The following information is designed to give an overview of the Buying Procedures. This includes the preparation before the process is started, what the thresholds are, and how to handle receipt of quotations, along with all other relevant information.

The Procurement Thresholds and Timescales can be found here

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.

Please contact Procurement on procurement@abdn.ac.uk who will be happy to provide you with help, advice and examples of quotation documents. 

Preparation

Based on the above thresholds use appropriate procedure

  • Plan the process. Agree what the significant dates will be and who will be involved at each stage.
  • Establish a means of recording the process from start to finish. It is recommended that departments maintain a register of all quotation exercises.
  • Allow sufficient time and resource to manage the process. This especially refers to projects over £50K.  Some complex tender exercises can take several weeks of work to complete and it is not possible to cut corners.
  • Properly explore the market.  Ensure that the required amount of suppliers are given an opportunity to bid. Prepare a Bid Summary of all of the suppliers who have applied to quote or who have been invited to quote
Procedures for under £1K

Up to £1,000 (excluding VAT), requires one written quotation. 

One written quotation: Can be in format of headed paper or email from the supplier or a screenshot taken from a web page or on-line catalogue

Procedures for £1K to £10K
  • Prepare the Standard Quotation template and email to the selected suppliers
  • Obtain at least *Three written quotations from suitable suppliers (where practicable)
  • Allow adequate time for the suppliers to respond properly. This will obviously vary with the complexity of the specification, but a minimum of one week is recommended.
  • Treat all potential suppliers equally.
  • If valid questions are received from one firm before the deadline, it is important to ensure all suppliers have the same information.  This could be sent to all suppliers as a Question & Answer sheet.
  • Evaluate quotations and record all quotations received on a Bid Summary form
  • Award the contract to selected supplier and inform the other suppliers that they have been unsuccessful. (See Award Letter template and Unsuccessful Letter for Standard ITQ)
  • Create a requisition using the Finance system and complete Message Field advising relevant quotes obtained
Procedures for £10K to £50K
  • Identify and select suitable suplliers
  • Prepare and issue the Formal Invitation to Quotation template.
    • Conduct a Formal procedure and obtain at least THREE written quotations from suitable suppliers (where practicable) and include full specification of requirements, scope of contract, evaluation criteria & standard terms & conditions.
  • Allow adequate time for the suppliers to respond properly. This will obviously vary with the complexity of the specification, but a minimum of two weeks is recommended
  • You will have fixed a time for receipt of tenders.  Any late tenders should not be accepted. 
  • Allow adequate time to evaluate responses.  Treat all potential suppliers equally.
  • If valid questions are received from one firm before the deadline, it is important to ensure all suppliers have the same information.  This could be sent to all suppliers as a Question and Answer sheet.
  • Evaluate and score quotations and record all quotations received on a Bid Summary form.
  • Informing Bidders - When the evaluation of the offers received has been completed and an award decision has been made, an award letter (see Award letter template for both Standard & Formal ITQs, use where appropriate) should be emailed to the selected supplier and "with regret" letters sent to the unsuccessful bidders.  (See Formal ITQ regret letter template).
  • Create a requisition on the Finance system and complete Message Field advising relevant quotes obtained.
Purchases over £50K

If your requirement may be £50K (excl VAT) or over, you must get in touch with Procurement.

Regulated Procurement

Purchases of £50,000 or over (excl VAT) made outwith current University contracts are regulated by Scottish Public Procurement legislation. If you have a requirement for goods and/or services with a total value of £50K or over (excluding VAT) for the period of the contract, then Procurement must be involved. (Note: In the case of services the threshold covers a 4 year period, therefore a recurring procurement of £12.5k per annum will be subject to a regulated procurement exercise).

These generally involve a full tender exercise which must be advertised on the Public Contracts Scotland portal and award of the contract published on the portal too.

If the total value (including whole-life costings, such as post warranty maintenance etc., but excluding VAT) exceeds £181,000, then EU procedures and timescales will apply.

Procurement will manage these tender exercises in partnership with the budget holder and/or end users. Procurement at this level requires a procurement plan and must be conducted in accordance with the University Procurement Strategy.

For more detailed information please contact Procurement on procurement@abdn.ac.uk