Procurement including how to do business with the university
What and how the University procures goods and services is vital to it realising its wider strategic vision, in an ever more competitive world, with rising customer (student) expectations and an increasingly dynamic economic environment. In spending £100m a year on goods and services as diverse as IT software, laboratory supplies, cleaning supplies, research equipment, consultancy services and large scale construction, the University must ensure value for money, compliance and risk management.
Procurement team and category management
The central Procurement Team is responsible for setting out the University’s procurement strategy and rules, and leading high value/risk (£50k+) procurement exercises. The Procurement Team employs a category management approach whereby its procurement professionals specialise in the markets relevant to the University’s operations; for example, IT & Telecoms, Estates and Laboratory; co-ordinating the University’s requirements from across its schools and departments.
Individual procurers within schools and departments undertake low value procurements (below £50k), supported by the appropriate Category Manager where necessary, and based on templates and training produced and delivered by the Procurement Team.
|Head of Procurement|
|For Loughborough University and the University of Leicester|
|James Trotter||E: J.Trotter@lboro.ac.uk||T: 01509 228418|
|(Acting) Category Manager - Debbie Tyler||E: D.A.Tyler@lboro.ac.uk
||T: 01509 223625|
|Professional Services and Travel & Accommodation|
|Category Manager - Robert Cross||E: R.M.Cross@lboro.ac.uk
||T: 01509 222015
M: 07895 330711
|Estates, Domestic, Furniture and Postal Services|
|Category Manager - Leighann Carlton||E: L.Carlton@lboro.ac.uk||T: 01509 228038
M: 07895 330713
|IT & Telecoms, AV and Library|
|Category Manager - Ian Williamson||E: I.Williamson@lboro.ac.uk||T: 01509 228359|
|Category Specialist - Debbie Tyler||E: D.A.Tyler@lboro.ac.uk||T: 01509 223625|
|Laboratory & Medical, Catering, Office Supplies and Misc|
|Procurement Co-ordinator - Libby Granger||E: E.Granger@lboro.ac.uk||T: 01509 228358|
The University's Procurement Strategy to 2020 explains how we will build on the changes we have made to our approach to procurement (incl. undertaking category management) during 2017, with our priorities and performance measures aligned to four high level objectives:
- Procurement will become engrained within the University's planning processes
- Fully worked up category strategies will cover 100% of our procurement spend
- We will make optimum use of e-Procurement technology
- Our procurement policies and procedures will continue to reflect the latest legislation and best practice, whilst staying clear and proportionate
The Procurement Regulations form part of the University’s Financial Regulations. The purpose of the Regulations is to ensure that the University’s procurement activity gains value for money and is compliant with public procurement law. The Regulations set out the minimum procurement process (level of competition) based on the total value of the contract/order – summarised in the flow chart below. They also include the University’s approval levels when accepting tenders, awarding contracts, placing orders, varying and extending contracts, and gaining exceptions (waivers) to the Regulations.
- With a total value of £50k+, following a procurement exercise that complies with the University’s Procurement Rules; or
- With a total value of £10k+, where an exception(s) to the University’s Procurement Rules is being sought.
The Quotation Summary Form is to be completed so as to demonstrate that three quotes have been sought in the process of awarding a contract with a total value of between £10k and £24,999.
Purchasing cards should only be used for low value and ‘one off’ purchases. They are not to be used for procuring goods and services where they can be bought via the University’s e-marketplace, where Mandatory Contract catalogues can be accessed. All purchases made using a card must be in accordance with the Procurement Rules/Financial Regulations.
Full details on when and how purchasing cards should be used, including how to apply for a card, can be found on the Finance Shared Services pages.
These pages detail Mandatory Contracts that staff (including academics) must use where the goods or services that they require fall within scope. The appropriate Category Manager determines the Mandatory Contracts within the categories for which they are responsible. Where it is felt that better value for money can be gained outside of a Mandatory Contract, approval must first be gained from the appropriate Category Manager before following the alternative procurement route.
Generally, the benefits of Mandatory Contracts include favourable prices as a result of economies of scale, pre-agreed contract terms and conditions that reflect the University’s objectives and risk areas, and a compliant and relatively quick procurement route.
There are three routes by which a purchase/contract is placed using a Mandatory Contract:
- e-marketplace catalogue via Agresso, where there is a link to the respective catalogue within Agresso. You will need to have an Agresso requisitoner role, username and password. Contact the appropriate Category Manager if you require access or support.
