Privatization of Welfare Services: A Review of the Literature. Protecting the Integrity of the Procurement Process

05/01/2002

Government agencies, both at the federal and state levels, have long recognized the potential for conflict of interest in the procurement process. Indeed, allegations of unlawful lobbying or irregularities in the contracting process have dogged several private providers of social services (Berkowitz 2001; Hartung and Washburn 1998). Some have argued that the so-called revolving door, the movement of employees between the public and private sectors, could give contractors with former government employees an unfair advantage. However, a GAO study of TANF and child support enforcement contracts in four states found that listing former government employees as key personnel did not increase the chance of a bids success. In response to concerns about the integrity of the procurement process, most states have established some ethics policies designed to help ensure open and fair procurement (GAO 1999).

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