Last November, the Baker-Polito Administration announced Comprehensive Measures to Further Promote Diversity in State Contracting and filed “An Act to Elevate the Supplier Diversity Office to Ensure Equal Opportunity in State Contracting,” which, on enactment, established the Supplier Diversity Office as a separate state agency under the Executive Office for Administration and Finance.

The SDO’s mission is to promote equity and inclusion in state contracting by certifying a wide range of diverse and small business categories, coordinating supplier diversity programs for the Commonwealth’s executive agencies, and connecting diverse companies with business opportunities with government agencies and their prime contractors. In addition to coordinating the supplier diversity efforts of Commonwealth departments, the SDO’s new mission allows it to assist other Massachusetts public entities with developing their own supplier diversity programs.

Over the past several months, the SDO has received numerous inquiries from municipal governments interested in establishing supplier diversity programs focused on their local communities. After meeting with municipalities that expressed interest, the SDO recently issued a Municipal Supplier Diversity Playbook, which was presented to the Inspector General’s “Diversity and Inclusion in Procurement” class and to the MMA and the Massachusetts Association of Public Purchasing Officials.

The playbook is the SDO’s recommended framework for establishing and developing a local supplier diversity program from the planning stage through incorporating lessons learned into the next program cycle. For each step in the process, the playbook provides some best practices for municipalities to consider, including ensuring support from the top, establishing your baseline for spending and current practices, and determining how you will measure the success of your efforts. In addition, the playbook provides tools that may be used by municipalities in implementing their own programs, including the SDO spending analytics services, program training and model supplier diversity charter, policies, procedures, forms and procurement/contract language.

The playbook’s program development framework, best practices and resources are designed to be equally useful for organizations new to supplier diversity and for those with supplier diversity efforts underway. In addition to using the playbook, each organization developing a supplier diversity program must also consider its unique mission, resources and needs. Each municipality should also consult its legal counsel and the Massachusetts Office of the Inspector General to ensure that its program is legally defensible.

For more information or to discuss these ideas in more detail, contact the Supplier Diversity Help Desk at The SDO looks forward to assisting Massachusetts cities and towns in their equity and inclusion efforts.

Written by Bill McAvoy, Executive Director of the Supplier Diversity Office