Procurement Awards

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Taking top honors at the European Supply Chain Excellence Awards is an accolade often reserved for private sector companies such as UPS, Unilever or Virgin. As one of Europe’s most prestigious supply chain prizes, these Awards are given each year to organizations that have achieved the highest levels of performance and innovation in their supply chain operations. This year, UNDP, in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS), was recognized as an outstanding example of best practice and named the winner of the Training and Professional Development Award.

UNDP and CIPS accepted the European Supply Chain Excellence Award for Training and Professional Development in London on November 6, 2012. This Award is in recognition of the Procurement Certification and Training Programme developed by the Procurement Support Office (PSO, UNDP) in cooperation with CIPS, and its success in professionalizing the public procurement sector.

Foremost, this Award is a credit to the field. UNDP’s programme delivery is made possible in over 170 countries by a worldwide community of procurement professionals. Total procurement volume in 2011 was US$2.67 billion (47% of total UNDP expenditure), and with the UNDP/CIPS public-private partnership delivering critical training, the procurement network is able to secure the goods and services needed to realize UNDP’s vision of empowering lives and building resilient nations.

Since its inception in 2010/11, the Procurement Certification and Training Programme has received invaluable support from Resident Representatives and Country Office staff. It is thanks to this commitment that the Programme has been such a successful professional development opportunity for UNDP. In addition, it is a first for the UN system. From an initial focus on certification within UNDP, the Programme has expanded to include participants from 25 UN partner agencies as well as hundreds of government, non-governmental organization and development lending institution staff. Creating a cadre of professional procurement staff has allowed UNDP to drive the One UN agenda by using the same curriculum and approach across agencies. Read more about the Procurement Certification Programme here.

The impetus behind this Programme was clear. In UNDP, procurement volume has doubled four times in five years. Complexity and risk have also increased significantly, and UNDP has been required to handle this change with very similar staff numbers and resources. In effect, improving procurement professionalization and capacity – doing more with less – was the only way forward.

Receiving the European Supply Chain Excellence Award is a testament to how quickly and how broadly this Programme has delivered results. In UNDP alone, first time acceptances of contract committee reviews have increased significantly, delegation of procurement authority has risen, and procurement case turn-around times have shortened. The strategic focus on procurement has shifted from a compliance exercise to a value-adding business function.

In this context, the Procurement Certification and Training Programme will continue to support accountability. Having the Programme as a “driving license” for UN procurement staff creates a community of externally-accredited procurement professionals. It also fosters stronger relationships with Civil Society organizations to boost procurement capacity among national partners. UNDP is now uniquely positioned to expand our work on capacity development with partner governments, and to support key UNDP programmatic objectives through supply chain improvements.

Winning this Award is a ground-breaking accomplishment for UNDP, and it identifies the UNDP/CIPS partnership as the standard-bearer for training and professional development programmes in the humanitarian sector. Congratulations to all involved!