- HE Contracts or LU Contract, where there is a link to a simple User Guide on the HE Contracts portal or details provided for a LU Contract, explaining how to make the purchase/award the contract. The purchase orders must be raised via Agresso.
- LU Professional Service, where one of the University’s Professional Services departments is responsible for delivering the service itself or making all such purchases (against a Mandatory Contract)
Mandatory Contracts by Category
It is important that the University considers wider strategic opportunities and risks when procuring goods, works and services. It is for this reason that the Procurement Unit has drafted the following procurement policies and guidance notes to ensure that – on a contract-by-contract basis - proportionate account is taken of specific opportunities and risks:
- SME-Friendly Procurement Policy - Explains the steps that the University takes to ensure that its procurement processes do not create unnecessary barriers for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.
- Sustainable Procurement (including Equality) Guidance – Provides examples of where wider social, economic and environmental benefits may be gained through procurement contracts.
- Modern slavery and human trafficking statement 2017-18 – Outlines the policies, training, and due diligence processes that the University has in place to tackle modern slavery and human trafficking.
- Prevention of Procurement Fraud Policy – Identifies the different types of procurement fraud and the measures in place to mitigate the risk of them occurring, and explains how to report suspected procurement fraud.
- Research Funding Applications Procurement Guidance – Explains how to comply with the University’s Procurement Rules when applying for a research grant.
- Software-as-Service Checklist - This checklist (at the foot of the linked page) must be completed and approved by the relevant IT and Information Governance staff before a new Software-as-a-Service contract is procured, or development commissioned by a School or Professional Service. The purpose of the checklist is to prevent unnecessary proliferation and financial expense of multiple systems and services by checking whether the requirement can be fulfilled by an existing system, or service. If there is a requirement for a new service, this checklist will ensure that the proposed service meets requirements, and is secure and supportable, and is procured in a compliant fashion that ensures value for money is achieved. Once the requirement for a new service has been identified, it must be notified to the Business Partnering Team within IT Services who will ensure that the checklist is completed and appraised (drawing in the IT Category Manager from the Procurement Team, where necessary).
- Financial Vetting of Suppliers Guidance – Provides a framework for assessing suppliers financial standing both as part of the procurement process and during the period of the contract.
- Insurance and Procurement Guidance – Supports establishing and setting of appropriate insurance levels and indemnity provisions in a contract.
- Health & Safety Procurement Guidance – Advises on how to take account of health and safety risks as part of the procurement process and subsequent ongoing contract management.
- Procurement Documents Retention Schedule – Gives a guide as to the retention periods for the different types of documentation produced during the procurement and contract management processes.
- TUPE Procurement Guidance – Explains how the University is to establish whether the (re-)tendering of a contract will have any implications relating to the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE). The guidance then goes on to detail how any TUPE implications are to be accounted for during the procurement process and within the ultimate contract.
- Credit Application Form details - Provides the details needed to complete a supplier's credit application form, if required by the supplier. The details include trade references and how to deal with tick boxes that seek to confirm business on the supplier's terms and conditions rather than those of the University.
|Contract Award Approval Form||
- must be completed where seeking approval to award a contract:
|Quotation Summary Form||
- to be completed so as to demonstrate that three quotes have been sought in the process of awarding a contract with a total value of between £10k and £24,999.
|Supplier Insurance Level / Indemnity Change Form||
- must be completed where seeking approval to change any of the University's default supplier insurance levels and indemnity provisions in the Standard Terms and Conditions.
|Supplier Creation and Amendment Form||
- must be completed to allow the Finance Shared Services (FSS-Suppliercreation@lboro.ac.uk) to add a new supplier to the finance system, undertaking financial checks where necessary, so allowing the supplier to be paid. The same form should be used where there is a subsequent need to change a supplier's details.
|Contract Details Form||
- the Procurement Team maintains a Contracts Register in which it records all recurring University contracts with a total value of £25k+. This helps to ensure that the University properly plans for an re-tendering/contracting of such contracts well ahead of them expiring. If you have the details of any recurring £25k+ contracts, which you don't believe the Procurement Team to be aware of, then please provide them with these details by completing this e-form.
