As a public entity and a member of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) certain bidding requirements are either mandated or have been adopted by West Chester University as good business practice. The Commonwealth Procurement Code commonly known as ACT 57, requires that bids be solicited for all purchases exceeding $18,500 with a few specific exceptions.
Any exception to the competitive bidding requirement must be approved in advance by Business Services.
While this external requirement is closely followed, internal guidelines suggest that bids should be sought at varying levels under the $18,500.00 threshold. This action is dependent upon the dollar value involved, the desires of requesting party(ies), and the purchasing staff’s abilities to add value to the purchasing process by reducing the cost of the item to the department.
Any tangible object is considered to be a commodity and acquired with a Purchase Order (PO). Services are considered to be an intangible product and are procured through a Service Purchase Contract. Services include but are not limited to services provided by speakers, conference/workshop site providers, repairs to equipment, etc. Once the need for commodity or service is known a requisition must be entered into the SAP financial system.
Once a requisition is entered into SAP it is automatically routed to Purchasing for action by the Purchasing Staff. Once a requisition is received by Purchasing it is considered approved by the cost center manager and Purchasing will begin to process the requisition.
ALL PROCUREMENTS MUST BE AUTHORIZED IN ADVANCE BY Business Services.
Primarily, there are two types of documents that can be created from a requisition that require signatures:
1. Purchase Order Contract
2. Service Purchase Contract
Signature requirements for a Purchase Order contract are dictated by University policy. Purchase Orders are signed at the University level by the appropriate University signature authority. For more information about University signature authority please go here.
Signature requirements for a Service Purchase Contract above $5,000.00 first require the signature of the contractor. Once the contract is returned to the Purchasing Office it will be signed internally by the appropriate signature authority at the University.
The Service Purchase Contract is then mailed to the University Legal Counsel for review and signature.
a. If the contract total is less than $20,000.00, Legal Counsel will make the final approval and will return the contract to the University.
b. If the contract total is equal to or greater than $20,000.00, it must also go to the Office of Attorney General for approval before return to the University.
c. If the contract total is equal to or greater than $500,000.00, the contract must also be approved by the Commonwealth’s General Legal Counsel before return to the University.
Regardless of request, whether for a commodity or service, bidding limits are still enforced. The Service Purchase Contract must be fully executed BEFORE the services commence. Legal Counsel and/or the Attorney General’s office will NOT sign any contract if the services have already been completed. Without this signature, we have no Legal avenue to pay for the services that were provided, as this was an unauthorized purchase contracted outside the confines for the approved purchasing process. This leaves the original requestor liable for payment or forces the contractor to initiate legal action through the court system seeking payment for services provided.
Purchase Orders: Generally Purchase Orders will be processed within 5 -7 business days of receipt of the requisition by Purchasing. If the item requested needs to be bid please allow 2 – 3 weeks to process the Purchase Order.
Service Purchase Contracts: Generally Service Purchase Contract require a minimum of 3 - 4 weeks to be completed by Purchasing. This is due to the requirements for signatures from the vendor, University and Legal Counsel.
For more information, please see the Procurement Policy.