Performance focused Procurement Reforms and Capacity Development
The aims of the procurement personnel cadre are, among others, to: promote efficient and effective public procurement and supply systems based on international best practices; contribute to the economic development of the Royal Government of Bhutan; provide equal opportunity/treatment to all suppliers and bidders; and ensure transparency in the procedures, processes and decision relating to public procurement. The Royal Government of Bhutan embarked on the reforms in the National Procurement System, very early (September 2005).The Royal Civil Service Commission has also played an enormous role in taking these procurement reforms forward. They recognized the need to professionalize procurement within its civil service and provided for such positions through their position classification system exercise. They also approved the creation of the Public Procurement Policy Division under the Ministry of Finance to allow the latter to take procurement reforms forward in an exponential way. The challenges addressed by the introduction and establishment of the procurement cadre are as follows: • Through the introduction of the procurement cadre system, a clear line of reporting was established where Procurement personnel report directly to the PPPD and their transfers are directly looked at by the division. • Capacity development issues was addressed by imparting the awareness and training on public Procurement • Career ladder locked in issues were resolved • Professionalization of procurement personnel under government agencies were taken up as one of the most priority after the implementation of cadre system • Recognition of Procurement personnel in the civil service where such recognition was not given in the past • Performance by Procurement personnel were improved • Under utilization of Procurement expertise issues were addressed through clear line of responsibilities through job description and competency framework as a part of procurement cadre system for the procurement personnel
The cadre system introduced and implemented by the Royal Government of Bhutan brought in many positive impacts highlighted below: • Introduction of, a training on Certificate in Procurement Compliance (CPC) for all personnel involved in procurement, including tender committee members at all levels of Government. • Incorporate a module on public procurement in Post Graduate Diploma in Financial Management (PGDFM) Course in Royal Institute of Management. • Recognition of CIPS qualifications leading to Graduate Diploma (equivalent to Bachelor’s Degree Honors as per UK NQF) subject to NQF endorsement. • The Competency Framework for Procurement positions and job descriptions were approved by the Royal Civil Service Commission. The competency framework enables RGOB to use the competency framework to support its recruitment and selection process, and can use the competencies as part of a future recruitment and selection process, enabling more clear and consistent requirements for procurement personnel. The competency frameworks are intended to assist RGOB to align procurement roles with its objectives and overall business requirements. The frameworks can be used to design different roles for different levels of seniority. The identification of key core business skills versus procurement skills can be balanced against the requirements of the departments and contextualized in the different government departments the individuals will operate in. The skills, qualifications and experience required can also fall out of the framework aligned in particular with the CIPS qualifications. The aim is that in the future the competency framework will align the skills for the job role, and not the job holder, which assists in recruitment and career progression • The Procurement personnel were offered scholarship on online competitive training on Public Procurement • Recruitment of Procurement Officers from PGDFM graduates has uplifted the capacity and capabilities of the procurement community in the country. • Provided slot for masters in Procurement for Procurement personnel which were not possible in the past. • Job description for Procurement Personnel revised with core responsibilities included. • Timely procurement and supply of goods, works and services essential for smooth running of government organization. • The procurement Human Resource cadre is being consolidated with the creation of an additional level and restructured, making it more amenable to the efficient and effective delivery of procurement and supply services. Provision is also being made for supporting staff to assist officers of the Cadre.
With the implementation of the procurement cadre system, the Royal Government of Bhutan has learned a lot from introducing such cadre system as well as many more lessons to be learnt from the cadre system in near future. The lessons learnt are among others: • A detailed research on the existing system will have to be carried out before introducing a new system • Acquire necessary approvals and recommendations from the relevant agencies as support during implementation • Incorporate feedback, comments and suggestions from the relevant stakeholders to keep them informed • A need to carry out consultative workshops with the concerned stakeholders to incorporate their needs and opinions on the cadre system • A need for a cadre system in the procurement for systematic process and procedures for smooth functioning • A need to incorporate international best practices from other countries who has implemented such system • The harmonization of existing government policies and practices regarding the cadre system • The attainment of transparency, competitiveness, cost effectiveness and professionalism in the public sector procurement system.
