Per California State Law (Public Contract Code Section 10507.7 and California Constitution, Article 9), and as supported in University policy Business and Finance Bulletin (BUS) 43, the UC is a public trust, and to insure the security of its funds and compliance with the terms of the endowments of the UC, purchases over $99,999.99 (regardless of funding source) must be publicly and competitively bid. Competitive bidding provides the public with a fair opportunity to provide goods & services to the UC, stimulates competitive pricing in a manner conducive to sound fiscal practices, protects the public from misuse of public funds, and eliminates favoritism, fraud and corruption in the awarding of public contracts.

As of 6/2021, we have a new Form A: Source Selection & Price Reasonableness Form. This new UCOP form is to be used for all federal orders at and over $10,000, AND non-federal orders at and over $100k.

UC Policy BFB-BUS-43 Purchases of Goods and Services requires competitive bids for purchases over $99,999.99 on any fund that is not Federal. For federally funded purchases, the threshold for cost analysis is $9,999.99, and the competitive bid requirement is set at $99,999.99. However, in some circumstances competition cannot be sought because equipment or services are deemed proprietary or unique to a particular vendor.

In this case, the requesting department must submit a Form A. We will provide guidance on the Sole Source, and submit to the Materiel Manager for ultimate approval (BUS-43, Section III, Part 1, Subsection D.1). You must provide a thorough and complete response to all the questions before Procurement will accept the Sole Source.

When you request a sole source justification, consider the following:

  • Reasonable price: Even though there may be good reason for a sole source, we enter into a purchase contract only after determining that we will be paying reasonable prices. Documented price comparisons, discounts off published price lists, buyers’ knowledge of market, Fair Trade laws and other cost-price analyses determine if the price is reasonable.
  • Proprietary needs: When you believe that only a specific proprietary item or service will properly satisfy your requirements, include a description of the technical features that make that product or service the only one that fulfills your needs.
  • Extenuating circumstances: When the prime-sponsoring agency or governing law directs the purchase, or when unusual or compelling urgency for acquiring the goods or services precludes obtaining formal competition (federal purchases only), the purchase may qualify for sole source justification.
  • Other reasons for justifying a sole source include:
    • Evidence of extraordinary or unusual trade or market conditions or contingencies that preclude the availability of qualified alternate vendors.
    • Necessity of acquiring propriety item which must be compatible with existing equipment or systems and which is available only from the original manufacturer.
    • Necessity of acquiring items possessing specific features essential for the completion of the task or project at hand, and which are available from only one source.
    • Change of brands or manufacturers would compromise the continuity and integrity of the project.
    • Necessity of acquiring unique or specialized good or services supplied by a vendor who has the exclusive right to manufacture and/or sell such items or provide such services.

The following will not validate a Sole Source transaction:

  • Departmental preference for a specific vendor, product or service.
  • Budgetary considerations or constraints.
  • Historical precedence or a claim of best price. Only current competitive bidding in the open market substantiates best possible pricing.
  • Citing the item is included in the C&G proposal budget as a line item. The government and awarding agency still requires we go through the proper price and source justification for each purchase.
  • Pre-work with the selected vendor to customize the equipment, thereby excluding competition.

NOTE: All sole source justifications are subject to public review. Excluded suppliers have the right to review submitted justification forms upon request. Suppliers also have the right to protest any purchase for which they believe the justification given is not adequate or is based on invalid or inaccurate grounds. Accordingly, end users are advised to ensure that submitted justification forms contain clear, reasonable, in depth, accurate and defensible information in order to avoid the possibility of incurring legal expenses and or suspending/delaying the procurement process.