'No PO, No Pay' policy

The University’s Financial Regulation Section 4.4.4.c. mandates a ‘No PO, No Pay’ Policy: 

“Except where approved by the Director of Procurement or where placing orders using a Purchasing Card……., the procurement of all goods, works and services must be based on a purchase order issued to the supplier prior to the delivery of the goods or commencement of the service or works, using a purchase ordering system”. 

Benefits of ‘No PO, No Pay’ policy 

  • Ensures that purchases are authorised before goods, services and works are supplied. 
  • Enables the University to process invoices efficiently thus ensuring a positive payment profile with suppliers/contractors. 
  • Allows accurate timely reporting, budgeting and forecasting across the University. 
  • Removes potential risk to the University by formally agreeing the terms of engagement before the supplier/contractor commits to deliver. 

Requesting expenditure 

As a reminder, all University employees must: 

  • not commit University funds without prior issue of a purchase order. 
  • use a University approved supplier in compliance with the Procurement Regulations. 
  • raise an appropriate purchase order, gain its approval and communicate the purchase order number to the supplier/contractor 

In accordance with the University’s ‘No PO No Pay’ policy, any invoices received from a supplier/contractor which does not clearly state a valid Purchase Order provided by the University will be rejected and returned to the supplier/contractor. The only exceptions to this relate to supplies in relation to the list below. 

Exception to ‘No PO, No Pay’ 

The following expenditure/circumstances do not require POs. The Exceptions List currently covers: 

  • Telecommunication services (landline and mobile) 
  • Utilities (i.e. Electric, Gas, Water, Refuse) 
  • Postal services 
  • Grant (payments) to research partners and collaborators, where the University acts as lead partner. 
  • Rent (where covered by a signed Long-term Lease Agreement) – short term rental requires a PO. 
  • Rates (Council and Water) 
  • Payments to or on behalf of Public Bodies – non-procurement related payments only. A PO should be raised in respect of any procurement related spend. 
  • Payments to individuals (scholarships, bursaries, salaries, travel expenses, prizes, awards and refunds) 
  • Child care vouchers 
  • Purchasing and Credit card payments 

This list is under constant review and any further changes will be communicated to our suppliers by email. 

An initial default will temporarily apply to membership subscriptions (Corporate or otherwise), whereby invoices can be received without a PO, and will be reviewed on a case by case basis. Where such a subscription merits a PO exempt status, on review, both the supplier and requisitioner will be informed and our list updated. 

Emergency Purchase Order 

In exceptional circumstances an Emergency PO reference can be supplied followed with an official PO number generated from Smarter Purchasing system within 3 (three) working days. 

Invoice processing 

Invoices received without a current valid purchase order number (or an incorrect purchase order reference) will be returned unpaid to the supplier/contractor. 

The supplier/contractor will be instructed to contact the University employee who requested the goods, services or works to obtain the necessary purchase order information. Please ensure that any purchase order numbers quoted are current and valid. If a limit order is issued to the supplier, please ensure that the value has not already been completed or exceeded with the placement of the new commitment. 

Invoices 

All invoices must be addressed to University of Leicester at the address below and sent as a PDF to uolinvoices@leicester.ac.uk.  

PO Box 7717 
University of Leicester Invoices 
Royal Mail 
Corby Delivery Office 
Crucible Road
Corby
NN17 5ZZ 

Alternatively, printed invoices can be sent directly in the post to the address above.

Proforma invoices, which cannot be used for VAT purposes, will not be processed.

What is 'No PO, No Pay'?

'No PO, No Pay' is one of University of Leicester’s key financial control measures to ensure that payments are made only to suppliers and contractors where the supplied invoice (paper or electronic) contains a valid official Purchase Order (PO) number (unless a pre-agreed exception applies – see the exception FAQ below) 

Why a 'No PO. No Pay' financial control measure?

'No PO, No Pay' ensures that the University only pays for goods, services and works which have been properly ordered and authorised. It also ensures invoices received by the Accounts Payable team can be processed efficiently to minimise delay to suppliers and contractors. Invoices received by the Accounts Payable team without a valid PO number will not be paid and will be returned to the supplier. 

How does 'No PO, No Pay' work?

