NIGP Clarifies Contractor Program
NIGP Clarifies Contractor Program
Recent articles published in Government Procurement that centered on public-private-partnerships are clearly of great interest to your readers and I encourage you to continue to provide information and articles on this subject. Unfortunately, the newest buzzword in this genre, strategic sourcing, is unfamiliar to many public procurement professionals. We have much work to do to educate readers and members on both the value and potential shortcomings of these supplier relationships.
Within the context of this debate however, I noticed that NIGP’s [National Institute of Governmental Purchasing] Government Contractor Certificate program (GCC) for the supplier community was singled out as a potentially contentious offering. I thought it was important to clarify why NIGP’s Board of Directors decided to enter into the supplier training business.
In our market analysis, we concluded that competitive training organizations, which had developed courseware for suppliers, were simply focusing on the short-term results of how to win government contracts. In contrast, NIGP believes that the supplier community desires an educational program that focuses on the long-standing principles, strategies, and tactical approaches to public procurement. Following Covey’s principle that one must first seek to understand before being understood, we are convinced that the supplier community seeks to understand the critical importance of transparency in public procurement through the unwavering principles of market access, fair and equitable treatment, and ethical behavior. We strongly believe that transparency is the basis for planning, soliciting, evaluating, and awarding public contracts.
For the record, NIGP believes that ethics is such a pervasive component of education that the subject is incorporated into every aspect of our curriculum, including GCC and our newest LEAP curriculum.
It should also be understood that the GCC is a certificate program earned by the individual participant. There is no brand or endorsement given to a specific corporation.
Further, the certificate is issued once the candidate completes the coursework. The GCC certificate is intentionally less rigorous than a professional certification program, such as the CPPO and CPPB, where the candidate must successfully complete an examination process and keep his/her skills current through re-certification.
The GCC certificate represents five full days (40 classroom hours) of intensive procurement-related training on the part of the recipient. As a result, the GCC certificate holder is more likely to have a stronger appreciation for the public procurement function.
Finally, I found the comment that an educated supplier community will lead to “a greater number of trivial protests that target the elimination of the competition due to inconsequential technical defects,” quite interesting. In contrast, I would suggest that an educated buyer community would have a greater impact on minimizing bid appeals and protests. The brutal fact remains that professional certification is growing only incrementally. Regrettably, there are still many practicing procurement professionals who believe that they can be effective public managers and buyers without experiencing life-long education and training that is demonstrated through a CPPO or CPPB professional certification.
In short, a professional certified procurement staff, coupled with an informed supplier community through GCC, should go a long way in promoting knowledge, respect, and trust between buyers and sellers.
NIGP will pilot the GCC curriculum through early 2005 and will offer the coursework through national seminars as well as its network of 70 NIGP chapters.
For more information on the GCC program, we encourage your readers to visit the NIGP Web site: www.govinfo.bz/4356-150
—Rick Grimm, CPPO, CPPB Chief Executive, National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP)