Uniform Guidance

About Uniform Guidance

Effective July 1, 2018

Major Changes in the Uniform Guidance (UG) Affecting Purchases on Federal Funds

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has combined many federal circulars into a single guidance document (known as Uniform Guidance, or 2 CFR 200) that may be used by all federal agencies. These new regulations became effective December 26, 2014 for all guidance except for purchasing.  The purchasing changes become effective on July 1, 2018.  Funding agency policy should still be reviewed for their specific requirements.

Procurement guidance is specifically located in sections 200.317-200.326. This guidance focuses on increased competition and transparency in the procurement process.

What’s changing?

Since the University of Connecticut has followed state regulations, changes to procurement practices should be minimal under UG. Compliance with UG focuses on four main areas:

Micro-purchase Threshold (MPT)

No changes from current practices for purchasing goods under $10,000 as the new UG threshold matches the current state threshold for micro-purchases.

Sole Source Procurement

UG has limited the use of sole sources to four distinct justifications:

  1. Product/service is only available from a single source;
  2. Public Emergency Procurement;
  3. Federal Awarding Agency Authorization: the awarding agency specifically authorizes a non-competitive procurement after a written request from the Non-federal entity (Principal Investigators should contact their SPS team for guidance and assistance in making requests to sponsors); and
  4. Inadequate competition after solicitation of multiple sources.

These changes will result in increased scrutiny for ALL sole source justifications. The most significant change to the sole source section of UG (from the OMB circulars) is that “continuity of research” is no longer an acceptable justification for sole source approval.

For greater clarification on sole source opportunities, download the Sole Source Hypotheticals PDF.pdf.

Additionally, every sole source will require a price/cost justification and will require the University to negotiate profit with the vendors for those sole sources. Procurement is still monitoring this requirement and will continue to provide updates as they become available.

Consulting Services On Sponsored Program Awards

  • Modification to existing consulting agreements under existing grants Do Not have to be re-sole sourced. The UG will apply to new consultants and new awards and competitive renewals as of July 1, 2018.
  • Naming and including information on the consultant in the grant proposal will no longer be sufficient justification, by itself, for a sole source under the UG.
  • To more effectively manage and assist investigators in meeting UG requirements for securing consulting services on grants, these procurements will be consolidated under Procurement Services.
  • Procurement will manage the sourcing, (including the evaluation of sole source justifications) awards, negotiations, and execution of research consulting contracts. Sponsored Programs Services retains responsibility for the administration and expenditure compliance of these research consulting contracts.
  • SPS will remain the point of contact for research consulting until responsibility is fully transitioned to Procurement Services in the fall of 2018. Guidance of any process changes will be provided with as much advance notice as possible.

Conflict of Interest

Procurement Services created a new Conflict of Interest policy specific to procurement actions. This will require increased disclosure of documentation for potential committee members. Additionally, sole source justifications may require further evidence or statements assuring no financial relationship exists with potential vendors.

In advance of codification of the policies, you can view the updated COI policy by visiting the updated Policies & Procedures site.

For any questions about any of these sections, please contact BJ Pivonka:

BJ Pivonka,
Procurement Analyst

Email: bj.pivonka@uconn.edu

Uniform Guidance Update

Updated Sole Source Justification

June 29, 2018

Effective July 1, 2018 the Sole Source Justification Form has changed due to newly established federal requirements.

Uniform Guidance Starts 7/1

June 25, 2018

This is a reminder that the procurement regulations under Uniform Guidance will go into effect on 7/1/18.

For more information on UG, please review the material on this site. These updates cover the major points that will most affect the University community.

If you have questions, please contact BJ Pivonka.

Uniform Guidance Procurement Bid Thresholds Update

June 25, 2018

The Office of Federal Financial Management recently drafted a memorandum updating the bid thresholds for Institutions of High Education. Starting on 7/1/18, the micro-purchase threshold was clarified to mean $10,000 as defined in the National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”) of 2017.

The memorandum also clarifies that the NDAA of 2018 increased the Simplified Acquisition Threshold to $250,000.

The entire memorandum can be found here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/M-18-18.pdf

Sole Source Hypotheticals

March 19, 2018

Sole Source Hypotheticals Under Uniform Guidance

Updated Research Consulting Services Acquisition Process

January 17, 2018

The Uniform Guidance, taken together with state laws and policies, impacts all aspects of acquiring research consulting services. To more effectively manage transactions and ensure compliance, the majority of the research consulting acquisition process will be consolidated under Procurement Services. Procurement will manage the sourcing, (including the evaluation of sole source justifications) award, negotiations, and execution of research consulting contracts.

Sponsored Programs Services retains responsibility for the administration and expenditure compliance of these research consulting contracts.

This process will go into effect on 7/1/18.

No UG Updates from OMB

December 11, 2017

OMB is not expecting to release any new updates for Uniform Guidance before the July 1, 2018 start date.

The University will continue to implement changes for UG compliance as currently planned.

Procurement will continue to update this page as UG related updates become available.

UG Conflicts of Interest Policy

August 24, 2017

As part of the OMB’s Uniform Guidance, there are new requirements for conflicts of interest within a procurement action and how the University must handle them.

