Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) System Initiative Procurement
September 30, 200
U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) is pleased to provide you
with this Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1)
Procurement Tool Kit, a collection of resources to assist you
in the transition from today’s 9-1-1 systems to NG9-1-1. We developed
this tool kit in response to recognition by stakeholders from
throughout the 9-1-1 community that while information about NG9-1-1
systems is widely available, guidance in developing procurement
specifications for transition services and network equipment is not.
The objective of this tool kit is to fill that gap.
Tool Kit makes it easier to assess the information you need,
plan for procurement and implementation, and gauge the overall success
of your efforts. It describes the essential steps in planning for
NG9-1-1 and outlines the resources available to assist you. This tool
kit provides a self-assessment tool, planning tools, recommended
options, and methods to identify issues that may confront 9-1-1
authorities interested in implementing Internet Protocol (IP)-based,
9-1-1 emergency communications systems. In addition, it discusses what
changes and procurements are possible and provides a path forward for
state and local authorities.
the Procurement Tool Kit, we reference a number of
NG9-1-1 Initiative documents. These documents were created as part of
USDOT’s research and development project, funded by the Intelligent
Transportation System’s Joint Program Office (ITS JPO). These
materials, which are available at our website (http://www.its.dot.gov/NG911), reflect
the input and feedback of subject matter experts from throughout the
this tool kit represents the conclusion of the NG9-1-1 Initiative and
the transfer of the program materials and responsibility to the
National E9-1-1 Implementation Coordination Office (ICO). The ICO is a
joint program office of the USDOT National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration (NHTSA) and the Department of Commerce, National
Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).
ICO is charged with improving coordination and communication among
federal, state, and local emergency communication systems, emergency
personnel, public safety organizations, telecommunications carriers,
and telecommunications equipment manufacturers and vendors. In
addition, the ICO will develop, collect, and disseminate information
concerning practices, procedures, and technology used in implementation
of Enhanced 9-1-1 (E9-1-1) services.
recognizes the extraordinary work public safety answering point (PSAP)
personnel do, 24/7/365, often under very trying conditions. We look
forward to the day when legacy 9-1-1 systems are retired and replaced
with NG9-1-1 solutions. With appropriate planning, training,
implementation, and maintenance, the true value and benefits of NG9-1-1
will be realized.
solicit and appreciate your feedback on the Procurement Tool
Kit and welcome the opportunity to provide you with
additional resource materials. Further information on the ICO is
available at http://www.e-911ico.gov. The program office
can also be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at
Dodge and Laurie Flaherty
US DOT NG9-1-1 Initiative
Department of Transportation (USDOT) Next Generation 9-1-1 System
Initiative (NG9-1-1) is establishing the foundation for an evolutionary
transition to enable the general public to make a 9-1-1 “call” from any
wired, wireless, or Internet Protocol (IP)-based device, and to allow
the emergency services community to take advantage of Enhanced 9-1-1
(E9-1-1) call delivery and other functions through new internetworking
technologies based on open standards. The Nation’s 9-1-1 system,
currently based on 1960s technology, cannot handle the text, data,
images, and video that are increasingly common in personal
communications and critical to future transportation safety and
NG9-1-1 Initiative is one of the first federally funded studies to
comprehensively define and document a future vision for 9-1-1 systems.
As a result of this project and other efforts, a fundamental
transformation of the way 9-1-1 calls are originated, delivered, and
handled is slowly getting underway. USDOT has helped defined the system
architecture; developed a transition plan that considers
responsibilities, costs, schedule, and benefits for deploying IP-based
emergency services across the Nation; and implemented a working
proof-of-concept (POC) demonstration system. The NG9-1-1 Initiative’s
POC helped stimulate action within the community to get more involved
and to start discussing the issues.
USDOT is helping to plan the
future of 9-1-1, today
TABLE OF CONTENTS
9-1-1 emergency communications professionals face challenges on
multiple fronts—a fundamental lack of resources, aging equipment
operating past its intended lifecycle, emerging consumer technology
that has outpaced public safety answering point (PSAP) upgrades, and
outdated funding models that do not consider the dwindling number of
landline subscribers and the continued increase in the number of
consumers choosing wireless and alternate telephony providers. These
issues, while difficult to address, are not impossible to overcome, and
many stakeholders throughout the community are already working toward
of the first questions to answer is “What exactly is NG9-1-1?” Although
there appear to be a number of ideas about what constitutes Next
Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1), the National Emergency Number Association
(NENA) glossary definition describes NG9-1-1 as:
. . the next evolutionary step in the development of the
9-1-1 emergency communications system known as E9-1-1 since the 1970s.
NG9-1-1 is a system comprised of managed IP-based networks and elements
that augment present-day E9-1-1 features and functions and add new
capabilities. NG9-1-1 will eventually replace the present E9-1-1
system. NG9-1-1 is designed to provide access to emergency services
from all sources, and to provide multimedia data capabilities for PSAPs
and other emergency service organizations.1
NG9-1-1 system will enhance 9-1-1 service to the public, allowing
callers to request emergency assistance by sending text, images, and
video (in addition to voice) from several different kinds of access
networks and communications devices using open standards. This
capability is a departure from today’s ability to send voice and a very
limited amount of data.
the NG9-1-1 Initiative, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT)
has developed a substantial body of knowledge on the issues and
associated strategic options that can be implemented to address the
transition to NG9-1-1. Project documents are freely available on the
USDOT website.2 In addition, the
project has served as an agenda for action and a foundation for the
9-1-1 community in planning and deploying NG9-1-1. One of the
overriding conclusions reached was that although technical challenges
exist, many of the issues faced by the community are operational and
logistical in nature, requiring a more open and collaborative
relationship among stakeholders. This Procurement Tool Kit
seeks to help improve communications among the various individuals,
groups, and companies interested in NG9-1-1.
Tool Kit has four parts, and while mostly
independent of one another, each is designed to support an iterative
process, building on the previous part. The document offers tools to
assist with assessment, planning, procurement, and evaluation of
success. Briefly, the document includes the following sections:
Assessment Tool—A survey to help identify the current state
of emergency communications readiness for NG9-1-1. Within the various
topic areas (e.g., planning, governance, standards and technology), we
raise questions to identify what work has been completed or is in
process that pertains to NG9-1-1 features or issues.
Planning Tool—Planning for implementation of NG9-1-1 is a
critical task, considering the multiple aspects associated with
developing a comprehensive plan. The planning tool describes the
recommended plan components and process steps, offers suggestions, and
includes links to additional references and resources to assist you in
developing and tailoring a specific NG9-1-1 transition plan for your
Tool—The procurement tool offers guidance with procuring
goods and services associated with a transition to NG9-1-1. Because not
all organizations have the same experience and/or skills with
purchasing IT solutions, the tool includes a “best value” process that
may help improve individual procurement efforts.
Evaluation Tool—Upon completion of a procurement or NG9-1-1
implementation, we urge stakeholders to review their efforts, identify
lessons learned, and share that valuable information with others across
the 9-1-1 community. All too often, this important last step is
overlooked during system implementations, and future efforts lose the
opportunity to benefit from this information.
9-1-1 systems are an aging patchwork of disparate applications
implemented throughout the past decades. Because these systems often
have dissimilar capabilities, the first step for any organization is to
assess its current capabilities, identify immediate and long-term
needs, and analyze the future vision for its service delivery.
this assessment is critical to the overall process. It helps
characterize the goals of the organization, sets initial expectations
for success, and gives its stakeholders a chance to participate.
Preliminary Assessment Tool is a short survey to assist in determining
the current capabilities of your emergency communications system. This
awareness helps determine the point at which the organization should
enter into the NG9-1-1 evolution process. The 9-1-1 community is at
many different stages with regard to NG9-1-1 planning. While some 9-1-1
authorities have either not begun or only recently begun discussing the
topic, other “early adopters” have demonstrated an appetite for
advancement and have already implemented some NG9-1-1 components in
preparation for a future transition. As a result, the transition path
varies across the community.
using this Preliminary Assessment Tool, there are no “right or wrong”
answers, and no grade or rating will be assigned to a completed
assessment. Simply put, the tool helps to identify what work has been
done and what is left to do. After completing the assessment,
particular areas of focus will emerge. Section 2, NG9-1-1 Planning
Tool, will help organizations better prepare with the necessary
planning and implementation steps.
1.2 Assessment Tool
9-1-1 Plan Development
your state, region, or locality have a strategic 9-1-1 plan in place?
your state, region, or locality have a 9-1-1 coordinator (or
2—Policy & Governance
appropriate officials at all levels (e.g., 9-1-1 administrator,
emergency management agency, homeland security bureau, chief
information officer, utilities commissioner) involved in 9-1-1 planning
and policy-development activities in your state, region, or locality?
central coordinating body or mechanism been designated for NG9-1-1
implementation in your state, region, or locality?
aware of laws that need to be changed in your state, region, or
locality to support NG9-1-1 technology, system management, and data
legislation in your state, region, or locality allow the certification
of new service providers that may access the NG9-1-1 network, as
an identified and sustainable funding source for 9-1-1 system
operations, maintenance, and development in your state, region, or
9-1-1 authority applied for grants to help fund 9-1-1 services,
planning, and/or the transition to NG9-1-1?
plan in place to determine the budget required to fund the transition
to and operation of an NG9-1-1 system?
personnel from your state, region, or locality participate in standards
your state, region, or locality have a data security policy in place
that considers 9-1-1 or public safety network access management?
your 9-1-1 authority engage all appropriate stakeholders in determining
the responsible entity and mechanisms for providing accurate and
reliable location information for NG9-1-1 calls?
the public safety answering points (PSAPs) within your jurisdiction
have broadband IP network access?
your local exchange carrier (LEC) have the capability to natively
deliver IP calls to your PSAPs?
9-1-1 authority created a system architecture for planned NG9-1-1
capable PSAPs in your state, region, or locality?
and PSAP Operations
your state, region, or locality have the ability to handle wireline,
wireless, and voice over IP (VoIP) 9-1-1 calls?
policies in place in your state, region, or locality that dictate
procedures for handling 9-1-1 calls from emerging technology, including
images, video, text, and data?
regulations in your state, region, or locality allow PSAP
in your state, region, or locality coordinate with one another, and
with neighboring PSAPs?
your state, region, or locality engage all appropriate stakeholders
regarding 9-1-1 call handling and location determination procedures?
memoranda of understanding (MOU) in place that allow your state,
region, or locality to coordinate with neighboring jurisdictions on
topics such as call overflow, load sharing, backup conditions, and
sharing of services (e.g., geographic information system [GIS], shape
Planning in the NG9-1-1 Environment
threat analysis and/or business impact analysis been conducted to
support PSAP business continuity planning in your state, region, or
taker training standards and formal training programs established in
your state, region, or locality?
takers in your state, region, or locality exercising proper procedure
for handling calls from outside their standard jurisdiction?
in your state, region, or locality collaborate for combined training
plan in place in your state, region, or locality to retrain or orient
PSAP staff to handle the new media and data that will accompany NG9-1-1
Awareness and Education
public and policymakers in your state, region, or locality informed
about today’s provided 9-1-1 services?
plan in place to educate 9-1-1 personnel and policymakers in your
state, region, or locality on NG9-1-1 and their roles in a successful
public in your state, region, or locality educated on the public
benefits provided by NG9-1-1?
an initial review of the assessment questions, some will find that not
every question can be immediately answered. Research and investigation
into some of the areas is expected and very much part of the overall
process. Building relationships and sharing information with
stakeholders throughout the 9-1-1 community is an essential component
evaluating any “No” and “UNK” answers in the assessment, refer to
Section 2, NG9-1-1 Planning Tool. This tool helps establish or
customize the formal plans needed to implement NG9-1-1 solutions. The
planning sections mirror the assessment and can be used in whole or in
part, as your needs dictate.
the assessment tool regularly for changes that may affect your
planning. In addition, for tracking purposes, add issues or aspects of
NG9-1-1 that are not on the assessment. While the assessment attempts
to be comprehensive, NG9-1-1 continues to develop, and new items of
interest will continue to emerge.
2 NG9-1-1 Planning Tool
and leadership expert Steven R. Covey recommends: “start with the end
in mind.” That advice is particularly germane when planning a new,
complex information technology (IT) solution like NG9-1-1. Having a
detailed plan of action, with specific actions, milestones, and a final
goal, is paramount to the success of any project.
the high-level topics in the Preliminary Assessment Tool
(found in Section 1 of this document), we provide guidance for plan
development for each of the topic areas:
9-1-1 Plan Development
section focuses on specific aspects of planning for the transition to
NG9-1-1. Within each section, there is an overview, one or more steps,
and links to online resources available to support the plan development
process. You should view the steps as intermediate actions that
describe the methods to further progress in that area. Each step
includes a description, method, and recommendations to accomplish that
step. We present these steps in order, with the last step being most
closely associated with the goals of NG9-1-1.
every section may be of interest to every reader, however, there may be
other people within your organization that might benefit from that
information or be responsible for that individual topic area.
is key to your success. A good plan can be compared with a roadmap for
an upcoming trip. The map has the destination (goal) and path to take
to be successful. The plan allows you to sequence the work, track your
progress, and mitigate (route around) potential problems. Without a
plan, success is undefined, valuable time and resources are wasted, and
any progress is left simply to chance.
2.2 Formal 9-1-1
formal 9-1-1 plan is a significant first step in planning for NG9-1-1.
It unites the significantly large community of 9-1-1 stakeholders
around a common mission, status, and vision for the 9-1-1 system. A
formal plan also documents the way forward for the transition to
NG9-1-1, and can then be used to apply for grants or to demonstrate
tangible progress to government officials and other stakeholders. As
always, documenting a plan assists in effective execution and in
section provides steps, recommendations, and resources for development
of a 9-1-1 plan, leveraging a 9-1-1 plan, planning for the future of
9-1-1, and taking a leadership role in nationwide 9-1-1 planning.
Depending on what your state, region, or locality has accomplished so
far in 9-1-1 planning, as measured by the Preliminary
Assessment Tool, you may want to skip ahead to the subsection
that discusses your immediate next action.
9-1-1 Plan Development includes three steps:
1—Develop a 9-1-1 Plan. This step primarily
focuses on starting the formal 9-1-1 planning process. Prior to Step 1,
an organization may not have a strategic 9-1-1 plan in place, the plan
has not been formally accepted at the appropriate level(s), or the plan
needs significant revisions to address all the topics mentioned in the Preliminary
2—Leverage a Statewide 9-1-1 Plan. Once a plan exists, an
organization needs to effectively implement the 9-1-1 plan. Prior to
Step 2, a formal 9-1-1 plan may be in place that addresses nearly all
necessary topics, but perhaps not all stakeholders, or possibly there
is a lack of stakeholder understanding or active involvement related to
their role and/or responsibility within the plan.
3—Plan for the Future and Lead by Example. This step
focuses on planning for the future and being seen as a leader in
implementing NG9-1-1 technologies. Planning efforts include long-term
horizons (5-year and 10-year plans) that elaborate on realistic goals
for the immediate and extended future of the organization and 9-1-1
system. As a leader, you and your organization can help others learn
from implementation successes and lessons learned.
Step 1—Develop a 9-1-1 Plan
of the first steps toward successful transition to NG9-1-1 is
development of a 9-1-1 plan. Some states have determined that the best
results are achieved when formal planning is coordinated at the state
level. Often, those states provide some funding mechanism or have
regulations for 9-1-1 coordination at the state level. Others, however,
conduct planning activities at the local, regional or sub-state
authority level. There are still many states, regions, and localities
that have no formal planning process in place. This section describes
what a formal 9-1-1 plan is, why it is needed, and recommends ways to
help ensure development of a successful plan.
primary purpose of a 9-1-1 plan is to succinctly communicate the
mission and vision of the 9-1-1 system to its stakeholders. The plan
should identify system stakeholders (if not by name, at least by title
and role) and their responsibility in meeting short- and long-term
program goals. This planning document is an opportunity to lay out the
way ahead in the transition to NG9-1-1 in a coordinated fashion. In
addition, many federal and other grant programs require a plan or
statement of purpose as prerequisites for funding. A 9-1-1 plan can
address these needs, in whole or in part.
the 9-1-1 plan should establish the mission and goals of the 9-1-1
system, identify milestones for achieving the goals, assign tasks that
must be completed to reach these milestones, and allocate resources for
accomplishing those tasks.
9-1-1 plan should include, but not necessarily be limited to, all of
the following sections—
and vision—including discussion of the 9-1-1 mission, as well as
detailed goals for the 9-1-1 system and organization
allocation—indicating funding sources and how they will be used
and governance—including the legislative environment and the role of
leadership in achieving 9-1-1 goals
management and oversight—discussing organization of the control over
the 9-1-1 system at the local, regional, and state levels
of current and planned system and environment—including discussion of
infrastructure both internal and external to the 9-1-1 system
monitoring and performance metrics—identifying how progress will be
tracked and performance will be measured
revision process—laying out the process for changing the plan as the
environment, circumstances, and priorities evolve.
number of resources across the 9-1-1 community stand ready to assist
localities, states, and regions that are beginning or revising their
9-1-1 plans. The National Association of State 9-1-1 Administrators
(NASNA) can provide templates and other resources to aid you in
creating a plan. You can also leverage existing state plans as a basis
for new plan development—taking the most applicable sections from a
handful of plans may be a good option. Reaching out to neighboring
jurisdictions, leveraging or establishing relationships with other
public safety agencies, and engaging national 9-1-1 organizations such
as NENA will give you access to resources that may speed plan
first course of action in the planning process is the designation of a
planning team. 9-1-1 plans can be developed internally, or you may
consider procuring the services of a consultant to develop your 9-1-1
plan. If you choose to develop your 9-1-1 plan internally, consider
forming a small, interdepartmental team to develop your plan, ensuring
multiple viewpoints are considered. If you choose to contract out your
9-1-1 plan development, consider using the Procurement Tool,
provided in Section 3 of this document, to guide your procurement
9-1-1 plan should address stakeholder needs and concerns. NG9-1-1
stakeholders comprise a large community that includes the following
list, as discussed in the NG9-1-1 System Description and
Requirements Document 3—
you develop a 9-1-1 plan, engage stakeholders to determine what
information they would find most useful in achieving the goals laid out
in the plan. Ideally, the 9-1-1 plan reflects input from all NG9-1-1
stakeholders or is developed by a team of representatives comprising
these stakeholder groups. A high level of stakeholder involvement
ensures that the plan is acceptable to the entire 9-1-1 community,
which increases stakeholders’ support and willingness to act on the
tasks assigned them in the plan.
