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Procurement Policy

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Section 1 - Overview and Scope

(1) Procurement activities at the University of New England (UNE) are to follow consistent and effective standards of practice to ensure:

  1. value for money is achieved in all supplier arrangements;
  2. probity is central to all procurement activities;
  3. there is accountability and transparency across UNE purchasing behaviour;
  4. compliance with approved contracts and that supplier relationships are managed to ensure negotiated value is realised;
  5. demand management is adopted as the default approach when using externally sourced goods and services in the course of business; and
  6. innovation from suppliers is leveraged where sensible.

(2) This Policy covers the core procurement related activities: 

  1. confirming business requirements related to procuring of goods and services;
  2. purchasing/sourcing of goods and services;
  3. administration of supply contracts and buying activities related to contracts including managing supplier performance and supplier relationships;
  4. managing demand related to the acquisition of goods and services from suppliers;
  5. leveraging supplier innovation for the benefit of UNE; and 
  6. procurement planning and category management.

(3) This Policy applies to:

  1. the acquisition and consumption of all goods and services purchased or leased from external suppliers, including online suppliers;
  2. all capital and all operational spending including grant funding.
    1. A ‘Request for an exemption from Procurement’ is not required where the spending of grant funding is mandated in an approved contractual arrangement (for example, where sub-contractors are listed in the contract).

(4) The Policy must be followed by:

  1. all UNE Representatives and UNE’s controlled entities;
  2. students, student associations and clubs using UNE funds for the purposes in this Policy; and
  3. all third parties procuring on UNE’s behalf.

(5) Within this Policy:

  1. Part A covers UNE’s procurement principles;
  2. Part B provides an overview of procurement process; and
  3. Part C covers Procurement approvals and delegations schedule.
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Section 2 - Policy

Part A - Procurement Principles

(6) The following principles are central to procurement activities at UNE: 

  1. Procurement activities must be undertaken to meet the standard expected by UNE. This means procurement activities:
    1. are conducted with probity and consistent with ethical behaviour;
    2. are carried out according to approved financial delegations, approved procurement delegations, and with approved budget or specific funding source;
    3. aim to achieve best value for money. Value for money includes considering the total cost not just purchase price. It also includes: whole-of-life costs, fitness-for-purpose, quality, service and support, sustainability, delivery and turnaround timelines, and risk;
    4. address the risks of modern slavery, and develop and maintain responsible and transparent supply chains in compliance with the Modern Slavery Act 2018; and
    5. support adopting innovation from suppliers.
  2. Goods or services must only be sourced from suppliers where no internal resources are available that will provide a better value outcome.
  3. Responsibility for planning procurements and accountability for requirements rests with the UNE Business Unit.  This means Business Units will be:
    1. responsible for procurement planning based on analysis of their purchasing patterns, business plans and future requirements, and supply agreements and markets; 
    2. accountable for confirming requirements, and providing an approved business case/scope of purchase/scope of work before going to market for quotations or tenders; and
    3. if an RFX process is being conducted, it must be reviewed by Legal Services prior to the RFX being published by Strategic Procurement.
  4. Strategic Procurement will support Business Units with procurements by:
    1. being a centre of excellence for procurement advice and provision of methodology;
    2. supporting Business Units with significant procurement activities. Significant procurement is procurement over $250,000 for the full term of the contract, or high-risk procurement.
    3. supporting UNE Representatives to embrace positive demand management practices; and
    4. providing regular reports to VC Tender Committee to support the Committee in performing its functions according to VC Tender Committee Terms of Reference.
  5. Contracts and suppliers must be managed by the relevant business area, with support from Strategic Procurement, to ensure that all agreements entered into deliver the value expected.
  6. For sourcing activities under $250,000 (not managed by Strategic Procurement), and where a contract is required, the sourcing activity must be reviewed by Legal Services before the Request for Quotation is published.
  7. All staff or contractors involved in procurement activities must complete training available through the UNE Finance Team website.
  8. UNE as an institution will provide supporting resources and frameworks to help support effective procurement activities. UNE will:
    1. leverage official arrangements such as those from the NSW Government, CAUDIT, or Australian Universities Procurement Network where this offers best value;
    2. support regional suppliers where this does not conflict with probity principles and  allows for achieving best value for money outcome. Regional suppliers are to be given a full, fair and reasonable opportunity to supply UNE;
    3. consider the environmental and social impacts of purchases and show preference for suppliers who demonstrate commitment to environmental sustainability through strategies including the minimisation of waste, reduction of energy costs, conserving resources and minimisation of greenhouse gas emissions;
    4. consider safe design when procuring goods and services including compliance with relevant Government safety standards;
    5. ensure processes for purchasing hazardous substances, dangerous goods and other high risk equipment or substances comply with UNE Work Health and Safety Rule, WHS Acts, Regulations and codes including Australian Dangerous Goods Code; and
    6. ensure procurement related to human anatomy complies with the UNE Human Anatomy Policy.
  9. Suppliers must submit or update their details with UNE via the online secure webform.
  10. Procurement related risks must be understood and actively managed through risk identification, assessment and the implementation of controls. For significant procurement, risk analysis must be documented with the Procurement Plan, including actions to mitigate.
  11. Separation of duties practices must be complied with when exercising procurement delegations.
  12. UNE Representatives involved in procurement activities must identify, manage and report conflicts of interest in accordance with UNE's Conflicts of Interest Policy.
  13. Thorough and accurate records of procurement transactions must be kept in the approved Records Management System (RMS).
  14. Emergency procurement procedures must only be used where the goods or services are required within a timeframe which will not allow for normal procurement procedures to be undertaken, and it is essential to the delivery of critical goods and/or services.

