Purchasing Procedure, Compliance with Board Policy on Open Competition
The New School was founded on and remains passionately dedicated to the principles of social justice and equality. These values must inform the daily operations and business decisions of the University. Accordingly, the Procurement Department must source goods and services required by the institution in a fair and inclusive manner. Therefore, the following policy will guide all sourcing decisions.
- The Procurement Department shall employ all best practices in good faith effort to include minority and/or women-owned businesses (MWBE) in the competitive sourcing of goods and services to the University; and in accordance with applicable Board policy.
- All significant transactions, as determined by the Director of Strategic Sourcing and Contracts, in consideration of associated monetary value, risk, and other relevant factors, shall be sourced in a manner which promotes fair and equal participation of all potential suppliers, including minority and/or women-owned.
- The principal vehicle for competitive sourcing for significant transactions shall be the Request for Proposal (RFP).
All RFPs shall be issued and administered in a fair and transparent manner to ensure that no advantage is given to any single bidding party.
- All RFPs shall include relevant specifications of the goods or scope of work to be procured, references to all required standards and compliances, and other desired parameters to the anticipated transaction(s), including, but not limited to, required terms and conditions.
- RFPs shall be dated and transmitted in like manner to all participating parties with a clearly stated reply-by date and instructions for correspondence, clarification, and submittal.
- Any clarification, supplemental information, extension, or other amendment to the RFP shall be extended to all parties.
- All information received shall be handled in an appropriate discretionary manner to protect the commercial and competitive interests of all parties. Inquiries and questions are to be submitted in writing to Purchasing and/or designee. All responses to written or verbal RFPs shall be returned to the procurement officer assigned to the particular purchase.
- The Director of Strategic Sourcing and Contracts or other Procurement personnel shall evaluate all proposals in cooperation with the client department and other constituent parties as deemed relevant.
- Under most circumstances, it is assumed the resulting contract shall be awarded to the low-price bidder; however, proposals shall be evaluated with the objective of maximizing overall value, and a vendor other than that offering the lowest price may be selected. Other factors to be considered include (but are not limited to) ability, availability, expertise, financial condition, financial arrangement, or contractual terms that might render an alternate selection more feasible. In such cases, the reasons for such selection shall be clearly documented.
- The Director of Strategic Sourcing and Contracts shall submit the recommended proposal and associated documentation to the Senior Director of Business Operations for review and development (in consultation with the Office of General Counsel) of a contract document.
- All information regarding pricing, vendors, and bid procedures is confidential to the University and will not be distributed to person or any company unless approved by the Director of Strategic Sourcing and Contracts.
IV. It is recognized that an RFP will not be necessary or possible for all significant procurement transactions. If an RFP is not necessary, the requestor must be sure that the justification pertains to the purchase of product and/or service. If the vendor qualifies, the requestor must indicate either “Directed” or “Sole Source” on the departmental requisition or alternate form.
Thus, other forms of selection and award will be allowed in such circumstances. These include (but are not limited to):
- Directed or sole-source purchase (purchase of goods or services without competitive bids or proposals): This is an exception to purchasing procedures of competitive bidding. The Procurement Department will approve a directed or sole-source purchase on a case-by-case basis. Under no circumstances shall a supplier be advised that a contract will be awarded on a directed or sole-source basis before approval by the Purchasing Department.
- Goods or services that can be competitively sourced at a nontransactional level (through such vehicles as negotiated pricing formula, consortium, government, or other published institutional pricing).
- Duplicate or similar transaction requirements for which a previous comparable transaction was bid, rendering a new RFP process redundant.
- Emergency repairs: extreme circumstances in which competitive bidding is not viable. Emergencies generally involve life safety and/or physical plant (buildings) conditions that warrant an immediate response.
The Vice President of Design and Construction and/or Director of Facilities of the University, or designee, may authorize an Emergency Procurement if there exists a threat to health, welfare, or safety. The requesting department shall provide written documentation of the existence of a threat to health, welfare, or safety and the action that needs to be taken. The Purchasing Department shall keep on file the written documentation and authorization for Emergency Procurement. (The same document can be used for Budget approval and invoice payment.) (Exhibit attached.)
In each of these cases, the Procurement Department shall perform all due diligence, fully documenting the decision process; establishing relevant benchmarking, metrics, and contractual governance; and ensuring compliance with all other University policy, including (but not limited to) the Policy on Conflicts of Interest.