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Contracts and Procurement

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3.1 Contract Process Overview and Governance

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Overview

The University of Texas System Administration enters into a wide variety of contracts.  The focus of the procedures in the section specifically address contracts for the purchase of goods and services.  A purchase order is a type of contract that is generally limited to a transaction that will take place within a specific fiscal year and can be governed by a standard set of terms and conditions.  The Office of Contracts and Procurement (CNP) is responsible for determining whether a purchase order of a contract will be issued.  In all cases, the purchase must be approved prior to issuance of a purchase order or a contract as defined in CNP Procedure 1.4 “Purchasing Process”.

Governance

There are a variety of legislative, University of Texas, and University of Texas System Administration guidelines to govern how contracts are processed and monitored.  The following is a recap of the primary sources of guidance:

Texas Education Code 51.9337 requires that institutions of higher education establish:

  • a code of ethics for those individuals authorized to execute contracts and those individuals exercising discretion in awarding contracts
  • a system-wide compliance program designed to promote ethical behavior
  • publication of a Contract Management Handbook that provide consistent policies and procedures for processing contracts, including a risk analysis procedure
  • clear delegation of authority guidelines for contracts that do not require Board of Regents approval
  • training for individuals authorized to execute contracts or to exercise discretion in awarding contracts
  • policies governing conflict of interest, conflicts of commitment, and outside activities
  • establishment of contract review procedures and a checklist of items that describes each process that must be completed before contract execution

UTS 145

  • establishes specific procedures for processing contracts for all UT institutions
  • provides guidance on the type of contract to be used
  • establishes dollar thresholds for each institution that triggers mandatory review by the Office of General Counsel
  • establishes procedures for submitting contracts for approval by the Board of Regents

Contract Management Handbook

  • each UT institution is required to publish a Contract Management Handbook and provide a copy to the State of Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts for publication on their website
  • the handbook includes:
    • steps required in planning for a procurement
    • preparation of the solicitation
    • publication of the solicitation
    • evaluation of proposals and contract award
    • contract formation
    • contract administration

Regents Rule 10501 – Delegation to Act on Behalf of the Board

  • identification of significant contracts or documents
  • assurance of authority to act
  • delegation process
  • delegate’s responsibilities
  • power to establish policies
  • compliance with special instructions
  • contracts not requiring board approval
  • matters not delegated
  • exceptions

Regents Rule 20901 – Procurement of Goods and Services; Contract Management Handbook

  • code of ethics
  • internal investigations and audit protocols
  • contract management handbook
  • contract and performance monitoring
  • notice to the board
  • required training

UTS 180 – Conflicts of Interest, Conflicts of Commitment, and Outside Activities

  • establishes procedures and guidelines for requesting and reporting
  • establishes an electronic database for management of employee requests and disclosures

Office of Contracts and Procurement Procedures

  • provides specific written procedures that govern procurement and contracting transactions
    • General Purchasing Procedures
    • Special Handling/General Information
    • Contracting Procedures