Case Study: Internal procurement and audit preparation for UWL

Challenge

We were brought into UWL to assist them in preparing for their internal audit into Finance and Procurement. The University operates a devolved procurement structure, with pockets of procurement activity and resource contained within the more powerful departments such as IT and Estates. This had led to multiple requests for new suppliers to be set up on the Finance system, adding thousands of suppliers to an ever-increasing tail. Our initial assessment also revealed that some of the procurement processes were paper based and not automated and so providing evidence for audit would be a challenge.

Approach

We gathered and assessed 700+ new supplier ‘packs’ to identify key stakeholders, departments, suppliers and spend thresholds. From these we made an assessment of the procurement route that each new supplier request should have followed in line with the University procurement policy. The University lacked a central repository of information, so we contacted 20+ budget holders and reacquisitions to gather the required information for audit purposes. Once complete, we created a central repository and submitted the required information the auditors for review.

During the course of the engagement Lifecycle were also called upon to develop and deliver several training sessions and workshops in relating to procurement ‘Soft Controls’. This was to be a key focus for the audit and so we assisted the FD in rolling this out to 30+ budget holders, requisitions and procurement staff.

We also supported the University in developing a set of procurement options papers for contract and tenders that were identified as being required for renewal. We developed the papers across IT and Estates, whilst also engaging in procurement activity to appoint a supplier for the construction of a new Biomedical Laboratory.

Outcomes

Following the audit, the University received a Green rating from the auditors. The Procurement department have since embedded the improvements identified by Lifecycle and we continue to work with them to further embed Contract Management processes.

This will significantly improve the University approach to Contract Management and also ensure that all relevant data for future audit purposes is centralised and accessible.

“We appointed Lifecycle to assist us with preparing for our internal audit into Procurement and Finance. The team Lifecyle deployed worked enthusiastically and diligently to gather, collate, review and prepare information required for the audit. They also compiled a contract database and provided guidance and contract management support which was invaluable to the overall success of the project.”

 Davinder Sarai, Interim Head

For further details, or to understand how we can help improve the effectiveness of contract management at your University, call James Drury on 07403 418 805. He’ll be happy to explain how we can help.

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