The RGoB has recognized the cadre system in the Procurement Management as one of the highest innovation regarding the professionalization and career path of the Procurement personnel. The Procurement cadre is one of the tool used by the RGoB to professionalize the Procurement personnel and also used as tool to improve efficiency, effectiveness and efficacy in the Procurement process. The cadre system has also reformed civil service in the area of procurement and Institutionalized national procurement training regime. It further enhanced national procurement competence, reformed the Job Description of the Procurement personnel, strengthened Procurement competency framework. The cadre system also enabled to establish and professionalize a procurement community, create a ‘body’ of procurement knowledge for the country and qualification ladder in procurement The Career progression planning, using the competency frameworks will enable individuals across government who work in procurement or procurement related jobs to become aspiration in terms of their future direction, and clearly spell out the requirements of future roles, skills and competencies needed to make their next career move. It will also enable individuals to identify gaps in their current competencies related to their current roles, and assist in training needs analysis and the development of future personal development plans. A consistent point of reference and benchmark for procurement performance can be set with the implementation of cadre system. The competency frameworks provides a basic standard of procurement activities for the RGOB, and have scope to be developed further in the future, based upon the increasing demands for high levels of procurement performance. The frameworks act as a point of reference for the here and now, but can also be inspirational for the future. The frameworks also provide an opportunity to be consistent across all departments at all levels, and in the future being fair and equitable in terms of all aspects of employment. The procurement competency frameworks have been based upon the National Occupational Standards in Procurement Management, but also based upon a collective analysis of other government procurement frameworks internationally, and enable them the RGOB to be more confident internationally in its capability. The alignments of the competency framework with CIPS Qualifications are that, Currently, some Procurement personnel are undertaking CIPS qualifications, through Royal Institute of Management. The delivery of CIPS qualifications takes place in country within Bhutan. However, one of the key issues of career progression, aligned to job roles is being able to align the competencies with CIPS qualifications, which are currently the most prevalent qualifications within Bhutan, but also the rest of the world. Through this procurement cadre system, the job roles can be aligned with qualifications, and when individuals apply for procurement Jobs and roles, the level of qualifications required, will be clear, consistent and transparent.
The procurement cadre system can be replicated in other countries across the world weighing the benefits that the cadre system brings in the Government Organization, from the impacts it brought and the lessons learnt from such system. The Organizations can set Bhutan’s Cadre system as an example and pilot it in their organizations and if proven successful, they can adopt the Bhutan’s Procurement Cadre system. The competency framework and the job description of the Procurement personnel are designed in a very systematic and motivational way which is paved to be replicated anywhere in the world.
The Public Procurement Policy Division was established within the Ministry of Finance in August 2008 to facilitate policy and professional development in the field of procurement. After PPPD was established, the Royal Civil Service Commission felt the need to station procurement officers to carry out the procurement efficiently. The procurement officers are stationed in Ministries, Dzongkhags and Autonomous agencies. They are also placed as per the firms’ requisition annually. In some Ministries the procurement units are headed by Chief Procurement Officers with procurement officers and assistant procurement officers as their subordinates. The Procurement Rules and Regulations, 2009 brought about best practices in Public Procurement and facilitated a nodal Public Procurement Policy Division in the Ministry of Finance. Relevant Standard Bidding Documents (SBD for goods and works) and Standard Request for Proposals (SRFP-for procurement of consultancy services) have been upgraded for different value ranges for procurement. Professional and institutional capacity in the public procurement has been built up by training (Certificate in Procurement Competence) large number of procurement professionals. Steps have been initiated towards gradual introduction of e-procurement. These reforms have been contributed significantly towards the improvement of efficiently and efficacy of the procurement system in the country.