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Procurement Services


Before we enter into a contract with a supplier, a competitive process will have been completed in line with University Financial Regulations.

The University does not place contracts in response to direct marketing. 

Usually such a process is run through our electronic tender package, 'InTend'. If you, or your organisation, would like to be considered for these opportunities, please register your interest on InTend.

This free to access and use platform allows organisations to:

  • register for potential opportunities;
  • submit expressions of interest; and
  • download tender documents and upload bids - not just for University of Cambridge but other ‘InTend’ client organisations too.

New registrants will be asked to provide information, such as the following and we would ask you complete these forms in their entirety:

  1. Company details;
  2. Compliance with Modern Slavery Act 2015;
  3. What goods, works or services are core for you, defined by us as ‘business classifications’;
  4. Type of organisation - both by number of employees and/or ownership structure.

Once registered, as opportunities arise organisations who meet the selection criteria defined for each tender, which may for example include listing under certain ‘business classifications’ and/or of a certain ownership structure, will receive further information to enable them to determine if they would like to be considered for inclusion in the tendering activity.

If you have pre-registered with InTend you will then receive full details around the opportunity as well as information around how to bid, what criteria will be used to award and the timescales involved.


We may, at our discretion seek quotations for low value purchases by telephone or email but a more formal tender process will be required in writing for higher value purchases exceeding £50,000 in total anticipated contract value.  We would actively encourage all suppliers to request a purchase order (PO) in the event goods, works or services are required and ensure the PO number is quoted on any invoice.

Tender Process

Tenders are sought for all goods, works and services where an exclusive contract does not, or a non-exclusive contract may not, exist where the value is expected to £50,000 in total value.

There are a number of different tender processes depending on what is being purchased; the timescale involved and if EU Regulations apply.  Each individual tender opportunity will clearly state the process by which it is running, what it is for, and the timelines associated with each of the various stages along with the award criteria.

When tenders are invited, bids are submitted in the manner required by the time and date detailed in the tender pack.

We use ‘In-Tend’ as our preferred method for the release, receipt and management of tender packs. Once the tender process as described in the tender pack has been completed, the successful bidder(s) will be notified and we will move to contract execution.  Unsuccessful bidders can request a debriefing meeting.

Bidder selections

Each individual tender will clearly detail how potential bidders have been selected to receive further information around an opportunity, and also how they will be assessed moving through the tender process. These include:

  • Those appropriately registered on ‘In-Tend’
  • Those appropriately registered on ‘Constructionline’

We reserve the right to advertise opportunities through a number of channels including those below but note that we will always guide potential suppliers to pre-register and express their interest with ‘InTend’:

  • direct advertising in relevant trade publications and local press
  • voluntary notices in the Official Journal of the European Union (until December 31st 2020)
  • from 1 January 2021, voluntary notices on ‘Find a Tender’

HMRC off-payroll worker rules

When the University engages a new supplier, we need to assess whether self-employed individuals or people providing services through companies should be deemed to be employees for tax purposes (“off-payroll workers”), resulting in an obligation on the University to account for PAYE and NI.

To fulfil this statutory obligation we will need to check some of your personal information against publicly available sources e.g. Companies House, and we may share your information with third parties such as our external employment tax advisers.  This information is retained for six years in case we need to provide evidence to HMRC during tax audits.  You can find more information on how the University handles personal data here.

For completeness, we would draw your attention to the fact that the University of Cambridge is not a public body within the meaning of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (Directive 2014/24/EU) and is not subject to the European procurement legislation. Where the University advertises contracts in the Official Journal of the European Union, it does so on a voluntary basis and does not undertake any obligation to comply with the procurement legislation. The University reserves its rights in full to adapt or step outside the procedures in the procurement legislation as the University considers necessary. 

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