'No PO, No Pay' requires all invoices submitted by suppliers and contractors to contain an official PO number. In all, but exceptional circumstances, the PO number: 

  • will be generated from the University’s corporate purchasing system, and 
  • given to the supplier or contractor before making any commitment to spend University monies. 

In exceptional circumstances an Emergency PO reference will be supplied followed by an official PO number generated from our purchasing system within 3 (three) working days. There are exceptions to 'No PO, No Pay' – these are listed below. 

What exceptions apply to the 'No PO, No Pay' financial control measure?

The following expenditure/circumstances do not require POs. This list is under constant review and any further changes will be communicated to our suppliers by email. The Exceptions List currently covers: 

  • Telecommunication services (landline and mobile) 
  • Utilities (i.e. Electric, Gas, Water, Refuse) 
  • Postal services 
  • Grant (payments) to research partners and collaborators, where the University acts as lead partner. 
  • Rent (where covered by a signed Long-term Lease Agreement) – short term rental requires a PO. 
  • Rates (Council and Water) 
  • Payments to or on behalf of Public or Government Bodies – non-procurement related payments only. A PO should be raised in respect of any procurement related spend. 
  • Payments to individuals (scholarships, bursaries, salaries, travel expenses, prizes, awards and refunds) 
  • Child care vouchers 
  • Purchasing and Credit card payments 

An initial default will temporarily apply to membership subscriptions (Corporate or otherwise), whereby invoices without a PO will be reviewed by the University on a case by case basis. Where such a subscription merits a PO exempt status both the supplier and requisitioner will be informed and our list updated. 

What is the valid PO number sequence/format for the University?

All valid PO numbers, in PDF/paper form, with the exceptions of those mentioned below, are issued in an AAA41nnnnnnnn format, where “A” is an upper-case alpha character, designating department, and “n” is a number. Verbal PO numbers will be quoted as 41nnnnnnnn, i.e. without the 3 alpha characters. 

Purchase orders placed directly by the University’s Catering Services (H4U) and Library Services from their own stock ordering systems will remain valid, as will the University’s Estates Maintenance and Chemical stores paper PO’s in EMA218nnnnn and CHE702nnnn formats respectively. 

College Court Conference Centre PO number format will continue to remain valid also. 

Will I only receive POs through the post?

No, POs will usually be emailed to the email address provided in your supplier details, however, they can be faxed or mailed if necessary. PO numbers can also be confirmed over the telephone, but for your own records you should ask for the copy. 

What happens if I receive a PO and it does not seem to be correct or I don’t understand the details?

Contact the person who placed the PO initially (details will be quoted on the order) and ask for clarification. If necessary the original PO can be cancelled and a replacement issued. 

What should I do if I don’t receive a PO?

Contact the person who placed the verbal or email order and ask for a formal PO, or as a minimum, a PO number. 

How do I know that the PO has been approved at the correct level of authority?

POs will only be produced by our corporate procurement system once authorised by the appropriate person. 

Will I be paid quicker if I quote a PO number?

The University’s standard payment terms for invoices submitted against a PO are 30 days from date of invoice. 

Invoices may be delayed for payment if conditions exist that lead to the invoice being disputed. 

However, invoices received without a valid PO number quoted will not be paid and will be returned. This may lead to a delay in the payment process. 

An invoice has been returned requesting a valid PO number must be quoted. How can this be obtained?

You should contact the person who placed the original order instruction and ask them to provide a valid PO number. When obtained you should send a replacement invoice quoting the valid PO number to uolinvoices@leicester.ac.uk as a PDF or mail the invoice to the address provided. 

Note, you should cancel the original submitted invoice in your system as the University will have not recorded this in your supplier account in Accounts Payable. 

What should I do if I have sent an invoice quoting a valid PO number and my payment appears to be delayed?

Contact the University’s Accounts Payable team on +44 (0)116 252 2400 or email accountspayable@le.ac.uk

Invoices may be disputed for a number of valid reasons that may include, but not limited to: 

  • PO number quoted on invoice is closed or complete 
  • PO number quoted does not match the issued PO 
  • Invoice quantities, description, dates or pricing do not match those on the quoted PO number