Business Procedures Manual

Essential business procedural components for University System of Georgia institutions.

3.1 Purchase Requisitions/Orders

(Last Modified on September 5, 2017)

When a need is determined for goods and/or services, a purchase requisition is submitted primarily electronically and on rare occasion by a paper requisition to the Institution’s Purchasing Department. Agency budget managers must review and approve requisitions prior to submission allowing the Institution purchasing department to take action on their behalf.

The State Accounting Office (SAO) released an update to the State Accounting Manual effective May 1, 2014, to provide guidance to state entities on when a purchase order is expected in the procurement of goods and services. A purchase order is required for all purchases of goods and services more than $2,500 except for certain types of purchases specified in this Accounting update. For additional detail go to:

https://sao.georgia.gov/sites/sao.georgia.gov/files/related_files/site_page/BP_Statewide_Purchase_Order_Policy_final.pdf

Purchase orders must contain an authorized signature, correct payment and delivery terms, and the appropriate “purchase type” codes and commodity codes as prescribed in the Georgia Procurement Manual. In addition, all PO line descriptions must clearly identify what is being purchased (using quote, manufacturer, or item number alone are not acceptable).

(Last Modified on September 5, 2017)

  1. Procurements under $25,000 do not have to be competitively procured. However, it is best practice to obtain three quotes when possible to ensure pricing is competitive.

  2. Purchase over $25,000.00 unless exempt must be competitively bid. Competitive bids are conducted when other means of procurement, such as state or entity contracts are not available.

  3. Request for Quotes (RFQs) are used when the goods or services can be clearly specified and is awarded to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder.

  4. Request for Proposals (RFPs) are used primarily for complex purchases, primarily services. The RFP process allows suppliers to propose their own comprehensive and innovative solution to the state’s needs described in the RFP. The RFP seeks to identify the “best value” for the state by using a combination of technical and cost factors to evaluate suppliers’ proposals.

  5. Procurement personnel conducting solicitations should be trained and certified by State Purchasing Division (SPD). Institution Procurement Officers (CUPO) must follow the guidelines for certification outlined in the Georgia Procurement Manual (GPM).

  6. Unless State Purchasing Division (SPD) has granted delegated purchasing authority to the institution to make the RFP certification on its own, or to use the Fast Track RFP Process, as detailed in Section 2.4.2.1 of the GPM, the institution must submit a written request and justification to SPD.

  7. Prior to using the RFP process to establish a contract, the state must certify in writing that the use of competitive sealed bidding (i.e., the RFQ process) will not be practicable or advantageous to the state (O.C.G.A.) Section 50-5-67. Standard RFP certification language is included in all SPD RFP templates.

  8. Each institution has a Delegated Purchasing Authority (DPA) limit, designated by SPD. For procurement actions expected to exceed the institutional limit, SPD must publish the required notices and manage the RFP process. In certain circumstances with prior approval, SPD will allow the institution to manage the solicitation process when the expected result exceeds the institutional limit, subject to review by SPD. The CUPO is responsible for ensuring the state entity does not exceed its DPA and that all conditions of the DPA are met.

    Note: These limits do not apply to construction or public works contracts.

    Purchases for services greater than $2499.99 must have a notarized immigration affidavit prior to contract execution or issuance of a Purchase Order. Suppliers and state entities shall comply with the requirements of (O.C.G.A.) §13-10-90 et seq. Additional information regarding Immigration and Security Compliance can be found on the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts website.

  9. 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. Exceptions to the five years must be approved in advance by SPD and the University System Office. An example would be a food services contract with a third party supplier. See paragraph 3.4.2. Dining and Catering Contracts for additional requirements.

