Welcome to lesson one of Request for Proposals - Procurement for Performance. In this lesson we will review the critical steps you need to take in order to procure services that will result in positive youth development outcomes. We will begin by reviewing the procurement process. We will then focus the remainder of the lesson on figuring out how to identify the outcomes you should purchase through the RFP process.
Procurement is the process of obtaining services at the best price reasonably available through open and fair competition. Through a strong procurement process you can identify the best youth development programs to help youth in your workforce area gain a range of skills and achieve important goals that will in turn help them become employable (and help your workforce system achieve its performance goals!)
The procurement process will require you to identify the gaps in your system. In light of these gaps you will need to consider the long-term goals you wish to accomplish and the intermediate and short-term goals that will allow you to achieve these long-term goals. This will require you to think about which services you need.
The RFP transforms your list of goals and needs into a concrete call for programs who can provide these services and help you reach your goals. But the procurement process doesn’t end with the RFP. You must then select the programs that best fit your needs, award the contract and, last but certainly not least, monitor the contract to make sure you are getting what you paid for.
So, what is an RFP? The RFP is simply a detailed description of the kind of services you plan to purchase from a provider or set of providers and methods you will use to hold the provider accountable. The RFP accomplishes three tasks. First, it describes the work that you would like to have completed by the provider and the funds that are available. Second, it establishes guidelines for the competitive process -- required elements in the application, how applications will be evaluated, etc. Third, the RFP invites qualified bidders to submit a proposal.
The goals of this process are to strategically procure services in order to meet or at least contribute to a set of long-term goals that your organization has established, to positively impact youth development and to improve WIA performance. But, as you know, these goals are clearly interrelated.
One important thing to remember about the RFP process or the procurement process is that it begins long before the RFP is released and lasts long after the winning programs have been chosen. The critical first step is to identify the long-term goals that you would like to accomplish.
When we think of outcomes we typically think about the specific, measurable items that programs can achieve. But in reality there are four different, yet closely connected, sets of outcomes that you should consider when procuring for services: long-term, intermediate, and short-term outcomes and outputs.
Long-term outcomes help shape the overall purpose of your RFP. The specific services that you want to purchase from programs through the RFP will help your organization, over a period of 5 to 10 years, achieve the long-term goals you have established. The long-term goals will be included as background information in the RFP.
Examples of long-term outcomes include an increase in the standard of living for those living at or below poverty level or an increase in the availability of higher-paying living wage jobs.
Establishing intermediate outcomes, short-term outcomes and outputs will help your organization achieve the long-term goals you have set. The procurement process starts with big ideas and ends with small, incremental, measurable outcomes.
After you have established your long-term goals it is time to think about the intermediate goals or outcomes that are associated with the long-term goals. Similar to long-term goals or outcomes, intermediate outcomes are achieved after several years of service coordination and are the product of multiple programs or service providers. They should be used to shape the RFP but should not be used as measures for contract evaluation. Unlike long-term goals, intermediate outcomes measure the progress of individuals rather than the community or the workforce system.
Do these look familiar? They should. These are closely aligned with some of the WIA performance measures. In other words, WIA performance measures are actually intermediate outcomes. Therefore, one important conclusion should be drawn: WIA performance measures of this variety should NOT be used to track the performance of service providers who win the RFP process.
There are two reasons that WIA performance measures should not be used to judge provider performance. First, youth may participate in activities provided by more than one provider over the course of their WIA participation. WIA performance measures track how well the WIA system serves individual participants, not how well individual programs perform. Second, the calculations of the WIA performance measures are such that by the time you see your quarterly reports, the exiters whose performance you’re viewing are long-gone from your program. Quarterly reports do not reflect the performance of your providers for the current program year. To find out more about the timing of the measures, click here to view another online lesson.
So, what will you use to track provider performance? Short-term outcomes. Short-term outcomes -- identifiable changes in behaviors and skills among your youth participants that occur while in the program -- are perfect measures for evaluating the progress of service providers. They should be customized for specific service providers, depending on the services you are purchasing from them. They should be clearly outlined in the RFP to help bidders tailor their services to your expectations. They can also be used in performance-based contracting.
Here are a couple of examples of short-term outcomes: 80% of participants will earn an industry recognized certificate 80% of in-school youth will earn a high school diploma or GED Other examples of short-term outcomes are basic skills gains, increase in length of employment, or decrease in school absences. Note that these outcomes are measured during the WIA program. These are not the same as the WIA measures, which are measured after exit.
A description of long-term and intermediate outcomes should be included in the RFP. Bidders should either be required to meet specified short-term outcomes or asked to develop short-term outcomes for their program and explain how they contribute to longer-term outcomes.
