Standardisation Process

The Procurement Operations Team covers all aspects of the day to day running of the Trust procurement arm. From travel to bandages, pacemakers to pens.

It also covers the process of standardisation. This process is a very important part of the continual push for ‘value for money’ and technological advancement whilst maintaining clinical excellence. Looking at where the hospital can save money, consolidate product types to use as few variables as possible and take advantage of any national deals provided by the NHS Supply Chain. If you are a supplier to the NHS, all samples and proposals for change to product and new products MUST go via this route. There are serious consequences for suppliers who try to bypass this system.

The procurement department works to ensure that it makes the best use of its resources by seeking the best value for money on all appropriate non-pay expenditure. The department also aims to ensure compliance with trust standing financial instructions (SFIs) and public procurement regulations, manage supply risk and provide operational support and strategic advice on all purchasing and supply issues.

General information

The Trust must comply with standing financial instructions and public procurement regulations when it commits expenditure to procure goods, services and works. All contracts must deliver best value for money.

The Trust recognises that the prime function of company representatives is to promote and sell their products and services. The Trust also recognizes the importance of realising new and alternative products and services on the market. These functions must be carried out in an appropriate and ethical manner and must not contravene Trust, NHS or Government policies.

The Trust has a clear procedure in place which aims to put the relationship between the Trust and its suppliers on a sound and professional basis. Adherence to the procedure will ensure that all suppliers are managed in a professional, appropriate and fair manner. It also serves to reduce the risk regarding security, unwanted intrusion on staff and nursing time, unfavourable commercial and financial terms being agreed, the undermining of existing agreements and the use of unapproved products.

The Trust expects all suppliers to adhere to this procedure.

Procedure for suppliers contacting or meeting with Trust staff

Suppliers must follow the procedure below before contacting or arranging meetings directly with members of Trust staff:

  • Suppliers must contact the Procurement and Supplies department in the very first instance.
  • The Procurement and Supplies department will hold initial discussions with suppliers to determine the following:
    • Determine how the supplier or product fits in with the Trust’s current supply strategy.
    • Gather necessary product and supplier information.
    • Seek input and views from the relevant stakeholders within the Trust.
    • Co-ordinate supplier meetings and points of contact.
    • Undertake a compliant procurement process and undertake any commercial negotiations.
  • Instances where a supplier is visiting at the specific request of a department or member of staff must be restricted to: –
    • Reasons of technical support,
    • Training or,
    • Queries on existing products it supplies to the Trust.
  • All Representatives must get a visitor’s badge from the security desk in main reception upon arriving at the Trust, the representative must then report to the Procurement Department to sign in before attending their meeting. Supplier representatives not following this process may be refused access to the site.

Purchase orders and supplying goods or services

A commitment by the Trust to purchase goods or services is only entered into if an official Trust purchase order has been raised, signed by an appropriate Trust signatory and provided to a supplier. Suppliers must not supply goods or services without first receiving an official Trust purchase order. The Trust shall accept no liability whatever to a supplier regarding goods or services supplied without an official purchase order.

No purchase order, no payment

The Trust operates a strict “No purchase order or Contract = no pay” policy. All invoices received into the Trust without a valid purchase order number will be rejected and returned to the supplier as not complying with Trust policy. No payment of invoice will be the result.


Procurement and contracting

To achieve value for money, the Trust requires a minimum of three written quotations for proposed contracts valued between £4,999 and £24,999. Contracts above £25,000 should be subject to a formal tendering process. Contracts above the OJEU thresholds are subject to the correct OJEU process. Best practice requires the Trust to conduct its procurement acted in a fair, open and transparent manner whereby each supplier affords equal opportunity to compete for business and given constructive feedback.

All goods and services will be procured against the standard NHS terms and conditions for procuring goods and services and can be found by clicking here

Materials management

This is a medical consumables stock replenishment system based at individual ward or department level. A dedicated team of materials management staff carries out stock checks, reordering and unpacking on a weekly schedule on behalf of each ward.


The process is supported by an electronic bar coding/PDA system, linked directly to the local NHS Supply Chain warehouse facility. All orders are sent electronically to NHS Supply Chain for packing and distribution. Logistical costs are minimized by rationalizing orders, deliveries and consolidated invoicing.

Core management objectives

Probity of systems

It is important to ensure that there are appropriate checks in the system to prevent and detect fraud. All procurement processes are therefore continually monitored to ensure and show effective control. All systems are subjected to inspection by auditors.

Compliance with standing orders; standing financial instructions (SFIs); and public procurement regulations.

All purchase requisitions go through a hierarchical approval process in line with the Trusts delegation of authority. The Trust uses approved suppliers and contracts and complies with financial thresholds for seeking quotations and tenders. Where appropriate goods and services are purchased from existing contracts to ensure commitment to the supply strategy.

Obtaining value for money

Value for money must be sought on all public expenditure. To get the maximum benefit from the expenditure and ultimately improve patient care, the Trust must get value for money on all the goods and services purchased. The recommended method for ensuring value for money is to encourage fair and open competition. It is recognized, however, that value for money is not necessarily the lowest price. There is a need for the Trust to consider whole-life costs, e.g. Maintenance and consumables and quality and undertake a cost benefit analysis.

Procurement advice

Procurement acts in an advisory capacity to the Trust on all procurement issues such as current best practice, contractual and legal implications, policy formulation, strategic recommendations and as a point of contact for external stakeholders in procurement.