On occasion it may be necessary for the University to take a ‘make or buy’ decision, judging whether it is better (in value for money terms) for the University to deliver (or build) something internally, or to purchase it from suppliers (outsourcing). The University Purchasing Department can advise departments who are undertaking analysis to support such a decision.
It is possible that outsourcing may reduce the costs of providing a service, because a commercially-motivated supplier will have a financial incentive to minimise the costs of delivery. Also a contractual relationship may be the best way to drive optimum performance, as a contract can rigorously specify the outputs to be provided and include clear performance incentives. Outsourcing particular services may also free up time for the University to focus more on supporting its core objectives – research and teaching.
There is no definitive list of the kinds of services which should be outsourced, and each service should be reviewed on a case by case basis. The analysis may include consideration of the following advantages and disadvantages.