Laying foundations

12 March 2013

Many of us take it for granted that we are going to be able to study for qualifications 
in our chosen profession, 
either by funding the courses ourselves or through our employers supporting our professional development. Yet for some people, a career in procurement as a qualified practitioner is almost out of reach, whether due to financial hardship, lack of transport to a study centre, or no local internet access. I have seen for myself what enormous challenges some of our members in the developing world have to overcome in order 
to qualify and what profound changes 
the achievement of MCIPS can bring to individual lives.

It seems to me that a professional body – 
and particularly one like CIPS that’s also an educational charity – should do what it can to help those who have the drive to succeed in procurement, but face obstacles in their path.  That’s why I am delighted to announce the launch of our new charitable enterprise, the CIPS Foundation. An idea first discussed with our governing body some two years ago, the Foundation is a separate charity in its own right, but firmly linked to CIPS. Its vision is, put quite simply, 
a procurement and supply profession open to all, for the benefit of all.

It aims to support aspiring professionals who are economically disadvantaged in some way and encourage 
the brightest and best to achieve their 
potential. There will also be a particular focus on helping to create career opportunities 
for young people. The Foundation’s scope will be global and 
will help both UK and international members. 
It will be offering a range of educational support at different levels, from an award for schools to scholarships enabling part-qualified members 
to achieve their Graduate Diploma and, if applicable, MCIPS. We also plan to run a campaign with Book Aid for Africa to collect course books that are no longer wanted and ship them out to where they are most needed. We are starting small, with a limited number of disbursements in the first year so that we can get the basics right, but once the Foundation is up and running, our ambition is to increase the number of people we can help each year. In order to sustain the programme, 
the Foundation will need to attract donations to top up the funds CIPS 
itself is setting aside. Both individual members and organisations will be able 
to donate and over the coming weeks 
and months we will be telling you more about how you can help.

Find out more at the Foundation’s website.

Lessons 
to be learned
In the art world, provenance is all. Establishing the origins and ownership history of that old painting found in an attic can mean the difference between a few pounds and 
a fortune. The recent horse meat scandal has exposed how 
much provenance – or traceability – matters in our complex supply chains, too. Where things come from, how they are farmed or mined and how they are processed before they reach us is important to consumer confidence. This makes it a risk factor 
for any organisation that 
hasn’t got a grip on its 
supply chain. Global supply chains are 
the norm, where third- and 
fourth-tier suppliers are 
remote and where of 
necessity buyers rely on 
strict contract performance criteria to maintain quality. But if there’s negligence or criminal intent at just one 
point in the chain, the end result can be expensive to 
put right, both in money and 
in reputation. The lesson to those food industry buyers who have found themselves caught up 
in the horse meat furore 
is know your suppliers – and 
be constantly vigilant.

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