Sole Source Process

Sole source is a non-competitive purchase or procurement process, that for specific reason(s) mentioned below,  there is only one source , i.e. so called sole source. 

The Sole Source process, can only be used in rare and exceptional circumstances,  as it allows for a purchase to be made without running an open  competitive quotation or tender process, and therefore must be justified. The burden of proof to justify sole source procurement falls to the Budget Holder. 

By approving a Sole Source - NUI Galway is making a clear statement of derogation from running an open and transparent procurement process.  

Process

In advance of the purchase:

For purchase values €5,000 to €25,000 (ex VAT): 

    1. The requestor must complete a Sole Source Form providing full details of what is being purchased and indicating the reasons to justify why a competitive procurement process is not being followed.
    2. The cost centre reference must be included on the form.   A screenshot of the budget from Agresso must accompany the form.
    3. The requestor must support their claim by providing proof of market research (e.g. internet search) and obtaining independent documentary evidence to confirm sole source e.g. statement from the manufacturer confirming that the item is sole source and not manufactured by any other supplier worldwide.
    4. If the requirement is recurring, approval may be sought for up to a max of 3 years.   Budget Holders must ensure approval is renewed as required.
    5. Systems maintenance and support (software or hardware) may fall under this category where it is required to be purchased from the original vendor for technical reasons.    These should initially be considered as a multi-year application up to a max of 3 years.    After this time, the Budget Holder must run an EOI (Expression of Interest) process on the eTenders system. 
    6. The requestor must seek appropriate approval depending on the value of spend.    In all cases, a relevant Budget Holder must sign the Sole Source Form.    The completed form, together with supporting documentation, is submitted to the Procurement & Contracts Office.
    7. The application is reviewed by the Head of Procurement & Contracts. 
    8. If deemed necessary, the Procurement & Contracts Office may publish an Expression of Interest for approximately 2 weeks on www.etenders.gov.ie to ascertain the marketplace for the required goods/service. 
    9. If the application/Expression of Interest has deemed to have sufficiently demonstrated that sole source is applicable, the Head of Procurement & Contracts approves the application.   A signed copy of the approved form is returned by email to the requestor to be retained on file for audit purposes.  
    10. Once approval is granted, the Budget Holder seeks a written quotation from the sole source supplier, in response to a written specification, using the Quotation Request - Goods & Equip or Quotation Request - Services as appropriate.     
    11. Before an order is placed, the Budget Holder must ensure the supplier is setup on the University's financial system - Agresso.  
      Please see Supplier Setup Process   for details
    12. Once setup, the Budget Holder raises an Agresso purchase order and issues to the supplier to confirm the order. 
    13. On delivery of the order, the purchaser GRN's the purchase order on Agresso to confirm receipt.  
    14. The supplier submits an Invoice (matching the purchase order)  to Accounts Payable.   If the GRN has been completed, Accounts Payable can process the invoice for payment.
    15. The Budget Holder retains a record of the complete process for audit purposes.
    16. If the application/Expression of Interest has determined that there is more than one provider of the goods/service, then the application for Sole Source is rejected, the reasons of the rejection will be included on the form together with other actions required (if relevant) and returned to the requestor.

For purchases values greater than €25,000 (ex VAT):  

  1. The requestor must complete a Sole Source Form, providing full details of what is being purchased and indicating the reasons to justify why a competitive procurement process is not being followed.
  2. The cost centre reference must be included on the form.   A screenshot of the budget from Agresso must accompany the form.
  3. The requestor must support their claim by providing proof of market research (e.g. internet search) and obtaining independent documentary evidence to confirm sole source e.g. statement from the manufacturer confirming that the item is sole source and not manufactured by any other supplier worldwide.
  4. If the requirement is recurring, approval may be sought for up to a max of 3 years.   Budget Holders must ensure approval is renewed as required.
  5. Systems maintenance and support (software or hardware) may fall under this category where it is required to be purchased from the original vendor for technical reasons.    These should initially be considered as a multi-year application up to a max of 3 years.    After this time, the Budget Holder must run an EOI (Expression of Interest) process on the eTenders system.
  6. The requestor must seek appropriate approval depending on the value of spend.   For all values above €25,000 (ex VAT) a relevant Budget Holder must sign the Sole Source Form.  The requestor then submits the form and supporting documentation to the Procurement & Contracts Office.    
  7. The application is reviewed by the Head of Procurement & Contracts.    A contract reference number is assigned to the application.   
  8. If deemed necessary, the Procurement & Contracts Office may publish an Expression of Interest for approximately 2 weeks on www.etenders.gov.ie to ascertain the marketplace for the required goods/service.       
  9. If the application and Expression of Interest exercise has deemed to have sufficiently demonstrated that sole source is applicable, the Head of Procurement & Contracts approves the application.  
  10. A signed copy of the approved form is returned by email to the requestor to be retained on file for audit purposes.  
  11. Once approval has been granted, the Budget Holder completes a Sole Source Quotation Form - Equipment  or  Sole Source Quotation Form - Service  which will be issued by the Procurement & Contracts Office to the supplier to seek a formal written quotation for the requirements.   As €25,000 (ex VAT) is the tendering threshold, additional information from the supplier will be required similar to what is submitted in a tender process, i.e. details of eligibility, Tax Clearance Certificate, evidence of appropriate insurance cover, etc.
  12. On receipt of the formal quotation, the Procurement & Contracts Office will award the contract to the supplier by issuing an official award letter detailing the full scope of the purchase.  
  13. Before an order is placed, the Budget Holder must ensure the supplier is setup on the University's financial system - Agresso.  
    Please see Supplier Setup Process   for details
  14. The Budget Holder raises an Agresso purchase order and issues to the supplier to confirm the order.  Note:  different levels of signatories required for the purchase order depending on the value.  
  15. On delivery of the order, the purchaser GRN's the purchase order on Agresso to confirm receipt.  
  16. The supplier submits an Invoice (matching the purchase order)  to Accounts Payable.   If the GRN has been completed, Accounts Payable can process the invoice for payment.
  17. The Budget Holder retains full records for audit purposes including:  market research conducted,  final approved Sole Source Form,  completed Sole Source Quotation Form, official award letter, copy purchase order/Invoice. 
  18. If the application/expression of interest has determined that there is more than one provider of the goods/service, then the application for Sole Source is rejected, the reasons of the rejection will be included on the form together with other actions required (if relevant) and returned to the requestor. 
  19. If more than one response has been received to an expression of interest, the PCO will follow up with the budget holder within 2 weeks to ascertain next steps.  

Approvals Required

Departmental     
€5,000 to  €25,000 (ex VAT) Requestor and Budget Holder Approval required by Procurement Office in advance of purchase.  If approved, the Budget Holder seeks a written quotation from the supplier.   

€25,000 +
(ex VAT)

Requestor, relevant Budget Holder AND Head of College/School/Centre/Unit Approval required by Procurement Office in advance of purchase.  If approved, Procurement Office seek a written quotation from the supplier.   Supplier is also required to produce evidence that adequate insurance limits are in place, together with valid Tax Clearance Cert.

Please note, if you are buying equipment valued in excess of €10,000, please see the University's Fixed Asset Policy/Procedure.