Act 188, as well as Act 57 , generally exempts contracts of ten thousand dollars ($19,100.00) or less from competitive bidding. However, procurement requirements must not be artificially divided so as to constitute small procurement.
Although no formal bidding is required, universities must contemplate prudent business practices and should solicit at least three telephone bids, when possible, with at least one such potential contractor being a woman-based or minority-based entity. It should be the university’s practice that, despite no obligation for formal bidding, certain cases for economic benefit may dictate that formal bidding is utilized. Regardless, the selected contractor should not only be the lowest responsive bidder, but a responsible one as well.
Contracts funded by federal funds or private donations are exempt under Act 188 from competitive bidding, regardless of amount; but if any federal bidding requirements apply, they must be followed. Contracts funded by state or local government funds must be competitively bid and if federal funds flow through a branch of state government, bidding is required.
Unless authorized by law, all Commonwealth agency contracts are to be awarded by competitive sealed bidding, except as specifically provided in regard to:
- competitive sealed proposals
- small procurements (contracts under $19,100.00)
- emergency procurement
- multiple awards
- competitive selection procedures for certain services
- supplies manufactured and services performed by persons with disabilities
- procurement of design professional services
Bidding requirements are to be met by bids, Requests for Proposals or Requests for Information.