143-129.8.  Purchase of information technology goods and services.

(a)        In recognition of the complex and innovative nature of information technology goods and services and of the desirability of a single point of responsibility for contracts that include combinations of purchase of goods, design, installation, training, operation, maintenance, and related services, a political subdivision of the State may contract for information technology, as defined in G.S. 147-33.81(2), using the procedure set forth in this section, in addition to or instead of any other procedure available under North Carolina law.

(b)        Contracts for information technology may be entered into under a request for proposals procedure that satisfies the following minimum requirements:

(1)        Notice of the request for proposals shall be given in accordance with G.S. 143-129(b).

(2)        Contracts shall be awarded to the person or entity that submits the best overall proposal as determined by the awarding authority. Factors to be considered in awarding contracts shall be identified in the request for proposals.

(c)        The awarding authority may use procurement methods set forth in G.S. 143-135.9 in developing and evaluating requests for proposals under this section. The awarding authority may negotiate with any proposer in order to obtain a final contract that best meets the needs of the awarding authority. Negotiations allowed under this section shall not alter the contract beyond the scope of the original request for proposals in a manner that: (i) deprives the proposers or potential proposers of a fair opportunity to compete for the contract; and (ii) would have resulted in the award of the contract to a different person or entity if the alterations had been included in the request for proposals.

(d)       Proposals submitted under this section shall not be subject to public inspection until a contract is awarded. (2001-328, s. 3; 2004-199, s. 36(b); 2004-203, s. 10.)