The regulation states:

“No employee, officer, or agent may participate in the selection, award, or administration of a contract supported by a Federal award if he or she has a real or apparent conflict of interest. Such a conflict of interest would arise when the employee, officer, or agent, any member of his or her immediate family, his or her partner, or an organization which employs or is about to employ any of the parties indicated herein, has a financial or other interest in or a tangible personal benefit from a firm considered for a contract.”

This language means that conflicts are barred, and that even a managed conflict is not allowed.

Procurement and OACE are collaborating on managing such transactions involving federal funds, and any future updates will be announced on this page.

UG Conference Calls

August 17, 2017

Procurement Services is leading a monthly conference call regarding implementation of OMB’s new Uniform Guidance regulations going into effect 7/1/18.

The monthly call includes members from multiple institutions that have expressed a desire to establish this open forum and will discuss key implementation challenges and best practices before the start date.

For more information about this call, contact BJ Pivonka in Procurement.

June 21, 2017

The University of Connecticut will continue to follow the procurement requirements of State Statutes, the University’s existing policies & procedures, and the OMB  Circulars (A-21, A-110 and A-133) and will utilize the grace period allowed in the Uniform Guidance and as extended by the Office of Management and Budget technical corrections.

Updates from OMB/COGR Meeting

February 24, 2017

OMB presented an update at the COGR Meeting on Friday 2/24.  The following is of note:

  1. A Federal Register Notice to provide updates to 2 CFR Part 200 (i.e., Uniform Guidance) remains in pending status. Under the President’s regulatory freeze, updates to the Uniform Guidance will not be released until they have been approved by senior leadership at OMB. At this stage, an exact date is uncertain.
  2. Included in the pending Federal Register Notice is an extension of the grace period for implementation for the entire suite of the Procurement Standards (2 CFR 200.317-326) for one more year (i.e., July 1, 2018 for most research institutions). As presented by OMB on Friday, OMB is working to decouple the extension of the grace period from the main Federal Register Notice. If successful, we expect to see a separate notice, focusing specifically on the extension of the grace period, in the near future.
  3. We further expect the separate notice on the extension of the grace period to clarify how the Micropurchase threshold, as specified under the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and under the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (AICA), are to be implemented. Our understanding is that the grace period will be applied to the Micropurchase threshold, as defined in the NDAA  and the AICA (see Summary below) and that research institutions will not be required to change their Micropurchase threshold policies for one more year (i.e., July 1, 2018 for most research institutions).
  4. Yes, this is a bit confusing, but a potentially positive development. COGR is closely monitoring the release of an OMB Notice that will address the extension of the grace period and we will keep the Membership posted on all developments.

NDAA and AICA Micropurchase Threshold Summary

NDAA: $10,000 or higher threshold as determined by the head of the relevant executive agency and consistent with clean audit findings, institutional risk assessment, or State law. Applicable to grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts for all federal agencies.

AICA: $10,000 or higher threshold as determined by the head of the relevant executive agency and consistent with audit findings, institutional risk assessment, or State law. Applicable only to NSF, NASA and NIST.

January 24, 2017

On January 11, Procurement Services presented at the Office of the Vice President for Research’s Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA) meeting. Procurement presented slides #3-6, covering the updated Micro-purchase threshold, the “Go-Live” date for Uniform Guidance, and potential future updates to the University community.

Here is the link to the full SPA PowerPoint slideshow: http://content.research.uconn.edu/pdf/storrs/sps/rawg/Jan2017SPAMeeting.pdf

Additionally, Procurement will also be presenting at the February SPA meeting.

January 4, 2017

Procurement Services just wanted to provide you with an update on the newest developments regarding Uniform Guidance:

  • The Micro-purchase threshold, previously $3,500, has been increased to $10,000 after legislation was passed in early December. This is expected to be included in the UG updates that will be in the upcoming Federal Register. This legislation means that no changes will be made to procurement practices under the $10,000 bid threshold.
  • Additionally, this means that the PCard threshold will also remain at its current $4,999 threshold for individual transactions, meaning that no change in procurement practices will occur for any PCard purchases under UG.
  • The current “go-live” date for Uniform Guidance is 7/1/17. However, the University anticipates that OMB will allow a final, one-year grace period for implementation of procurement rules. Procurement will continue to provide updates to the anticipated timeline on this web page.
  • A representative from Procurement Services will attend future SPA meetings, hosted by the OVPR and will also attend the Federal Demonstration Partnership conference in early January. Through this conference, and future efforts, procurement will attain new knowledge about UG and its effects on the University community. This knowledge will be shared on this web page.
December 19, 2016

Following up on the Uniform Guidance Update from August 22, there are four core areas that Procurement Services continues to work on.

  • Conflict of Interest (Policy under construction)
  • Academic Research Consultants (Policy and collaborative process w/ OVPR under construction)
  • Single Source Procurement (refer to June 22, 2016 update)
  • Micro-purchase Threshold (Currently a part of new OMB rule making process due out in Sept/Oct 2016)

For more information on UG, visit http://www.cogr.edu/sites/default/files/December2016Update.pdf.