|Procurement Templates - A range of templates has been produced by the Procurement Team to assist in embedding best procurement practice.|
|Procurement Strategy Template||- outlines the preferred procurement route based on supply market analysis and an assessment of the options. Establishes the duration of the intended contract and the tender evaluation criteria to be used. Also prompts consideration of wider strategic objectives and risks, for example business continuity and intellectual property rights, and establishes the timetable for the procurement process.|
|Procurement Strategy Checklist||- a cut down version of the Procurement Strategy (above) prompting consideration of all relevant factors when planning a procurement exercise.|
|Contract Specification||- a useful template for developing the specification of the requirement.|
|Service Level Agreement||- part of a service contract that defines the scope and quality of the service, including key performance indicators and related sanctions / incentives, as well as the responsibilities of the provider and the University.|
|Request for Quotation for Goods||- template for gaining comparable quotes for goods contracts with a total value of between £25k and £49,999.|
|Request for Quotation for Services||- template for gaining comparable quotes for services contracts with a total value of between £25k and £49,999.|
|Example Request for Quotation Evaluation Spreadsheet||- example template that can be used/amended (to reflect the instruction/evaluation methodology outlined in the actual RfQ) when evaluating quotations.|
|Selection Questionnaire||- template for pre-qualifying and shortlisting applicants for receiving an invitation to tender for goods or services contracts with a total value above the EU Threshold. The questions must also be incorporated within the invitation to tender document where inviting bids without a shortlisting stage, where above the EU Threshold.|
|Selection Questionnaire (FM)||- template for pre-qualifying and shortlisting applicants for receiving an invitation to tender for Estates category works or services contracts with a total value above the EU Threshold.|
|Invitation to Tender||- template for gaining comparable tenders for goods or services contracts with a total value of £50k+.|
|Tender Evaluation Panellist Declaration regarding any Conflict of Interest||- declaration to be completed and forwarded to the Procurement Team by all tender evaluation panellists for contracts with a total value of £50k.|
|Reference Request||- can be used to gain a reference from an organisation nominated by a tenderer.|
|Award Decision Notice||- sent to the unsuccessful bidders, informing them of who it is that the University intends to award the contract following the 10 day 'standstill' period, as well as their tender evaluation scores compared to those of the successful bidder. Such a notice is a requirement for procurement exercises above the EU Threshold.|
|Contract Award Letter||- sent to the successful bidder to award the contract (following any 'standstill' period).|
|Contract Award Letter (FM)||- sent to the successful bidder to award the contract (following any 'standstill' period), where a fully worked up JCT Contract is subsequently and imminently to be issued to them.|
|Contract Award Amendment Letter for individual service providers caught by the IR35 intermediaries legislation||- if the supplier is an individual providing their services through an intermediary (e.g. their own limited company, a personal service company, a partnership or an individual) it is necessary for the University to apply HMRC's Employment Status Check to establish whether PAYE/NI tax deductions must be made from the pay they receive for their service. If the legislation does apply, Payroll must be notified and this letter issued to the individual/provider.|
|Contract Terms and Conditions Checklist||- assists in identifying the risks presented by a supplier’s Contract Terms and Conditions, where the University’s bargaining power is such that it is not possible to agree the contract on the University’s Standard Terms and Conditions. In all likelihood, such a situation will involve an exception/waiver to the University’s Procurement Regulations being sought, because there is not sufficient competition in the market to allow for the Regulation’s required level of competition.|
|Contract Extension Letter||- sent to an existing supplier to extend a contract, where the contract provides for an extension.|
|TUPE Clarification Letter||- sent to a supplier at least 12 months ahead of the contract expiring to substantiate whether there will be any TUPE implications when the contract is re-tendered.|
|Request for TUPE Provisional List Letter||- sent to a supplier 6-12 months ahead of the contract expiring to gain high-level details of the employees likely to transfer with the contract (should a new supplier be appointed), and to be included within the Invitation to Tender document.|
|Contract Obligations and Deliverables Tables||- template that can be used by the Contract Manager to distill the contract obligations and deliverable into a simple table for ease of reference.C|
|Contract Summary||- template used to summarise the core elements of a contract for the Contract Manager, i.e. the key deliverables, quality standards, provisions for dealing with performance issues, and the exit strategy. The Procurement Team completes the template for £100k+ contracts it has tendered and awarded, as an aid to the Contract Manager.|
|- template agenda that the Contract Manager can work up for contract review meetings with the supplier.|
|The Armed Forces Covenant (flyer)||- one page promotion of The Armed Forces Covenant, to which the University is a signatory. The Covenant is a pledge to demonstrate support for the armed forces community. It is encouraged that this document be included in the ITT/RfQ pack and used during contract review meetings, without in any way being used as a specification requirement, evaluation criterion or contract condition.|
The University has Standard Terms & Conditions for
Where a purchase order is placed by the University, that does not relate to a pre-agreed contract or framework agreement, then the Purchase Order Terms & Conditions March 2018 v2 will apply.
