Understand Contract Administration

University departments are responsible for administering contracts that have been established for their use. The purpose of contract administration is to ensure that the contractor performs in accordance with all of the terms and conditions of the contractual agreement. It is essential that you notify the appropriate buyer immediately, if you encounter any problems with your contract. Contract administration begins with the signing or execution of a contract or purchase order. Contract administration includes all actions taken by University Purchasing and the user department relative to a specific contract after the award of the contract is made. As such, proper contract administration requires the complete cooperation, coordination, and communication of both the buyer and the end user. Although they are separate and distinct functions, each of these positions play an integral and vital role in the total scope of contract administration. The on-going and continual monitoring of the contractor’s performance is critical to the success of the contract. If you require any guidance relative to contract administration or need assistance in resolving contractor compliance issues, please contact buyer. Please remember that the user department and University Purchasing are responsible for ensuring that the contractor performs in accordance with the contract.

Departments’ Responsibilities After Authorizing Procurement

Follow-up and Expediting

After issuance of a contract/purchase order document, the user department must perform any necessary follow-up and expediting with the contractor. In the event of untimely contractor performance, the contractor should be notified by the user department verbally or in writing.

Receipt of Goods/Services

The user department must ensure that the individual receiving (I Want to Receive in Banner) the goods/services maintains a copy of the purchase order/contract and is fully informed of the requirements of the contractual arrangement.


The user department should not accept goods in excess of those specified on the purchase order/contract unless provided for by an authorized change order from University Purchasing; and should reject an over-shipment even after receipt. In such event, the user department must notify the contractor (or coordinate with University Purchasing) that the over-shipment will not be accepted and, unless the over- shipment is picked up by the contractor, it will be returned at the contractor’s expense. For printing purchase orders/contracts 10% overruns and under-runs are generally considered within industry standards, and are therefore, considered acceptable.

Lost or Damaged Shipments

The user department must promptly inspect deliveries for shipping damage at the receiving location. Concealed damage must be documented by the user department. In such cases, the user department must coordinate with the appropriate buyer to ensure that the concealed damage is reported within seven days of receipt and prior to removal from the point of delivery. It is difficult to fix responsibility for deliveries once the user department has moved the goods to another location or when inspection has not been made in a timely manner. The contractor shall make immediate replacement of the damaged or lost merchandise or be in default of the contract. It shall be the contractor’s responsibility to file a claim against the carrier. If damage is to a small quantity and with the approval of the user department, the contractor may deduct the amount of damage or loss from his/her invoice to the University in lieu of replacement.

Inspection, Acceptance, and On-going Monitoring

The user department is responsible for inspecting, accepting, and continually monitoring the performance of the contract. Inspection is the close and critical examination of the delivered goods/services to determine conformance with applicable contract requirements of specifications. It includes the determination that:

  • unless otherwise specifically ordered, the delivery consists of new and unused merchandise.
  • goods/services provided are of the quality, grade, standard or any other aspect specified in the purchase order/contract.


Rejection of goods/services is the responsibility of the user department whenever goods/services do not meet contract requirements. The user department must document in writing cases where the contractor’s performance does not comply with the contractual agreement. Continuing issues of vendor non-performance should be escalated to University Purchasing. Purchasing will assist the end-user department in taking the appropriate actions to ensure compliance with the contract.

Cancellations and Changes to Purchase Orders/Contracts

Cancellations and changes to purchase orders/contracts should be coordinated with the assigned buyer. All contract changes/modifications must be approved and confirmed to the contractor or by the appropriate buyer.