Purchasing Policy

Purchasing Policy

Purchasing Policy

Purchasing Objectives
The primary concern of the Purchasing function is to ensure that value for money is secured on all relevant areas on non-pay expenditure throughout the University. The objective is to obtain optimum quality and service taking into account operational needs, delivery, timeliness and supplier performance.  In more specific detail this means:

  • That the goods/services are of the correct specification to a standard which will ensure adequate quality and fitness for the intended purpose;
  • That the goods/services purchased satisfy operational requirements and that the techniques employed in all stages of the purchasing process are aimed at maximising the level of value for money obtained;
  • Ensuring that all departments are provided with relevant and up to date information and advice on current purchasing policy, supplier information, agreements and other information deemed necessary to promote and ensure good purchasing practice;
  • Developing a co-operative purchasing relationship with all staff involved in purchasing at department level, and also through the University’s membership of the Regional Purchasing Consortium.
  • Ensuring that all goods and services are procured with due regards to sustainable practices involving the environment, staff welfare and supplier engagement with the supply chain.

Authority to Purchase 

  • Responsibility for the authority to purchase is determined by the Heads of Schools. However, the Director of Finance and Resources must be notified of all staff so delegated, and appropriate specimen signatures provided. Delegation to place orders must be formally approved by the Head of School, including any limitations that may be applied such as value or commodity type.

Purchasing Procedure

  • All purchasing activity is subject to compliance with the University Financial Regulations with regard to levels of expenditure and the procedures to be followed.
  • Where applicable, all purchases must be sourced through existing agreements promoted by the Procurement department. Such agreements have been arranged at local, regional or national level, and will secure value for money. This will also ensure compliance with the University Financial Regulations and UK and E.C. Directives legislation.
  • Should the value of the intended purchase exceed the relevant authorisation level, the Purchasing Office must be informed as soon as the need is identified. An evaluation will then determine the need to instigate a competitive tender process. The only exception to this situation applies where an agreement has already been negotiated at national, regional and local level.
  • The thresholds that are applicable to purchases made by all departments within the University as detailed in Appendix A.
    • For purchases exceeding £15,000 (inclusive of VAT) the Purchasing Department must be consulted, in order to instigate a formal tender process.  A minimum of three tender responses is normally required;
    • For purchases of between £5,000 and £14,999.99 (inclusive of VAT) at least three written quotations must be obtained;
    • For purchases of up to £4,999.99 (inclusive of VAT) no formal written quotations are necessary. However, it is recommended that a minimum of three written quotations are obtained by the purchaser.
  • Where appropriate, purchases should be defined by specifications designed to achieve optimum price benefits.
  • All relevant legislation and Health and Safety requirements must be satisfied in full, prior to purchase of goods/services. This includes provision of Insurance where applicable.

Purchasing at Departmental Level
Purchasing activities within individual departments of the University are subject to compliance with the following constraints:

  • The budget holder is in agreement that the purchase of their requirement is essential to the operations of the University, and that funds are available;
  • Purchasing policy is satisfied regarding the University Financial Regulations, and that procedures are followed to ensure that value for money is secured. Full procedural instructions are detailed in the Purchasing Procedures Manual. The section as detailed within Purchasing Procedure as part of this document is also applicable.
  • Where the purchasing process is managed at departmental level, assurances must be obtained by the purchaser that the necessary criteria has been satisfied prior to order placement. The criteria to be satisfied are detailed in the purchasing manual.
  • All purchases should be initiated utilising the computerised Purchase Order Processing system, in order to ensure that official documentation is generated, and that correct procedures are followed.

Supplier Assessment
The control of risk when selecting a supplier to provide goods or services to the University will be managed through a structured assessment process.

  • Compliance to University requirements for all purchases subject to the tender process will be mandatory, and in particular must satisfy the following criteria:
    • Written statement obtained from the supplier, detailing stability of price from the commencement of the contract;
    • Appropriate trade references must be supplied, preferably from other higher education referees;
    • Relevant financial information must be provided in order to assess potential stability and viability of a supplier.

Conditions of Purchase
All purchases entered into by the University will be on the basis of the Universities Standard Terms & Conditions for the Purchase of goods and services, unless specifically agreed with the supplier and the Procurement Department. A copy of the conditions are set out in the Purchasing Procedures Manual.

Purchasing Ethics
All staff involved in purchasing activities should be aware of the ethical code of conduct, and should observe the following:

  • Declaration of interest
    Any personal interest, which may impinge or might reasonably be deemed by others to impinge upon impartiality in any matter relevant to purchasing duties, should be declared to the Director of Finance and Resources for approval before conducting the business.
  • Confidentiality of Information
    The confidentiality of information received in the course of duty should be respected and specific details of suppliers’ offers must not be divulged to competitors. The information should never be used for personal gain.
  • Relationships with Suppliers
    Any arrangement which may prevent the effective operation of fair competition should be avoided.
  • Anti Bribery And Corruption
    The University has a policy on Bribery Prevention which can be found here:

    The University of Worcester is committed to observing the provisions of the Bribery Act 2010 in all of its affairs, whether academic or business related, and to ensuring that all of its conduct be undertaken in an ethical and honest way, without the use of bribery or corrupt practices in order to gain an unfair advantage, both at home and overseas.

    The Act applies to all staff, students and persons associated with the University as a result of being an employee, agent, third-party intermediary, representative, agent, supplier, business partner or subsidiary acting on behalf of the University, wherever located.
  • Fraud
    The University has a Fraud policy relating to activities taking place in the University setting. To access the policy, please click here.

    The University has no tolerance of bribery and fraud and will take appropriate action to prevent it in respect of its activities.

    The definition of Fraud is a type of criminal activity, defined as: 'abuse of position, or false representation, or prejudicing someone's rights for personal gain'. Put simply, fraud is an act of deception intended for personal gain or to cause a loss to another party.

    Bribery and fraud by University employees or student members acting on behalf of the University will be treated as a serious disciplinary offence.

    One of the basic principles of public sector organisations is the proper use of public funds. It is therefore important that all those who work in the public sector are aware of the risk of and means of enforcing the rules against fraud and other illegal acts involving dishonesty or damage to property.




 < £4,999.99 (inc VAT)

 Informal Quotations

 £5,000 - £14,999 (inc VAT)

 3 Formal Written Quotations

 >£14,999 (inc VAT)

 Formal Tender via the Procurement office



Contacts within the Finance & Procurement offices:

Mr Rob Bonham Pro Vice Chancellor Finance & Resources

Ext 5110

Mrs Kathy Preece Head of Procurement 

Ext 5114

Mrs Nicola Brecknell Senior Procurement Manager 

Ext 2066

Mrs Lucy Smith Senior Procurement Officer 

Ext 5118

Mrs Becky Wright Procurement Support and Systems Officer

Ext 5075

Mr Jon Inston Procurement Support Officer    

Ext 5113