Procurement Manual - 4.0 Purchasing Procedures and Regulations

20 September 2014


4.1.1            Purchasing Policy states that all procurement activities must be carried out in accordance with our University’s Procedures, Regulations and Guidelines. This section concentrates on the procedures and regulations which have been established to satisfy the following:

4.1.1a              Value For Money taking account of all factors not price alone.

4.1.1b              Procedures for Tenders and Quotations which accord with best practice and:

          4.1.1bi           ensure genuine and fair competition.

4.1.1bii          withstand scrutiny by Internal and External Auditors.

          4.1.1biii         encourage an innovative market response.

4.1.1iv          protect our University’s interests by adopting our University’s own Terms and Conditions of Purchase or Contract.

4.1.1c           An Ethical Code of Practice which promotes and maintains the highest standards of probity and integrity in all dealings with external sources.

4.1.1d           Compliance with all UK legislation directly or indirectly affecting purchasing issues, transactions and the goods or services being obtained.

4.1.1e              Ordering, Invoice Authorisation, and other procedures or controls which impinge upon purchasing transactions and are required to operate in parallel with our University’s Financial Regulations.

4.1.2         The Key areas includethe following subsections as follows:

4.2          Ordering Procedures

4.3           Quotations, Tenders and Contracts

4.7          Mandatory Legislation

4.9          Ethics

4.11         Invoicing Checking and Authorisation

4.11.9      Disposal of Assets

4.14         Accountability


4.2.1  PRELIMINARIES     Before placing an order with a supplier it is the purchaser’s responsibility to ensure that:   sufficient funds are available within the respective budget to meet the cost of the intended purchase in full.   appropriate Tender or Quotation procedures detailed in Section 5.3 have been followed correctly.   full compliance has been made with any Health and Safety requirements or other appropriate legislation.   reference has been made to Procurement if expenditure exceeds £25,000 for capital/equipment items or £10,000 for other items.

4.2.2               PURCHASE ORDER REQUISITION FORMS (POR’s)     Official University Purchase Order Requisition Forms (POR) are supplied by the Finance Office and must be used for all purchases over £2,000 (excluding VAT).     The appropriate sections of the POR should then be completed to show:   Supplier’s name and address.   Faculty or Support Services name, invoicing and delivery addresses and a contact person.   Descriptions and quantities of the goods or  services.   The total price, including discounts and VAT where applicable.     On completion and following authorisation by the Budget Holder the POR is distributed as follows:   Original sent by Faculty or Support Services to Financial Services   Copy retained by Faculty or Support Services for management control purposes

4.2.3                  CORPORATE PURCHASING CARDS (CPC)     The Universities Corporate Purchasing Card should be used when possible for all purchases under £2,000 (excluding VAT).     For companies who do not accept purchasing cards as a method of payment a low value purchase order should be made, see section 4.2.4 below.

4.2.4                  LOW VALUE PURCHASE ORDERS     Each Faculty or Support Service should have a member of staff who holds a low value purchase order stamp. The procedure for this type of ordering is as follows:   Goods/Services are ordered from supplier   Invoice is received by department   Department stamp holder stamps invoice   Invoice is sent to finance for payment     This type of payment procedure should be used when paying for goods with a value of under £1,000 (excluding VAT) but when a purchasing card is not accepted by a supplier.


4.3.1      GENERAL     The total value must be represented when deciding which process is to be applied, this will include the actual value of goods or services, the length of contract and any additional costs for maintenance, leases and rental. No attempt should be made to sub-divide the contract for the purpose of avoiding the correct procedure.     The decision on whether a purchase should be handled under quotation or tender procedures is based on the level of expenditure involved i.e:

Financial Thresholds for Quotations and Tenders

Procurement Value

Minimum Number of Quotations

£10,000 and above

3 Quotations & Consultation with Procurement

Procurement Value

Minimum Number of Tenders

£25000 - £75000

Refer to Procurement at planning stage

Over £172,514

EU Regulations apply, refer to the Procurement.     These thresholds apply to the minimum number of offers which must be obtained. Good practice is to invite more offers where any of the following factors apply:   There are many potential suppliers.   Some companies may decline from bidding.   New suppliers entering the market place.     When the requisite number of offers cannot be obtained, the Single Source Justification procedure (see Section Single Source Justification below) may require to be followed.


              4.3.2a      Determine the number of quotations required as per above.