9-1-1 plan should be written with an understanding of how services are
provided today and how they need to be provided in the future. In
developing the formal 9-1-1 plan, consider breaking down the necessary
changes into actionable development items. Consider using the NG9-1-1
Transition Plan 4
and NASNA’s Model State 9-1-1 Plan 5
as reference documents for developing the plan, determining necessary
actions, and assigning ownership for those actions.
be effective, the formal 9-1-1 plan should be developed or approved by
an organization with the authority to shape the policies and procedures
of the 9-1-1 system. Prior to beginning the approval process, check the
plan for compliance with any applicable regulatory or grant acquisition
requirements. Stakeholder reviews of plans nearing the approval stage,
such as state-level reviews for local plans and local-level reviews for
state plans, help reduce the need for immediate major revisions. The
approval process includes developing plans for distribution of the plan
to actors and stakeholders. The approval authority considers, among
other criteria, the appropriateness of the plan’s scope, the validity
of assumptions and constraints, the goals and vision, applicability of
these goals in the overarching goals of the state or locality, the
projected cost and timeline of actions items, and the plan’s value in
attaining defined goals.
and 9-1-1 boards should consider appointing a 9-1-1 coordinator or
identifying the person responsible for leading 9-1-1 planning and
policy efforts, as well as to serve as a point of contact for
collaborative 9-1-1 efforts with neighbors.
2—Leverage a Statewide 9-1-1 Plan
a formal 9-1-1 plan has been developed and accepted, it should be
implemented to maximum effect. If your state, region, or locality has a
9-1-1 plan in place that meets all the planning criteria discussed in
the Preliminary Assessment Tool and in Step 1, you
will need to ensure that all stakeholders, including 9-1-1 authorities
and PSAPs understand their role in the execution of the plan. The goals
laid out in a statewide 9-1-1 plan can be reached only through full
stakeholder buy-in to the formalized planning efforts. This section
describes how a 9-1-1 plan should be leveraged at the state and local
levels, and recommends ways to use a 9-1-1 plan to reach the goals of
the state, region, or locality.
is in the interest of stakeholders at all levels to take action on the
9-1-1 plan. 9-1-1 authorities and PSAPs should align their strategy,
goals, operations, and policies to the plan. Relationships with local
exchange carriers (LEC) and other service providers should be developed
or improved to prepare for the possible changes in service. State and
local legislators, and 9-1-1 or public safety organizations that guide
legislators in these matters should consider effecting change where
necessary to meet the current and future needs of 9-1-1, as laid out in
the plan. A well-written 9-1-1 plan should assign clear actions and
development items to all stakeholders involved in successfully reaching
the 9-1-1 goals and transitioning to NG9-1-1.
authorities and PSAPs, both large and small, within a state, region, or
locality with an active 9-1-1 plan in place should consider getting
involved in the implementation and maintenance of the 9-1-1 plan. Each
organization has a unique viewpoint on the issues at hand and thus can
provide valuable contributions to the plan itself and its
implementation. 9-1-1 authorities and PSAPs may consider drafting their
own plans that show how the local operations and policies align to the
overarching 9-1-1 plan and lay out a roadmap for attaining the plan’s
a primary point of contact for all 9-1-1 plan implementation activities
should be considered. Often, this is a 9-1-1 Coordinator, PSAP Manager,
or even a member of the 9-1-1 authority. Depending on the scope and
level of detail of the 9-1-1 plan, the timeline, and the number of
stakeholders and tasks involved, the 9-1-1 Coordinator should be
assigned sufficient resources to successfully manage the overall effort.
at all levels can actively participate in implementing the 9-1-1 plan.
Whether presenting a state plan at the local level to stimulate
involvement, or sharing local plans with the state-level 9-1-1 board,
all levels of 9-1-1 governance need to coordinate to work toward a
well-planned NG9-1-1 system. Those without direct authority often have
influence, which can be useful in promoting and supporting
implementation. The governance organizations should also communicate
the 9-1-1 plan to other agencies and non-governmental organizations
(e.g., private industry NG9-1-1 stakeholders) to ensure that 9-1-1
operation and evolution efforts are well coordinated.
3—Plan for the Future and Lead by
regions, and localities with well-developed, fully implemented 9-1-1
plans should focus their planning efforts on the future of their 9-1-1
system and on assisting their neighbors with their planning efforts.
goal for those states that are more advanced in the 9-1-1 planning
process should be the development of 5- and 10-year plans. These
supplemental plans set the course for achieving, and perhaps
surpassing, the vision described in the existing 9-1-1 plan, in terms
of achievable milestones. Planning for the future today demonstrates to
stakeholders that there is a long-term evolution envisioned for the
future of 9-1-1.
planning efforts of your neighboring states and localities are just as
important as your own to the nationwide transition to NG9-1-1 and to
the effectiveness of NG9-1-1 in your own jurisdiction. Development of
regional NG9-1-1 systems will speed nationwide adoption of NG9-1-1.
Leaders in the field of 9-1-1 planning have an opportunity to set an
example for those with less developed 9-1-1 planning.
advanced organizations should consider continuing the 9-1-1 planning
process by setting and revising goals through development and
maintenance of 5- and 10-year plans. Goals might include, for example,
full NG9-1-1 compliance in 10 years. Any goals set by these plans
should be presented in the context of short- and long-term
accomplishments necessary to meet these goals in the desired time frame.
states, regions, and localities should also get involved in
collaborative planning efforts. By planning with neighboring states or
jurisdictions, broader regional policies and operations, such as
long-distance overflow/failover support scenarios, can be planned.
by example can include making resources, work products, and lessons
learned publicly available. When others have the opportunity to see
your success and avoid missteps, they benefit from your contribution,
and the collaborative nationwide 9-1-1 community that NG9-1-1 requires
to succeed will continue to grow. As relationships are established,
opportunities for sharing resources may also lead to significant cost
can find additional information regarding the development and execution
of 9-1-1 plans at—
2.3 Policy and
effective policy development in conjunction with technical and
operational NG9-1-1 system development, the best system designs,
architectures, and plans will be just that—designs, architectures, and
plans. To actually implement an NG9-1-1 system requires effective
overall policies, laws, and regulations that facilitate and make legal
all aspects of NG9-1-1. In addition, stakeholders must work together to
make sure that appropriate governance structures are in place to enable
the effective implementation and operation of an NG9-1-1 system.
section provides a summary of key policy and governance issues that you
should consider to enable the transition to NG9-1-1, as well as
recommendations and resources to assist with policy and governance
analysis and revision. It is important to note that most policy and
governance issues should not be addressed by individual PSAPs or even
individual 9-1-1 authorities. Given the interconnected nature of
NG9-1-1 systems, it is important for all 9-1-1 authorities in a region
or state, along with other related emergency response and government
stakeholders, to jointly address policy and governance issues in a
coordinated manner. It is also important to note that while all
jurisdictions share some similar policy and governance issues, every
jurisdiction is unique in its starting point. Therefore, the steps
outlined below are illustrative of the general policy and governance
issues, but are not inclusive of every issue that may need to be
addressed in any given jurisdiction. There are three general steps:
1—Review Existing Statutes, Regulations, and Rules. This
step focuses on bringing together all appropriate stakeholders to
review existing laws and regulations to determine whether they will
enable the desired NG9-1-1 system based on the overriding goals of the
9-1-1 plan. Review current state and local policies, statutes,
regulations, and tariffs to determine whether the current regulatory
structure will support or could even prohibit the implementation of
2—Review Existing Governance Structures. You can approach
this step in parallel with Step 1 to bring together
all appropriate stakeholders to review existing governance structures
for 9-1-1 and public safety communications systems. The review examines
the current structure and authority of state, regional, and local 9-1-1
and public safety governing authorities to ensure existing governance
structures will enable the desired NG9-1-1 system based on the 9-1-1
3—Develop a Strategy and Implement Recommended Modifications to Current
Policies and Governance Structures. After identifying
potential problems or gaps in the results of Steps 1 and 2, develop
recommended modifications to current policies and governance
structures, and an action plan and strategy to implement the
Statutes, Regulations, and Rules
a state or region may be prepared to transition to NG9-1-1, state
and/or local rules and regulations in their current form may not enable
the transition. In some instances, regulations written for a
voice-centric, analog telephone-based E9-1-1 system may actually
prohibit certain aspects of NG9-1-1. At a minimum, current regulations
and rules may raise questions about the legality of some capabilities
enabled by NG9-1-1, which could slow progress unless such questions are
addressed. Analyzing all current state and local statutes and
regulations early in the transition process, and making modifications
as necessary, is a critical step to ensure that plans to migrate to
NG9-1-1 can occur in a timely manner.
capabilities and functions that are possible with NG9-1-1 are not
possible with the E9-1-1 system, or are provided in a new way. For each
of these capabilities and functions that are new or provided
differently, 9-1-1 leaders should ask themselves whether current laws,
regulations, tariffs, and overall policies allow and enable such new
system features. For example, are current funding methods and levels
sufficient to pay for initial and recurring costs, particularly during
the transition from E9-1-1 to NG9-1-1 and when multiple entities share
networks and databases? Are non-regulated entities permitted to play
the role of the 9-1-1 System Service Provider (SSP), and if so, what
process governs service provision in an unregulated IP-based world?
During the transition from E9-1-1 to NG9-1-1, when new and legacy
systems must be able to interoperate, will regulations/tariffs written
only for telephone-based E9-1-1 systems slow the transition and cause
regional and/or state NG9-1-1 plans have been established, stakeholders
should form a working group (or working groups) whose mission is to
research and analyze all current state/local rules and regulations
(including tariffs). The working group(s) should consist of individuals
who understand the features that will be possible with the NG9-1-1
system and also individuals with experience in analyzing, drafting, and
implementing new statutes and regulations. The working group(s) should
be very inclusive of all 9-1-1, emergency response, government, and
industry groups that have a stake in the transition to NG9-1-1. The
goal of the working groups) should be to examine rules and regulations
that cover every possible aspect of the NG9-1-1 system and to highlight
which rules need to be modified or areas where new regulations may be
a working group has been formed to review current policies, the group
should develop a target list of all the issues it plans to analyze in
current rules and regulations. The group should research where all
9-1-1 and relevant emergency communications related rules can be found
in statutes, regulations (from a state Public Utility Commission [PUC]
or State 9-1-1 Agency), or tariffs. Once all rules and regulations have
been identified, the group should develop a plan with specific
deliverables and deadlines. A few common themes within most statutes
and regulations that may need to be analyzed, and questions to be
asked, include, but are not limited to—
of 9-1-1 fees and/or surcharges—Are statutes or regulations
written to require collection of a 9-1-1 fee or surcharge from users of
any type of calling or messaging service that is capable of accessing
an NG9-1-1 system and/or any access networks (e.g., Internet Service
Providers [ISP]) used by consumers that enable calling or messaging
services to complete 9-1-1 calls or messages via the NG9-1-1 system?
use of funds—Are statutes, regulations, or tariffs narrowly
written to cover the costs of a limited set of 9-1-1 elements that
would prohibit the use of 9-1-1 fee revenues to fund IP-based NG9-1-1
systems? Rules governing the eligible use of funds must consider all
aspects of NG9-1-1. Consider including all costs associated with new
services, networks, software, hardware, databases, and any other
elements that may need to be funded to enable NG9-1-1.
System Service Provider (SSP)—Do any statutes or regulations
indicate that only a certified telecommunications provider, or more
narrowly, only a provider of local exchange service, may perform the
role of a 9-1-1 SSP? Are there provisions that require
specific technology components for "E9-1-1" service delivery that are
not necessarily the same for NG9-1-1? In NG9-1-1 systems, entities who
are not traditional telecommunications providers may be in a position
to provide NG9-1-1 service and statutes and regulations should be
analyzed to address this issue.
to 9-1-1 systems—Are any types of services, such as sensors
and alarms, currently legally prevented from accessing the 9-1-1
system? One of the many benefits of implementing NG9-1-1 is that it
allows appropriate and authorized sharing of automated data sources
(e.g., telematics data, bioterrorism, or health sensors) with PSAPs and
other emergency response agencies.
terminology, and lexicon—All definitions and terminology
contained in statutes, regulations, and/or tariffs should be reviewed
to ensure they do not limit the ability to implement NG9-1-1. Is a new
definition for “NG9-1-1” needed? Examine current rules using terms such
as “calls,” “telephone service,” “emergency telephone system,”
“trunks,” “dials/dialed,” etc. and modify them as appropriate to cover
the calling and messaging capabilities enabled by NG9-1-1. For example,
does a definition for “calls” include not just a voice call, but also
messages or any other type of communication delivered over the NG9-1-1
system? Another example is the definition of a PSAP. Does a definition
limit a PSAP to a physical facility or building, or can a PSAP be
“virtual” whereby 9-1-1 calls may be answered from anywhere that IP
access is available once an authorized person logs in with the proper
user ID and password?
authority capabilities—Do any statutes or regulations
prohibit a state, regional, or local 9-1-1 authority from deploying,
operating, or managing software- and database-controlled NG9-1-1
systems that replace traditional wireline E9-1-1 systems? Do 9-1-1 and
public safety authorities have sufficient authority to implement
emergency service IP networks to replace dedicated 9-1-1 telephony
systems that are shared among multiple emergency response entities (not
standalone 9-1-1 networks)?
routing—Do any statutes or regulations indicate 9-1-1 call
routing can only be done by location? Are there rules prohibiting the
sharing of networks to route calls for multiple national N-1-1/800
numbers (e.g., 2-1-1, 3-1-1, 8-1-1, 9-1-1, suicide hotline, poison
control)? With NG9-1-1, call routing may be handled by business
rules/policies, which may indicate that calls should be routed based on
caller characteristics, not just the location of the call. For example,
a Spanish-speaking person could dial 9-1-1, the caller’s device could
indicate a Spanish-speaking caller, and a business rule built into a
policy-based routing function could indicate all Spanish callers for
this location route to a pre-determined PSAP and call taker position
number OR if no call taker is available, add Language Line to the call
and route to appropriate PSAP based only on the location of the call.
Another example would be a video call from a deaf caller could
automatically be routed to a certain PSAP or call taker that would
enable a real-time video call to a 9-1-1 call taker certified in
American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation. Do current statutes and
rules enable non-location-based call routing?
existing liability protection statutes or regulations cover ALL
services and information that may be delivered over NG9-1-1 systems and
shared among emergency response entities (e.g., voice, sensors, images
and other data, video, medical records, and any new, not yet developed,
product or service)?
and confidentiality—Do existing privacy, confidentiality,
disclosure, and retention statutes or regulations apply to all types of
9-1-1 calls and call content that are possible with an NG9-1-1 system
(e.g., voice, data, images, video, information from third-party
databases added to a 9-1-1 call record)?
to policy issues is the need to examine current 9-1-1 and emergency
communications governance structures to determine how well they will
facilitate NG9-1-1. Governance structures that exist for current E9-1-1
systems may not be effective in an NG9-1-1 environment and may require
modification. This is the case for two primary reasons. (1) The
architecture and operation of NG9-1-1 systems may be more efficiently
managed at a regional, state, or even multistate level (with 9-1-1
operations remaining primarily local). (2) The increased information
sharing capabilities of NG9-1-1 systems mean that 9-1-1 and emergency
communications systems will be much more interrelated in a next
generation environment, calling for more coordinated governance of the
entire emergency communications enterprise.
systems are not being designed as dedicated, closed, single-purpose
systems. They will be shared systems composed of multiple entities.
9-1-1 will be only one part of a much larger system shared with general
government, private sector entities, and other public safety services
and agencies. The amount and type of information (voice, text, or
video) received by PSAPs and shared with emergency response agencies
will greatly surpass that received by current E9-1-1 systems. For
example, NG9-1-1 makes it possible to transmit video, still images,
medical information, and a host of other data with a 9-1-1 call. In
addition, the architecture of NG9-1-1 systems will significantly
increase the amount of information, equipment, and services contained
in shared databases and networks. For example, the same emergency
services IP-network that is used to route all forms of voice, video,
and data to PSAPs could be shared with other emergency response
entities to enable IP-based voice and data applications used by first
responders (e.g., radio over-IP).
the increased amount of information made available by NG9-1-1 and the
shared databases and networks among an increasing number of emergency
response entities, existing governance structures may not be effective
in an NG9-1-1 environment. Analyzing current 9-1-1 and emergency
communications governance structures at the state, regional, and local
levels, and making modifications as necessary, is a critical step to
ensure effective and orderly transition to and operation of NG9-1-1
systems. The goal of any governance structure should be to determine
the most efficient and cost-effective way to manage the overall NG9-1-1
system, from a technical and systems operation perspective, while
maintaining the ability of local authorities to determine local call
processing and information sharing policies. Ultimately, those who
govern the 9-1-1 system have the obligation to provide a system that is
worthy of the caller’s trust.
an NG9-1-1 environment, the roles of the PSAPs, responders,
communications service providers, and related entities will expand
beyond traditional 9-1-1 services to higher levels of interaction,
managed situational intelligence, enhanced capabilities, and more
comprehensive communication and coordinated response. Clear roles,
responsibilities, and regulatory authority regarding all aspects of the
system must be determined.
regional and/or state NG9-1-1 plans have been established, stakeholders
should form a working group (or groups) to research current governance
structures at the state, regional, and local levels for 9-1-1 and
public safety communications systems. The working group(s) should
consist of individuals from all organizations (public and private)
involved in 9-1-1 and emergency communications within the area for
which the system is being designed. At a state or regional level, local
and regional 9-1-1 emergency response and government leaders should
come together with appropriate state level officials from departments
that include the state 9-1-1 program, homeland security/emergency
management agency, public utilities commission, state information
technology office, state police, and others.
for the working group(s) to address include, but are not limited to—
there an existing state agency that will be responsible for management
of the NG9-1-1 system(s) within the state and for coordination with
other state and federal authorities? If not, can an existing agency
take a leadership role at the state level or is a new entity
will be the authority of the state agency responsible for managing the
NG9-1-1 system, as it relates to regional or local authorities,
concerning the funding of the system, access to and use of the system,
maintenance and security of the system, and other technical and system
is the role of the state PUC as the 9-1-1 system moves to a more
competitive environment with many functions of the system provided by
IP-based, non-tariffed, and unregulated communications providers?
the equivalent of the “State Information Technology Agency” well
positioned to play a greater leadership role in an IP-based NG9-1-1
environment compared with the current system? If not, should it be?
