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1.3 Purchasing Ethics

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A. Introduction

The standards governing ethical behavior for all University of Texas System institutions is published on The University of Texas System Ethics website under Ethics Standards.

In addition to the UT System standards, the following guidelines govern purchasing practices at UT System:

  • Every effort will be made by UT System to obtain the maximum ultimate value for each dollar of expenditure.
  • UT System Office of Contracts and Procurement, their staff, and others authorized to make purchases will not accept personal gifts or gratuities that might in any way result in an obligation to individuals or firms seeking business with UT System.
  • Honesty in sales representation is demanded by UT System, whether offered through the medium of oral or written statement, an advertisement, or a sample of the product.
  • All qualified, reputable bidders will be given equal opportunity to submit bids on a uniform basis when competition is possible.
  • No vendors will receive special consideration or be allowed to revise their offers after the time set for opening bids, except in the case of Requests for Proposal (RFPs).

B. Ethics Considerations for Staff

UT System staff who have influence over purchasing decisions should specifically be aware of the following sections from the UT System Ethics website:

  • Conflicts of Interests
    Officers and employees of UT System may not have a direct or indirect interest, financial or otherwise, that is in substantial conflict with the proper discharge of their job duties as defined in UTS 180 - Conflicts of Interest, Conflicts of Commitment, and Outside Activities. Potential conflicts of interest must be disclosed using the Conflict of Interest/Commitment Electronic Reporting System. CNP will conduct verifications on certain high risk procurements.
  • Gifts
    An employee should not accept or solicit any gift, favor, service, or loan that might reasonably appear to influence the employee in the discharge of official duties. Note: Accepting a gift may constitute a criminal offense under certain circumstances.
  • Self-Dealing
    An employee may not transact any business in an official capacity with any business entity of which the employee is an officer, agent, or member, or in which the employee owns a substantial interest.
  • Purchases from/by Employees
    Purchases are not permitted from an employee unless approved by the Chancellor, as appropriate, and the cost is less than from any other known source. Similarly, an employee may not purchase equipment or property from UT System without approval by the Chancellor, as appropriate.
  • Benefits for Performing Official Duties
    An employee should not solicit, accept, or agree to accept any benefit for having exercised official powers or for having performed official duties.

Staff who participate in the evaluation of vendor bids and proposals are required to sign and abide by a Conflict of Interest Statement and Confidentiality Agreement that applies specifically to the solicitation being evaluated. Evaluation team members must sign a separate agreement for every bid/proposal they are asked to evaluate.

Any violations of these purchasing ethics will be reported promptly by the Office of Contracts and Procurement to the Executive Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs in the Office of Business Affairs at The University of Texas System.