The Office of Procurement Services within the Office of Financial Affairs and Treasury Services is responsible for the procurement functions of the university. Generally, within guidelines described below, individuals may initiate purchases covered by funds approved in their budgets or assigned to them from an award. The ability to encumber funds rest within the procurement services office.
All funds received by the university, regardless of source, are university funds and must be managed in accordance with university policy. The uses of grant funds are further restricted by applicable laws, the rules and regulations of the granting entity, and the terms and conditions of the grant.
No action on behalf of the university to purchase, lease or rent goods, facilities or services may be taken by an employee of the university except as provided within this document. This policy includes budget controls to ensure that only individuals with budget authority (or authorized designees) initiate purchases and, when appropriate, that requesters seek competitive bids or provide appropriate sole or single-source documentation.
Only designated university procurement personnel may act as agents to represent the university in major purchases, leases, or rental of goods, facilities and services. In light of this policy, it is imperative that principal investigators, university budget managers and other university employees work with appropriate university procurement personnel early in the planning of major purchases with grant or university funds.
Purchases made without appropriate authorization may become the personal liability of the employee. Violation of this policy shall be reported to the dean or vice president in charge of the employee committing such violations, to the Director of Procurement Services, and the Vice President for Financial Affairs and Chief Operating Officer, and may lead to disciplinary action, including suspension or termination.
Procurement Authorization Policy for University Funds
- Procurement transactions under $10,000 require the signature of the approved university Budget Manager or his/her designee(s) unless otherwise limited by the Department Chair, or Head, or Director1. Purchase Orders must be signed by the authorized Procurement Representative.
- Procurement transactions $10,000 and over require the above signature(s), as well as signature(s) according to the following authorization limits. POs require the signature of the Director or Assistant Director of Procurement Services:
- Dean, Vice President, Department Chair, Department Head, Department Director, or designee (who is not the requisitioner) $10,000 to $100,000.
- Vice President for Financial Affairs greater than $100,000.
Procurement Authorization Policy for Grant Funds
Principal Investigator or authorized designee (as maintained by Sponsored Programs Accounting) signature is required for all grant funded purchases regardless of value.2
The following procurement transactions require additional approval(s):
Outside services with Independent Contractors: All requests must be approved by the controller or his/her designee. See Independent Contractors below for additional details.
Radioactive materials: All requests will be copied to the radiation safety officer.
Equipment ($5,000 and over): Equipment is defined as having a value greater than $5,000 with a useful life greater than two years. All equipment will be tagged by accounting for inventory tracking purposes and requires that an Equipment Acquisition Form (.xls) be completed.
Procurement transactions greater then $25,000 require documented competitive analysis. Please refer to Bid Requirements below for details.
The following table shows the different methods for acquiring goods and services.
|Dollar Value||Procurement Card*||Payment Request Form||Purchase Order|
|$1 to $1,499.99**||Recommended first choice||Available, but not recommended||Available, but not recommended|
|$1,500 and over||Not available||Not available||Required|
There are certain acquisitions that are better managed by other systems or procedures. These include but are not limited to:
- Advertising Services
- Single Library Information Resource Item <$5,000
- Construction Contracts greater than $250,000
- Architectural Contracts greater than $50,000
- Unique Art or Artwork
- Employee Travel Reimbursements
- Employee Non-Travel Reimbursements less than $1,500
- Independent Contractors
- Insurance, including Employee benefit-related insurance
- Legal and Auditing Services
- Personnel Services (such as temporary help agencies and services)
- Travel Services
- Real Estate Taxes
- Master-contracts for specific commodities as managed by Procurement Services
Please direct questions about any of the above exceptions to Procurement Services. They will gladly assist you or direct you to the appropriate party.
The university is governed by the most current “Conflicts of Interest Policy.” In addition, prior to consummation of a procurement relationship, ethical considerations require members of the university involved in any part of the procurement process be responsible for full disclosure to the university of any potential conflicts of interest. In cases where a potential conflict exists, it is important to handle transactions competitively at an "arm's length," business-like basis.
According to the university’s Conflict of Interest Policy, a member is considered to have a conflict of interest when s/he or any of his/her family or associates (to his/her present knowledge) either:
- has an existing or potential financial or other material interest that impairs or might appear to impair the individual's independence and objective judgment in the discharge of responsibilities to the university, or
- may receive a financial or other benefit from knowledge of information confidential to the university.
The family of an individual includes his/her spouse, parents, siblings, children and any other person who resides in the same household. An associate of an individual includes any person, trust, organization or enterprise with respect to which the individual or any member of his/her family:
- is a director, officer, employee, member, partner or trustee, or
- has a significant financial interest or any other interest which enables him/her to exercise control or significantly influence policy.
Brandeis University is exempt from Massachusetts sales tax.
To take advantage of this status, payments must be made directly by the university to the supplier from the supplier's invoice. Reimbursements to employees for state taxes paid when procuring goods for the university are not allowed.
For more information on our tax status, contact Procurement Services.
A formal, written Request For Quotations (RFQ) along with cost/price analysis is required for purchases greater than $25,000. Copies of the RFQ should be submitted to at least three vendors.
Where competition is not feasible or available, a sole- or single-source justification document is required. The Office of Procurement Services can help in obtaining bids or conducting cost/price analysis.
If a vendor is selected without assistance, Procurement Services will require documentation of the bid process, sole or single source justification and/or cost/price analysis used with the Requisition for Supplies and Services.
Brandeis university encourages competitive bidding whenever possible. Bids and their analysis or explanations of the reason bids were not solicited are recommended for all acquisitions greater than $10,000. Telephone solicitations may be used for purchases between $10,000 and $24,999. Telephone solicitations should be documented and this documentation included with requisitions.
An independent contractor is generally defined as a person engaged in an independently established business or engaged in an occupation that contracts for work according to that person's own methods, without being subject to the supervision and control of the university, except for the results.
In all cases, the university will comply with the Federal and State guidelines with regard to classification of individuals as "independent contractors."
The determination of whether an individual is classified as an independent contractor must occur before work is commenced. The determination of independent contractor status rests solely with the Controller’s Office. All relevant documents required by Procurement regarding independent contractors must be provided and approved by the Controller’s Office before engaging an individual as an independent contractor.
1Authorization Policies for purchases using the university’s Procurement Card program or other Procurement Services sanctioned master contracts (e.g. office supply system) are covered by independent, program-specific procedures.