NG9-1-1, networks and databases are expected to be shared by numerous
emergency services agencies and other government functions, which are
under the jurisdiction of different parent agencies. Who is responsible
for establishing the authority of agencies that are part of the NG9-1-1
system with regard to who has access to the system and information, who
can share and receive such information, and who will maintain it?
an environment where networks and databases will be shared by numerous
entities, do current governance structures allow for cost-sharing and
what is the mechanism for determining the relative share that each
entity pays to fund and maintain the system?
systems can allow increased security of information through role-based
access control and data rights management that limits access to
information only to authorized entities. If there are existing MOUs or
best practices with respect to current information sharing protocols
among emergency response agencies, can those policies be used as a
foundation for the implementation of electronic data rights management
software- and database-controlled NG9-1-1 systems give 9-1-1 governing
authorities greater ability to make or adjust call routing decisions in
a more seamless manner than is possible with current E9-1-1 systems,
does the governance structure effectively define who has the authority
to make such decisions?
Strategy and Implement Recommended Modifications to Current Policies
and Governance Structures
existing policies and governance structures have been reviewed and
needed changes to the current structure have been identified, the next
step is to develop a strategy and plan to implement the changes.
completing a review of all existing 9-1-1 statutes and regulations, you
may conclude that significant changes need to be made to existing
policies. Some revisions may need to be made to statutes, while other
modifications or additions to agency rules and regulations or tariffs
may be necessary. It will be important to determine which issues
require statutory treatment and which issues can more effectively be
addressed through changes in rules or regulations. When considering
ideal governance structures for the NG9-1-1 system, stakeholders need
to assess whether any statutory or rule changes are necessary or
whether existing governance structures are sufficient to implement and
operate NG9-1-1 systems.
and most important in developing a strategy and plan to implement
policy and governance changes is to identify all stakeholders that will
be affected by the proposed changes and make sure everyone is involved
in the planning process. Stakeholders should include representatives
from 9-1-1 and public safety authorities and other emergency response
entities, as well as state and local government organizations. All
affected industry stakeholders should also be involved, including
legacy E9-1-1 SSPs and originating service providers (wireline,
wireless, VoIP, etc.), as well as new technology providers. Ideally,
all of the affected stakeholders will have been involved in the
previous steps. If that is the case, developing a strategy and policy
implementation plan will be a much simpler task.
specific topics to consider when developing a strategy and plan to
implement policy and governance changes include, but are not limited to—
whether desired changes can be made through the leadership and efforts
of volunteer 9-1-1 and public safety leaders or whether it is possible
and desirable to hire outside consultants, attorneys, and/or lobbyists.
Implementing statutory and regulatory change is not an easy task, and
sometimes a call to the experts can be a worthy investment.
materials to educate relevant state legislatures, agencies, and
regulatory bodies, as well as municipal government bodies, to ensure
that they understand how current regulations and laws facilitate or
inhibit NG9-1-1. Make sure materials are simple and quick to read and
understand. (See Section 2.10 of this document for additional
information on Stakeholder Education and Awareness.)
whether individual policy modifications are best made through statutory
revision or through a rule change at an implementing agency (e.g. state
PUC or state 9-1-1 agency). Decisions need to consider the level of
detail desired in statutes versus the amount of flexibility given to
independent regulatory agencies tasked with implementing general
the approach to take in implementing policy changes, whether in the
form of a single, omnibus bill that addresses all issues in a single
piece of legislation or addressing issues in a piecemeal manner.
seeking waivers of some current rules and regulations in the short term
during the initial transition to NG9-1-1 before final policy changes
can be made.
an appropriate media strategy to support the overall transition to
NG9-1-1 and specific legislative and policy efforts.
the statutory or regulatory changes needed to address the ideal
governance structure for NG9-1-1 (including establishment of a single
agency responsible for managing the NG9-1-1 system and clear policies
on the relationship of the many state agencies affected by NG9-1-1).
the identification of a central organization or individual to serve as
the point of contact to champion your cause. Your choice for this role
may have considerable implications for success.
can find additional information regarding policy issues at—
additional information regarding governance issues at—
information on how to develop a successful strategy and plan to
implement policy change at—
9-1-1 system is funded by a wide variety of funding sources, ranging
from surcharges for wireline and wireless customers to general funds
collected from state or local taxes, and from other sources such as
grants for targeted purchases. Funding is for widely disparate uses,
including 9-1-1, interoperable police/fire/emergency medical services
(EMS) radio systems, public health alert networks, and poison control.
traditional funding methods are eroding as more and more traditional
wireline customers convert to wireless devices and to other potentially
non-revenue-generating services such as mobile VoIP. If traditional
revenue streams fall short of funds sufficient to support even current
needs, elected officials and 9-1-1 authorities may face difficulties in
obtaining funds to enable NG9-1-1 and the conversion and building of
networks and databases as part of NG9-1-1. Diversion of existing
surcharges further erodes the ability of 9-1-1 authorities to maintain
or expand 9-1-1 services.
we transition to NG9-1-1 technologies, new funding models need to be
developed. Potential funding models include fixed-amount surcharges on
all calling services, a surcharge on access infrastructure providers, a
universal statewide communications surcharge, a universal federal
communications surcharge, incident-based user fees, and the more
traditional use of bonding for capital expenditures. It is likely that
a combination of these sources will be employed in various states.
only must funding for NG9-1-1 be available, but during the transition
period, legacy systems must also be supported while NG9-1-1 is being
implemented. This may present short-term difficulties in funding, but
in the long term may result in costs somewhat lower than today’s costs
for E9-1-1, depending on the nature of next generation solutions and
how costs are ultimately shared.6
funding section of the Planning Tool applies not only to 9-1-1
authorities and regional entities, but is key to action items for many
state 9-1-1 offices as well. Funding initiatives are often established
are at higher jurisdictional levels (e.g., the state), with 9-1-1
authorities receiving that funding, which is generated through various
surcharge methods and then distributed by the states to counties and/or
is as a three-step process of assessing current funding methods,
projecting needs for NG9-1-1, and developing action items to accomplish
the goal of adequate and sustained funding of NG9-1-1.
1—Assess the Current Funding Environment. First, examine
existing funding methods and the amount of revenue generated by each
source. Together, those sources provide the total amount of funding to
support current capital requirements, as well as the cost to operate
today’s 9-1-1 system, including staffing of PSAPs serving a given
geographical area or jurisdiction.
2—Identify the Funding Needed for NG9-1-1. Once you know the
current funding levels, you need to project the funding needed to
support a NG9-1-1 environment. All stakeholder jurisdictions—state and
local—must be involved in developing projections of revenues and
expenses needed to support the future NG9-1-1 system, including shared
costs and transition costs, consistent with a statewide strategic plan,
if one exists, or a more regional or local plan for development of the
3—Develop an Action Plan and Strategy. With the project
funding needed for NG9-1-1 identified, you can focus on developing an
action plan and strategy to obtain sufficient funding to enable
implementation and then long-term maintenance of the NG9-1-1 system. As
NG9-1-1 is developed, some short-term (1- to 2-year) transition costs
are likely while moving from legacy systems to the NG9-1-1 environment.
Current Funding Environment
few exceptions, most 9-1-1 authorities receive their funding from
surcharges, general revenues of their respective jurisdictions, and
from grants usually targeted for specific needs. Typically, funds
collected from users by wireline, wireless, and other service providers
are distributed by the state to each jurisdiction using a formulation
developed by that state. 9-1-1 authorities then manage the funds
distributed by states, complemented by general revenues and grants,
which together, compose the total of revenues available to operate the
current funding environment includes a short-term opportunity for
Stimulus Package funding from the National Telecommunications and
Information Administration (NTIA—within the U.S. Department of
Commerce) and the Rural Utilities Service (RUS—within the U.S.
Department of Agriculture). This funding includes $4.7 billion
available from NTIA7 and $2.5 billion available
from RUS8. These funds are scheduled to be
awarded prior to September 30, 2010 so that they can begin to
accomplish the short-term goal of job creation. Public safety is
designated as one of five areas for funding under the NTIA program, and
there is every indication that the RUS will also look favorably on
applications from public safety agencies to improve broadband service
in rural areas. Another opportunity for funding is from grants targeted
to 9-1-1 to be provided by the National 9-1-1 Implementation and
Coordination Office (ICO—jointly managed by NTIA and National Highway
Transportation Safety Administration [NHTSA]), also referred to as the
National 9-1-1 Office. Currently, $43.5 million is authorized for the
ICO grant program, with funds to be awarded to states and territories
that apply and meet the grant criteria.9
authorities, regional entities, and state 9-1-1 offices can help
address adequate funding for future 9-1-1 requirements taking the
involved in statewide funding mechanisms and efforts; for example, if
there is a 9-1-1 administrator at the state level, coordinate funding
efforts with that office to ensure synchronized and focused efforts
efforts at the state level to increase funding for 9-1-1
legislation prohibiting the diversion of funds that were collected for
use in public safety communications for 9-1-1
in the formulation of statewide legislation to ensure that regulations
properly define telecommunications devices and their eligibility for
funding, and are sensitive to the changing and evolving nature of
legislation includes proper definitions of NG9-1-1 and provides for
appropriate liability protection.
Funding Needed for NG9-1-1
step involves estimating the funding needed for NG9-1-1 based on known
and projected cost parameters. In the USDOT report, Final
Analysis of Cost, Value, and Risk,
10 costs are estimated for a
number of categories, including the following—
& Maintenance (O&M) Personnel
report provides a useful structure for estimating the costs to move
from today’s costs for E9-1-1 to costs for NG9-1-1.
implementation of 9-1-1 service delivery among 9-1-1 entities within a
state or at the state level enables cost sharing and shared services
for various components of the NG9-1-1 system. States, regions, and
9-1-1 authorities should plan to take advantage of shared services and
costs whenever possible, building those savings into the pre-planning,
planning, and implementation process.
planners should consider the following actions related to estimating
the one-time and operating costs related to the transition to NG9-1-1—
the system environment and the agencies involved, along with their
functional needs and relationships. (Among other benefits, this action
helps clarify opportunities for sharing system resources and costs.)
costs for ESInets, IP software services, and IP PSAP equipment based on
the above analysis.
your agency costs based on new network access costs, equipment leases,
and other operating expenses.
costs for shared services in a NG9-1-1 system in conjunction with your
statewide 9-1-1 programs and the above analysis.
potential savings from those shared services.
recurring and non-recurring operating costs.
transition costs associated with NG9-1-1 (training, equipment,
network), and how those costs may be reduced upon implementation. Also
address the fiscal impact of maintaining legacy functions during the
transition period involved.
Action Plan and Strategy
costs for the transition to NG9-1-1 have been identified, focus on the
plan of action and strategies needed to identify and acquire the
necessary funding. You will need funding for the initial implementation
as well as ongoing O&M of NG9-1-1. Developing adequate funding
for NG9-1-1 implementation will likely be one of the most difficult
aspects of the NG9-1-1 transition and therefore should be initiated as
early in the process as possible.
recommend the following actions to ensure funding for NG9-1-1 as it is
developed in your jurisdiction, state, or region. These actions are not
necessarily sequential, but move from pre-planning to planning to
implementation over time.
that the strategic 9-1-1 plan for the 9-1-1 authority (or state,
region, or PSAP) adequately addresses funding needs and methods of
obtaining funding in the variable public safety environment.
current and projected funding sources and their ability to support
migration to NG9-1-1.
short-term and long-term change in revenues from surcharges, fees, and
a funding plan to address current needs, funding during transition, and
long-term funding once NG9-1-1 is in place. The funding plan should
include costs for network, IP software, IP PSAP equipment, database
management, and training, as listed above under cost parameters, as
well as consideration for acquiring and leveraging sustainable funding.
additional sources for funding beyond current sources as necessary.
necessary, identify and apply for federal and state grants, perhaps as
part of a state or regional submission (sources include NTIA, RUS,
National 9-1-1 Office grants). Where applicable, collaborate with the
state 9-1-1 administrator to identify sources and prepare proposals.
the potential for multi-county or regional intergovernmental
arrangements to reduce costs for NG9-1-1 systems and the impact on
funding. Work with counties to create a regional entity or arrangement
to logically develop a multijurisdictional NG9-1-1 system, either as a
group of counties or on a statewide level.
other funds for which the agency is eligible, possibly to fund one-time
equipment acquisitions or other capital costs (e.g., excess surcharge
funds from the state, additional grants).
funding efforts with education and outreach programs to promote public
awareness of the benefits and value of emergency communications
public education materials for distribution to decision makers,
stakeholders, and the general public explaining the value of NG9-1-1
and how it will be funded.
the 9-1-1 funding program at least quarterly to monitor revenues,
costs, and project future funding requirements and sources. These
internal audits should include development of measurement parameters,
evaluation, and communication of results to all stakeholders.
can find additional information regarding funding the transition to and
operation of NG9-1-1 at—
2.5 Standards and
(in reality, global) standards are critical to the ability to achieve
9-1-1 interoperability across multiple local, regional, state, and
national public safety jurisdictions, and beyond into the wider
emergency communications environment. Adherence to a common set of
methods and standards enables seamless interaction for call and data
handling. Standards are under development at all levels of technology,
and every participant within the NG9-1-1 community (technical or not)
can get involved in the standards development process and share their
expertise and opinion about multiple aspects of NG9-1-1 technology,
operations, and policies.
standards playing such a key role in achieving a common set of
requirements for NG9-1-1, engaging the standards community, developing
operational and technical system requirements, and planning for
compliance with open standards are all important steps in the standards
and technology aspects of NG9-1-1. This section outlines the steps that
can be taken within the standards community.
for Standards and Technology includes three general steps:
1—Engage the Standards Community. Work across nationwide and
global standards organizations is already underway. Often, the 9-1-1
community is not aware of the activities of the various standards
organizations or the opportunities that exist to be involved. Engaging
the standards community provides both awareness and the ability to
apply those standards throughout the NG9-1-1 implementation.
2—Develop Operational and Technical System Requirements.
Stakeholders implementing NG9-1-1 solutions will need to identify the
desired operational and technical system requirements to be provided.
These requirements define the internal and external features of the
system, as well as the process and methodologies to follow in the
planning, development, execution, operations and maintenance of the
3—Plan for Compliance with Open Standards. With an
awareness of the breadth of standards in the community, stakeholders
will need to identify how their system will comply with the open
standards being developed and implemented within the NG9-1-1 community.
Employing open standards is critical to fostering a collaborative
environment, where emergency communications organizations share vital
data, in real-time.
major standards development organizations (SDOs) affecting and affected
by NG9-1-1 standardization include those supporting legacy wireline and
cellular telephony, and newer IP service providers, including those
wireless services recently coming into wide application, such as WiFi
are almost exclusively international in scope. Involved SDOs also
include groups within the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry
Solutions (ATIS)11 concerned with the conversion
to IP-based networks and services within the North American wireline
and wireless carriers, and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)12,
which is a longstanding worldwide volunteer group developing standards
applicable to IP in general, as well as the Internet specifically.
NENA is not an American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-certified
SDO, it serves as a primary developer and coordinator of overall
technical and operations standards for NG9-1-1 and works in direct or
indirect collaboration with service providers and their related SDOs to
establish compatible and converged standards across the emergency
communications environment. These standards objectives apply from the
initiation of emergency calls and data through NG9-1-1 processing and
delivery to PSAPs and other emergency entities.
are just some of the SDOs that are actively engaged in developing
standards for the emergency communications community. Because these
organizations depend on volunteers, they continuously seek input and
domain expertise from individuals from the community to provide time
and effort to collectively develop these standards.
authorities should monitor standards work and be involved where
possible, through NENA and the Association of Public-Safety
Communications Officials – International (APCO)13
and their interaction with other SDOs, in defining how public safety
9-1-1 communications needs to work.
efforts and system development should be aligned with existing and
developing standards. Unlike previous 9-1-1 system design, which used
purpose-specific network and switching equipment, NG9-1-1 is designed
with an open architecture and is based on software structures that
allow use of off-the-shelf hardware and common use IP software
services. Not only does this enable a standardized base structure and
design, but also allows for reduced costs because many of the
components of NG9-1-1 are not specially built for just 9-1-1 purposes.
However, because the software and databases structure of NG9-1-1 does
drive a higher dependence on IT support than in the past, one of the
challenges for public safety is to determine how to provide IT support
as a shared service across multiple 9-1-1 authorities where those
groups are establishing their own NG9-1-1 systems, rather than relying
on services from commercial vendors.
is a common misconception that only individuals with significant
technical expertise can participate in the standards development
process. The standards development process typically relies on a
volunteer workforce with varying levels of technical and operational
expertise to conduct its business. Individuals can contribute to the
standards process by reading and learning more about the standard,
contributing to the debate to drive toward a rough consensus, but more
importantly, by following and implementing those standards.
of standards as references for request for proposals (RFP)
requirements, for systems operations and security guidance, in IT
support, and in database management is essential to obtaining maximum
results from NG9-1-1 and for emergency calling procedures and support.
Reference and conformance to standards now in existence or pending
should be fully integrated into planning for NG9-1-1, and for ongoing
evolution of upgrades and operations for NG9-1-1.
groups developing RFPs, operational procedures, or performing regular
audits of existing operations are encouraged to review available and
emerging standards and requirements for applicability. Awareness of
available standards is sometimes a barrier to adoption, and
stakeholders would be well-served to engage the community at large
through conferences, forums and other online resources. Identifying and
following adopted standards provides for a uniform implementation of
NG9-1-1, reducing the number of “unique” applications of technology
that have plagued the existing 9-1-1 enterprise.
and use of compatible standards among all NG9-1-1 systems is critical
to ensure interoperability across local, state, and national
interactions and multiple public safety operations.
