Procurement

Buying goods and services at LSE

By following the guidance below, you will help ensure LSE operates effectively and secures Value for Money. 

Buying good and services - how do I do this?

Please check LSE's existing contracts and read the Introduction to Procurement [PDF] guide before purchasing anything. In many cases, there will be a contract in place for what you require.

If there is not a contract in place , you must follow LSE's procurement rules (all values below are excluding VAT).

LSE competition thresholds. These are at least 3 quotes for contracts between £8,000 and £49,999 and at least 4 tenders for contracts of £50,000 and over.
Contract value fromContract value to Competition requirement Procurement Team involvement required?
 £0  £7,999 None No
£8,000 £49,999 At least 3 written quotes must be returned to LSE No
£50,000 Unlimited At least 4 tenders must be returned to LSE Yes - all tenders over £50,000 must be run through the Procurement Team

Suitable suppliers can be identified by using LSE's  Search for a supplier. However, you can also invite suppliers who are not registered on the School's  Finance System. Procurement can advise you on finding other suitable suppliers.

Or, you can use a Framework approved by LSE. A Framework is an agreement that has been put in place which enables orders to be placed without running a lengthy tender exercise. The suppliers are already on the Framework, so you do not need to find them to invite to competition.

LSE seeks to use London Universities Purchasing Consortium (LUPC) Frameworks where possible.  The Procurement Team can advise you on this and other suitable Frameworks and how to use them.

Inviting suppliers to quote - what do I need to send?

The documentation requirements vary depending upon the type of competition you are running.

Type of competitionDocumentation required 
Single source (up to £7,999) Specification and Terms and Conditions of contract  
Invitation to Quote (£8,000 to £49,999) Invitation to Quote, Specification and Terms and Conditions of contract  
Invitation to Tender (over £50,000) Invitation to Tender, Tender Questionnaire, Specification and Terms and Conditions of contract  

Specification

A Specification is a statement of what you need. For low-value goods purchases, your Specification will be very simple. For higher value services purchases, you will need to provide more detail. Please see the template specifications below.

Terms and conditions of contract

LSE’s preference is to always use our own contract terms, rather than the suppliers, as they provide far greater contractual protection. LSE has a suite of standard contract terms which should suit most requirements and should be sent to suppliers when you ask them to bid. Links are provided below, but if in doubt of which to use, please contact the Procurement Team for advice before issuing to suppliers.

Invitation to Quote (ITQ) and Invitation to Tender (ITT)

These are overarching documents which explain the procurement process to suppliers. LSE has a template ITQ document you can use for requesting quotes. Please see Template Invitation to Quote [Word].

The template ITT must be requested from Procurement.

Pricing Schedule

This is an Excel spreadsheet which suppliers fill in to provide their pricing. The Procurement Team can provide example Pricing Schedules upon request.

See:

Template specification for goods [Word]

Template specification for services [Word]

Standard terms and conditions (goods) [Word]

Standard terms and conditions (services) [Word]

Standard terms and conditions (consultancy) [Word]

Standard terms and conditions IMT (bespoke development agreement) [Word]

Standard terms and conditions IMT (software licence and maintenance agreement) [Word]

Managing contracts - who does this?

You do, or you will need to find a Service Manager within your department,centre or division. If a contract is put in place but not managed effectively, supplier performance can suffer. This can lead to service failures, cost overruns and may negatively affect LSE's reputation. 

The Procurement Team is a small team and does not manage services (with the exception of the Travel Management Service). A guide has been developed by the Team to give you practical advice on Service Management. For a copy, see Guide to Good Service Management at LSE[PDF]

If you are experiencing serious problems with a contract, need to make a variation to a contract or extend an existing contract, please contact the Procurement Team.

Evaluating a bid - how do I do this?

Before requesting bids from suppliers, it is important that you decide how you will score and evaluate their submissions. Normally, you will split your requirements into a percentage for the cost part of their bid and a percentage for the quality part of their bid.

The Procurement Team have a template scoring system you can use  and can supply sample bid evaluation templates.

Once you have decided who to award your contract to, it is good practice to advise the successful and unsuccessful bidders at the same time and provide the unsuccessful bidders with some feedback.

Signing a contract - who does this?

Contracts under £100,000 ex VAT can be signed by the Budget Controller

Contracts over £100,000 ex VAT and all contracts on the supplier's terms no matter what the value must be signed by the School Secretary

You will need additional authorisation prior to contract signature in the following circumstances:

Table showing authorisation requirements for a series of different procurement scenarios.
 Scenario Requirement 
You have received fewer than the required number of quotes/tenders Finance Director must authorise in writing
You propose awarding to a bidder who is not the lowest Head of Procurement must be consulted, School Secretary must authorise in writing

Sustainable Procurement - what is this?

Buying goods, works and services in a sustainable manner and with a view to minimising energy consumption is important no matter what the value of your purchase. The most sustainable option is also often the lowest cost when you take into account the full lifecycle of a product or service.

The School is committed to its Sustainable Procurement Policy and the Procurement Team have developed a Sustainable Procurement Tool to help you buy sustainably.

See: LSE procurement sustainability policy [PDF]

See: LSE Ethical and Sustainable procurement tool [Excel]

Also see: Sustainability at LSE

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