It is important that procurement contracts are based on the University’s Standard Terms & Conditions, or, where these are not appropriate, terms approved by the Procurement Team. This is because the Standard Terms & Conditions have been carefully drafted so as to reflect the University’s objectives and risk areas, and to ensure that bids are evaluated on a like-for-like basis, that ensures equal opportunity for all bidders.
In some circumstances it may be necessary to amend the University’s Standard Terms & Conditions ahead of them being issued as part of the Request for Quotation or Invitation to Tender, so as to better reflect the requirements and risks of the specific contract. The contract conditions most likely to require amendment are:
- Insurance – The insurance levels that the supplier is required to maintain may need to be changed so as to be more proportionate to the risks involved. The Insurance & Procurement Guidance can be used to help establish and set the appropriate levels of insurance for a contract
- Information security – Enhanced contract conditions may be required where the supplier is to process and store personal and University data outside of the University’s systems
- Business continuity – More robust conditions may be required where the contract is vital to the delivery of one of the University’s critical services
- Performance review – It may be necessary that performance review meetings take place more regularly than the six monthly intervals stipulated in the Standard Terms & Conditions for Services
- Liquidated damages – Whilst the Standard Terms & Conditions for Goods and Services cover the University for all breaches of contract under the Indemnity clauses, it may be prudent to identify specific potential supplier performance failures so that the resultant financial loss to the University can be quantified and included within the contract as the required compensation should such a failure occur
- Intellectual property – Greater clarity may be required as to where any intellectual property that arises from the contract resides when it comes to an end
- Social clauses – It may be that the contract presents an opportunity for including a clause(s) requiring the supplier to deliver wider social, economic or environmental benefits. As noted in the Sustainable Procurement Guidance, examples include clauses that require the supplier to offer internships to University students or apprenticeships or job opportunities to the long-term unemployed
- Research grant conditions – Where the contract is (part) funded by a research grant it may be that the grant comes with conditions (for example, relating to the provision of management information) that need to be reflected in the contract
The Procurement Team must be involved in any amendment to the University’s Standard Terms & Conditions in order to check the appropriateness of the changes and to ensure that they are consistent with, and do not contradict, the other conditions.
University contracts are attractive as they are relatively stable organisations that pay their invoices on time, and a major university like Loughborough would be a high profile client to be referenced when endeavouring to win other contracts across the public and private sector.
The University has an SME-Friendly Procurement Policy that explains the steps that it takes so as to ensure that its procurement processes do not create unnecessary barriers for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), which may deter or inhibit them when our contract opportunities are advertised.
The University encourages consideration of the benefits of including a local supplier when inviting quotations for contracts with a total value of between £10k and £24,999. The Rules also require all contracts with a total value of £50k+ to be tendered using the Delta e-tendering system; where procurers are encouraged to openly advertise their contract opportunities to all suppliers registered on the system. It is free for suppliers to register on the Delta e-tendering system, which includes the facility for suppliers to be notified of any University contracts that are openly advertised and relate to their sector/industry.
As part of the SME-Friendly Policy, the University regularly delivers presentations at local and regional supplier events explaining how it does business and where to find contract opportunities. For example, in November 2018, the Head of Procurement delivered a University Procurement Presentation at an event organised by the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce, focused on 'How to secure public sector contracts'.
An up-to-date list of University Contracts is uploaded each quarter, which allows suppliers to identify potential subcontracting opportunities. Note: The list is produced from the Contracts Register maintained by the Procurement Team, which should include all contracts with a total value of £25k+. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the Contracts Register is as up-to-date as possible, there can be no guarantee that it is totally complete.
The percentage of supplier invoices paid within 30 days during 2017-18 was 39.9%, with 85.7% paid within 39 days.
|16 February 2017|
|16 March 2017|
|21 June 2017|
|03 January 2018|
|03 January 2018|
|21 September 2018|
|03 June 2019|
|Category Managers' Update newsletters|
|Spring 2018 Edition|
|Summer 2018 Edition|
|Autumn 2018 Edition|
|Winter 2018 Edition|
|Spring 2019 Edition|
The Procurement Team delivers a rolling in-house Procurement & Contract Management Training Programme based around two brief sessions:
Attendance of either session can be arranged through Staff Development or, where the training is required for the relevant staff within a department/team, directly with the Procurement Team.