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Procurement Services


This page lists FAQs. If your question is not here please contact us.

If you are seeking Procurement advice, please use our Helpdesk email: , or telephone us on (01223) 332333 or contact us.

For iProcurement questions please refer to the iProcurement training manuals or contact the UFS Helpdesk Hub.

Financial procedures

I want to purchase an item. Do I need to get quotes?

Three competitive quotes are required for goods and services over the value of £5,000 before VAT, unless the goods or services are available from a Preferred supplier or on the Marketplace. Check the Competition Procedures or the Selecting a Purchasing Route section in the Buying Guide for more details.

I want to purchase an item and I need to pay part (or all) of it in advance. How can I do this?

Before making an Advance Payment, it is recommended to perform a financial stability check on the supplier, and for significant Advance Payments to obtain a supplier “bank guarantee”.

Advance Payments up to £10,000 including VAT must be approved by the Head of Department. Any amount over £10,000 including VAT must be approved by the Head of Group Procurement.

Approval for Advance Payment must take place before a Purchase Order is raised.


What is dispensation and when does it apply?

Dispensation approval means the Competition Requirements do not need to be followed. Following approval, a single source tendering process should then be started. A dispensation is not required if the anticipated Total Contract Value is less than £5,000 before VAT.

How do I obtain Dispensation approval?

For all dispensation requests please use the online dispensation form.

Who approves dispensations?

Dispensations with a Total Contract Value (TCV) under £50,000 excluding VAT are approved by the Head of Department. Dispensations with a TCV greater than £50,000 excluding VAT are automatically triaged to Procurement Services for processing.

I have made an error on my dispensation form, can this be cancelled?

Unfortunately, if the dispensation details are incorrect this cannot be amended. You can either resubmit the dispensation or let your Head of Department or Procurement Services know. 

Preferred Suppliers

What is a preferred supplier?

A Preferred supplier has been awarded a contract following a competitive process managed by Procurement Services. You can find out more information on our Preferred suppliers, and the goods and services they offer, here.

We use a supplier a lot- how can they become a Preferred supplier?

For a supplier to become a Preferred supplier they must be awarded a contract following a competitive process or tender managed by Procurement Services.

Financial procedures

A supplier has asked me if there are any current opportunities to tender?

Please direct the supplier to our Supplier Portal. If the supplier wishes, they can register interest via In-tend.

How do I get access to Marketplace (iProcurement)?

Ask your departmental CUFS Key Contact for iProcurement training and CUFS access. Once training is complete, the CUFS Key Contact requests system access on your behalf. You will then receive personal login credentials and can access Marketplace (via CUFS) here.

Purchasing Contacts

How do I add/remove my name to the Purchasing Contacts list?

Sign-up to the list is voluntary and staff members can request to be added or removed at any time by emailing:

What is the purpose of the Purchasing Contacts distribution list?

This list is used to distribute information on University's preferred suppliers (for all commodities, from stationery to lab consumables, IT & computer supplies to furniture) as well as advice and updates on purchasing issues and procedures that are relevant to departments across the University. This information is aimed to allow you to make informed purchasing decisions on behalf of your department and gain best value for money on your day-to-day operational requirements.

Commodity Working Groups (CWGs)

What are the Commodity Working Groups and what do they do?

You can find out more information on our Commodity Working Groups here. Commodity Working Groups were previously known as Purchasing (Working) Groups.

How do I become a part of a Commodity Working Group?

If you wish to become a member of one of the Commodity Working Groups please e-mail the secretary of that group.

Supplier account

A supplier sent an account opening form, can I fill this out?

Yes, you can fill this out. You need to ensure that you cross out the following information:

  • Terms and Conditions: attach the University's General Conditions of Purchase.
  • Payment Terms: write on the form end of month plus 30 days.
  • Trade references: this is something that the University does not give.

On the form it may ask for a company registration, the University does not have a company registration and instead has a VAT number which is GB823847609.

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