              4.3.2b      Establish sources of supply and issue invitations to quote specifying what is required and stating that any order arising from the enquiry must be subject to our University’s Conditions of Purchase or Framework Terms and Conditions where appropriate.


4.3.2c      Select the offer which provides best VFM ensuring that the supplier accepts our University’s Conditions of Purchase or Framework Terms and Conditions where appropriate.


4.3.2d      If obtaining best VFM involves accepting an offer other than the lowest quoted price, the reasons must be documented.


4.3.2e      Issue an Official Order to the successful supplier or contractor. If the nature and extent of the goods or services to be purchased requires extensive detail to be given, a letter of acceptance containing all relevant information should be sent with the order.


4.3.2f       It is courteous and important to decline the offers from the unsuccessful suppliers in Writing.


4.3.2g      If an unsuccessful tenderer requests a de-brief it is important to de-brief within three days of the request.


4.4.1        Tendering can be a complex and time-consuming process. The following information summarises the procedure.  Procurement are specialists in handling this procedure and all tendering should be via Procurement.

4.4.2                   Decide on the product or service needed then quantify and prepare proper specifications for it, avoiding the use of brand names. Where it is impossible to avoid the use of a brand name, this must be qualified by the words "or equivalent".


Summary of a European Tender Process

4.4.3                   If the value of the goods or services required exceeds EU thresholds then an appropriate notice needs to placed in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU).


4.4.4                   The appropriate timescales should be agreed before the notice is   placed. These timescales should comply with EU Regulations.


4.4.5                   Decide on which type of tendering procedure to use for the particular procurement e.g. Open, Restricted, Negotiated etc.


4.4.6                   If a Pre Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) is being used in the tendering procedure then this needs to be designed and sent out to all companies that express an interest. A due date for completion of the PQQ should be clearly marked on it. These responses need to be evaluated on receipt and successful companies issued with an Invitation To Tender (ITT).


4.4.7                   Prepare, collate and forward the Invitation to Tender (ITT) to the selected suppliers, The ITT should consist of:

1.      Letter of Invitation.

2.      Additional Instructions and Notes for Suppliers.

3.      Official Form Of Offer.

4.      Terms and Conditions.

5.      Coded Tender Return Envelope or return via E Procurement.


a.            Upon receipt of the tender within the correct time a tender opening should be arranged. The tender should be opened and recorded by 2 members of the Vice Chancellors Group or nominated represenatives.


b.            Tenders received after the closing date should be returned unopened to the respective supplier. In circumstances where the fault or delay is not attributable to the supplier, the bid may be accepted and the reasons recorded. This also applies to any offers opened in error prior to the closing date.


c.            The Tender returns should then be evaluated using pre-determined criteria. If a presentation is required a weighting should be informed to tenderers at ITT stage.  


d.            After the evaluations, a tender report should be submitted to the Tender Procurement Group (TPG) suggesting the award of the contract. Once agreed a letter informing unsuccessful and successful tender must be sent allowing a 10 day standstill period if using E-Procurement or 15 days if using mail.


e.            A Contract needs to be raised and signed between our University and the successful supplier Letters, this process must go via Secretary and Clerks Office.  Only the Secretary and Clerk has the authority to sign Contracts on behalf of our University.  


For further information on any tendering issues please contact


Our University’s Terms and Conditions should always be used in contracts below OJEU value for the supply of goods or services. This is achieved through the processes of inviting Tenders or obtaining Quotations. If a Faculties or Support Services purchase goods or a service on the Supplier’s terms, these must be fully understood before signature. Once signed, both parties are bound by Conditions which are legally enforceable and extreme caution is necessary. Procurement will be pleased to offer assistance or become directly involved in any departmental tenders, contracts or agreements.  Only the Secretary and Clerk has the Authority to sign Contracts on our University behalf.


The Single Source Justification procedure does not apply to any purchase made under a Recommended Agreement or Contract up to a value of £10,000.



European Directives and United Kingdom Law govern and direct University procurement of goods and services above certain expenditure levels. Procurement are responsible for ensuring full compliance by our University. All potential expenditure exceeding £173,934 must be referred to Procurement at the planning stage.

·         The Regulations impose strict rules upon tendering procedures, specifications and award criteria, which involve Procurement in: P

·         Placing Prior Indicative Notices (PIN), Contract Notices and Contract Award Notifications in the Official journal of the European Communities.

