Finance Department


Procurement exist to help the University achieve our objectives and deliver the best results for the best value expenditure. Our role is to assist our staff in dealings with suppliers and to work with them to help source the goods and services needed to do their work.

Procurement do not just provide value for money, but also ensure an operational fit between the needs of the University, our students and staff, and the solutions available from the market. 

In the current day and age, there is high scrutiny of expenditure and a need to reduce costs. Procurement therefore:

  1. Provide procurement services and advice for all spend
  2.  Work collaboratively to ensure we get best value for money
  3.  Analyse spend and risk
  4.  Select suppliers to reduce risk
  5.  Review pricing, costs, terms and conditions and performance
  6.  Work collaboratively to drive performance and value for money
  7.  Deliver operational support
  8. Review how the University works with our suppliers

Approximately £54m a year is spent with external suppliers and contractors. Procurement exist to ensure that that money is spent in a manner that is demonstrably best value in terms of performance, delivery of outcomes, reduced cost and customer satisfaction. 

This includes involvement at every step of a requirement, from the early stages where a need is identified, to the last day of a multi-year contract, and the subsequent arrangement of a new contract. Our intention is to deliver a co-ordinated, business wide approach that meets the aims of the corporate plan.

The Procurement team at the University use an online tender portal, to publish all our procurement opportunities over the value of £25,000. Suppliers should register their details at:

If you wish to become a supplier to us, please use the Contact tab and we will respond if there is a requirement we may wish to pursue.

No PO No Pay FAQs

From  14th September 2020, the University of Kent will operate a No PO No Pay (No Purchase Order No Payment) policy with all suppliers and contractors providing goods, services and works. The policy applies to all  suppliers/contractors unless an alternative formal route of engagement has been agreed with the Head of Procurement.

From this date all invoices received must quote a valid Purchase Order (PO) number and an  approved Purchase Order for the invoice must be on the University’s finance system.

If you are a staff member or student and have received an email or letter in relation to this policy and do not supply the University with goods, services or works please disregard this and accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused.

Q. Why implement this policy?

The policy has been implemented to increase efficiency in the procurement and payment processes across the University, as well as reducing invoice queries.

The policy ensures that the University only pays for goods, services and works that have been properly ordered and payments are only made to genuine suppliers/contractors.

The benefits for suppliers/contractors include a clear specification of works, supplies or services requested and a streamlined consistent process for payment of invoices in accordance with agreed contract terms, with reduced likelihood of payment delays and queries, and reduced risk of fraud.

Q. How does the policy work?

No PO No Pay requires all invoices submitted by suppliers/contractors to contain a valid PO number. Purchase orders are generated by the University’s finance system or other ordering systems (e.g. Library, Accommodation or Catering systems) and are submitted to suppliers/contractors prior to delivery or receipt of goods, services or works.

Q. Will  payment terms be affected by this policy?

Invoices received with a valid  PO number will be paid in line with agreed contract terms. Our standard payment terms are 30 days from authorisation and approval of a valid and correct invoice. Invoices received without a valid PO number quoted are likely to be subject to a delay in payment and may be returned to the supplier/contractor unpaid.

Q. What is  a valid PO number?

Valid PO numbers for University of Kent are several digits long beginning with a number between 1 and 9 clearly identified as the PO number. Valid POs from the University’s systems are sent to suppliers/contractors electronically by prior arrangement.

The use of names, initials, or any other alphanumeric formats means a PO is not valid.

For Suppliers:

Q. What should I do if I don’t receive a PO?

You should only accept an order when a valid PO is provided. If you receive an order from a member of University staff without a valid PO number, you should ask the member of staff to provide one before proceeding.

Q. Where should invoices be sent for payment?

All invoices should be emailed to your current submission email address, normally that of the relevant area Finance Manager, as has been standard practice since March 2020. In the current circumstances paper invoices will no longer be accepted. 

Q. What should I do if I didn't receive a PO number and the invoice is returned to me?

You should contact the member of staff who gave the original instruction to supply the goods, services or works and ask them to provide a valid PO number.

When a valid PO number is obtained, you should send a replacement invoice, quoting the valid PO number to the address above. Upon authorisation of a correct and valid invoice, the 30 day payment target commences.

Q. What should I do if I have sent an invoice quoting a valid PO number and my payment appears to be delayed?
Invoices may be disputed for a number of valid reasons that may include, but are not limited to:

- PO number quoted on invoice is closed or complete
- PO number quoted does not match the issued PO
- Invoice quantities, description, dates or pricing do not match those on the quoted PO number

If your invoice has been delayed beyond the expected payment terms agreed, you should contact the member of University staff you agreed the PO with to request the delay is investigated and a response provided to you.

Q. What are the exceptions to the No PO No Pay policy?
There are a number of approved exceptions to the policy. Your University contact will have confirmed at point of order if an exemption applies to you. This should be noted on your invoice if practical. Should you need further clarification, please speak with your University contact.

Q. Who should I contact if I have any queries about No PO No Pay?

If you have any further queries regarding the policy, please use the Contact tab for guidance.





Finance Department, The Registry, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ

Contact us - Students | Staff | External, or Fax: +44(0)1227 827024

Last Updated: 20/10/2022