Authority/Reference(s) State of Texas Procurement and Contract Management Guide; TAC §2155.074; Texas Government Code §22262.051(i)
Revision Date February 14, 2022


A determination, also referred to as a needs assessment, must be completed to justify the need before DFPS purchases goods or services. Determining the need for a contracted service is done by gathering and documenting information about the specific components of the need.

The determination of need should achieve the following results:

  • Promote a common understanding of the need to make the purchase.
  • Determine the type and level of service required to meet the need.
  • Determine how to measure, document, and track performance and quality of service delivery.
  • Facilitate prioritization of the funding required to make the purchase.
  • Provide a formal review and approval process for committing DFPS resources to a purchase. 

The information gathered through the determination of need process is vital for the success of the procurement and the resulting contract(s).

DFPS relies on HHS-PCS for the procurement of goods and services; therefore, having a clearly defined need also serves to inform the HHS-PCS purchaser of the need in order for them to best support and coordinate the procurement.

Solicitations Exceeding $20 Million

When a solicitation exceeds $20 million, a Notice of Intent to Procure must be posted on the Electronic Service Business Daily (ESBD) at least two months prior to advertising the solicitation. The notice includes a description of the goods or services to be procured and applicable National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP) class and item codes.

Determination of Need Considerations

Services that DFPS purchases may be legislatively mandated. If applicable, the mandate must be noted in the determination of need documentation.

DFPS staff responsible for the determination of need should consider the following in their documentation:

  • Type, urgency, and frequency of the need.
  • Potential benefit to the eligible population.
  • Accessibility of appropriate resources to meet the need, including cost, location, and eligibility conditions.
  • Accessibility standards for electronic resources, as stipulated in DFPS Accessibility Policy.
  • Other available goods or services that have already been purchased that may meet need.
  • Appropriateness of DFPS being the primary purchaser of the service, rather than other community resources providing it.
  • Collaboration and communication with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Identification of preliminary funding resources.
  • Legal issues associated with the purchase.

DFPS staff may access the following potential data resources available when documenting the determination of need:

  • Objective data: For example, DFPS management and service data, census reports, professional literature.
  • Statistical data: For example, management reporting and statistic data, IMPACT data, and data from special projects and surveys and research findings of other agencies and organizations.
  • Subjective data: For example, information obtained from clients and persons working in the service area (both inside and outside the agency).

Best Value Considerations

DFPS must comply with the best value standard when making a decision to contract for goods or services. Evaluation, determination, and documentation requirements for best value differ based on the procurement method.

DFPS staff are responsible for working with HHS-PCS, Legal, program and contract divisions in documenting requirements regarding the determination of need and the best value standard.

Factors used to determine best value may vary depending on the procurement method. For competitive procurements these factors must be included in the solicitation. In addition to purchase price and whether the goods or services meet the specifications of the solicitation, other relevant factors to consider include, but are not limited to:

  • Installation costs
  • Total life cycle costs
  • Quality and reliability of the goods and services
  • Delivery terms
  • Vendors past performance, experience, ability to perform, and financial resources
  • Cost of employee training associated with the purchase
  • Effect of the purchase on DFPS productivity
  • Vendor’s anticipated economic impact to the state (i.e. potential tax revenue and employment)