For purchasing purposes the University is divided into a number of cost centres (individual schools and services) each with their own local operating budgets.
Most day-to-day purchases are carried out and administered by staff (e.g. purchasing administrators) working for the individual schools or services.
Larger or more complex contracts (involving multi-clients within the University) are usually let by or with assistance from the University Procurement Office (UPO).
The University has a procurement policy in place, the key objectives of which are to advance corporate priorities, achieve optimum value for money and ensure probity and accountability for the business outcomes.
The University operates to a contracting code of practice. The overall aim is to obtain the best value for money. That is the goods/services shall be of the right quality, available at the right time, fit for their intended purpose and affordable.
The following summary covers some of the key points included in the code of practice that are relevant to potential suppliers:
For purchases where the value is likely to be between £10,000 and £50,000 (inc. VAT) University staff should seek at least three written quotes from potential suppliers. The University should fully explain its requirements to bidders and may often assess information other than price before awarding the work.
For values in excess of £50,000, a minimum of five formal tenders (i.e. sealed bids) should be sought. If the estimated value of the contract is greater than £189,330, Public Procurement policy and procedures will usually have to be followed.
The University advertises Tender opportunities on the Find a Tender website (for contracts exceeding £189,330). Where the level of interest is likely to be high, applicants may be required to complete a Supplier questionnaire in order to be considered. The questionnaire will require information on areas such as the applicant's company size, experience, technical capabilities, CVs for key staff and company accounts.
The University shall only request information that it intends to evaluate and it is important to submit all the information required if you want to be considered for the tender list. Each item from each company will be scrutinised and assessed against criteria that has been agreed in advance for the particular contract. For example, the University may want to make sure that the company has enough staff to operate the contract or enough large contracts to maintain economic viability whether or not they are awarded the work again at the end of the contract term.
This may effect each contract differently. The University will draw the tenderers attention to any areas of particular environmental concern relating to the product or service being purchased. Although the environment can form only one aspect of the evaluation, credit will be given where bidders show that they have taken any detrimental impact on the environment into account and minimised it as far as possible.