Information about the Strategy, Policy, suppliers' and buyers' guides and many more.
University of Aberdeen
Purchasing and Procurement deliver central purchasing and contracting services. We are a subsection of Finance and report to the Finance Director.
The Procurement team oversees the purchasing processes and manages contracts used widely across the University, such as those for stationery, bulk paper, laboratory equipment, travel and vehicles. We also provide a full range of central tendering services and co-ordinate the Higher Education consortium contracts.
It is our responsibility to ensure that institutional procurement activity remains compliant with institutional regulations and national legislation. We will assist with questions on best practice; assist with any purchases; will provide guidance on major projects, and are responsible for ensuring that all University departments operate within the Public Contracts Regulations (Scotland), normally referred to as the EU Directives.
Procurement must be consulted on any procurement with a total value of £100,000 or above, with the exception to building works that are controlled by the Estates Section.
Please check the list of Lead Buyers for those who may be able to provide assistance close to hand.
This section provides information on how to go about obtaining various standard items. If you have any more questions or require more information about any of the services, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are looking to travel, please see travel for information about Key Travel, our contracted Travel Agent.
If you wish to purchase 'one-off ' goods ie white goods, toaster, kettle etc in the first instance check out Banner on OneSource. You can also look for these items using GeM.
The contracted Supplier for stationery, computer consumable items and paper orders is Banner.
All orders should be placed directly through the Banner marketplace (a punch-out site) via OneSource, except for paper, please see bulk paper detailed below. It is essential that all ordering is done in this manner.If your delivery has not arrived or if you are unable to find an item that you require, please contact customer services at Banner on 0845 757 3125 or email@example.com and they should be able to source the item for you.
Banner provide desktop delivery for all stocked items, meaning all goods should be delivered to your room/desk on Tuesday and Thursday. If you have any problems with the service provided by this Supplier, please email Robyn Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is very easy to launch into the Banner market place through OneSource without the need for user names and passwords. In the past there have be issues with pulling back to our previous system of Pecos, we detail this here in case a similar issue appears with OneSource:
Occasionally a pop up box asking for login details might appear. When you come across such a request you should configure your internet explorer to accept cookies, as detailed below:
Following organisational changes to the management of MFDs, and other successful initiatives that aim at reducing the impact the University has on the environment, it has been recently decided to make a switch to fully recycled and FSC-certified copying and printing paper.
The sustainable paper will be supplied by our current stationery provider – Banner. The procedure removes the need to distinguish between bulk and desktop-delivery orders as the ordering routine will be the same regardless of an order size.
Paper should be ordered using the online form available here:
After filling out the form, an order will be emailed directly to Banner bypassing the internal finance system. Goods receipting is therefore not required and despatch notes shall be posted via internal mail to:
Please note that all other stationery orders (excluding paper) should be made via the Banner punch-out site as normal.
If you have any queries, please contact:
Equipment order and supply
All furniture purchases should be co-ordinated with the University Furnishings Officer, Mrs Marilyn McIntosh in Estates. Mrs McIntosh can advise on your requirements, keeps up-to-date with current HE contract deals for furniture and can access other major public sector agreements.
She can be contacted on: email@example.com
New applications for Supplier Set Ups and amendments are processed by Demie Hall and Linda Leslie, using the OneSource Supplier Form.
This form is to be used for companies, partnerships and sole traders. For full guidance on payments to individuals please refer to Guidance on Payments to Individuals: which can be found here and then click on Other Payments
Should the supplier be Self Employed, please ensure that they also complete the Employment Questionnaire. The Employment Questionnaire should, once completed by the Individual, be submitted to Sarah Simpson in Payroll for checking and verification received from Payroll before submitting the Supplier Request through OneSource.
Also, attention should be applied to the requirement for a Bid Summary Form, this form is available here.
The Type of Supply/Service Box must be completed, using the correct Supply/Service Code.
Product codes (UNSPSC) help other users to search for a supplier, please view and add as appropriate for the supplier that you are setting up.
Once the Supplier Form has been completed, please visit https://www.abdn.ac.uk/staffnet/secure/finance-system-how-to-guides-432.php and follow the guide entitled Setting up a supplier.
