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Financial policy

All staff members making purchasing decisions, or committing expenditure on behalf of the Department, must read the University Financial Procedures Manual and be familiar with the University's financial regulations, in particular with respect to procurement procedures and any expenses and benefits.

Financial procedures

Financial regulations

Who can make purchases

The following persons are authorised to commit funds:

Department: The Departmental Administrator may purchase any items which are required by the Department. The Assistant Administrator may purchase stationery and computers and other items of office equipment and is empowered to place orders on behalf of other Departmental staff.

Museum: The Director and Curator of the Whipple Museum may purchase special items for the Whipple Collection and any items required by the Museum. The Museum Assistants may purchase other items required by the Museum.

Library: The Whipple Librarian may purchase books and other items required by the Library, remaining within the annual budget allocation. The Library has a credit card which may only be used for the purchase of books.

Research grant holders: The holders of research grants may commit funds within the specification and up to the limits of their awards, and in line with the terms and conditions outlined by their sponsors. In doing this they must also adhere to University Financial Regulations.


The following protocols must be adhered to:

Purchase orders

A purchase order must be issued for all goods and services purchased, unless approval has been granted for an exception to this requirement. Contact the Assistant Administrator to request a purchase order before making any commitment: purchase orders cannot be issued retrospectively.


Purchases should be consistent with the financial, academic and organizational plans of the institution. A source of funds must be identified on the purchase order at the point at which a commitment to purchase is made.


Except for when using a University preferred supplier, quotes must be obtained for all orders over £250. For orders of between £250 and £1,000 a record of the quote obtained (by web or by phone) prior to the order should be filed with the order. For orders of between £1,000 and £10,000 three competitive quotes must be obtained and kept with the order.

Details of quotes should be kept on the following form:

Quotation record sheet


If quotes cannot be obtained because of it being a unique item, permission for dispensation must be obtained in advance of any purchase over £1,000. Complete the online form:

Dispensation from the normal competition requirements

Where the form asks for the Head of Department's email for approval please put <> and send the office an email afterwards to let them know that you have done this.


Purchasers must check with the Departmental Office that it is possible for a payment to be made to the individual or company supplying the goods or services they require before an order is placed.

Requirements for setting up a new supplier

Standard policy (for orders up to £25,000): The person proposing the purchase should obtain three quotes and give a reason why an existing supplier cannot be used. The reason would usually be that goods/services offered by existing suppliers do not meet requirements or that the new supplier offers a lower price than any existing supplier.

Low value items: If a low value item can be obtained from only one supplier, which is not an existing supplier, quotes are not obtained. Although this is permissible under University regulations when the order is under £1,000, it normally happens only on orders under £100 – for example, when purchasing a book that is only available directly from the publisher.

Dispensation: For purchases over £1,000 where it is not appropriate to obtain alternative quotes, the University's dispensation process must be used.

Heritage assets: Museum objects are classified as 'heritage assets' and as such are exempt from the requirement to obtain quotes or use the dispensation process. Purchases of this kind always have to be approved by the Museum's Director.

Purchasing levels

Permission must be obtained from the Head of Department, Administrator or Curator for all orders over £500.


No expenses should be incurred without prior permission from the account holder (e.g. PI for research grant expenses, Head of Department and Departmental Administrators for Departmental Expenses). Claims should be supported by documentary evidence of expenditure e.g. receipts, invoices, bills, otherwise they are not reimbursable, except in exceptional circumstances and in that event will be taxable. No one shall authorise reimbursement of his or her own expenses. Departmental Administrators have delegated authority to check and approve expenses claims made by individuals in the Department.


All goods and services should be purchased in the most economic quantity and to the required quality within the necessary delivery period and at the lowest price and with the least impact on the environment.

Assets registers

Items of equipment and other valuable items should be added, in the case of the Department, to the Asset Register; in the case of the Museum the Acquisition List; and in the case of the Library, the Union Catalogue.


The University's purchasing policy should be consulted if further guidance is required:

Purchasing procedures, legislation and guides