Last, but not least, outputs are used to indicate that service providers have been delivering key services or products within a specified time period. They are useful as pay points for performance-based contracts and to make sure that services are being provided in the manner required by the RFP and the contract. However, they do not measure outcomes. In other words, they do not indicate whether the program has been effective.
Raw test scores, attendance sheets, class completions or other measures indicate that the provider is at least delivering the services outlined in the contract. However, on their own these outputs do not tell us whether the outcomes have been achieved. For instance, a youth may complete a basic computer course but that does not mean that she has mastered a set of computer skills and earned an industry-recognized certificate.
Listing suggested outputs in the RFP narrative will help guide bidders as they put together the roster of services they will use to achieve the short-term outcomes that you have established. Include outputs that you want to require, but leave room for creativity on the part of the vendor.
In the next few slides we will walk you through the sorts of questions you will ask yourself when you are initiating your procurement process. Two worksheets will help you with this process. Go ahead and print them out before continuing with the lesson. Click on the paper clip in the bottom right hand corner of the window to print out the Framing Questions and Outcomes worksheets. You can pause the lesson if you’d like.
You will start your RFP process with a needs assessment. Think about the most significant issues facing youth in your area. For instance, your local area may experience high rates of teen pregnancy, juvenile crime or lack of employment opportunities for youth. The answer to this question will help shape the long-term goals and focus of the RFP.
Are your answers just a hunch or do you have real data to support your opinion? This is important. For example, while it may seem that transportation is a problem in your community from your own bad experience with late busses, the data may indicate that transportation actually runs quite smoothly. Examples of good data points include graduation rates or feedback from youth focus groups or surveys.
Use this data to develop your long-term goals. If the challenge is that unemployment among young adults is high, then the long-term goal would be to increase employment among young adults. But you can’t reach this goal over night. There are a few steps to follow to help you reach your long-term goals. Let’s look at how the procurement process can help.
First, it is always important to take stock of your existing assets once you’ve identified your needs. You might realize that there is an obvious resource that has been untapped that will help you achieve your goals. Perhaps there is a local training program that has traditionally served adults but that could also provide training for youth. Or you may realize that your system currently lacks the resources you need. Your data might show that you have an increasing need for home health aides, but there aren’t any easily accessible training programs in your community. In your RFP, you can request proposals from existing programs that can adapt their services or new programs that can meet that need.
Now you will begin to lay the groundwork for the specific services you want to purchase through the procurement process. The intermediate outcomes you identify here – such as earnings increase or increased employment length -- will be more quantifiable than the long-term goals you have established.
Notice that the outcomes are all interrelated. The long-term goals will help you specify intermediate outcomes. The short-term goals will help you achieve the intermediate outcomes and long-term goals. The answers to this question, what short-term changes need to happen so that the local area meets its intermediate and long-term goals, are the desired program outcomes stated in the RFP (and included in the contract.) Providers will be held responsible for these short-term outcomes.
The next step is to think about what is needed to reach the short-term outcomes you want. In the RFP, list examples of the kinds of programs and services you want to support, but again, leave room for providers to suggest their own ideas. Just make sure that the programs you select can meet the outcomes you need to reach your goals.
Will you focus your efforts on all WIA eligible youth or a specific subset? For instance, you may want to focus your procurement on securing employment for youth ages 19-21. The answer to this question depends on your long term goals, your own needs assessment and youth demographic data, and will drive the type of contracting you will do.
You may find that youth in one portion of your local area are particularly disadvantaged when it comes to employment opportunities. You may want to find service providers in this area, who can offer services during the evenings or on weekends. Again, the answer to this question depends on the goals for your WIA youth system and your scan for youth needs and local assets.
After you have answered these questions you should organize your thoughts in a table like this one. You can use the Outcomes worksheet that you printed earlier. Using a worksheet allows you to make sure that your intermediate outcomes relate to your long-term goals, that your short-term outcomes will help you reach your intermediate outcomes and that the outputs are related to the short-term outcomes.
It’s time for a quiz! Providers will be held accountable for meeting which of the following outcomes? When you have an answer, click in the circle of your choice and see what happens.
That’s it for this lesson. To listen to the next lesson, click on “Advance to Next Lesson,” directly on the slide. To return to the website where you started, click on “Return to Focused Futures website.”
