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 £50,000 or above, with the exception to building works that are controlled by the Estates Section.
University Procurement Strategy and Action Plan 2016-2021
The University Procurement Strategy was approved by the University Court on 6 December 2016.
The Procurement Strategy sets out our strategic approach to all the University's procurement activity over the next five years in line with section 15 of the procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014. This strategy underpins the University Strategic Plan and demonstrates how Procurement will support the University in achieving its goals.
Download the Procurement Strategy and Action Plan 2016-2021 here
This article was published on 20 December 2016
- Modern Slavery
Slavery & Human Trafficking Statement
Purpose of the Statement
This statement is made pursuant to Section 54 of the Modern slavery Act 2015.
It is designed to demonstrate our commitment to the Modern Slavery Act 2015, (and specifically to section 54 (1)), and the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015 by informing our students, staff, partners and the public about the University of Aberdeen and its policy with respect to modern slavery, human trafficking, forced and bonded labour and labour rights violations in its supply chains..
Full details can be found here
- Supplier Set Up
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
- Check to see that the new Supplier you are requesting to be added is not already on OneSource
- Try to search on part of the name and scroll through
- Please make sure that no orders are made until the Supplier is actually set up, if there are no issues and the form is completed properly then this will be within three days (top)
Should the supplier be Self Employed, please ensure that they also complete the Workers Status Questionnaire, under the 'Other Payments' tab. The Workers Status Questionnaire should, once completed by the Individual and finished by the requestor, be submitted to Sarah Simpson in Payroll for checking and verification received from Payroll before submitting the final 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. (At present please contact Procurement)
Product codes (UNSPSC) help other users to search for a supplier, At present please contact Procurement for the correct code.
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)
- How to Buy
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: email@example.com
If you are looking to travel, please see travel for information about Diversity Travel, our appointed Travel Provider.
If you wish to purchase 'one-off ' goods ie white goods, toaster, kettle etc in the first instance check out Office Depot on OneSource. You can also look for these items using GeM.
The contracted Supplier for stationery, computer consumable items and paper orders is Office Depot.
All orders should be placed directly through the Office Depot marketplace (a punch-out site) via OneSource. Paper is also now ordered by the individual rather than "bulk ordering", however this is done slightly differently and is detailed below.Delivery days are Monday and Thursday and your order must be approved and sent to Office Depot by 5pm on a Friday and Wednesday for delivery on Monday and Thursday. If your delivery has not arrived or if you are unable to find an item that you require, please contact customer services at Office Depot on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0844 391 3950.
Office Depot provide desktop delivery for all stocked items, meaning all goods should be delivered to your room/desk on Monday and Thursday. If you have any problems with the service provided by this Supplier, please email Procurement at email@example.com.
It is very easy to launch into the Office Depot 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:
- In the Menu bar, select:
- Tools > Internet Options > Privacy tab > Advanced
- The Advanced Privacy Settings box appears
- In the Cookies section, choose Override automatic cookie handling
- Under First Party Cookies, select Accept
- Under Third Party Cookies, select Accept
- Select Always allow session cookies
- Click OK to close the Advanced Privacy Settingsbox
- Click OK to close Internet Options
- Close all web browsers
- Open a new browser.
Paper is ordered directly from Office Depot via OneSource using subproject CF10287-15 and account 4205. Note that the standard paper to order for the MFDs is :
5226498 - FSC4 Recycled Bright White A4
5226489 - Recycled Bright White A3
No other paper should be ordered for the MFDs – the spend against CF10287-15 and account 4205 will be monitored by IT Services and any other paper ordered will be charged back to Schools / Depts.
If you have any queries, please contact:
- Procurement on extension 4467
Equipment order and supply
- IT Services can provide advice on choosing and buying an approved UoA desktop, laptop or item of peripheral IT equipment, for example a printer. Further details on the standard desktop, laptop or peripheral IT equipment. Orders should be placed through IT Services. However, individuals using this service should ensure that they have the necessary authorisation at departmental/school level prior to beginning.
IT Services will setup your UoA PC with the standard software library which includes email, calendaring and printing to relevant printers including Multi Functional Devices. The software provided will depend upon your College or Admin Unit, please contact IT Services for further Information.
