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Basic information for suppliers

How do I become a supplier?

Contracted suppliers are usually appointed to the University through a competitive tender process, or through using tendered framework contracts. The University does not have an 'approved supplier list'.

The University subscribes to In-Tend software which allows on-line management of tenders and quotations. Live opportunities are published on In-Tend.

If you are interested in supplying the University, details of how to register for In-Tend and how to submit returns are available on our bidding for contracts pages.

Major contracting opportunities are formally published in the Government's Find A Tender ServiceContracts Finder or trade journals.

You can also become a supplier through one of the frameworks let by our public sector contracting bodies.

Follow the links below for more information on some of the bodies available:

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We expect suppliers to:

• agree to abide by our Supply Chain Code of Conduct;

• sign up to our General Purchase Terms  - which are generally non-negotiable - or depending on the purchase an alternative set of agreed terms.

Supplier engagement and development

We believe that by engaging with, and understanding, our suppliers, we can ensure not only that contracts are delivered better but that we can benefit mutually as well. This ethos and approach is embedded in our operating processes.

We do this through a simple on-line tool that asks you to tell us about your business and its impacts (environmental, social and economic) both good and bad. This helps us to understand you and how we can work together to help reduce some of the negative impacts we have and celebrate the positive benefits that we create together. Completing this is free and simple and provides an opportunity to support your own sustainability plans and actions. It also provides a unique action plan which may be of help in your business or when bidding for work elsewhere in the public sector.

Whilst currently not mandatory, we expect our contracted suppliers to co-operate with us in doing this; those that don’t complete it will receive reminders which will be followed up at contract review meetings.

More than 40 universities are now using the same on-line system; if you complete it for us you can choose to share the information with other universities with which you deal without repeating the process.

We are committed to supporting and developing local and SME suppliers and have used the information from our supplier engagement portal to develop a series of guides for this audience.

We don’t ask you to do something we are not willing to do ourselves; in our capacity as a supplier to other universities and organisations we have completed our own action plan

We support suppliers by promoting contracts internally through our contract database. Opportunities are offered to launch new contracts, new product ranges or particular initiatives. Space may also be available in certain Faculties or buildings to host events and mini-exhibitions.

We run formal supplier exhibitions, open to contracted suppliers, every few years that provide an opportunity for suppliers to meet and engage with large numbers of key end users.

Suppliers and products are checked and vetted as part of our procurement processes; it is important that we ensure that we are achieving value for money and managing risk effectively. However, responsible procurement is also how we engage with our suppliers in a way which delivers our strategic objectives, supporting the development of a sustainable supply base.

In addition, the Supplier Engagement Tool provides us a range of data on the sustainability priorities and actions across our supply base which we use as part of reporting and to help share best practice across our supply chain. We use the information this provides in a variety of ways, for example: within our annual Modern Slavery Statement; for reviewing our priorities (1000 suppliers) and informing our wider corporate objectives.


One of the University’s core strategic goals is around social responsibility. As a large civic university we exist to expand understanding and disseminate knowledge for the wider benefit of society. We are a global operation but founded and based firmly in Manchester where we hope to have a positive impact on our city and wider region. One area where we believe that we can make a difference is by ensuring competition within, and diversifying, our supply chain including helping to support smaller and local suppliers either directly or through our main contractors.

This is a challenge for us – of the total number of businesses in Greater Manchester, 99% or 104,000 businesses are small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). We already have more than 8,500 suppliers on our finance system, and over 80% of these class themselves as SMEs.

However, it is an opportunity as well because, where practicable, we are keen to spend as much as we can locally and with SMEs either directly or within our wider supply chain. Most of our strategic spend is with the 10% of our formally contracted and centrally managed suppliers. We are increasingly targeting these tier one suppliers to tell us about their supply chains and demonstrate how they deliver value for money from their suppliers; this might be you.

We have committed to be socially responsible. We have developed a responsible procurement approach and one key aspect of this is a more systematic means of engaging with our suppliers. We ask all of our suppliers to complete a simple, free online tool to tell us about their business and help us to understand their issues and strengths so that we can understand them and work more closely to achieve our individual objectives. Many of our suppliers have completed this already (more than 90% of them identifying themselves as SMEs) and using what they have told us, we have produced some simple guides to help other smaller businesses to address issues and help them develop.

The University is committed to helping the city become zero carbon by 2038, and one way we can achieve this is by working with our suppliers. UK Universities Purchasing Consortia (UKUPC) have produced some guidance for SMEs on developing a carbon reduction action plan

Guidance for SMEs: