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How to do Business with the State of Rhode Island

RHODE ISLAND VENDOR INFORMATION PROGRAM (RIVIP)

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Help Desk: (401) 222-3766


VENDOR REGISTRATION

Vendors must register online at the Website. All previously registered vendors are required to re-register online.


PURCHASING AUTHORITY

Central Purchasing Function. With the exception of certain quasi-public authorities, the Rhode Island State Division of Purchases is the central procurement entity responsible for purchases estimated to cost over $10000 for construction and $5000 for all other purchases.

Delegated Contracting and Small Purchase Authority. All State Departments and Agencies have direct small purchase authority to a limit of $10,000 for construction and $5000 for all other purchases. Any procurements exceeding this value must be authorized by the Division of Purchases. Note: artificially dividing procurements to satisfy the authorization level is not permitted.


COMPETITIVE PROCEDURES FOR CONTRACT AWARD

Small Purchases. Small purchases may be solicited through informal telephone quotes for values up to $2500 and formal procedures with written quote confirmations required for all others. Small purchase procedures require soliciting bids by mail from at least three vendors, one of which is a Rhode Island certified Minority or Woman Owned Business.

All Other Purchases. Invitations for Bid and Requests for Proposal (RFPs) are advertised or made available on the Electronic Rhode Island Vendor Information Program (RIVIP) at www.purchasing.state.ri.us. Except when exceptionally large, these documents may be downloaded by any interested party at any time. In some cases, the State may choose to place additional advertisements in newspapers (including minority publications), trade journals, etc. to expand competition. Except where specified, bids will not be mailed, messengered, e-mailed or faxed.

Submission of Offers.

Bids and RFP responses must be submitted in a sealed envelope with a RIVIP Generated Bidder Certification Cover Form. This document cannot be produced unless the vendor has registered on-line. Offers may not be submitted on-line or by fax.

Responses to solicitations are due at the Division of Purchases at a specific date and time. Responses must be received at the Division of Purchases by the time and date specified for the opening of responses - late offers will not be considered. Offers misdirected to other State locations or which are otherwise not present in the Division of Purchases for whatever reason will be considered to be late.

Offerors are encouraged to read the solicitation and all instructions carefully. Offers for products or services which are not equivalent to the specifications desired, or are non-responsive for other reasons will be rejected. Unless specified "NO SUBSTITUTE" product offerings equivalent in quality and performance will be considered (at the sole option of the State) only on the condition that the bid is accompanied by detailed product specifications.

Appealing Decisions or Protesting Specifications. Offerors who do not believe that their offers have received fair consideration or who object to the specifications for the Invitation for Bids may state their objections - in writing - to the Purchasing Agent. To be eligible for consideration, objections to specifications must be received 96 hours in advance of the scheduled bid/RFP opening.

Public Opening of Sealed Offers. At the date and time bids are due, a public ceremony is conducted where the sealed offers are opened and all items read aloud. All interested parties are free to attend such openings. With regard to RFPs, only the receipt of a response is acknowledged.


INFORMATION ABOUT OFFERS AND AWARDS

For Bids and RFPs advertised on the RIVIP, summaries of responses are published on the RIVIP after contracts have been awarded. Depending upon the number of active bids, this process may take an average of from two to four weeks. At that time contract award summaries are available and, where applicable, indicate by line item which vendor won. For RFPs, response summaries will only report a total dollar offer.

Minority Business Enterprise. Contracts exceeding $10,000 require that the apparent low bidder indicate opportunity for MBE subcontract utilization.


CONTRACTS

The Rhode Island State Division of Purchases is the central contracting authority responsible for all State departments and agencies - with the exception of certain quasi-public authorities. Rhode Island General Law 37-2 incorporates the provisions of state purchasing law, general terms and conditions and regulations into all contracts. These are available at the Website.

Award of Contracts. Contracts must be awarded to registered vendors. Awards are made as soon as possible following the Public Opening. Offers may not be withdrawn without the written permission of the State Purchasing Agent. Vendors must meet all obligations of the contract award, including holding their pricing firm, during the entire period of performance - failure to do so can result in termination, suspension, and other penalties.

State Purchasing Contracts are issued by the Division of Purchases in two forms:

MASTER PRICE AGREEMENTS (MPAs) cover requirements for broad categories of items for a period of time on a State-wide basis - State and Quasi-Public Agencies order their requirements for these items individually, as the need arises. State law permits municipalities and school districts to "piggy-back" the state's pricing contracts, at the vendor's discretion.

PURCHASE ORDERS (POs) are issued as a notice to proceed in accordance with the terms of the solicitation and offer.

State agencies may issue "DIRECT PURCHASE ORDERS" (DPOs) for goods and services within the small purchase authority cited above or for goods and services covered by Master Price Agreements established by the Division of Purchases.


PAYMENT

Payment Types are defined by the following categories of Orders:

"STANDARD" Purchase Orders cover a single delivery and payment for a specific requirement. Payment would be made upon delivery of a specific product, e.g., an automobile, six chairs, a report, etc.

"BLANKET" Purchase Orders are issued for the requirements for a specific user agency for a specific period of time. Although this time is typically one year, orders may be issued for more than one year. They may either be issued with the option to renew after the initial year or may be issued over a longer period. Contracts issued beyond the State fiscal year end (June 30) always contain a disclaimer that the continuation of the contract into the new fiscal year is dependent upon the availability of funds. Blanket Orders permit multiple deliveries at the request of the user agency and usually require no more than once monthly billings. Blanket Orders would be appropriate for supplies such as copy paper or for supplemental services or for lease/purchase of equipment.

"CONTRACT" Purchase Orders are issued for requirements for a specific user agency. Contract POs may either be for a specific period of time or for a specific result and may provide for multiple payments (not necessarily monthly) based on the percentage completion of the contract. Such purchase orders are generally used for construction projects.

Request for Payment
Vendors submit invoices to the ordering State agency once all items covered by the Purchase Order have been delivered or completed or, in the case of Blanket Orders, once each month for items delivered or completed since the last billing. Payment will not be considered for items not covered by the Order, for quantities (or monies) exceeding those authorized by the Order, or where unit pricing does not agree with the Order. Once billings have been reviewed and accepted, the State agency will forward a copy of the invoice with a voucher for payment to the State Controller, who will authorize payment through the State Treasury. Checks are mailed to the vendor's address on the Order.

No payment will be authorized if the Controller does not have a copy of the Vendor's IRS W-9 Form on file. A copy of the form may be downloaded at the Website. Please mail completed W-9 Forms to:

Office of Accounts and Control
One Capitol Hill, 4th Floor
Providence, RI 02908
ATTN: Pre-Audit Section