Procurement includes all the actions from the time a supply is deemed to be required until the material and/or service has been received at Maynooth University and is ready for disposal. Procurement activity includes :
- Assessment of requirement
- The decision to procure
- The process of making a procurement
- The receipt and storage of goods
- Payment to suppliers
- Stock Control
- Adding assets to fixed asset register
- Disposal of surplus or obsolete goods
In 1996, the Comptroller and Auditor General published a report on value for money examinations within the Universities in Ireland. A key recommendation of that report was that a staff member be appointed to manage and formalise the management review process relating to the procurement function within each University. Resultant on this report, Maynooth University appointed a Procurement Officer in September 1998. All the other Irish Universities have since followed Maynooth's lead.
The University spends €20 million each year on goods and services. This represents 33% of total expenditure with the remaining 67% made up of payroll and related expenditure. The Bursars Office, with which the Procurement and Contracts Office is associated, is committed to a program of change, designed to develop a procurement service which is responsive to the needs of end users, budget holders and the University's finances.
In view of the benefits accruing from price savings and lower administrative costs, the University has adopted a purchasing policy based on allowing individual budget holders to utilise their budgets within defined guidelines. Where possible, centralised running contracts have been put in place for high-volume, low-value items. It is planned to implement further running contracts over the foreseeable future.
The money used for these purchases comes from public funds or grants that have been given to the University for specific purposes. The University has an obligation to ensure that its financial resources are properly controlled and accounted for and that 'value for money' is achieved. The Procurement and Contracts Officer, under the direction of the Bursar, has the responsibility of ensuring that these various aims are achieved. Auditors, both internal and external, have full and free access to all documentation relating to the procurement of any services, goods or supplies within the University.
In 1999, the Finance Committee, the Academic Council and the Governing Authority approved the issue of a Procurement Manual which includes purchasing guidelines intended to give all the practical guidance needed to perform day-to-day purchasing activities. This is amended as changes to EU and National Procurement Guidelines occur. This manual sets out the policies, regulations and procedures that all staff are required to follow. It is recommended to each and every staff member with delegated purchasing authority.