Operational and Technical System Requirements
system and software engineering projects, both large and small, are
often deemed mostly unsuccessful for many years as reported by
organizations such as Standish, Gartner Group and the Project
Management Institute. Some of the most prevalent reasons given for this
lack of success fall into three primary categories; lack of user
involvement in the entire engineering process, unclear statement of
requirements and a lack of visible executive management support for the
program from start to finish. Additionally, many of these projects face
one of today’s most critical challenges: the transformation of
traditional stove pipe communities into an integrated dynamic
enterprise that includes shared and coordinated objectives, maintenance
and componentization of embedded legacy systems, new business policies,
common stakeholders, security constraints, business rules and a larger
ecosystem in which the enterprise must operate.
complexity of IT solutions, competing objectives and divergent
stakeholder perspectives increases the project risk and possibility for
failure. The ability to analyze, understand and communicate this
complexity in a framework and language that is understandable to all
stakeholders is crucial to the translation of enterprise needs into
system requirements to be implemented.
public safety organizations do not have experience with developing
functional, operational and technical requirements or with implementing
complex IT solutions. Historically, today’s 9-1-1 technology has not
required the same level of detail that will be demanded by the
transition to NG9-1-1. While some work has been done to develop NG9-1-1
requirements, there is still much left to be done.
planners should consider the following actions related to developing
NG9-1-1 system requirements—
the personnel and skills needed to implement all of the
mission-critical applications for a group, regional, or state data
center supporting NG9-1-1. A determination should be made about what
areas should supported internally or outsourced. These decisions will
depend on whether, or to what extent, contracted vendors supply NG9-1-1
systems. If a region or state intends to support NG9-1-1 or parts of it
themselves, technical systems requirements will drive IT support
and become involved with the standards community as described in the
previous step to identify existing and emerging standards, which can
drive the requirements process.
existing requirements that are currently available. Use of common
standard requirements improves consistency and operability between
implementations of like systems. Review and adaptation of requirements
may also be useful.
in the requirements process efforts underway in the community.
Organizations such as NENA and APCO are actively developing operational
and technical requirements for NG9-1-1.
developing requirements, organizations are urged to follow best
practices for gathering, developing, decomposing and documenting
requirements, following a systems engineering process.
Compliance with Open Standards
NG9-1-1 solutions using open standards will benefit the organization,
enterprise and the 9-1-1 community as a whole. Leveraging open
standards, by its very nature, increases quality, reduces risk, and
improves flexibility, by not being tied to a specific vendor or
solution. With a “vendor-neutral” approach, organizations will benefit
from competition that reduces cost and ensures interoperability. This
interoperability is key to enabling real-time sharing of caller data.
there is much more caller data available in NG9-1-1, the ability to
route calls and data to the appropriate PSAP or other emergency entity
based on location (and other characteristics) depends on the
availability and quality of caller location information. Some newer
call origination services cannot yet provide automatic caller location
data for emergency calling. It is expected that in the longer term, the
calling device will either identify and supply its location, or that
the device or the NG9-1-1 system will access a Location Information
Server (LIS) that contains the caller location, analogous to today’s
Automatic Location Identification (ALI) database or Mobile Positioning
Center (MPC) or VoIP Positioning Center (VPC) for wireline, cellular,
and VoIP services. For the Internet version of VoIP, the likely source
of automatic user location information depends on the access provider’s
knowledge of where the caller is located.
the use of open standards within the 9-1-1 community. Assist with
standards development efforts underway.
with the related standards and the provision of automatic caller
locations depend heavily on the originating service provider or access
provider capabilities. Public safety authorities at state, regional,
and local levels need to demand support for appropriate capabilities
and improvements in location provision. Where applicable, carrier
certification requirements by regulatory authorities need to reflect
the need for accurate, automatic location provision for 9-1-1 services.
In all cases, public safety organizations need to ensure that
originating service providers, SDOs, legislators and regulators
understand the need for location information.
can find additional information related to 9-1-1 standards and
additional information regarding requirements gathering at—
additional information regarding standards development at—
capabilities of NG9-1-1 are supported by the Emergency Service IP
networks (ESInet), which provide engineered, managed data transport
with easily expandable bandwidth, the IP software services that provide
the call and data core functions for emergency communications, and the
various databases that control and enable the software.
responsible for NG9-1-1 planning, or their technical representatives,
need to be familiar with NG9-1-1 architecture and technology (see USDOT
NG9-1-1 Architecture Analysis Report 14
and NENA i3 documents15),
including key subsystems. NG9-1-1 planners will need to appoint and
oversee management for each subsystem, including resolution of security
issues and management of database systems.
9-1-1 authority, or other NG9-1-1 planning organization, will face a
number of challenges related to planning for the transition to NG9-1-1.
Planning organizations need to compare and coordinate plans with other
organizations in the surrounding geographical areas and within the
state, establish geographic and jurisdictional orientation, determine
the level for the establishment and operation of the ESInet (e.g.,
local, regional, state), and identify operational and maintenance
constraints for system security and databases.
for implementation of the NG9-1-1 network will require coordination at
multiple levels and with multiple organizations with which the 9-1-1
authorities may or may not already have relationships. The process will
include identifying the legacy network capabilities, planning for the
new NG9-1-1 network, collaborating with service providers, and
implementing a NG9-1-1 network.
of the work within this focus area is highly technical and complex. We
urge organizations to engage IT specialists who are responsible for
today’s 9-1-1 connectivity and networking and will be responsible for
the design, implementation, operations, and maintenance of NG9-1-1.
Remember, the NG9-1-1 environment will differ from today’s 9-1-1 in a
number of ways. For example, not every PSAP will need to house its own
data center and will not need the same level of networking
capabilities. As described in the NG9-1-1
Final Analysis of Cost, Value, and Risk report,16
it may be most cost effective to establish statewide or regional data
centers responsible for the networking and routing needs of dozens or
even hundreds of PSAPs. Each of the PSAPs will be fully connected to
NG9-1-1, but the networking and storage equipment will be housed at
centralized location(s), with redundant and resilient capabilities,
eliminating the need to duplicate those resources at every PSAP.
an NG9-1-1 Network Environment includes six steps:
1—Research Legacy Network Topology and Technology. Identify
existing network capabilities, the network topology (configuration,
layout, and connectivity of network elements), and overall
capabilities, focusing on reusability and extensibility (the ability to
extend the system [or network] to meet emerging needs).
2—Develop a NG9-1-1 Architecture. A number of resources
exist to help in the design of a NG9-1-1 architecture that meets the
needs of your locale, state, or region. The organization’s architecture
requirements will depend on the size, coverage, and expected call
volume. In addition, NG9-1-1 emphasizes greater reuse and sharing of
common architectural components.
3—Leverage Legacy and Shared Resources. After you have
identified existing networking capabilities and developed the system
architecture, develop a plan for how to leverage and reuse existing
resources. Consider development of MOUs, joint agreements, and/or
letters of intent when identifying shared resources.
4—Coordinate with Originating Service Providers. One of
NG9-1-1’s main features is native delivery of emergency calls via IP.
9-1-1 authorities need to work with the originating service providers
to determine how best to implement call routing and delivery in an
5—Determine Network Support and Maintenance Needs. The
NG9-1-1 network will require ongoing O&M support to meet the
reliability needs of the participating PSAPs and users. However, in an
NG9-1-1 environment, caretaking responsibilities may not fall to each
and every PSAP. In a shared resources model, participants would
determine which organization is responsible for that upkeep.
6—Implement NG9-1-1 Network Resources. Once the NG9-1-1
environment has been planned, the organization will take steps to
implement the plan and establish NG9-1-1 networks and systems.
Network Topology and Technology
NG9-1-1 planners can understand the “to-be” network and database
structure, they must first analyze the “as-is” network and database
topology and technology. This first step is essential to understanding
the necessary changes for the transition to a next generation system.
In addition, the research should also investigate the level to which
existing system components could be reused or extended.
planning for the NG9-1-1 network and system, identify and gather data
of the local, state or regional emergency communications environment
within the larger NG9-1-1 system
plans in adjacent geographic areas
channels for collaboration with other governmental entities
of GIS data for the geography currently served, as well as to be served
database and data formats, as well as conversion plans for the new
and content involved in the current system
connectivity, configuration, layout, features, and capabilities of the
for existing network components to be reused, upgraded, or otherwise
extended to support additional requirements as needed by NG9-1-1.
concert with architectural development work planned or underway in
neighboring jurisdictions or within a state or region, the NG9-1-1
planning organization should collaborate to design, develop,
and implement an NG9-1-1 architecture. Planners should strive to reuse
existing components within today’s 9-1-1 network, as it makes sense. In
addition, in the common environment, the use of shared components and
resources should be maximized to reduce capital expenditures and
O&M costs, as well as to improve efficiency, reliability, and
looking to implement NG9-1-1 solutions should leverage existing
research and guidance, in particular, the work done as part of NG9-1-1
Initiative as described in the NG9-1-1 Architecture Analysis
and NG9-1-1 Final System Design,18
as well as the NENA i3 documents. 19
develop an NG9-1-1 architecture for your environment, we recommend the
the NG9-1-1 components to be provided by the local, state, or regional
the size of the NG9-1-1 system based on coverage area, number of users,
expected call volume, existing data to be converted, and other
pertinent metrics. Consider and plan for a specific percentage of
growth, comparable to growth in population served, year-over-year call
volume increase, etc.
a gap analysis between the components already in existence (considering
which components could be reused or upgraded) and what NG9-1-1
components are desired.
IT professionals, network designers, enterprise architecture and
NG9-1-1 experts to assist in the design process.
a high-level, conceptual architecture encompassing the major
components, responsibilities, physical locations, and planned
connectivity between physical locations. Consider resilience and
the high-level architecture into a more detailed architectural
assessment. Identify components and sub-components, connectivity, and
individual particulars for each component (e.g., operating system,
major applications, databases).
identifying dataflow (i.e. types of data shared across components).
and resolve any single points-of-failure.
and Shared Resources
and collaboration are critical to planning and implementation of a
successful transition to NG9-1-1. The extent to which any 9-1-1 system
can maximize the technological opportunities provided by migrating to
NG9-1-1, depends directly on the level of coordination and
collaboration. One of the many reasons is that the sharing of resources
can reduce both infrastructure and system operating costs (and energy
use), and allow increased information transfer. The sharing of both
network infrastructure resources and database resources will lead to
cost savings and foster a collaborative environment.
addition to the sharing of resources among agencies and jurisdictions,
the network equipment and databases used in the legacy E9-1-1 system
may be of use to the planned NG9-1-1 system. This reuse of
infrastructure and information can help streamline the procurement
process, as well as represent a cost savings.
planners should evaluate current 9-1-1 system equipment for
compatibility with the planned IP-based system. Where possible, reuse
of equipment from the legacy system can reduce the hardware costs of a
transition to NG9-1-1. Planned technology refresh for the current
system can help to absorb NG9-1-1 implementation costs. For example, if
a legacy piece of hardware needs to be replaced (i.e., because of
component failure, to adhere to a replacement cycle, or when
maintenance costs exceed the replacement cost), the organization could
consider replacing the component with one that will serve the current
purpose, but also could be repurposed for NG9-1-1. Unfortunately, not
all legacy components may be suitable for reuse.
addition to legacy system equipment, services and infrastructure can be
shared among PSAPs, jurisdictions, public safety organizations, or even
neighboring states. NG9-1-1 planners would be wise to consider options
for equivalent shared services running in the ESInet that can support
multiple PSAPs. States, regions, and 9-1-1 authorities should plan to
take advantage of shared services and costs whenever possible.
in the early stages of NG9-1-1 system procurement planning, the 9-1-1
authority or planning organization should begin estimating NG9-1-1
network and other infrastructure costs. The 9-1-1 authority can then
analyze how leveraging external and existing resources and
infrastructure affect these costs. Planners should have a preliminary
understanding not only of the costs of available equipment, but also
the standards and how suppliers address them. Planning for NG9-1-1 will
benefit from this basic understanding of cost and value long before the
procurement process actually begins. Pooling equipment needs can result
in increased purchasing power.
this stage, if a neighboring state or jurisdiction is more advanced in
the area of NG9-1-1 infrastructure implementation, or in emergency
communications collaboration as a whole, reach out to determine whether
other 9-1-1 authorities in your area have already established sharable
data stores and other resources.
agreements to collaborate and share data and resources within the
NG9-1-1 environment. Consider executing formal MOUs or other agreements
between entities that clearly describe the nature of the agreement,
responsibilities of each party, and any other policy or governance
issues. Developing these agreements in advance will help smooth the
process for all participants.
format issues may arise when attempting to collaborate with other
organizations or use old systems or databases. If your data is not in a
compatible format, it may be cost effective to convert all data to one
format, or it may be more beneficial to convert data as needed.
Consider using a standard data format. In extreme cases, data format
differences can be an insurmountable hurdle, but do not assume this is
the case. Analyze the issue by determining why the data needs to be in
its current format and what the cost of transition would be, and plan
accordingly. Evaluate and consider implementing a National Information
Exchange Model (NIEM)20 compliant format, to
provide a foundation for seamless information exchange.
Originating Service Providers
receive 9-1-1 calls natively in IP, 9-1-1 authorities must work with
Originating Service Providers to develop a plan to transition from
legacy call deliver to IP-based call delivery. Both the service
provider and PSAP must take steps before this can occur. The PSAP will
benefit from IP call delivery in a number of ways, including the
ability to route calls across the PSAP network (and maintain the
ability to share data) much more easily than with legacy 9-1-1. This
NG9-1-1 capability frees the PSAP from answering calls only at specific
geographic locations, improves the ability for advanced call-routing
features, and provides options with regard to backup, redundancy, and
call congestion control.
planners should identify the capabilities of the originating IP call
delivery and legacy service providers for the NG9-1-1 service area of
interest. Critical service provider data includes—experience (success)
with connecting to NG9-1-1 systems, transition planning status for
supporting adjacent E9-1-1 systems while interfacing to NG9-1-1, and
available support for legacy wireline and cellular carriers (e.g.,
supplying inbound gateways). More specifically—
the process for interconnecting each Originating Service Provider to
the ESInet for its service areas affecting the NG9-1-1 systems.
sources of database content for GIS and other data systems, both
derived from current databases or for new NG9-1-1 unique data.
the cost to transition to IP-based call delivery.
Network Support and Maintenance Needs
an NG9-1-1 architecture is only the beginning. Operational support and
maintenance needs require careful planning and cost estimating. By
sharing resources, you may be able to decrease this cost for individual
participating organizations, but you must identify cost recovery and
determine NG9-1-1 support and maintenance needs, we recommend the
expected IP PSAP maintenance and ongoing support needs based on past
experience and experiences of others that have implemented similar
systems. Include the cost of hardware, software, support personnel,
third-party applications, maintenance agreements, and data center
requirements (power, cooling, security, other environmental costs, etc.)
the cost to implement connectivity from originating service providers
costs for ESInet and other networking needs (connectivity, maintenance,
policies for user access, security (physical and logical), continuity,
backups, and other maintenance concerns.
NG9-1-1 Network Resources
the development of the high-level and detailed NG9-1-1 architecture,
the components can be procured, implemented, tested, and placed into
production. Planning should include how to conduct system and end-user
training. Coordination with affected NG9-1-1 stakeholders is crucial.
implement NG9-1-1 in your environment, we recommend the following:
a bill of materials (BoM) for the hardware and software to be procured.
Ensure compatibility across components and systems. Seek out open,
non-proprietary systems that are compliant with community-accepted
install, and initiate integration testing of each component in a
controlled manner. When testing NG9-1-1 functions and features, ensure
that test calls for each originating provider type are conducted before
the procurement is considered completed.
that the continuity plans have been developed and exercised.
and execute system and end-user training to ensure the user community
and maintenance staff are prepared to operate and support the system.
and plan the cutover to production (live operations). Develop a
rollback plan that could be accessed should problems arise.
can find additional information related to system architecture at—
can find additional information related to development of MOUs at—
can find additional information related to data standards at—
2.7 System and
offers significant enhancements that will provide the public, in
emergency situations, more and improved ways to be served by public
safety, emergency services, and other essential services.
Simultaneously, it offers significant improvement opportunities for
9-1-1 entities and many others, which provide critical services to the
public. The creation of an operational environment that correctly deals
with the major changes inherent to NG9-1-1 is critical to assuring
operationally focused project team should be formed, and its members
tasked with performing the steps detailed in this section. This team
should include leaders/experts in areas of 9-1-1 PSAP
operations and supervision, human resources, operational interaction
with other entities (particularly first responders), PSAP training, and
mapping/GIS. This initial core operations lead team must closely
coordinate its work with others responsible for similar
policy/governance and technical tasks.
and PSAP operations will generally require preparation, training, and
understanding regarding the NG9-1-1 system and the operational
differences between today’s 9-1-1 and NG9-1-1, and development of
policies and procedures to support NG9-1-1 operations. Although many
organizations have developed their own policies over the course of many
years, the introduction of NG9-1-1 will change some of the basic tenets
of call processing and handling. A solid understanding of these changes
will help to reduce risk in transition to NG9-1-1 as well as better
prepare the end users for the change.
for system and PSAP operational changes include two general steps:
1—Identify Operational Differences Between E9-1-1 and NG9-1-1.
Knowledge of the differences between today’s 9-1-1 systems and NG9-1-1
is crucial to prepare for the transition. Once the gaps are identified,
the missing policies and training plans can be developed.
2—Establish Processes and Procedures for NG9-1-1 Operations.
For most organizations, the policies and procedures for handing 9-1-1
operations are intact and effective. The project team should develop
and tailor specific guidance for NG9-1-1 operations needs to the
individual organization’s needs. The guidance should adhere to emerging
standards for governance, training, and operation in order to improve
interoperability with neighboring or backup resources.
Operational Differences Between E9-1-1 and NG9-1-1
of an action plan that is based on an operational gap analysis of
today’s 9-1-1 versus NG9-1-1 provides 9-1-1 authorities, PSAPs, and
other stakeholders with a roadmap of what needs to be addressed from an
operational perspective, including training and policy development.
Policies and procedures need to be developed prior to transition, and
the users (PSAP personnel, system support staff, etc.) need to be
trained before they can be expected to use and maintain the new system.
will need to develop “local experts” on the planning, development,
implementation, and execution of NG9-1-1 systems and technologies. This
knowledge and understanding will be gained through research, individual
contributions, conferences, training, and experience. Individuals at
the local, state, and regional level will become specialists through
learning, doing, and sharing information with others. Implementation of
NG9-1-1 is a collaborative effort, and people at all levels can
participate in furthering NG9-1-1.
identify, understand, and prepare for differences between current
operations and NG9-1-1 operations, we recommend the following:
Research and knowledge is critical to this step. It is important to
read what is currently available regarding NG9-1-1, paying particular
attention to operations-related content, along with closely examining
technical and policy areas for operations-related inferences. Key
research resources are the USDOT NG9-1-1 website21,
along with Technical Assistance Center22 and
NENA websites.23 Others include appropriate IETF
working group web pages24 and APCO.25
training, often provided at conferences, about NG9-1-1’s operational
lists of action items to address with regard to operational changes,
training, and policy changes. Suggested initial items include—
of new types of media and calls:
text and instant messaging
and processing of additional data (including personal, vehicle,
building/site, pictures, etc.)
of business rules
planning (disaster scenarios)
agency and entity interaction
and remote answering points
interface (HMI) considerations
selection and hiring considerations.
an operational transition plan to enable NG9-1-1 technologies. Include
an implementation timeline, list of actions and responsibilities, and a
list of resources available.
