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OJEU Compliance

Click on the arrow to read about Chest and OJEU compliance.

OJEU procurement regulations were not required for Chest Agreements (products/resources) when the Agreements were entered into before January 2019.

This is because, before then, Chest was a brand of Eduserv, and Eduserv was not classed as a Contracting Authority. However, Eduserv merged with Jisc in January 2019, and Jisc is a Contracting Authority (Chest is now a Jisc enterprise). This means that the statements on this page hold true for Chest Agreements entered into before January 2019.

However, for Chest Agreements that will be contracted in the future, our status and procedures in terms of OJEU rules are currently the subject of review, and our updated position will be made public when that review is concluded.

Why is my university or college concerned about EU public procurement rules?

Universities and colleges are substantially financed by public funds and are regarded as ‘Contracting Authorities’. As such, they must comply with public procurement rules.

One of these rules means that they have to run an OJEU (the Official Journal of the EU) competition between suppliers for any contract that currently exceeds £181k (excluding VAT).

Is a contract above the threshold?

Your institution should consider every contract to see if it subject to OJEU rules. Here are some things to consider.

  • The value of an annual or renewable contract must be calculated over the whole lifetime of the contract; a 3-year contract for £60,500 per year has a total value of £181,500 and is above the threshold.
  • Some institutions might derive an annual or monthly threshold value of a contract by dividing the published threshold by the expected number of years or months that it will run and use this to monitor the value or their contracts. This rigorous approach is especially useful when purchases under the same contract are made over a period of time.
  • A university or college might spend over the threshold on different products or services from one supplier, but, even if they are on a single order, they might represent more than one contract.


Why does Chest not run OJEU Competitions?

Chest is not a Contracting Authority so the rules don’t allow us to run OJEU competitions for ourselves or on behalf of the HE and FE communities.

Because the Chest Agreement services we provide are for the university and college community it is up to individual institutions to decide how they apply the public procurement rules.

However, in our view, as the fees or commission we earn from a transaction with any one university or college never exceed the £181k threshold, it is not necessary to run an OJEU competition for the Chest Agreement services we provide.

Does your university or college have to run an OJEU competition for Chest Agreement products?

According to the regulations the licence between a university or college and the supplier, for software or online resources, is considered to be the ‘contract’. With a couple of exceptions (see below) the cost of these contracts always falls below the £181k threshold.

In any event, in February 2015 the Cabinet Office advised that online resources can be considered to be unique works, from a single source, and are exempt from OJEU regulations.

Universities and colleges do not need to run OJEU competitions for Chest licences.

What about Adobe and Microsoft?

Some universities and colleges spend over the threshold with these suppliers, especially when the cost of annual or renewable contracts are added over the full term. So should they be subject to the rules?

These products are supplied through resellers who were appointed through an OJEU competition run by SUPC (Southern Universities Purchasing Consortium), which is a Contracting Authority. Jisc administers these Chest Agreements.

Our Chest Agreements for Adobe and Microsoft products offer OJEU compliant routes for purchase.

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