Original Issuance Date: October 15, 2019
Last Revision Date: October 15, 2019
Effective Date: December 1, 2019

1. Policy Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to identify individuals authorized to sign procurement contracts on behalf of the University of Wisconsin (UW) System.

2. Responsible UW System Officer

UW System Director of Procurement

3. Scope

This policy does not apply to Architectural and Engineering (A/E) and construction procurements.

4. Background

The sources of authority for the UW System purchase of goods and services and authority to sign contract with suppliers are described below.

  1. Per s.16.70, Wis. Stats., the state of Wisconsin’s Department of Administration delegates procurement authority to purchase goods or services and delegates contract signature authority to sign contracts to special designated agents including the UW System Director of Procurement and UW-Madison’s Director of Purchasing Services. This authority is described in a formal delegation agreement. Purchases or contracts exceeding the delegation agreement require the Wisconsin Department of Administration’s review and approval.
    • The director of procurement at UW System is authorized to sub-delegate the authority to qualified individuals at UW institutions. The director of purchasing services at UW-Madison is authorized to sub-delegate authority to qualified individuals at UW-Madison.
  2. The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents’ (BOR) procurement authority is found in s.36.11(1)(b), Wis. Stats., and authorizes the purchase of goods and services supporting the educational and research mission of the university. It is for purchasing goods and services unique to the university’s academic and student life. This authority is separate from the state of Wisconsin’s Department of Administration’s delegated procurement authority. These are goods and services which are not purchased by other state agencies nor found in state mandatory contracts. This procurement authority also covers the purchases of goods and services that have been statutorily assigned to the university

By following the procurement procedures laid out in these UW System Administrative procurement policies, federal grant and contracting regulations should be met. Some additional contract clauses may be needed to meet specific federal grant or contract requirements.

Regent Policy Document (RPD) 13-1, General Contract Approval, Signature Authority and Reporting, established the Board of Regents’ contract signature authority policy. The Board of Regents delegates contract signature authority to the UW System President who may delegate to Chancellors who may then delegate contract signature authority to others on their campus.

5. Definitions

Procurement Authority:  The authority to award a contract to a supplier.  Use of an acceptable procurement process generates the authority to award the contract (e.g. bid, RFP, Non-Competitive justification or policy exemption).

Procurement Contracts: These procurement policies govern contracts with third parties who provide goods or services to the university. They apply regardless if the UW institution pays the vendor or receives revenue form the vendor. These policies do not apply to general contracts such as collaborative academic agreements with other universities or affiliation agreements.

Procurement Contract Signature Authority:  The authority to sign a contract with a supplier for goods or services on behalf of the state of Wisconsin or on behalf of the UW System BOR. 

6. Policy Statement

All state of Wisconsin contracts must follow an authorized procurement process and be signed by a formally delegated purchasing agent within the UW System, per the state of Wisconsin procurement delegation policy and delegation of authority agreement between the Wisconsin Department of Administration and UW System and the Wisconsin Department of Administration and UW-Madison.

The state of Wisconsin procurement authority covers the purchase of general goods and services such as office supplies, general furniture, and maintenance and repair (MRO) items.

All Board of Regents’ procurement contracts with suppliers must follow an authorized procurement process and must be signed by a delegated university contracting officer. The Chancellors shall delegate procurement contract signature authority only to individuals who have knowledge, training and expertise in developing, negotiating and awarding procurement contracts. This individual shall determine the appropriate procurement authority (state of Wisconsin or Board of Regents) and conduct the appropriate procurement process based on that determination. All BOR contracts shall follow the Board of Regents procurement policies and RPD 13-1, General Contract Approval, Signature Authority and Reporting for approval levels and contracts shall be signed by a university contracting officer.

Though individuals may have authority to sign Board of Regents contracts, University Contracting Officers do not have authority to sign state of Wisconsin procurement contract documents and
purchase orders, unless they have state of Wisconsin procurement delegation.

UW institutions and the UW System Office of Procurement have the responsibility to monitor to ensure these polices are being followed.

7. Related Documents

8. Policy History

First approved: October 15, 2019*

*This policy supersedes UW System Administrative Policy 505 (Formerly G8), Purchasing Responsibility & Authority

9. Scheduled Review

October 2024