Processes and Procedures for NG9-1-1 Operations
will need to review existing 9-1-1 policies and procedures to identify
which ones will need to change to support NG9-1-1 and what new policies
must be developed. PSAPs generally have a collection of policies that
have evolved with the organization’s existing operational needs.
Engaging operational policy-making stakeholders, as well as end users,
will be critical to the success of this new policy development effort.
establish processes and procedures for NG9-1-1 operations, we recommend
the project team to include representatives from additional entities
and in particular, ensure there is representation from the user
community (those immediately affected by new or changing directives)
and revise the plan developed in Step 1 as needed
the action plan for commonalities of certain topics or issues to assist
in creating teams to develop new processes and procedures and revise or
delete existing items where appropriate
the necessary specialized teams, some of which may be tasked with
specific categories, while others may be tasked with work across many
categories, for example, Human Resources identifying all categories
possibly affecting hiring procedures, scheduling processes, and other
areas of responsibility.
can find additional information related to system and PSAP operations
Planning in the NG9-1-1 Environment
continuity planning (BCP) is important for almost any commercial or
governmental entity. For 9-1-1 authorities, such planning usually takes
the form of specific guidelines to ensure mission-critical emergency
operations can continue during a crisis. These guidelines are critical
for every PSAP. Many PSAPs already have some level of planning that
defines what should be done when the “exceptional” emergency occurs.
Plans can range from designating a set of contact personnel, to backup
systems, to employing full-scale standby solutions to be implemented
when a primary facility must be evacuated. The level of plan complexity
and intricacy must be consistent with the needs of the organization and
this section discusses the basic components and methodologies that
comprise continuity of operations (COOP) and BCP, it is not intended to
replace the comprehensive planning approach that most organizations
need. The goal is to underscore the importance of such a plan and
describe the role of that plan in the context of NG9-1-1.
private businesses develop their in-house emergency response plans,
often one of the first steps listed is to access public safety
services. Without question, the public’s expectation is that 9-1-1 will
always be accessible and ready to respond to an emergency. Those
individuals that support 9-1-1 operations recognize that while 9-1-1 is
virtually always prepared, there are always points-of-failure within an
enterprise and often these are outside the organization’s control.
As described below, there are three notional steps
of continuity planning within the NG9-1-1 environment. These steps
include identifying the continuity requirements, developing a
comprehensive plan, and implementing regional continuity planning in
preparation for NG9-1-1. This final step allows organizations to
embrace a more regional (or long distance) perspective, sharing
resources and providing options to guard against service interruptions.
One of the main goals of NG9-1-1 is to provide additional options for
call handling, congestion control, and system reliability and recovery.
Continuity planning provides the framework for leveraging the new
abilities provided by NG9-1-1.
Planning for NG9-1-1 includes three main steps:
1—Identify Continuity Requirements. 9-1-1 authorities may
have no formal COOP plan or a very limited plan. This may be because a
9-1-1 operation has limited resources, or is small and relies on a
larger organization’s 9-1-1 service for backup. Nonetheless,
organizations need to formulate and address their continuity
requirements before an emergency event actually occurs so that
personnel are confident in their ability to implement the plan as
2—Develop a Comprehensive Continuity Plan. Organizations
implementing NG9-1-1 solutions should develop comprehensive continuity
plans that take into consideration an “all hazards” approach, including
procedures to help mitigate impact and speed a return to routine
3—Build Regional Continuity and Prepare for NG9-1-1. One of
NG9-1-1’s main features is to reduce the physical limitations of
today’s PSAPs. In NG9-1-1, the location of the calltaker becomes less
important and the NG9-1-1 enables virtualization. NG9-1-1 planners
should develop comprehensive and effective continuity programs that
consider the key role that neighboring jurisdictions play in sustaining
essential services or recovering damaged services throughout all phases
of an incident.
step is intended for 9-1-1 authorities with no formal COOP plan or a
very limited plan. In some cases, the 9-1-1 operation is limited by
perceived lack of resources or an immediate need. For example, a local
town PSAP responsible for a relatively small geographical area may rely
on the county’s 9-1-1 operations if a major problem occurs. While this
solution works well for most situations, the same problem that
incapacitates the town (e.g., severe weather) can also affect the
county operation. Multiple layers of preparation and cooperation are
not only necessary but become more accessible and realistic in NG9-1-1.
in this stage typically have some ideas about how to cope with major
disruptions but have not documented mitigation strategies and policies,
or coordinated their plans with the plans of other services both within
and adjacent to their jurisdictions. Sometimes, although a plan is
documented and in place, it lacks a fundamental component—regular
testing. An untested plan is a liability that lulls the organization
into a false sense of security. It is essential to identify COOP
requirements before a critical incident so that personnel are as
familiar as possible with operational procedures and the usage of
various products and services which will come into play during an
implementing agencies should conduct operational impact analyses to
identify scenarios where facilities, systems, equipment, or operations
are interrupted or disrupted, and any opportunities for hazard
mitigation. In the analysis, you should determine continuity
requirements and develop strategies based on the requirements, so that
a more general continuity plan can be formulated with training,
testing, and exercise. Emphasize the impact of interruptions to
critical business functions and define thresholds for minimum/maximum
disruptions can occur from a diverse set of threats, both natural and
man-made. Preparing to respond to a catastrophic equipment failure is
just as important as being able withstand severe weather. Developing
“what if” scenarios will help to identify a range of possible
situations and start to develop response strategies to mitigate the
impact. However, it will also help strengthen a pragmatic approach to
handling those scenarios that simply cannot be imagined.
Comprehensive Continuity Plan
your organization has at least a rudimentary plan in place, regularly
tests the plan, and consistently reviews and improves the plan, you are
ahead of many other jurisdictions and should be commended for your
proactive stance. Now you need to expand planning to produce a
comprehensive continuity plan that considers the local event and has
procedures to help reduce the impact to a manageable situation. For
instance, if a situation at the PSAP requires a physical evacuation to
the organization’s backup facility, the secondary location must be
capable of beginning live operations relatively quickly and not be
susceptible to service interruptions. You need to expand the plan to go
beyond handling a single situation; multiple (or cascading) failures
will still cause an outage.
plans are only as good as the ability of personnel to respond
effectively during an emergency. Formulate a cohesive plan that is
accessible to all personnel and outlines the flow of continuity
operations, continuity organizations, continuity requirements and
strategies, damage assessment procedures, COOP activation procedures,
roles and responsibilities, facility and operations tabletop exercises,
and identifies gaps or weaknesses.
a comprehensive continuity plan requires the use of experts (like a
Certified Business Continuity Professional) with specific knowledge and
experience in developing, implementing, testing and maintaining these
plans. Consider engaging these domain experts, even if it is only to
validate your internal planning efforts.
with the many publicly-available resources to begin the planning
process and engage internal and external resources as needed. With such
emphasis on community and business preparedness, there may be resources
available to you that you are initially unaware of.
Continuity and Prepare for NG9-1-1
organizations with a robust, but local, continuity plan should next
focus on developing regional continuity capabilities and consider how
to best implement the inherent continuity features of NG9-1-1.
Coordination with neighboring jurisdictions and policies and procedures
to handle call congestion and overflow is a critical component of
developing regional continuity planning. In addition, exercising these
plans is critical to their maintenance and upkeep.
the features of NG9-1-1 support both a regional and long distance
approach to continuity planning. NG9-1-1 planners have the opportunity
to put continuity plans into place that mitigate various situations,
such a short-term influx of calls related to a single event, to full
transfer of operations to support a large-scale disaster or evacuation.
NG9-1-1 also improves restoration of service should an entire operation
(facility and personnel) be incapacitated.
continuity planning is best exercised on a regular basis, with several
jurisdictions participating, so that all parties are familiar with
anticipated gaps in either technologies or services, and so that roles
and responsibilities are clearly understood. It is essential that as
many people as possible who will be called upon to respond to, or who
may be affected by, a critical incident, are as familiar with COOP
operational procedures that will be activated during a real emergency.
facilitate a regional approach, planners must establish and strengthen
relationships with neighboring jurisdictions. Organizations will need
MOUs, policies and procedures, methods to share data (geographical,
operational, and historical) and most importantly, regular
opportunities to test this process. Testing will identify gaps and
provide a chance to refine and improve the plan.
testing often takes two forms: Simulated Event or Tabletop Exercise.
During a simulated event, participants would act as if an event had
occurred and would demonstrate their response to that situation. A
tabletop exercise is similar, except that participants have an
opportunity to discuss or “walk through” the exercise. Both methods
have their advantages, but a simulation may be more realistic to the
individuals involved, but may be more invasive to daily operations.
can find additional information related to continuity planning at—
an NG9-1-1 environment, almost all those employed in the emergency
communications field will be expected to take on new and/or altered
responsibilities. Because of the new tools available to call takers and
other public safety personnel, the new types of information available,
and the new information exchange environment, a large-scale training
effort must be undertaken prior to, or in parallel with, the deployment
of new hardware, software, and services associated with the transition
to NG9-1-1. This training should be sufficient to accomplish, from the
public point of view, a seamless transition to NG9-1-1. During and
after this transition, public expectations will continue to mandate
that emergency response always be timely and effective.
PSAP personnel to understand and use the NG9-1-1 functions and features
is one of the most essential tasks to ensure the system performs as
intended, the overall quality of emergency response is improved, and
the cost and effort incurred to facilitate the migration are
worthwhile. Thus, thorough, timely, and ongoing training must be
developed and implemented for use during NG9-1-1 development,
deployment, and maintenance.
Plan development generally includes two steps:
1—Establish or Update Training Standards and Programs.
Modify and institute all training programs well in advance of NG9-1-1
equipment, software, and service deployment. This includes training to
receive, manipulate, and properly use current and new types of
call-related information; training for call takers, so they can adjust
to seeing rather than hearing incoming calls; training on new methods
and procedures for disseminating information to current and new first
responders and public safety groups; and training on new and/or updated
interfaces, applications, tools, and software systems that operate in
the NG9-1-1 environment.
2—Engage in Ongoing and Collaborative Training.
Increasingly, NG9-1-1 implementing agencies share applications and
networks within the NG9-1-1 environment. Because of the increased
interaction across jurisdictions and between agencies, groups should
engage in collaborative training to ensure a continuity of services
throughout the emergency response chain and across geographic
Update Training Standards and Programs
states, counties, localities, PSAPs, public safety associations, and
other groups provide mandatory or recommended training for the users of
the current 9-1-1 system. To prepare personnel to perform new or
altered job duties necessitated by the transition to NG9-1-1, planners
should identify affected training programs, redesign or develop new
programs and implement all modifications well in advance of actual
NG9-1-1 equipment, software, and service deployment.
all aspects of NG9-1-1 that will alter the current 9-1-1 operating
environment, including, but not limited to—
to receive, manipulate, and properly use current and new types of
call-related information, including video, text, and data; training for
call takers, so they may adjust to seeing rather than just hearing
on new methods and procedures for disseminating information to current
and new first responders and public safety groups.
on new and/or updated interfaces, applications, tools, and software
systems that operate within the NG9-1-1 environment.
some states or jurisdictions, training standards are mandated by law or
statute. Review these laws or statutes, and, if necessary, modify them
to ensure that training requirements are consistent with and adequate
for the necessary training for PSAP personnel working within an NG9-1-1
environment. Because of the complexity of the NG9-1-1 environment, if a
state or jurisdiction does not have mandatory training requirements, we
recommend that the organization seek guidance to create such
requirements or attempt to meet base-level training recommendations of
a federal 9-1-1 entity or a nationally recognized public safety
Ongoing and Collaborative Training
the NG9-1-1 system is designed to be highly adaptable and evolving, new
system and application development will be continuous. Therefore,
training requirements and/or programs for PSAP personnel must undergo
periodic revision and employees should receive regular and ongoing
training, as appropriate and necessary. Further, because of the sharing
of applications and networks within the NG9-1-1 environment and the
increased interaction across jurisdictions and between agencies,
organizations should engage in collaborative training to ensure a
continuity of services throughout the emergency response chain and
across geographic boundaries.
a learning strategy that coincides with your organization’s goals for
moving into the NG9-1-1 environment. Policies and standard operation
procedures (SOPs) should be developed, including a training and
outreach plan that specifies how and by what method training will
proceed (e.g., train-the-trainer sessions, presentations, online
resources, meetings, brochures.)
attending training classes provided during conferences or sponsoring
training programs. Encourage organizations from throughout the state or
region to participate in training. Develop training standards and
minimums that support a consistent approach to content and delivery.
can find additional information related to emergency communications
Education and Awareness
is widespread agreement that all entities affected by the transition to
NG9-1-1—including PSAPs and 9-1-1 authorities, the public safety
community, services and equipment providers, policymakers, and the
public—need to be kept informed of NG9-1-1 technologies and how they
affect emergency communications. To ensure a seamless transition that
is invisible to the public and to promote full use of NG9-1-1’s
expanded feature set and capabilities, educating this target audience
is essential. Education is critical to the effectiveness of all aspects
of NG9-1-1—including funding, operations, standards and technology, and
governance and policy—and certainly deserving of significant investment
to increase the level of understanding about NG9-1-1 by all
stakeholders. Besides careful planning, stakeholder engagement is the
next most important aspect of NG9-1-1 implementation.
of target audiences, development of appropriate messages for each
audience, the content of requests for action, and the methods by which
those messages and requests for action will be delivered are all
elements of a successful education and awareness program for NG9-1-1.
During NG9-1-1 development, deployment, and O&M, messages
should be delivered to all stakeholder groups regarding the benefits,
value, and proper use of the new system. These messages can be conveyed
via multiple and varied delivery methods, including, but not limited
to, dissemination of reports provided by federal agencies and/or public
safety associations, print, television, and radio media outreach, as
well as public service announcements (PSA).
for Stakeholder Education and Awareness includes three steps:
1—Develop a Stakeholder Education Plan. As part of the
development of a Stakeholder Education Plan, identify and engage the
stakeholder community. Once you understand the target audience, develop
a Stakeholder Education Plan to describe the strategies, methods, and
goals of stakeholder engagement and education.
2—Educate Major Stakeholders on the Need for NG9-1-1.
Institute a continued and methodical education program to ensure that
the stakeholder community understands the need for NG9-1-1, the
limitations of today’s 9-1-1 systems, the benefits and values (and
risks) associated with transitioning to NG9-1-1, and the stakeholders’
role in the transition process. You can focus this effort on
stakeholders, with the exception of the public, who will need to
participate in the planning and deployment of NG9-1-1.
3—Develop and Launch an NG9-1-1 Public Education Campaign.
The public education campaign will be critical to the overall success
of NG9-1-1. Deliver a coordinated and unified message about what
NG9-1-1 is and what it is not, because the public will need to
understand the limitations of NG9-1-1, the benefits and capabilities of
the system, and when, how, and why to access NG9-1-1.
Stakeholder Education Plan
of a Stakeholder Education Plan involves two main tasks: stakeholder
identification and development of a plan to engage and educate those
individuals and groups.
is little question that stakeholder management is critical to the
success of any project or system implementation. NG9-1-1 provides a
unique opportunity to identify and address this community for maximum
benefit. Some stakeholders will be engaged for their technical
abilities, furthering the knowledge about NG9-1-1 and resolving
technical issues. Others will be important as sources of funding to
underwrite the transition to NG9-1-1. The largest stakeholder group,
however, is the public, which will interact with NG9-1-1, receive its
benefits, and need information on how best to access and use this
described previously in Section 2.2—Formal 9-1-1 Plan Development,
NG9-1-1 stakeholders comprise a large community that includes the
following stakeholder groups as discussed in the NG9-1-1
System Description and Requirements Document
stakeholders are involved in all aspects of the creation, delivery,
receipt, and management of 9-1-1 calls. Many organizations will have
some, mostly informal relationships with a number of individuals and
groups within NG9-1-1.
stakeholder identification, the organization should develop a plan for
educating each stakeholder set. The plan addresses the target
audiences, the messages, the methods and strategies, and expected
outcomes. With such a diverse stakeholder community, the education
approach will need to be tailored to the needs of each group.
recommend the following actions to help identify stakeholders:
the list of stakeholder groups described in this section, brainstorm
the list of stakeholders in each of those categories. Develop a list of
stakeholders based on past relationships and contacts, but be sure to
include individuals who are “known about,” even if they are not
developing a large list, prioritize the individuals and groups into
primary and secondary stakeholders. Primary stakeholders will be those
with a direct influence, contact, or responsibility.
contact methods (telephone numbers, e-mail and mailing addresses, etc.)
for each of the stakeholders and if possible, identify the
stakeholder’s preferred method of contact.
recommend the following actions to develop and effective stakeholder
your message. When preparing your stakeholder education plan, know what
the message to your stakeholders is. Understanding the “what” makes the
“how,” “when,” and “where” of message delivery more about simple
logistics and timing.
the timeline for message delivery. The plan may call for some initial
distribution of information, with a trickle of updates that continue
during the implementation process. Regardless of the overall length of
time for engagement, you need to ensure that stakeholders receive
information regularly and have an opportunity to provide input.
