2021 - 2026

Author Head of Procurement
Approved By Finance and Corporate Performance Committee
Approval Date 02nd November 2021
Review Date Autumn 2022
Version 2021.1
Document Type Strategy
Activity/Task University Governance/Procurement Compliance
Document Location Procurement Intranet Page

Related Documents

Document Purpose
Financial Regulations To provide control over the totality of the University’s resources and to provide management with assurances that the resources are being properly applied for the achievement of the University’s objectives and of the University’s Strategic Plan and Business Objectives while: ensuring financial viability; achieving value for money; fulfilling its responsibility for the provision of effective financial controls over the use of public funds; ensuring that the University complies with all relevant legislation; and safeguarding the assets of the University.
Purchasing and Procurement Manual To provide guidance to staff involved in purchasing goods, services and works on behalf of Abertay University

Version Control Table

Version Number Purpose / Changes Author Date
2021.1 New Strategy Head of Procurement Autumn 2021


1. Formation & Context

2. Procurement Mission

3. Strategic Procurement Objectives

4. Ensuring compliance with general duties and specific measures of the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 (PRSA)

5. Annual Procurement Report

1. Formation & Context

Abertay University’s Procurement Strategy is underpinned by the Scottish Procurement’s statutory guidance under the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 with the support of APUC, the procurement centre of expertise for Scotland’s Colleges and Universities.

Abertay University is classified as a Contracting Authority due to being 75% publicly funded via the Scottish Funding Council.  For this reason, Abertay is required to apply Procurement legislation and guidelines to the purchase of all goods, services and works

This is the second document of its type and provides the framework within which the procurement activities of the University assist in the delivery and support of our strategic purpose, principles and aims. It can also be understood as a procurement improvements journey and is further endorsed by a Purchasing and Procurement Manual.

The Strategy was approved by the University’s Finance and Corporate Performance Committee and subsequently published in Autumn 2021, is subject to an annual review process to comply with the legislation.

Regular review allows for procurement objectives to align with the broader priorities of the University through the appropriate adjustment of the Strategy. In line with this review cycle, the Strategy will have its first review Autumn 2022 with an updated version published to reflect progress to date.

A key objective of the Strategy is to embed a culture of collaboration through team working across all areas of the Procurement process. To help achieve improved planning and management of all spend activity within the legislative framework.  Ensuring sound supplier engagement and management to achieve the optimum commercial outcome for Abertay University.

2. Procurement Mission

Working together to achieve the Right Quality at the Right Price at the Right Time with Sustainability at its core.

Our procurement mission is to support the University’s Strategic Plan by working with each of our Schools and Services to ensure they have the tools they require to meet and exceed their innovative and inclusive teaching, research, and knowledge exchange activity.  By improving planning and collaboration we will seek to achieve value for money through continually improving our sustainable procurement practice.  A range of training materials are available, supported by a user-friendly intranet site to guide our colleagues through their procurement journey.

3. Strategic Procurement Objectives

Our strategic procurement objectives form the core of our Procurement Strategy. Each objective is mapped to the four strategic areas aligned to the Scottish Model of Procurement:

Our strategic procurement objectives form the core of our Procurement Strategy. Each objective is mapped to the four strategic areas aligned to the Scottish Model of Procurement:

Improving supplier access to public contracts

To make procurement as straightforward as possible for the University and potential suppliers, in particular to improve access for local suppliers and SME’s and to eliminate anything that does not add value to the procurement.  As well as develop sound and useful procurement management information to measure and improve procurement, supplier performance, and to improve co-ordinated procurement planning

Delivering savings and benefits

To promote the delivery of value for money through good procurement practice and optimal use of procurement collaboration opportunities. To work with our internal stakeholders and suppliers to ensure continued value, managed performance and minimal risk throughout the life of contracts for the benefit of customers and students

Maximising efficiency and collaboration

To work with internal budget holders, academics and support services colleagues and suppliers to deliver innovation and best value to the University, through the continuing development of effective and co-ordinated procurement processes.  Deliver professional procurement training to our colleagues embedding procurement and contract management skills across the University. 

Embedding sustainability in all we do

To embed sound ethical, social, and environmental policies within the University’s procurement function and to comply with relevant Scottish and other pertinent legislation through compliance with the Sustainable Procurement Duty

These objectives are measured and supported in three ways; through the Procurement Strategic Action Plan, through our involvement in the Scottish Government’s Procurement and Commercial Improvement Programme (PCIP) and through the publication of an Annual Procurement Report.

