Welcome to Procurement  

Procurement Services

Thank you for visiting our website during these unusual and difficult times. We have prepared a series of Frequently Asked Questions below that may be able to assist you if you have a query. If you have another question, please reach out to us directly via the routes outlined below. We will be updating this page frequently, as common queries continue to come in. 

ⓘ Procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

The University's Building Task Force has been looking carefully at re-opening buildings which are primarily used for research purposes. As part of the preparations for the re-opening of these buildings, the University is centrally procuring some items of PPE and hand sanitisers. A process has been put in place to allow Departments, who have been advised that their buildings appear on the re-occupation list, to order from this central stock. The order forms will be sent directly to Departmental Administrators and Finance Division Key Contacts as each department appears on this re-occupation list.

Please see the list of PPE FAQ available on the Finance Division COVID-19 Assistance pages for more guidance

If your department has not been advised it can look to re-occupy at present, we would ask you to wait until that point before using this PPE process. As new tranches of departments are invited to start the processes necessary to commence re-occupation they will be contacted directly.

For University Staff

1: Is Procurement Services still operating?

Yes – the University Group Procurement team is fully functional whilst working remotely and can be contacted in all the same ways you have used in the past (other than being able to drop in for a face to face chat).

1. Direct category team (goods, works & services directly involved with teaching, research or departmental business from a medical, technical, engineering and/or scientific basis).

2. Indirect category team (facilities - catering, cleaning, hospitality; nursery & security; IT/AV; business administration - professional services, travel, print & furniture).

3. Reporting & Governance team (who look after communications, governance, reporting and market engagement). 

4. e-Procurement team who look after the iProc (Marketplace) service as well as new supplier requests on the InTend tendering portal

If you need an urgent response, please call 01223 332233. 

2: Can I still purchase items/equipment? Can I do so remotely? And can I deliver to my home address?

Yes. You will need to be logged into the Cambridge network (either via the VPN or ACN Remote Access) in order to access CUFS to make a purchase.

It is anticipated that employees, who have not previously worked from home, may require additional equipment in order to facilitate appropriate and safe working. We would expect the following principles to be followed in respect of any additional spend:

    • Employees should discuss, and agree, any requirements with their line manager or departmental administrator;
    • The department would determine whether there are any appropriate assets/equipment, currently held at the university, which can be made available to the employee;
    • Where no such assets/equipment are available, the department should purchase these directly through a Marketplace or preferred supplier. The items purchased will be owned by, and remain the property of, the University.

Please click here to check whether Marketplace and Preferred suppliers are still operating normally, and are capable of delivering to home/non-University addresses, before purchasing. You can also find a list of all preferred suppliers and their assigned category and contract managers here should you wish to contact us with any queries.

Click here to view instructions on how to arrange for delivery of items to your home address. In short:

    • Please amend your Deliver-To Location code at checkout to DTH (applies to all departments);
    • Add an attachment to the Non-catalog requisition, prior to approving the purchase order, that details the delivery address to be used.

Do not place any DTH order via the Marketplace, even where your chosen supplier is available on Marketplace. Please raise all orders via the non-catalog route, using he 'DTH' shipping code, and add an attachment with the required delivery address. You can still search the Marketplace to find the details and price of the items that you need but you would then need to transcribe these to a non-catalog order. Remember when checking out not to use the “Zmarketplace” site address for your supplier and once approved to email a copy of the order to your supplier.

Given the current circumstances, please consider whether your order is necessary and/or appropriate and, if delivering to the University, that arrangements are made to ensure safe receipt of goods. Equipment for research should not be delivered to home addresses, nor should chemical or biological reagents. Not only would this be against current guidance, but the University’s insurance policy does not cover such work at home.

Where equipment has been purchased directly by individuals prior to 3 April 2020, the department should reimburse the individual for the reasonable cost incurred and take ownership of the item. Please note that these measures will be in effect until 30 June 2020 to cover the predicted peak period of the outbreak. They may be extended for a further period, or varied, if necessary.

3: I am working remotely and require equipment to do my job. Can I purchase needed items myself and expense the cost?

All expenses-related queries should be directed to your department in the first instance. However, expenses claims are an inappropriate route for acquiring equipment. The correct route is for formal orders to be placed from University suppliers (see above).

4: I have a contract in place with a service provider, whose service cannot be carried out due to the current shutdown. What steps should I take?

Please contact the person who arranged the contract with the service provider – either locally in your department or as part of our team here in Group Procurement (via procurement.services.enquiries@admin.cam.ac.uk). They should be able to advise on next steps and discuss the situation with you and the supplier.

5: I have a requirement to hire a vehicle. How can I do this?

The car hire sector remains available to emergency front-line services. If you fall under this category you can still hire a vehicle from one of our framework suppliers found using the Master Framework Contracts link at the top of this procurement page

6: I arranged for a delivery to my department before the lockdown, and now I need to change, amend or cancel the order. How can I do this?

It will depend on the circumstances, but in the first instance contact your supplier directly. You can find details of your supplier in the Supplier Database. You can search the database by numerous methods, for example by a specific name of a supplier, VAT number/company registration number or by various keyword and commodity options where you are looking for a supplier of a particular type of goods or service.

In addition, if the supplier is a ‘University preferred’ supplier or on the Marketplace, our category managers will have a direct relationship with the supplier so please email them directly, or via procurement.services.enquiries@admin.cam.ac.uk and we will try to assist.

If possible, it may be simpler to cancel outstanding orders and re-create them once the situation becomes clearer.

For large equipment purchases, discussion will be needed with the supplier to revise delivery and implementation plan. This should normally result in a formal contract change document being executed by both parties.

7. Should we honour performers contracts if the event they were to be performing in has now been cancelled?

Examine the contract to confirm whether we have the right to cancel. If not, we need to either pay the individual or postpone the performance until later in the year. If we do have the right to cancel, then the event can be cancelled and we do not need to pay the individual. From a social responsibility perspective the performer should be able to access government assistance if they are self-employed. Alternatively, if the performer is classed as a worker and paid via the UPS then the University has confirmed that we will continue to pay them for the service/assignment they were engaged for.

8. I am trying to secure a travel refund following a cancellation due to the impact of COVID-19

Please see our travel page for FAQs relating to travel cancellations.

In addition to engaging directly, there is a wide range of guidance and information updated on a daily basis that may help with your enquiry: https://www.finance.admin.cam.ac.uk/policy-and-procedures/coronaviruscovid-19-assistance

For Suppliers

9: I was expecting to make a delivery. Should I still deliver it? Where should I deliver it to?

Check delivery arrangements with the department who ordered prior to attempting delivery. If you need further contact details, departmental contacts can be found here.

We will continue to support you and your needs in these difficult times, but please be aware it may take us a little longer than usual to respond to or resolve your queries than in normal times. If you need an urgent response, please call 01223 332233 or email procurement and we will assist.

Many thanks,

Helen Wain, Head of Group Procurement