Part B - Procurement process

(7) The Procurement Source to Pay Processes provides a high-level outline of the procurement process, noting this process is streamlined for routine or lower value supplier procurements and aligns to the quotation guidance in Table 2: Procurement Thresholds.Procurement approvals and delegations schedule

Part C - Procurement approvals and delegation schedule

Business approval

(8) Business approval is required at various stages in the purchasing process and must comply with:

  1. UNE’s Financial Delegations Rule;
  2. UNE Sourcing Delegations (see Table 4); and
  3. contract variation procedures.

(9) The business approver must undertake due diligence to satisfy themselves that the purchase is aligned with all functional policies and procedures.

Functional delegations

(10) Approvals must be

  1. in writing from Director or nominated delegate of the relevant functional area; and
  2. recorded in the University Records Management System (RMS).

Table 1: Functional delegations

Type of good or service Delegation to approve 
Information technology Chief Information Officer, or delegate Technology and Digital Services
Staff recruitment and related matters Director People and Culture, or delegate
Building works Director Estate and Built Environment, or delegate
Advertising Director Marketing & Admissions, or delegate
Library services eg online subscriptions Director Library Services and University Librarian, or delegate

Quotation requirements

(11) Quotations for goods and services must be completed using the designated quotations software endorsed by Strategic Procurement.

(12) Quotations and orders must not be split to reduce the total value in order to avoid the requirements set out in this Policy, or to avoid financial or procurement delegations.

(13) Where an exclusive sole supply arrangement is in place, only one (1) written quote needs to be obtained from that supplier irrespective of the value. List of approved sole supply arrangements must be obtained from Strategic Procurement.

(14) Written quotations are not required where purchases can only be made at auction.

(15) Quotes from panel of suppliers must be compliant with the relevant panel rules.

Table 2: Procurement thresholds

Value, inclusive of goods and services tax Quotation/Tenders
Less than $500
Can be paid by University credit card, in accordance with the Financial Delegations Rule and Credit Card Policy.
When the good or service cannot be paid by University credit card, the transaction can be processed without a Purchase Order (PO).
Up to $10,000 Where a panel exists then adopt the number specified in the panel rules. If not specified, one (1) reasonable quotation is required and needs to be in writing. An email from the relevant party is acceptable.
$10,000 to $50,000 Where a panel exists then the number specified in the panel rules. If not specified, a minimum of two (2) written quotations are required.
$50,000 to $250,000 Where a panel exists then the number specified in the panel rules are required. If not specified, a minimum of three (3) written quotes are required.
Over $250,000 Open tender where no panel exists. Where a panel exists then the number specified in the panel rules is required. If not specified, a minimum of three (3) written quotes from the panel.

