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For suppliers

A guide to selling goods and services to King's

One of the roles Procurement Strategy & Services is to ensure that all university procurement is conducted in an open and fair manner and that all of our procedures and processes adhere to the relevant legal requirements.

This guide aims to help potential suppliers understand how we do business and what procedures we are obliged to adhere to when procuring goods and services.

What does the university buy?

There are three main identified areas:

  • Goods
  • Services (Including Consultancy) 
  • Property Maintenance & Construction
How does the College produce purchase orders?

The university generates purchase requisitions through King's Finance (KFin). For more information (internal access only), please refer to the relevant webpages.

Are there prescribed procedures that College must follow when approaching the market?

Yes. In line with UK and European Union Public Procurement Regulations & HEFCE code of practice most Universities have to establish a set of purchasing, tendering and contracting regulations and procedures, which apply to all its contracts. King’s College London’s procedures are published in its Financial Regulations.

The procedures that we follow are dependent on the indicative value of the contract. The threshold values and associated procedures are detailed below. 

  • At or below £5,000, competitive quotations are not mandatory but are recommended provided that the value involved is sufficient to warrant it.
  • Between £5,000 and £10,000, written quotations must be obtained from a minimum of 2 competent suppliers. The quotations and a short, written justification of the choice of supplier must be maintained on file.
  • Between £10,000 and £50,000, written quotations must be obtained from a minimum of 3 competent suppliers. The quotations and a short, written justification of the choice of supplier must be maintained on file.
  • For contracts with an indicative cost of over £50,000, a formal tendering procedure will be carried out.
  • If the indicative cost of a contract for supplies or services is likely to exceed £189,330 then a formal tendering procedure will be carried out in accordance with European Union Public Procurement Legislation. The contract will be advertised  in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) as well as the e-tendering web site and, if appropriate, relevant trade journals. The indicative cost is calculated on the total spend over the life of the contract, e.g., a service bought in on a four-year contract at £45,000 a year has a total value of £180,000.
  • If the indicative total cost for a works contract is likely to exceed £4,733,252 then a formal tendering procedure will be carried out in line with European Union Public Procurement Legislation. The contract will be advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) as well as e-tendering web site and, if appropriate, relevant trade journals.
 Where can information be found regarding forthcoming College

As stated previously, The College is obliged to post notices in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) for all contracts where the indicative costs may exceed the thresholds prescribed by the European Procurement Directives. For contracts that are below these thresholds, these may be advertised in a variety of ways, e.g. through trade journals, trade organisations, consultants and the King's e-Tendering web page. In order to express an interest in any College contracts, follow the instructions provided with the notification/advertisement. This will involve using the university's eTendering System.

 What happens after an expression of interest?

The College will consider and respond to all expressions of interest in contracts that are new or are being renewed. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to respond to speculative enquiries from cold-calling, prospective suppliers.

The procedures employed for the tendering of contracts will be dependent on both the commodities or services that are required and their indicative costs. For contracts where their is likely to to be a large potential supplier base, there would be a pre-qualification phase and from this, a number of competant suppliers would be invited to submit a tender. If the supplier base is limited then all prospective suppliers who express interest will be invited to tender for the contract. Under the European Public Procurement Directives, these procedures are known as Restricted and Open respectively.

The university will treat all prospective suppliers equally and, via its eTendering system, will ensure that all companies involved in tendering for university contracts are in possession of the same documentation and any other information to ensure a level playing field. The university's eTendering system will allow prospective suppliers to submit their tenders electronically.

 What happens to the submitted tenders?

All tenders and supporting documentation submitted are held in the King's eTendering system against the contract to which they relate. The system records the receipt of the tenders and does not allow them to be viewed before the alloted time. Only nominated members of university staff are able to view the tender responses at the opening ceremony.

After the tender opening, all responses are collated and forwarded to those who wrote the contract specification for evaluation. Tenders are evaluated against the requirements of the contract specification and prospective suppliers are ranked according to which tender represents the best value to the university: the highest ranked tender would then be put forward for contract award

How is the contract awarded?

Following evaluation, all prospective suppliers, who submitted a tender, will be informed of the outcome of the evaluation and the supplier who submits the highest ranked tender will be given a letter of intent. Depending on the nature of the project, the formalisation of the contract will either be fairly quick or will have to be delayed by a minimum of ten days to satisfy the requirements of the mandatory standstill period imposed on public sector bodies by the European Union. Unsuccessful suppliers will be entitled to informal debriefs after the announcement of the outcome of the evaluation

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