Authorization and Approval
Responsibility: VP Administration and COO
Authorization: Board of Governors
Approval Date: Dec 15, 2015
Amended: April 18, 2023
The University of Saskatchewan (USask) aims to ensure that procurement activities are conducted using processes that are fair, open, and transparent. Goods and services procured by, for, or on behalf of the university, are critical to operational activities, research programs, and the academic mission, and must be governed and managed through processes that promote best value and the highest ethical standards.
The overall procurement process needs to balance the openness of university culture with appropriate procurement controls. This policy provides the necessary framework to reduce and manage the university’s risk while focusing on end user needs in carrying out the broad range of academic, research and administrative activities.
This policy is guided by the principles and values outlined in the USask mission, vision, and values statement. It was also developed in the context of the following principles:
- Goods and services procured for the university are critical to the university’s academic, research, and operational activities. Procurement processes must balance the need to support these activities in a timely and user-focused manner while minimizing the risk to the university.
- Procurement for the university will be conducted through processes that are standard, open, fair, responsible, and transparent, in compliance with applicable legislation and regulations, and that are managed in a way that brings the most advantageous combination of cost, quality, and sustainability to meet institutional requirements.
- The university is committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion. Procurement activities will involve identifying and removing barriers to ensure that historically excluded groups, including Indigenous businesses, are given the opportunity to meaningfully participate in procurement processes.
- Procurement processes and decisions will promote the sustainability of social, economic, and environmental factors, wherever feasible.
Scope of this Policy
This policy is applicable to all university community members, related organizations, and applies to all methods used for procuring goods and services from consumables and goods for resale, and from all sources of funding including operating, research, trust, and restricted funds.
Acquisition of donated goods and services from purely philanthropic sources, are subject to the university’s Gift Acceptance policy , and the donation process must be initiated through University Relations.
The policy has been developed in the context of, and is designed to complement,
- Existing university policies, including but not limited to:
- Health and Safety
- Assets Management
- Renovation, Renewal and Replacement of Facilities
- Responsible Conduct of Research
- Use of University Property and Services
- Accountable Professional Expense Funds
- Deans’ and Senior Administrators’ Expense
- Employment vs. Contracted Services
- Financial Authority
- Fraud Deterrence
- Conflict of Interest
- Signing Authority
- Funding agency guidelines, legislation, and regulations, including trade agreements
- Collective agreements
In order to minimize risk and support financial sustainability, members of the university community must acquire university goods and services through approved procurement processes or must work with Procurement Services to procure goods and services. The acquisition of goods and services must be undertaken as follows:
- Internal stores and services, and preferred suppliers and contracts must be used as the default procurement method for goods and services; preferred suppliers and/or contracts must be established through a competitive bid.
- If it is determined that an existing preferred supplier or contract is not best value, either the PCard process or the competitive bid process is required for the purchase of all goods and services.
- All supplier agreements must be signed in accordance with the university’s Signing Authority Only those persons authorized, in accordance with existing university policy, may commit university funds to purchase goods or services or enter into an agreement with a supplier to purchase goods or services.
- University funds used for procurement activities must support the university’s mandate or purposes.
University employees - should ensure they have the appropriate authority and knowledge before making procurement decisions on behalf of the university. In addition, university employees’ responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
- Procuring goods or services using approved university procedures and guidelines, within the limits of their financial and organizational responsibilities.
- Acting in good faith and solely in the best interest of the university.
- Maintaining the confidentiality of information and privacy of university data (including third-party data) while engaging in procurement activities.
Deans, department heads, principal investigators (PI) - are responsible for ensuring that the university’s policies, procedures, and guidelines are being followed as part of their stewardship responsibilities. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Assuring that employees within their units, colleges, departments, or research programs are authorized to undertake procurement activities and have the necessary knowledge and training to comply with procurement policies and procedures.
- Providing operational management expertise, knowledge and support for financial planning and decision making, and confirming that adequate funding is available to cover the cost of acquisition within their college, and unit, or research program.
- Ensuring that sufficient time is considered when engaging in procurement activities, based on published timelines from Procurement Services.
