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Advice for suppliers

FRAUDULENT EMAILS AND PURCHASE ORDERS

We have been made aware that a scam targeting existing and potential suppliers to universities and businesses nationally appears to be having a resurgence in London universities.

HOW THE SCAM WORKS

  • A supplier will receive an email or phone call from the fraudster requesting a quotation for specific item(s) of equipment or goods. These may be in large or small quantities and of low to high values.
  • The fraudsters are now also seeking separate quotations for storage services which could potentially then be used to collect the goods once delivered.
  • There are instances where the fraudster has used the name of an individual connected with the university.
  • The fraudster will ask for the quote to be sent to an email address resembling a legitimate university address, e.g. using -ac.uk rather than .ac.uk, or universityof...procurement@outlook.com.
  • Once the quotation has been provided, a purchase order resembling an authentic university purchase order is emailed to the supplier.
  • It typically instructs delivery to an address that may or may not be affiliated to the university. If the university address is used, the fraudsters intercept or redirect the delivery once they get notification of dispatch and tracking from the courier.
  • The fraudster will provide a mobile number, asking for it to be the first number to try as they may be away from their desk or in meetings and therefore unable to take calls on the office extension.
  • After shipping the item(s) of equipment, the supplier never receives payment and is unable to retrieve any of the shipped products.

Please take the necessary precautions so that you are not a victim of this scam.

If you are ever unsure about a quotation request sent by email and purporting to come from Birkbeck, University of London, or the subsequent purchase order, please contact the Procurement Team on +44 (0)20 3926 3184 or +44 (0)20 3926 3143, or a known College contact. Please do not attempt to call any telephone numbers contained within the suspicious emails.

OUR PROCUREMENT PROCEDURES

Our objective is to secure maximum value for money, consistent with acceptable standards of quality and service.

Following the College's standard procedures (all figures inclusive of VAT):

  • For purchases under £5,000, departments are advised to purchase through the best value for money approach. This is if the goods/services are not already covered by an existing contract.
  • For purchases between £5,000 to £50,000, departments are advised to complete a quotation exercise to receive at least three written quotations.
  • For purchases over £50,000, a competitive tender process with guidance from the Procurement team will need to be followed. This is typically for the purchase of more specialist items of equipment/services, or large works projects.

Certain opportunities are advertised on our e-tendering portal, In-Tend, and through Contracts Finder (and the Official Journal of the EU (OJEU), if appropriate). Note that the Find a Tender Service (FTS) will be used to post and view public sector procurement notices, replacing OJEU/Tenders Electronic Daily (TED) after 11pm on 31 December 2020 (the end of the Transition Period). If you are interested in being awarded a contract to supply Birkbeck, you may wish to regularly keep abreast of potential contract opportunities via these sites.

NATIONAL CONTRACTS/FRAMEWORKS

  • The College is a member of the London Universities Purchasing Consortium (LUPC), allowing us access to existing regional or national contracts/frameworks for a range of goods and services developed by the LUPC or a partner consortium.
  • The College can also use any other contracts/frameworks accessible to the higher education sector.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

  • All orders are placed subject to the College's Terms and Conditions, or subject to any special terms negotiated by the Procurement team during a tender exercise.

HOW WE BUY

  • Each department or school holds their own budget, and is ultimately responsible for purchasing its own goods and services following the appropriate procurement procedures.
  • All procurement activity within the College, including spend funded through research grants, is carried out in accordance with legal requirements, financial regulations, our procurement policy and procedural guidance. In addition to adhering to our own financial regulations, Birkbeck is bound by UK Procurement Legislation (Public Contracts Regulations 2015).

INFORMATION FOR BIRKBECK SUPPLIERS

Please follow our guidance to ensure that you have access to all the information you need, and to ensure timely payment.

SUBMITTING PURCHASE ORDER INVOICES ELECTRONICALLY

  • Supplier portal: Suppliers can access the Proactis supplier portal to view and manage all purchase orders raised, as well as add their invoices to the purchase order directly without the need to forward it for processing. This allows a quicker turnaround in submission of invoices for processing and payment.
  • PO flip: Suppliers need to be able to see the purchase order in the portal so that they have access to 'flip' the order and create an invoice summary, then upload their PDF copy of the invoice they wish to have paid. When allocated correctly, the Birkbeck requisitioner will receive a notification email and will have to process it for payment by receipting. The Supplier PO Flip Guide provides further information on entering your purchase order invoices electronically.

SUPPLIER CHANGE OF DETAILS

  • The College undertakes thorough and extensive checks to validate supplier details. Therefore, in order to help us pay suppliers promptly and be able to update records within good time, the College requires a minimum of two weeks advance notice of amendments to any of the following:
    • supplier name
    • supplier address
    • key personnel contact details
    • telephone number
    • ordering email address
    • bank account details
    • remittance email address.
  • Unless and until such amendments requested by the supplier are properly validated and processed, there may be a delay in payment.
  • Please provide us with your updated information, in PDF format, on your company letterhead via .
  • Any updates to bank account details will also require independent proof of the change, e.g.:
    • a void cheque/paying-in slip
    • a signed letter from your bank confirming the new account details
    • a copy of a bank statement dedacting any transaction data.

INVOICE INSTRUCTIONS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

BECOMING A BIRKBECK SUPPLIER

Suppliers who have registered with the College as a trade supplier will be able to receive purchase orders. Suppliers will not be assigned a trade supplier number on the College's system at their request.

REGISTRATION

  • If a department or school wishes to purchase goods or services from a new supplier, both the supplier and the College requester must complete a new supplier registration form.
  • The requester will send the new supplier registration form to the supplier to fill in. The supplier must also provide proof of bank details in one of the formats below:
    • a void cheque/paying-in slip
    • a signed letter from your bank confirming the account details are correct
    • a copy of a bank statement redacting any transaction data.
  • Once set up, the supplier will then receive a welcome email containing a supplier ID and log-in to our supplier portal, Proactis eMarketplace.
  • This will enable the supplier to upload and submit invoices directly onto the College’s finance system, thereby increasing efficiency in the payment cycle. This process is referred to as PO flip, i.e. converting a Birkbeck Purchase Order to a Supplier PO Invoice, which when submitted, enters the Birkbeck system for processing.
  • A link to download an instruction guide will be included in the welcome email automatically.