Otherwise, stakeholders will start to question whether their input and
involvement is important.
the medium for transmitting your message. In today’s media-rich
communications environment, there are many ways to share your message
with your stakeholders. Remember that not every stakeholder must
receive information in the same manner, on the same schedule, or even
in the same quantity. You may choose to tailor your message, based on
the audience and the level of influence of that stakeholder. Consider
using a combination of e-mail, teleconferences, in-person meetings and
forums, and even the media to distribute your information.
with a small group of individuals to get their input on a draft plan
before sending it out to a larger group of individuals. Consider making
the first stakeholder engagement as an effort to get input and feedback
on the Stakeholder Education Plan.
the plan, or at least a subset of the plan to your stakeholders to
start managing their expectations. Ensure that the plan is followed to
avoid confusion and disenchanted stakeholders, which will often work
Stakeholders on the Need for NG9-1-1
success of the project is directly tied to support from the stakeholder
community. Educating those stakeholders on various levels about what
NG9-1-1 is and is not and the benefits and values of transitioning to
NG9-1-1, is the first step toward building a consensus among decision
makers and agents of change that this transition is imperative.
stakeholder groups will not all share the same roles or
responsibilities during the transition to NG9-1-1 or after its
implementation. For this reason, a “one-size-fits-all” approach to
educating the various parties, who may at times represent divergent
interests, is not recommended. Instead, materials must be crafted with
the purpose in mind of addressing the concerns and areas of
responsibility of each individual stakeholder group.
step focuses on informing those stakeholders who will have direct
participation in the planning and deployment of the NG9-1-1. Typically,
the general public will not have a specific role in this process at
this juncture, and educating those end users is covered as part of the
public education campaign described in Step 3.
recommend the following actions to educate major stakeholders on the
need for NG9-1-1:
to develop a culture of awareness about the features, capabilities,
benefits, and value of transitioning to NG9-1-1, especially compared
with the current 9-1-1 system. Consider describing some of the
limitations of today’s 9-1-1 systems (e.g., aging PSAP equipment,
inability to accept rich-media caller data [images, video, text
messages], dwindling landline subscriber base [reducing PSAP funding],
difficulties in consistently and accurately acquiring callers’
opportunities to discuss NG9-1-1 (and your organization’s needs) at
every opportunity. Board meetings, status meetings, forums,
conferences, editorials, e-mail blasts, and visits with local, state,
and federal legislators are all great opportunities to share the status
of your efforts, identify risks and needs, and give stakeholders an
opportunity to get their questions answered.
and engage your stakeholders before you need them. Knowing your
stakeholders and developing a relationship with them improves the
chances of success when you need their influence or support.
participating in NENA’s annual “9-1-1 Goes to Washington” conference.27
your Stakeholder Education Plan as intended.
Launch an NG9-1-1 Public Education Campaign
the public about NG9-1-1 should be done in two phases, with two
distinct results in mind. First, the public should be educated about
the need for NG9-1-1, which will create a groundswell of support for
its implementation. An informed and engaged public will act as an
extremely powerful and influential lobbying group with decision makers
who may be under-informed about the creation of NG9-1-1. Later, once
transition is nearing completion, the public must also be educated
about NG9-1-1’s expanded capabilities for receiving information and
about how they can best use these new options for contacting emergency
the past several decades, public education campaigns were critical to
the success of the current 9-1-1 system. Educating the public about the
availability of 9-1-1 for access emergency services has become a victim
of its own success. Most (if not all) PSAPs are experiencing congestion
on their emergency lines with calls of a non-emergency nature. With the
transition to NG9-1-1, the 9-1-1 community has an opportunity to
“re-train” the public about the proper use of 9-1-1, when it is
appropriate to call, and how to best use the 9-1-1 system.
recommend the following actions to develop and launch a public
individuals who have experience with sharing information with the
public. Consider developing relationships with public safety public
information officers (PIO) within your jurisdiction, public affairs
officials within public and private agencies, and public relations
professionals. These individuals often have specialized training and
experience dealing with the media and the public. They may also have
significant relationships with media outlets that could be leveraged
for transmitting your message.
with the radio, print, and television media outlets. Provide them
access to knowledgeable individuals and engage them as partners.
Providing the media with a regular feed of information gives them an
opportunity to report on your progress as their time allows.
specific messages annually for the national 9-1-1 Education Month each
April, but be prepared to continue to spread that message throughout
the entire year.
existing public education efforts already in place for today’s 9-1-1
can find additional information related to stakeholder identification
and awareness at—
can find additional information related to public education at—
3 Procurement Tool
purpose of this Procurement Tool is to provide any state and local
entity with a guide and set of best practices for developing a
procurement system that enables them to get the best value for their
NG9-1-1 system. The tool outlines both a process and a rationale for
conducting government bids that, if adopted, leads to more open,
transparent, non-discriminatory, competitive, and technology-neutral
Procurement Tool describes a typical procurement process, outlining the
steps most often needed to develop procurement documents, review
processes, and a decision framework. This process would be altered
based on local regulations, but for organizations without local
guidance, the tool is a resource for the overall process. While the
process presented is applicable in general to any “best value”
procurement, the complexity and specific circumstances of any given
procurement should dictate which steps should be undertaken. Note,
however, that sample terms and conditions and contract language are not
included. Additionally, this guide is not
meant to replace or supersede any law, policy, regulation or custom in
the description of the steps in the procurement process, this
Procurement Tool provides best practices and lessons learned by
organizations at various stages in the process.
should be aware
that the procurement process outlined here might not be necessary if
the systems and/or services you require are available from an existing
statewide contract. In fact, you might be required
to use a statewide contract, if one is available, to fulfill your
NG9-1-1 needs. Please refer to any current procurement and contract
management policies that might affect your process.
this procurement tool is generally applicable to IT procurements for
implementing NG9-1-1 systems, equipment, and/or consulting services.
The procurement process for other commodities or services (e.g., legal
services) may have nuances not covered here.
3.2 The Procurement Process
Use the Competitive Procurement
government entity that needs IT systems such as NG9-1-1 has multiple
choices in selecting an approach to satisfy its needs. At one end of
the spectrum, it can acquire the system entirely through internal
resources. At the other end, it can hire an independent contractor. In
between are other alternatives such as procuring specific skills and
resources, or actually developing a system jointly with a contractor.
Each approach has advantages and disadvantages. We assume that most
government entities do not maintain nor wish to acquire the requisite
skill levels internally. Therefore, the most logical solution may be to
contract through a procurement process. This Procurement Tool provides
a process oriented toward this more complex type of procurement. The
principles, however, apply in general to any type of IT procurement.
flowchart below depicts the procurement process in
simplified form and shows the main entities engaged in the procurement
are the representatives of all the groups affected in any way by the
system to be procured. The stakeholder group must be diverse and
capture the interests of all the parties affected by the planning,
implementation, and operation of the NG9-1-1 system. It is assumed that
stakeholders have needs, the fulfillment of which is the goal of the
is composed of all the companies and other entities that can provide
NG9-1-1 solutions that address the stakeholders’ needs.
Procurement Team is a representative subgroup of
the stakeholders that manages and implements the procurement process.
Supplier(s) is a team of one or more solution providers that
has been chosen by the Procurement Team because its solution offers the
best value to the 9-1-1 authority.
arrows represent the interactions between the entities and their
contributions to the process. These formal interactions are captured in
various artifacts described in some detail throughout this tool.
phases of the process are represented by the five rectangles. Each is
described in detail below.
planning phase of the procurement process is crucial. A well-planned
procurement has a much better chance of success than a poorly or
hastily planned one. While this notion might seem self-evident, there
are countless examples of projects that suffered because of inadequate
planning during procurement.
strongly recommend planning all NG9-1-1 procurements to allow
sufficient time for multiple rounds of negotiations on price and other
factors. You are encouraged to conduct a comprehensive needs assessment
to determine the required type, quality, and quantity of equipment and
services required from the procurement. Decisions regarding the
duration, funding availability, performance measures, pricing
structures, contract evaluation, and contract monitoring should be made
during the planning phase of the procurement.
actually starting a procurement process, it is important to understand
how the industry decides whether or not to bid on a government
opportunity. This understanding allows you to plan and execute a
procurement that is attractive to the industry. Your goal is to attract
a number of high-quality bids for your NG9-1-1 project.
company assessing a government opportunity must answer the following
the opportunity real?
is usually the first aspect industry assesses. For any company to be
comfortable in bidding a government opportunity, there must be a clear
understanding that the project is—
and will continue to be funded throughout the period of performance
enough to survive political and budgetary pressures
scoped and has a believable time frame
and managed effectively.
the most important factor is the continuing availability of funding.
System integrators will scrutinize funding sources and use their prior
experiences with the government when making a decision.
the opportunity profitable?
most cases, companies bidding on government opportunities are
for-profit companies. They must assess the opportunity based on
corporate expectations regarding profit margins. They assess the cost
associated with responding to a bid (the Bid and Proposal costs).
Depending on the size of the potential contract and other requirements,
such as building proof-of-concept systems before award, this cost can
be significant and comes out of the bottom line.
the bid winnable?
are two aspects in play here: is the company able to perform the task
under the circumstances of the contract, and is it likely that the
company will win the bid.
first part of the question tries to assess whether the company’s core
competencies cover the opportunity’s requirements or whether teaming
partners must be found and engaged. The ability to find and retain the
right team is essential for a successful bid.
second part of the question is harder to answer because the perception
of the company’s chances to win is influenced by factors that are not
easy to quantify and can change rapidly (e.g., competitive landscape).
Usually, each company applies its internal risk assessment processes to
determine its chances of winning.
how offerors make their decisions can greatly benefit 9-1-1 authorities
that desire to maximize competition, attract qualified offerors, and
benefit from positive relationships with their contractors.
with the Industry
procurement process offers multiple opportunities for the Procurement
Team to interact with the industry. The most fruitful interactions
occur in the initial planning phase when your team can engage the
industry to clarify—
issues such as the most current solutions for NG9-1-1 systems
best practices on building and maintaining NG9-1-1 systems
other issues that are unknown or unclear to your team.
the industry early is a great opportunity to understand which companies
are interested in bidding, and what concerns they have about your
this initial phase, you can have broad and free communication with the
industry. The most effective way to reach out is through a Request for
Information (RFI) (see below). If done in a manner other than an RFI,
you should be careful that the solicitation does not have the effect of
the procurement process progresses, your contact with the potential
offerors becomes more formal and prescribed, governed by the rules of
the process. This Procurement Tool highlights, at each step, which type
of interaction is recommended or allowed.
RFI is a standard business process whose purpose is to collect written
information, recommendations, and capability presentations related to
your project from various suppliers. RFIs describe the organization’s
needs and perceived requirements.
will send the RFI to a broad base of potential offerors. It informs
them of your intentions and shapes their eventual response to your
subsequent Request for Proposals (RFP) or Request for Quotes (RFQ).
Industry can also begin to assess potential teaming partners.
number and quality of responses to the RFI allows you to assess the
competitive landscape and build an approach and strategy for the RFP or
RFQ. The information gathered through the RFI drives the decisions in
the subsequent phases of the procurement. Some of the information you
might ask for includes—
characterization, including facilities, finances, attitudes, and
of the supply market
and factors driving change
and width of product and/or service offerings, by supplier
strategic focus, business, and product plans.
this step, communication is open, and you are actively engaged with
industry in exploring needs and possible relevant technologies.
format and content of an RFI is usually up to you. Best practices
suggest that you include at least the following sections:
the context of your project, including all relevant information for the
industry to understand your particular situation
what you expect to accomplish through the RFI
what information you seek. Use a format that facilitates making
comparisons between responders. This section may include a detailed
list of products and/or services for which pricing is requested. The
pricing should be used for comparative purposes, not as the basis for
Guidance—Explain submission requirements such as deadlines
and contact information.
competitive procurement process begins with identifying the procurement
objectives. You must articulate these objectives in a way that allows
you to develop the necessary internal controls mandated by the
procurement guidance applicable to you.
objectives are not limited to the functional requirements that prompted
the procurement in the first place. Examples of objectives could be—
NG9-1-1 operational requirements
the procurement process efficiently and effectively
strong relationships with other functional groups
integrated purchasing strategies that support organizational
strategies, goals, and objectives.
applicable guidance on instituting and monitoring internal controls for
the objectives identified.
control is the integration of the activities, plans, attitudes,
policies, and efforts of the people of an organization working together
to provide reasonable assurance that the organization will achieve its
objectives and mission.
you embark on the procurement adventure, you must set up the structures
that will see the procurement through.
Your Procurement Team
procurements must have a Procurement Leader. This person is responsible
for coordinating the Procurement Team, which manages the procurement
process from start to finish.
how many people are needed to constitute a successful Procurement Team
the scope of the procurement, duration, funding, and appropriate method
how to accomplish the necessary steps in a timely manner so that the
contract is executed successfully
communication and distribution of information to all Procurement Team
members; answers questions; obtains technical, legal, and fiscal
assistance from the Procurement Team and other departments; and
coordinates the competitive process
responsible for managing and documenting the procurement process.
Procurement Team should be cross-functional and include any individual
involved in the development and management of the resulting contract.
Members of the team should have knowledge, experience, or expertise
with the NG9-1-1 system being procured and should include individuals
with programmatic, administrative, legal, fiscal/budget, and contract
management experience, where appropriate.
a cross-functional team approach and including a variety of department
staff ensures that both the procuring staff and user staff understand
and agree to the clear goal of the procurement and the contract
expectations. The size of a Procurement Team is determined by the size,
scope, and complexity of the procurement. Low dollar or simple
procurements may need only one or two Procurement Team members while
more complex procurements may require greater resources to explore all
of the options.
starting the NG9-1-1 procurement, you might decide that you do not have
the entire skill set needed to successfully complete the procurement.
In that case, you should acquire outside consultant assistance.
Consultants can be very effective in providing help throughout the
process. There are a few issues to consider when employing consultants:
consultants should sign non-disclosure agreements.
consultants generally may not compete for the business being solicited
in any procurements they have been involved in developing.
final selection decision on offerors should be made by organization
employees (the Procurement Team). Consultants may provide advice and
counsel when required, but the final decision should be made by the
developing a consulting agreement that clearly articulates goals,
specific deliverables, schedules and progress milestones, and includes
an option to terminate at your convenience.
repository must be created and maintained for all procurements. The
procurement repository serves two primary purposes:
an accurate record of the procurement process (development, evaluation,
and selection process)
as a contract management tool for monitoring and documenting contract
performance and contract activity.
Procurement Leader is usually responsible for creation, maintenance,
and ongoing management of the procurement repository. Disposal of the
procurement repository must be handled in accordance with the records
retention and disposal requirements of the state.
repository may be electronic or a paper file. The Procurement Leader is
responsible for development of a document management system that is
consistent and supports easy document retrieval. The contents of the
files should be detailed enough to enable an individual with no
knowledge of the process to reconstruct an accurate picture of the
procurement process and contract performance. If you choose an
electronic repository, the location of all information must be readily
following is a list of some of the most common items generally
contained in a procurement file at the completion of the process:
and amendments (including all applicable attachments)
minutes, or other related materials generated during the procurement
development and bidder selection process
or sign-in sheet at bidders’ conference (if offered)
of written questions and answers provided by the Procurement Team, if
correspondence to and from offerors distributed manually or
summary of the evaluation process, completed evaluation forms, and any
minutes or notes from evaluation committee meetings
criteria and any amendments (with reasons for the amendments)
from offerors’ presentations and demonstrations
documents (if required)
for selected bidder(s)
of contract execution
from non-selected offerors (selected responses are already part of the
for and any correspondence resulting from any debriefing requests or
public record/freedom of information requests
for and any correspondence resulting from appeals (if applicable)
other required forms or additional information as required by policy.
contract package, which includes—
Contract Form (executed)—original with applicable attachments and other
of the applicable Terms and Conditions
of the RFQ or RFP
offeror’s response (including any negotiated items, additional
conditions, and forms)
items required by policy
related to payments (invoices, etc.), performance, contract monitoring
and evaluation, agreements, correspondence, contract compliance, and
negotiations pertaining to options to renew
the project objectives have been articulated, the Procurement Leader
has been assembled the Procurement Team, and the repository has been
created, it is time to start defining the needs of the project. After
using the Preliminary Assessment Tool and the Planning Tool, you should
have a good understanding of what the scope of your NG9-1-1 project.
this step, you must build on that understanding and identify the
project’s needs. Most of the needs come directly from the Assessment
and Planning Tools. Some of the more specific or particular needs might
have to be identified through other methods. It is paramount to
identify all the needs at this time.
of the methods to ensure a thorough discovery of needs are—
all stakeholders at the outset. Different perspectives on the same
matter often yield a better understanding of the problem.
a common language. Certain terms might be used and understood
differently in different stakeholder constituencies. Make sure everyone
speaks the same language.
performance expectation. Ensure that all stakeholders have similar
expectations related to the performance of the NG9-1-1 system. See
Section 2.5.3—Develop Operational and Technical System Requirements for
specific strategies on gathering requirements.
this time, the Procurement Leader should make sure the entire
Procurement Team has a good understanding of all the following aspects
of the project:
in these areas helps the Procurement Team make good assumptions about
what is required to complete the NG9-1-1 project.
are the formal expression of project needs. They are carefully crafted
to convey the meaning of the need clearly and entirely. Well-crafted
requirements lead to solutions that satisfy the need. Bad requirements
result in the wrong solution being built.
what the NG9-1-1 system should be and NOT how
it should accomplish its tasks. Good requirements are
verifiable, attainable, and unambiguous.
happen if the requirement were omitted? If eliminating the requirement
does not have an effect on the system, the requirement is not necessary
and it should be removed. This is particularly important for
performance requirements; over-specified requirements are usually
difficult and expensive to implement.
the requirement be verified? How will you know that the need was met?
When writing requirements, specify also the acceptance criteria; this
is your most important tool in managing the performance of the
contractor at implementation time.
requirement feasible? If you are uncertain, you must research the
matter until you understand all the implications. This is an area in
which external consultants can have a significant positive impact on
the project. Does the requirement fit your budget, schedule, and other
constraints? You should not specify requirements that are too expensive
(in terms of money, time, resources) to attain.
requirement should express a single thought, be concise, and simple. It
is important that requirements not be misunderstood—they must be
unambiguous. Simple sentences are highly encouraged when writing good
Language of Requirements
addition to clarity and conciseness, the Procurement Team should pay
attention to the following rules about word usage:
use shall, statements of fact
use will, and goals use should.
usage of these terms is standardized in government agencies and in
industry. You will confuse everyone if you deviate from them. All shall
statements (requirements) must be verifiable; otherwise, compliance
cannot be demonstrated.
requirement must use only one subject and one predicate. Complex
requirements must be broken down into simple sentences.
statements must not be complicated by explanations of operations,
design, or other related information. This non-requirement information
must be provided in an introduction to a set of requirements or in the
grammar increases the risk of requirement misinterpretation.
words below should be avoided at all costs. They
introduce ambiguities into the requirements that can poison the project
in the long term.
| Banned Words
use these words in the text of the requirements. You may use them in a
descriptive section or in the lead-in to a requirements section of the
word “support” can only be used to describe the load-bearing properties
of a structure. All other usage is problematic. For example, “the
system shall support user input” is a meaningless requirement. You must
specify—usually in multiple requirements—what this support actually
terms are used to express the author’s uncertainty about the
requirement (i.e., “there might be more X, but we don’t know at this
time”). If you leave the ambiguity in the requirement, the offerors
will increase the cost estimate to account for the higher risk. They
might also use it as the excuse to do unnecessary work.
are three ways to correct the problem:
to the stakeholders and get clarification, if possible.
the help of a consultant to clarify the matter and identify all
possibilities. Sometimes this option will not work because the
uncertainty can only be removed by actually executing the project.
an analysis task in the project itself that will determine whether more
items need to be added to the Statement of Work (SOW). If more items
are found, you may have to increase the scope of the contract to cover
gives the offerors a choice of interpretation, and they will most
likely choose “or,” which carries a lesser burden in the verification
phase of the project.
words are ambiguous unless the conditions for achieving the minimum or
maximum are clearly defined. In most cases, these words are used
words are ambiguous because they reflect a perception rather than a
reality. “User-friendly” will have different meaning to a software
developer and an end user. You should never use these words because the
requirements become un-verifiable. Instead, define clear performance
parameters that provide objective descriptions (e.g., replace “the
system shall respond quickly” with “the system shall respond within 1
the Procurement Team focused narrowly on certain parts of the system,
some types of requirements might never be written. Care should be taken
to ensure that the requirements cover the entire system in equal
detail. The list below can be used as a reference:
overlooked in this phase of the project become obvious in later phases.
