HBP Part 7.3. Purchasing Ethics

Handbook of Business Procedures

Date published: January 17, 2012
Last revised: January 17, 2012
Issued by: Purchasing


A. Introduction

The standards governing ethical behavior for all University of Texas System institutions is published on The University of Texas System Ethics website under Ethics Standards.

In addition to the UT System standards, the following guidelines govern purchasing practices at The University of Texas at Austin:

  • Every effort will be made by the university to obtain the maximum ultimate value for each dollar of expenditure.
  • University purchasing agents, their staff, and others authorized to make purchases will not accept personal gifts or gratuities that might in any way result in an obligation to individuals or firms seeking business with the university.
  • Honesty in sales representation is demanded by the university, whether offered through the medium of oral or written statement, an advertisement, or a sample of the product.
  • All qualified, reputable bidders will be given equal opportunity to submit bids on a uniform basis when competition is possible.
  • No vendors will receive special consideration or be allowed to revise their offers after the time set for opening bids, except in the case of Requests for Proposal (RFPs).

B. Ethics Considerations for Faculty and Staff

Faculty and staff who have influence over purchasing decisions should specifically be aware of the following sections from the UT System Ethics website:

  • Conflicts of Interests

    Officers and employees of UT System may not have a direct or indirect interest, financial or otherwise, that is in substantial conflict with the proper discharge of their job duties. Potential conflicts of interest must be disclosed.

  • Gifts

    An employee should not accept or solicit any gift, favor, service, or loan that might reasonably appear to influence the employee in the discharge of official duties. Note: Accepting a gift may constitute a criminal offense under certain circumstances.

  • Self-Dealing

    An employee may not transact any business in an official capacity with any business entity of which the employee is an officer, agent, or member, or in which the employee owns a substantial interest.

  • Purchases from/by Employees

    Purchases are not permitted from an employee unless approved by the president or chancellor, as appropriate, and the cost is less than from any other known source. Similarly, an employee may not purchase equipment or property from the university without approval by the president or chancellor, as appropriate.

  • Benefits for Performing Official Duties

    An employee should not solicit, accept, or agree to accept any benefit for having exercised official powers or for having performed official duties.

Faculty and staff who participate in the evaluation of vendor bids and proposals are required to sign and abide by a Conflict of Interest Statement and Confidentiality Agreement that applies specifically to the solicitation being evaluated. Evaluation team members must sign a separate agreement for every bid/proposal they are asked to evaluate.

Any violations of these purchasing ethics will be reported promptly by the Purchasing Office at The University of Texas at Austin to the executive vice chancellor for business affairs in the Office of Business Affairs at The University of Texas System.



Part 7. Purchasing - Table of Contents