1.1 Purchasing Policies and Objectives
Financial Records System (FRS)
Set-Aside, Minority and/or Women-Owned Businesses
Dealing with Vendors
Ethics and Conflict of Interest
How You Can Help
General Policy Statement
The University of Connecticut Purchasing Department
is committed to serving the University community with the timely and cost
effective procurement of goods and services. This
is accomplished through product knowledge, competitive bidding, negotiation
of special pricing agreements and contracts, and monitoring vendor performance.
All of these serve to maximize the University's purchasing power.
1.1.2 Purchasing Objectives
The primary objective of the Purchasing
Department is to buy goods and services of the right quality, in the right
quantity, at the right price, from the right source, and at
the right time.
The responsibilities associated with these objectives
- To develop
and maintain sources of supply for all goods and services capable of
meeting the University's needs;
- To maintain and promote compatible business relations
with vendors and the community in general;
- To foster harmonious working relations between the
Purchasing Department and other University departments;
- To recommend to potential users any new products and/or
services, or new uses for old products and services, that may aid the
users in the performance of their duties;
- To apprise relevant University customers of market
conditions and trends that may impact prices and/or availability of
the goods and services they purchase;
- To periodically review University purchases to assure
user needs are being optimally met by the goods and services purchased;
- To insure all purchases are made in accordance with
prevailing statutes, regulations, policies and procedures.
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1.2 Purchasing Authority
The 1991 legislative session granted the University greater autonomy over
its purchasing operations via passage of Public Act 91-256. As approved
by the Board of Trustees, under authority of the Act, and as amended by
PA 99-161, the basic purchasing policies are as follows:
of goods and services with an estimated total value of $10,000* or less
will not require competitive bidding. Departments can expedite the procurement
process by providing a written quotation with their purchase requisition.
(Purchasing reserves the option to competitively bid when it is in the
best interest of the University.)
- With the exception of federally
funded purchases, purchases of goods and services with an estimated
total value exceeding $10,000 but less than $50,000, and are not available
on preexisting State or University contracts or sole source agreements,
shall be based on at least three (3) competitive bids whenever possible.
*Exception to the $10,000 threshold: Federally funded purchases require
competition for purchases exceeding $3,000.
Purchases of goods and services with an estimated total
value exceeding $50,000 must be publicly advertised and competitively
bid. For federally funded purchases, the initial threshold is $25,000.
When the purchase of goods and services exceeds $50,000,
public advertising is an additional requirement. The bids must be advertised
for no less than twenty-one (21) calendar days and have been published
in a minimum of two daily newspapers and on the Purchasing Department's
Web site. However; the advertising period can be shortened in some special
In general, Purchasing allows twenty-one (21) calendar
days for the bid process (from the time bids are mailed to the date bids
are opened). However, depending on the complexity
of the acquisition, some solicitations may take longer.
1.2.2 The Board has also authorized the University to purchase supplies, materials,
equipment and contractual services through negotiation (non-competitive
purchases) in lieu of soliciting competitive bids when all the following
criteria are met:
- Such purchases are required to implement a Federal
grant, contract or financial agreement between the University and the
donor wherein funds or other things of value are
given with an obligation for service primarily to the donor by the University,
- Such supplies, materials, equipment or contractual
services are specified in such grant, contract or financial agreement, and/or other
- Sole source criteria has been met. (See section 2.1.2.c
1.2.3 Goods and services available under existing State Contracts may be purchased
from the State contract vendors in accordance with the terms and conditions
set forth therein. However, the University is not required to utilize
1.2.4 The Director of Procurement & Logistical
Services may establish University contracts for frequently ordered goods
and services, or convenience contracts. A convenience
contract is one wherein the primary consideration is convenience rather
than price. Criteria to be used in approving such contracts will include
travel time, administrative cost savings, product
application and availability.
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1.3 Financial Records System (FRS)
In October 1990, the Purchasing Department implemented
the Purchasing Module of the Financial Records System (FRS). FRS dramatically
reduces the amount of paperwork required by end
users, purchasing agents and accounts payable personnel.
Some of its advantages to you, the requisitioner, are:
- Instant online access to information
regarding disposition of purchase requisitions, bid status, purchase
order status, receiving information, and vendor payments;
- Reduced administrative and clerical workloads through
the automation of many functions, i.e., preparation of purchase requisitions,
and completing receiving reports;
- Simplification of processing requirements, which shortens
the procurement cycle.
Training is available from the Purchasing Department for
User/Departmental online entry of Purchase Requisition and Receiving Reports. Manuals are provided for these functions at the
time of training.
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Visit our Commodities Page or Staff Page for more information
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1.5 Set-Aside, Minority and/or Women-Owned Businesses
The Purchasing Department currently operates under existing State statutes
and procedures promulgated by the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities
and the Department of Economic Development. Under those statutes and procedures,
no cost preference is given to setÐaside, minority or woman owned business
The Purchasing Department is committed to promoting utilization
of set-aside, minority and woman owned business enterprises in the University's
procurement programs. The Director of Procurement and Logistical Services
or designee is authorized to: 1) change the source on any requisition
in order to direct University purchases to minority and woman owned businesses,
and 2) designate specific purchases for the exclusive participation by
minority and woman owned businesses.
