Sole Source Procurement

When it is not possible to obtain competitive bids, a sole source justification that meets the acceptable criteria is required for purchases > $10,000. For sponsored projects, the acceptable justifications are limited to those permitted by the Uniform Guidance Procurement Standards.

The Uniform Guidance Procurement Standards went into effect for the University on June 1, 2018, and apply to awards or funding increments issued on or after that date. Purchases funded by federal grant funds must adhere to regulations found in the Uniform Guidance as a condition of receiving funds and to meet annual audit compliance. For additional information, please refer to Uniform Guidance 200.320 Methods of Procurement to be Followed.

In general, a “sole source” procurement is defined as any contract entered into without a competitive process, based on the existence of one of four justifications. Specifically, to be considered a sole source, one of the conditions specified on the Sole Source Justification Form must be met, regardless of the funding sources. These are:

  • The item/service is available only from a single source;
  • The public exigency or emergency for the requirement will not permit a delay resulting from competitive solicitation;
  • The Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity expressly authorizes noncompetitive proposals in response to a written request from the non-federal entity (OSP/BMRA should route such a request to the federal agency and will manage such request as an Agency “prior approval” request); or
  • After solicitation of a number of sources, competition is determined inadequate.

In accordance with Uniform Guidance sections 2 CFR §200.320(f), entitled procurement by noncompetitive proposals, and §200.323, entitled contract cost and price, all requests using federal grant funds over $250,000 to purchase through a sole source will require a detailed cost breakdown from the supplier including the requested profit.

Sole source purchases are an exception to University policy and must always be in writing. Procurement Services will review and determine whether to approve a sole source purchase on a case-by-case basis based on one or more of the following criteria:

  • The requestor has investigated and documented his/her evaluation of potential alternate sources of supply for the requested product and/or service;
  • The requestor’s documentation explains how similar products and/or services cannot meet the required specifications; and
  • The requester has documented that a good faith effort has been made to identify other sources.

No purchase may be made until Procurement Services has determined that a sole source purchase is justified.