of executive management in mind. I'd like to use some of these principles when talking with executives about the functions and roles and responsibilities within the organization (procurement in a strategic role to acheive several different things; important internal control; recognize need for program managers to have training/understanding of procurement principles; other topics). Thanks.

    Jon Walton, J.D., CPPB
    State of Oregon

  15. John AdlerJune 03, 2010

    Why do we shy away from subjective and abstract thinking? Ethics and integrity are personal concepts that are based on our perceptions and feelings. This entire exercise is subjective. Being subjective is OK.

    That said, "just and upright" seems ambiguous. Synonyms for just include fair, impartial, unbiased and equitable. Synonyms for upright include honorable, honest, moral, ethical and decent. It seems like we have these values covered elsewhere and #1 is redundant.

  16. I completely agree with John A.

  17. @ Jon and @ John Alder - Thank you for your comments. Public comment has resulted in some changes to the VGP's. The final draft will go to NIGP's board for approval in late October. Stay tuned for the final release around that time!

  18. We need a tougher enforcement program and, most importantly, we need to fix the badly broken ethics system.