Emergency Procurement

Friday, March 20, 2020 – These Emergency Procurement FAQs pertain to the following policies and procedures:

Excerpted on March 20, 2020:

Emergency procurement procedures can be authorized under an emergency, defined as a situation which:

  • Threatens the public health, safety, or welfare; and all of the following conditions exist: was unforeseen; calls for immediate action; and cannot be responded to using established procurement methods; or
  • Exists as the result of a declaration by the governor, under s. 323.10, Wis. Stats.

It also states the existence of an emergency situation does not preclude the use of the competitive bidding process in its entirety. Agencies will obtain such competition as is practical under the circumstances.

Excerpted on March 20, 2020:

  • If the emergency event involves loss of property or life it is an insurance event and shall be handled by the UW System Office of Risk Management and covered by the State/UW System insurance program.
  • If an emergency event threatens the public health, safety, security, welfare or disrupts the university mission AND all of the following conditions exist, then this policy should be used: was unforeseen;
    • calls for immediate action; and
    • cannot be responded to using established procurement methods.

Note:  Ch. 36 Board of Regents policy only applies to goods and services that would normally be purchased using the Board of Regents authority.

No.  The delegated authority for UW System procurements remains the same.  The Purchasing Director on your campus currently holds this delegation.  This is not a change.

No.  The DOA State Procurement manual already has a policy and procedure in place for Emergency Procurements.  This is not a change.  Your campus Purchasing Directors will understand the rules and procedures to follow if your campus needs to make an emergency procurement. 

This is half-true. DOA SBOP did send a waiver notice to all heads of State Agency Procurement officials to implement a blanket business case exception for the use of four commonly used mandatory contracts in which your campus would typically purchase ‘health’ related products. This would include products like hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, face masks, cleaning agents, etc.). With this business case exception, end users can purchase needed items from any available source without having to first use the State’s mandatory contract. This blanket business case exception will remain in effect until products are again available through mandatory contracts in the quantities and delivery times required by the contract or until determined by SBOP. This business case exception waives the use of the four mandatory contracts but does not waive the applicable bidding procedure, if bidding can be accomplished. If bidding cannot be accomplished, the PRO-503 procedures for Emergency Procurement must be followed. Your campus Purchasing Director has received this waiver notice.

It is important to understand that the blanket business case exception only covers these four mandatory contracts, and more importantly, only covers health related items that these vendors sell.

  • Office Supplies (505ENT-M19-OFFSUPPLY-01)
  • Cleaning Chemicals (505ENT-M16-CLEANGCHEMS-00)
  • Medical Supplies (505ENT-M19-MEDICALSUP-00)
  • Maintenance Repair and Operations (505ENT-M19-FACILITMRO-00)

No, not at this time (3/18/2020).  All Procurement Manual procedures are still required to be followed.

UPDATE (3/26/2020):  While this is not a waiver of Procurement Manual requirements, DOA did just allow for usage of General Services Administration Disaster Purchasing Program (GSA) consortium contracts which allows State Government and Local Municipalities to source items to address the COVID-19 pandemic for emergency related supplies and services until further notice.  PRO-503 requirements for emergency purchasing is not waived.


It will depend, and you should work closely with your Purchasing Director on campus prior to this sort of purchase.  For example, if the software is needed for the purpose of fulfilling an academic need because students are now attending classes remotely, then yes, this would be a situation where established purchasing methods could not be followed due to immediate need.  This would be a Ch 36 BOR procurement because it disrupts the university mission.

Yes.  However, the campus must have internal controls in place to ensure that these assets are returned to the campus when the employee returns to work at their campus.

Yes. This is not a change due to the pandemic. Procurement has the option of allowing vendors to respond to solicitations online. During this time, it is advisable to suggest that online responses be recommended. With each solicitation being different, the procurement staff will have a good idea of the file size of the vendor response. And if necessary, an FTP site or Dropbox can/should be utilized if the expected vendor response file is going to be too large for email servers (typically 10MB). Purchasing staff should email vendors when they receive online vendor responses, so the vendor is aware their response was received.

No. Neither UW-System or the State has contracts for deep-cleaning services. However, DOA/DFM does have a list of reputable cleaning service providers located around the state that have been utilized in the past for cleaning services mostly related to emergency situations involving a claim (tornado, flooding, fire, etc…). Your campus Purchasing Director has access to this list of vendors and the process to obtain this service if needed. Your campus can also quote locally with service vendors not on this list following Ch 16 emergency procurement rules.

First, ensure you get your campus Purchasing Director involved right away. There are certain avenues that can be taken to do some things remotely, but maybe not all. If the need constitutes and emergency procurement, the Purchasing Director has the tools in place to make this happen. If the solicitation is not an emergency and can be accomplished using virtual meetings, then the procurement should continue as such.

Somewhat related to question #9 and the campuses ability to perform a specific solicitation (especially RFB/RFP), the Purchasing Director may determine that the best option in the situation is to extend the current contract for a year as an emergency procurement. In which case, emergency procurement processes will be followed. This will be determined on the basis of each individual contract. If the contract is a UWSA Contract, the campus Purchasing Director will direct all procurement/contracting activities to the UWSA Procurement Lead. (This most commonly includes: Auxiliary Services Contracts and UWS Systemwide IT Agreements.)