Finance
  

COVID-19 - Critical Purchasing Guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Critical Purchasing Guidance                                                              

Thank you for contacting the University of Nottingham finance department.  The Finance office will be working remotely until further notice as a result of government guidance on COVID19. 

Purchasing Process During COVID-19

The Emergency Finance Group (EFG) has approved that emergency spend controls should be relaxed to enable the University to return to normal operations. All budget holders should use discretion to manage spend within their agreed budget envelopes, including delivery against their 15% plans. Therefore, from 1st September 2020, there will be no further requirement to submit spend requests either to the EFG for approval or the Critical Purchasing Team for processing, and these team members will return to their normal functional teams.

Guidelines for both UK and international travel and accommodation remain in place as detailed below.

Emergency spend controls are to remain in place for all staffing requests, except for externally funded requests which will continue to be automatically approved at the EFG stage in Vacancy Manager. 

Recruitment

Staff recruitment, existing staff changes (including contract extensions) and requests for temporary staff via HR Casual, Unitemps or Tempzone, should only continue for business critical roles within budget or those with secure external funding.

Requests should be raised in Vacancy Manager in the normal way. For University-funded roles, only those supported by the relevant UEB member (Faculty PVC or Professional Service Director) and agreed by the Director of HR on behalf of the Emergency Finance Group will be approved at EFG stage in Vacancy Manager. Externally funded requests will be automatically approved at this stage.

 Requests outside of Vacancy Manager (Unitenps/Tempzone/Contractors etc) should be emailed to hr@nottingham.ac.uk and contain the information requested in the table below.

 Requests will continue to be collated at the end of each week and reviewed by the Director of HR the following week. Exceptional cases may be submitted to a monthly Emergency Finance Group meeting for final approval.

 It is important to remind all approvers that it is their responsibility to ensure that all approvals are affordable and within approved budgets, including savings as identified within the 15% plans.  

Spend Type

What To Do

Email To:

Permanent & Fixed Term  Recruitment

Staff recruitment should only continue for business critical roles within budget for 20/21 and those with secure external funding.

 Please raise an ATF in Vacancy Manager in line with the usual process

 For university-funded roles, only those supported by the relevant UEB member and agreed by the Director of HR on behalf of the Emergency Finance Group (EFG) will be approved at EFG stage in Vacancy Manager. Externally funded roles will be automatically approved at this stage.

 Additional questions have been set by the EFG and added to the ATF form.  These questions must be completed in all cases (except for requests that contain only R project codes).  These additional questions will remain in place during financial year 2020/21 and for as long as is deemed necessary. The questions are:

  • What makes the role business critical?
  • What is the impact of the post not being appointed and how will this be managed?
  • Why the work could not be undertaken by existing resource?
  • How the post fits within the budget for 20/21?
  • For Permanent posts only - Could the post be fixed term in light of future uncertainty?
  • Can the recruitment be delayed for a period of time and if so, how long? 
 

HR Casual Recruitment 

Casual appointments should only continue for business critical assignments within budget for 20/21 and those with secure external funding.

Please raise a CRF in Vacancy Manager in line with the usual process.

For university-funded requests, only those supported by the relevant UEB member or Nominee and agreed by the Director of HR on behalf of the Emergency Finance Group (EFG) will be approved at EFG stage in Vacancy Manager. Externally funded requests will be automatically approved at this stage.

Additional questions have been set by the EFG and added to the CRF form.  These questions must be completed in all cases (except for requests that contain only R project codes).  These additional questions will remain in place during financial year 2020/21 and for as long as is deemed necessary. The questions are:

  • What makes this casual assignment business critical?
  • What is the impact of the casual not being appointed and how will this be managed?
  • Why can the work not be undertaken by existing resource?
  • How does this assignment fit within the budget for 20/21?
  • Can the assignment be delayed for a period of time and if so, how long?
 

Recruitment through Unitemps / Tempzone / Other agencies / Contractors

Temporary appointments should only continue for business critical assignments within budget for 20/21 and those with secure external funding.

For university-funded requests, only those supported by the relevant UEB member or Nominee and agreed by the Director of HR on behalf of the Emergency Finance Group (EFG) will be approved. Externally funded requests can be raised directly with Unitemps

For any university-funded requests, please send an email describing the details of the need and rational, including approval from your relevant FPVC or UEB member, to the HR inbox.

The justification must include the following:

  • What makes this temporary worker assignment business critical?
  • What is the impact of the temporary worker not being appointed and how will this be managed?
  • Why can the work not be undertaken by existing resource?
  • How does this assignment fits within the budget for 20/21?
  • Can the assignment be delayed for a period of time and if so, how long?
hr@nottingham.ac.uk 
Change to an existing member of staff

Please raise an ATF in Vacancy Manager in line with the usual process.

