The following is a list of open issues - regulations in the guidance that are being questioned by COGR or are otherwise not yet resolved.
Research Terms and Conditions (RTC) expire on 12/26/2014. FDP is working with federal officials to secure new or existing RTC terms. The organization prepared a white paper on Standard Terms and Conditions for the April 14, 2014 joint FDP/COGR/Federal Partners Meeting. (Page 8 of the White Papers).
General Procurement Standards (200.318-320). UG standards represent a potential administrative burden for IHE’s (Institutions of Higher Education). (See the changes related to procurement.) COGR submitted a request to OMB to review the Procurement and Terminal Leave issues (Read the letter dated 6/17/2014.) The Federal Demonstration Partnership collected survey data which was provided to OMB to show the impact of the UG Standards. (Read the minutes from the January 2015 meeting.) The University of Maryland College Park will continue to follow the procurement requirement of OMB Circular A-110 and will utilize the grace period allowed in the Uniform Guidance and as extended by the Office of Management and Budget technical corrections. For more information on UMCP’s procurement policies, go to http://www.purchase.umd.edu
Effective Dates for Procurement (Section 200.110). Per COFAR published FAQ 200.110-6, the federal government provided a grace period for non-Federal entities to comply with the procurement standards in the Uniform Guidance. The grace period is for one full fiscal year that begins on or after December 26, 2014. The grace period has since been extended for an additional year (See rule), providing for a total of two fiscal years for non-Federal entities to implement changes to their procurement policies and procedures in accordance with guidance on procurement standards. For the latest information on this issue, see the General Procurement Standards under Open Issues.
General Procurement Standards must be followed when procuring property and services under a Federal award (i.e. costs that are charged directly to an award). These standards do not apply to procurements made in indirect cost areas. Section 200.318 includes the following provisions:
- .318(d): The non-Federal entity’s procedures must avoid acquisition of unnecessary or duplicative items. No specific equipment screening procedures are required (FAQ 200.318-1).
- .318(f): The non-Federal entity is encouraged to use Federal excess and surplus property in lieu of purchasing new equipment and property whenever such use is feasible and reduces project cost.
- .318(i): The non-Federal entity must maintain records sufficient to detail the history of procurement. May include: rationale for method of procurement, selection of contract type, contractor selection/rejection, and basis for the contract price.
Methods of Procurement (Section 200.320) divides procurement into one of 5 types. See also OMB Procurement Claw.
- Micro-Purchase: Acquisitions not to exceed $3,000. Micro-purchases must be distributed equitably among qualified suppliers. Competitive quotes are not required if price is considered reasonable.
- Small Purchase: Acquisitions costing $3,001-$150,000 (Simplified Acquisition Threshold). Rate quotes must be obtained from an adequate number of qualified sources. Cost or price analysis is not required.
- Sealed Bids: Acquisitions costing $150,001 or more (Simplified Acquisition Threshold) where price is the most important determining factor. Procurement results in a firm fixed price contract to the lowest bidder who conforms to all terms and conditions. Preferred for construction projects.
- Competitive Proposals: Acquisitions costing $150,001 or more (Simplified Acquisition Threshold) where contract is awarded through technical evaluation of proposals. Procurement can result in a fixed price or cost reimbursement contract.
- Sole Source: Use of sole source procurement is limited to certain circumstances. See Section 200.320(f). Researchers may acquire items through sole source for scientific reasons, as long as it complies with the General Procurement Standards (200.318), particularly the documentation requirements (200.318(i)). (FAQ 200.320-2)
Impact at the University of Maryland:
- The University of Maryland College Park will continue to follow the procurement requirement of OMB Circular A-110 and will utilize the grace period allowed in the Uniform Guidance. The procurement standards in the Uniform Guidance become effective at the University on July 1, 2017.
- For more information on purchasing with sponsored funds, go to: http://www.purchase.umd.edu/sponsored_funds_guidelines.html
Most Recent COGR Requests for Clarification: Listed here are three recent letters that COGR has sent to the COFAR applicable to the OMB Uniform Guidance: 1) September 26, 2014 - request to clarify the definition of MTDC and use of the term "subcontract" - click here for the letter; 2) October 9, 2014 - request to incorporate technical corrections into the final version of the Uniform Guidance - click here for the letter; and 3) October 10, 2014 - request to change the trigger for DS-2 submission from $50 million of federal awards to $50 million of CAS-covered contracts - click here for the letter.
Contact your ORA contract administrator for technical questions or SPAC for financial matters.