All over the world, procurement faces real challenges to deliver value for the public purse. Government debt, budget cuts and, in some parts of the globe, immature or corrupt practices make the task a difficult one. There are, however, beacons of good practice where excellent results are being achieved without compromising best practice principles. If we can ‘bottle’ best practice and share it widely with public procurement communities, we can start to have an impact on standards.
CIPS and NIGP (the US organisation, the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing) have both been working separately to support public sector procurement for decades. We share a common philosophy and approach to procurement and have always enjoyed a close co-operative relationship, so it makes sense for us to formalise our partnership and combine our expertise. Our partnership’s aim is ambitious, but simple: to work together for the public good, to bring professionalism and sector best practice to public sector agencies all over the world. The power of our two institutes working together will help us extend our reach into a wider range of public sector groups on a global scale.
The first output of our new partnership for public procurement is a set of Values and Guiding Principles, which you can now download free of charge from our website (tinyurl.com/cipsvgp). These principles, which we are championing jointly with NIGP, have been agreed on after consulting leading public sector procurement professionals from around the world. They echo and align with the CIPS code of professional ethics, which sets the benchmark for the procurement practitioner’s personal conduct. It’s the first time that the public procurement arm of our profession has had a formalised set of principles to work to and I’m pleased to report that over 91 government agencies and professional associations across the globe have already adopted them.
If we can get these embedded at an organisational level, we can set the foundations for building a common standard of good practice. Taxpayers want to know governments are getting value for money and managing spend in an ethical and accountable way. Governments that adopt the principles and can demonstrate they are practising them can send out a message that taxpayers can have confidence in their stewardship. I am so committed to this best practice that CIPS is adopting the principles and will be integrating them throughout the organisation.
The next outputs you will see from the CIPS NIGP partnership are a series of guidance documents, Principles and Practices for Public Procurement, which are due to be published from the end of March and will be freely available to all members. These will provide practical guidance to those working in the sector.
To my mind, these joint initiatives are a significant milestone for the public sector and have the potential to be a major contributor to the public good. It’s a big ambition, to establish and lead the adoption of a set of principles and a common public procurement language around the world. If you are working in the public sector, wherever you are in the world, I urge you to support CIPS and NIGP and help us achieve it. See CIPS News for more information.
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