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Frequently asked questions for Guided Buying

What does competition mean?

It is important to compare the market in order to show we are getting best value for money in our purchases. By getting multiple quotations through a competitive process we are able to show the budget holder and funder that we have assessed the market and done everything we can to get what we need for the best price possible.

Does being a supplier on ICIS make a company a preferred supplier?

There are currently over 20,000 suppliers on ICIS, but in the majority of cases this simply means that they have at some point supplied goods or services to the College and does not give them any preferential position when supplying goods or services to the College.

A Preferred Supplier is a company who we have directly appointed to provide goods or Services to the College following a competitive process. This gives us the best possible terms and pricing for our specific basket of goods and the contract will be managed by a member of the Procurement Department to meet service level requirements. By being appointed through a competitive process, this will forego the need for further competition if the supplier’s services are required in future.

A full list of Preferred Suppliers can be found on the Procurement website.

Why should I use a preferred supplier?

The Procurement Department have set up preferred supplier agreements for commodity areas based on goods or services where there is a regular need and significant annual spend across the College. The agreements are set up after a competitive tender process with input from key users in order to ensure that we develop an agreement which best meets the needs of the College. When in place, it is our recommendation that they are used as the first choice for these goods or services. Reasons for this recommendation include:

  • By consolidating our spend we can influence better pricing and service levels
  • The company will be contracting under clear terms of business
  • It encourages a more partnership relationship which allows the supplier to improve and innovate during the contract period
  • By channelling more spend to the supplier allows them to evolve the contract and keep prices low
  • For items over the College competition threshold, further competition is not required as this was carried out on behalf of the College when appointing them
  • It allows for standardisation of products in certain areas to provide consistency to the College’s identity and assist College departments who may need to support the products such as ICT and Estates
  • It saves the buyer time in sourcing as this has been done for them

I have an issue with a Supplier's performance

If the supplier is a College Preferred Supplier, please contact the Procurement Department with full details of the issue, who will then take up the matter with the supplier to make sure performance will meet the required expectations.

If the supplier is not a College preferred supplier, and there are no specific contract terms to refer to, the Procurement Department will be able to advise on the College’s legal position. It will be important to have as many details of the order and the issue as possible in order to advise on what actions are possible in accordance with the College’s standard terms and conditions of business which the purchase order will be have been placed on.

Why do I need to raise a purchase order?

Procurement Regulations 2.4 and 22.3 state that no Contractor shall be given authorisation to proceed in providing Goods or Services without a purchase order number.

The raising of a purchase order provides securities for the College. Firstly, it confirms that the purchase has passed through College budget checks and approvals, to ensure that the spend is justified and within budget. Secondly, it means that the purchase is covered by the College’s terms and conditions of business, which are referenced on the purchase order itself. This means that when receiving the order, the company will clearly see that our terms apply to it. It is important that this is done so that our rights are fully protected, especially regarding areas such as ownership, intellectual property and data protection. Finally, it ensures that the subsequent invoice received will state the purchase order number and thereby not cause any delay in payment, which encourages good supplier relationships.

I haven't received the correct goods

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I want to put an invoice on hold

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I don't want to pay the invoice until I resolve a question

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