It is now four months since the University launched its new approach to procurement:
• Procurement Rules that clearly set out the level of competition required based on total estimated contract value
• Mandatory Contracts that clearly identify the goods/services for which certain suppliers are approved (linking to e-catalogues wherever possible)
• Category Managers and Specialists that are customer focussed and proactive, able to inform business cases with market intelligence, aware of the University’s wider objectives and risks when advising on procurement strategy, and will manage £50k+ tender exercises
• Rolling Procurement & Contract Management Training which explains all of the above, as well as providing practical tips for when you are involved in a procurement exercise and/or managing the subsequent contract
• Procurement Intra and Inter-net Section, replacing the previous material so as to be clear and concise for both staff/academics and external stakeholders, including potential suppliers keen to know how to compete for University contracts
It is great to see how the University has positively responded to these changes. Over 170 members of staff have attended the training. The evaluation feedback from attendees of the training, and internal clients feeding back on the service provided by Category Managers/Specialists when leading tender exercises, shows a 100% satisfaction level.
Staff appear to particularly appreciate the simple two page Contract Award Approval Form (CAAF) used for gaining approval for awarding £50k+ contracts and waiving Procurement Rules for £10k+ contracts. They also like the user-friendly procurement and contract management templates available on the intranet (including Request for Quotation and Specification), and have been impressed by the attentiveness of the Category Managers/Specialists.
One member of staff, at the culmination of a complex procurement exercise, noted how the Category Manager:
"Walked me through the whole process, visited me for face-to-face meetings when needed, was prompt and very helpful, and gave very good advice"
The Procurement Team will not be resting on its laurels. We are keen to:
• Continue to build up the central Contracts Register, as CAAFs are submitted for approval. If you know of any historic, on-going arrangements with suppliers of which you are unsure as to whether the Procurement Team are aware, please speak to the appropriate Category Manager/Specialist about submitting a CAAF so that you have peace of mind and we can plan any future competitive tender/quotation exercise (as a kind of transitional ‘amnesty’)
• Increase the number of Mandatory Contracts/e-catalogues available on the intranet. On the subject of Mandatory Contracts/e-catalogues, it is important that any issues with them (including the supplier’s performance) are brought to the attention of the appropriate Category Manager/Specialist
• Begin monitoring compliance with Procurement Rules over the coming months and reporting back to management teams
The Procurement Rules, Mandatory Contracts/e-catalogues, Category Managers & Specialists contact details, procurement and contract management templates, and procurement training joining instructions are all on the new Procurement section on the intranet.
As well as being able to book onto the rolling schedule of procurement training through Staff Development/MyHR, the 3 hour Procurement session and 1½ hour Contract Management session can also be booked for cohorts from the same School/Department directly with me.
Head of Procurement