4. Ensuring compliance with general duties and specific measures of the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 (PRSA)

As required by the above Act (hereon referred to as ‘The Act’), the University must comply with a small number of general duties and specific measures which will be embedded in our Action Plan:

4.1 Contribute to the carrying out of our functions and the achievement of our purposes 

The University will analyse its supplier spend on an annual basis and identify requirements for regulated procurement exercises (both PRSA and Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2015).

In addition, the University will identify regulated procurements by Proc-HE Commodity category and give consideration to the effectiveness of these procurements in consultation with key stakeholders and contract managers.

The alignment to the University’s Strategic Plan and also their contribution to the National Outcomes as detailed in the University’s current Outcome Agreement will be considered.

Consultation will take place when developing a procurement strategy for regulated procurements.

Finally, the University will consider the effective use of proportionate contract and supplier management to monitor and further improve the regulated procurement contract outcomes.

4.2 Deliver value for money

The University will:

  • Complete commodity strategy documents for regulated procurements, following the Procurement Journey

  • Use available management information and key stakeholder’s specialist knowledge to identify spend by commodity category.

  • Aggregate spends by category and where appropriate identify tendering opportunities.

  • Undertake risk assessment and opportunities on all Regulated procurements for improved contract performance and identify demand management.

  • Use collaborative contracts where they provide benefit and improved contract terms.

  • Undertake proportionate contract management practices, addressing qualitative shortfalls.

  • Promote sustainability, where relevant within our tendering activity and during the life of contracts.

4.3 Treating relevant economic operators equally and without discrimination

The University will conduct all its regulated procurements in compliance with the principles of the Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2015; equal treatment, non-discrimination, transparency, proportionality and mutual recognition.

All regulated procurements will be posted on portals such as Public Contracts Scotland (PCS) and Public Contracts Scotland-Tender (PCS-T) and shall strive to ensure the appropriate use of separate lots with straightforward output based specifications and clear evaluation criteria to ensure the procurement is accessible to as many bidders as possible.

The University shall publish a public facing Contract Register which includes lower value opportunities which smaller, local organisations may have an interest in bidding for.

4.4 Acting in a transparent and proportionate manner

All regulated procurement shall be advertised within the PCS portal. Appropriate lotting and output-based specifications will be used.

The University will actively take steps to make it easier for smaller and local businesses to bid for contracts through:

  • Market Engagement;

  • Use of PCS and Quick Quotes;

  • Providing information on third party training opportunities to build suppliers capacity to better navigate the public tender process; and

  • Publishing contracts register to highlight contracts that local suppliers may be interested in bidding for.

4.5 Sustainable Procurement

The University is committed to sustainable procurement.

Procurement strives to ensure the University’s requirements of acquiring goods,   services and capital works in a way that delivers best value-for-money and benefits for not only to the University, but in a way that makes a significant, sustainable and socially responsible contribution in our local regions and across the world.

Purchasing decisions have major socio-economic and environmental implications locally, nationally, and globally, now and for generations to come. As such, the University are committed to integrating sustainability into everyday practice and decision-making processes, thereby minimising our environmental impact and optimising the social and economic outcomes associated with our operations.

It is recognised that our external supply chain partners make a significant contribution to carbon and sustainability (in its broadest sense), therefore staff involved in the   procurement of goods, services and works throughout the University must consider appropriate environmental, social and economic factors in their purchasing decision.

To support compliance with the Sustainable Procurement Duty the University will endeavour to make use of some available tools and systems such as the Scottish Public Procurement Prioritisation Tool, the Sustainability Test, Life Cycle Impact Mapping, the Scottish Flexible Framework as well as APUC’s Code of Conduct, Sustain and Electronics Watch, where relevant and proportionate to the scope of the procurement.

Our sustainable procurement goals will ensure that:

  • environmental sustainability and social impact are incorporated into the whole procurement process - assessing and defining the need, evaluating options, design and specifying, supplier selection, tender evaluation, post-contract management and supplier development

  • the University and our supply base comply with all relevant legislation and regulatory requirements

  • the University promotes sustainable awareness and assessment amongst suppliers and contractors

  • the University procures sustainable products and services wherever possible

  • the University continues to reduce the negative environmental and sustainability impacts of construction and refurbishment projects

  • the University develops measures to monitor our sustainable practice with a view to seeking continual improvement

  • the University uses the results of the monitored practice to benchmark its performance against similar organisations, and analyses the benchmarked performance to identify areas of practice for improvement

  • staff are upskilled to make sustainable procurement decisions and have the tools to do so.