They contribute to a pernicious phenomenon called “requirements creep.”
creep (sometimes known as feature creep or scope creep) is a tendency
for project requirements to increase during development beyond those
originally foreseen, leading to features that were not originally
planned and resulting risk to product quality, schedule, and cost.
Requirements creep is usually driven by the following factors:
original requirements—If it becomes apparent during
development that system needs are not being addressed, new requirements
will be introduced, which, in turn, increase scope. To mitigate this
problem, analyze requirements thoroughly and fill in any identified
gaps before releasing the requirements.
in the environment—Projects that unfold over a long period
are vulnerable to changes in the systems around them. New requirements
must be introduced to deal with these changes. This type of scope creep
is not necessarily foreseeable but must be addressed.
“wish list”—As the project progresses, various stakeholders
“discover” new requirements. This is usually the result of a poor
initial understanding of the project or a major change in the
original requirements—Contractors might deal with ambiguous
requirements by increasing their scope of work through new
requirements. Minimize this problem by writing unambiguous requirements.
that all requirements are necessary. Eliminate frivolous requirements
while ensuring that the underlying needs are met.
realistic; keep requirements commensurate with your budget. Do not
require 50 terabytes of storage (i.e., 50,000 gigabytes) if your annual
data collection will not exceed 1 terabyte.
the requirements in simple sentences. Use one subject and one verb in
each requirement. Break down complicated requirements into multiple
not design the system in the requirements. The requirements should
specify what must be done, NOT how.
If you must specify the “how” in the requirements, make sure it is a
real requirement that reflects a real need. Otherwise, your requirement
will influence and possibly limit the solutions proposed by the
offerors, resulting in a suboptimal or unnecessarily costly system.
not name specific components, subsystems, or parts in the requirements
that reflect your preconceived notions about how the system should be
it simple. Achieving simplicity and clarity is sometimes difficult. Use
multiple reviews of the requirements with different groups and persons
in order to identify areas of confusion.
you capture all requirements. Pay attention to
security and privacy requirements—rapid changes are likely in these
areas for the foreseeable future, and compliance is not optional in
you have gathered and reviewed the requirements, it is time to prepare
the quotation request.
mentioned before, you can pursue two avenues at this point. If you have
few requirements and they are well understood, and if you are sure
about the technical path in the execution phase, then you might
consider a Request for Quote (RFQ).
the requirements are complex and you do not have a clear grasp of what
must be implemented and how, you are better served by issuing a Request
for Proposals (RFP).
you choose to pursue an RFP or an RFQ, the steps in this phase of the
procurement are similar:
it with the appropriate stakeholders
approval from the appropriate authority.
the document is approved, it enters Phase II, Release.
RFQ is a solicitation sent to potential suppliers containing a precise,
detailed list or description of all relevant parameters of the intended
purchase, such as—
skills or competencies
descriptions/specifications or numbers
value-added requirements or terms
are best suited to products and services that are standardized and
commoditized (e.g., supplies). They are meant to provide a means for
comparing offerings on a narrow basis, usually just price. RFQs are not
adequate for dealing with more nuanced requirements.
RFQs only when procuring products and services with which you are
RFP is a solicitation sent to potential suppliers with whom you are
considering creative relationship or partnership. Typically, the RFP
leaves all or part of the precise structure and format of the response
to the discretion of the suppliers. The creativity and innovation that
suppliers propose to build into their proposals can be used to
distinguish one from another.
be effective, the RFPs should reflect your strategy and business
objectives, providing detailed insight upon which suppliers can offer a
perspective. The RFP must be built on your solid understanding of your
needs and requirements. If any issues or areas of your project are not
well understood, you must describe them specifically in the RFP as
items to be addressed by the offerors. A good description of the
problem and its root causes is required for a meaningful response from
are usually time-consuming for both you and the industry. For larger
projects, or if your needs and requirements prove hard to articulate,
it is conceivable that your RFP preparation would last several months.
The industry needs adequate time to respond, especially if there was no
RFI issued in the earlier phase of the procurement. Specifying a too
short response period will discourage some suppliers from responding.
RFPs are different because they address different problems.
Well-designed RFPs, however, are similar in structure.
common across RFPs include an overview of the business issue, a
description of the product and/or services required, detailed business
requirements, other information, proposal format, due date, selection
criteria, timeline, questions, how to respond, and point of contact.
also contain information specific to the NG9-1-1 authority, the
project, or the Procurement Team. These elements might be specific
information on a price breakout, approach suggestions, or any other
elements of an RFP are outlined below:
of the Business Issue—There should be a succinct description
of the business issue or problem that is driving this particular
purchase. It should be stated in one or two paragraphs and should give
suppliers a summary of the project and why it was initiated.
of Products or Services—The RFP should contain a brief but
insightful description of the products or services the NG9-1-1
authority needs. These goods or services could be complex and may be
difficult to describe in detail. Nevertheless, a good description helps
suppliers in developing a targeted and relevant proposal.
Requirements (SOW)—In addition to the description of products
or services, you must clearly outline the business requirements.
Sometimes this section is called the SOW. The SOW can include support
requirements, delivery guidelines, design specifications, quality
metrics, etc. Its purpose is to give the suppliers details on what is
needed for this acquisition so that they can develop with a proposal
that meets these requirements. Often, the requirements section
constitutes a major portion of the RFP. If the requirements do not
accurately reflect the authority's needs, suppliers will not present
proposals that address the key issues. As mentioned before, it is
always important to collaborate with all the stakeholders to ensure the
requirements are accurate and complete.
Information Needed for the Proposal—Sometimes additional
information is needed to round out the picture for the offerors. This
information usually includes usage metrics, demand projections, current
performance information, internal survey results, etc. The key for this
section is to provide the right amount the information. Too little
might prevent the offerors from formulating a relevant response; too
much might be confusing and cause the offerors to propose unnecessary
Suggestions—If the Procurement Team decides that a specific
approach to the solution would work better than others, this is the
place to suggest it to the industry. However, doing so reduces the
diversity and creativity of the proposed solutions. Prescribing very
specific approaches can also discourage some companies from bidding at
Metrics—Performance metrics are very valuable for measuring
the performance of both the supplier and the solution. Clear and
upfront understanding of the performance requirements has multiple
benefits for both the NG9-1-1 authority and the industry because it—
the authority ’s expectations for the system’s performance
a scale for measuring both system and contractor performance
the likelihood of requirement and scope creep
the verification and validation of the system
contractors assess whether they are qualified to perform the work
Format—All RFPs must specify the format and length of the
offeror proposals. A highly structured format for proposals makes it
easier to compare the responses from suppliers. It also encourages
clarity and provides focus in the supplier proposals. Place your
requirements in a point-by-point format and encourage suppliers to
respond to each point.
The RFP should state the maximum length of the proposal. Enforcing a
maximum length helps reduce the time needed to review the proposal and
ensures that suppliers keep unnecessary information to a minimum.
Specifying page count is not enough—to truly control the length, you
must specify minimum font size (for both narrative and graphics
elements) and minimum margins. You may also want to specify the maximum
length of specific sections of the proposal rather than just a total
Date—The due date for the supplier proposals should be
clearly stated near the beginning of the RFP and in other relevant
Criteria—This section contains essential information for
suppliers. It should clearly state the areas and metrics used to
evaluate the received proposals. If possible, the RFP should disclose
the weighting of each section or topic as a part of the overall
proposal score. This weighting is often described as a percentage or in
terms of points out of a total possible score.
This section is very important for the industry; it helps suppliers
focus their responses on the criteria on which their proposals will be
judged. It is also important for the authority because well-documented
selection criteria diminish the chances of a protest.
may request clarification or ask questions about even the most
well-written RFPs. Any RFP should clearly specify the mechanism by
which suppliers can ask questions. You should set a time period during
which supplier questions can be submitted. This time period should not
be too close to the deadline for the proposal submissions so suppliers
have time to adjust their proposals based on your responses. The
contact point for the RFP on the Procurement Team then receives
questions from and provides responses in written form to the suppliers.
The Procurement Team point of contact must then provide the questions
and answers to all suppliers and make them a part of the RFP as an
amendment. This can bring additional clarity to the requirements and
provide documentation for the project. All such correspondence must be
archived in the procurement repository (see Phase I, Step 5).
timeline should display the RFP creation date, the RFP send date, the
time period for questions, the due date for proposals, the selection
period, and the projected award date. All this information should be
communicated as clearly as possible.
of Contact—The point of contact is the person on the
Procurement Team who handles interactions with the industry. This means
that all supplier questions and comments about the RFP will be directed
to this person. You might want to include a backup point of contact in
case the primary point of contact is out of the office or unavailable.
Breakdown—The purpose of this section is to request a
breakdown of the price to ensure that proposals can be compared easily.
This section is usually included on large projects where pricing is
complicated. This section is optional. If you want to require this
breakdown, make sure you specify a format to make sure that pricing can
be accurately compared.
price breakdown can provide insight into offerors’ business practices.
However, requiring a price breakdown might discourage some suppliers.
Documents—Your local guidelines, regulations, and policies
might require inclusion of additional documents in the response to the
RFP (e.g., diversity certifications, agreements to certain terms and
to Respond—This section includes special instructions on how
to respond to the RFP solicitation. It should include information on
the address to send the proposal, the submission format (hard copy,
electronic, etc.). It should also specify any additional submission
requirements and can emphasize the deadline.
to Use an RFQ or
general rule, RFQs should be used when you are purchasing products or
services with which you are familiar and that do not require
significant changes to your current system. These are “plug-and-play”
products, i.e., straightforward upgrades with no compatibility issues
anticipated. The evaluation is usually based on price alone.
should be used when the problem is complex, unclear, or outside the
competency of the NG9-1-1 authority. RFPs are helpful when supplier
creativity and innovative approaches to problems are needed. It is
important to remember that the RFP process can take a significant
amount of time to complete and could result in delays to the start of
the project. Therefore, it only makes sense to use an RFP when the
benefits from obtaining supplier proposals are greater than the extra
time required to prepare the RFP and to manage the RFP process. The
following presents some of the pros and cons of the two solicitation
and RFQs—Pros and Cons
be conducted easily, and the process is much quicker
easy to evaluate
suitable only for straightforward, well-understood procurements
the best method available for obtaining the best value for the NG9-1-1
potential project risks for a complex project
the industry to participate actively and creatively in developing a
suppliers to submit organized proposals that can be evaluated using a
be extremely time consuming for both the NG9-1-1 authority and suppliers
intimidate some suppliers and/ or make them perceive a low chance of
winning, discouraging them from submitting a proposal
requirements are not well articulated, can result in poor responses
both in technical content and pricing, making evaluation difficult
require a lengthy process to accurately assessing suppliers’ responses
and might require specialized knowledge
this point, it is assumed that you have developed—
RFQ or an RFP that has a complete and unambiguous SOW.
criteria for judging the responses to the RFQ or RFP. It is important
to understand that changing the evaluation criteria after the industry
replies to your solicitation is not advisable because it significantly
increases the chances of later protests, damages future relationships
with the industry, and might even be illegal.
you are comfortable with the content of the RFP, it is time to
broadcast it to the industry.
it to your website, leveraging your existing contact list, and using
various forms of media to publicize the RFP’s existence are all options
to increase exposure.
next step is to choose an Evaluation Team. This team could be the same
as the Procurement Team that prepared the solicitation, or it could be
composed of entirely different people. In most cases, the Evaluation
Team contains the core group that developed the SOW, augmented with a
number of specialists who can understand and evaluate the technical
aspects of the proposals.
you do not have in-house specialists, it is useful to employ
consultants to fulfill that role. The right mix of consultants should
have a wide understanding of the industry and deep insight into the
particular solutions proposed by the industry.
ensure a fair and transparent process, you must take a few
consultants who are independent and have no vested interest in any of
the proposed solutions, specific technologies, or manufacturers.
a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with the consultants that restricts
their ability to share information about the review process.
the information available to the consultants (e.g., technical
consultants should not be aware of pricing information). This approach
limits evaluation criteria cross-contamination.
not allow consultants to have unsupervised interactions with the
offerors. Remember that all contact with the industry must be
not allow consultants to negotiate, influence, or derail the
procurement process. It is your responsibility to execute the
procurement, and therefore you should be in control at all times.
your solicitation has been issued, you should be prepared to answer
whatever questions the industry might have. If your solicitation is an
RFP, you should expect more questions from the supplier community than
in the case of an RFQ. The best way to handle questions depends largely
on the number of bidders and the complexity of the solution you are
you anticipate a large number of bidders, you should consider holding a
bidders’ conference. This is usually a question-and-answer session in
which all interested bidders can participate. This type of meeting has
is fast and efficient because many suppliers will have the same
questions. This reduces the amount of time the Evaluation Team must
dedicate to answering RFP-related questions.
creates a brainstorming environment where questions from one supplier
trigger further questions from other suppliers, and the issues and
complexities of the RFP are explained and understood faster.
allows the Evaluation Team and the NG9-1-1 authority to gauge the
interest within the industry for responding to the RFP.
allows the industry to understand who else is interested in bidding and
gives them the opportunity to pursue teaming agreements that increase
their chances of winning.
alternative to the bidders’ conference is answering the questions
individually. You must decide which avenue is better. The bidders’
conference has the overhead of the associated cost and logistics, but
it is more effective and saves time and money in the long run if enough
bidders attend. Answering individual bidders can be a resource drain if
there are enough of them. In addition, because of the one-on-one nature
of the interaction, there is more chance that some suppliers will
misunderstand certain issues in the RFP.
way you choose to pursue this phase of the procurement, make sure that
you keep the process on track. The timeline for answering questions
should be clearly specified in the RFP, and you should adhere to it
strictly. When this period is over, there should be no more interaction
with the industry until the Q&A session in the Evaluation phase.
Evaluation phase of the procurement process, the NG9-1-1 authority
determines which proposal offers the best value.
prepare for the
evaluation process, each of the following potential issues must be
considered and addressed as required.
you have received the proposals, and it is clear which companies are
involved in the RFP/RFQ, each member of the Evaluation Team must make
sure that he or she does not have a potential conflict of interest. An
example of a conflict of interest is a situation in which a state
employee or family member owns a business that is competing for a state
contract, and that state employee participates in the decision-making
process to award that contract. It is important to avoid even the
appearance of impropriety in the evaluation process. Disclose potential
problems at the earliest possible time and make adjustments to keep the
process fair to all competitors. Your awareness of a potential conflict
may not arise until you are well into the evaluation process. If there
is any question about a potential conflict of interest, notify the
Procurement Leader immediately and consult legal counsel. If an
individual has a conflict of interest, that person cannot be a member
of the Evaluation Team. Each member of the Evaluation Team must sign a
"Non-Conflict of Interest" form. These forms must be signed before any
committee members begin their initial evaluation of the RFPs/RFQs. The
signed forms become part of the artifacts of the procurement stored in
certain cases, documents received as part of an RFP/RFQ must be
protected from public view. If such documents are present, each member
of the Evaluation Team will be asked to sign a "Confidentiality
Statement" form that sets out their responsibility to maintain the
confidentiality of these documents during and after the RFP/RFQ
with the Project
the Evaluation Team is composed of individuals who were not involved
with drafting the RFP/RFQ, it is very important that all Evaluation
Team members read the RFP/RFQ and have a clear understanding of the
requirements and evaluation criteria before attempting to evaluate
Procurement Leader must review all proposals for responsiveness before
distributing them to the Evaluation Team. A "responsive" proposal
conforms in all material respects to the RFP/RFQ. A proposal may be
deemed "non- responsive" if any of the required information is not
provided, the submitted price is found to be excessive or inadequate as
measured by criteria stated in the RFP/RFQ, or the proposal is clearly
not within the scope of the project described and required in the
RFP/RFQ. Extreme care should be used when making this decision because
of the time and expense that a potential bidder has put into submitting
a proposal. If a proposal is determined to be "non-responsive," provide
a written justification for this conclusion.
deemed non-responsive cannot be considered for award; therefore, they
should not be forwarded to the Evaluation Team.
conduct a review, each of the following potential issues must be
considered and addressed as required.
recommend that the Procurement Leader meet with the Evaluation Team
before distributing copies of the received proposals. Discuss the
proposal review and scoring process to ensure each team member has a
clear understanding of the scoring process and how points are assigned.
