Procurement Strategy

July 2022, Kate Murray (Procurement Manager)

Status: Final
Owner: Finance
Source location: Finance Web Pages
Endorsed: Executive Booard
Publication: July 2020 (revised July 2022)
Next Review Date: May 2023


1. High Level Strategy

The University Procurement Strategy, which is aligned with the corporate aims and objectives, established collaborative initiatives and necessary regulatory compliance, was endorsed by the Executive Board and published in July 2022. The approved strategy is the culmination of consultation and engagement with different stakeholder groups affected by the institutional approach to procurement.

A successful shared strategic focus is built upon an alignment of perceptions and understanding around what University needs from a well performing procurement process that is consistent with the strategic aims and objectives of the University. That focus also needs to take proper cognisance of the environments within which University operates to ensure that external drivers and influences for improvement are addressed appropriately.

2. Procurement Strategy

The Procurement Strategy, used in conjunction with the institutional Procurement Policy, sets out the strategic institutional approach to procurement within the prevailing regulatory environment. The Action Plan element of the Strategy translates the strategic objectives and desired outcomes into the detailed actions and processes required to maintain a cost-effective (and legally compliant) institutional procurement operation. Its focus is all staff involved in buying goods and services on behalf of the University, including management staff responsible for authorising and monitoring transactions.

3. Procurement Mission 

The University is committed to obtaining value for money in all of its transactions, and in conducting its daily business staff must always consider the University’s wider responsibilities in terms of legal, moral, social, economic and environmental impact. Effective procurement will support the key institutional objectives across these important operational dimensions. QMU Strategic Plan 2020

4. Strategic Procurement Objectives

The broad procurement objectives are as follows:

  • To sustain and further develop partnerships within the sector, with other publicly funded bodies, with professional bodies and appropriately with supply markets that will yield intelligence, innovation and deliver value to users of procurement services. [Strategic Goal – Seek out partnership and collaboration]
  • To work with internal academic budget holders, professional support service colleagues and suppliers to deliver innovation and best value to the learning, research and service support communities through the development of an effective and co-ordinated purchasing effort within the University. [Strategic Goals – Provide distinctive, accessible, high quality education and Deliver transformative research and innovation]
  • To promote the delivery of value for money through good procurement practice and optimal use of procurement collaboration opportunities. [Strategic Goal – Invest in the long term future of the University]
  • To seek out professional development opportunities to enrich and enhance experience and capability of procurement practitioners and to work with the supply chains to ensure continued value, managed performance and minimal risk throughout the life of contracts for the benefit of customers and students.
  • To develop sound and useful procurement management information in order to measure and improve procurement and supplier performance in support of corporate planning conducted through fair and transparent process. [This enables the University to ensure that the objectives set out are being met, and thus supports each of the strategic goals noted]
  • To embed sound ethical, social and environmental policies within the University’s procurement function. This will seek to respond to the global climate emergency, promote Fair Work First and comply with relevant Scottish and UK legislation in performance of the sustainable procurement duty. [Strategic Goal - Embed sustainability across our portfolio and practices]


5. Compliance with the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act


PRA Requirement Excerpt from Statutory Guidance Statement
Statement of the authority’s general policy on the use of community benefit requirements In setting out its policy, a contracting authority should ensure that it takes into account relevant legislation, statutory guidance and any other relevant guidance or best practice. The statement should, despite being general, outline what the policy is; when it is applicable; the aims and objectives of the contracting authority in its use of community benefits requirements; and how the authority will implement and monitor its policy For every procurement over £4m, the University will consider how it can improve the economic social or environmental wellbeing of its area through inclusion of community benefit clauses, to assist with its strategic objective seeking out partnership and collaboration and embedding sustainability across our portfolio and practices. Such improvements could be implemented through mandated delivery of training opportunities or subcontracting opportunities within the University's area. Where possible and proportionate, such clauses may be included in procurements below £4m. Monitoring of outputs of such measures may be assessed through contract management or standardised benefits reporting.
Statement of the authority’s general policy on consulting and engaging with those affected by its procurements. A Contracting Authority must include in its policy statement, details of when and how it will consult and engage with those affected by its procurements and how the outcomes of the consultation will be used to implement the overarching procurement policy of the contracting authority. For each procurement, the University will consider the community affected by the resultant contract and ensure any affected organisations/persons are consulted (e.g. impact on service for students, or a local contract that could be combined with other similar University’s needs). Such consultation will always be on a scale and approach relevant to the procurement in question.
Statement of the authority’s general policy on the payment of a living wage to persons involved in producing, providing or constructing the subject matter of regulated procurements. In setting out its general policy, a contracting authority should state measures to promote the payment of the Living Wage in its procurements. In doing so, a contracting authority should consider:
• becoming a Living Wage Accredited Employer and promoting this through relevant public contracts;
• in what types of goods, services and works contracts it may be relevant to address living wage and fair work practices;
• how its living wage policy will be approached in regulated procurements in a way which takes account of other relevant factors, while ensuring an appropriate balance between quality and cost;
• how it will ensure a proportionate approach, based on the nature, scope, size and place of the performance of the contract; and
how it can contribute towards improving the social wellbeing element, in particular reducing inequality in its area, of its sustainable procurement duty under section 9 of the Act by promoting the Living Wage and fair work practices.

