FAQ’s for Non-Competitive Justifications (NCJ)

  1. How do I know which NCJ transaction to use: Contract NCJ or Requisition NCJ?
    Please contact the Purchasing Department for assistance if you need help determining which transaction to use.  This is an important question because picking the wrong one will result in more work for you.  If you pick the wrong one, it will be rejected and you will have to enter the data in the proper transaction, so please call Purchasing if you have any doubt about which one to choose for your transaction.

  2. What should I put in the description field?
    The description field for an NCJ should give enough information so that anyone reading it can understand exactly what the transaction is.

  3. What information should I put in the title? Is there a good example of a title?
    The title of an NCJ in IRIS is one of the most important parts of the entry. It is very important that you take your time and create a good title for the NCJ. Include the vendor’s name if possible and avoid abbreviations that will be hard to decipher (i.e. DOE could be Department of Education or Department of Energy).  Giving as much information as possible is the best practice, but IRIS does have a text limit for this field.

    Some examples of well-written titles are:

    • Speaker Engagement for John Doe to Present at Dental Conference
    • MOA with East TN Children’s Hospital for Social Work Clinicals
    • Consulting Contract with Jane Doe for UTK Engineering Prog Development
    • Federal Subaward from North Carolina State for Chemistry Research
    • Purchase of Advertising from Rocky Top Co for Fall ’13 Campaign
    • Space Rental Agreement with Henry Horton State Park for 4-H Event

  4. Which option should I select for approval criteria? What do these mean?
    Approval criteria simply means the reason for which an NCJ for this transaction should be approved. There are two options: Non-Competitive Negotiation is in University’s Best Interest and Only One Uniquely Qualified Provider Able to Furnish Service.  Most of the time, the former is the correct answer, as it is extremely rare for there to only be one vendor of a particular good or service. If you have any questions about which option to choose, please contact Purchasing.

  5. I don’t understand the questions in the Non-Competitive Justifications sections. What are these really asking for?
    The questions on the NCJ form are taken directly from the form the State of Tennessee requires from all state agencies attempting to purchase without a bid. These questions

  6. Can I amend an NCJ?
    There is no way to “amend” an NCJ. If you are processing an amendment to a contract or a P.O., you must submit a brand new NCJ for the additional transaction. There should be a separate NCJ for each contract or contract amendment which fiscal policy states requires an NCJ.
    Regarding errors in NCJs themselves, once an NCJ has been submitted, it cannot be changed. If an error is found on an NCJ that has been submitted, please contact Purchasing and have the NCJ rejected. Once the NCJ is in your workflow again, please revise the NCJ and re-submit it.
    If an error is found in an NCJ that has already been approved, you will have to submit a brand new NCJ. Clearly indicate in the new NCJ that it replaces the old NCJ.

  7. Can I edit an NCJ after it has been submitted?
    No, once an NCJ has been submitted, it cannot be changed. If an error is found on an NCJ that has been submitted, please contact Purchasing and have the NCJ rejected. Once the NCJ is in your workflow again, please revise the NCJ and re-submit it.
    If an error is found in an NCJ that has already been approved, you will have to submit a brand new NCJ. Clearly indicate in the new NCJ that it replaces the old NCJ.

  8. Will I be notified when my NCJ is approved?
    Yes, once an NCJ is approved, the creator of the NCJ is emailed emailed automatically from the IRIS system.
    If the NCJs are all done electronically, what about signatures?  What about auditors?
    All approvals are electronic —the official NCJ is done entirely in IRIS. 
    Auditors will have access to the transaction, so they will be able to view the electronic approvals. 

  9. Can IRIS users search for NCJs that they have created?
    Yes.  The NCJ Selection transaction in IRIS (ZNJ_Selection) allows users to search based on a variety of criteria, including created by, created date, vendor name and number, fund number, and date.

  10. How does IRIS know where to send the electronic NCJ?
    Based on the fund number or fund center that you use, IRIS will route the NCJ transaction to the Department Reviewer (if set up), Department Approver, Purchasing Office, and then the Chief Business Officer.  For NCJs with a value of $250,000.00 or more, the Vice President for Strategic Planning and Operations is the final reviewer. 

  11. What if my supervisor normally reviewed paper NCJs, but my supervisor is not in the IRIS workflow approval process?
    A suggested solution is that you can save the NCJ as draft status before you submit it.  Be sure to write down the NCJ number.  You can click the “Form” button and print off the PDF form.  After printing the form, you can give the form to your supervisor.  After your supervisor approves the document and informs you that the NCJ may be submitted to workflow, use the “Select” feature to retrieve the NCJ.  Enter the NCJ number and press the green check button to retrieve the NCJ.  If you need to make changes, or if you are ready to submit the NCJ, then you can click the “Change” button.  When you are ready to submit the NCJ to workflow, please then click the “Submit” button.

    If you have problems printing the PDF form, please contact the IRIS helpdesk. 

  12. What if the workflow process is wrong?
    Please contact the IRIS Helpdesk if you believe that the workflow approval is wrong.

  13. Why did my NCJ get rejected?
    While there are many possible reasons that an NCJ might get rejected, one of the most common reasons is that the justification section contains insufficient detail as to why the University should proceed on a non-competitive basis.  Accordingly, the last question on the NCJ transaction is the most important: “Justification of why the University should use non-competitive negotiation rather than a competitive process.”  The more detail that you include, the better.

  14. Which selection criteria do I select for my NCJ?
    IRIS offers two selection criteria: Only One Uniquely Qualified Provider Able to Furnish Service and Non-Competitive Negotiation is in University’s Best Interest. This is basically the criteria you want to be used when approving your NCJ. Only One Uniquely Qualified Provider should only be selected if you absolutely sure there are no other possible providers. If there are other possible providers, your NCJ will be rejected on this basis (even though it may have been approved if you had selected Non-Competitive Negotiation is in University’s Best Interest). Almost every time, Non-Competitive Negotiation is in University’s Best Interest is the basis your NCJ should be approved by.

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Contact

Sabrina SoltauAssistant Director,
Contracts Administration

Contracts Administration Office of the Treasurer301 Andy Holt Tower
Knoxville, TN 37996
865.974.2701 Fax