Procurement General

[Procedure] Last Updated: December 2015
Prior Manual Number: 9-0

Procurement Services

The Office of Procurement Services at Northern Illinois University within the Division of Administration and Finance is a team of professional, trained buyers assigned to specific categories that sources all necessary goods and services required by all departments of the University to insure cost-effective, efficient purchasing while maintaining strict compliance with the Illinois Procurement Code and all other rules and laws that govern purchasing for a public institution of higher education in the State of Illinois.

In addition to sourcing and compliance activities, the Office of Procurement Services provides support for current and prospective vendors, including explanation of eligibility requirements to do business with the University as an agency of the State of Illinois. Vendors must meet approved specifications, delivery and/or service requirements, and offer the lowest acceptable price based on competitive bids/proposals.

Only those individuals granted agency by the University are authorized to obligate the University to the purchase of goods and services, including Procurement Services staff members and procurement card (p-card) holders on campus. Commitments made directly by, or implied by, any other member of the faculty or staff are not binding on the University. If a vendor ships goods or provides services to the University without having a valid purchase order issued by Procurement Services, except where allowed under p-card policy, the University is not obligated to pay the invoice.

True emergency situations do occur from time to time that may require goods to be shipped or services performed before a purchase order can be issued. Should you encounter an emergency situation, contact the Office of Procurement Services immediately to determine proper procurement method.

Procurement Functions

The formal procurement function begins after Office of Procurement Services receives a Purchase Requisition form approved by an authorized university cost center manager. The Purchase Requisition is sent directly to the Accounts Payable Services Office first, so that they can verify the account coding and the approval signature. When that process is complete Accounts Payable Services forwards the requisition to the Director of Financial Analysis and State Budget Reporting for approval. Once approved they forward it on to Procurement Services.

Depending on the complexity of the purchase, the Buyer may contact the requisitioning department to gather additional information. If a contract is required, the vendor’s contract will be sent to Office of the General Counsel (OGC) for contract review and approval. If the University has a contract template, it is sent to the vendor for review by OGC. If a bid, request for proposal or sole source is required, the Buyer will notify the department and request the requirements necessary to ensure conforming products or services are bid or requested for proposal.

Formal bids or RFPs are advertised on the electronic Illinois Public Higher Education Procurement Bulletin where potential vendors can consider them and request additional information before responding by the posted deadline. After bids or proposals are received, they are reviewed, evaluated and the decision to purchase is made. The necessary reference documents are reviewed and then prepared for transmittal to the vendor, with copies distributed to the requesting department, as well as other areas of the university who will receive, record the asset (if required) and deliver the item as specified on campus. See the Asset Recording and Property control sections on the materials management webpage.

The Procurement function ends only after the requesting department has approved the items or services delivered to them and agrees with corresponding documentation and pricing and the supplying vendor has been paid.

Procurement staff welcomes questions regarding procurement procedures and processes and encourages departments to contact our office concerning any large or unusual procurements as soon as the need is identified.

Illinois Procurement Code

The Illinois Procurement Code, enacted by the Illinois Legislature effective July 1, 1998, governs all procurement activity of the State of Illinois. The code established an administrative structure and requirements for directing all activities involved in the procurement for goods, services, concessions, and leases for the various state agencies.

Administered by a five-member Procurement Policy Board appointed by the Governor, there are four main divisions, including the Higher Education Division, which is made up of the thirteen state universities.

The Procurement Code was enacted to establish an open, fair matrix for competitive source selection. Several categories of purchases have been established including commodities and equipment; professional and artistic services; and construction. Bids or other competitive source selections are required for amounts at the following bid thresholds:

General Supplies and Services $80,000.00
Construction $100,000.00
Professional and Artistic Services $20,000.00
Architectural/Engineering/Land Survey Services $25,000.00
Real Property and Capital Improvement Leases $100,000.00 (must also be less than 10,000 square feet)

By Law, all bids and awards must be advertised in the Illinois Public Higher Education Procurement Bulletin. This is a free, publicly available web site created and supported by the Higher Education division members. All notices published for bids or awards must appear in the Bulletin for a minimum of 15 days from the date of publication before any further action toward a purchase can take place.  Once complete, with all required approvals, bids, RFPs and sole sources will be posted by Procurement Services on the Illinois Public Higher Education Procurement Bulletin.

  • In addition are the following requirements, unless otherwise designated, all purchases must be made with a purchase order or a P-Card. See Procurement And Payment To Suppliers Without A Purchase Order (Revision 1.1 dated 1/19/17).
  • All purchase orders between $0.00 - $4,999.99 require an authorized buyer signature.
  • Any purchase order over $4,999.99 requires a buyer signature along with the signature of the Director, Associate Director, or Manager of Procurement Services.
  • Any requisition that requires the University to enter into a contract requires the vendor to complete a “Certifications” form.
  • Purchase requisitions over $20,000.00 require the vendor to complete a “Certifications” form.
  • Purchase requisitions from $25,000.00 to $249,999.99 require Presidential approval with the exception of library purchases and bookstore purchases for resale. See section 9-4 of the Business Procedure Manual.
  • Purchase Requisitions of $50,000.00 and greater require the vendor to complete a “Financial Disclosures and Conflict of Interest” form.

Obligations of $250,000 or more require Board of Trustees approval.

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