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Do the right things


Posted on March 15, 2019


Do the right things

Ethics in Procurement – Simple, but Not Always Easy

The ground rules for good ethics in procurement are simple enough with an overriding principle of “do the right things.” However, simple as we know it is not the same as easy right? ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ For example, how would you deal with the following situation in procurement? You are responsible for the procurement of cleaning supplies for your organization. A potential supplier sends you their catalogue together with a gift of an expensive-looking ballpoint pen with the supplier’s logo on it. What is the right thing to do? This may sound like a simple dilemma but in procurement, a department often viewed as an unexciting part of an enterprise, with one “simple” move can find itself embroiled in events and situations that make world headlines. ......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... Question is, Who Judges Whether Procurement is Ethical or Unethical? We know that, depending on countries, cultures, customs, and even industries, definitions of what is ethical or unethical in procurement may vary. Practices defined as corrupt by some parties may be taken for granted by others and considered a normal part of doing business. ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ The United Nations Procurement Practitioner’s Guide itself points out that … “No matter how hard policy-makers try, they will never specify in law, code, regulation, rule, or other written requirement everything that a procurement officer needs to know regarding what is allowed or appropriate and what is prohibited or shunned. It is necessary for procurement officers to understand what the law or rule is intended to accomplish.” ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ This does not by any means relieve or absolve procurement staff of its responsibility to “do the right thing”. Nor does it guarantee that the right thing to do will be simply obvious. The ethical chain of responsibility has become quite far reaching, the buying public has a surprisingly long reach and the internet as they say does not forget… ......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... Feel free to simply sound off here ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ Joy Njau (FCIPS)



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