Amendments are completed on the same Supplier form given above, just check the box given on page 2 for amendment and complete as before. Please note that changes to company name, address or bank details need to have headed paper confirmation or official email from the requesting Supplier. (top)
Supplier Credit Account Applications are often received when we are dealing with a Supplier for the first time. These are completed by the Supplier Administrators. The forms can be scanned in and emailed to Procurement at firstname.lastname@example.org, faxed to 01224 273875, or mailed to Procurement, Room 46, University Office, Kings College. (top)
The following information is designed to give an overview of the Tendering procedure. This includes the preparation before the tendering process is started, what the tender thresholds are, and how to handle receipt of tenders, along with all other relevant information.
The definitions of "quotations" and "tenders" vary from institution to institution. The interpretation used for the purposes of this guide is that "quotation" is the relatively straightforward exercise of seeking price and delivery details for goods or services which are easily specified. A "tender" is the more formal and detailed exercise of obtaining sealed bids for goods or services where the value is high, or the specification is detailed or complex, or where special terms and conditions apply.
|What Tender Thresholds Are|
Below are the MINIMUM number of written or verbal quotes required, or the level at which full tendering procedures are necessary. Whenever possible these must be adhered to.
Other important thresholds:
ALL: Orders placed that are not based on the least expensive quote require to have a written justification held on file.
When it is claimed there is only one supplier available for a product or service, this must be based on clear evidence (not the supplier's opinion) and authorisation sought from the Head of Procurement for all purchases over £25K.
|How to Tender|
This section provides guidance on managing a tendering exercise and includes examples of standard tender papers. These documents are available for downloading from within these pages and must be modified (particularly the contact details) for use in any project. The simple form of contract included as an example is more appropriate for the purchase of goods than services. As service contracts can take many forms it is often preferable to write a bespoke contract to fit an individual requirement.
Purchasing and Procurement Services retain model contracts which may be used for the procurement of services such as hiring a consultant. Contracts for goods or services estimated to be worth £50,000 and above over the duration of the contract, eg. £12.5k per annum over 4 years, must be subjected to a formal tendering exercise.
Always use the Procurement department to manage a tender exercise if you have not used a formal procedure before, or have limited experience. We provide a free resource, will assist you to improve your skills if you wish to operate more independently, or will handle the complete administration up to letting of contract if required. Please remember that the team best equipped to obtain value for money within any market is one combining both technical knowledge and commercial skills.
The aims of a formal tendering exercise are to subject the proposed supply to a competitive bidding process in order to obtain best value for the University, and ensure that procedures used in the expenditure of public funds are sufficiently fair, impartial and robust to stand up to the closest scrutiny of outside parties (such as funding bodies or auditors) or legal challenges.
With these objectives in mind it is important that we operate within a set of tendering rules. As well as the formal instructions which are issued for potential suppliers to follow, it is important for our practices to comply with principles of good commercial procedure.
The following are offered as guidelines:
|Examples of Tender Documents|
If you have little or no experience of managing a formal tendering exercise please do not use these documents without contacting Helane Gannicliffe for advice or assistance.
If you have a requirement for goods and/or services with a total value of £100k or over (excluding VAT) for the period of the contract, then Procurement must be involved. If the total value (including whole-life costings, such as post warranty maintenance etc., but excluding VAT) exceeds £172,000, then the Public Contracts Regulations require a contract notice to be advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union.
This process is likely to take around 100/120 days, so please allow sufficient time.
In existing legislation the University of Aberdeen is considered a public contracting authority and this brings with it a number of duties and responsibilities; we strongly recommend early Procurement involvement.
We have to comply with international/European legislation and University Regulations and be able to demonstrate that we are obtaining best value for public money.
This is a guide through the normal stages for a high value procurement of goods or services. It is recommended that tender exercises over £100k in value involve a Project Team which might include:
To view the full document, click here,
What do you want to buy?
Can you satisfy your requirement by sharing, borrowing or using second-hand equipment, or purchasing jointly with another user? Can the product or service be obtained from an existing collaborative agreement?
(See http://www.unibuy.com/ for a portal displaying all current HE contracts).
If new equipment is required, develop a generic description that explains what you want and please do research the market to discover what is available, identify suppliers which might have a suitable product, and it is also useful to establish supplier contact details
|Obtaining a Budget Price|
What will the estimated cost be?
