CIPS chief executive wants a procurement “licence to practice”; WHY??

Supply Management reports David Noble, Chief Executive of CIPS, speaking at a Procurecon event;

"“One issue we all face is that everyone’s a buyer. There are huge numbers of people buying, committing their organisations with suppliers, without any formal purchasing or supply chain experience, which in the accountancy world would be fraudulent. One of my missions is to pioneer a licence to practice for this profession.”

Well, I don't know if I'm picking an argument just with David or whether he has the CIPS Council and Board behind him on this, but if he is suggesting only those with this 'licence' are allowed to buy, I totally disagree. How many reasons do you want?

I own my business.  I'll decide who can spend my companies money thank you.  In larger firms, shareholders can decide if the appropriate governance and capability is in place to spend their money.  It is not like accountancy where there are some fundamental issues of taxation (for instance) that mean we all have a stake in accurate information.  It is not like Law where the body of law forms a fundamental pillar of our nation and society.  A seven step category management process is hardly the same as the principles of common law.

And let's face it, all of use who worked as CPOs know that some of our best staff weren't CIPS qualified and some of the worst were.  Don't misinterpret me; I preferred recruiting CIPS qualified people.  But I would have objected strongly if David or anyone else had told me I wasn't allowed to take on that ex-IT manager who was now a brilliant software buyer (but didn't have CIPS).

I can see why developing countries might want to do this for Government purchasers; but I think this is a real time-waster for CIPS to pursue and I will bet a large sum of money it won't happen in my lifetime.  And we (including CIPS),  don't need it in order to continue our success as a 'profession'.

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Voices (2)

  1. Drew1166:

    Hopefully, enforcing internal policies and procedures might arise as an idea instead.

    Ever the optimist me.

  2. Procurement Practitioner:

    CIPS has clearly not thought this one through. Purchasing is more than buying (something that the Institute has spent the past 20 yrs developing) so what are we to do with supplier performance management, relationship management, eSourcing, innovation, etc? Have to be licensed to do these? The Institute would do well to consider whether procurement/supply chain management/purchasing should be a competence in the organisation, and that the role of any self respecting procurement professional should be to develop this expertise across the organisation – whether that be the spec, commercial model, deal making or contract management. Setting a license to practice appears to trying to set up a gatekeeper role that focuses purely on the buying transaction – that’s got to be more than 25 years out of date in the UK and makes little sense given the huge proportion of services spend in this country.

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