Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General - Press Release VFM examination report of Procurement in Universities

Press Release issued on 17 January 1997

VFM examination report of Procurement in Universities

The Comptroller and Auditor General, Mr John Purcell, has carried out an examination of procurement management and practice in Irish universities. A report of the examination was presented to Dáil ?reann today.

Universities receive the bulk of their funding from the State by way of grants issued through the Higher Education Authority. The seven universities spend approximately ?76m on goods and services annually. The examination focused on nine categories of goods and services which collectively account for ?17m annually.

The examination focused on

  • the adequacy of procurement arrangements within each university
  • areas where combined purchasing arrangements might be applied
  • whether university procurement policies are in line with best practice.

Main Findings

While there is a growing consciousness in universities of the economy gains that can be achieved by improved procurement management and practice, the report reveals wide variations in the prices paid for similar goods and services, both within and between universities, most notably in the purchase of chemicals and books and in the provision of cleaning and security services.

The report suggests that greater use of centralised purchasing arrangements could yield significant benefits. Such arrangements have already proved their worth in the area of information technology where special deals have been made at more attractive prices and conditions than had been previously available.

Apart from collaborative arrangements between universities the report identifies a number of other areas where improvements could be achieved

  • clearer purchasing policies and practices
  • better management information
  • training and development of staff involved in the purchasing function.

On the basis of experience elsewhere, savings of between 5% and 15% would be achieved by adopting the suggested approach.

For further information about the report contents, please contact:

Derrick Rapple

Tel: +353 1 679 3122

Fax: +353 1 679 3288


Publication Details

VFM Report Number 12: Procurement in Universities

ISBN 0-7076-3765-1

Price ?5

Government Publications Sales Office

Sun Alliance House

Molesworth Street

Dublin 2

Tel: +353 1 661 3111

Fax: +353 1 475 2760

The contents of this page were last updated on 26/09/03