Roland Levinsky Building, University of Plymouth

University expenditure

The University has a non-pay expenditure of circa £64 million per annum which is across a wide range of goods, services and works.

As a publicly funded body we are subject to the Public Procurement Regulations 2015 and are required by law to advertise our requirements over the given thresholds through the Contracts Finder and Find a Tender service.

We are also members of the Southern Universities Purchasing Consortium (SUPC) which gives us access to a range of Higher Education Framework Agreements for goods, services and works.

Sustainable procurement

As a university we recognise sustainability as an embedded principle across everything we do. 
The procurement team extend this further to include social, ethical, economic and environmental factors, which we collectively refer to as Responsible Procurement. 
Ensuring that procurement decisions contribute positively to the University’s Sustainability Policies and Action Plans is something we are passionate about. 
Our actions both recognise and support the University in delivering commitments to the Civic University and Social Value agenda as well as it’s sustainability commitments which support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).
Here are some examples of the steps being taken to advance our Responsible Procurement ambitions:
  • Default to having 10% of tendering evaluation scoring dedicated to sustainable criteria;
  • All procurement staff have completed relevant training which includes:
    • The Charted Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS) and are certified in relation to the CIPS Corporate Ethics Mark which covers awareness in corruption, fraud, bribery, exploitation, and human rights abuses in supply chains. This reinforces ethical behaviour and drives out malpractice.   
    • The Higher Education Procurement Association (HEPA) in Advance Sustainability having achieved official certification in this area. This training covers a range of areas from how sustainability applies to procurement to what is ISO 20400 and applying this standard within the organisation’s governance and procurement operations.
The procurement and sustainability teams are currently working to ensure we meet all the criteria of ISO 20400 standards for Sustainable Procurement. ISO 20400 provides guidance to organizations on integrating sustainability within procurement. It is intended for stakeholders involved in, or impacted by, procurement decisions and processes.
We are affiliates to Electronics Watch whereby we use the their monitoring services to achieve increasing compliance with labour rights and safety standards in the supply chains of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) hardware procurement.
Use of NETpositive FUTURES to support engagement with suppliers around social, ethical, economic and environmental factors, inclusive of safeguarding against modern slavery and protection of human rights. NETpositive FUTURES is free for suppliers to access and empowers them to create an action plan, which supports and advises how sustainability relates to their core business practice and importantly how to increase their positive social, economic and environmental impact through choices and the activities they undertake.
NETpositive FUTURES contributes to how the procurement team engage with suppliers, not only in constructive dialogue on sustainability but by encouraging suppliers to drive continuous improvement. Register with NETpostive FUTURES.
We subscribe to Warp IT as just one step we have taken to promote re-use and the circular economy. Through this platform we aim to support the extended use/re-use of equipment and assets and to reduce waste and associated environmental impacts.
The Warp IT platform is available free of charge for qualifying charities, not for profit’s, social enterprises and community groups, so if you are interested in getting visibility of surplus resources (such as furniture) but are in good condition, make sure you register today.
Incorporating the Sustain Supply Chain Code of Conduct into our Procurement and Contract Management processes to which all suppliers are subjected to. This commits suppliers to responsible and sustainable procurement within their organisation and associated supply chain.
In support of United Nations Sustainable Development goals the University advocate the use of the UniGreenScheme for our high value laboratory equipment.
Encouraging and supporting our Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) suppliers in regards to having a Carbon Action Plan, in this we champion the UK Universities Purchasing ConsortiaDeveloping A Carbon Reduction Action Plan’ for those suppliers needing guidance and assistance in this area.

Local economy and contracts review

To encourage business with local suppliers, in particular micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, our contracts portfolio is regularly reviewed to ensure that those opportunities which are a good match to our local economy do not present barriers through their size or complexity. 
"Whilst we cannot guarantee business to local suppliers, we guarantee that we will make every effort to ensure that local business is aware of our requirements, does not have unnecessary barriers put in their way and that any firm, regardless of size and location, is treated fairly and transparently. We remain committed to putting the best contracts in place for the University and to buying from those contracts once in place. We have many local suppliers who have won and grown their business with us as a result of this approach. As a passionate Civic University we have signed up to the Plymouth City Council Local Procurement Charter where we have pledged to work together to broaden overall support for local business and maximise the potential of the local supply chain. We are committed to a fairer, greener future for Plymouth and have committed to use the Plymouth Supplier Directory to publish details on how Suppliers can engage with us when it comes to procurement." 
– Head of Procurement, University of Plymouth.

Procurement process and Tender portal

All of the University's tenders are run on our e-tendering platform Mercell. It takes just minutes to register as a supplier and you are able to view all of our open opportunities, regardless of value.
The University awards its contracts on the basis of quality, price and sustainability, in line with the University’s Strategy 2030. We will take into account fitness for purpose, total cost of ownership as well as environmental and social impacts in our assessment of value for money.
In all procurement processes we will identify what our award criteria are and their relative weighting when we ask for quotes or tenders.
We will advise all those who have quoted who has been successful and for tenders will provide each tenderer with their results from the tender assessment against the best results.
It is therefore important to read our specifications carefully to ensure that you understand our requirement and that you answer all our questions to demonstrate that you can meet our requirements.
The Emdeck Building