Policy Policy

1.    The University's Procurement Policy is that the Purchasing Office must be consulted on any proposed purchase (or grouping of similar purchases) where the estimated value exceeds £25,000 (ex VAT). The following procedures are to be followed by Spending Units and the Purchasing Office in order to implement this policy.

2.    The policy is designed to:

       2.1.   ensure that the University obtains best value for money by the appropriate use of the professional purchasing expertise available in the Purchasing Office; and

       2.2.   to record savings made through good procurement practice; and

       2.3.   to be able to demonstrate to existing and potential funding bodies that the University is making good use of their money; and

       2.4.   ensure compliance with EU Procurement Directives.

Pre-Tender Pre-Tender

3.    As soon as the Spending Unit identifies a need to purchase goods and/or services, it shall immediately inform the Purchasing Office.  Where the Spending Unit starts a procurement, assuming the value to be less than £25,000 (ex VAT), it must inform the Purchasing Office as soon as it becomes clear that the cost will exceed £25,000 (ex VAT). Purchases must not be split to avoid the £25,000 (ex VAT) threshold.

      3.1.   The Spending Unit will not need to notify the Purchasing Office when placing a standing order with a Preferred Supplier, (eg for stationery).

       3.2.   Contract Award over £25,000 form.  (Excel)

4.    The Purchasing Office will discuss with the Spending Unit how the purchase should be conducted so as to ensure:

       4.1.   where applicable, the requirements of the EU Procurement Directives are met;
       4.2.   the end-user(s) requirements are adequately specified;

       4.3.   sufficient potential suppliers are identified to ensure true competition;

       4.4.   exceptionally, where it is proposed to award the contract based on a single tender, that the case for such action is documented and agreed by the Head of the Spending Unit;
       4.5.   appropriate tender documentation and conditions of contract are agreed and used;

       4.6.   a reasonable amount of time is allowed for tenderers to complete and return their tenders; for the proper evaluation of tenders; and for post-tender negotiations, if appropriate.

Tender Return & Appraisal Tender Return & Appraisal

 5.   All tenders must be returned in a plain envelope by a specified return date/time and all must be opened in accordance with the Tender Opening Procedure at the same time, in the presence of at least two members of staff, one of whom should not be involved with the selection of the successful tenderer.

6.    Each Tender received must be appraised using Whole Life Costing criteria which take into account such factors as compliance with specification, additional functionality, price, delivery and installation costs, cost of maintenance, operating costs, training, size and cost of disposal.

Post-Tender Negotiation Post-Tender Negotiation

7.    Post-Tender negotiations provide a valuable opportunity for achieving savings, except that post-tender negotiation is not allowed un the Open or Restricted Procedures of the EU Procurement Directives. However, it is important that such negotiations do not prejudice the integrity of the tender process. Negotiations will normally only be conducted with one tenderer - the one who's offer is most likely to be accepted.

       7.1.   Post-Tender negotiations can be used to reduce a tender price following clarification (of risk or quantum, for instance), or to add value to the offer (to include or extend warranties, maintenance or consumables, for instance).

       7.2.   Post-Tender negotiations must not be used to conduct a 'dutch auction' where two or more tenderers are asked to better the other's latest offer.

       7.3.   During post-tender negotiation, care must be taken to maintain the confidentiality of other bids, in particular where an unsuccessful bid includes a novel idea.

8.    Any changes to the tender, whether the price is effected or not, must be confirmed in writing by the tenderer.

Contract Award Contract Award

9.    Prior to the award of any contract over £25,000 (ex VAT), the Spending Unit must complete a Contract Award Notice and send it, together with a copy of the appraisal, to the Purchasing Office. The Purchasing Office will respond indicating their agreement to the award, or will inform the Spending Unit about any concerns it may have.

10.  Subject to approval under paragraph 9, and by the appropriate line management in accordance with Financial Procedures, the Spending Unit or the Purchasing Office will accept the tender either by letter or by Purchase Order. In either case a Purchase Order must be posted on ABW for the whole of the Contract Price, in order to process invoices and to raise a commitment against the appropriate account code.

Exceptions Exceptions

11.  Where, due to extreme urgency or exceptional circumstances, the Spending Unit is unable to comply with these Procedures, the Head of the Spending Unit shall inform the Procurement Officer, in writing, of such circumstances along with a brief description, price and supplier.

Research Grants Research Grants

12.  Where quotes are required in order to bid for Research Grants, it may be necessary to obtain a quote from a supplier for budgetary purposes.  In such cases, it must be made clear to the supplier that, where practical, the University will require a competitive tender exercise to be undertaken should it be successful in its grant application.

Reporting Reporting

13.  The Purchasing Office will monitor all purchases in excess of £25,000, and record savings achieved by Spending Units. Instances of single tender and exceptional  cases will also be recorded.

14.  Heads of Spending Units shall provide the required information to the Purchasing Office who will report to Audit and Policy & Resources Committees annually.

15.  The Purchasing Office shall also be responsible for the annual return to HM Treasury (via HEFCE) on all purchases, which exceed the EU Procurement Directive thresholds.

Further Information Further Information

16.  Any questions regarding this Guidance Note should be referred to the Procurement Team, email: procurement.

Forms Forms


Contract Award over £25,000  (Excel)


Procurement Guidance Note No.1.