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18 Obtaining Goods, Services or Construction Works


Expenditure of £2,000,000 or above on capital items (inclusive of VAT) requires the consent of the Planning and Resources Committee.


Value for money in purchasing is normally demonstrated through competition. The table in Schedule 1 sets out the minimum competition requirement when obtaining goods, services or construction works for all Departments; the only flexibility for a Department being set out in Financial Regulation 18.3. These requirements apply to all expenditure irrespective of the source of funding (including spending of grant monies and Leasing). If there is any reason to believe that offers which have been received are not competitive, further offers must be obtained. A Department must not enter into separate contracts, nor apply the Total Value calculation separately to contracts, with the intention of avoiding the application of these Regulations.


Prior written consent not to follow the competition procedures may be granted

  1. for construction and Construction Related Procurement by:
    • the Director of EM where the Total Value is less than the EU Threshold; and
    • the Registrary where it is at or exceeds the EU Threshold;
  2. for other procurement by:
    • the Head of Department where the Total Value is £50,000 or less and the Director of Finance where the Total Value exceeds £50,000 by recording the reasons on Procurement Services' on-line dispensation form;
    • for any procurement where the Director of Finance has issued a general consent (irrespective of the Total Value).

Schedule 1 sets out non-exhaustive examples of circumstances where dispensation might be appropriate. Notwithstanding the grant of a dispensation, all the other requirements of Financial Regulations must be met, including Regulations 18.4 to 18.9 inclusive.


  1. Departments must seek all necessary advice.
  2. The Head of Department's prior written consent is needed for one or more payments in advance in relation to any contract totalling £10,000 or less.
  3. The Director of Finance's advice and prior written consent is needed for:
    • procurement (other than construction) where the Total Value exceeds £100,000 (advice only);
    • procurement where the Total Value exceeds £50,000 and supplier terms are used (advice only);
    • all Leasing1 irrespective of the Total Value (except where a Leasing Framework Contract is used - see the definitions in Schedule 2); a cost benefit analysis shall be submitted where consent is required;
    • payments in advance exceeding £10,000; and
    • payment under early settlement terms exceeding £250,000.
  4. The Director of EM's advice is needed for procurement falling within Regulation 6.2.


All purchasing shall be based on a specification drafted after consultation with anticipated users and assessment of the associated risks and environmental impact. The Procurement Procedures provide further guidance on purchasing and sustainable procurement.


Goods and services may be purchased externally only if:

  • they are required for the achievement of financial, academic or organisational plans;
  • they are not reasonably available elsewhere within the University; and
  • the source, sufficiency and terms of the funding have been checked and confirmed.


Heads of Department must establish levels of authorisation and segregation of duties for contracts where the Total Value exceeds £500 for:

  • short listing and acceptance of tenders;
  • ordering and inspection of goods and services; and
  • payment.

Where payment duties cannot be segregated, transactions must be independently checked on a regular basis.


Orders must state the nature, quantity and price of goods and services to be provided and where possible apply the University's terms and conditions. Copies of orders must be kept securely. Where an order is placed through CUFS, the electronic record suffices.


Official orders must be produced in a form approved by the Director of Finance for all purchases above £100 or any lower threshold set by the Head of Department.


Where equipment is to be loaned to the University free or at a discount, advice must be taken, the principles of Regulation 18 observed and an agreement put in place, including to regulate the University's responsibilities and rights at the end of the loan.


19 Receipt of Goods or Services, Payments for services to individuals


All goods and services must be checked promptly on receipt to ensure that they accord with order requirements and suppliers advised promptly about any discrepancies. Copies of signed delivery notes must be retained. If deliveries have to be acknowledged prior to checking, endorse the delivery note "Goods received unchecked".


Invoices must be checked and not authorised for payment until the goods or services have been checked, unless authority is in place to pay in advance (see Regulation 18.4and those exceeding £1,000,000 have been countersigned by the Director of Finance.


Payments to individuals must comply with Regulation 31.6


Heads of Department shall establish arrangements for monitoring and regular appraisal of purchasing activity to ensure that best value for money is secured for current and future purchases.



1Leasing, as defined in Schedule 2, does not include pure finance leases, which are a form of borrowing which Departments must not do (Regulation 17.1)

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