Purchasing at UCL

Purchase To Pay

UCL has a Procurement To Pay (P2P) policy of improving the efficiency of our P2P processes by utilising electronic ordering and invoicing where feasible. To achieve this we use a third party portal. Currently this is Science Warehouse. This is appropriate for suppliers of recurrent catalogue items. For suppliers of recurrent non-catalogue items we are looking to offer the same facility using punch out to our back-office system, Oracle Financials.

The benefits to suppliers of putting their catalogues on Sciences Warehouse and being able to invoice electronically is that payment is far quicker (typically 15 days ) and the elimination of the need for credit control.

The system for suppliers who issue paper invoices is the process of change.

The system at present (December 2010) is that invoices are sent to the ordering department who approve the invoice and then send to the Finance Division to pay.

During the current academic year (August 2010 to July 2011) the system will change with all invoices being sent to the Finance Division who will make payment. Payment will be made after departments have received the order on the system. The roll-out programme for this change is expected to start during Spring 2011.


The process of placing individual orders with suppliers is devolved to Schools, Faculties and Departments operating within the UCL Financial Regulations and Procurement Procedures. The majority of goods and services are ordered using the UCL iProcurement purchasing system and a purchase order is issued. Goods or services should not be supplied without an official UCL purchase order. Payment will not be made without a valid UCL order number.

Currently orders may be placed in one of two ways. Using a UCL Purchase Order or by using a UCL Purchasing Card. Purchasing cards are used typically for low value, re-current items from suppliers who are not available via electronic ordering. There is currently a review of the use of Purchasing card.

UCL’s Spend

UCL’s spend on goods and services is about £240 Million a year. Approximately one third of that is on dedicated Estates Expenditure.