CIPS Chartered Member consultation starts

The second of the CIPS initiatives going to member consultation is more contentious than the name change we wrote about here. (Thanks for all the serious and not so serious comments on that)! The proposal is to introduce a new grade of membership, that of CIPS Chartered Member. That has been of the cards ever since the Institute achieved Chartered status way back in 1992.  But now, matters are actually moving towards it happening, subject to members' agreement.

The positives relate largely to the increased credibility of the profession and its members, in the same way that Chartered Engineers or Chartered Biologists (like my wife) are in theory more highly regarded perhaps than a mere CIPS member. So how will members be able to become  Chartered? Most will go through a further academic programme of some sort, although there will be some ‘experiential’ route for certain senior folk (see comment below on the risks of this process). But we understand any such route will need to be rigourous to meet the Privy Council requirements, apart from anything else.

There is discussion to be had about whether Chartered status will entitle you to have a different set of letters after your name – CMCIPS perhaps – or whether it will be simply in the title i.e. a Chartered Member nomenclature.  Personally, if we’re going to do it, I think we should have the letters option available.

One positive is that it gives procurement professionals something else beyond CIPS membership to aim for. Many people are MCIPS by their mid twenties, so it is no bad thing from that point of view to have a higher target to which to aspire.  And the focus on continuous professional development, which is essential to keep the Chartered status, and is reviewed annually I believe, will both help individuals keep their skills up to date, and feed back into that wider credibility for the profession.

All sounds great, doesn't it? But there are some issues to consider. Inevitably, it will lead to a certain downgrading (even if only relative) of the core current MCIPS qualification.  That may not sit well with current members who don't fancy going through the additional work to become Chartered. It is a totally separate process and award, but again, might Chartered make Fellowship also seem less worthwhile?

Then there is the danger of confusion and reaction from employers  - will recruiters decide MCIPS isn't now worth as much when they look for qualified staff? That in turn might lead to many members deciding either to go for Chartered status, or simply leave the Institute.

Finally, a point to consider is that there is already some negativity towards those who get their MCIPS without going through too much of a process, usually because they have been parachuted into very senior procurement roles. That could get more pronounced if people are getting the even more exalted Chartered designation without too much effort - so the strong processes to manage the more senior and experienced applicants for Chartered status are essential for internal member motivation as well as external approval.

There will also be a cost for CIPS I assume in terms of the new assessment processes, although that could be offset by higher fees for Chartered Members, or some sort of one-off application fee?

So all in all, quite a difficult decision here for the Institute and its members. But if we’re a Chartered Institute, we should probably have a Chartered membership from the point of view of promoting our professionalism. So as long as this is separated  from the dafter thoughts around the Licence to Practice (particularly the legislation idea), I’m likely to vote in favour of this if and when it comes to that.

Voices (5)

  1. john chisunga:

    i think having cmcips between mcips & fcips is a big mistake because all employer focus will be put on the new grade and mcips & fcips will be insignificant.Imagine how the holders are going to feel to be sidelined after all the hard work they put in achieving these grades.mcips should be replaced with cmcips if we are to maintain status of our graduates.

  2. Gayan:

    CMCIPS may be a good idea but it should not come in between MCIPS and FCIPS , if at all MCIPS should replce FCIPS so that it wont dilute the professional status of MCIPS

  3. Phoenix:

    I just don’t trust the current management of CIPS to be motivated by anything other than a revenue generation scheme. And if the process around the potty ‘licence to practise’ idea was anything to go by, I don’t have the confidence that the difficult decisions around CMCIPS can be taken effectively by this regime. A decade ago, when Chartered status was last debated, all the same issues faced the Institute: how would this impact on the perrception of MCIPS and particularly FCIPS? How would the scheme be funded? Would those who achieved MCIPS by examination years ago suddenly feel demoted? Is this some sort of distraction to allow the ‘licence to practise’ proposals to be quietly dropped?

    Finally this: if CIPS exists to promote the status of the profession as a whole, it needs to decide whether it can elevate our status by introducing the new grade, or whether in fact what it might do is downgrade the membership en masse in one fell swoop.

  4. Rish:

    Totally agree. All those years of study for MCIPS to get the senior roles to be told you have another hoop to jump through? CIPS gave made the MCIPS qualification process progressively more rigour of to the point that it truly is a valuable professional accreditation already. It is the procurement version of being seen to be ‘qualified’. It is MCIPS itself that should become the ‘Chartered’ qualification. There is an argument to say that as a full member of the institute, M and F CIPS already are ‘Chartered’ members. In the same way that full members of RICS and ICAEW are Chartered Surveyors and Accountants. They have not degraded their upper levels through the insertion of a higher level. Probably, they know this would dilute the designation and that it would smack of a cash grabbing scheme. After all those tuition, exam and book fees, or progression through NVQ level fees for that matter, CIPS members have earned the right to be ‘Chartered’ already.

  5. Dan:

    I fail to see the benefits – this would just reduce MCIPS to a similar level as an Associate Member, just another intermediate step on the road to Chartered Membership.

    MCIPS is currently advertised as the level for senior procurement staff, and the course content and exams are based around this level of knowledge. Would this continue to be true if is a level underneath chartered membership, and if so, what additional knowledge would you need to graduate to chartered membership?

    I like the concept of having to complete a level of CPD every year, but lets be honest, this is something that everyone should be doing anyway, even if its informally.

    Surely it would make more sense to turn the existing MCIPS grade into chartered membership?

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