Selling equipment assets FAQs

Thinking of selling equipment you no longer need? Find out about: permissions, risks, health and safety, procurement & finance and logistics. Search this page for answers to frequently asked questions.



What is the priority in reallocating or selling redundant equipment assets?

Priority cascade is:

  1. Trade –in against a new equipment purchase, via Procurement process (Contact Procurement).
  2. Reallocate within The University by selling to an internal Dept. or arrange a FOC transfer (Contact the Waste Office or Procurement).
  3. Sell to an external organisation, following this process (Contact Procurement)
  4. Donate to a suitable external body (Contact the Waste Office Estates).
  5. Recycle or reuse in some other way (Contact the Waste Office Estates).
  6. Follow the WEEE waste process (Contact the Waste Office Estates).


It’s my equipment why do I need permission to sell it?

Many of our equipment assets have been funded by external organisations and the terms of the award of grants etc. may impose terms for the sale or disposal of assets.  These terms may not always be obvious, and expectations of funders may change over time so it is prudent to ensure permissions are secured before undertaking a selling or other disposal process.

The equipment was funded by an EU grant, can I still sell the equipment?

A sale should still be possible but it is vitally important that written permission is secured from the funding body.

Who has the authority to approve the sale of equipment?

The authority to sell equipment aligns with the Delegated Authority Schedule (DAS) which would normally be used for buying equipment. In most circumstances, Heads of School, College Registrars or Heads of College would give final approval. This assumes that all other checks such as authorisation from the funding body have been concluded and permission has been provided, in writing.

Support and advice will be given by various departments (Waste, Legal, Procurement) as shown by the colour coding on the flowchart for this process.

Who makes all the arrangements?

The End User must seek all permissions, complete all necessary paperwork required by Procurement to complete the sale.  This is not a core Procurement task, therefore, the End User must be willing to fully assist with all the arrangement and paperwork as required of this process.

Who retains the proceeds of a sale?

Normally the proceeds would be accrued by the School or department that owns the equipment. The End User must ensure that they are the owner and The University holds title to the equipment to be sold. Funding bodies (original funders of the equipment) have been known to request a proportion of the proceeds to be returned to them.

Can land and or property be sold via this process?

No, all land and or property transactions must be undertaken by Estates.

Where do I record transactions?

If Procurement supports a sale, they will retain the contract documents. However, any adjustments to asset registers, whether at a local or at Corporate level must be updated by the End User. Procurement along with SRS and Estates will set up a shared filing location so that records of sales can be shared and referenced as appropriate.

Please complete this form when disposing of capital equipment (secured)

Why will Procurement make the final decision on what is 'reasonable value' Should End Users not decide that?

It is not intended that the End Users are excluded from this key decision. End Users are asked to make an early judgement on the value and risk of a sale, as shown in the flowchart. However, if we predict that a sale will not be value for money if, say, we need to undertake extensive negotiations or risk mitigation actions, then these actions may become resource inefficient and cost more than the value of the sale. In these circumstances, we will recommend the equipment is donated or disposed of via our WEEE contractor.


Why not use auction houses, eBay or third party recyclers that sell on our behalf?

Third party organisations would need to be formally appointed through a thorough vetting process, such as a formal procurement. The set-up of such a service would be resource intensive and the eventual value added by such work is predicted to be minimal and cannot, at this time, be given a high priority.

End users are not permitted to employ third-party recyclers or selling agents, whether real or virtual.

Could there be a risk of a conflict of interest when selling equipment?

Yes, Schools should ensure that all sales have COI declarations signed by the End User/seller. As part of the selling process End Users will be asked to complete a conflict of interest declaration, please follow this link. Conflict of Interest Policy with links to COI forms.

Is selling equipment a risk-free process?

No, it’s not risk-free. The University is not 'in the business' of selling equipment assets but will do so to secure useful funds, where the value and risks are deemed appropriate. If there is any doubt about the equipment or the competence of the Buyer or Beneficiary, a sale should not go ahead.

What about product liability?

We have a duty of care towards the Buyer and to The University and we can minimise risks by ensuring we sell equipment in accordance with this process, ensuring University of Edinburgh terms of contract are used.

If my sale is supported, how long will the process take?

Unfortunately, we cannot provide a guarantee on times to complete a sale.  This is not a core service and as such cannot take priority over our core projects.

What if I cannot find anyone to buy or donate the equipment, will Estates, SRS or Procurement help me find a buyer?

No, Schools must seek and find their Buyers. Exceptionally, Procurement may help find a Buyer or Beneficiary internally. If a Buyer cannot be found, contact the Waste Office who will investigate routes for reuse/recycling.

Health & Safety

Should I have the equipment PAT tested before selling or donating?

Yes, it is strongly recommended that the equipment be PAT tested before selling or donating. As a minimum, the equipment should have been tested within the last 12 months.  We would also recommend to the Buyer to PAT test equipment before they put the equipment into use at their own premises. Arrange PAT testing via the Estates Helpdesk.

