Delegation of Contracting Authority

A contract is a legally binding agreement between two parties that obliges each party to do, or not to do, a certain thing. The term "contract" encompasses all agreements intended to be binding between the parties, whether they are called contracts, purchase orders, agreements, memoranda of understanding, etc. Even oral agreements can be legally binding.

The Chancellor has been delegated the authority to execute the various agreements required with outside organizations, agencies, and individuals to implement approved programs and activities, whether the University is the supplier or recipient of the service covered by the agreement. She, in turn, has redelegated that authority as follows:

All contracts and purchase orders must be executed in accordance with the applicable University policies and procedures governing the particular transaction, including but not limited to Business and Finance Bulletins, University policies, and relevant guidelines issued by the appropriate functional areas within the Office of the President. University Counsel is available to review contracts for legal form prior to execution.  

Administrative officials are not authorized to execute contracts, agreements, or high-value purchases without a formal written delegation except as a result of administrative responsibilities specifically outlined in University policies, such as the Academic Personnel Manual or a Business and Finance Bulletin. The University is under no obligation to honor unauthorized commitments. In certain circumstances, the University may stand behind an unauthorized agreement if it is clearly in the best interest of the University. Administrative officials who enter into agreements that are not within the scope of their authority may be personally liable for the unauthorized commitment.

Roles:  When purchasing goods and services, two key roles come into play: 

Buyers:  The campus Vice Chancellor of Administration (VCA) has the ultimate authority to purchase goods and services for UC Berkeley. The VCA re-delegates this authority to the Chief Procurement Officer and campus Buyers to procure certain goods and services for the campus. The high-value purchase authorization is currently set at purchases and contracts of more than $10,000.00.

UC Berkeley Employees:  Some UC employees have the authority to purchase low-risk goods and services up to $9,999.99 including tax, freight, and handling charges (low-value purchase authorization).  UC Berkeley employees receive purchasing authority (low-value purchase authorization) from a delegation from their department's Administration, which receives authority from the Chief Financial Officer.  With this authority, campus employees must comply with all applicable federal, state, and university policies and procedures. 

Contact your Buyer for any questions or assistance on the procurement of goods and services for UC Berkeley.