  10. 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

(Last Modified on September 5, 2017)

State Purchasing Division (SPD) has established a list of goods/services by NIGP™ Code which are either exempt from the State Purchasing Act or represent goods for which SPD has waived the competitive bidding requirements. This list is available on SPD’s website. SPD may update this list from time to time by posting a new version of the list. It is always a best practice to view the NIGP Exempt List online for up to-date exempt NIGP Codes. NIGP exemptions can be located at: http://doas.ga.gov/state-purchasing/purchasing-tools/nigp-codes

3.1.2.1 University System Service Level Agreements

Since competitive procurement procedures apply to agreements with external vendors or contractors, University System of Georgia (USG) institutions and the University System Office (USO) are exempted from these procedures when purchasing goods and services within the USG. Intra USG purchases of services shall be addressed through a simplified agreement Service Level Agreement written in plain language that describes: (1) Purpose of the agreement; (2) Nature of the services provided; (3) Nature of the financial consideration being provided in exchange for the services provided; and (4) Billing method and required billing documentation. Additional components may be added to the agreement; however, every effort should be made to minimize unnecessary or irrelevant additions. For example, it would be unnecessary to require one USG institution to provide another USG institution with copies of audited financial statements or budgets.

USG institutions should update their contracting, procurement and accounts payable policies and procedures to comply with this BPM revision. Agreements should only be signed by those with delegated authority to sign contracts, which, as a matter of course, do not require legal review.

A Sample Service Level Agreement between the USO and a USG institution is available at the following link for reference purposes. This agreement may be modified for use between USG institutions.

3.1.2.2 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 maintained. Some examples of when a sole source could be acceptable are:

  1. 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.

  2. When only one supplier can satisfy the technical requirements because of unique technical competence or expertise.

  3. When the item does not satisfy the requirements for sole source, but the use of any other manufacturer would result in excessive costs.

  4. When only one source possesses the patent(s) or exclusive right(s) to manufacture or to furnish the item or service.

3.1.2.3 Technology Procurements

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 Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. 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.

Spending Limits

The USG VC/CIO delegates approval authority for individual IT purchases according to the following limits:

  1. $500,000: Georgia Institute of Technology, Augusta University, Georgia State University and the University of Georgia.

  2. $250,000: Columbus State University, University of North Georgia, Georgia Southern University, Kennesaw State University, University of West Georgia and Valdosta State University

  3. $100,000: All other USG organizations.

IT Procurement Policies

  1. Information Technology is defined in Section 11.0, Information Technology (IT), of the BPM.

  2. Procurement of technology-related goods and services should follow the relevant BPM procedures.

  3. Authorization is not required for activities that are part of normal maintenance of an existing system.

  4. Any purchase of software that necessitates an inbound data interface with any hosted or centrally supported USG enterprise application must be approved by the USG VC/CIO.

  5. 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.

  6. 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 or her designee for IT purchases.

  7. 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.

  8. USG VC/CIO approval of IT requests will expire one year after being granted.

  9. If there is a revised cost estimate to a previously approved IT procurement request and that estimate increases by more than 10%, a new IT procurement approval must be obtained.

  10. Purchases over $1 million will require a business case to be submitted for review and approval.

3.1.2.4 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, § 43-39-1 and § 14-10-2(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 Supplier Employees

(Last Modified on September 5, 2017)

Institutions shall review services provided to the institution by a supplier 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 suppliers’ employee is such that a background check should be required, the institution must seek appropriate contractual protections, include requiring the supplier obtain appropriate background checks for all such supplier employees. Examples of services could include outsourced bookstore operations, food services, maintenance, custodial workers, summer camp services and call centers that involve access to confidential data.

Suppliers maintain full responsibility for the actions of their employees and will be fully responsible for enforcing and implementing an appropriate background check requirement which conforms to State, Federal, Local and USG Guidelines. 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 supplier to conduct background checks on its employees and to indemnify the institution against the actions of supplier employees must be specified in the contract for services.


