Nobody’s Perfect and We Could All Use Some Better Procurement Language

August 27, 2015 – Nobody’s perfect. We can personally we confirm this when we show up for an event on the wrong date (it happened to me last year) or when we read a government issued Request For Proposal (RFP).  Let’s face it, we know we’re not perfect. We shouldn’t pretend that we are.

In late 2014 and early 2015 the U.S. Government, through two of its agencies, released a pair of RFPs that provided language to eliminate proposal consultants from participating at various stages of the proposal. APMP didn’t find out about the first incident until it was too late, but we were all over the second incident. It was issued by the U.S. Census Bureau in draft form and APMP actively participated in the commenting period.

APMP’s Procurement Improvement Committee members (PIC), with the help of many other APMP members, commented and commented and then commented some more!  To their credit, the U.S. Census Bureau listened to our industry’s complaint, dropped the offending language from the RFP and proposal consultants were able to participate on the proposal at all phases.

APMP and its PIC committee members remain on high alert for what we call Poor Procurement Language in government issued RFPs. We’ve quickly become our industry’s watchdog for poorly-worded RFPs and we’re asking for your help, too.

This week we launched APMP’s Poor Procurement Language Hotline on the APMP home page, It links to a form that lets yPPHou, the proposal professional who reads dozens of proposals a year, confidentially report poor procurement language to APMP so we can help the agency clean it up.

Here’s How It Works

If you spot a page, section, paragraph, or sentence in an agency-issued RFP that you think puts your company or the industry at a disadvantage, simply click on the link and confidentially fill out the form.

Our PIC Committee will determine if the association will act, so you don’t have to. If we think your complaint warrants a response, we will take it directly to the agency from APMP’s Executive Director (that’s me). We will send a letter to the agency pointing out the problem and offer a solution or two.

We will do this for you so your company doesn’t have to. This is exactly what an association is for – to advocate and educate on your behalf, so you and your company can continue to bid without fear of reprisal. No agency will ever know who or what company issued the complaint because your industry association (that’s APMP) will lodge the letter of complaint on your behalf.

We have found that, done the right way, this collaborative information share with the agencies is highly effective. Agenices don’t want to offend and industry and will usually listen. The U.S. Census Bureau did and immediately made the change. We are betting others will too.

You must be an APMP member to take advantage of APMP’s Poor Procurement Language Hotline and you won’t be able to see the form if you are not an APMP member – so invest in APMP Membership today.

This is another way that APMP is providing an invaluable service to you or your company that directly impacts your bottom line without risking your company’s reputation. Please know that everything is confidential. When we take your complaint to the APMP PIC, we won’t use your name or your company’s name.

Let’s work together to be proactive in our responses to government issued RFPs with poor procurement language. Let’s put an end to poor procurement language, one RFP at a time. If you’re unsure if you should use APMP’s Poor Procurement Language Hotline, just ask me confidentially at and I’ll help you decide.

Thank you to every APMP member who has given us the confidence and opportunity to advocate for you.

2 thoughts on “Nobody’s Perfect and We Could All Use Some Better Procurement Language

  1. Rick, this is a great initiative. My guess is you’ll get more than a few submissions that don’t require APMP attention, but better too much information than too little. Also should help to highlight unfavorable procurement trends before they become entrenched.


  2. I agree that this is a great initiative and I hope that people will reach out to APMP for help in assuring fair competition in proposals. My one suggestion to you is that you have someone edit your pieces before publishing them. I stopped several times in the first paragraph alone to sort out what you were saying. A good editor would have deleted the “we” floating around in the first sentence; and would have deleted the “if” that makes no sense in the third sentence.


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