This process must be used to request competitive quotations for purchases between £25k and £125k (ex-VAT). A checklist of considerations and good practice points is included in the side menu to the right. For purchases exceeding £125k contact the Purchasing Department who will lead the process.
The request for quote process must be conducted in a manner that is ethical, transparent, achieves value for money, is consistent with the University’s conflict of interest policy and leaves an audit trail which meets the requirements of our auditors and funding bodies.
When obtaining quotations, you should also remain alert to the possibility of suppliers engaging in anti-competitive activities.
Guidance videos explaining the new process are availble in the right hand menu.
Step 1 – Identify Suppliers & Request Quotations
Research should be undertaken to establish suitable suppliers to quote. Preferred suppliers should be given preference; if there are no suitable preferred suppliers departments are encouraged to consider contracted suppliers.
The aim is to invite sufficient suppliers to quote to target receipt of three quotations. It is therefore usual to invite between three and six suppliers depending on the requirement and likely response rate.
Once identified, email all the suppliers the Request for Quotation and a specification.
A specification describes the goods / services required. Departments are free to draw up their own specification; however if assistance is required this Specification template provides general guidance (although it is not intended to be prescriptive or exhaustive and departments are encouraged to include as much information as possible). Useful tips regarding the content of specifications for particular purchases are also set out in the document in the side menu to the right.
If a supplier asks a question during the quote preparation period, the question and answer should be anonymised and sent to all suppliers (unless it is of a commercially confidential nature) to ensure fairness.
Step 2 – Receive & Evaluate Quotations
The deadline for quotations should be determined by the department giving consideration to the complexity and value of the requirement. Departments should bear in mind that as well as preparing the quotation, suppliers may need to clarify parts of the requirement and will have internal approval processes to follow. Two weeks is the minimum timescale recommended.
Quotations received should be held (and not reviewed) until the close date and time specified in the invitation to quote. Once this date and time has passed the quotations can be reviewed.
Quotations (including any Supplier Questionnaires returned) should be reviewed by the Department's evaluators individually (three evaluators is ideal). Evaluators should then meet and decide (through discussion and consensus) which quotation best meets the University’s requirements and record the decision and justification in a Quotation Evaluation Form. There is no requirement to use weighted and scored evaluation criteria, provided the justification to support the award decision includes sufficient detail to objectively explain the decision in the event of challenge by a supplier, and to enable the debriefing of any unsuccessful suppliers. If weighted and scored evaluation criteria are used they should be referenced in and appended to the Quotation Evaluation Form. If clarifications are required during this process these should be managed through a single point of contact. This ensures that all evaluators are provided with all relevant clarifications and that where a clarification modifies an initial quotation a full audit trail of the changes is maintained.
Step 3 – Raise Purchase Order & Prepare Audit Trail
Raise a Purchase Order with the selected supplier and execute the associated contract (if the standard conditions of purchase are not being used, and which are already referenced on the purchase order).
Notify the unsuccessful suppliers and offer them a debriefing.
Ensure that an audit trail of the quotation process is retained including the request for quote document, the quotations, clarification questions and answers, meeting notes, evaluation form and key approvals.
Refer to the University’s Contract Management Guidelines for further information regarding the ongoing management of the contract.