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Handbook of Operating Procedures

Authority to Execute Contracts and Make Purchases

Policy Number: 124


Entering into contracts or making purchases on behalf of the University


Employees and students

Date Reviewed:
February 2016
Responsible Office:
Office of Legal Affairs; Procurement Services
Responsible Executive:
Vice President & Chief Legal Officer; Senior Vice President, Finance and Business Services


A. Contracts and Agreements

Only University employees expressly authorized in writing by the President may enter into or sign contracts or agreements, either oral or written, on behalf of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston ("University”). The President may delegate such authority only in accordance with Rule 10501 of the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System. The authorized employees and their corresponding delegated authorities are listed in the Delegation Authority Matrix. Contracts and agreements must be reviewed and approved by the appropriate office prior to their execution. For the appropriate office through which to route a contract or agreement, consult the Contracting at UTHealth Matrix.

B. Purchases of Goods or Services

Procurement Services is the University’s official purchasing agent. Employees may not use University funds for any purchase unless the employee is authorized to make the purchase by University policy. All purchases, regardless of the source of funds, must be made on a competitive basis unless otherwise authorized by University policy. Any violation of University purchasing policies or procedures should be promptly reported to the Senior Executive Vice President, Chief Operating and Financial Officer, The University of Texas System Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs or to the Compliance Hotline.

Departments are permitted to purchase goods and services, inclusive of delivery charges, less than $15,000 per transaction. Any purchase $15,000 or greater must be handled by Procurement Services. All purchases over $50,000 must be solicited through a formal bid or proposal, unless a contract approved by Procurement Services is already in place. The bid and proposal process must be handled by Procurement Services.

University commitments must be made in accordance with the policies and procedures found in the University’s Procurement Procedures. The University will not assume liability for an obligation of institutional funds that does not comply with the University’s policies and procedures. Employees who are authorized to obligate institutional funds are expected to become informed about, and work within the framework of, approved purchasing policies and procedures. Failure to abide by University purchasing policies and procedures, whether the result of ignorance or of deliberate misconduct, may result in financial liability and/or disciplinary action for the employee concerned.

The University requires that all requisitions for purchasing live animals be approved by the Center for Laboratory Animal Medicine and Care ("CLAMC").  Requests for the purchase of animals must be made in accordance with the procedures outlined in the Animal Ordering Guidelines.

The University requires that all purchases of non-standard office furniture (such as treadmill desks, kneeling chairs, standing desks, etc.) be approved by the dean or administrative equivalent of the school or unit requesting the purchase and by the Senior Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating and Financial Officer.  This approval must be obtained by submitting the appropriate form

C. Ethical Obligations

University employees may not solicit, demand, accept or agree to accept any economic opportunity, future employment, gift, loan, gratuity, special discount, trip, favor or a personal service in connection with the following:

  • approving, disapproving, recommending or preparing any part of a program requirement or purchase request;
  • influencing the content of any specification or procurement standard, rendering of advice, investigation, audit, request for ruling or claim; or
  • awarding a contract.


Detailed purchasing policies and procedures are found in the Procurement Procedures.