Challenge and ask questions

Before starting a procurement exercise, the following questions should be asked to make sure that the purchase is really necessary:

  • Does the institution need the goods or services being considered?
  • Do the goods or services fit in with the department's or institution's overall strategy?
  • Must the goods or services be purchased or could they be borrowed from another department, institution or organisation?
  • Would it be possible to use goods or services available in another department, institution or organisation?
  • Are new items required or would refurbished, ex-demonstration or second-hand ones be acceptable?
  • How long are the goods or services needed for? Could they be leased or hired rather than purchased?
  • Are funds available to pay for the goods or services?
  • Are there likely to be any other costs associated with the procurement of the required goods or service? For example, if the requirement is for a piece of equipment, are any additional resources needed such as a 3-phase electrical power supply? or, does space need to be modified to take the equipment? If it automates a labour intensive process and releases staff time, can the staff be allocated new tasks?  Are there any personnel issues if jobs are changed substantially? [The point is, think about other potential repercussions of bringing in the identified goods or services as sometimes these costs can be much higher than that of the identified need.]
  • Do the users of the goods or services need to be involved in the procurement process to ensure that the right products are obtained?

A check list has been prepared as part of the Whole Life Costing model that can help explore some of these issues.