Running a competitive buying process

When you are not buying goods or services through a collaborative contract, you should run a competitive buying process.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • Principals and Tumuaki
  • Staff responsible for buying on behalf of their school
  • Boards

When to use a buying process

When buying goods and services for your school, you have the option to join collaborative contracts.

Collaborative contracts explained

However, collaborative contracts:

  • may not be available in all buying categories
  • they may not always meet a school’s needs.

If you are not buying through a collaborative contract, you should run a competitive buying process to achieve value for money. This is a process of seeking quotes or proposals from multiple prospective suppliers to make sure that suppliers are offering competitive prices to secure the contract.

A competitive buying process may be run either through the Government Electronic Tender Service (for high-value purchases) or independently with a closed set of suppliers.

Contract opportunities – Government Electronic Tender Service

Running a competitive buying process without GETS

Using the Government Electronic Tender Service

Government Electronic Tender Service (GETS) is useful if you are buying higher-value or higher-risk goods and services. You may consider using GETS for purchase of goods or services with contract value more than $100,000.

If your school is buying construction works and construction related services for school property, the school property procurement framework specifies when the use of GETS is mandatory.

School property procurement

When you advertise a need for goods or services on GETS, any registered supplier can apply.

See more on using GETS on the New Zealand Government Procurement and Property (NZGP) website.

Options for approaching the market – NZGP(external link)

Contact to learn more about advertising on GETS.

Running a competitive process without GETS

If you are not joining a collaborative contract or using GETS, you can run a competitive process following the steps below.

The principles described in our buying basics should also be considered while this process is followed.

Buying basics

Steps for running a competitive buying process

This is a general guide. Adaption may be required when buying certain goods or services.

  1. Research suppliers
  2. Specify your requirements
  3. Confirm your evaluation process
  4. Request quotes or proposals from suppliers
  5. Evaluate offers
  6. Conduct a due diligence check
  7. Award the contract
  8. Maintain a record of the process

1. Research suppliers

Learn which suppliers are operating in your local area by:

  • asking other schools (and listening to their feedback on the service)
  • researching online
  • checking for advertising in local media.

Establish a shortlist of 3-5 suppliers who your school will later request proposals from.

Document the reasons for shortlisting those specific suppliers for future reference.

2. Specify your requirements

Prepare to specify your requirements to suppliers. This informs suppliers of your expectations of them.

This might take the form of a formal specification of requirements.

Writing a specification of requirements

3. Confirm your evaluation process

Outline the evaluation process that your school will follow once all suppliers' offers are received.

Having a defined evaluation process will make sure all offers can be compared fairly and the best offer identified.

Evaluating a supplier’s offer

4. Request quotes or proposals from suppliers

Request quotes/proposals from the suppliers that you shortlisted during step 1.

Provide the suppliers with your specification of requirements and inform them of the evaluation process that you will follow.

It is recommended that you issue a formal 'request for proposal' or 'request for quote'. This will include your requirements, your evaluation approach and questions for suppliers to respond to when they submit their quote/proposal.

You should also request that they supply contact details for 2 current or recent customers who can be referees.

5. Evaluate offers

Evaluate the offers made to your school by following your evaluation process.

Evaluating a supplier’s offer

You will then identify the best supplier(s), who are to be taken forward to the final due diligence checks (Step 6).

6. Conduct a due diligence check

Before awarding a contract to the identified supplier(s) in Step 5, your school should conduct due diligence checks.

Conducting due diligence

7. Award the contract

Award the contract to the best supplier when due diligence checks have been completed.

Execute the contract with the supplier and add an entry to your contract register.

Contract registers

The supplier’s work can begin on the date stated in their contract.

You should also inform unsuccessful suppliers that they have not been awarded the contract.

  • Explain how they performed under your evaluation criteria and why the winning supplier had an advantage (without disclosing commercial information). 
  • This may encourage unsuccessful suppliers to submit quotes/proposals to your school again in the future, and consider how they may make a stronger offer.

8. Maintain a record of the process

Securely file records of the buying process that you followed.

This information should include:

  • any planning documents that you prepared
  • records of the evaluation process (for example, final scores, evaluation panel recommendation)
  • records of approvals (for example, memo to the board).

You may securely dispose of other documentation (submissions from unsuccessful suppliers, evaluation panel notes and so on).

Last reviewed: Has this been useful? Give us your feedback