3.1 Requests For Purchase (RFPs)
Requests for Proposal (RFPs) documents are issued for procurement actions that are not provided for in other means of procurement, such as statewide contracts, purchasing cards, etc. The RFP provides detailed instructions to allow multiple vendors to respond. The RFP is structured so that desired outcomes may be ranked in a quantitative fashion so that vendor selection is a documented result. It is important that the RFP spells out in detail how the rating system will work, and that the vendor selection and related award of contract can be publicly defended if required. Guidelines for structuring the RFP document may be obtained from DOAS.
Note: State and/or DOAS rules and regulations do not apply to purchases from Agency funds.
3.1.1 Cost Limits and Related Processing Rules
Contracts under $5,000 do not have to be competitively procured.
Each institution has a limit, designated by DOAS, for issuing RFPs. For procurement actions expected to exceed the institutional limit, the Department of Administrative Services must publish the required notices and manage the RFP process. In certain circumstances with prior approval, DOAS will allow the institution to manage the RFP process when the expected result exceeds the institutional limit, subject to review by DOAS.
All RFPs that exceed the approved limit for the particular institution must be processed through DOAS. Institutions should check with DOAS to determine their approved limit.
Note: These limits do not apply to construction contracts.
Regardless of the dollar amount, DOAS must give written approval before any RFPs may be issued, and all RFPs must be listed on the state procurement registry.
Multi-year contracts are permitted, up to a maximum of five (5) years, as long as there is no commitment of debt by the institution. An example would be a food services contract with a third party vendor where the vendor is paying the institution a commission based upon a percentage of sales.
Multi-year contracts that involve an agreement by the contractor to construct or renovate facilities and amortize that cost over the life of the agreement are permitted when effectively paid by reduction of the anticipated commission payments from the contractor to the institution if:
- The agreement has a clause permitting the institution to terminate prior to the contract end date; and,
- The institution has in reserve at all times the necessary cash funds to pay the full unamortized construction costs.
Every contract must have clauses that allow the institution to cancel the contract for cause and/or financial exigency.
3.1.2 Exemptions from the Competitive Procurement Procedure Construction and Public Works
The USG is exempt from the DOAS procedures for construction and public works contracts.
Sole Source Procurements
DOAS policy permits sole source procurements, but research must be conducted to identify other sources and documentation (including excess cost justification) must be recorded. Some examples of when a sole source could be acceptable are:
When only the proposed source can furnish the services because of its previous BOR experience and having an alternative source duplicating these capabilities would result in excess cost.
When only one supplier can satisfy the technical requirements because of unique technical competence or expertise.
When the item does not satisfy the requirements for sole source, but the use of any other manufacturer would result in excessive costs.
When only one source possesses the patent(s) or exclusive right(s) to manufacture or to furnish the item or service.
Authority for processing technology procurements is assigned to the Georgia Technology Authority (GTA) through the Official Code of the Georgia Assembly (O.C.G.A § 50-25). In the same chapter (O.C.G.A § 50-25-1), the USG is specified as being exempt from this legislation. The establishment of the GTA intersected with the authority of the Department of Administrative Services (DOAS), which resulted in a memorandum of understanding between the GTA, DOAS, and the USG in 2007 granting delegated authority, with some constraints, for technology procurements to the USG Vice Chancellor and Chief Information Officer (VC/CIO).
Section 11.2 of the BoR Policy Manual delegates authority from the Board of Regents to the USG VC/CIO to approve USG technology procurements on their behalf. Section 11.2.1 authorizes the USG VC/CIO to further delegate approval authority to institution presidents or their designee(s). This section of the Business Procedures Manual implements this BoR policy.
The USG VC/CIO delegates approval authority for individual IT purchases according to the following limits:
$500,000: Georgia Health Sciences University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University, and the University of Georgia.
$250,000: Columbus State University, Georgia Perimeter College, Georgia Southern University, Kennesaw State University, University of West Georgia, and Valdosta State University.
$100,000: All other institutions, the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, and the Shared Services Center.
IT Procurement Policies
Information Technology (IT) is defined in Section 11.0, Information Technology (IT), of the BoR Policy Manual.
Procurement of technology-related goods and services should follow the relevant BPM procedures.
Authorization is not required for activities that are part of normal maintenance of an existing system.
Any purchase of software that necessitates an inbound data interface with any hosted/centrally supported USG enterprise application must be approved by the USG VC/CIO.
Purchases for goods or services that are likely to have a significant impact on the wide area network bandwidth allocated to the institution should be carefully planned with the USG VC/CIO.
Externally approved, grant-funded technology purchases that do not interact with USG enterprise applications or USG enterprise networks may be approved by the institution president or his/her designee for IT purchases.
Institutions may not divide large purchases into smaller packages to avoid the need for USG approval. Individual purchases that are below these amounts, but are part of a larger initiative that will eventually exceed these amounts, shall also require written USG VC/CIO approval; e.g., purchases of microcomputers for various lab locations on a campus even if the purchases are for different buildings and from multiple fund sources.
USG VC/CIO approval of IT requests will expire one (1) year after being granted.
IT requests requiring USG VC/CIO approval must be submitted via the SharePoint CIO Advisory Council Team Site by following the USG IT Purchase Approval link in the left hand menu.
The USG VC/CIO normally approves IT requests within four (4) business days of receipt. A signed letter containing the decision will be emailed to the institution president or his/her designee once a decision is reached. Institutions should plan appropriately.
Professional and Personnel Services
Professional services and personnel services do not have to go through the competitive procurement process, but the definitions of professional services and personnel services are very limited. Professional services are defined by O.C.G.A. § 14-7-2 as follows:
Profession means the profession of certified public accountancy, architecture, chiropractic, dentistry, professional engineering, land surveying, law, psychology, medicine and surgery, optometry, osteopathy, podiatry, veterinary medicine, registered professional nursing, or harbor piloting.
Generally, professionals that are certified in their fields can be hired non-competitively to do work in the certified field for which they are specifically licensed. Examples include:
- A CPA may be hired to provide accounting services, but not management consulting without a competitive process.
- An architect may be hired to design a building, but may not develop a campus plan without a competitive process.
Payment to professionals should be charged to the appropriate per diem and fees account. Personnel employment services are those services rendered by a person who works full-time or part-time for and under the control of the state and receives compensation as a salary in direct payment from a department, agency, or institution of state government; e.g., your work as a BOR employee.
3.1.3 Background Checks of Vendor Employees
Institutions shall review services provided to the institution by a vendor when the services require regular interaction with students, employees, monies, sensitive/confidential data, or facilities. In instances when the institution determines that the scope of work being performed by a vendor’s employee is such that a background check should be required, the institution should seek appropriate contractual protections, include requiring the vendor obtain appropriate background checks for all such vendor employees. Examples of services could include outsourced bookstore operations, food services, maintenance, custodial workers, and call centers that involve access to confidential data.
Vendors maintain full responsibility for the actions of their employees and will be fully responsible for enforcing and implementing an appropriate background check requirement. The vendor will review the results of the background check. The institution should not obtain the results of these checks. If appropriate, the requirement for a vendor to conduct background checks on its employees and to indemnify the institution against the actions of vendor employees must be specified in the contract for services.