4.6 Modern slavery & human trafficking

The University is committed to measuring and actively monitoring that modern slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in any parts of its operation within the University and its supply chain.

Under the Modern Slavery Act, the University is committed to ensuring there are no instances of modern slavery, human trafficking, forced and bonded labour and labour rights violations in its supply chains, and that the following principles are adhered to:

  • Employment is freely chosen

  • Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are respected

  • Working conditions are safe and hygienic

  • Child labour shall not be used

  • Living wages are paid

  • Working hours are not excessive

  • No discrimination is practiced

  • Regular employment is provided

  • No harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed.

The University’s modern slavery policy is available within the Procurement Intranet pages.

4.7 Policy on the use of community benefits

The University will consider community benefits for each procurement activity based on proportionality and relevance of the procurement activity.  Legislation requires Community Benefit to be mandatory for any procurements with an accumulative value of over £4m.

The aim of Community Benefits is to build stronger communities, reduce social exclusion and poverty, and encourage the development of the local economy.

Examples of the scope of community benefits clauses will include the delivery of training opportunities and/or work placements to students or subcontracting opportunities within the Tayside region.  

4.8 Consulting and engaging with those affected by its procurements

The University will consider each procurement, the community affected by the resultant contract and seek to consult with those affected (e.g. impact on service for students, or a local contract that could be combined with other similar institution’s needs).  Such consultation will always be on a scale and approach relevant to the procurement in question. All of the above will be embedded in the University’s procurement practice.

4.9 The Living Wage

The University recognises the value of a well-motivated and dedicated workforce both in its own organisation and in those of its suppliers. Abertay University pays the living wage to all staff and is an accredited living wage employer. In compliance with the Act the University will consider, before undertaking a regulated procurement, whether it is relevant and proportionate to include a question on fair work practices along with other relevant criteria, whilst ensuring the appropriate balance between quality and cost of the contract, paying regard to the statutory guidance including the application of the living wage.

4.10 Promoting compliance with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

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 institution will assess the legislation applicable to a procurement and take steps to ensure bidders comply with such legislation.  Where proportionate, the University also seek to assess the compliance of subcontractors. 

The Single Procurement Document (SPD) a replacement to the previously known European Single Procurement Document (ESPD) shall be used for all regulated procurements.

For suppliers entering University premises, it is a requirement that notification is given in advance to the Health & Safety Manager or Estates Manager to provide a work permit and assess any H&S requirements.

4.11 The procurement of fairly and ethically traded goods and services

The University supports the sourcing of goods that are fairly and ethically traded. Where directly relevant it shall make use of appropriate standards and labels in its regulated procurements to take account of fair and ethical trading considerations as well as considering equivalent offerings from suppliers that can demonstrate they can meet the specified criteria without necessarily having the specific certification.

4.12 Payment terms

The University recognises the importance of paying suppliers promptly once a service has been performed or goods delivered and that late payment is particularly detrimental to SMEs, third sector bodies and supported businesses.

The University will comply 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.  

5. Annual Procurement Report

5.1 Statutory Requirement

In accordance with requirement of the PRSA, the University will publish an Annual Procurement Report as soon as practicable after University’s financial year end and will describe as required by the Act how it 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.

This report will also provide a commentary on the progress of this Strategy and its Action Plan.

5.2 Contents of our Annual Procurement Report

The Annual Procurement Report as required by the Act will contain as a minimum the following:

  • A summary of the regulated procurements that have been completed during the year covered by the Report.

  • A review of whether these procurements complied with this Strategy

  • The extent that any regulated procurements did not comply as well as a statement detailing how the University intends to ensure that future regulated procurements do comply.

  • A summary of any community benefit requirements imposed as part of a regulated procurement which were fulfilled during the year of the Report including for example - apprenticeships completed, curriculum support activities, business support activities, support to communities and resource efficiencies achieved in terms of materials, waste or water.

  • A summary of any steps taken to facilitate the involvement of supported businesses in regulated procurements during the year covered by the Report.

  • A summary of the regulated procurements the University expects to commence in the next two financial years.

  • Such other information as the Scottish Ministers may by order specify.

The University will seek to publish its annual procurement report in an inclusive way that takes into account equality and accessibility issues and allows stakeholders to form a clear view of the University’s performance.

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