Olympic procurement raises profession's profile

25 January 2011
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25 January 2011 | Lindsay Clark

Procurement of key services and facilities necessary to stage the London 2012 Olympics event has boosted the stature of the purchasing profession.

Speaking to the CIPS Fellows’ Event in London last week week, Gerry Walsh, procurement director at the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), said the close attention to purchasing in the run-up to the games was boosting the profession’s profile.

“We take all major deals right the way up to an approval group, which is chaired by the chief executive and includes the CFO,” he said. “As a result, the profile of procurement could not be higher. It keeps procurement right up there in the forefront, but also makes sure we’re engaged with the organisation, which I think is extremely important.”

LOCOG is a private sector organisation, funded through the games’ sponsorship, ticketing, licensing and TV rights. It is responsible for fitting out buildings and buying the massive array of goods and services needed to stage the Olympic event.

CIPS has awarded LOCOG with organisational certification in the past month, which has further boosted the credibility of the profession, Walsh said.

“When I mentioned we had received this certification it was amazing how interested the audit committee were. This was clearly some evidence that what they were being presented with, in terms of proposed large deals, was supported by a process that they could say had been judged by an external organisation,” he said.

“Also, in terms of the profiles of procurement, it has helped us internally.”

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