Instructions for Submitting Requests for OSD Approval of Non-Standard Procurement Transactions

  1. Requests for Authorization to Issue Bid for Goods/Services Covered by Statewide Contract

    To request authorization, Departments must submit a written request to with the subject line: “Request for procurement approval” and include the following:

    1. Name of the Department requesting approval;
    2. Contact person regarding the request, including telephone and email information
    3. The statewide contract (by name and number) for which an exception is sought;
    4. A detailed explanation of why the statewide contract does not meet the Department’s needs; and
    5. The anticipated procurement duration and total procurement value.

    A tracking number will be assigned and the sending Department will receive an electronic receipt. Within three business days of receipt, OSD will approve or reject the Department’s request.

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  2. Using Collective Purchase Contracts, including GSA, or another state’s contracts:

    When using contracts administered by the General Services Administration (GSA) or another state, Departments must obtain approval from the Operational Services Division (OSD) prior to use and must adhere to the following policy:

    When a Statewide Contract exists:

    Departments must request and receive OSD permission, as described in Section C, iii.

    When a Statewide Contract does not exist:

    A Department must notify the Assistant Secretary for Operational Services at, in writing, of its interest in purchasing off a GSA or another state’s collective purchase contract. Such notification should include an analysis of whether any current statewide contract or Commonwealth Executive Department contracts could meet (or not meet) their needs and, if such contracts do exist, why the Department is not using such contract. After review, OSD will make a determination of the appropriate next steps including, but not limited to, the following:

    1. Determine if there is a sufficient need for the commodity/service to justify OSD conducting a statewide procurement and then executing a Statewide Contract; or
    2. Recommend that the Department conduct a procurement for the necessary commodity/service using the GSA or another state’s collective purchase contract’s prices and contract terms as the benchmark for best value; or
    3. Approve the Department’s use of the other contract(s) based on the collective purchase competitive procurement exception available under 801 CMR 21.05 (4) and conditional upon the Department adhering to the specific conditions in the GSA or another state’s collective purchase contract(s) to ensure that the contract satisfies the requirements of MGL Chapter 7, section 22 and section 22A. For example, if a Department were using a GSA contract (and the GSA contract was established as a pre-qualification list without price competition), these conditions would include, among other requirements, that a Department seek competitive quotes from the list of “qualified” contractors on the GSA contract to ensure that the “fair, open, and competitive” requirements of the Commonwealth’s procurement statute are met.

    OSD will respond to Department requests for a specific commodity/service not on statewide contract, in writing, specifying what action(s) is necessary. Approval to use a GSA or another state’s collective purchase contract(s) will be made on a case by case basis within three business days from receipt of the request.

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  3. Due Diligence Posting Requirements:

    OSD requires that Due Diligence postings meet the criteria outlined below.

    Written Request

    The Chief Procurement Officer and/or Chief Fiscal Officer of the Department intending to use the Due Diligence posting provision must submit a written request to OSD. All written requests and associated postings on COMMBUYS must reference “Due Diligence posting request” in the document title. The following information must be included in the written request for approval and must be submitted to OSD at

    • A detailed description of the commodity or service being offered or sought;
    • Name of the company that is offering the commodity and/or service, if applicable;
    • An explanation of why the Department is seeking to post notice of the offer rather than conduct a competitive procurement, including all research and due diligence conducted by the Department that resulted in the decision to exercise this option;
    • A copy of the Department’s Notice of Intent, including the specifications being sought in the posting, or if a Department is posting a notice of its intention to award a contract to a specific company under any of the three options (Best Value Offer, Intent to Purchase a Proprietary Product or Service, or Intent to Purchase Services from Another Government Entity),and a complete and detailed list of what is being offered by the company. The Notice of Intent will be posted on COMMBUYS if the written request is approved in writing by OSD; see the Due Diligence Posting Template available on the OSD Forms webpage.
    • Proposed duration for posting the notice on COMMBUYS: Please note that, while the timeframe for posting the notice on COMMBUYS may be brief, it must be posted for at least 14 calendar days. World Trade Organization requirements may mandate a longer posting period based on the total dollar value of the potential contract.

    Post on COMMBUYS

    Once written approval has been received, the Department must post the approval notice on COMMBUYS in the same manner as other bids are posted. If no responses are submitted in response to the notice, the Department may proceed with a contract. If responses are submitted, the Department must conduct a procurement that is fair, open, and competitive or evaluate the responses.

    Document in Procurement File

    All documentation, correspondence, and information must be retained by the Department in a procurement file.

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  1. PO Exceptions in COMMBUYS

    To request an exception to posting POs in COMMBUYS, an Executive Department must email Requests must be submitted by the Agency Head and must include the following information:

    • The object classes and codes associated with the transactions;
    • Description of the existing ordering system and its purpose, including detailed information on the technology used to develop the system, interface with other systems (e.g., MMARS), system security requirements, volume of transactions, number of people using the system;
    • Description of the Department’s business requirements that make use of COMMBUYS impractical or otherwise unnecessary; and
    • Technical and business contacts within the Department for OSD to contact with questions about the system.

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