Quotation Exemptions

(16) Standard exemptions may be approved in the following circumstances:

  1. There is no competitive marketplace for the well-defined requirement.  Examples include where a monopoly exists, where prices are fixed by legislation or government regulation or where the requirement involves a proprietary product or service.
  2. There has been a previous determination or there is a need to standardise the requirement.
  3. For a licence or subscription renewal, where a contracted agreement is in place.
  4. The proposed procurement contract is the result of cooperation with other organisations and it is agreed that the other organisation's requirements prevail.
  5. Quotations for identical products and/or services have been obtained competitively within a reasonable period and the prices and conditions offered remain competitive.
  6. Within a reasonable prior period, a formal solicitation has not produced satisfactory results.
  7. The proposed procurement contract is for the purchase or lease of real property and market conditions do not allow for effective competition.
  8. There is an exigency for the requirement for safety and/or security reasons, or business continuity.
  9. The proposed procurement contract relates to obtaining services that cannot be evaluated objectively.
  10. Unforeseen minor variation to a contract e.g. small scope change on a project.
  11. Direct negotiation or selective tendering will deliver the best value outcome for UNE.

(17) Exemptions approvals must be attached to purchase requisitions where an exemption was required due to not receiving the required number of quotations.

(18) Financial Delegations for exemptions are set out in Table 3.

Table 3: Exemption delegations

Value Authorised to grant exemption
Up to $250,000 Category Managers in Strategic Procurement
$250,000 to $2M Head Strategic Procurement
Over $2M Chief Financial Officer
Any value for Non-Standard Exemptions Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer

(19) Exemptions must be:

  1. completed in accordance with this Policy;
  2. submitted using the official exemption form; and
  3. approved prior to engaging a supplier. When an exemption is approved, approval is required from the relevant financial delegate prior to expenditure.

(20) The record of the exemption must be saved with the Purchase Order.

(21) Where Strategic Procurement is the originator of the exemption, then the Chief Financial Officer must sign the exemption as the second approver.

(22) Strategic Procurement will report exemptions to business unit managers to improve procurement practice and support business area planning activities.

(23) All exemptions over $500,000 must be reported to the VC&CEO in the monthly Strategic Procurement Report and half-yearly to the VC Tender Committee.

Strategic Sourcing

(24) All high-risk sourcing, or sourcing expected to exceed $250,000 in value, must be managed by Strategic Procurement.

(25) Go to market strategy for procurement exceeding $250,000 will be competitive tender, unless Strategic Procurement determine an alternative strategy will provide a better value outcome.

  1. Alternative strategies including selective tendering or direct negotiation.
  2. If an alternative strategy is recommended, the rationale for selecting the strategy must be documented, and include supporting documents such as procurement plan, and/ or exemption from quotation approval.

