During this phase, the agency will usually put out an RFP and start the bidding process where technology vendors submit proposals to build the project. Not all states use this exact process, but most do. Getting involved at the Contracting phase means you can help shape the system requirements and push for best practices to be incorporated into the contract including testing, piloting, and ongoing audits of the system.
Are we missing any information sources, ways to participate, or case studies at the Contracting phase? Let us know using our contact form!
In the Contracting phase, formal sources of information are limited, making it difficult for advocates to know that an agency is working on benefits tech. It’s useful to highlight these information gaps so that advocates can demand more information throughout the lifecycle and intervene before harmful technology is used.
- Public notice of request-for-proposals (RFP), including public meetings or “industry days” to explain a project to potential vendors.
- By this point in the lifecycle, agency officials will have already discussed what they want the benefits tech system to do. A public records request can get their emails, slideshow presentations, or draft documents. Check out our Public Records Request Guide for more information about this process and how to use it to learn more about benefits tech.
Ways to Participate
The list below highlights ways that advocates and people getting benefits can participate during the Contracting phase. As with information sources, the ways for advocates to participate in shaping benefits tech are limited, especially early in the lifecycle. We seek to increase meaningful participation mechanisms throughout the lifecycle. This includes demanding more robust formal mechanisms as well as developing strategies for informally influencing the benefits tech lifecycle to prevent harmful benefits tech, or at least mitigate negative effects.
- Public comment: Submit public comments on the request-for-proposals (RFP). See our Public Participation Advocacy Guide for tips.
- Agency meetings: Advocates can push for meetings with the agency to learn more and raise concerns. Journalists and other media often attend and track agency meetings so may be good partners. Check out our Media Advocacy Guide for tips for working with the media.
We do not currently have any case studies that began at the Contracting phase of the lifecycle.
This guide talks about ways that people impacted by benefits technology and advocates can use the public participation process to fight harmful benefits technology.
This guide will help you start piecing together why and how benefits tech is being used and how it is impacting people.
This framework provides strategies for resolving different types of technology problems, based on our experiences.
This guide will help you think through how you can use public records requests to help find out why the state decided to implement a benefits technology system, how they implemented it, and how they are using it.