Running a competitive buying process

Find out how to run a competitive process when buying goods or services.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


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

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


Instead of running a buying process, schools can join a collaborative contract when buying goods and services to save time and money, while also reducing risk.

See Collaborative contracts explained

However, collaborative contracts may not be available in all buying categories. When collaborative contracts are available, they may not meet a school’s needs.

If not buying through a collaborative contract, schools should run a competitive buying process to achieve value for money. Seeking quotes or proposals from multiple prospective suppliers ensures that suppliers offer competitive prices so that they 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.

Using the Government Electronic Tender Service (GETS)

GETS is useful if buying higher-value or higher-risk goods and services. Schools may consider using GETS for purchase of goods or services with contract value more than $100,000.

For 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 schools advertise a need for goods or services on GETS, all interested suppliers who are registered on GETS can apply.

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

Contact or to learn more about advertising on GETS.

Running a competitive process without GETS

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

The principles described in our Buying basics should also be considered, as this process is followed.

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

Step Action

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.



Confirm 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.


See more on Writing a specification of requirements



Confirm your evaluation process


Prepare the evaluation process that your school will follow once all suppliers’ offers are received.


Having a confirmed evaluation process ensures that all offers can be compared fairly and the best offer identified.


See more on Evaluating a supplier’s offer



Engage with 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 (RFP) or Request for Quote (RFQ) which includes your requirements, your evaluation approach, and questions that the suppliers must respond to when they submit their quote/proposal.


Also request that they supply contact details for two current or recent customers who can be referees.



Evaluate offers


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


See more on 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).



Conduct due diligence checks


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


See more on Conducting due diligence.



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.


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


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 will encourage unsuccessful suppliers to submit quotes/proposals to your school again in the future, when they may make your preferred offer.



Maintain records 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 (e.g. final scores, evaluation panel recommendation)
  • records of approvals (e.g. memo to the board).


You may securely dispose off other documentation (e.g. submissions from unsuccessful suppliers, evaluation panel notes etc.).


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