How to Purchase Goods and Services 

DCPS Procurement Guide for Purchasers


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Instructions for purchases

Here, you can follow step-by-step instructions for purchases made through the Procurement Automated Support System (PASS) and the American Express Buy-Down Account (AMEX BDA).

Purchasing through the American Express Buy-Down Account (AMEX BDA) Program

NOTE: Only these goods (hyperlink) are available for purchase through the AMEX BDA program.

Pre-Step. Submit a requisition through the Procurement Automated Support System (PASS) to establish a purchase order (PO) for your school’s or program’s AMEX BDA.

Step 1. Identify need.

Step 2. Choose a vendor and then the needed item from the AMEX BDA website.

Vendor delivers goods.

Accounts Payable pays American Express.

American Express pays vendor.

Step 3. Reconcile purchases via the American Express Online Reconcilement Tool at least once per month.

Accounts Payable pays American Express ONLY AFTER you reconcile the purchase statement.

NOTE: The Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) has restricted purchasing certain categories of items (e.g., expensive technological devices such as laptops, monitors and phones) and single items costing $1,000 or above. If necessary, please call the Office of Contracts and Acquisitions (OCA) at (202) 442-5112 to discuss having a restriction lifted.

Purchasing through the Procurement Automated Support System (PASS)

NOTE: For more detailed instruction on using PASS, please see pages 17-22 (submitting a requisition) and 38-40 (tracking a requisition) of the PASS Buyers Guide and also refer to the PASS Wiki.

Purchases of $5,000 and below

Step 1. Identify need.

Step 2. Submit requisition through PASS.

Step 3. Program or school supervisor must approve requisition.

Step 4. Budget analyst must approve pre-encumbrance of funds.

OCFO encumbers funds.

OCA creates PO and places order with vendor.

Vendor delivers goods or services and submits invoice to Accounts Payable and purchaser.

Step 5. After receiving goods or services, complete receiving report in PASS and certify invoice.

Accounts Payable pays vendor ONLY AFTER receipt of PO, receiving report and certified invoice.

Purchases of $5,000.01 - $25,000 (informal bidding)

NOTE:The purchaser’s steps are essentially the same for any procurement $5,000.01 and above. The processes for requisitions of $25,000.01 and above and of $100,000 and above are included below to inform the purchaser of the steps OCA takes to select vendors at these different cost thresholds.

Step 1. Identify need.

Step 2. Submit requisition through PASS, attaching a detailed Statement of Work (SOW) and Government Cost Estimate (GCE).

Step 3. Program or school supervisor must approve requisition.

Step 4. Budget analyst must approve pre-encumbrance of funds.

OCA makes request for quotes (RFQ; three quotes required, but these may be oral), receives bids, conducts bid analysis and awards contract.

OCFO encumbers funds.

OCA creates PO and places order with vendor.

Vendor delivers goods or services and submits invoice to Accounts Payable and purchaser.

Step 5. After receiving goods or services, complete receiving report in PASS and certify invoice.

Accounts Payable pays vendor ONLY AFTER receipt of PO, receiving report and certified invoice.

NOTES: For sole source procurements of $5,000.01 and above, you must attach to your PASS requisition a market survey/sole source justification.

Purchases of $25,000.01 - $99,999.99 (informal bidding)

Follow the same steps as for purchases of $5,000.01 - $25,000 (see above).

(The only difference between this process and the one immediately above is that the three quotes OCA gathers in this process must be written rather than oral.)

Purchases of $100,000 and above (formal bidding)

Step 1. Identify need.

Step 2. Submit requisition through PASS, attaching a detailed SOW and GCE.

Step 3. Program or school supervisor must approve requisition.

Step 4. Budget analyst must approve pre-encumbrance of funds.

OCA makes formal solicitation (i.e., issues the invitation for bids or IFB), receives bids, conducts bid analysis and awards contract.

OCFO encumbers funds.

OCA creates PO and places order with vendor.

Vendor delivers goods or services and submits invoice to Accounts Payable and purchaser.

Step 5. After receiving goods or services, complete receiving report in PASS and certify invoice.

Accounts Payable pays vendor ONLY AFTER receipt of PO, receiving report and certified invoice.

FORMS: 

  • Statement of Work (hyperlink to PDF)
  • Government Cost Estimate (hyperlink to PDF)
  • Market Survey/Sole Source Justification (hyperlink to PDF)

NOTES: Following the competitive sealed bidding process (after the IFB or the request for proposals, as discussed below), contracts of $1,000,000 and above must receive further approval from the Office of the Attorney General, the mayor’s office and the city council.

Purchases using a Request for Proposals (RFP)

The less common formal bidding process involves a request for proposals (RFP) rather than an IFB. This procedure is as follows:

Step 1. Identify need.

Step 2. Submit requisition through PASS, attaching a detailed SOW and GCE.

Step 3. Program or school supervisor must approve requisition.

Step 4. Budget analyst must approve pre-encumbrance of funds.

OCA makes formal solicitation (i.e., issues the RFP), receives proposals, conducts proposal analysis, establishes competitive range, negotiates with offerors in competitive range, requests Best and Final Offers (BAFOs), receives BAFOs, conducts BAFO analysis, selects vendor and prepares contract.

OCFO encumbers funds.

OCA creates PO and places order with vendor.

Vendor delivers goods or services and submits invoice to Accounts Payable and purchaser.

Step 5. After delivery of goods or services, complete receiving report in PASS and certify invoice.

Accounts Payable pays vendor ONLY AFTER receipt of PO, receiving report and certified invoice.

Additional Help

For additional help, please contact the Office of Contracts and Acquisitions at (202) 442-5112 or the PASS Help Desk at (202) 727-8700.

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