·         Submitting Biennial Statistical Returns to HM Treasury on all University purchasing carried out under these Regulations.

·         Offering advice and assistance to Faculty or Support Services on the application of the Rules, the specific procedures to be applied and the steps which must be taken to ensure full compliance. Breaches of these Regulations could lead to serious financial penalties being imposed upon our University.

4.8          HEALTH AND SAFETY

4.8.1   The Laws of the United Kingdom and the Statutory Rules of our University (the Health and Safety Policy and Code) impinge upon the purchase, delivery and use of certain goods and materials. The following information is an outline of the principal factors which must be considered and the actions required to ensure compliance. The list is representative and any purchaser with doubts on Health & Safety must obtain information and guidance from their Faculty or Support Service Safety Convenor and/or the appropriate Health and Safety Officer.

4.8.2  Access to our University  Instructions to suppliers indicating delivery addresses should be as specific as possible. When major pieces of equipment are delivered and installed by the supplier they must be treated as "outside contractors".

4.8.3  Hazards Information  Some substances used in our University may have a health and/or safety risk associated with them. These can be used safely provided the hazards are understood and the appropriate precautions taken. It is imperative that there is adequate information about the substances and their proper use and that this is efficiently communicated through the supply chain. The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 1994 imposes responsibilities on manufacturers, suppliers and importers of substances to ensure that any potential hazards are identified; that the goods are appropriately labelled; and that Hazard Data Sheets are supplied. These documents must provide all information necessary to allow the preparation of suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks involved in the handling, storage and use of such substances. Section 6 of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 also places duties on manufacturers, importers, designers and suppliers of articles or items for use at work, to supply any necessary information to allow the item or article to be used safely.  The Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the COSHH Regulations places responsibility upon our University and the appropriate Faculty Dean or Director of Support Service to ensure that such hazard information is disseminated to the workforce and that an appropriate Risk Assessment is carried out and recorded.

4.8.4  Noise  Before ordering equipment liable to emit noise, purchasers should first obtain a certificate from the suppliers giving details of noise emission. This should include a frequency analysis. Noise levels from the equipment should be compared with the action levels quoted in the Noise at Work Regulations 1989.

4.8.5  Computer Workstations  Visual Display Unit (VDU) workstations need to comply with the Display Screen Equipment Regulations 1992. All equipment purchased for use at a workstation should meet appropriate British and European standards. Procurement can supply information on approved types and supply sources of desking and seating.

4.8.6  Manual Handling  Faculty or Support Services ordering any items of equipment, materials or substances must consider the manual handling implications for any University staff involved (please refer to the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 and our University local Rules for Manual Handling Operations).

4.8.7  Personal Protective Equipment  Note should be taken of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1992 (PUWER). Copies are held in both Campus Safety Offices. Paragraph 10 of the introduction of the Regulations states:  PUWER amplifies and makes more explicit the general duties on employers, the self- employed and persons in control to provide safety plant and equipment. Virtually all the requirements already exist somewhere in the law or constitute good practice. PUWER brings together these requirements and applies them across all industrial, commercial and service sectors."  When purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE) cognisance must be taken of the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 1992 (copies are held on Campus Safety Offices). Care must be taken to ensure any PPE purchased and provided be appropriate to the risks involved; take account of ergonomic requirements and state of health of the wearer; fit the wearer correctly; be effective, be of appropriate quality (i.e. bear the ’CE’ mark); and be compatible with any other PPE issued.

4.8.8  Food Hygiene  Stringent standards and Regulations apply to all contractors engaged in the preparation, supply and serving of food. Our University has a responsibility to ensure that due diligence is exercised in relation to the appointment of contractors and their compliance with these legal requirements.  Unless they are completely familiar with Food Hygiene Regulations and are assured of the company’s full compliance, Faculty or Support Services wishing to engage an external contractor for the provision of catering services of any kind should contact the Head of Catering Services in the first instance for advice.


4.9.1      FRAUD  Misuse or misappropriation of the assets of our University is a serious disciplinary matter which could ultimately lead to criminal proceedings. Direct contact between our University and outside agencies engaged in the selling of goods or services is an activity which is particularly vulnerable to fraud. It is necessary to protect the Institution and all members of staff by formulating and adhering to:  Clearly defined procedures for authorising expenditure and invoices, obtaining quotations and tenders and disposing of assets.  A code of conduct which explains and promotes the adoption of ethical behaviour within all centralised and Departmental purchasing activity.


