As part of the wider programme of work across the University to ensure our future financial sustainability, a task force reporting to the Cash & Capital Approvals Committee has been looking into ways to reduce the cost of our day-to-day activities. The group is led by our Procurement Team, with members from JSNCC and both central and Divisional finance staff, with their work key to identifying non-pay savings required this year.
A number of changes to how the University procures its goods and services have already been put in place as a result of this, helping ensure that expenditure is limited to essential activity only. With immediate effect:
External Providers can now only be used when there is no viable internal alternative, meaning that (for example) all refreshments must be ordered through Kent Hospitality and all printing requirements through the Design and Print Centre. If cheaper alternatives are found externally, this should be shared with the relevant internal department in case they can review and improve their offering.
Purchasing Cards will now have a transaction limit of £500, with Procurement working to reduce the total number currently in use across the University.
Travel should currently only be booked if it directly relates to the successful recruitment of students and meets wider government Covid-19 restrictions. Travel budgets will also be reduced as a result of latest government advice, with restrictions lifted when appropriate.
Unneeded suppliers whose services are no longer required as a result of Covid-19 restrictions have been written to by Procurement to suspend their services for the duration of major changes such as the closure of campus. If any supplier insists on being paid while not providing services, refer all correspondence to the Procurement Team.
More widely, the Cash & Capital Approvals Committee is working closely with budget holders to ensure that all departments contribute to University-wide efforts to identify savings. This includes limiting any end-of-year spend to essential activity only, ensuring as much resource as possible can be put towards core University work.