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No purchase order, no pay policy

This Policy is aimed at University of Bath staff and suppliers of goods, services and works to the University of Bath.


The Procurement Policy forms part of the University’s Financial Regulations. The Policy states that _‘A University of Bath purchase order must be raised for all purchases, other than those detailed on the list of purchases exempt from the requirement to raise a Purchase Order’.

To date, the University has applied a reasonable level of discretion over the practical application of this rule, however, as from 1 July 2021 the University will enforce this rule with the adoption of a ‘No PO, No Pay Policy’. This will mean that any invoice received from a supplier that does not clearly state a valid purchase order reference provided by the University will be rejected and returned to the originating supplier unless the invoice is subject to an exemption specified within this Policy, or an exception has otherwise been agreed with the Head of Procurement.

If you are a supplier and in any doubt as to the process for obtaining a valid Purchase Order reference please see the following guidance.

For members of staff who have queries related to the creation of purchase orders please refer to the guidance for raising a requisition using the University's finance system.


The University and its suppliers will both benefit from a more rigorous approach to ensuring all invoices contain a valid purchase order reference. Those benefits include:

  • The prompt payment of invoices in accordance with the relevant payment terms. The University’s standard terms are 30 days from receipt of a valid invoice.
  • A more efficient response to supplier queries related to the status of the delivery of goods, services or works and associated payments.
  • An appropriately authorised commitment to purchase ensuring the necessary funds are available before the goods, services or works are supplied.
  • Clarity over the terms and conditions that apply to each purchase, thus removing the risk to the University of contracting on terms other than the University’s standard terms and conditions of contract, or those agreed by the Head of Procurement. More information on the University’s standard terms and conditions can be found here.
  • Confirmation that the purchase of all goods, services and works are made with a University approved supplier that have been subject to the relevant due diligence checks.
  • Greater compliance with the relevant procurement process in accordance with the University Procurement Policy ensuring value for money has been achieved.
  • Increased accuracy for reporting, budgeting and forecasting of expenditure.

Submitting a valid invoice

A valid invoice must contain a clearly stated University of Bath purchase order reference.

Unless an exception has been agreed by the Head of Procurement, all invoices should be sent via email as a PDF attachment to the Payments Office. Any hard copy invoices received, may be subject to delays in processing.

Please note that invoices may also be subject to a delay in processing for other valid reasons such as dispute over quantity, description, dates, pricing, etc.


The following types of purchase are currently approved as exempt from the requirement to raise a Purchase Order. No other purchase is currently exempt from this requirement.

If in any doubt please contact the Head of Procurement.

Types of Purchases that do not require a Purchase Order:

  • Utilities – e.g. water, gas, electricity, heating fuel
  • Rent, Rates and Property Lease
  • Travel booked through the University’s appointed Travel Management Company
  • Insurance Premiums
  • Mobile Phone Rental / Call Charges (does not include the purchase of handsets)
  • Approved Subscriptions to professional bodies, academic associations and societies
  • Legal fees as deemed appropriate by the Senior Legal Advisor
  • External examiner fees
  • Reimbursement of travel and subsistence expenses in compliance with the University’s Travel and Expenses Policy
  • Research Collaboration payments
  • Products sold within the University Retail outlets
  • Postal and courier services
  • Customs charges
  • Purchases made using a University purchase card Note, separate and specific rules apply
  • Emergency works/services with agreement from the Head of Procurement. In some instances it may be necessary to raise a purchase order after the work has commenced, but prior to processing the related invoice
  • Industrial gases and the associated hire of containers from BOC
  • Any other payment as agreed by the Head of Procurement

Please note this list is subject to change at the discretion of the Head of Procurement.

For clarity, it is not necessary to raise a purchase order for non-procurement payments such as payments to staff and students, and compensation payments to research participants, etc.

Queries related to the creation or receipt of purchase orders should be sent to the Procurement team.

Queries related to the payment of invoices should be sent to the Payments Office.


If you have any questions, please contact us.

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