Competitive Process Requirement and Sole Sourcing

Competitive Process

Howard University requires that a competitive process be used in all of its contracting with third party vendors whenever possible. A competitive process (such as requests for proposals or market surveys) helps ensure that the University is obtaining good prices and value in its contracting, after obtaining sufficient information about market realities. The Guidance for Soul Sourcing indicates that sometimes it may be appropriate to rely on a less formal competitive process, depending on the size of the proposed spend.

Conflicts of Interest

There are times when individuals may have a conflict of interest in the contracting process. This occurs when a decision maker has a pecuniary interest in the outcome of a contract. An example would be when a decision maker, or a close family member, has a significant ownership interest in a party vying to contract with the University.

The University has rules that control such situations, and they are specified in the Howard University Code of Ethics and Conduct, Article IV.B. The most important thing you can do to protect yourself and the University is to notify the University of the possible conflict.

If you believe you are conflicted, follow the notification rules outlined therein.

Sole Sourcing Justification

As noted above, it is University policy to enter into contracts only after they have undergone a competitive process. In rare instances, however, the University may consider entering into sole sourced contracts on a case by case basis.

In addition to losing the advantages of a competitive process, a sole sourced contract heightens the risk of an unacceptable conflict of interest.

If you did not undergo a competitive process, you must:

  • read the Sole Source Guidelines,
  • carefully comply with the instructions, and
  • fill out and execute the Sole Source forms linked below.

The contract requesting department must keep the completed forms on file, along with the official copy of the signed contract.

The forms are as follows: