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Purchasing Guidelines

Before purchasing please ensure you read the Purchase Order Procedures, review UNSW Suppliers and follow the relevant guideline below. 

Guidelines for Requestors

  • A Purchase Request is a formal record that a need is established where goods and/or services are to be acquired for UNSW and precedes an approved purchase order transaction in the finance system

Requestors should understand the requirements of the UNSW Procurement Policy and Procurement Procedure when considering buying goods and services on behalf of UNSW, including the procurement value thresholds:

  • AUD incl gst <= $3,000 No quotes required
  • AUD incl gst >$3,000 and <= $30,000 one written quote required (not necessary when purchasing from Preferred Supplier)
  • AUD incl gst>$30,000 and <=$250,000 three written quotes required (not necessary when purchasing from Preferred Supplier)
  • AUD incl gst >$250,000 Buyers and/or requestors should contact Procurement to discuss requirements and ensure compliance to process 
  • Tenders or Exemption. Click here to view the process for Engaging with Contractors
  • A Purchase Request is raised and submitted using the Finance Portal
  • You can raise a single Purchase Request for items that may be sourced from more than one supplier
  • You can raise a single Purchase Request for items required in bulk, that are standing orders, or required over multiple periods
  • It is mandatory to provide the following items when submitting a purchase request: name of the requestor (or who the request is on behalf of), a description of the nature of the required supply, date the supply is required by, business unit entity of the requestor, supply address and location
  • Additional information can be added to a Purchase Request
  • Items including quotes, prices, product details, requirements and specifications, business cases, contracts, business approval, justifications and similar should be provided if known and where relevant

Guidelines for Approvers

By approval of a purchase transaction (including purchase orders, purchase requisitions, and staff and student reimbursements) a financial delegate must understand is to give diligence to University Delegations of Authority, and the Procurement Policy and Procurement Procedure

These guidelines apply to all and any purchase transactions: goods, services, materials, AUD and foreign currency, using preferred and non-preferred suppliers, contractors and consultants and the following procurement threshold requirements apply:

  • AUD incl gst <= $3,000 No quotes required
  • AUD incl gst >$3,000 and <= $30,000 one written quote required (not necessary when purchasing from Preferred Supplier)
  • AUD incl gst>$30,000 and <=$250,000 three written quotes required (not necessary when purchasing from Preferred Supplier)
  • AUD incl gst >$250,000 Buyers and/or requestors should contact Procurement to discuss requirements and ensure compliance to process (Tenders or Exemption). (Click here to view the process for Engaging with Contractors)
  • Best value for money is the basic principle which pertains to purchasing at UNSW. The principle requires consideration of the benefits achieved from the life cycle costs (price, quality, reliability, service, delivery, operating costs, payment terms, and supplier risk management considerations)
  • Prior to approving the purchase of goods and services on behalf of UNSW, the approver must be satisfied that the requestor has obtained sufficient justification to demonstrate the need for the goods and services and has obtained the necessary quotations or an approved tender/quote exemption for the required purchase. Expenditure should be within budget limitations.
  • University business should be conducted in a fair, honest, impartial and ethical manner 

UNSW Code of Conduct
UNSW Fraud Policy

  • Purchases should comply with Occupational Health and Safety requirements. 

Health and Safety Purchasing Guidelines
Supplier OHS declaration

  • UNSW sourcing and purchasing decisions should give appropriate consideration to environmental sustainability.

This means when purchasing, you should consider impact on the environment of the sourcing, selection, supply and use of materials, products, goods and services. You should also consider the life cycle environmental impacts that include: energy consumption, waste generation and management, potential impact of health and the physical environment, and pollution. 

Purchasing Guidelines for Receiptors

By receipting of a purchase transaction (including purchase orders and requisitions) a Receiptor is confirming acceptance or non-acceptance of the supply of goods and/or services to the University.  This confirmation impacts the payment of an invoice to a supplier for those goods and/or services.

These guidelines apply to the receipting of any and all purchase transactions: goods, services, materials, AUD and foreign currency, capex, non-capex, assets and non-assets, using preferred and non-preferred suppliers, contractors and consultants.

  • By actioning a Receipt in the Finance system, a Receiptor is confirming that the supplied item(s), goods and/or services:
    • Reference a UNSW Purchase Order
    • Are the right item(s) or an acceptable alternate item(s) in accordance with specifications
    • Are checked as being new, good, complete and satisfactory supply
    • Are not duplicate supplies
    • Are acceptable for invoicing and payment OR
    • Are not acceptable (faulty, broken, incorrect) and are not accepted for payment.
  • Receipting should be carried out in a timely manner, ordinarily within one working day of receipt of the supply, regardless of full or partial supply being received (unless specific acceptance and set-up criteria applies)
  • Receipting should be actioned before receipt of an invoice; an invoice is not required to action a receipt
  • In a school, unit, centre or division there may be different people involved in the actual logistics of delivery acceptance

The Buyers should be informed where there are duplicate and/or unacceptable supplies to action resolution. Such resolution may include return, replacement, credit note or cancellation of an order.

  • Receiving is the physical act of transfer of item(s) from one entity to another. It does not confirm the supplies received are acceptable for payment by UNSW.

Examples of Receiving: A stores staff member takes delivery of lab supplies from a courier and signs a delivery docket. A receptionist picks up a box of stationery left at reception during the lunch break. 

  • Where an asset is to be receipted, the Buying Network (buyer) needs to be informed of the following items:
    • Asset location
    • Custodian
    • Serial or identification number
    • Asset tag number.
  • Receiving and receipting of supplies should comply with Occupational Health and Safety requirements (see links above in Guidelines for Approvers).

Guidelines for Staff Dealing with Suppliers

Staff members whose job duties may include liaison and business relationships with outside organisations such as suppliers, need to be aware of obligations and practices that must be adhered to. Some things cannot be avoided, may be quite normal or not necessarily wrong, however, the way they are dealt with needs to be considered. Staff should become familiar with the Procurement Guidelines - Contract Management and Supplier Relationship Management.

All staff have obligations under the University's Code of Conduct.

With regards to supplier related activities, you should ensure you are especially aware of:

Staff responsibilities include:

  • Adhering to UNSW policy, procedures and guidelines treating matters in relation to commercial activities in confidence and not divulging information to other parties without consent;
  • Using best judgement and being accountable and ethical
  • Not discussing certain information with suppliers whilst certain activities are being run
  • Holding meetings with two or more staff members present when engaging certain outside organisations.

For more information please contact Finance Helpdesk on or call extension 53330.