Recognising the need to increase the long-term sustainability and growth of the procurement profession in Wales.
In 2020, the Welsh Government established a plan for the capability and capacity programme, which recognised the need to increase the long-term sustainability and growth of the procurement profession in Wales.
The number of professionally qualified procurement staff in Wales has been at a deficit for a number of years. A ratio of one procurement professional for every £10 million of public sector expenditure is commonly used as the benchmark in Wales.
In early 2020, the Welsh Government started working with the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS), to create opportunities for individuals across the Welsh public sector to undertake the CIPS Corporate Award Practitioner Level 4, and Advanced Practitioner Level 5 Programmes. CIPS are the professional body for procurement, with a demonstrated track record for procurement excellence globally.
The Welsh Government has provided funding for 50 individuals across the public sector to undertake the CIPS training, split between the Practitioner and Advanced Practitioner Level courses. Working with CIPS, the Welsh Government tailored the content of the courses to ensure that it was reflective of the Welsh procurement landscape and procurement policy in Wales. The bespoke courses incorporated use of familiar language and terminology, drawing on references relatable to Welsh examples, to help students put Welsh procurement policy into practice.
Despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, CIPS were able to respond flexibly to manage delivery of both courses from September 2020, through a virtual environment where face-to-face learning has not been possible. This has enabled students to study in their home environment, while developing their commercial skills and knowledge with likeminded colleagues through online group discussions.
Studying from home has eliminated the need to travel significant distances by either public transport, or students’ own form of transport. This has resulted in cost savings for students, reduced impact on the environment, and greater flexibility and comfort for students.
All students commit to remain in the Welsh public sector for three years on completion of their course. As a result, the number of procurement professionals in the Welsh public sector will increase, and there will be a greater spread of enhanced commercial and procurement skills across Wales. When fully qualified, the procurement practitioners will help address the long-term sustainability of procurement, and strengthen the profession in the Welsh public sector.
Andrew Gooding, Procurement Officer at Caerphilly County Borough Council who is studying the Corporate Award Level 4 through the programme said:
“This course has provided me with a platform to begin my journey to MCIPS accreditation. The support and resource provided by the programme, in particular regular lectures, has been invaluable in aiding my studies. I look forward to progressing my studies further once I have completed this course and being able to further excel in my role at Caerphilly County Borough Council with the additional skills I have developed.”
For further information on the Welsh Government capability and capacity programme, please e-mail: CommercialCapability@gov.wales