The recognises the values of a well-motivated and dedicated workforce both in its own organisation and in those of its suppliers. As an accredited Living Wage employer, the University will consider the fair work practices of suppliers in its procurements, including application of the Living Wage.
The University has developed internal procedures so that Fair Work First is incorporated in all relevant procurement processes from strategy through to evaluation of tenders and monitoring of outcomes.

See the following link to Guidance on Selection of Tenderers and Award of Contracts - addressing Fair Work Practices, including the Living Wage, in Procurement.
See also SPPN 6/2021 - Implementation of Fair Work First in Scottish Public Procurement


Statement of the authority’s general policy on promoting compliance by contractors and sub-contractors with the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (c.37) and any provision made under that Act. In setting out its statement, a contracting authority should consider how it will assess the potential health and safety risks arising from a particular contract and how it will monitor contracts to ensure compliance with health and safety requirements, including how an economic operator demonstrates compliance. The University is committed to contracting only with suppliers that comply with all appropriate and relevant legislation, including Health and Safety legislation. Where appropriate, and on a contract by contract basis, the University will assess the legislation applicable to a procurement and take steps to ensure bidders comply with such legislation. Where proportionate, the University may assess such compliance of subcontractors also.
Statement of the authority’s general policy on the procurement of fairly and ethically traded goods and services. When developing its policy, a contracting authority should consider the wider implications of its procurement activity and how, by including fair and ethical requirements, it can promote fairness, dignity, and the rights of workers and producers in international trading. The University supports the sourcing of goods that are fairly and ethically traded. Where relevant it shall make use of appropriate standards and labels in its procurements to take account of fair and ethical trading considerations, will consider equivalent offerings from suppliers in its tenders and consider the use of lifecycle costing. The authority will also consider use of contract conditions that provide assurances on fair and ethical supply chains.
Statement of the authority’s general policy on how it intends its approach to regulated procurements involving the provision of food to:
• Improve the health, wellbeing and education of communities in the authority’s area
Promote the highest standards of animal welfare.

In setting out, and implementing, its general policy, there is broad scope for a contracting authority to approach this requirement in a manner relevant to its needs and purposes.For a contracting authority which does not procure food or catering it is necessary to include a statement in their organisational procurement strategy to that effect.

In setting out its general policy statement, a contracting authority is required to consider how to promote the highest standards of animal welfare.

The University will find practical ways to supply healthy, fresh, seasonal, and sustainably grown food which represents value for money whilst improving the health, wellbeing and education of our teaching and learning communities, coupled with promoting the highest standards of animal welfare. The University will work to put in place affordable contracts, which meet the nutritional requirements for food for all users of our catering services.
The authority must set out how it intends to ensure that, so far as is reasonably practicable, the following payments are made no later than 30 days after the invoice (or similar claim) relating to the payment is presented:
• Payments due by the authority to a contractor.
• Payments due by a contractor to a sub-contractor.
Payments due by a sub-contractor to a sub-contractor.

A contracting authority is required by section 15(5)(d) of the Act to set out in its organisational procurement strategy how it intends to ensure that, so far as is reasonably practicable, payments to contractors and subcontractors are made within 30 days of a valid invoice, or similar claim, being received. 

The University complies with the Late Payment legislation and will review on a contract by contract basis whether such obligations should be enforced and monitored further down its supply chain.
The authority must set out how it intends to ensure that its regulated procurements will be carried out in compliance with the sustainable procurement duty

The sustainable procurement duty should be applied to all regulated procurements in a proportionate way.

A contracting authority must set out how it intends to ensure that regulated procurements will be carried out in compliance with the sustainable procurement duty. It should develop a robust, achievable approach to sustainable procurement that is relevant and proportionate to its scope and area; with details on how it will be applied in the organisation.

The University will undertake regulated procurements in compliance with the sustainable procurement duty. The University will also seek to take account of climate and circular economy in its procurement activity. Consideration of environmental, social and economic issues and how benefits can be delivered through the procurement will be made, where appropriate and on a contract-by-contract basis. The University will utilise available tools and systems such as Prioritisation, Life Cycle Impact Mapping, Sustainability Test, Flexible Framework, APUC’s Code of Conduct, Sustain and Electronics Watch where relevant and proportionate to the scope of the procurement.
Statement on how the authority will use procurement to contribute to the global climate emergency response - and report progress in their annual procurement reports.
(as required by SPPN 3/2022)

Excerpts from SPPN 3/2022

Contracting authorities should demonstrate how they are using procurement to support Scotland’s response to the global climate emergency

Procurement officials should - reflect this call to action in their organisational procurement strategies demonstrating how the organisation will prioritise and take account of climate and circular economy in its procurement activity and report ongoing progress against these commitments in the public body’s annual procurement reports, demonstrating how it is using procurement to support Scotland’s response to the global climate emergency.