Procurement Services – is responsible for the management and administration of university’s procurement activities necessary to sustain the university’s operations, research programs, and the academic mission of the university. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Acting as the primary point of contact for the university community and related organizations seeking procurement advice, help, and/or support.
- Developing procurement procedures and guidelines to support this policy and aid related procurement activities.
- Delivering customer-focused procurement services to the university community that supports proper and responsive acquisition of goods and services.
- Sourcing, evaluating, establishing, and managing preferred suppliers and institutional contracts in line with procurement policies, procedures, and legislated requirements.
- Implementing procurement strategies that support and are consistent with the university’s strategic direction while reducing the overall cost and time of acquisition.
- Performing regular reviews of this policy and related procedures and guidelines to ensure compliance with applicable legislation, regulations, and related university policies.
- Establishing guidance on and providing review and approval of requests for delegated procurement authority, in compliance with procurement procedures and guidelines.
Units with delegated procurement authority – University departments, units, and employees with delegated procurement authority are responsible for procurement activities within their colleges, or programs and have the autonomy to make procurement decisions in partnership with Procurement Services personnel. Some of the responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
- Supporting procurement requests within their college or program in line with the procurement policy and related procedures and guidelines.
- Understanding and complying with this policy and related policies, procedures and guidelines when engaging in procurement activities.
- Encouraging and promoting proper procurement practices with stakeholders within their units.
- Seeking and obtaining requisite approval and consent from the deans and unit heads or PI in the execution of their responsibilities.
- Collaborating with Procurement Services to carry out the mandate of this policy.
Improper acquisition of university goods and services may result in harm to the university, its faculty, staff, students, and alumni. This harm could impact the university’s mission of teaching and learning, research, and service delivery. It exposes the university to legal, regulatory, financial, and reputational risks. Purchases committed through improper acquisition of university goods and services may not be reimbursed.
The university expects that the university community will comply with this policy. Should there be reason to suspect that laws or university policies have been or are being violated, or other harm as a result of non-compliance, this could constitute grounds for disciplinary or legal action in accordance with any applicable agreements, contracts, collective agreements, regulations or policies, legislation, or common law principles.
Director, Procurement Services
Appendix – Definitions
- Acquisition - A process that begins with the establishment of needs and includes the description of requirements, solicitations and source selection, contract award, contract financing, contract performance, contract administration, and all technical and management functions directly related to the process of fulfilling the needs of the organization.
- Best value – Best value does not necessarily mean selecting the lowest price option. It can include non-cost factors such as fitness for purpose, availability, quality, service and support, as well as cost-related factors such as life cycle and transaction costs associated with using, maintaining and disposing of the goods or services.
- Competitive bid - A form of solicitation that is used in the procurement of goods, services, and construction services in which bids are submitted in accordance with legislated and procedural requirements, in response to an open request by USask regarding a business opportunity.
- Contract – A legal agreement that defines the terms and conditions governing the acquisition of goods and/or services. A Contract may also be referred to as an “Agreement”.
- Institutional contract – A contract between the university and a preferred supplier to which this policy and related procedures apply.
- Preferred supplier - A supplier arrangement resulting from a competitive bid process whereby terms and conditions have been negotiated with supplier(s) for a particular scope of supply. Purchases can be made with the preferred supplier without the requirement to seek a competitive bid. Where a preferred supplier arrangement exists, university community are directed to use a supplier from this arrangement unless they can obtain better value for money from an alternative supplier.
- Procurement Services – The primary point of contact for the university community and related organizations seeking procurement advice, help, and support.
- Purchasing card (PCard) - A university issued credit card whereby authorized university employees may acquire and pay for goods and services within the allowed threshold.
- Related organizations – Partly or wholly owned university entities that desire to take advantage of or partake in the use of preferred supplier contracts.
- Third-party data - Data that is created or owned by a third party and is being used in support of academic, research and administrative activities. This data if compromised or used inappropriately would have implications for the third party. This includes data such as licensed software or software components, and copyrighted material.
- University community - All students, employees, faculty, postdoctoral fellows, alumni, retirees, agents, contractors, authorized guests, persons, or organizations acting for or on behalf of the university.
- University data - Data that is created, collected, and stored (either electronically or in hard copy) by units and members of the university community, in support of academic, research, and administrative activities.