Universities and third-level education institutions face a number of challenges when it comes to procurement. From pens and paper to high-tech laboratory equipment, they need to ensure that their procurement is both efficient and cost-effective. With so many diverse needs to cater for, budgets and regulations to consider, it can be challenging to stay on top of procurement while also focusing on delivering high-quality education. That is why many Irish institutions are turning to central procurement models to help streamline the process and get the goods and services which meet their requirements.

The Education Procurement Service (EPS) represents education in the central procurement model, by tailoring arrangements specifically to meet the procurement needs of universities and third level institutions. We offer a streamlined procurement process, allowing universities and third level institutions to compliantly purchase goods and services through central frameworks and arrangements.

Partnering with a central procurement model ensures access to a broader range of suppliers without the need for time-consuming negotiations. There will be a readily available variety of trusted relationships with suppliers previously established. This can foster the building of strong connections leading to better deals and higher levels of service.

Some other key benefits of working with a central procurement model are as follows:

  • Cost Savings: Universities and third level institutions can purchase goods and services using centralised frameworks and arrangements, reducing costs and providing access to better prices due to the varied list of suppliers.
  • Improved Efficiency: The use of centralised frameworks and arrangements streamlines the procurement process, making it faster and easier without consuming all the institution’s resources.
  • Increased Compliance: The use of centralised frameworks and arrangements help to ensure that all procurement activities are compliant with Public Procurement Regulations. Thus, reducing the risk of non-compliance and avoiding potential penalties.
  • Improved Quality: The model provides access to a greater range of quality goods and services, with the potential to reduce risk and improve outcomes.



Colette Gallagher Category Manager for Laboratory/Research Diagnostics, Services & Equipment

At the University of Galway, we have been involved with the Central Procurement Model since its inception in 2014.

Our institution and the Education Procurement Service (EPS) have a long and very beneficial relationship in terms of collaboration and information sharing.

We have adopted all of the technically suitable EPS’s centralised frameworks and arrangements, ensuring that we are purchasing goods and services in a compliant and efficient manner and are proven to be value for money. Our University professional procurement team works closely with the EPS Team to assess our specific needs, agree the most suitable procurement strategy and support our Budget Holder through to the award of contracts.

Like all change, there is an initial period of uncertainty, when the central procurement model was introduced, however this was quickly overcome with a series of roadshows that were designed as group specific, per category of expenditure e.g. our ISS colleagues, the Lab Technical Officer Group, our Team from Buildings & Estates met separately with the representatives from EPS and discussed the model and shared procurement experiences.   This proved to be a very empowering experience for all involved.

Our Teams have undergone, a series of procurement workshops which have been designed and delivered in-house by our University Professional Procurement Team.   Where the EPS lead out on procurement procedures on behalf of our institution, we are very certain in the knowledge that our Budget Holders are well supported by the EPS Team and achieve their desired outcomes.

The central procurement model has a number of advantages, which includes:-

  • Achieving Value for Money : By leveraging the centralised frameworks and arrangements, we have achieved cost savings and process improvements.
  • Improved Efficiency: The CPM allows for certain procurement methodologies that are abbreviated as the main frameworks are already established, thereby significantly reducing timelines from SRFT to Award of Contract.  As you can imagine this is very pleasing to our Research PIs and Academics.
  • The support provided by the EPS Team on sourcing of our goods/services, means that the University Professional Procurement Team have been able to focus on the higher value centralised (recurring) contracts thereby increasing our level of compliant expenditure
  • The annual MAPP exercise has proved to be very worthwhile.
  • The EPS and our University Procurement Team work extremely well together and share relevant procurement related skills and knowledge.
  • Having the EPS Team represent us in OGP projects such as the new eTenders platform is very important.

Embracing the Central Procurement Model and working together is very worthwhile for the professional development of both teams.  Our University embraced the central model and invest in its continued development.

The central model has already proven successful for defined categories of goods/services.

Ann Melia,
Head of Procurement & Contracts at the University of Galway

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