Understanding the Public Contracting Process

Understanding how the public contracting process works can be quite challenging. There are mounds of cumbersome paperwork to complete and there is plenty of detailed code to learn. But this whole process could be less intimidating if you seek Palm Springs government legal counsel.

Differences Between Government and Public Contracts

There is a huge difference between entering into a government or public contract as opposed to a private one. Learn and understand the differences between the two. There are strict and formal governmental rules that must be followed by public authorities and bidders or contractors.

The contracting authority must be a public authority or body that is governed by public law. Contracts are voided if the presumed public entity does not have the right to enter into a contract. Also, bidders must show a strong interest in the bidding process in order to be awarded a contract. This is why bidders must provide bid security and present valid licenses.

Adhering to Public Contract Code

Public authorities and bidders must adhere to Public Contract Code. Usually each government entity has this type of code. In a recent presentation by the City Attorneys’ Department, the purpose is to state the law, protect taxpayer money, make it possible for qualified bidders to bid, and to ensure that contracts are not awarded fraudulently.

Contracts cannot be announced or awarded in secrecy. The contracting authority must publicly advertise its requests for bids, and specify when the sealed bid will be awarded. In addition, the contracting authority is required to produce instructions and costs for public projects before issuing bid packages that contain invitation for bid documents.

Awarding a Contract

In terms of awards, contracts must go to the bidder that can do the best job for the least amount of money. In the event that the contracting authority has to use an alternative contractor and not award the bid to the lowest bidder, that entity must have set rules that state why the alternative was needed, and how the alternative was selected.

The winning bid is opened at the designated time and place. Contractors not awarded the bid have the right to protest and follow bid protest procedures and challenge the decision of the contracting authority. The expertise of a Palm Springs government law firm can provide guidance during this time and help with the public contracting process.

Dauer, J., Partner, Diepenbrock Elkin LLP, Sacramento, Gibson, C., Partner, Jarvis Fay Doporto & Gibson, LLP Oakland. (2011, July 12). Public Works Contracts in a Tough Economy: Tips and Techniques for City Attorneys [Webinar]. In League of California Cities. Retrieved from

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