4.10.1 Our University is committed to observing the highest standards of probity, integrity and fairness in the conduct of business and to complying with all applicable laws and regulations.

4.10.2   Guiding Principles  The principles of ethical behaviour in purchasing activity are:

§         That the conduct of individual members of staff should not foster the suspicion of any conflict between their official duty and their personal interest.

§         That the action of individual members of staff in an official capacity should not give the impression to any member of the public, to any organisation with whom they deal, or to their colleagues that they have been, or may have been, influenced by a gift or consideration to show favour or disfavour to any person or organisation.

§         That dealings with suppliers must be honest, fair and impartial.

4.10.3  Declaration of Interest  Any personal interest which may impinge, or might reasonably be deemed by others to impinge, on a member of staff’s impartiality in any matter relevant to his or her duties, must be disclosed to the Director of Support Services/ Dean of the Faculty or, in the case of a Director of Support Services/ Dean of the Faculty, to the Secretary & Clerk, as appropriate. Such declarations must be made in writing prior to a commitment being made on behalf of our University.

4.10.4  Gifts  The basic rule is that no gift or money should be accepted. The only exception to this rule are gifts of an inexpensive/seasonal nature such as business diaries, calendars or pens. The offer of small gifts is an accepted part of commercial life and care must be taken not to offend or damage relationships with suppliers when explaining that acceptance is contrary to our University’s normal practice. Any attempt by suppliers to undermine the honesty of staff by the offer of gifts or other inducements reported to the Director of Support Service or Faculty Dean and Procurement.

4.10.5  Hospitality  The provision of hospitality by suppliers may represent an attempt to circumvent the rules on acceptance of gifts. While modest hospitality may be accepted, its frequency and scale should not be significantly greater than that which our University would be likely to provide in return.

4.10.6  Travel and Accommodation  All purchasers should be aware that accepting "free" travel or invitations to conferences or other events, particularly to distant or expensive locations, is likely to be regarded as having influenced a particular decision. Offers of this nature should only be accepted in exceptional circumstances and should have prior approval of senior management.

4.10.7  Confidentiality  The prices, terms and conditions under which many of the suppliers to this Institution trade are the result of University, Regional or National negotiations and contain commercially sensitive information. Staff are issued with, and are given access to, these and other official contracts on the understanding that confidentiality is strictly observed.  Under no circumstances should any contractual or pricing information be divulged to external sources or used as a "benchmark" for independent negotiations. This behaviour undermines our University’s reputation as an honest and responsible organisation and can affect the stability of professionally negotiated contracts which benefit the entire HE community. There may also be issues associated with breach of contract.

4.10.8  Sponsorship  Due to the nature of the devolved budgetary and ordering system which operates within this Institution, suppliers can easily be inundated with separate requests for financial or other donations towards Faculty or Support Service events. This could adversely affect our University’s image and reasonable care must therefore be exercised to ensure that enquiries are directed only to appropriate companies.

4.10.9  Advice  Procurement staff are members of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) and are bound by the Institute’s Ethical Code. Any questions or areas of doubt relating to ethical behaviour in purchasing should be referred to


4.11.1 GENERAL

The purchaser or the originator of the order, has a responsibility to ensure that Faculty or Support Service aspects of the payment process have been carried out promptly and in accordance with the terms of the contract agreed when the Order was placed.

Our University’s procedures, detailed below, reflect good practice and the "fundamental requirement" of both Internal Audit and of the National Audit Office that the authorisation to pay an invoice should be made by a person other than the originator of the order to ensure clear segregation of duties.


On receipt from the supplier, Invoices are passed to the originator of the order who should:

Check that the goods or services being charged have all been received in a satisfactory condition or manner.

a. Verify that the Order Number has been correctly quoted and that all pricing accords the agreed order values.

b.      Notify the supplier in writing immediately of any discrepancies arising from these checks requesting appropriate action (e.g. submit Credit Note for incorrect pricing; fulfil any outstanding deliveries; replace faulty goods).

c.      Establish if any prompt payment or settlement discounts are applicable and, if appropriate, that they have been deducted. If the supplier has fulfilled their agreed obligations, sign and date the Goods Received Note (GRN) and pass to Financial Service.

