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Buying direct from a supplier: what are the issues?



Here at Chest we understand that, now more than ever, Universities and Colleges are under pressure to save money and to rapidly service the software requirement of their staff and students, and therefore may be tempted to buy outside Chest Agreements. But, any gains could be short term and could undermine the Chest Agreement service in the long term, which will have an impact on the whole academic community

Chest Agreements offer value for money and benefit every University or College that takes part; the central principle of Chest Agreements is that everyone benefits from lower, clear pricing, and fit-for-purpose licence terms and conditions that are negotiated once, saving each site the time of having to negotiate their own agreement. We estimate that last year the shared savings, in pricing and efficiencies, reached over £80 million.

If you are considering purchasing direct from a supplier, we would ask you to help us by letting us know:

  • If you are offered a lower price than an existing Chest agreement; we can endeavour to negotiate a reduced price for everyone;
  • If the software you want is part of a bundle that is not wholly suitable and is too expensive;
  • If there is software you want that is not covered by the Chest Agreement; we will try to add it to an existing agreement or negotiate a new one.
  • How an existing Chest agreement could be improved to meet your requirements;

Please also bear in mind:

  • Buying outside of Chest means there are no guarantees that the supplier will not increase the price next renewal or impose inappropriate licence terms;
  • Circumventing a collective agreement means that suppliers deal with individual institutions direct, and the benefits of central negotiation and price transparency will be lost;
  • If a supplier offers a lower price for the same software available through a Chest Agreement, they may be in breach of their contract, and we can take steps to ensure that all licensees benefit from any discount.

Co-operation is key to the long-term success of Chest Agreements, please help us to help everyone.

Please send us your views or comments on this topic.

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