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Purchasing Using Cooperative Agreements

This management bulletin provides guidance on the use of cooperative agreements, agents, and third-party services when purchasing goods and services
Important Notice: CACFP Program Moved to CDSS

The Early Childhood Development Act of 2020 (Senate Bill (SB) 98, Chapter 24, Statutes of 2020) authorized the transfer of child care and development programs administered by the California Department of Education to the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) effective July 1, 2021. The content on this page may not be current and involves the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) that has moved to CDSS. Visit the CDSS CACFP web page External link opens in new window or tab. or call 1-833-559-2420 for more information.

Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin

Purpose: Policy, Beneficial Information

To: Child Nutrition Program Operators

Attention: Food Service Directors, Business Officials, Superintendents, Administrators, Purchasing Agents, and Finance Directors

Number: CNP-07-2018

Date: August 2018

Reference: U.S. Department of Agriculture Policy Memorandum SP 05-2017, CACFP 03-2017, SFSP 02-2017: Questions and Answers: Purchasing Goods and Services Using Cooperative Agreements, Agents, and Third-party Services; California Public Contract Code, Section 20111, and Title 2, Code of Federal Regulations, sections 200.318-326, and 200.403.

Supersedes: Management Bulletin CNP-01-2017: Questions and Answers: Purchasing Goods and Services Using Cooperative Agreements, Agents, and Third-party Services, and Management Bulletin USDA-SNP-38-2012: Procuring Services of Purchasing Cooperatives, Group Purchasing Organizations, Group Buying Organizations, etc.

Subject: Questions and Answers: Purchasing Goods and Services Using Cooperative Agreements, Agents, and Third-party Services


Management Bulletin (MB) CNP-07-2018, Questions and Answers: Purchasing Goods and Services Using Cooperative Agreements, Agents, and Third-party Services provides guidance to Child Nutrition Program (CNP) Operators regarding the use of cooperative agreements, agents, and third-party services in accordance with federal procurement standards. Information in this MB pertains to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Policy Memorandum SP 05-2017, CACFP 03-2017, SFSP 02-2017: Questions and Answers: Purchasing Goods and Services Using Cooperative Agreements, Agents, and Third-party Services, which is on the USDA Food and Nutrition Service Policy web page at https://fns-prod.azureedge.net/sites/default/files/cn/SP05_CACFP03_SFSP02-2017os.pdf. This MB supersedes MB CNP-01-2017: Questions and Answers: Purchasing Goods and Services Using Cooperative Agreements, Agents, and Third-party Services dated May 2017, and MB USDA-SNP-38-2012: Procuring Services of Purchasing Cooperatives, Group Purchasing Organizations, Group Buying Organizations, etc., dated September 2012.

Background

Title 2, Code of Federal Regulations (2 CFR), Section 200.318(e), allows CNP Operators to enter into intergovernmental or interagency agreements to offer greater economy and efficiency for procurement of common or shared goods or services. It is important that CNP Operators entering into these types of agreements still conduct competitive procurements in accordance with 2 CFR, sections 200.318–326. Specifically, CNP Operators must ensure that each of the following requirements are met:

  • Costs paid from the nonprofit school food service account are necessary, reasonable, and otherwise allowable per 2 CFR, Section 200.403, and the applicable cost principles in 2 CFR, Part 200, Subpart E.
  • Procurement is conducted in a manner maximizing full and open competition, and consistent with federal procurement standards in 2 CFR, sections 200.318–326, in addition to applicable CNP regulations.

Failure to competitively procure goods and services is a violation of federal regulations and may result in delays, disputes, findings of noncompliance, and costs being disallowed.

Additional California-specific Guidance

In addition to the answers provided by the USDA in Policy Memo SP 05-2017, CACFP 03-2017, SFSP 02-2017, Questions and Answers: Purchasing Goods and Services Using Cooperative Agreements, Agents, and Third-party Services, California CNP Operators must ensure compliance with the following California Public Contract Code (PCC) requirements.

  • Per PCC Section 20111 (as amended by Senate Bill 544, effective January 1, 2018), procurement bid solicitations and awards made by a school district approved to operate at least one federal nonprofit CNP for purchases in support of those programs shall be consistent with the federal procurement standards in 2 CFR, sections 200.318–326. These awards shall be let to the most responsive and responsible party, where price is the primary consideration, but not the only determining factor.

For more information on Senate Bill 544, please see MB CNP-01-2018: Senate Bill 544 (McGuire)—State Small Purchase Threshold Amount.

All contracts must be procured in an open and fair manner. Before entering into a cooperative agreement, CNP Operators should also obtain a copy of the Request for Proposal or Invitation for Bid and the executed contract to ensure it was awarded in accordance with all federal, state, and local laws and regulations and includes a provision for cooperative agreements.

Contact Information

If you have any questions regarding this subject, please contact your agency’s designated Procurement Resources Unit (PRU), Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFPU), or Summer Meals Unit (SMU) Specialist listed below.

PRU

You can contact the PRU by email at SFSContracts@cde.ca.gov to be directed to a PRU Specialist.

CACFP

The CACFP Specialist contact list is in the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS) Download Forms section, Form ID CACFP 01. You can also contact Kayla Christensen, CACFP Office Technician, by phone at 916-324-6153 or by email at kchristensen@cde.ca.gov.

SMU

The SMU County Specialist contact list is in the CNIPS Download Forms section, Form ID SFSP 01. You can also contact the SMU by email at sfsp@cde.ca.gov or ssfo@cde.ca.gov.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, June 16, 2021
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