Selecting contractors poses challenges for TANF agencies because they must pursue several goals: encouraging qualified organizations to bid, choosing the most effective providers, and, perhaps most importantly, conducting procurement in a clearly fair manner. Public agencies can avoid disputes over the selection process by taking steps to ensure that it occurs in an equitable and open way. Agencies often place a higher priority on subjective selection criteria such as organizational capacity and program design than on concrete factors like cost and budget allocation. Rules and procedures are necessary, therefore, to protect the integrity of the procurement and to establish the rationale behind selection decisions in a way that is acceptable to participants and observers.
Public agencies can employ several strategies to enhance the fairness and transparency of procurements. These include engaging evaluators who do not have close links with potential bidders, making certain that evaluators share a similar understanding of the selection criteria and undertake a complete review of proposals, and documenting the selection process thoroughly.