Please ask firms for budget prices, but don't settle on a particular item or supplier or get into detailed discussions with your favourite firm. For acquisitions over £100k you will have to go to tender anyway and all quotations received before this will have to be set aside: it is also likely that the quotes received will be out-of date by the time funding becomes available.
At this stage it is reasonable also to request a general statement of the approximate running costs of the equipment over its expected life (this is dealt with in more detail in the section on Specification of Requirements that follows).
The information received from this stage should be sufficient for applications to funding bodies.
|Drawing up Specification of Requirements|
What to Include in the Description of Your Requirement
When funding has become available we have to make a more formal approach to the market. A model Specification will include a brief overview of the University of Aberdeen and its activities; a section on the background to the requirement; a description of the present range of equipment or services used, then a detailed description of what is needed.
The specification should also include your award criteria and the weightings of the criteria. These will be the things which are important to you and which will allow you to make your final decision. They might include price, proposed maintenance and technical support, experience, references and delivery lead time.
There are two main elements to the specification: a brand-less, generic statement of need accompanied by a request for a "whole-life costing" for equipment offered.
3.1 The Specification should describe what is important to you and might express your requirement in terms of:
3.2 The "Whole-Life Costing" will reveal the true cost of ownership and provide a proper basis for comparison between competitive quotations; it is not unknown for a supplier to quote a low capital cost to secure the business, then uplift the cost of maintenance services to increase their margin.
Consideration should be given to:
|Advertising and Application to Tender|
How Will You Let Suppliers Know There is a Requirement?
As a minimum, all University of Aberdeen tenders of £100k and over will have contract notices published on a public information service (Public Contracts Scotland) to ensure that they receive appropriate visibility and give potential suppliers access to our tender processes. It is also mandatory that all tenders over £156,442 are advertised in the supplement to the Official Journal of the European Union. Once the notices are in the public domain it is permitted to alert any firm you wish to be included (you may have noted their contact details at the "Research the Requirement" stage) to the details contained in the notices.
The Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations prescribe the tendering procedures that we have to follow for tenders over £156k, and the most commonly used of these is the Restricted Procedure. This is described in detail below, and the general approach requiring suppliers to qualify to tender is one that may also be used as a "best practice" for below-threshold tenders.
The procedure is as follows:
4.1 Contact is to be made with Procurement and a meeting arranged to discuss the procurement strategy and establish whether the tender might exceed the EU Threshold of £156,442. If so, then information needs to be gathered to enable us to place an advert/contract notice in the Official Journal of the European Union.
4.2 The information required for the advert:
The request for information is normally in the form of a Pre-qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) which is made available electronically to interested firms. Procurement has a standard template which they will modify to suit your particular area of interest.
4.3 Once this information has been provided to Procurement then an OJEU notice will be placed. After publication all communications are to be formal, and via Procurement. General details from internal meetings, the number of participants, how the exercise is progressing etc. are all Commercially Confidential and not to be shared with third parties.
The Restricted procedure is a two-stage process; suppliers apply to tender, then we invite those we feel are qualified to submit tenders. The first stage is to request applications to tender from interested suppliers along with any supporting information such as audited accounts etc. We have to allow a period of at least thirty-seven (37) days from the date the advert is placed for suppliers to provide their qualification information. During this period, if the client department hasn't already done so, then they should prepare a full specification of requirements. This has to go out to the suppliers at the next stage of the process. (top)
|Considering Applications and List of Tenderers|
How Do We Decide Who to Invite to Tender?
5.1 After the minimum 37 day period, Procurement should have received the applications and supporting information from the suppliers interested in participating. A member of the Procurement team will open them and record the information provided against a checklist (for completeness of response) for each supplier. A copy of the checklists and the applications will then be provided to the client department for consideration (the technical evaluation) and to identify which suppliers might be short-listed through to the next stage.
5.2 The client department should review the applications for details of experience and technical capacity, and if references have been requested then these should be followed up and the responses documented. It is important to record which of the suppliers have been rejected and the reasoning behind this, and which will go forward to the next stage of the process.
5.3 The applications, accompanied by a supporting narrative explaining the reasons for the decisions, should then be passed back to Procurement. The public sector legislation currently in place facilitates supplier challenges to decisions made, even at this stage, so care has to be taken with the rejection process.
