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Getting quotes and choosing a supplier

The cost associated with your job will determine whether suppliers need to bid for the work. Threshold information is provided below.

Considerations for your job

  • Talk to your faculty or institute marketing team, or research communications and engagement. Something similar may already exist or be planned, or you might decide to commission work jointly.
  • Permission? Make sure you have permission for any film or photoshoots you're planning. You'll find some of the contacts for filming on campus in working with your supplier .
  • University standards and guidance – familiarise yourself with any standards relevant to your project, such as our visual identity and style guide. Guidance about specific things (eg running a photoshoot) is in the relevant section of this site. Our approved suppliers are aware of our visual identity specifications.

Getting a quote and briefing suppliers

Use our supplier briefing tool for whatever size of job you're commissioning.(Please avoid sharing the completed supplier briefing tool via OneDrive link).

Getting the results you want starts with a strong brief. Our supplier briefing tool helps you create this. It captures the requirements of your project and prompts you about all the things you need to consider. All suppliers on our creative, design and video framework will expect it.

Once you've submitted your briefing form make sure you or colleagues are available to answer any questions from suppliers.

Direct approach or tender exercise?

The cost associated with your job will determine whether suppliers need to bid for the work. To determine your next course of action, please review the thresholds provided below:

If you work in The Communications and Engagement Team or Facilities Directorate, please view the TEAM-Communications SharePoint site for threshold information.

For design and video thresholds:

  • Up to £5,000 (excluding VAT) – you can offer your job directly to one of our approved suppliers. Fill in and submit the supplier briefing tool. Please review the Supplier Framework Skills Groups page to source the correct supplier to service your brief. Please contact the supplier directly to discuss your brief and commission the project.
  • £5,001–£25,000 (excluding VAT) –
    • Please complete the supplier briefing tool and review the How to go out to tender page - follow the guidelines to facilitate the tender process and send it to the most suitable suppliers.  
    • Please review the Supplier Framework Skills Groups page to find the correct skills group to service your brief. The suppliers then decide whether to pitch for the work and explain their reasons if they decline. Read ‘Choosing a supplier’ below.
    • If you are not sure which Supplier Framework Skills Group can service your brief, please fill out the supplier briefing tool and send it to the Creative team at so we can guide you on which suppliers will be most suitable. 
  • More than £25,001 (excluding VAT) – your job must legally go through a different tendering process. Contact Ben Waters in Purchasing using the Tender Support Form . 

Note: Please retain all of your records for audit purposes.

If you work in The Communications and Engagement Team or Facilities Directorate, please view the TEAM-Communications SharePoint site for threshold information.

Your requirements

Clear requirements will save you time in the long run and help you get the results you want.

Before you input into the briefing tool, think about:

  • Audience – who are you communicating with?
  • Aim – what do your want the communication to achieve?
  • Messages – what do you want your audience to think, feel or do afterwards?
  • Channels – where will you share your communication (eg Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, plasma screen)? This could affect which formats you need from the supplier.
  • Deadlines – make sure you're clear about the end delivery date and the key deadlines before this.
  • Scope – does the job need to work with existing products (eg publications, website) or a design? Might you need related work in the near future (eg digital assets)?
  • Budget – include at least an indicative budget, so suppliers can assess their suitability for the work.
  • Basic quote or more detailed approach? State what kind of response you expect.
  • Options – You may want to ask for different pricing options, eg one that meets the requirements of the brief but is under budget, and the other explaining what could be offered if the full budget was spent and the benefits this would bring.
  • Accessibility – think about the University accessibility standards  you need to follow including digital accessibility .
  • Detail – include as much detail as possible. Costs can increase when suppliers have to make assumptions.

If printing is part of your job

  • Book in your requirements with the University’s Print and Mail Service (formerly Print and Copy Bureau) or check if your supplier will do that for you. All printing must go through the Print and Mail Service (they manage the University’s printing supplier framework). Your chosen supplier should already be aware of this.
  • You will need a print-ready PDF from your supplier. Your signed-off final proof is not high enough quality for printing.
  • All printed materials which contain course or fee information must include the University legal disclaimer. Ask your faculty marketing team or central marketing team for the most recent version.
  • Our suppliers agreed in their contract to store your completed artwork securely and to retrieve it for you free of charge should you require historical files.  Moving forward the supplier will handover master files at the end of each project to the commissioner, finished artwork should be provided as a Packaged InDesign file.

Choosing a supplier

If more than one company has pitched for your job, you will need to select your chosen supplier.

The suppliers’ responses to your brief and examples of their previous work should give you enough evidence to decide. It's ok to ask contact a supplier to ask for clarification or to discuss their approach. Speaking to them might help you decide who you feel best understands what you want to achieve.

Don’t ask for free creative work as part of the pitch. Suppliers have already proved the standard of their work in the selection process. If you want them to produce creative work as part of the pitch, you'll need to allocate budget for this.

For larger, more complex or higher-cost jobs, you might want to include a second stage in the selection process, where you shortlist up to three suppliers and meet them to discuss their approach and experience in more detail.

Once you've chosen a supplier, you must tell the others who pitched that they were unsuccessful - and why. This is good practice and really important to help suppliers improve the quality of their work which benefits the University. They welcome detailed feedback, so please include a couple of lines about why they didn’t get the work. We like to be fair and transparent, so you can mention, budget, understanding of the brief, any timescales, ability to meet the deadline, appropriateness of examples they provided, or anything that made you not decide to put the work to them.

Note: Please retain all of your records for audit purposes.