Introduction Request for Proposals (RFPs) – Procurement for Performance 1. Procuring Positive Youth Development Outcomes
Procurement Process Successful Youth Successful Workforce System Performance AND Outcome-Based and Youth Development-Focused Procurement Process Evidence-Based Youth Development Programs Overview of the Procurement Process
Procurement Process 1. Identify Local Challenges and Assets 2. Set Goals and Priorities WIA Procurement Process
Procurement Process 1. Identify Local Challenges and Assets 2. Set Goals and Priorities 3. Write RFPs 4. Issue RFPs 5. Evaluate and Award RFPs 6. Contract for Services 7. Monitor Progress WIA Procurement Process
What is an RFP? <ul><li>An RFP is the instructions to service providers on how to apply for program funding . </li></ul>What is an RFP?
Goals of WIA Procurement <ul><li>Contribute to long-term outcomes or goals </li></ul><ul><li>Services that yield positive youth development outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>Improve WIA performance </li></ul>The Goals of WIA Procurement
Before Writing RFP <ul><li>Identify long-term outcomes before you write your RFP </li></ul>BEFORE writing and releasing the RFP… How Can I Reach These Goals?
Outcomes and Outputs There are four types of outcomes we need to consider: Long-term outcomes Intermediate outcomes Short-term outcomes Outputs Understanding Outcomes and Outputs
Long-Term Outcomes Broad changes in overall conditions or policy that occur over several years and from several programmatic initiatives Long-Term Outcomes
Long-Term Outcomes <ul><li>Increase standard of living for 20% of families living at or below poverty level by 2015 </li></ul>Example: Measuring Long-Term Outcomes
Long-Term Outcomes <ul><li>Connect long-term goals to desired program outcomes </li></ul>BEFORE writing and releasing the RFP… How Can I Reach These Goals?
Intermediate Outcomes Specific changes should occur within 1 to 5 years of coordinated programming and are not necessarily the direct consequence of one program or provider Intermediate Outcomes
Intermediate Outcomes <ul><li>Increase in length of employment </li></ul><ul><li>Increase in participants’ wages </li></ul><ul><li>Increase in the number of youth completing post-secondary education </li></ul>Example: Measuring Intermediate Outcomes
Don’t Use WIA Measures Timing of Measures lesson <ul><li>WIA Measures should not be used to judge provider performance </li></ul><ul><li>Timing of the WIA Measures do not correspond to Program Years </li></ul>WIA Measures ≠ Provider Performance
Short-term Outcomes Short-Term Outcomes Changes in attitudes, behaviors, knowledge, and skills that can be expected to occur when your youth participates in a specific program or soon after they complete the program
Short-Term Outcomes <ul><li>80% of participants will earn an industry recognized certificate </li></ul><ul><li>80% of in-school youth will earn a high school diploma or GED </li></ul>Example: Measuring Short-Term Outcomes
Short-Term Outcomes A request for short-term outcomes should be included in the proposal narrative section of the RFP Short-Term Outcomes in the RFP
Outputs <ul><li>Demonstrates that services, products, and customer satisfaction have been delivered and measured within 12 months or less </li></ul>Outputs
Needs Assessment <ul><li>What are the 2-3 most significant issues facing youth in your local area? </li></ul>The Needs Assessment Issues 1. 2. 3.
Needs Assessment <ul><li>What evidence or data points to these issues? </li></ul>The Needs Assessment Evidence/Data 1. 2. 3.
Long-term Changes What long-term changes (6-10 years) in the local area need to occur to alleviate these challenges?
Resources <ul><li>What resources and local assets exist to achieve these long-term outcomes? </li></ul>
Intermediate Changes What intermediate changes (1-5 years) need to happen for individuals so that the local area meets its long-term goals? Intermediate Outcomes
Short-Term Changes What short-term changes (by the end of the program year) need to happen so that the local area will meet its intermediate and long-term goals? Short-Term Outcomes
Programs <ul><li>What specific programs and services will achieve these short-term outcomes? </li></ul>Specific Programs
<ul><li>What youth will receive these services? </li></ul>Which Youth Youth
Service Delivery <ul><li>How and where will services be delivered? </li></ul>How and Where
Outcomes and Outputs Organizing Your Answers During contract period End of contract period 1-5 yrs 6-10 yrs 20 participants will complete 120 hours of classroom training 80% of participants will earn industry-recognized certificate Increase in wage; increase in length of employment Decrease in poverty rate Outputs Short-Term Outcomes Intermediate Outcomes Long-Term Outcomes
Quiz Quiz: Providers will be held accountable for meeting which of the following outcomes? Try again Correct! Providers should be held accountable for short-term outcomes that are attainable during the contract period. They can also be held accountable for outputs, but remember, outputs are not outcomes. Click anywhere to continue. Submit A) Long-term outcomes B) Intermediate outcomes C) Short-term outcomes D) Outputs E) C & D F) All of the above
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