For university-funded roles, only those supported by the relevant UEB member and agreed by the Director of HR on behalf of the Emergency Finance Group (EFG) will be approved at EFG stage in Vacancy Manager. Externally funded requests will be automatically approved at this stage.

Additional questions have been set by the EFG and added to the ATF form.  These questions must be completed in all cases (except for requests that contain only R project codes).  These additional questions will remain in place during financial year 2020/21 and for as long as is deemed necessary. The questions are:

  • What makes the change business critical?
  • What is the impact if the change is not authorised and how will this be managed?
  • Why the work could not be undertaken by existing resource?
  • How the change fits within the overall budget for 20/21?
  • Can the change be delayed for a period of time and if so, how long?
 
Travel

The following guidance is applicable to all travel and accommodation regardless of sources of funding and including externally funded conferences.

Bookings for UK travel and accommodation may be allowed where it is essential for work purposes and where there are no local lockdown restrictions in place either at the initial departure point for the individual or at the final destination.

Bookings for international travel and accommodation may be allowed where it is essential for work purposes where there are no quarantine restrictions in place either at the destination country or upon return to the UK and including all legs of the journey.

All travel is restricted for any individual who resides within a UK local lockdown area.

The individual should seek assurance from host organisations / placement providers and accommodation providers that appropriate measures are in place to ensure compliance with Government regulations before travel takes place. Requests should be approved by the individual’s line manager only if they are assured that travel is essential and meets all Health & Safety guidance as outlined in Section 37 of the Covid-19 Return to Operations policy and guidance. To ensure all Health & Safety and any relevant insurance requirements are satisfied, the current activity/task risk assessment for international travel should be completed for all travel requests regardless of whether travel is international or within the UK.

 The Essential Travel Checklist should be completed and submitted alongside evidenced line manager authorisation together with the Critical Purchasing Request Form to bb-fm-criticalpurch@nottingham.ac.uk

 No further bookings should be made for any non-essential UK or international travel, including conferences, for the academic years 2019/20 and 2020/21; and refunds should be requested where travel or accommodation has been booked but cannot be used due to national and international travel restrictions.

 Travel expenditure should be operated within the existing financial constraints.

BB-FM-CriticalPurch (bb-fm-criticalpurch@nottingham.ac.uk)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Loan of laptops

Staff should complete the laptop request form to request the loan of a University laptop for home working.

There are only a limited number of laptops, so these can only be offered to staff who:

 - Have roles that are critical to the continued operations of the University

 - Do not have a work laptop

 - Do not have a personal device at home that they can use

Requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and will be subject to approval by the Head of Faculty/Department and Information Services.

Complete the laptop request form.

Home internet Access

 

There are some staff that hold critical roles but do not have internet access at home to enable them to continue working during the current isolation period. A process has therefore been set up to provide financial support so staff can purchase an internet service and can claim the incurred charges through expenses.

If you have staff in your teams that are vital to the current operations of the University and do not currently have internet access at home, please ask them to complete the internet service request form.

After we receive submissions:

  • We will ask you to validate requests from your area. You will be required to confirm that the staff hold critical roles and that it is essential that they continue working from home
  • After the Chief Digital Officer has reviewed and approved requests, staff will need to arrange installation/procurement of the internet service themselves and claim back charges through the standard expenses process

Staff should look at short-term contracts for their internet service, such as monthly contracts, and we will reimburse them for the setup and monthly charges they incur for working at home. Please note that this only applies to requests that have been approved through the process above.

Complete the internet service request form

   

 

Additional equipment required for home working – Health and Safety

In exceptional circumstances, there may be a requirement for the University to provide additional equipment (non IT) to employees who are working home working from a health and safety perspective.  Where this is the case, the following procedure must be adopted:

  1. The Employee should initially consult the following Health and Safety website which contains several resources to advise on safe working in the home environment and useful advice on maintaining healthy working conditions:

    https://workspace.nottingham.ac.uk/display/safety/Home+Working
  2. If the need for additional equipment is identified, the employee should perform a risk assessment. A template for this for is included in the link above.  Employees should then consult with their line manager and seek advice from their local DSE assessor; a list of which is also contained within the link. In addition, the Health and Safety team can be consulted for advice on appropriate equipment and the sourcing thereof.
  3. Any subsequent purchase of additional equipment must be approved by the relevant Head of School or Department, in line with the rules set out in the Purchasing Process During COVID-19 Shutdown, and forwarded to the Critical Purchasing Team.
  4. Any purchased equipment will remain the property of the University and must be returned to the University following completion of usage.

 

General Finance enquiries

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