Antivirus software is included as part of the standard software and regular updates are provided automatically. Critical operating system and Microsoft Windows updates are also made available automatically.
- IT Services will come to your UoA office and unpack, connect and test your new computer for you. IT Services can also install items of approved UoA peripheral IT equipment and licensed software not on the standard list
Where a new UoA PC is being supplied, IT Services will remove your old UoA PC, remove files and arrange disposal. Further information on disposal.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Please contact Procurement on email@example.com for any tender exercise who will be happy to provide you with help, advice and examples of tender documents.
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.
Value of expenditure excluding VAT
Procedure to follow
Up to £1,000
1 written quotation required
Above £1,000 to £10,000
A minimum of 3 written quotes from different suppliers; details of these recorded and retained for possible subsequent audit
Supplies & Services only
Above £10,000 to £50,000
Unadvertised but minimum of 3 *FORMAL competitive quotes with at least 3 different suppliers invited to tender; details of these recorded (Bid Summary –) and retained for possible subsequent audit
Supplies & Services only
**Over £50,000 to current EU Supplies & Services threshold
Nationally advertised (regulated contract) Tender conducted by Procurement
Supplies & Services only
Above current EU Supplies & Services threshold
Full EU tender conducted by Procurement
Over 2m to EU Works threshold
Nationally advertised (regulated contract) tender conducted by Procurement
Above EU Works threshold
Full EU tender conducted by Procurement
‘* A FORMAL quote is as described more fully in 11. Formal Request for Quotation.
‘** Spend is the total value the University expects to be payable under the term of the contract, e.g. £12,500 per annum over 48 months equates to £50,000 and nationally advertised tender procedure would apply. Where requirement is a single standalone purchase, spend is calculated as total amount payable to the supplier for this purchase including costs such as maintenance, delivery, training, acceptance testing, warranties etc. If there are multiple number of contracts placed to make up a single large purchase, the spend value should include the aggregate of all such contracts placed.
‘*** Works relates to building, design & build, refurbishment, minor works, all construction related activities including building works consultancy.
Other important thresholds:
Below £40 Use Petty Cash for your purchase
All orders for goods or services above the value of £5000 require a bid summary or record of selection to be completed & retained with the purchase order - except when the supplier holds a current contract
£181,000 All orders for goods or services, regardless of the source of funding, require to be tendered in accordance with the Public Contract Regulations except when the Public Works Regulations apply
ALL: Orders placed that are not based on the least expensive quote require to have a written justification held on file.
A Single Supplier Justification form (available from Procurement) must be completed where the intention is to award a contract and/or place an order in excess of £1,000 direct to a supplier (where no contract exists). The original should be retained for Audit purposes to justify - prior to the proposed purchase - non-compliance with the University’s Procurement Policy & Procedures.
Note: If the proposed purchase exceeds £25,000, this form must be submitted to the Procurement Office for review by Head of Procurement prior to any commitment being given to the supplier. Awards for procurements above £50,000 (excluding VAT) will be published on Public Contracts Scotland in line with Procurement legislation.
The University has both an ethical and regulatory requirement to expose it’s spend to open competition. Spending public funds without exposure to competition that is fair, transparent and non-discriminatory has the potential to breach the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2015 as well as individual research funding bodies’ terms & conditions. This could expose the University and its employees to accusations of impropriety and ultimately a risk of financial loss (in the form of a legal challenge or expenditure against a research grant disallowed) and/or reputational damage.
How to Tender
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.
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.
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:
- Plan the process. Agree what the significant dates will be and who will be involved at each stage.
- Establish a means of recording the tendering process from start to finish. It is recommended that departments maintain a register of all tendering exercises.
- Allow sufficient time and resource to manage the process. Some complex tender exercises can take 40 to 60 hours of work to complete and it is not possible to cut corners.
- Properly explore the market. In most situations it is best to ensure that all possible suppliers are given an opportunity to bid. Decide whether it is necessary to invite applications, advertise the contract notice locally, nationally, in specialist publications or in the European Journal.
- Keep a record of all of the suppliers who have applied to tender or who have been invited to tender.
- Using the examples provided in this section as the basis, prepare and issue the tender documents.