Table 4: Sourcing delegations

    Up to $250,000 and low risk $250,000 to $2M or high risk Over $2M whatever the risk
Business requirements Endorse Business Category Managers in Strategic Procurement Category Managers in Strategic Procurement
Approve Business Business Head of Cost Centre
Procurement Plan/ Sourcing Strategy Endorse Business Business  Head of Cost Centre
Approve Business unless exemption required, then Category Managers in Strategic Procurement Category Managers in Strategic Procurement unless exemption required, then Head Strategic Procurement Head Strategic Procurement unless exemption required, then Chief Financial Officer
For noting Not applicable No applicable VC Tender Committee
Evaluation Plan Endorse Business Business Head of Cost Centre
Approve Business Category Managers in Strategic Procurement Category Managers in Strategic Procurement
Go to market documents Endorse Business Business, Legal Services Business, Legal Services
Approve Business Category Managers in Strategic Procurement Category Managers in Strategic Procurement
Sourcing outcome Endorse Business Business Business
Approve Business Category Managers in Strategic Procurement Head Strategic Procurement
Approve implementing sourcing outcome Endorse Business Business Business
Approve Appropriate financial delegate per Financial Delegations Rule Appropriate financial delegate per Financial Delegations Rule VC Tender Committee
For noting Not applicable VC Tender Committee Not applicable
Contracts Endorse Business Business, Category Managers in Strategic Procurement Business, Category Managers in Strategic Procurement
Approve Legal Services Legal Services Legal Services
Sign Appropriate financial delegate per Financial Delegations Rule Appropriate financial delegate per Financial Delegations Rule Appropriate financial delegate per Financial Delegations Rule

(26) Where no specific role is noted then a person with appropriate responsibility should be nominated by the Head of Cost Centre.

  1. Approvals must not be given until the approver is satisfied that the appropriate endorsement has been received.
  2. To maintain separation of duties, the person approving the outcome of the procurement process must not be the same person who conducted the procurement process. This also applies to variations to contracts, including extensions, and spending of contingency budgets.

Tender processes

(27) All tenders must comply with the following:

  1. Tenders must be led by Strategic Procurement, or a person nominated by the Chief Financial Officer;
  2. Tenders must follow two-envelope process, unless an exception is approved by the Chief Financial Officer;
  3. A tender evaluation group/ team established, chaired by the nominated procurement lead;
    1. all members of a Tender Evaluation Team must provide completed Conflict of Interest Declaration and Confidentiality Deed to participate.
  4. An external probity advisor, approved by Head Strategic Procurement, for high risk or high value procurements. Where an external probity advisor is not required, Head Strategic Procurement will nominate a Strategic Procurement staff member as probity peer to support the procurement lead.

Purchase Requisitions and Purchase Orders

(28) Purchase requisitions must:

  1. have all required information and documents attached, such as quotes and contract; and
  2. be approved by a person with the required financial delegation.

(29) Quotations must be received for a purchase order to be raised.

(30) Purchase orders must:

  1. not include project contingency amounts in the primary purchase order. A separate purchase order for contingency spend must be raised incrementally as required, if over and above the original purchase order or approved budget amount;
  2. be released to the supplier when the approver is satisfied of compliance with all relevant procurement policy and that the purchase order is correct; and 
  3. be raised before an invoice is issued/received.

(31) Business units must ensure all goods are received in good order and condition, and/ or services performed satisfactorily before approving invoices.

(32) Payments must only be made against approved budgets.

Contract variations

(33) the dollar value of the contract variation must be added/subtracted from the existing contract value to determine delegations limits for variation approvals.

(34) Where a contract variation relies on utilising contingency spend, the approval to spend must be approved by the appropriate financial delegate, and must not be the person managing the project/contract. Purchase orders should also be varied where required to align the contract variation payment.

Regional suppliers

(35) Where a regional supplier offers comparable value, they may be selected in preference to another supplier.

(36) For tenders for contracts greater than $700,000 to $3,000,000 in value, UNE may elect to comply with the NSW Local Jobs First Plan, where this is reasonable and in the best interests of UNE.

Aboriginal business engagement

(37) Strategic Procurement supports employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and supports sustainable growth of Aboriginal businesses through the University’s procurement of goods and services.

(38) Wherever feasible, all construction tenders must apply an Aboriginal participation non-price evaluation criterion, so that the response may also be evaluated on its social commitments.

(39) Business Units may contract directly with an Aboriginal-owned business that represents great than 50% ownership, and is recognised through an appropriate organisation for the supply of goods and services up to the value of $150,000 per supplier engagement. This exemption refers to item 14 in Section 2 for Quotation Exemption Rule.

  1. Recognised Aboriginal ownership must be provided by one of the following organisations:
    1. Supply Nation
    2. NSW Indigenous Chamber of Commerce
    3. Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations.

