21 August 2003 | Robin Parker
The furore over the London Borough of Haringey's advertisement for a senior-level purchasing job with no experience in procurement refuses to die down.
The local authority recently placed advertisements in two national newspapers for a head of strategic procurement, with a salary of up to £70,000.
The advert said, "You don't need to have worked directly in procurement before", and made no mention of CIPS qualifications.
Local and central government purchasers said the move was a setback for purchasing in the sector, but Sally Brooks, Haringey's former head of procurement, said skills could be learnt on the job.
Vincent John, chair of the Association of University Procurement Officers, described the wording as "deliberately provocative."
He told SM: "The foundations of a strategic overview of procurement appear to have been well laid down, but to embed this into the mainstream, the appointment of an experienced, robust and impact-focused procurement professional is essential."
But, he added, "it has everyone talking about procurement".
Chris Uden, director of corporate development at the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency, said professional qualifications were needed at every level to maintain purchasing's credibility.
"We have always placed an emphasis on strong professional procurement skills and would never have used such a wording. I'm surprised Haringey used it," he said.