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  • Writer's pictureJillian Helding

Federal Procurement Rules: What the Uniform Guidance Says about Pre-Procurement Reviews

The procurement regulations governing Federal grants are full of potential pitfalls. For new grant recipients, the sheer number can feel overwhelming. Even experienced program administrators may find themselves struggling to stay up-to-date on current requirements, especially in the face of new legislation, new programs, or changes to existing rules.


One of the tools the Federal government uses to ensure compliance are pre-procurement reviews, which can be conducted either by the agency that awarded the grant or, if you're a subrecipient, by the pass-through entity that distributed the funds. To help you prepare, we've put together an explanation of this brief but important section of the Uniform Guidance: §200.325 Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity review. You can read the guide below, or download a PDF copy to share.


White paper with the word procurement in bold sits atop financial charts beside a keyboard, a pen, and a magnifying glass

PRE-PROCUREMENT REVIEW BASICS


When a procurement solicitation is developed using Federal grant funds, the awarding agency (or the pass-through entity, if the procurer is a subrecipient) may opt to conduct a pre-procurement review. The agency may review procurement documents and request the technical specifications of the item or service to ensure that what is described in a solicitation matches a proposed acquisition. This review typically (though not always) takes place before the specification is incorporated into a solicitation document. The grant recipient or subrecipient may request a delay until after the solicitation has been developed, but this is subject to approval by the pass-through entity or Federal agency.


Pre-procurement reviews are not the same as financial or internal control reviews conducted as part of the monitoring process described in §200.328 – 200.330 or the subrecipient monitoring process described in §200.331 – 200.333.


WHAT INITIATES A PRE-PROCUREMENT REVIEW


At the request of the reviewing agency, a recipient or subrecipient must share procurement documents such as requests for proposals, invitations for bids, or independent cost estimates when:


1. The non-Federal entity's procurement procedures or operation fails to comply with the procurement standards of 2 CFR 200;


2. The procurement is expected to exceed the Simplified Acquisition Threshold and is to be awarded without competition, or only one bid or offer is received in response to a solicitation;


3. The procurement, which is expected to exceed the Simplified Acquisition Threshold, specifies a “brand name” product;


4. The proposed contract is more than the Simplified Acquisition Threshold and is to be awarded to a bidder that is not the apparent low bidder under a sealed bid procurement; or


5. A proposed contract modification changes the scope of a contract or increases the contract amount by more than the Simplified Acquisition Threshold.


EXEMPTIONS AND EXCEPTIONS


The recipient or subrecipient is exempt from the pre-procurement review described in §200.325 if the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity determines that its procurement systems comply with the standards outlined in the Uniform Guidance. This determination can be facilitated as follows:


1. The recipient or subrecipient may request that its procurement system be reviewed by the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity to be certified as compliant. Generally, these reviews must occur where there is continuous high-dollar funding, and third-party contracts are awarded on a regular basis.


2. The recipient or subrecipient may self-certify its procurement system. Such self-certification must not limit the Federal awarding agency's right to survey the system.


Under a self-certification procedure, the Federal awarding agency may rely on written assurances from the non-Federal entity that it is complying with the procurement standards of the Uniform Guidance. The recipient or subrecipient must cite specific policies, procedures, regulations, or standards as being in compliance with these requirements and have its system available for review.



Procurement Reviews by Awarding Agencies and Pass Through Entities
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Overwhelmed? The Vander Weele Group can help!


The Vander Weele Group provides turn-key oversight solutions for federal and state grant programs. We specialize in monitoring large-scale programs nationwide, combining grants monitoring expertise with industry-specific program experience. The firm offers traditional fiscal and compliance reviews, programmatic monitoring, risk assessments, internal control reviews, data analytics to detect fraud, best practice recommendations, and technical assistance for grantees.


To consult a grants oversight expert, call 773-929-3030 or email us at info@vanderweelegroup.com.


For more grants monitoring, oversight, and technical assistance resources, visit our Resource Library.


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