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1.6 Contacting and Dealing with Vendors
Vendor representatives can be a valuable
source of information for products and services. However, it is in the
best interest of the University to assure that all vendors
are treated in a fair and impartial manner, and to avoid favoritism and
conflict of interest. To assist you in dealing with vendor representatives,
the following guidelines are suggested:
the appropriate Purchasing Agent or Purchasing Assistant in advance
to save time with your purchase. S/he may be able to provide names,
addresses and/or phone numbers of vendors, and existing contracts offering
the goods or services required. S/he can also assist in developing a
- Plan to discuss your need with more than one
vendor. Information gathering may reveal alternatives or data not previously
- All vendors
should be given the same information so each has an equal opportunity
to compete. Not providing equal information can be construed as showing
favoritism or misrepresentation. Recognize that permanent business relations
can be maintained only on a structure of honesty and fair dealings.
Difficult economic times also promote a litigious environment. Failure
to treat all vendors equitably may result in protests which can delay
the procurement process.
- Discuss all aspects of the need: i.e., what happens
after the department owns the purchase. Consider the life cycle approach
which includes: length of warranty, cost of maintenance, supplies, training,
repair costs after warranty, and/or response time required for repair.
The cost of the equipment or good may be insignificant compared to these
"hidden" costs over the life of the product.
- Guard against overreaction to a vendor created crisis:
"Price goes up after the first of the month" or "This
is the last one in stock".
- Unsolicited telephone sales should be ignored or referred
to the Purchasing Department. Such items have often been found to be
overpriced and of inferior quality.
- Conduct all business dealings in an impartial and
ethical manner. Never accept gifts, gratuities or payments of any kind,
including luncheon or dinner engagements or event tickets.
- Do not commit the University by telling a salesperson
he or she has the order. Only an authorized Purchasing designee may
sign and approve purchases from vendors. If you enter into an agreement
without the proper authority, you may be held personally liable for
payment under Connecticut law.
- Any equipment on loan from a vendor for testing and/or
evaluation requires completion of a University Equipment Loan Agreement
to avoid personal liability under Connecticut law. (See Section 2.6
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1.7 Ethics and Conflict of Interest
The University of Connecticut is a public
trust. Therefore it is our policy to maintain high standards of honesty,
integrity, impartiality, courtesy and conduct. Such policy
is implemented by prescribing essential standards of ethical conduct without
creating unnecessary obstacles.
To maintain these standards, the Purchasing Department
subscribes to the following principles in the procurement of goods and
services. It is essential that anyone conducting
business with a vendor also observe the ethical standards described herein.
- To give first consideration to the objectives and
policies of the University of Connecticut.
- To strive to obtain the maximum ultimate value for
each dollar of expenditure.
- To recognize that value represents the combination
of quality, service and price, assuring the greatest ultimate economy
to the user.
- To demand honesty in sales representation, whether
offered through the medium of a verbal or written statement, an advertisement
or a sample of the product.
- To grant all competitive bidders equal consideration;
to regard each transaction on its own merits; to foster and promote
fair, ethical and legal trade practices.
- To discharge our duties impartially to assure fair
competitive access to procurement from the University of Connecticut
by responsible contractors.
- To respect obligations and neither expressly nor implicitly
to promise a performance that cannot reasonably be fulfilled.
- To decline all personal gifts or gratuities.
- To make every reasonable effort to negotiate an equitable
and mutually agreeable settlement of any controversy with a supplier;
and/or be willing to submit any major controversies
to a third party review, insofar as the established policies of the
University of Connecticut permit.
It shall be a breach of ethical standards for any employee
or agent acting in behalf of the University of Connecticut:
- To solicit, demand, accept or
agree to accept a gratuity or any offer in connection with any decision,
approval, disapproval, recommendation or preparation of a purchase
- To unduly influence the content of any specification
or procurement standard.
- To agree to retain a person, solicit or secure a contract
upon an agreement or understanding for a commission, percentage, brokerage
or contingent fee.
- To knowingly use confidential information for actual
or anticipated personal gain or for the actual or anticipated personal
gain of any other person.
All University employees should be aware that unethical
conduct may involve a breach of state law, punishable by fine and/or incarceration.
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1.8 How You Can Help
As outlined in the Introduction, each employee plays
an active role in the purchasing function. To assist the Purchasing Agents
in expediting your requests, we offer the following
- Identify those areas where you
can plan ahead for procurement, thereby allowing us to plan our workload.
The more time Purchasing and the vendor have to
process an order, the better job we can do for
- Provide all available information with your requisition
(See Section 2.1 - Initiating a Purchase Requisition).
- Submit an accurate description of the product as it
will be shipped and invoiced. Many orders are not invoiced in the same
unit of measure as ordered.
- Notify Purchasing immediately if a duplicate shipment
has been received and whether or not you intend to keep it. Submit the
appropriate paperwork required to amend the original order or return
the duplicate shipment. (See Section 2.5 - Returned Goods Procedures)
- Do not add additional items to an established order
without authorization from the appropriate Purchasing Agent. Doing so
delays vendor payments, thereby jeopardizing supplier
- If special conies are received (e.g., bond or grant
funds) from which extra procurement will be made, apprise the appropriate
Purchasing Agent so s/he may be prepared to administer
the increased volume.
- Add recommended vendors to the Purchase Requisition
including name of company, representative, address, telephone number
and Federal Employer Identification number (FEIN),
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