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Total non-pay expenditure exceeds £250m in the University, and more than £5bn in the whole of the Higher Education sector. Consequently, external bodies such as HEFCE, the Research Councils and the National Audit Office take a close interest in university purchasing. The resulting political pressures, together with increasing pressure on the University's finances, mean that there is more than ever a need for University staff to obtain the best value for money at the lowest administrative cost