Orders create contracts and commit the Governing Body to expenditure from the school's budget share. It is vital that the ordering process fully protects the interests of the Governing Body and the Authority and that the ability to sign or authorise orders is strictly controlled at the school. This applies to electronically prepared and/or transmitted orders as well as those in paper form. Governors and staff need to be aware of potential conflicts of interests and to declare all such interests as contractors or suppliers are selected. Governing Bodies are advised to adopt the County Council's Code of Conduct on Commercial Practices, Gifts and Hospitality, as amended for schools.
2.1 Within the Authority's requirements for value for money, taking into account quality and convenience for the school as well as price, schools may purchase goods and services from whatever source they see fit. Schools are, however, encouraged to participate in the Authority's central purchasing and contract arrangements and Headteachers should seek the advice of the Procurement Team before arranging a contract for goods or services.
2.2 No governor or member of school staff may authorise the purchase of goods or services from themselves, their relatives or any organisation in which they have a significant interest. Neither may they authorise for payment vouchers relating to expenditure incurred or services supplied by themselves, their relatives or an organisation in which they have a significant interest. A register in which all such interests shall be recorded shall be maintained at the school in accordance with the guidance notes issued by the Finance Service.
2.3 If sources of supply outside the Authority's central purchasing arrangements are selected, schools must comply with the procedure for contracts and tenders as laid down in the Standing Orders relating to Contracts, which are set out on SchoolsWeb.
2.4 All orders placed must be covered by the relevant financial provision.
2.5 The Headteacher shall be responsible for all orders issued from the school for goods, work to be done or services rendered.
2.6 A list of employees empowered to authorise orders on behalf of the Governing Body shall be prepared annually and personally certified by the Headteacher, who shall also authorise any amendments to the list. Categories of employees may from time to time be excluded from this provision with the agreement in writing of the Head of Finance.
2.7 The Headteacher must ensure separation of duties so that one person is not able to carry out all parts of a financial transaction such as the ordering, order authorisation, goods receipting and invoice verification of a single purchase.
(a) Each Headteacher shall control the use of official order within his/her school.
(b) Every paper order shall be signed by an authorised employee in his/her own name.
Electronically transmitted orders shall be authorised by an employee, approved for the purpose by the Headteacher, in such a way that the employee can be uniquely identified.
2.9 All paper orders shall be on official order forms or be generated from software approved by the Head of Finance (e.g. SIMS FMS). It is a requirement that all types of order are entered onto the schools local finance system, including utility services (i.e gas, electricity, water and telephone). Where it is necessary to place telephone/verbal/internet/faxed orders, these should be confirmed immediately on an official paper order; which should be clearly endorsed as confirmatory and entered onto the local finance system. This order then provides a commitment in the accounting records on the schools local finance system which supports the monitoring of the school financial plan.
2.10 Official Orders are not required for small cash purchases properly paid out of imprest or petty cash account or paid for by the Authority's purchasing card. However good practice dictates that a system of requisition is in place to maintain control.