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Important Notice to Prospective Contractors

Subject: Prohibition against Purchase of Goods or Services without a Valid Written Contract

The District of Columbia Procurement Practices Reform Act of 2010 (PPRA), DC Law 18-371, DC Official Code § 2-359.0, prohibits oral agreements.  Entering into contracts verbally or without appropriate authorization will result in a prohibited unauthorized commitment that is not binding because the District representative who made it lacked the authority to enter into an agreement on behalf of the Government of the District of Columbia.  Only properly appointed contracting officers or purchase cardholders are authorized to purchase goods or services for the Government of the District of Columbia and except for purchase card purchases, there must be a written contract or purchase order.

Personnel without procurement authority who order goods or services, who attempt to change the terms of an existing procurement, or who in any way appear to commit the District Government to pay for goods or services received without a valid written contract, are subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination, and may be held personally responsible for payment.

Likewise, any contractor who delivers goods or services without a proper contract and funded purchase order is doing so entirely at their own risk. A contractor who enters into an oral agreement with a District employee to provide goods or services without a valid written contract shall not be paid, except as authorized under subsection (d) of DC Official Code § 2-359.01, the District of Columbia Procurement Practices Reform Act of 2010 (PPRA), DC Law 18-371.

The prohibition above does not apply to a payment required by court order, a final decision of the Contract Appeals Board, a settlement, or an approval by the Chief Procurement Officer in accordance with subsection (d) of  DC Official Code § 2-359.01.

For further information, contact the Department on Disability Services, Office of Contracts and Procurement, by email to DDS Contracts or by phone at 202-730-1700.