Introduction to Contracts

What is a Contract

An agreement with specific terms between two or more persons or entities in which there is a promise to do something in return for a valuable benefit known as consideration and must include specific elements. A contract may be in the form of an agreement, proposal, statement, notice, resolution, letter, memorandum of understanding (MOU), memorandum of agreement (MOA), purchase order, license, indenture, grant, cooperative agreement, etc. In addition, such documents may go by other names as well.

Procurement Services will help

  •  Manage the contract review process
  • Obtain authorized University signatures 

Contracts are typically established through the competitive solicitation process.   

UW Contracts

The University has contracts for many goods and services for use by the campus as a whole. For example, other than those catalogs marked "non-contract," catalogs in eProcurement are based on contracts negotiated by Purchasing and are not subject to the current $10,000 direct buy limit.   Non-Contract Catalog orders cannot exceed the direct buy limit of $10,000 without buyer approval. Generally, contracts are set up for several years, with options to extend for additional time periods. Contracts contain terms and conditions- such as warranties and insurance- that protect the University. Purchase orders created by Buyers are also considered contracts.  Purchase orders are generally created in response to a specific requirement from a department.

UW contracts are impacted by rules and regulations

RCW (Revised Code of Washington)  Grants UW statutory authorities relating to procurement
WAC (Washington Administrative Code)  Rules and Regulations regarding state agencies
FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulations)  Applies to federally funded purchases
UCC (Uniform Commercial Code)  Adopted by majority of states – sets standards for business transactions

Delegation of purchasing authority

Washington State Legislature -> Board of Regents -> UW President -> Senior VP for Finance and Facilities -> Director of Purchasing -> Purchasing Buyer (Purchasing Buyers are considered Agents of the University and are authorized to act on behalf of the University.)  
Note: Campus departments do not have the authority to execute or sign contracts, this includes maintenance/service agreements, reservation agreements etc.

UW Contracts - these are contracts that have been created by or are being managed by a UW Buyer.  If you are unable to locate the product or service needed when searching UW Contracts, other options available include:

State of Washington Contracts

Group Purchasing Organizations (GPO). There are several GPOs whose contracts are available for the UW to use and Buyers on Procurement Teams can provide assistance with questions about these and other contracts.


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