Provide team members with a copy of each proposal, written instructions
on how to conduct the evaluation, and the evaluation worksheets to be
used when scoring proposals.
a schedule for the evaluation process based on the tentative schedule
laid out in the RFP/RFQ. Remember, the team members need sufficient
time to read and evaluate each proposal. Plan head for those members of
the team that need to travel to attend meetings and use telephone or
video conferencing whenever practical.
are two ways for the Evaluation Team to evaluate proposals and document
member evaluates each proposal and records his or her ratings on an
evaluation worksheet. The Procurement Leader compiles the resulting
evaluations from all team members, resolves any factual oversights,
makes sure the resulting team member notes are legible, and produces a
summary that constitutes the Evaluation Team’s recommendation.
member on the Evaluation Team evaluates each proposal and makes notes
about his or her observations and tentative rating on an evaluation
scoresheet. The team then meets as a group to review the individual
proposals, arrives at a group consensus on the associated ratings, and
produces a summary that constitutes the team’s recommendation.
approach is workable, but the NG9-1-1 authority (or the Procurement
Leader) should decide which approach to take before beginning the
In some cases, the Procurement Leader might decide that the Evaluation
Team should not know the price until after it has compiled its first
scoring. In general, this approach avoids the possibility of the prices
influencing the scoring when non-price criteria are being considered.
evaluation worksheet is used to guide the Evaluation Team members in
their review and evaluation of proposals. It provides a list of
individual evaluation criteria and the rating scale to be used. The
evaluation worksheet does not include pricing. The resulting evaluation
framework is very important because it—
a means for all Evaluation Team members to review and evaluate
proposals in a consistent and objective manner
the evaluation team discuss differences in their initial review and,
for those differences that are based on an incomplete or incorrect
reading of the information presented, resolve them
the results of the Evaluation Team’s work and provides support for the
notations made on the evaluation worksheet become public record. Each
evaluation worksheet should be completed in full, signed, and dated by
the Evaluation Team member.
rating scale establishes standards by which points are assigned to
proposals and ensures that members of the Evaluation Team evaluate each
notional rating scale that uses 4 values (0, 1, 2, and 3) is presented
RFP/RFQ Rating Scale
| Evaluation Criteria
addressed or response of no value
or total applicability
addressed or completely non-compliant
zero value typically constitutes no response or an inability of the
supplier to meet the criterion. In contrast, the maximum value should
constitute a high standard of meeting the criterion. Each intermediate
value should be defined to cover some intermediate condition.
rating scale needs to be customized for each evaluation criterion. For
example, if criteria can be evaluated as only “yes” or “no,” then the
rating scale would have only two possible values (i.e., the maximum
points or a zero).
rating systems (e.g., “Exceeds, Meets, Partially Meets, Does Not Meet”
or “Outstanding, Excellent, Good, Satisfactory, Minimally Acceptable,
Unacceptable”) are sometimes chosen because evaluation criteria are
difficult to categorize or are too uncertain or too subjective to
determine a reasonable numerical rating system. If the Procurement
Leader has chosen a non-numerical rating system, the decisions of each
evaluator must be explained and documented. With a non-numerical rating
system, it is necessary, for the sake of fairness to the competitors,
that the Evaluation Team member explain in writing how they arrived at
the ratings. The explanation must be rational and consistently applied
from competitor to competitor. The Procurement Leader will advise
Evaluation Team members on how to exercise independent judgment but
will also make sure that the written description of how the offers were
ranked is rational, understandable, consistent with the team’s ratings,
and is not in conflict with the terms or requirements of the RFP/RFQ.
The Procurement Leader should not write or modify the team members’
explanation on their behalf; it must be in their own words.
Evaluation Team members must discuss this procurement only within the
activities of the Procurement Team. If the Procurement Leader has
arranged communication with the offerors, it should be done while the
Evaluation Team is in session so all members can benefit from the
communication at the same time. It is not appropriate for any of the
team members to have direct communication with any of the bidders
outside the formal in-session communications arranged by the
Procurement Leader. Any attempt by one of the offerors to have direct
or indirect communication with the Evaluation Team members outside the
formal framework should be avoided and reported to the Procurement
evaluating proposals, Evaluation Team members must exercise
“independent judgment.” They have been entrusted with an essential part
of an important public decision, and they must exercise their judgment
in a manner that is not dependent on anyone else’s opinions or wishes.
members can seek to increase their knowledge before awarding points by
asking questions and seeking appropriate information. Ensure, however,
that they do not allow their actions to be influenced by another
person’s wishes (i.e., a desire that more points be awarded to a
is possible that team members will hear from other persons not on the
Evaluation Team (even if they do not want to) about how they should be
awarding points to this proposal. For the most part, these contacts by
others will not rise to the level of serious concern unless the
Evaluation Team members feel their independence is being compromised in
some manner. The Evaluation Team members should report to the
Procurement Leader any attempts by others to improperly influence the
exercise of independent judgment applies not only to possible
influences from outside the Evaluation Team, but also to influences
from within the team. Debate, even passionate debate, about how well a
proposal meets the evaluation criteria is normal and acceptable within
the team. As independent evaluators, team members may be swayed by
debate in making their judgment about how many points they award, and
that is fine. However, evaluators may not act in a concerted way to
either favor or disfavor a particular proposal or group of proposals
because the evaluation would not be based on the independent judgment
of the individual evaluators.
recommend that Evaluation Team members read each proposal twice—the
first time for understanding, without evaluating. Then, review and
evaluate each proposal to measure the quality and degree of compliance
with the evaluation criteria. Make notes and give tentative ratings on
the evaluation score sheet. Remember, these forms become public
documents after the contract award.
members should contact the Procurement Leader if they feel a proposal
does not comply with a mandatory requirement (such as a minimum number
of years of experience or a required license, etc.) or if they have
questions about the scoring process.
of the Evaluation Team need to review and evaluate each proposal
individually, without discussing their evaluation with other team
members. They should not communicate, either before or after the
evaluation, with any of the suppliers who submitted a proposal and
should notify the Procurement Leader if a supplier attempts to contact
should not be compared directly with one another to select the best one
because the comparison cannot be done objectively across a number of
proposals. While a certain amount of comparison naturally occurs during
the evaluation process, proposals must be evaluated or scored using the
criteria set out in the RFP/RFQ. In addition, evaluation committee
members should record brief comments that provide insight on why they
awarded points or failed to award points based on RFP/RFQ evaluation
criteria for a particular item.
of Evaluation Scores
all Evaluation Team members have completed the evaluation process, the
team can meet as a group to discuss the proposals and identify and make
clarifications. If aspects of a proposal need to be clarified, the
Procurement Leader or the team may communicate with an offeror to
clarify uncertainties or eliminate confusion. This communication may
not result in a material or substantial change to the proposal, but
evaluation team members may modify their scores during the
discussion/clarification period. The individual scores are then read
and a total of the combined scores calculated.
any scores appear unusual, the Procurement Leader should ask the
evaluator to explain his or her scores, or reconsider if an error seems
apparent. Evaluators should always have a reasonable, rational, and
consistent basis for their scores because they might be required to
explain the scores in the event of a protest.
the initial evaluation, offerors of proposals in contention for award
may be offered the opportunity to discuss their proposals with the
Evaluation Team at the discretion of the Procurement Leader. The
Procurement Leader may limit discussions to specific sections of the
proposals received or specific sections of the RFP/RFQ.
must be accorded fair and equal treatment with respect to any
opportunity for discussion and revision of proposals. The opportunity
for confidential discussions, if held, must be extended to all offerors
submitting proposals deemed reasonably acceptable for award. Do not use
any “auction techniques” that reveal one offeror's price to another and
do not disclose any information derived from competing proposals. Any
oral modification of a proposal resulting from discussions must be
submitted in writing by the offeror.
and Final Offer (BAFO)
occasion, the Evaluation Team may not be satisfied with the proposals
or feel that the proposals could be improved. The Evaluation Team may
determine that it is in the best interest of the 9-1-1 authority to
request best and final offers. The 9-1-1 authority initiates the
request for best and final offer; the process is not initiated by an
offeror’s request for an opportunity to submit a best and final offer.
Best and final offers are not necessary when the Evaluation Team is
satisfied with the proposals received.
Evaluation Team should document which offerors will be notified and
provided the opportunity to submit best and final offers. Send out the
request for best and final offers in a letter stating any specific
areas to be covered and the date and time when the best and final offer
must be returned. The conditions, terms, or price of the proposal may
be altered or otherwise changed if the changes are within the scope of
the RFP/RFQ and the instructions contained in the request for best and
best and final offers should be submitted only once. However, the
Procurement Leader may make a written determination that it is in the
9-1-1 authority’s best interest to conduct additional discussions or
change the requirements and require another submission of best and
final offers. If an offeror does not submit a best and final offer or a
notice of withdrawal, the offeror's previous proposal is considered the
offeror's best and final offer.
best and final offers are received, final evaluations are conducted.
Best and final offers must be reviewed and scored using the same
evaluation criteria published in the RFP/RFQ.
price is considered after the “qualitative” factors have been
evaluated. Price does not need to be evaluated by everyone on the
Evaluation Team. It is recommended that price be evaluated by at least
two people, and discussed with the team.
the price to points for comparison purposes. The proposal with the
lowest price receives the maximum points allowed. All other proposals
receive a percentage of the points available based on their price
relationship to the lowest price proposal. Divide the lowest price
proposal received by the price of the proposal being rated, and
multiply the results by the maximum points. The result is the awarded
is determined by applying the following formula:
of Lowest Priced Proposal/Price of Proposal Being Rated) × Maximum
Points Available = Awarded Price Points
points awarded for price are combined with the total points awarded for
the technical proposal to determine the successful proposal.
The point total available for price in the RFP is 40 points. The price
of the lowest acceptable proposal is $100,000. Therefore, the lowest
proposal price of $100,000 would be awarded 40 points. The second
lowest acceptable proposal submitted a price of $125,000. The second
lowest proposal price of $125,000 would be awarded 32 points.
making the award, the Procurement Leader must ensure the quality
control of the evaluation process by checking any mathematic
computations and ensuring only those criteria identified were
considered. The integrity of the process and procurement system is
grounded on the Procurement Leader and Evaluation Team adhering to the
procedures and evaluation requirements stated in the RFP/RFQ.
must not be influenced or based on discrimination due to the race,
religion, color, national origin, sex, age, marital status, pregnancy,
parenthood, disability, or political affiliation of the offeror.
“Best Value” Solutions
some procurement efforts must award to the “lowest bidder” in terms of
cost, procurement efforts are increasingly seeking best value when
selecting a vendor. Best value allows the evaluation team to
consider the entirety of the proposal, instead of a single factor
(cost). There are a number of aspects of a proposal that
should be considered when determining best value, including—
technical solution / compliance with requirements
past performance and experience
cost of ownership
of warranties and maintenance
and customer support provided / available
and energy efficiency
and performance terms
the vendor has been selected, it is time to write the contract. Usually
this process requires some level of negotiation—sometimes because the
supplier has not quite met all requirements or has offered options in
its proposal. There may also be some terms and conditions that need to
be clarified. However, there should be no material changes to the
information provided in the proposal.
material changes are requested, especially if they are brought up at
the last minute by the supplier, it may be time to go back and
re-solicit the RFP. Proposals from suppliers that have no intention of
honoring the terms, or that contain unreliable information, are
indicators of potential future problems with the supplier. While a
supplier may legitimately indicate that a feature will be available at
some time in a future release of the product, a feature that is
indicated as currently available should not be later designated as a
planned feature rather than an actual feature.
frequent cause of changes in the negotiation phase is problems with how
the RFP itself was written. The more effort and thought devoted to the
process early on, the fewer problems there will be at the end of the
process. Problems that can be avoided include errors of omission and
fuzziness, as well as items that were included but were not essential
to the desired result. Often, these items can substantially drive up
requirements and unrealistic budget expectations can cause significant
changes during negotiations. At this stage, many suppliers try to pare
back the requirements to fit their budget. The result is often a final
price that, while it meets the budget, delivers a far less substantial
product than would have been delivered by limiting the scope of the
the procurement process comes to an orderly conclusion, either an award
is made or an indication that all bids were rejected occurs.
With an award and subsequent contract, the procurement process ends and
project execution commences. During the award process the
following actions may occur—
of Intent to Award
the successful proposal is selected, a Notice of Intent to Award is
sent to all offerors and any other interested parties. This notice
typically contains the following information:
of the issuing organization
number and name
all offerors that submitted proposals
the successful offeror
of the right to protest the award in writing to the responsible
Procurement Officer within 7 days after the interested party knew or
should have known about the award decision
Leader’s name and contact information.
Notice of Intent to Award also provides the successful offeror(s) with
notice that they are required to execute a contract with the NG9-1-1
authority and provide any required proof of insurance or bonds within a
specified number of days (usually 10 working days) after the notice of
of All Bids and Re-bidding
occasion, a decision may be made to reject all bids or proposals
received. Reasons might include—
of the responses met the specifications.
received were not reasonable or exceeded the budgeted amount.
was insufficient (e.g., few, if any, competitive bids were received).
Procurement Leader must provide a written justification whenever a
decision is made to reject all bids or proposals. Notify all offerors
that responded to the solicitation and explain why all bids or
proposals were rejected. The solicitation process may be repeated or
the bidding process immediately is acceptable when there are
significant changes to the specifications, more suppliers are given the
opportunity to bid, or there were mistakes in the original
solicitation. In fairness to the offerors whose prices have been
revealed to their competitors through the bidding process, a
solicitation that was opened but not awarded should not be reissued for
at least 3 months. If the solicitation process is repeated sooner, the
procurement officer should document the reason.
for Public Information
the Notice of Intent to Award is issued, the proposals and contents of
the procurement repository become subject to state open records laws.
You can expect to receive requests for copies of proposals and
evaluation documents. Remember, information can only be confidential if
determined to be so under state or federal law.
very commonly mark their proposals as “confidential.” Before releasing
the proposal to the requestor, contact the firm that submitted the
proposal and inform them that you have received a request for public
information. If your state has an open records law, information can
only be kept confidential if it determined to be so under state or
federal law. Then, point out that their whole proposal is marked
“Confidential." Ask them to indicate specifically what information or
sections they consider confidential. Requests for public information
must be answered promptly, so give the firm a deadline to respond to
the request for public information includes the section that the
offeror feels is confidential, seek legal counsel to help determine
whether or not that section can be made open or must be kept
Appeals, and Lawsuits
appeals, and lawsuits are a part of procurement life. Most actions are
related to procedural issues and usually involve the decision of the
Procurement Leader. It is extremely important that the procurement
process be followed closely, and the evaluation be conducted properly.
Keep good records documenting in detail all decisions made along the
the evaluation and selection process has finished, the solution must be
delivered as specified in the contract. While some
individuals on the selection team may ultimately be involved in the
delivery process, a transfer of information about the successful vendor
is made to the project delivery team. The delivery team will
be responsible for ensuring the project is implemented according to the
schedule and budget.
the contract requires regular review of a vendor’s work performance,
resolving any disputes, recommending changes to scope, quality, or
schedule as specified in the contract and escalating issues as needed.
contract concludes when the terms of a contract have been satisfied
(e.g., a product or service has been accepted), the period of
performance has passed or through termination of the contract
for conducting a procurement process include, but are not limited to—
an RFI to notify the industry of your project. This allows potential
offerors to prepare for the response.
enough time for the industry to respond.
requiring brand name equipment in your RFP. Doing so limits competition
and solution diversity.
sure that the performance requirements are in line with the project
needs, the 9-1-1 authority’s expectations, and the budget. High
performance usually carries a high price. The price of a system can
increase exponentially relative to its performance.
successful procurement strategies from other NG9-1-1 authorities.
can find additional information related to the procurement process at—
purpose of the Post-Implementation Evaluation (PIE) Tool is to provide
NG9-1-1 entities with a guide and a set of best practices for
conducting a PIE. The PIE is a valuable tool that will be used to
evaluate whether the project objectives were met, determine the
effectiveness of the implementation and oversight process, and develop
lessons learned for future projects. The following shows the
Post-Implementation Evaluation process.
Review project plans, schedule, materials to determine
whether project goals met
Evaluate on-time/on-budget delivery
Identify gaps and bottlenecks with schedules, milestones, and
Identify change control issue such as changing
Identify lessons learned in terms of processes, technology, people,
client satisfaction, design, and procurement
Include in analysis detail such as identification of impact
(detrimental, beneficial, good practice)
project team members, end users, and stakeholders to comment on
operational, technical, and contractual areas of project
detailed descriptions of project’s successes or problems, including
stakeholder feedback on areas of effectiveness and need for improvement
Integrate collected and analyzed information into a
Present analysis methods and results
Add lessons learned to implementation evaluation body of knowledge
PIE is part of the project closeout phase, conducted after delivery of
the project. The purpose of the PIE is to evaluate whether the project
objectives were met, to determine how effectively the project was run,
and to develop lessons learned. The lessons learned will be used to
improve future project delivery.
PIE team should include a range of people to give a holistic view of
the project. This team should include project team members, end users,
and stakeholders. They should be able to speak to the operational,
technical, and contractual areas of the project.
PIE will be used to measure the proposed (baselined) project against
the actual (delivered) project. It is strongly recommended that a
third-party, non-biased facilitator conduct the PIE. The different
perspectives and expectations of all participants can result in widely
differing opinions on the success or failure of the project as well as
its participants. There should be a focus on the process rather than
individuals and teams. This should minimize finger-pointing and hurt
feelings. This needs to be an open process. The PIE should be conducted
after the project deliverable has been in operation and the users have
had the opportunity to receive training and are familiar with its
following is a list of tools that can be used to gather information for
the PIE report.
tools will be used to focus on five general areas:
didn’t go well?
was outside of your control?
would you do differently?
recommendations would you make?
mentioned previously, the purpose of the PIE is to measure the
delivered project against proposed project. The following items will
need to be reviewed:
Charter (including goals, objectives and deliverables)
PIE Time Frame
PIE should be conducted after the project is operational. All issues
should be resolved, training completed, and users should be familiar
with the operations before a PIE is conducted. Recommended time frames
range from 6 weeks to 6 months after cutover.
report should include the results of the analysis, lessons learned, and
recommendations. A broad distribution should be used to ensure the
information is shared with organizations that can benefit from the
lessons learned. (e.g., APCO, NENA, DOT ITS LL, LLIS.gov repositories,
a lessons learned effort to review the success and challenges
associated with the project implementation. Openly share the results
with your stakeholders and others within the 9-1-1 community to ensure
that other organizations can benefit from the lessons. These lessons
often are applicable to any project implementation, and represent a
valuable investment in the success of any subsequent project management
can find additional information related to post-implementation review
of California, Office of Systems Integration, Project Management
Office—Post Implementation Evaluation Report Instructions. http://www.bestpractices.osi.ca.gov/sysacq/documents/PIER%20Instructions_final%20073008%20(5280).doc
of Washington, Information Services Board, Project Management
Framework, Closure—Post Implementation Review. http://isb.wa.gov/tools/pmframework/projectclosure/postimplementation.aspx
of Washington, Information Services Board, Project Management
Framework, PIR Report: http://isb.wa.gov/tools/pmframework/templates/PIRreport.doc
Information Services Board, Project Management Framework, PIR Survey. http://isb.wa.gov/tools/pmframework/templates/PIRsurvey.doc
can find additional information related to lessons learned at—
4.6 Sample Lessons
Project goals were achieved
could have been improved?
was outside of our control?
All requirements met
could have been improved?
was outside of our control?
Project completed according to schedule
could have been improved?
was outside of our control?
Project completed within budget
could have been improved?
was outside of our control?
could have been improved?
was outside of our control?
could have been improved?
was outside of our control?
could have been done differently?
recommendations would you make for future efforts?
Learned Consolidation Template
NENA. 911 Goes to Washington
Conference. For more information