Sole Source and Single Source Requests


Document TitleSole Source and Single Source Requests
Document Type
  • Bylaws
  • Policy Document
  • Procedures
  • Guidelines
  • Form
Office/UnitPurchasing Department
Document Owner
Contact Information
Office Name Phone Email

Policy Number

Purchasing Department Policy No. 106

Approval Date

January 2003

Approved by
Effective Date

January 2003

Review Date/Schedule
Revision History

ORIGINAL: January 2003
LAST REVISED: August 2011
REVISION DATE: January 2016


I. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to define a procedure for a sole or single source request.

II. Procedure

Sole source or proprietary purchases are sometimes necessary to meet a specific agency need. A Sole Source procurement is one in which only one vendor can supply the commodities, technology and/or perform the services required by an agency. Procurement by this method must be documented in the Procurement Record by an explanation of: (i) the unique nature of the requirement; (ii) the basis upon which it was determined that there is only one known vendor able to meet the need, i.e., the steps taken to identify potential competitors; and (iii) the basis upon which the agency determined the cost to be reasonable, i.e., a "fair market price" that could be anticipated had normal competitive conditions existed, and how that conclusion was reached. (Examples of such a determination may include a comparison to product catalogs, published price lists, retail market surveys, records of previous similar purchases, consulting other purchasing officials, or using professional experience).

A Single Source procurement is one in which two or more vendors can supply the commodity, technology and/or perform the services required by an agency, but the State agency selects one vendor over the others for reasons such as expertise or previous experience with similar contracts. Circumstances leading an agency to select this method of procurement may include, for example, an agency's need for a specific consultant firm where a number of firms are available to perform the work. In such a case, the agency can demonstrate a rational basis for selecting a single vendor because of specific factors such as past experience with a particular issue, familiarity with specific agency operations, experience with similar projects at other agencies or at other levels of government, demonstrated expertise, or capacity and willingness to respond to the situation.

In a Single Source procurement, the agency must document in the Procurement Record: (i) the circumstances leading to the selection of the vendor, including the alternatives considered; (ii) its rationale for selecting the specific vendor; and (iii) the basis upon which it determined the cost was reasonable, as in the case of a Sole Source procurement, and how that conclusion was reached.


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