Professional membership placates employers

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Membership of professional bodies is the answer to maiden’s prayer for most employers who demand professional and ethical behaviour.

Purchasing and Supply with Nyasha Chizu

Those who know how many beans make five are the professionals associated with relevant professional bodies supporting their practice locally and internationally.

Most professions in Zimbabwe rule non-professional association out of court.

Lawyers, medical practitioners, pharmacists and chartered accountants lead the pack. The institute of personnel management is on course to regulate the profession. Why is professional association important?

With respect to procurement, the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) membership requires that a member signs a code of conduct that defines behaviours and actions which they must commit to for as long as they are members.

Members of CIPS worldwide are required to uphold this code and seek commitment to it by all parties they engage in their professional practice. In that regard, member’s conduct will be judged against the code and any breach may lead to action under the disciplinary rules set out by the institute’s Royal Charter.

The code compels members to assist any investigation by CIPS in the event of a complaint being made against them.

Professional integrity is at the heart of the CIPS standard alongside technical competence. The CIPS brand is a key element worldwide and enables the institute to speak with authority on procurement ethics.

CIPS members are expected to work to the highest ethical standards and that they are held to account if they don’t.

Every profession has standards and norms and members commit to be as good as one’s word.

It is critical that fish is kept in a pool for survival and as such, procurement staff must have procurement qualifications relevant to the procurement environment.

Personal conduct of members is equally critical with respect to the CIPS code of conduct.

Private life can have a negative impact on professional credibility and that can have a negative effect on how the public perceive the profession.

The code compels members to think about how they conduct themselves outside work and consider how this might have a positive or negative impact on their status as a professional.

Conviction for serious non-work related crimes such as assault which has received publicity in the media or offensive comments or images posted on social media could warrant disciplinary actions against CIPS members.

Although CIPS disciplinary process is not meant to judge members’ private lives, the purpose is to protect the reputation of the profession and the institute.

If the action of the member in their private life damages the profession or the institute, then CIPS becomes concerned.

In the event that an employer or concerned party is aggrieved by the conduct of a member, the employer or that person would need to check the member’s status on the CIPS online register.

This is only possible for as long as one knows the name and country of residence to establish the grade and membership status. If the CIPS membership has been established, in the first instance, an official complaint can be lodged to CIPS customer services department online.

CIPS refers allegations of breaches of the code of conduct to the CIPS disciplinary committee which reviews both the complaint and the member’s response, decides whether the complaint is upheld, and then decides whether or not to apply sanctions.

The sanctions can range from written reprimand to expulsion from membership. Given the serious problems emanating from bribery and corruption from procurement transactions, CIPS membership therefore provides a level of comfort and confidence to employers and the business community at large.