UCR Policies and Procedures

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Policy Title:                 Campus Purchasing (Policies and Requirements)

Policy Number:           750-69

Responsible Officer:

Associate Vice Chancellor of Business & Financial Services and  Controller

Responsible Office:

Business and Financial Services

Origination Date:


Date of Revision:


Date of Last Review:



Guidance Concerning Campus Purchasing


I.            Basis for Policies and Requirements

The purchasing policies of the University are based upon the Bylaws and Standing Orders of The Regents of the University of California, and the State of California Public Contract Code (Chapter 2.1, Part 2, Article 2; Public Contract Code Section 10507, et seq.). In addition, Federal contracts and grants, and other extramural arrangements are major sources of funds for University purchases. Therefore, policies and requirements of the many funding agencies have been appropriately integrated into the basic Materiel Management policy (BFB-BUS-43) and the Standing Orders of The Regents to formulate the operating policies of the Procurement Services Department. The resultant policy as it pertains to University procurement activities includes the following:


Full compliance with obligations undertaken by the University as set forth in the terms, conditions, and provisions of Federal contracts and grants, and other extramural sponsor agreements. The University is committed to maintaining high standards of performance based upon fair, ethical, and professional business practices.


II.          Definitions                 

·         Unique Products and Services:  A product or service having characteristics, functions, or features such that only that single product with those particular functions or features, or such unique services will properly satisfy the needs of the University. Classifying a product or service in this manner implies that all other products or services are unacceptable for the specified need.

NOTE: A unique product or service may be available from multiple suppliers. In view of the fact that an advantage could be obtained by seeking quotations from or negotiating with multiple suppliers, such action will be taken.

·         Single Source Purchase:  A purchase of a commodity or service without obtaining competitive bids although more than one source is available.

·         Sole Source Purchase:   A purchase of a commodity or service that is noncompetitive in price, specifications, use, or scope of work.  The commodity or service is proprietary and no other supplier is qualified or willing to meet the specified requirements.

·         Federal Contract and Grants:  Extramural agreements which fund selected campus activities.

·         Purchase Contract:  A written agreement, between the University and a supplier, which contains the essential terms and conditions under which goods or services are to be furnished to the University.

·         Purchase Order:  A purchase contract written on a University purchase order form which becomes effective either through execution of both parties, or upon execution by the University and performance by the supplier.

·         Subcontract - A contract issued under a prime contract, which contains special flow down provisions and is generally utilized to procure research and development work.

·         $100,000 Annually -- Any single purchase contract or purchase order involving an estimated campus expenditure of $100,000 or more annually for materials, goods, or services; pertains to supply agreements, pool purchases and individual purchase transactions.

·         Negotiation:  Negotiating is the act or technique in which the buyer and seller resolve the precise terms of the purchase contract. The basic objective of negotiation is to achieve agreement. Buyers promote the interests of the University while the vendor promotes the interest of their business, with a common goal of reaching agreement. In other words, both parties want to come to agreement, but each wishes to obtain the most favorable position in terms of period of performance, quality of the items or services being purchased, and price. Ideally, both are satisfied with the final agreement and a reasonable price is found.


III.       Applicability of Policies

                  A.            General

All policies and requirements apply to every campus purchase activity, unless otherwise indicated.

                  B.            Federal Contracts and Grants

All policies and requirements apply to purchases funded exclusively by Federal agencies, but only to the extent that such policies and requirements are not in conflict with mandatory requirements of the agencies.


IV.       Prequalification Policy 

Purchase contracts will only be awarded to "Responsive/Responsible" suppliers submitting "responsive" offers. Determinations as to responsibility are made based on relevant factors that include, but are not limited to:  financial resources; past performance; delivery capability; experience; organization; personnel; technical skills; operations control; equipment; and facilities.


V.            Competition Policy

                    A.        Transactions of One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000) or more:

Competition must be sought for any transaction expected to involve an expenditure of $100,000 or more by as broad a solicitation as the situation indicates from sources believed most likely to be able to provide the required goods or services in the required time. Such solicitation shall be from at least three sources when possible and may, in a limited market, include written inquiries to determine supplier interest and capability, with the following exceptions:

·         Personal or professional services (i.e., attorneys, doctors, licensed engineers, etc.).

·         A unique item which is available only from a sole/single source

·         An item which is not unique, but which must match existing equipment located in the same installation or facility and such item is available only from a sole/single source

·         Purchases from a primary Strategic Sourcing agreement (These transactions are exempt since they have already been competitively bid.)

·         Requirements are not to be divided into separate transactions to preclude competition

                    B.        Transactions of Less than One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000):

Competition is sought by as broad a solicitation as the situation indicates from sources believed most likely to be able to provide the required goods or services in the required time. Generally, such solicitations are drawn from at least three sources when available. Negotiations are permitted for transactions less than $100,000 and may be used in conjunction with competitive quotes/bids.


VI.       Negotiation Policy 

The prices and terms of purchase are normally established through the competitive process. However, they may be established through negotiation when the transaction involves products or services identified as exceptions to the competitive bid process, or for transactions under $100,000 when the Director of Procurement Services, or designee, determines that negotiating will result in added value for the University. Negotiations may be conducted orally or in writing with one or more vendors. Before making a commitment, the prices to be paid must be determined to be reasonable.

All negotiating firms are treated on a fair and equal basis without any indication of a price which must be met (a budgeted amount or estimate may be disclosed, as appropriate), their relative standing among other negotiating firms, identity of competitors, or the content of other quotations or proposals. Procurement Service buyers and other individuals specifically delegated contractual authority are the only University personnel authorized to conduct binding negotiations.


VII.   "Reasonable Price" Policy 

Purchase contracts will be entered into only after it has been determined by the Director of Procurement Services, or designee, that prices to be paid are reasonable considering all of the circumstances pertaining to the particular purchase under consideration. See UCR P&P 750-72;  Campus Purchasing – Purpose, Function, and Organization.


Pricing techniques prescribed in federal regulations are used selectively in price or cost analysis, recognizing their fundamental soundness but taking into consideration the different character and scale of purchases for which these regulations have been developed. Literal compliance is necessary only for purchases under specific federal contracts and grants which require such action.


     VIII.      Feedback

For questions regarding this policy or associated procedures, contact the Director of Procurement Services.


IX.     Related References 

                     ·            BFB-BUS-43Materiel Management

                     ·            UCR Policy 750-72; Campus Purchasing – Purpose, Function, and Organization