Is a contract necessary?
- If the vendor is not requiring its terms and conditions, and only payable information is addressed in the proposed document, a Purchase Order (PO) may be an appropriate alternative. Contact the Buyer in Procurement & Contract Services to discuss and/or the Procurement Specialist for assistance with Requisition entry in ESM if needed.
- If there is a one-time service or product under $10,000, a Contract or a PO is not needed, unless required by the vendor. If the vendor is not requiring a Contract or PO, your department can instead simply pay via invoice through Accounting Services.
- If the vendor requires a Contract, the University’s Standard Payable Contract form should be considered.
When a contract is involved.
- Over $10,000, Contract and Procurement policies apply. SEE PURCHASING GUIDELINES AND CONTRACT FISCAL POLICY.
- If the service or product being contracted involves a sole source purchase over $10,000, a Non-Competitive Justification (NCJ) (No-Bid Explanation) must be provided in ESM at the point of contract entry. The NCJ must meet the criteria for a sole source purchase as follows: (1) Only one product or service can meet the specific need AND the required product or service is available from only one source; OR (2) Compatibility or consistency with past acquisitions of products or services is essential (e.g., avoiding additional costs by changing the supplier of the product or service).
- Alternatively, if it is not a sole source purchase but is over $10,000, it is subject to Procurement requirements of informal bidding (low bid of 3 quotes) if between $10,000-$49,999.99, or subject to requirements of formal bidding (RFP/RFQs) if over $50,000.00.
- Following Contract entry in ESM by the Department, there is a Gatekeeper Approval conducted by Procurement & Contract Services, to place the document in contract review workflow. If an NCJ is involved, it will be reviewed for Procurement level NCJ approval and then for CBO (Chief Business Officer) level NCJ approval. The document will then be reviewed by the Contracts Specialist for compliance with State law and University Fiscal Policy, negotiation and finalization of terms with the vendor, and execution of signatures.
Contract Management System (ESM)
Contract Services handles the training and instruction on contract entry in ESM, the University’s Contract Management System.
With questions, please contact Kristen Johnson.
UT System Contract Policies
- University of Tennessee System-Wide Fiscal Policy
- University of Tennessee Lease of Real Property
- UT Contracts Signature Signing Authority