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last updated: 1st August 2011

The policy should state explicitly the responsibilities of the Procurement Office and those staff acting with delegated authority at departmental level ie the Nominated Buyers. Again, the division of activities will reflect the institution's procurement structure. For example, the more centralised the structure the more hands-on will be the work carried out by the central Procurement Office. A very decentralised structure may see the professional procurement staff involved in co-ordinating and advising on major procurements while day-to-day activity is carried out within the individual departments.  In many institutions, the structure will sit somewhere in the middle with the central Procurement Office responsible for, for example, supplier appraisal; receiving sealed bids; managing tenders/quotations; negotiation with suppliers; awarding contracts releasing award information; de-briefing suppliers and auditing the procurement actions of departments.

At departmental level, the Nominated Buyer could be responsible for preparation of requisitions and/or purchase orders; ensuring a reasonable lead time between identifying the requirement and when it is needed; providing justification for the requirement; ensuring that contract and grant requirements are met and ensuring that funds are available.  Where the member of staff has been given Nominated Buyer status, some of the responsibilities listed as falling within the remit of the central Procurement Office will be delegated. For example, completing quotation exercises, approving and issuing purchase orders up to stated monetary values, etc.

In many instances, it is sensible to favour a joint-responsibility approach for some of the activities (eg identification of suppliers, appraisal, conducting negotiations by 'teams' made up of both central procurement and departmental personnel, evaluating bids etc).  Where this is the case, it should be indicated in the procurement policy.
 

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