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Department Buyer: Roles and Responsibilities

These guidelines clarify the roles and responsibilities of department buyers.


When purchasing goods and services, two key roles come into play:

  • Professional Buyer's role: The Chief Procurement Officer has the ultimate authority to purchase goods and services for UC San Diego. The Chief Procurement Officer can delegate to departments the authority to buy certain goods and services. In departments, this responsibility falls on department buyers.

  • Department buyer's role: A department buyer has the delegated authority to purchase materials, supplies, services, and repairs when these goods and services:
    • Don't exceed their delegated threshold ($500, $2,500, or $5,000), including tax, freight, and handling charges
    • Don't qualify as equipment
    • Aren't for restricted items
    • Don't require a signed contract

Department buyers receive purchasing authority by delegation from their department's BUMT Administrator, who receives authority from the Chief Procurement Officer, who receives authority from the Regents and President of the University of California. With this authority, department buyers must comply with all applicable federal, state, and university policies and procedures.

Policy violations

Department buyers who violate policy may be subject to disciplinary action including written warnings, mandatory training, loss of purchasing authority, probation, termination, and criminal prosecution.

Examples of activities that violate policy include purchases that:

  • Are fraudulent transactions
  • Are made by non-authorized employees
  • Use unauthorized buying methods i.e. a valid Purchase Order or Express Card is not provided to the supplier at the time of purchase
  • Exceed the buyer's authorization
  • Consist of restricted goods or services
  • Are for personal use or benefit
  • Violate policy on employee-vendor relationships
  • Involve signing a contract that commits funds for purchase


Department buyers' responsibilities include placing orders by using the following processes:


Note: This page has a friendly link that's easy to remember: http://blink.ucsd.edu/go/buying/departmentrole