CIPS governance debate – consultation process started

We featured the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) governance debate here and here, and now CIPS has moved into a consultation period.  Council has agreed 5 “principles” and some sort of motion will now need to go to an extraordinary General Meeting.

Here are the principles.

• CIPS is a global professional body which values the diversity of its membership and its status as a Chartered Institute and UK registered charity
• CIPS must be able to make timely and effective decisions
• There will be a global advisory body, or Congress, that will represent all the membership and be the conscience of CIPS
• There will be a smaller executive body of trustees
• There will be an independent Nominations Committee responsible for the election and appointment of trustees, against published criteria

The first two principles are motherhood and apple pie really – although I suppose CIPS might have decided to stop being a charity. But the smaller body of trustees is interesting; Council, the current trustee body has been perhaps unwieldy with 40 members, although it hasn’t stopped CIPS being highly successful for most of the last 20 years...

The element that is potentially most controversial, as we reported before, is that the Trustees, who actually will run the Institute, will not any longer be elected by the members, unlike the current situation.

Does this matter? Do members have enough power by electing the Congress -  as Congress will have a say at least in appointing / electing some of the Trustees?  Or is the Nominations Committee overly powerful here?

There are also questions around the worth of Congress – can meeting once a year really achieve anything? Will it vote for its Board appointees on purely national lines rather than on ability, which might lead to bad feeling and wouldn’t necessarily lead to CIPS getting the best bunch of trustees?  Will members feel less involved with and committed to an organisation where they have no say in selecting the people who run their Institute?

CIPS say that the “sub-group (who are looking at the issue) will be posting its detailed proposals on this website for members to give feedback. Please look out for the next announcement under the Global News tab on the homepage”.

We’ll look out for that...

But happy to start the debate here – through comments, or if anyone wants to write, in favour or against, anonymously if necessary, then we’re happy to give you some space.  Email me at if you’d like to do that.

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Voices (2)

  1. Phoenix:

    I’m not sure what this change is really for, other than to put all the decision-making power into the hands of a very small number of trustees. In the past, CIPS’s Board of Management has been accused of being rather clique-y, this doesn’t do much to counter that view.

    CIPS’ secretariat, headed by CEO David Noble, whom I believe to be a decent and honest man, has decided that the Institute needs to be “agile” and make swifter decisions if it is to achieve its business target of £50m in five years. He needs to ‘modernise’ the Institute, apparently.

    The point is that I would agree if the Institute’s primary aim was to make money. A 40-odd strong Council that meets three times yearly, approves the budget and the strategy, would not be the most efficient way to achieve that goal.

    But surely CIPS has a higher purpose – vested in its Charter and in its charitable status – to further the cause of professional purchasing and supply for the public good? In that case, this change could be seen as undemocratic – the proposed Congress, meeting only once annually, has no executive authority, having only the power to elect members to the 12-‘strong’ Board of Trustees, from a list of nominees approved by, er… the trustees.

    CIPS Council has, surprisingly, voted itself out of existence. It’s known that some believe Council is only good for rubber-stamping and now this has been proved – by getting them to rubber-stamp this unlikely decision. I for one will mourn the passing of an Institute owned and led by its ordinary members.

    I just hope they will think of something good to spend the £50m on…

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