5.4 Procurement will request that a University Accountant checks the short-listed suppliers' audited accounts to establish their financial stability (financial evaluation). Each set of accounts will take approximately two hours for the accountant to review and report on, and their findings will be reported back to the Project Team before Invitations to Tender are issued to the selected suppliers.
It's difficult to estimate how long this particular part of the process will take because it depends on the number of applications received, how many suppliers are short-listed and the availability of the client department, project team and the accountants to undertake this work. However, we recommend that you allow around 2 to 3 weeks.
|Issue Tender Invitations|
Invitations and Time Allowed
The Procurement Office will then issue the Invitations to Tender along with all of the tender documentation, including the specification of requirements, and this will include a date for receipt of tenders which must not be less than forty (40) days from despatch of the invitations. Rejection letters will also be issued to those suppliers who have not been short listed.
Within the Regulations it is possible to reduce the process times by using electronic means to publish our contract notices and make our documents available.
Procurement has access to systems to do this and the schedule may be brought down to thirty (30) days for the notice to be advertised and thirty-five (35) days for the Tenderers to submit.
|Receive and Review Offers|
Tender Opening Ceremony
After the forty (40) day minimum period the tender submissions should have been received in Procurement and a representative from the client department should attend to witness the formal opening of them, and prepare a Record of Tenders. The tenders will then be carefully reviewed and scored against the award criteria by the Project Team.
|Selecting the Winning Tender|
Fairness and Transparency
It is important for the Project Team to decide as a group how the selection will proceed: they may mark the tenders individually, then discuss and agree the final scoring, or they may jointly allocate scores to each tender. Decisions and reasoning must be recorded.
The simplest way to assess each of the tenders is to rate them against the weightings allocated to the selection criteria (see Specification of Requirements). As an example, if "Equipment Performance" carried a total weighting of 40%, then the firm which offered the best option in terms of the performance specification should receive a score equal or close to the maximum for this, with the firm in second place receiving a lower score dependent on how their performance was rated in relation to the spec. By methodically working through the criteria for each tender submitted, the end result should be a set of total scores for the suppliers expressed as percentages, leading to a logical and transparent selection. When it comes to prices Procurement use a standard formula to allocate scores.
We may not use any reason that was not detailed within the selection criteria to either make an award or reject any submission.
The scores allocated by the Project Team are to be recorded along with narrative detailing the reasoning behind the decisions, and the results are to be forwarded to Procurement.
|Issuing Notice and Rejection|
We have a legal obligation to inform all of the Tenderers of the decisions made and give them full details of how they were reached (i.e. their overall score, ranking, the name of the successful supplier and other relevant information).
A letter of our intention to award is accordingly issued by Procurement; the unsuccessful firms are afforded an opportunity to challenge any award made, and are allowed fifteen (15) days (the "mandatory standstill period") following announcement of selection (reduced to ten (10) days if this is sent electronically).
It is very common to receive requests for further information at this stage, and we must do our best to accommodate them: the alternative might be that these will be received as Freedom of Information Requests, or even legal challenges, so provided the information is not considered commercially confidential (and in the public sector very little is) details should generally be released, but this must always be treated as a formal matter, and all communications should be through Procurement.
After this period is over, and as long as we don't receive any challenges, we can begin discussing and agreeing the terms and conditions of contract with the successful supplier.
|Tender Clarification and Agreement on Applicable Terms|
How to Conclude the Agreement
Once tenders are in we are not permitted to enter into further negotiations with the firm selected, and until the agreement is in place we must continue to communicate formally with the supplier. We may however work with them to clarify or refine the final content of their offer. If there are a number of communications with minor changes, one clear way of concluding matters is for Procurement to obtain a final confirmation of the requirement from the client department, then request a Full and Final Offer from the supplier containing all of the minor revisions to the specification.
In parallel with this Procurement will be negotiating the contract terms and conditions that will apply to the deal with the supplier. As a general rule we should never accept a supplier's terms as the basis for agreement, and it is normal for them to receive a draft contract along with the Invitation to Tender documents.
|Issue of Award Letter and Agreement to Purchase and Supply|
When the agreement is in draft, Procurement will send a copy to the client department for comment.
When the terms are finally agreed with the supplier, Procurement will confirm that funding is in place before sending the contract documentation out.
