How to Establish Agreements & Blanket Orders

UCLA Campus Purchasing, the University of California Office of the President (UCOP) and other UC campuses enter into a variety of agreements that are intended to provide goods and services at the best overall value, and to protect the University by applying appropriate terms and conditions of purchase.


Bidding Process

The University solicits vendors, in writing, in a fair and open manner to competitively bid to offer goods and services. UCLA is required by state law and UC policy to open expenditures exceeding $50,000 to competitive bidding each year, with some exceptions. To provide opportunities to those who would like to do business with the University, many bids may draw responses from a large number of potential suppliers. Three bids from qualified suppliers are the typically the minimum requirement.

Agreements are generated through:

  • Competitive bids for individual purchases.
  • Competitive bids leveraging the purchase volume of a campus or the entire UC system.
  • Price schedules, which are agreements not competitively bid but established to meet a need consistent with UC policy.


Purchase Orders

Many agreements between the University and its suppliers take the form of a purchase order (PO), which uses standard University terms and conditions or, for federally funded purchases, the terms and conditions of purchase required by the U.S. government. 

The following rules apply to purchase orders:

  • A purchase order must be in place in order to pay a vendor's invoice, or Accounts Payable will not be able to process the invoice.
  • UC policy requires that a purchase order must be established prior to receipt of goods or delivery of services in order to confirm the scope of work or exchange of value, and record the obligation on the University's financial books.

The University is at risk without an agreement in place, which is most important in case something goes wrong. If there is a problem:

  • Will the vendor hold the University harmless?
  • Does the vendor carry insurance?
  • Will California law govern any legal issues?
  • Can we terminate the contract?


Blanket Orders

Purchase orders can be established for individual purchases or as blanket orders, agreements established for use multiple times with a dollar value established to cover a period of time, typically one year. Blanket releases are issued against a blanket order to establish individual scopes of work and pricing.

Within the UCLA Purchasing and Accounts Payable system, there are two types of blanket orders:

  • Departmental. This type is to be used by one department and is identified by the department's four-digit code. The class of order is known as a B blanket.
  • Campuswide. This type may be used by any department on campus and therefore does not have a particular department's four-digit code tied to it. It is known as a 0000K (four-zero K) blanket. The four zeros indicate that no department is identified and any department may issue a blanket release against that blanket. The K class of order is for a campuswide blanket agreement.