(40) Prior to contracting under item 35, documentation of Aboriginal ownership, and outlined in Item 35(a), must be provided to and approved by Strategic Procurement.

(41) The Aboriginal owner business engaged by the Business Unit does not need to be a member of a NSW Government prequalification scheme or internal UNE Panel. If one or more Aboriginal businesses are identified, the Business Unit may engage with those suppliers before proceeding to a broader market engagement and must comply with Item 36.

(42) Wherever feasible, Strategic Procurement will provide constructive feedback to unsuccessful tenderers on their tender responses. This feedback will be provided with a view to building the capability of Aboriginal businesses to apply successfully for future opportunities.

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Section 3 - Authority and Compliance

(43) The VC&CEO makes this Policy consistent with the Vice-Chancellor Functions Rule

(44) This Policy operates as a from the Effective Date.

(45) Previous policies relating to procurement are replaced and have no further operations from the Effective Date of this Policy.

(46) Notwithstanding other provisions of this Policy, the VC&CEO may approve an exception to this Policy where the VC&CEO determines the application of this Policy would otherwise lead to an unfair, unreasonable or absurd outcome. Approval by the VC&CEO under this clause must:

  1. be documented in writing;
  2. state the reason for the exception; and
  3. be registered in the approved UNE Records Management System (RMS) in accordance with the Records Management Rule.
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Section 4 - Quality Assurance

(47) The implementation of this Policy will be supported through 

  1. regular reporting of implementation, and operation of this Policy to the Executive team; and
  2. maintenance of a register of procurements and exemptions.

Roles and responsibilities

Roles Responsibilities
Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer (VC&CEO)
Approve exemptions in accordance with Clause 21 of this Policy
Evaluates request for exemption for non-standard requests, and approves where compliance with relevant policy and in accordance with financial delegations
Financial delegation holders Approve engagement of supplier, consistent with this policy and approved budget
Strategic Procurement Unit
Supports Business Units/ Areas:
• providing procurement advice, and procurement methodology
• with significant procurement activities
• to adopt positive demand practices
Maintain a register of procurements and exemptions
Report monthly to the VC&CEO on procurements, including exemptions approvals >$500,000
Report to business approvers on exemption requests to improve procurement practice
Develop and maintain online resources and training for staff and suppliers for procurement activities
Chief Financial Officer Evaluates requests for exemption with a value $2,000,000 over, and approves where compliant with relevant policy
Head Strategic Procurement
Evaluates requests for exemption with a value between $250,000 up to $2,000,000 and approves where compliant with relevant policy
Evaluates all requests for exemption originating from business units to Strategic procurement, and provides approval where compliant with relevant policy
Category Managers, Strategic Procurement
Evaluates requests for exemption up to $250,000 and approves where compliant with relevant policy
Supports business units in all procurement activities
Conducts procurement activities for all procurement with a value greater than $250,000
Business approver
Ensure proposed purchase meets all functional policies
Obtains approval from function delegate where required
Chief Information Officer Provides function approval for procurement related to information technology
Director People and Culture Provides functional approval for procurement related to staff recruitment and related matters
Director Estate and Built Environment Provide functional approval for procurement related to building works
Business Units
Identify and plan for supply requirements, and develop procurement plans
Engage Strategic Procurement where required for procurement activities
Confirm requirements and prepare approved business case/ scope of purchase/ scope of work before go to market for quotes or tenders
Manage contracts and suppliers to ensure delivery of expected value
All UNE Representatives involved in procurement activities
Complete training provided through UNE Finance team website
Ensure compliance with policy
Controlled Entities Ensure staff involved in procurement activities complete training through UNE Finance team website
Student involved in procurement activities covered in this 
Complete training provided through UNE Finance team website
Ensure compliance with policy
Managers Ensure staff purchase from UNE’s nominated contracts and that all purchases are compliant with the contract
Suppliers Comply with this policy and Gifts and Benefits Policy
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Section 5 - Definitions (specific to this Policy)

(48) Approve refers to the act of exercising delegations (financial or functional) to give approval.

