Authority/Reference(s) Texas Contract Management Guide, Ch. 2
Revision Date September 15, 2015


Before DFPS purchases goods or services, a determination must be made that a true need exists. Determining the need for a contracted service is a systematic approach to gathering and documenting information about the specific nature of the need.

Clearly and properly defining the need for DFPS to make a purchase achieves the following results:

  • Promotes a common understanding of the necessity to make the purchase.

  • Identifies the type and level of service required to meet the need efficiently and effectively.

  • Helps to determine how performance and quality of service delivery will be measured, documented and tracked.

  • Facilitates prioritization of the funding required to make the purchase.

  • Provides a formal review and approval process for committing resources to a purchase. 

DFPS program or DFPS contract staff must consider the following when assessing need:

  • The nature and incidence of need

  • Level of importance of the need

  • Potential benefit to the client population

  • Availability of appropriate resources to meet the need

  • Accessibility of appropriate resources to meet the need, including cost, location, and eligibility conditions

  • Appropriateness of purchasing the service

  • Appropriateness of DFPS being the primary purchaser of the service, rather than other community resources providing it

  • Internal and external capabilities

  • Collaboration and communication with internal and external stakeholders

  • Identification of preliminary funding resources

  • Legal issues associated with the purchase

DFPS staff may consider the following types of data when gathering information to determine specific areas and levels 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).