The Client, School or Section will normally raise a purchase order using the nominated budget code (note that they may have to be set up as a new supplier, if so a Supplier Set-up Form must be sent to them for completion and return) just to get the financial commitment into the system, but the order copy will not be sent to the supplier chosen, as the contract will effectively replace the purchase order.
The contract will be printed as two originals and they must both be authorised at an appropriate level within the University before being sent to the winning firm.
|Helane Gannicliffe - Head Procurement|
Helane heads the section and oversees the work of the team. She deals with the travel, laboratory maintenance and service contracts, and any enquiries relating to these areas should be directed to her. Helane also has to approve any orders for values greater than £100,000 (apart from building work done through Estates) and any sole supplier transaction over £25,000.
|Leon Mouat - Contract Manager|
|Linda Leslie and Demie Hall - Supplier Administrators (job-share)|
Procurement are currently dealing with anything to do with Suppliers - from setting them up on the system, amending details of existing Suppliers, to carrying out credit checks. They also maintain the supplier information and product catalogues held for the OneSource system.
|Robyn Campbell - Contract Officer|
Robyn administers various contracts held by the University. Robyn looks after the University's contract with Banner, who provide the University with stationery, paper and computer consumables.
|Martin Phillips - Trainee Contract Officer|
Martin administers various contracts held by the University. Martin looks after the University's contract with Alphabet Leasing who provide the University with our leased vehicles.
|Aileen Johnston - Procurement Assistant|
Aileen is the first point of contact for queries by telephone, email or post and assists the department with various administrative duites.
APUC stands for Advanced Procurement for Universities and Colleges. It acts as the procurement Centre of Expertise for the 62 Universities and Colleges in Scotland. APUC's aim is to maximise the contribution that advanced procurement makes to teaching expertise and research within these establishments.
SIMAP portal provides important information about public procurement in Europe for both buyers and suppliers, including publication of tenders on an electronic database.
Unibuy is the new eMarketplace and contracts repository for both the Higher Education and Further Education sectors. It lists all the contracts that are currently available to Universities and Colleges.
Procurement: A guide for governers is produced by the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education.
The Strategy is an institutional commitment to direction: procurement activity takes place at every level within the University so it is necessary to consider how change may be managed in a holistic way. Recommendations will influence how the daily commercial business of the University is conducted, and achieving improvements will require the agreement of and input by each College, School and Section.
Guide to procedures
Don't use the new procedures without training
The Procurement Procedures published in 2011 are being replaced by the Scottish Government's "Procurement Journey." As these new procedures are very detailed, training will be delivered to University buyers during 2016. Staff should continue to use the Procurement Procedures: 2011 until they have received this training, at which point they should begin using the Procurement Journey. Links are below:
|Terms and Conditions|
Our General Conditions of Purchase are incorporated into all orders made and if not should be provided to all suppliers on the University's behalf.
The University as a Buyer
If you have any queries from companies asking for their terms and conditions to be accepted please contact Linda Leslie or Demie Hall in the first instance on email@example.com.
The University of Aberdeen's normal payment terms are 30 days from receipt of a valid invoice.
The University as a Seller
Sales invoices are to be raised monthly, where possible, in order to minimise the working capital impact in terms of cash flow.
Non-payment after 30 days will be subject to normal credit control procedures, and in the case of external bodies (non-students, non-charities, non-public sector) interest may be charged for late payment at the prevailing Bank of England base rate.
|Code of Ethics|
The University of Aberdeen Code of Ethics is based on that published by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply. CIPS is an international education, qualification and networking body representing procurement and supply chain professionals.
This note is intended for staff who need to acquire equipment or services valued at over £150k to provide them with a brief description of the current EU/UK legislation and guide them through the procedures. The process needs to be properly planned with adequate time allowed for it.
|Our Buyer's Profile can be found on the Public Contracts Scotland Website.|
The University of Aberdeen is committed to obtaining the best value possible from all of its business transactions. Procurement at the University of Aberdeen will apply the highest ethical standards in terms of: our treatment of suppliers; our sustainable approach; the personal conduct of our buyers and legal compliance.
The University’s Contracts Register is available here.
This page provides Procurement updates and is intended to keep readers informed of the section's activities.