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Sole Source Justification

Learn about sole source justifications, and when and how to submit one.

UC policy for purchase of goods and services requires competitive bids for purchase contracts over $100,000. For federally funded purchases, the threshold is $50,000. However, in some circumstances competition is not required or appropriate.

There are times when you may need a particular supplier or product and wish to request exemption from the competitive bid requirement. In these situations, the department must submit a written Sole Source Justification form (PDF) to Procurement & Contracts.

Basis for Sole Source

Competition may be waived if a purchase of goods or services qualifies as:

  • Personal or professional services
  • Unique, proprietary, available only from a single source, or designated to be compatible with existing installation, facility, or location

Items to Consider

When you request a sole source justification, consider the following:

  • Reasonable price: Even though there may be good reason for a sole source, we enter into a purchase contract only after determining that we will be paying reasonable prices. Documented price comparisons, discounts off published price lists, buyers knowledge of market, Fair Trade laws and other cost-price analyses determine if the price is reasonable.
  • Brand or trade names: When you believe that only a specific brand, trade name, item, or proprietary service will properly satisfy your requirements, include a description of the technical features that make that product or service the only one that fulfills your needs.
  • Extenuating circumstances: When the prime-sponsoring agency or governing law directs the purchase, or when unusual or compelling urgency for acquiring the goods or services precludes obtaining formal competition, the purchase may qualify for sole source justification.
  • Consultants: Under UC Policy, agreements for independent consulting services are subject to the requirement for competition if the contract exceeds $100,000. If you do not seek competition you must provide a written sole source justification with the request for consultant services.

Making a request

To request a sole source justification, the department must submit a written Sole Source Justification form (PDF) to Procurement & Contracts via a requisition.

Note: You must provide a thorough and complete response to all the considerations. You may attach additional pages to the form.

For more details on policy for requirements for competition and sole source, see Business and Financial Bulletin (BUS) 43, Part 3, Purchase Transactions (PDF).

Find answers, request services, or get help from our team at the UC San Diego Services & Support portal or call us at (858) 534-9494.