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Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs on Guided Buying 

Once you have identified your need and selected your supplier, you are ready to place your order. Depending on the nature and value of your purchase, there a series of recommended routes which you could follow that will provide the best and easiest route to purchase.

All orders are placed via the College’s Oracle Finance system, ICIS. Within the ICIS Purchasing system, there are a number of routes set up to make the purchasing experience as simple and helpful as possible.

Route to purchase drop down menu for further information on this section

i-Procurement will punchout direct to key suppliers’ catalogues. This gives contract pricing for you to populate a basket and then bring back into ICIS to complete the requisition creation and submit for approval. Punchout suppliers are identified on the i-Procurement Homepage on ICIS

The Jaggaer e-marketplace (formerly known as SciQuest) site provides a search functionality to compare pricing from companies providing the same or similar low value consumable products. The Jaggaer site is located within the Laboratory Suppliers link on the i-Procurement Homepage on ICIS

 You select the item and pricing that will provide best value, and place these into a basket which will then return to ICIS to convert to a requisition for approval.

 If you select products from more than one supplier in the e-marketplace, ICIS will create separate purchase orders from the single requisition.

There are a series of smartforms in place for commodity groups and specific suppliers. A smartform helps the buyer to raise their requisition by the following ways:

  • guiding you to the recommended suppliers to use,
  • entering as much information for you as possible, such as self-populating fields,
  • providing guidance on the correct information to add to the order to ensure the PO is raised correctly
  • ensuring the order is sent to the correct supplier and/or supplier site.

 Smartforms are identified on the i-Procurement Homepage on ICIS.

If your chosen supplier does not fall under any of the above categories, or if there is specific information required for the purchase order, such as a quotation reference, you can raise a non-catalogue, free text purchase order.

 This option can be accessed by clicking on the link titled “Click here to order from all other suppliers” on the i-Procurement Homepage on ICIS. 

In addition to a standard purchase order route to purchase, there are other options available as follows:

Routes to purchase - information on College payment methods

A virtual credit card is a 16-digit, single use card with a set limit on the card, to be used for a transaction.

It operates in exactly the same way as a regular credit card and should be accepted by all suppliers who accept card payments.

The card is recommended to be used for purchases of goods or services where the only means of ordering is via the internet using a credit card, or for low value purchases up to £5000 where a new supplier request for a single use supplier would otherwise be required, such as conference registrations.

For further information on the virtual credit card and instructions on how to request one, please visit the Finance Knowledge Bank.  The Guide for Users (pdf) is avilable to support you.  

For certain purchases up to £100, the College Expenses Policy allows for these to be reimbursed via expenses. Please check the policy to determine which purchases are suitable. Purchases over this amount should be made via an alternative method such as the Virtual Credit Card.


An at-a-glance summary of the recommended route to purchase for key commodity groups can be found as follows:  

Accordion item for New Suppliers information

From time to time, you may need to use a supplier the College hasn’t used before. In these cases it will be necessary to request a new supplier be set up on ICIS.

The New Supplier set up process involves a series of checks to ensure that the supplier is only being set up if there is no existing suitable supplier available, and to ensure that the College is fully protected against potential fraud.

When considering a new supplier, it is the responsibility of the initiating Department to satisfy itself that the supplier will be able to deliver the goods or services required, as well as not bring the College into disrepute.

When carrying out any due diligence on a potential new supplier, financial credit checks can be carried out by Procurement on request, and thought should be given to whether the company is considered a Small or Medium Enterprise (SME), to help encourage small or local businesses, as well as considering whether their corporate policies such as those covering Health and Safety, Equality and Diversity, Modern Slavery, Bribery and Quality Assurance reflect the College’s values. 

The new supplier request form can be accessed within ASK

Information on the new supplier set up process and timescales for processing a new supplier request can be found on the Procurement webpages

The New Supplier Policy is in place from 1st July 2020. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Next section - Placing the order