Procurement - Financial Regulations

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The latest University Financial Regulations were approved by the Court in March 2007 and supersede all previous versions of the Financial Regulations. They apply to the University and all its subsidiary undertakings and to all funds (whether public or otherwise) under the control of the University.  The key areas of these regulations relating to Purchasing can be found below.

Index

1. General.

2.Authorisation.

3.Purchase Orders.

4.Tendering

5.Contracts.

6.Payment of Invoices.

7.Conflict of Interest.

8. Hospitality.

General

The Director of Finance is responsible for making payment to suppliers of goods and services to the University.

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Authorisation

The Head of Department is responsible for purchases within the department. Course Directors are responsible for purchases relating to their courses. Purchasing authority may be delegated to named individuals (or budget holders) within the department.

The Director of Finance shall maintain a register of those authorised to order goods and services on behalf of the University. Heads of Departments must supply the Director of Finance with specimen signatures of those authorised to raise orders for goods and services. Any changes to the list of authorised signatories must be notified to the Director of Finance without delay.

Heads of Department and budget holders are not authorised to commit the University to expenditure without first reserving sufficient funds to meet the purchase cost.

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Purchase Orders

The ordering of goods and services shall be in accordance with the University Purchasing Manual. Official University order forms must be used for the purchase of all goods or services, except for items purchased with petty cash. The relevant copy of the order form must be sent to Finance Office without delay.

Where University Purchasing Cards have been authorised and provided to departments, these should be used in accordance with the Purchasing Card Guidelines, as detailed on the Finance Office web site.

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Tendering

Subject to special rules imposed by funding bodies and external authorities, the Universitys tendering procedures, contained in the Universitys Purchasing Manual, are applicable to all significant purchases. Further guidance can be obtained from the Head of Purchasing.  The Head of Purchasing is responsible for ensuring that the University complies with its legal obligations concerning European Union (EU) procurement legislation. EU procurement regulations apply to written contracts for all forms of procurement (or hire purchase, lease or rental) with a total value exceeding a threshold amount which is determined from time to time by the EU Commission. Details of this threshold value can be found on the web site of the Purchasing Services. A breach of these regulations is actionable by a supplier or potential supplier.

It is the responsibility of the Head of Department to ensure that members of staff comply by notifying the Head of Purchasing of any purchases likely to exceed the threshold referred to above. This will need to be done well in advance in order to permit advertisements in official journals, etc.

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Contacts

Building contracts are the responsibility of Estates Management and are managed by the Universitys Director of Estates Management.

Proposals will normally be initiated by the Director of Estates Management in respect of planned replacements, general improvement schemes, space planning or in response to requests from departments.

Consultants may be appointed as determined by Estates Strategy Committee. Appointments shall be subject to tendering and other procedures where appropriate.

Proposals shall be presented in the form of costings or investment appraisals as appropriate for Group on Property. Investment appraisals should comply with appropriate SFC guidance.

Following consideration by ESC and UMC and approval by Court, submissions should be forwarded to SFC where appropriate. If agreement is forthcoming from SFC, the Councils procedural rules should be followed. SFC guidance on best practice should be followed even when SFC approval is not required. All contracts will attempt to ensure best value for money.

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Payment of Invoices

The procedures for making all payments shall be in a form specified by the Director of Finance.

The Director of Finance is responsible for deciding the most appropriate method of payment for all categories of invoice. Payments to UK suppliers will normally be made weekly by BACS payment or computer generated cheques. In exceptional circumstances the Director of Finance will prepare cheques manually for emergency payments.

Suppliers should be instructed by the budget holder to submit invoices for goods or services to the department concerned.

Heads of Department are responsible for ensuring that expenditure within their department does not exceed funds available.

Payments will only be made by the Director of Finance against invoices which have been certified for payment by the appropriate signatory. The invoice signatory must be a person other than the authorised signatory of the order. By certifying an invoice the signatory confirms the following:

" the goods have been received, examined and approved with regard to quality and quantity, or that services rendered or work done is satisfactory

" invoice details (quantity, price, discount) are correct

" the invoice is arithmetically correct

" the invoice has not previously been passed for payment

" where appropriate, an entry has been made on a stores record or departmental inventory

" an appropriate order number and/or account code is quoted.

Invoices must be passed to the Finance Office as soon as they have been certified. Care must be taken by the budget holder to ensure that discounts receivable are obtained.

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Conflict of Interest

Members of Court are required to comply with University guidelines in respect of the Register of Interests. The Register of Interests is maintained by the Secretary to the University and reviewed annually by the Internal Audit Service. In particular no person should be a signatory to a University contract where he or she also has an interest in the activities of the other party.

Any member of staff having a personal, financial or other beneficial interest in any transaction between the University and a third party is required to disclose this interest to the relevant Head of Department and to the Secretary to the University.

The Court approved Code of Practice on Conflicts of Interest also requires certain members of staff ( e.g. Principal, Vice-Principal, Deputy Principals, Deans, Directors of Services and Heads of Department) to submit an annual declaration of interest to the office of the Secretary to the University .The annual returns are reviewed by the Internal Audit Service. The Code of Practice is on the University web site.

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Hospitality

Staff entertaining guests from outside bodies should endeavour, wherever possible, to use the Universitys hospitality and catering facilities provided by Residence and Catering Services. (Further information is provided in General Guidelines: Claims for Travel and Subsistence Expenses, which is on the Finance Office web site).

Members of staff should not accept any gifts, rewards or hospitality (or have them given to members of their family) from any organisation or individual with whom they have contact in the course of their work that would cause them to reach a position where they might be, deemed by others to have been, influenced in making a business decision as a consequence of accepting such hospitality. The frequency and scale of hospitality accepted should not be significantly greater than the University would be likely to provide in return.

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