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Qualifications review 2013

We are proud to unveil CIPS qualifications 2013. As well as structural changes the new qualifications represent an industry-driven, universal standard recognised around the world.

There are five new qualifications which replace the previous six levels.
More detail on the qualifications can be found in the Unit Content Guides:


The Qualifications Review consultation

CIPS is committed to continuous development and the need to ensure its qualifications remain fit for purpose and suit the needs of an evolving and dynamic profession. Additionally, as an awarding body we are regulated by Ofqual and it is a requirement for qualifications to be reviewed regularly to ensure they remain relevant to the sectors they represent and met stakeholder needs.

During 2011 to 2013, CIPS carried out an extensive consultation to review Levels 2-6 of the 2006 qualifications, the international qualifications and all assessment methods. More than 5,000 stakeholders were invited to contribute via surveys, focus groups and one-to-one interviews including study centres globally, academics and assessors, employers across diverse sectors and current students.

They key findings were:

  • There should be no distinction between international and UK qualifications – all qualifications should be global
  • Increased emphasis on sustainable procurement and bottom line benefits to an organisation. The qualifications reflect the changing world, complex supply chains increased drive on risk management and governance drivers.
  • The move from a Graduate Diploma to a Professional Diploma reflected feedback that Graduate Diploma did not reflect the professional nature of the qualifications
  • New optional units in the Advanced and Professional Diploma to reflect more current day practice
  • Changes required in the way content is presented and assessed

These findings have been addressed in the 2013 qualifications

Transition | Support

We have ensured a seamless transition for learners from the current to the new qualifications. All units achieved on the

Transitional arrangements for CIPS qualificationscurrent qualifications remain valid when the new qualifications are launched in April 2013.

In order to transition to the new qualifications, learners are required to complete a combination of five units from the current and new qualifications to achieve the appropriate exit qualification.


The transition tool

All CIPS students were sent a Personal Study Statement in January 2013 to clarify their qualifications and units passed to date. All studying members also have access to My Transition, a transition tool, available at www.cips.org/mycips to identify the remaining units needed to complete their qualification.


What was the review and why was it done?

The review looked at the unit content for levels 2-6, the international certificates and the methods and formats of assessment.  CIPS invited over 5,000 people worldwide to engage in the consultation which included focus groups, one to one interviews and surveys.  The research was far reaching globally, and has been developed by procurement practitioners and academics alike to ensure the appropriate blend of practice and theory.


What are the benefits of the changes to individuals and organisations?

The changes to our qualifications are industry driven and reflect current, emerging and best practices in procurement and supply chain management. 

There is an increased emphasis on sustainable procurement and the triple bottom line benefits to an organisation. The qualifications reflect the changing world, complex supply chains, increasing drive on risk management and governance drivers.  Our aim is to ensure that procurement and supply chain practitioners have good general business understanding with the right balance of technical and generalist management skills for the future.


What are the changes and how far reaching are they?

The titles for all of the qualifications have now changed from ‘Purchasing and Supply’ to ‘Procurement and Supply’.

A particularly important change is the move from the CIPS ‘Graduate Diploma’ to the CIPS 'Professional Diploma' in Procurement and Supply.  Feedback received from the consultation suggested that the Graduate Diploma was not reflecting the professional nature of the qualification.  CIPS have benchmarked with other professional institutes before making this change. 

There will be new optional units within the Advanced Diploma and the Professional Diploma in Procurement and Supply that are more reflective of current day practice.

While structural changes are notable, the change in the way the content is presented will be slightly different.

Overall, 70 per cent of content remains the same or has been refreshed and 30 per cent is new. Outdated content has been removed.
We have also strived to deal with the international challenges around legislative frameworks and the legal aspects of procurement and supply, therefore changes in this area are notable and require learners to understand their own national legislation and legal frameworks and apply these as part of their overall study.


What are the changes to the international qualifications?

From the 1st March 2013, the existing International certificate and International advanced certificate will cease and be replaced by new and up-to-date qualifications, which will be the same for everyone around the world.  There will no longer be a distinction between UK and international qualifications.

Entry requirements for all qualifications will be released in more detail in the near future.  For members who have completed any of these qualifications, you can be assured that they are still valid and valued by employers and the changes being made now are to enable a truly global qualification for all.


Why have the titles of the Graduate Diploma and the Foundation Diploma changed?

Feedback received from the consultation suggested that the Graduate and Foundation diplomas were not reflecting the professional nature of the qualifications.  CIPS have benchmarked with other professional institutes before making this change.


What is the timeline for change?

The new qualifications will be available for delivery in March 2013, so there is plenty of time for you to talk to your tutors and to CIPS about how the programme will be implemented.  However, please be assured that these changes will not impact your current study, or how you study and will mean that you either complete the units of study you have started or alternatively you can continue on to the new units. (See the transitions table for details).


Will the way in which I am assessed change?

There will be changes to the way you are assessed, but these are positive changes and will take account of the latest thinking and practice in terms of assessment.  Sample assessments will be published in March 2013.


What happens with exam re-sits during the transition?

We will be retaining the same timetable for assessments as the current schedule i.e. May, July and November for all candidates and additionally January and March for UK-based learners.

Once the CIPS 2013 qualifications are launched in March 2013, there will be one opportunity for learners to sit an assessment for the current qualifications.  This will be in May 2013 with November 2013 as the final re-sit opportunity.  (Please note that not all units are available for a re-sit in November 2013,  see which ones).

I’m halfway through my studies – what do the changes mean to me?

There is no need to stop what you are doing as everything already achieved or in progress will still be valid.   We have produced transition arrangements to ensure a smooth transfer from the current qualifications to the new.  We will be providing advice and guidance during this time and all studying members will receive a personal transition statement in January 2013.


Will the changes to the CIPS qualifications mean a change in the APEL (Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning) or the APCL (Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning)?

Applications for exemptions (APEL/CL) from current qualifications content units must be received no later than 31 May 2013. Thereafter they will not be accepted.  CIPS remains committed to recognising prior learning that is equivalent to CIPS qualifications, future applications for APEL/APCL will be required to reflect the new qualification content. The new exemptions policy will be published March 2013.


When will new study materials be available?

New study materials are currently being developed and will be available to order in plenty of time to start using from March 2013 onwards.


Where do I get further information and who should I contact to discuss how this news might impact upon my studies?

Read this page about the new qualifications or alternatively you could speak to one of our Customer Service Advisors: +44 (0) 1780 756777.