- Allow adequate time for the suppliers to respond properly. This will obviously vary with the complexity of the specification, but a minimum of three weeks is recommended.
- Once you have issued a formal notice of anything – including deadlines for receipt of tenders – you have an obligation to ensure that it is rigidly adhered to by all parties.
- Treat all potential suppliers equally.
- Control the channels of communication. Some firms will try to gain advantage over others by discussing the tender with you or your colleagues in order to gauge areas of particular interest, or even just to establish contact to talk in general about the tender. Give clear instructions to tenderers on who their contacts are. Keep communications formal.
- If valid questions are received from one firm before the tenders have closed, circulate the questions and your detailed responses to all of those in receipt of invitations to tender in the form of a "pre-tender circular".
- You will have fixed a time for receipt of tenders. Any late tenders should not be accepted and marked appropriately then returned to the tenderer
- When opening the tenders record details of the tenders received.
- The tenders submitted should not be used as the starting point for a round of negotiations. You must not use one supplier's bid as a bench-mark in discussions with other suppliers. It is permissible to seek clarification.
- Post-tender negotiation should be limited. In particular, in the event of a contract advertised under the terms of the Public Supply / Service Regulations, it is important that the selection of a contractor is made before discussing detailed terms.
- It is a requirement under the Public Supply / Services Regulations (where these apply)to brief unsuccessful suppliers of the outcome of the tender exercise and that you detail the criteria used in your selection in a notice to the Official Journal of the European Union.
- Always record the selection process leading to the award and include the criteria used. This is a formal record which may be used in the event of a challenge from an aggrieved supplier or may be required to complete a Contract Award Notice to be published in the Public Contracts Scotland portal or the Official Journal of the European Union depending on the value.
Tendering over 50K
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. If the total value (including whole-life costings, such as post warranty maintenance etc., but excluding VAT) exceeds £181,000, 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 90 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 £50K in value involve a Project Team which might include:
- a representative of the Client, School or Section and their Line Manager;
- the Accountant for their School or Professional Services Directorate
- someone from Procurement and possibly a Technical Adviser (such as a representative from IT for a software purchase).
For more detailed information please contact Procurement on firstname.lastname@example.org
Tendering Items of special interest
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?
Please contact Procurement for information on 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 £50K 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.
The Specification should describe what is important to you and might express your requirement in terms of:
- The application: where and how the equipment will be used and what for;
- Minimum required performance: volumes, speed, magnification, data to be produced etc;
- Inputs and outputs;
- Results expected;
- Quality requirements;
- Ease of use;
- Operator requirement;
- Physical limitations: weight and dimensions, mobility, access, floor strength, building requirements (such as for room modifications or shielding);
- Compliance with prescribed standards;
- An opportunity for the tenderer to include an alternative offer which might include joint research, use of the University as a reference site, a novel approach, application of new technology or ex-demonstration equipment etc.
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:
- Capital purchase price;
- Delivery date (does this meet your timescale?);
- Delivery to site and insurances;
- Rigging into position;
- Training for operation and local maintenance (both on and off-site);
- Number of operators required;
- Expected life of the equipment in a normal working environment;
- Anticipated running costs over the expected life, including an estimate of annual costs for utilities in a similar operation and cost of replacements and wearing arts (with a guarantee that these will remain available);
- Product life and upgradeability – when will the model offered cease to be produced and what is the approach to upgrading? Warranties and extended warranties;
- Post-warranty service and maintenance proposals for the life of the equipment (if this is not known then request that details for a five-year period be included);
- WEEE: Waste electrical and electronic equipment legislation requires manufacturers to participate in a scheme for removal at end of economic life. Request costs associated with the supplier/manufacturer meeting their responsibilities within the regulations;
- End of life replacement or disposal: what options are available when the equipment is no longer required, and what are the costs involved? (top)
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 thirty (30) days from despatch of the invitations. Rejection letters will also be issued to those suppliers who have not been short listed.
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 ten (10) days (the "mandatory standstill period") following announcement of selection.
It is 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.
- Our Team
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 £50,000 (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.
Awo Frimpong - Contract Officer
Awo administers various contracts held by the University. Awo looks after the University's contract with Office Depot, 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 duties.
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.
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 £181K including maintenance 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.