(49) Business, Business area or Business Units referred to in this policy include UNE faculties, schools, directorates, or controlled entities.

(50) Contingency spend is spend over and above the initial predicted spend for a project/contract. Contingency spend is separate from and in addition to provision sums (estimates) for project/contract items.

(51) Contract variations are classified as:

  1. Administrative variations which do not change the financial details of a contract. Examples include changes to the billing address, personnel assigned to the contract, sequencing of work, delivery schedule, and arrangements permitted by specific contract provisions.
  2. Financial variations which alter the financial details of a contract. Examples include changes to the price/cost, quantity, nature of the deliverables, and term of the contract (which increases the value).

(52) Contractors referred to in this policy are labour hire employed to fulfil a role similar to an employee even if they have an ABN rather than a construction contractor with a separate ABN hired to deliver an outcome.

(53) Demand management is a proven mechanism to take costs out of an organisation without further reducing its capacity to execute. With demand management, UNE addresses the underlying drivers of external spending, aligns purchases to business needs and eliminates unnecessary consumption. Examples include considering if the "gold plated" solution is really necessary or would a regular fit for purpose solution suffice.

(54) Emergency procurement procedures are designed for purchasing in emergency situations that require immediate action. An emergency situation exists when an incident occurs, requiring immediate action to be taken in order to preserve life, health or property. Such conditions could occur for example in a natural disaster. A lack of appropriate planning does not constitute an emergency.

(55) Endorse refers to the act of providing endorsement of the proposed requirements/solution/way forward but does not constitute final approval. Final approval must be given by the appropriate delegate prior to progressing on.

(56) Preferred supplier is one where UNE has an approved contract in place.

(57) Probity includes ensuring impartiality, achieving best value for money, ensuring consistency and fairness of process. It also includes ensuring confidential information is secured and protected, and the identification and resolution of real or perceived conflicts of interest. This requires clear accountability and transparency such that ethical behaviour is easy to identify before, during, and after the procurement activity.

(58) Reasonable quotation includes pricing that is not judged to be excessive based on the requester's experience and common sense, i.e. the price appears to reflect the supplier's costs plus a fair profit margin. If a quote appears excessive, a second quote should be obtained. Where possible the initial quote should be in writing.

(59) Regional suppliers are those based near UNE in regional NSW. This includes but is not limited to suppliers headquartered in Armidale, Tamworth, and other regional towns in reasonable proximity to Armidale. Suppliers with operations based in and providing employment in regional towns near Armidale can also be included as a regional operator for the purposes of procurement.

(60) Safe design includes consideration of design that will help reduce the chance of human failure. This includes a focus on function not just aesthetics. For example rubbish skips with side opening doors are preferable to skips loaded from the top. Or surfaces which meet the cohesion of friction standard (not mandatory) will prevent slips or falls by people or cattle.

(61) Separation of duties meant the person approving the outcome of the procurement process must not be the same person who was involved in conducting the procurement. This also applies to contracts including extensions, and spending of contingency budgets.

(62) Sustainability involves development which meets the needs of present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This includes environmentally-friendly products, with reference to re-cycling, energy efficiency, scarce-resource efficiency, low-waste technology.

(63) SMEs are defined as small and medium enterprises from NSW, other states and territories of Australia and New Zealand, with up to 200 full-time equivalent employees.

(64) SME ANZ content refers to content of the tender produced by SMEs based in Australia and New Zealand.

(65) Selective tendering is the process of selecting a tender panel and then only sending a request for tender to the panel rather than to the open market. This can reduce the number of tenders received while still providing a value for money outcome after following a process with appropriate probity.

(66) Value is the total value of the contract over the full term of the contract of the full value of the transaction.

(67) Two envelope process is where the initial qualitative evaluation is done without access to the pricing information.

(68) Whole-of-life costs include planning, design, construction and acquisition (including procurement costs), operations, maintenance, renewal and rehabilitation, depreciation and cost of finance, and disposal.