Even where a standard exemption from competition set out in the University’s Manual of Financial Rules (MFR) applies to the request for Single Source Approval, some information in support of your request may be required. The objective in seeking information is to “make it easy” for a decision to support your Single Source Approval request to be agreed. This includes:
- If a standard exemption from competition is being sought/applied, what is the justification for applying that exemption?
- How was the decision made that only the selected products/services can meet the requirement? Have alternatives been considered and if so what alternatives and what was the outcome of the evaluation?
- What research has been undertaken that supports the decision that only the selected products or services meet the requirement?
- How was the decision that only the nominated source of supply can provide the products or services made?
- What research has been undertaken that supports the decision that only the nominated source can provide the products or services?
- Have competitive quotations or proposals actually been obtained during the process of making the decision? (In some cases quotations may have been obtained, considered and rejected in favour of more detailed discussions with a specific supplier due to technical or other reasons – it is helpful to have this information).
It is helpful to provide similar support information when applying an exemption from competition (see further guidance under “Standard Exemptions from Competition”).
The basic principle of demonstrating the achievement of best value for money in the expenditure of its non-pay funds is delivered by the University by means of seeking competition for the procurement/purchase of its bought-in products and services.
The need to demonstrate, and provide evidence of competition/best value for money is also becoming more prevalent with many (if not all) of the sources that provide funds to the University.
However, it is recognised that it may not always be either feasible or cost effective to seek competition in the purchase of goods and services on every occasion. The MFR therefore permits purchases to proceed without competition subject to certain qualifying conditions being met and a case seeking approval for a purchase to proceed without competition being presented by the Budget Centre/College to the Director of Finance.
This means that assurance is given to the University and any Funders that an independent quality check has been undertaken and that a reasonable case has been presented in support of a decision to proceed without competition.
The Director of Finance has delegated this authority to the Procurement Division and the Assistant Director of Finance (Procurement). In cases under £10k this is delegated to the relevant College Finance Team.