Obtain quotations or tenders

  1. Purchase to Pay
  2. Obtain quotations or tenders
  3. Select a supplier
  4. Order via Internal Trade
  5. Order with a Purchase order
  6. Order without a Purchase Order
  7. Receive/reject goods or services
  8. Process Invoices
  9. Make payment

The number of quotations or tenders required and involvement of the Purchasing Department   depend on the value (excl. VAT) of the purchase AND whether the supplier is a preferred   or contracted  supplier. 

The price bands below apply to both a single item and multiple items which form a logical group and whose aggregate value falls within the price band.

Adequate time must always be allowed for suppliers to prepare their quotations or tenders.


Funding bodies may have specific terms and conditions relating to purchasing, and these should be verified when the award is made. Any such conditions must be applied in addition to the requirements of the Purchase to Pay process.


Exception for Research Councils

The terms and conditions of the Research Councils state that for all goods and services where the value exceeds £25,000 (excl. VAT) professionally qualified procurement staff must be consulted before the procurement process begins.  Please ensure that you follow the departmental tender guidance drafted by the professionally qualified staff to ensure that procurement is undertaken in compliance with these terms. Training for how to undertake effective procurement is available. For further advice on purchases in this category contact the Purchasing Department.  

Purchasing regulations

Less than £25,000
Preferred Supplier 
No requirement for quotations ahead of placing an order with the supplier (note: for ease, some Preferred Suppliers   have electronic catalogues in the Oracle Financials   iProcurement module)
Less than £1,000
Non preferred Supplier

Confirm the purchase price (verbally or in writing) ahead of placing an order with the supplier

£1,000 - £25,000
Non-Preferred Supplier

Obtain two or more written quotations from different suppliers on supplier headed paper or by email (including a clear specification) ahead of placing an order with the supplier

£25,000 - £100,000
Preferred or Contracted Supplier

Department may follow the simplified process  for obtaining tenders, when tenders are only sought from preferred and/or contracted suppliers

£25,000 - £100,000
Non-Preferred or Non-Contracted Supplier

Department must conduct a full Tender Process   ahead of placing an order with the supplier

Over £100,000
Any Supplier 

A full tender process must be conducted by the University Purchasing Department ahead of placing an order with the supplier

Obtaining quotations

Undertake research to establish suitable suppliers to invite to quote. Preferred Suppliers   should be given preference; if there are no suitable preferred suppliers departments are encouraged to consider contracted suppliers   or consult colleagues and the Purchasing Department   for suggestions.

When inviting quotations, ask for these to be based on the University’s standard terms and conditions of purchase. A Request for Quotation template (DOC) is also available to help you manage this process.

If re-ordering the same goods from the same supplier within 30 days of receiving the supplier's original quotation, contact the supplier and check whether further discounts are available for additional quantities or if the quoted price is still valid for additional orders.

When obtaining quotations you should also remain alert to the possibility of suppliers engaging in anti-competitive activities.


Refer to the Tender Process for purchases over £25,000.

If purchasing equipment over £100k, there are additional points to consider:

1. Identify costs

It is particularly important that the total financial impact of a major purchase is understood and funding identified. In addition to the initial purchase price, consider:

  • ongoing maintenance and consumables requirements;

  • VAT (contact the Tax team  );

  • impact on financial revenue and capital plans (contact your Divisional Financial Controller); and

  • installation, health and safety, and operating issues, including any legal issues relating to leased or rented premises (contact Estates Services).​​​

2. Complete business case 

A formal business case is required for all capital equipment purchases over £1m or where central University funds are being sought. The business case must be authorised by your Head of Department and Divisional Office, and approved by:

  • the Capital Steering Group for equipment purchases over £1m OR where central University funding is sought.
  • IT Committee for IT equipment purchases within agreed funding envelopes.

3. Project Expenditure

Where the equipment purchase is to be charged to a project, a Project Expenditure Approval Form (PEA) - Equipment Projects (XLS) must be completed and signed by the department and division; and then returned to the Fixed Asset Accountant for project setup. The Fixed Asset Accountant will notify the project leader of the Oracle Financials project code to use when raising a purchase order.

Exemptions from competition

A competition process should be followed for the purchase of goods and services unless there are compelling reasons to the contrary. 

The Tender Exemption Guidance Notes  (DOC) provide guidance, and any exception (from tendering or obtaining quotations) should be in line with this guidance.

For purchases between £1k and £25k departments should retain a written justification for not obtaining quotations (in line with the above guidance).

Any departure from the tendering procedures (>£25K) must be justified and approved using the Tender Exemption Request Form   ahead of making any commitment to a supplier. 

Contact us

 : Purchasing Department
       Finance Division
       University of Oxford
       6 Worcester Street
       Oxford OX1 2BX

 :  01865 (6) 16022

 : For further information
      please contact the
      Purchasing Department