4.11.3                    Not Used


4.11.4 Not Used



For further information on Payment runs please refer to

4.11.6     Not uses.


4.11.7   Not used


4.11.8   Not used


4.11.9               DISPOSAL OF ASSETS  General        All asset disposals must be recorded in our University Asset Register. Where goods or equipment have reached the end of their useful life the following factors should be considered:

4.11.10                       Are they of use or value to another Faculty or Support   Service?


4.11.11                       What is the maximum residual value which can be achieved?


4.11.12                       From whom and by which method should offers be sought?



4.12.1      Ensure that any recovery is not disproportionate to the costs of disposal. The following procedure should be applied:

4.12.1               If the equipment can be utilised by another Faculty or Support Service, a value should be agreed and a Journal Entry made via Financial Services to transfer the sum between budgets.


4.12.2               Where uncertainty exists over the probable usefulness of redundant equipment to another Faculty or Support Service:


o              Establish the probable value of the item in question. (An approximate value for surplus Computer Hardware, for instance, can be obtained from ISMS.)


o              Appoint at least 2 persons to witness the opening, scrutiny and acceptance of offers. If the highest bid is not accepted, the reasons should be recorded.


o              Arrange with Finance Office for a University Invoice to be raised against the purchaser on payment of which, the goods may be uplifted.

Note: Where an asset disposal results in the goods leaving our University, the sale is subject to VAT which must be included in the bid value. This will ensure that when VAT is subsequently deducted by Financial Services, the original ex- VAT bid amount is credited to the respective budget.

In the event that no satisfactory offers are received, the goods may be scrapped or donated to an outlet of choice.

A record should be kept within the Faculty or Support Service of the procedures adopted and the outcomes for future audit purposes. This is important where sales attempts have been unsuccessful.


The disposal of high value items requires competitive offers to be obtained. There are a couple of means by which this may be achieved:

4.13.1         Inviting written offers from suppliers.


4.13.2         Submitting the item for auction.

This is our University’s agreed method for disposing of all vehicles and is arranged via the Procurement department. The following factors should be stated in invitations to bid:

4.13.3         offers are invited and accepted on our University’s terms;


4.13.4         no warranties are offered;


4.13.5         no post-sale liabilities will be accepted by the Faculty or Support Service or our University;


4.13.6         the goods will only be released on full payment of the sum due;


4.13.7         the purchaser is wholly responsible for the uplift, at their own expense, of the item in question.

There may be a requirement to identify and ensure strict compliance with Health and Safety legislation, particularly in relation to hazardous materials and to instances where the purchaser requires labour to uplift large or heavy equipment. Offers should be invited in the form of sealed bids to be submitted by a specified closing date and time and thereafter, the procedures previously detailed should be followed.

It is important with high value items that proper records are kept within the Faculty or Support Service of the sale process and outcome, including:

4.13.8         The number of offers received.


4.13.9         The sums offered by the respective bidders.


4.13.10     The decisions taken.


4.13.11     The reasons for any anomalies.

In the event that no satisfactory offers are received and goods are to be scrapped or donated, evidence should be kept for audit purposes that a realistic attempt was made to obtain the maximum financial return. Competitive offers for scrap should be obtained for any item if the anticipated scrap value exceeds £500.



Under our University Financial System, budgetary responsibility and control is devolved via Deans of Faculties to Directors of Support Services who may appoint delegated budget holders. The rules and regulations applicable to financial matters are contained within official documents issued by Finance Office:

4.14.2   Regulations for Internal Financial Management.


4.14.3   Financial Regulations



4.15    Control of expenditure through good purchasing practice is inextricably linked to budgetary management in common with which, authority to purchase may be delegated by Deans of Faculties or Directors of Support Service to nominated individuals. Where the option to delegate such authority has been taken, the following points require to be considered:

4.15.1   Accountability and responsibility should be explicitly defined and not informally understood.


4.15.2   The Finance Office must be given names and specimen signatures of all persons authorised by their Deans of Faculties or Directors of Support Service to sign orders. The budgets against which they may commit expenditure must also be clearly identified.


4.15.3   The level of the delegation should be appropriate to the risks involved.


4.15.4   All staff granted authority to carry out Faculty or Support Service purchasing should be made aware of the contents of this Manual and their responsibility to comply with our University’s policies, procedures and guidelines.