3.1.4 Federal Procurement Requirements

(Last Modified on September 13, 2018)

In accordance with the Uniform Guidance issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), purchases funded by Federal grant funds must adhere to regulations found in 2 CFR 200 Uniform Guidance as a condition of receiving funds and to meet annual audit compliance. All University System of Georgia institutions must implement the new procurement guidelines for all Federal purchases made under federal research grants, agreements and contracts effective July 1, 2018. Please note there is potential for an institution to be granted a waiver to portions of the Uniform Guidance from the applicable Federal Granting Agency. Federal waiver documentation must be maintained by the USG Institution.

The USG promotes objectivity in College/University research by establishing processes that provide a reasonable expectation that the design, conduct, and reporting of sponsored research is free from bias resulting from financial conflicts of interest of the College/University employee involved in the research.

3.1.4.1 Code of Conduct and Conflict of Interest

USG institutions must maintain written standards of conduct covering conflicts of interest and governing the actions of its employees engaged in the selection, award and administration of contracts. No employee or agent of USG may participate in the selection, award, or administration of a contract funded by federal grant dollars if he or she has an actual or apparent conflict of interest.

A “Conflict of Interest” exists whenever personal, professional, commercial, or financial interests or activities outside of the College/University have the possibility (either in actuality or in appearance) of influencing a College/University employee’s decision or behavior with respect to teaching and student affairs, appointments and promotions, uses of College/University resources, procurement and business transactions, or other matters of interest to the College/University or of biasing the design, conduct or reporting of College/University research. An essential step in addressing a Conflict of Interest is for the College/University employee involved to make full disclosure of relevant information related to any actual or potential conflict of interest so that interested parties inside and outside of the College/University may evaluate such information. The BOR Policy Manual contains the USG Ethics Policy and outlines Code of Conduct and Conflict of Interest/Commitment requirements. This information is located at: 8.2.18 Personnel Conduct

The USG Business Procedures Manual provides information on Reporting Wrongdoing at: 16.4 Reporting Wrongdoing

3.1.4.2 Federal Funds Procurement Types

  1. Micro-purchases - the acquisition of supplies or services, the aggregate dollar amount of which does not exceed $10,000.
  2. Small purchase - the acquisition of supplies, services or equipment in the range of $10,001 to $150,000.
  3. Sealed bids - For acquisitions costing more than $150,000, bids are publicly solicited and a firm fixed price contract is awarded to the responsible bidder whose bid is the lowest price.
  4. Competitive proposals - For acquisitions costing more than $150,000, conducted with more than one source submitting an offer, and either a fixed price or cost-reimbursement type contract is awarded. Contracts must be awarded to the responsible firm whose proposal is most advantageous to the program with price and other factors considered.
  5. Noncompetitive proposals - procurement through solicitation of a proposal from only one source. A waiver must be granted by submitting the Sole Source Intent to Award Justification Form. Sole Source justification may be used when a procured item or service is only available from a single source, during a public emergency, approved by Federal agency, or when competition is deemed inadequate after solicitation from a number of sources.

All five procurement types must comply with the Procurement Standards in 2 CFR 200 Uniform Guidance Section 200.318, which can be summarized generally as follows: (1) the purchase complies with the non-Federal entity’s documented procedures in place, (2) purchases are necessary, (3) open competition (to the extent required by each method), (4) conflict of interest policy and (5) proper documentation for the purchases.

3.1.4.3 Procurement Procedures

Federal and /or private grant funds are not exempt from the State Purchasing Act. The rules of competitive bidding still apply and institutions must follow the order of precedence outline in the Georgia Procurement Manual.

Purchases less than $10,000 (Micro-purchase)

The buyer/requester should identify potential suppliers. When possible, Statewide Contracts should be used.

Note: Installment payments less than $10,000 towards a total purchase price greater than $10,000 does not count as micro purchases. The total dollar amount of purchase must be considered. Purchases should not be split to circumvent procurement requirements.

Purchases between $10,001 and $24,999 (Small purchase)

A minimum of two (2) price quotes must be obtained and be the basis for supplier selection prior to making a purchase. Documentation needs to be in writing from the suppliers and can include screen shots from websites, copies of published price lists and advertised pricing in established magazines or journals. When possible, buyers/requesters should use Statewide Contracts, when used two price quotes are not required.