Do I need to remove labels from equipment?

Yes, if these have been placed on the equipment when at the University; this includes our asset register labels, PAT test labels, or anything that identifies explicitly or implicitly with the University.  However, do not remove original equipment labels that have been placed on the equipment by the manufacturer.

Does everything need to be decontaminated before selling?

Yes, we have a duty of care to ensure the equipment is free from biological and chemical contaminants that could cause harm.  This extends to domestic fridges that may have traces of food or liquids.  All equipment must be supplied with a signed decontaminated certificate, signed by a competent person with knowledge of the equipment’s recent and past use.  See the Waste Office website for further information and a link to the Decommissioning Checklist.

Any maintenance manuals should be provided, along with copies of service records or test certificates where these are available.

Are there circumstances where equipment should not be sold?

Equipment cannot be sold if:

  • permission from an appropriate authoriser has not been obtained,
  • to minors (and should always be sold to someone in a position of responsibility and or authority),
  • may need specialist skill to operate and or present a hazard (biological, chemical, electrical and non-ionising radiation or mechanical) should be carefully considered before sale,
  • goods which are radioactive (radioactive sources, irradiators or similar) shall not be managed via this process (refer directly to the Health & Safety and to the Estates Waste Departments).

Procurement & Finance

Why is Procurement involved in selling equipment?

Procurement has extensive experience from buying high value, complex and high-risk equipment systems which are directly relevant to the selling process. We aim to add value to the process and help to ensure risks are understood and mitigated.

Do I need to charge VAT?

Yes, always initially assume that VAT will need to be charged. If a VAT zero-rated certificate is provided by the Buyer with an official purchase order, and the Buyer, the type of organisation they work for and the equipment meet all relevant criterion, then zero ratings could be accepted. Seek further advice from the Tax Office at in these circumstances.

Do I need to charge VAT if I am exporting equipment to Europe or beyond?

You must secure written evidence that the equipment has been exported overseas (out with the UK) and this must be held by the School for eight years in accordance with HMRC requirements. Care must be taken to ensure VAT zero ratings is not provided until shipping and/or executed export documents are provided. Seek further advice from the Tax Office at in these circumstances.

What if the Buyer does not pay the invoice?

We strongly recommend that we sell on and EX-Works basis and invoices are paid, in full, prior to the equipment being collected by the Buyer or their logistics provider.  This position should be considered as being The University’s starting point for all equipment selling transactions.

Can the University provide a warranty?

No, warranties cannot be offered. However, there may be circumstances where the Buyer rejects the goods and we may need to consider reimbursing payments. However, these circumstances are difficult to predict and would be managed on a case by case basis.

I’m disposing of IT equipment, does this process cover this?

No, there is a separate process for disposing of IT equipment. For information about how to dispose of IT equipment see this page on the SRS website.  IT related network equipment 'non-computers' could be sold through this process i.e. items which are not desktops, tablets, laptops or mobile-phones.

Why is there no financial threshold rather than the statement 'reasonable' value?

From practical experience, we have found that a threshold may exclude some lower value transactions that could be low risk and may be processed without requiring undue resources. On the other hand, higher value transactions may, at first sight, seem viable then, after an initial assessment be found to be too high a risk or require too many resources to undertake, making the transaction overall, poor value. Each sale should be looked at individually.


What if I have a large item of equipment to sell like an MRI?

Where appropriate you may need to ask University professional colleagues for assistance to arrange for large equipment systems to be safely removed from a building. A 'Risk Assessment and Method Statement' (RAMS) along with permits to work, road closure permits etc. may be needed and approved by a number of our own department Campus manager, Building manager, Health & Safety or Estates;  ideally, we would recommend that the Buyer’s logistics organisation has the responsibility to remove the equipment on a 'Turn Key basis', although this does not mean that the University can or should seek to transfer all responsibilities to the Buyer for a project of this nature.

When should the Buyer see or inspect the equipment?

Ideally, the Buyer should be encouraged to inspect the equipment on our premises so that they are fully aware of the condition of the equipment, it can be shown operating and they are fully aware of any logistical challenges in removing the equipment (especially important for larger items of equipment).

Should I arrange the dispatch and insurance of the equipment?

No, it is strongly recommended that logistics and insurance are arranged and paid for by the Buyer. This significantly reduces University transit risks. However, each circumstance will be reviewed with Procurement and advice will be given as appropriate.

Do I need to provide a delivery note?

Depending on the exact terms of sale agreed with the Buyer a “Handover” document will need to be provided to the Buyer at equipment collection, confirming exactly what has been handed over, along with equipment names, subcomponents and serial numbers. 

This document should be signed by the Buyer or their logistics provider and then copied to Procurement.

We do not recommend delivery notes as we do not recommend that the University undertakes deliveries.