In response to the global climate emergency the University will align corporate commitments to work towards net zero greenhouse gas emissions framework agreements wherever possible.
The University has a strong focus on supporting responsible procurement, in particular on climate and circular economy. The University will seek to support circular economy and promote strategic decisions on demand management and procuring for re‑use, re‑design and remanufacture. It will prioritise where greatest impact can be made.
The University will seek to monitor and report progress through the annual procurement report and Public Bodies Climate Change Duties (PBCCD) Annual Report.
The authority must set out how it intends to ensure that its regulated procurements will contribute to the carrying out of its functions and achievements of its purpose. In setting out how they intend to ensure that their regulated procurements will contribute to the carrying out of its functions and achievement of its purposes, a contracting authorities should, for example, consider:
• effective and relevant consultation when developing and aligning their organisational procurement strategies with its functions, purposes and the National Outcomes;
• effective contract and supplier management to monitor the effectiveness of regulated procurements;
• high level commercial targets;
• community and stakeholder consultation during procurement exercises; and
use of clear outcomes in contract notices.

The University will analyse third party expenditure, identify ‘GPA/OJEU regulated procurements’ and ‘lower value regulated procurements’ [goods and services worth more than £50,000, works worth more than £2 million].

The University will sort regulated procurements into procurement categories. How these goods, services and works are bought - joint purchasing, use of local, regional and national framework agreements, consolidated contracting – will be subject to annual review with APUC and through user consultation, optimal category strategies agreed, sensible aggregation opportunities exploited, category and commodity strategies developed, recorded and the most appropriate procurement routes to market chosen.

The University will conduct all regulated procurements in compliance with principles of equal treatment, non-discrimination, transparency, proportionality and mutual recognition.

The University shall utilise portals including PCS and PCS-T to publish its procurement opportunities and shall strive to ensure appropriate use of lotting, output based specifications and clear evaluation criteria to ensure the procurement is accessible to as many bidders as possible.

The University will ensure that it awards regulated procurements only to businesses [and sub-contractors] that are capable, reliable and, where relevant, that can demonstrate that they meet high ethical standards and values in the conduct of their business.

In making regulated procurement contract awards, quality, risk and sustainability factors will be considered along with cost according to declared score weightings on a contract-by-contract basis.

The University will make appropriate use of collaborative contracting arrangements (e.g. national, sectoral or local framework agreements or contracts) to deliver improved contract terms, contract and supplier management, sustainable procurement outcomes and value for money.

The University will take steps to make it easier for smaller businesses to bid for contracts. Legislative constraints preclude preferences for only local suppliers but the local dimension can be addressed through the structure of tenders, the use of Public Contracts Scotland and Quick Quotes, training and information to build capacity and publishing a contracts register to highlight contracts for which local organisations may be interested in bidding.

The authority must set out how it intends to ensure that its regulated procurements will deliver value for money. The balance of value for money in each regulated procurement will vary on a case-by-case basis. However, by applying a key set of principles established in a procurement strategy, a contracting authority should maintain consistency and transparency in its procurement process.  
The authority must set out how it intends to ensure that its regulated procurements will be carried out in compliance with its duty to treat relevant economic operators equally and without discrimination. A contracting authority should, where relevant and proportionate, consider measures such as:
• early market engagement prior to the publication of a contract notice on Public Contracts Scotland;
• the use of clear and precise language preventing broad interpretation; and
• contract size, including the opportunity to break requirements into smaller lots.
The authority must set out how it intends to ensure that its regulated procurements will be carried out in compliance with its duty to act in a transparent and proportionate manner Some measures a contracting authorities should consider in order to comply with its duty under section 15(5)(a)(iii) may include:
• the use of electronic communication for all procurement activity;
• open public and market engagement; and the use of clear and precise language preventing broad interpretation.


6. Annual Reporting

The University will produce a report on progress against these objectives annually and publish this on the institutional website. This report, produced as soon as practicable after the end of the financial year (by December at the latest), will describe how the University has discharged its obligations under the Act and how it has exercised discretion and judgement as permitted by the public procurement rules to secure strategic objectives in compliance with the Act.

The Annual Report will include commentary on the subject matters covered by the 12 statements as set out in the table under section 5. Compliance with the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act above. That narrative will be supplemented by the data required by the Annual Procurement Report template and a summary of the regulated procurements that the authority expects to commence in the next two financial years.


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