Purchases between $25,000 and $150,000

Bids will need to be posted to the Georgia Procurement Registry per the guidelines below. Goods and services classified by DOAS as statutory exemptions will follow the Uniform Guidance (UG) requirements for Small Purchases.

Public Posting Guidelines
If the Estimated Contract Value is…Then, the Posting Period is…
$25,000 - $99,999.99Minimum of Three (3) Business Days
$100,000 - $249,999.99
(UG $150,000 or more requires sealed Bid)
Minimum of Five (5) Business Days
$250,000 or moreMinimum of Fifteen (15) Calendar Days

Purchases $250,000 or greater

The institution will follow the State Purchasing Division competitive bid requirements outline in the Georgia Procurement Manual located at: http://pur.doas.ga.gov/gpm/MyWebHelp/GPM_Main_File.htm

Sole Source Purchases

There may be times when competitive bids are not appropriate and the requirement for obtaining them may be waived. Failing to anticipate needs resulting from poor planning is not an exception to competitive requirements. For an exception to be valid, a clear statement of justification for waiving the competitive bidding, process must be submitted in writing for approval by completing the Sole Source Intent to Award Justification Form.

Note: The Sole Source form is not required for procurements $10,000 or less or for DOAS statutory exemptions.

Situations that would justify purchases without the competitive bid process are:

  • The supplier is obviously a sole source for the item. Examples:
    • The item is available only from a single source
    • Artwork
    • Unusual and generally unavailable used equipment
    • Specialized scientific equipment and instruments
    • A specialized service (e.g. consultant) where the supplier has a one-of-a-kind ability to provide the required service due to demonstrably unique circumstances (knowledge, contacts, experience)
    • Continuation of a current service where changing suppliers could result in excessive cost
    • The federal awarding agency or pass-through entity expressly authorizes noncompetitive proposals in response to a written request from the non-Federal entity; or
    • After solicitation of a number of sources, competition is determined inadequate.
  • The item will be physically connected to existing equipment or the purchase is an upgrade to existing equipment/software.
  • The public urgency or emergency for the requirement will not permit a delay resulting from competitive solicitation. Examples:
    • Human life, health or University property is in jeopardy
    • Repairs are immediately needed for equipment where delay would lead to higher expense.
  • Subcontracts whereby the agreement to work with another individual or institution was written into the grant award.

3.1.4.4 Contract Provisions

Institution contracts funded with Federal Funds must contain the applicable provisions described in the Uniform Administration Requirements in Appendix II to Part 200- Contract Provision for non-Federal Contracts under Federal Award. Additionally, all contracts must address administrative, contractual or legal remedies for violations or breaches with appropriate penalties and/or sanctions; and the contract must address termination for cause and convenience with the manner of exercising these provisions.

For contracts in excess of $100,000 using federal dollars. The contract must contain the following provisions:

Applicable for bids/awards with federal dollars exceeding $100,000:

Byrd Anti-Lobbying Amendment. Pursuant to 22 CFR Part 227, Contractor agrees to: (a) sign and submit to the BOR (i) upon signing of this Agreement, the required certification that it has not used and will not use federal appropriated funds to influence various government officials in making certain federal awards, using the “Certification Regarding Lobbying” form, and (ii) the “Disclosure of Lobbying Activities Form”, if it uses or has agreed to use funds other than federal appropriated funds for this purpose; (b) sign and submit to IAVI at the end of each calendar quarter the Standard Form LLL, Disclosure of Lobbying Activities Form, if (i) it uses or has agreed to use funds other than federal appropriated funds and/or (ii) an event occurs that materially affects (as defined in 22 CFR Part 227) the accuracy of any information contained in any Disclosure Form previously submitted by the Contractor to IAVI. This provision must be included in all contracts, subcontracts or sub-awards exceeding $100,000 awarded hereunder.


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