Readers comment on CIPS proposals – name change and new Chartered grade

A huge number of comments last week ( see picture of readers waiting to drop their handwritten letters at our office) on the two CIPS consultation issues we featured (here and here)  were honestly more negative than I had expected.

The name change to the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply tended to draw  humorous comments, but serious points were made around whether the procurement word is seen as positively in other countries as it is in the UK, and around the ‘other’ meanings of procurement.

David Cambridge said;

I hope this isn’t just about following fashion. What next – “Chartered Institute of Supply Chain”, “Chartered Institute of Outsourcing”, “Chartered Institute of Value Chain”? Deal with the issues CIPS and stop the navel gazing.

RJ made a brilliant suggestion: Chartered Institute of Sourcing and Supply Management Innovation and Associated Support Services should cover all the bases. CISSMIASS for short.

Our old friend Final Furlong had this to say in terms of the dictionary definitions:

verb (used with object), pur-chased, pur-chas-ing.
1. to acquire by the payment of money or its equivalent; buy.
2. to acquire by effort, sacrifice, flattery, etc.
3. to influence by a bribe.
4. to be sufficient to buy:
5. Law. to acquire (land or other property) by means other than inheritance.

verb (used with object), pro-cured, pro-cur-ing.
1. to obtain or get by care, effort, or the use of special means: to procure evidence.
2. to bring about, especially by unscrupulous and indirect means: to procure secret documents.
3. to obtain (a person) for the purpose of prostitution.
4. to act as a procurer or pimp.

And I can also see why the French and Americans opt for ‘purchasing’ instead of ‘procurement’….

And Frank added some personal experience:

“Interesting that the US considers Purchasing to be more strategic than Procurement. The French have the same view. My UK company was taken over by a French company, and our Procurement Dept was renamed as the Purchasing Dept to make us sound more strategic and modern”!

But there was even more negativity towards the potential introduction of a new Chartered membership grade.   In particular, we have asked CIPS to respond to this question (too recently to get an answer for today’s post)  -  why can’t current MCIPS just become the Chartered grade, with the addition perhaps of a continuous professional development requirement?  Here are our readers, starting with 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 let’s 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?

Rish chipped in:

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 rigorous 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... M and F CIPS already are ‘Chartered’ members. … 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.

Cynics even suggested that this was more about CIPS increasing revenue – I confess, I hadn’t thought of that as a driver and I doubt really whether it is top of mind for the Trustees. But Phoenix had his / her suspicions:

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 perception 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.

More to come on this I’m sure!

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