Financial Conflict of Interest Policy For Vendors & Employees

September 7, 2016

The University of Connecticut has delayed the implementation of the new Uniform Guidance Procurement Standards until July 1, 2017 as provided by the waiver of procurement rules in the Federal Register Volume 80, Number 175. This includes the University’s Financial Conflict of Interest Policy for Vendors & Employees, which is currently still under construction. In the interim, State statutes, University of Connecticut’s existing policies & procedures, and the OMB Circulars will continue to apply.

Uniform Guidance Update

August 22, 2016

As we’ve entered the final year before UG goes into effect, there are four core areas Procurement Services continues to work on the following four core requirements:

  • Conflict of Interest (Policy under construction)
  • Academic Research Consultants (Policy and collaborative process w/ OVPR under construction)
  • Single Source Procurement (refer to June 22, 2016 update)
  • Micro-purchase Threshold (refer April 26, 2016 update, slide #6)

Procurement Services will continue to provide updates and guidance leading up to July 1, 2017 go-live for the new federal procurement standards.

Sole Source Update

June 22, 2016

Effective on July 1, 2017, Uniform Guidance (“UG”) will impose new regulations regarding the use of “non-competitive procurement” (i.e. sole source) and the justifications that will be allowed for purchases using federal funds.

The current version of UG includes only 4 specific exceptions when sole sources are permitted. Those are:

  • “The item is available only from a single source;
  • The public exigency or emergency for the requirement will not permit a delay resulting from competitive solicitation
  • The Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity expressly authorized noncompetitive proposals in response to a written request from the non-Federal entity; or
  • After solicitation of a number of sources, competition is determined inadequate”

Please note, that continuity of research, expediency of research or other similar justifications that have been used in the past will no longer be acceptable justifications for federally funded purchases.

Procurement Update from Recent FDP Meeting

June 2, 2016

Procurement attended the most recent Federal Partnership Demonstration conference in Washington D.C in order to further understand the upcoming implementation of Uniform Guidance. The following were the key takeaways from the event:

  1. In 2015, a survey was released to assess the impact of the micro-purchase threshold on FDP member procurement departments. The survey results will be presented to OMB (by COFAR) by May 31, 2016. If this does not result in OMB changing their decision about the $3,000 micro-purchase threshold it is unlikely that it will change before 7/1/17, as the committee believed found that OMB was not receptive to the change so far. The committee also said that pilot programs are inappropriate because it would not be demonstrating the efficiency or effectiveness of a procurement action, just a changed dollar threshold.
  2. There is proposed legislation which is under consideration that would raise the threshold to $10,000. This would, likely, be the last chance for any meaningful reform before 7/1/17.
  3. There was some brief discussion about the possibility of FDP member consortia agreements. But this discussion is in the preliminary stages at best.

Be sure to check this site periodically as more updates will be forthcoming.

Uniform Guidance Update

April 26, 2016

Procurement Update Presented to RAWG

Uniform Guidance Implementation

March 11, 2016

The University of Connecticut will be implementing new federal regulations, known as Uniform Guidance, and replacing OMB Circular A-110. The University has elected to utilize the grace period and delay this implementation until July 1, 2017. In the interim, the University’s existing policies and procedures and the OMB circulars will continue to apply.

Peer Engagement

March 11, 2016

Members of the Procurement Services management team attended the NAEP Federal Procurement institute in February. Additionally, the Office of Vice President of Research continues to communicate with COGR regarding potential new developments.

Both departments continue to research and engage with peer institutions regarding open issues and approaches to UG conformance. Over the next few weeks, certain components will be clarified and extended to the University community.

Implications of Uniform Guidance

November 6, 2015

Michael Glasgow, Associate Vice President for Research Sponsored Program Services, and Matthew Larson, Director of Procurement Services presented,  “Implications of Uniform Guidance: From a Collaborative Research Administration and Procurement Organization Perspective” at the National Association of Educational Procurement New England Fall Conference.

Download the PowerPoint

Federal Procurement Rules

July 28, 2015

As of July 1, 2017 federal procurement rules found in Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-110 will no longer be effective. The new rules can be found at 2 CFR Part 200, starting with section 200.317. Procurement Services is working on new policies and procedures to accommodate these new rules and regulations. Until July 1, 2017 Procurement will continue to follow current procurement policies and procedures as well as the OMB circulars.

If you have any questions call BJ Pivonka at 860-486-2626.

Procurement Standards

Effective December 26, 2014, new federal grants and funding amendments to existing federal grants will be subject to the requirements of 45 CFR Part 75, which implements 2 CFR Part 200 (“Uniform Guidance”). The Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) has delayed the implementation requirements of Uniform Guidance for Procurement until June 30, 2017. Over the course of the next year, UConn’s Uniform Guidance Task Force will develop procurement policies and procedures consistent with the Uniform Guidance. Until we develop new procurement policies and procedures, UConn’s current policies and procedures, as well as the OMB circulars, will remain in effect.

Additional information offered by the Office of Vice President of Research at UConn Uniform Guidance Initiatives.