Institutions should have competitive processes that are cost-effective and flexible. The procedures should promote open, transparent competition that, for higher value requirements adhere to the Public Procurement legislation. At lower values there is an obligation to follow the 'spirit of the legislation'.

The ability to customise the means of acquiring a particular product and reacting to market conditions is valuable.  Buying certain commodities on the spot market, eg fuel oil, would not be possible where the bidding policy is formal and inflexible.  However, the use of a framework agreement, advertised in the Find a Tender Service resulting in a list of pre-qualified suppliers, will enable a spot buying approach to be used.  Where higher value requirements are above the PCR thresholds, the competition method will be determined by the nature of the goods ie if they are deemed to be supplies, services or works.  In such cases the procurement process must adhere to the rules laid down in the legislation.

Further, an ability to enter into post-bid-opening negotiations is a valuable component of the competitive process.  Again, there are legal considerations to be taken into account where the procurement has been completed under the PCR 2015 procedures and guidance should be sought from the institution's Head of Procurement before embarking on any tender negotiation exercise.

Guidelines should also exist to help the buyer when there is a sole/single source, emergency acquisition etc type situation.  The guidelines need to the flexible yet protect the institution, the buyer and comply with the law.