A Purchase Committee is a group of designated staff established for independent review and evaluation of purchasing documentation whose main role is to recommend the most appropriate supplier or service provider based on price, quality, stock availability, references etc. Purchase Committees (PC) should be established and managed by the Chief Executive of the organization and they have the ultimate responsibility for the successful outcome of the evaluation process. For all PC meetings, the Chief Executive should act as the chairperson with a non-voting role.
Responsibilities of the Purchase Committee:
The roles and responsibilities of the PC should include;
- To analyse quotations provided by the logistics department, and provide recommendation for approval by the person who signed the SR or someone delegated by them.
- To ensure all documentation is accurately completed.
- To ensure that the supplies/services quoted for comply with what was requested on the SR.
- Seek clarification from suppliers/service providers where necessary.
- To request technical input from relevant staff as required.
- Where the person with authority to approve the QEF has a query on the PC’s recommendation, this should be directed back to the committee stating clearly the nature of the query.
- The PC should also be assigned a role within the supplier pre-qualification process
- In certain contexts, it may be appropriate for some or all members of the PC to be directly involved in the collection of quotations
- Ensuring proportionality, transparency, accountability and fairness in the procurement process
- Ensuring all relevant documentation is prepared prior to PC meeting
- Involvement in the evaluation discussion
- Ensuring that the Quote Evaluation Form (see appendix 3) is completed accurately
- Ensuring all necessary procurement procedures are properly followed including any relevant donor procedures
- Ensuring samples are available for review if relevant and are returned to all unsuccessful bidders
Composition of Purchase Committee:
The committee should consist a minimum of 3 participants. It may occasionally be considered appropriate to increase the number of members in a PC and in such cases, for voting purposes, it is advisable to have an odd number of participants. A suggested composition of a PC could be as follows;
- Logistics Manager or equivalent
- Finance Department Representative
- Technical Representative (specifically related to the items being procured)
When procuring on behalf of partners, a representative from the partner organisation should be invited to participate as a member of the PC. This will improve the level of transparency in the process. The participation of beneficiaries on PC’s should also be considered where appropriate.
If the communities with whom the organization works are happy to appoint a PC member, this should be actively encouraged to improve organization’s level of accountability to beneficiaries. All chosen participants must in no way be related to or associated with any of the suppliers being evaluated. If such a relationship becomes apparent during an evaluation process, this committee member must declare the relationship and be replaced on the committee by an alternative member. The participants of the PC must ultimately ensure that impartiality and confidentiality are respected at all times and a declaration of such should therefore be signed by all participants.
Working of the PC:
Once the committee has been established, one member should be allocated the responsibility of chairing the meeting. If the Logistics Manager (or equivalent) has been involved in the quotations collection process it may be appropriate that this person be allocated this role. A secretary should also be appointed to record the relevant information. Each of the 3 PC members should be rotated on 6 monthly basis (and more frequently if possible). Only 2 members should be rotated at any one time to allow an element of continuity on the committee. PC’s should ideally meet on a regular scheduled basis depending on the level of purchasing activity. For example, a relatively busy field may schedule PC meetings once every week on the same day and at the same time. All relevant documentation should be prepared in advance of the meeting to ensure efficiency in the process itself.
There may regularly be multiple evaluation processes to complete during a single PC meeting and different rotating members may therefore be required during each meeting. Each set of quotes to be evaluated should in such instances be allocated a specific time slot. This will ensure that the rotating evaluation committee member remains relevant to the quotes being evaluated. It is important that each PC member should be given appropriate training on their role and responsibilities within the committee.
The findings and recommendations of PC meetings should be recorded using a Quote Evaluation Form (QEF) and each committee member should sign the form in the relevant section. When the evaluation process is complete, the Logistics Manager/Procurement Officer should request authorisation of the QEF from the person who approved the original SR, or a person delegated by them.
It is important to be aware that the system for establishing and managing PC’s as outlined in this section may place considerable responsibility and ‘power’ (in terms of relationships with suppliers) with PC members. If this is deemed to be ‘high-risk’ in a particular organization field, it may be worthwhile to consider a larger list of PC members. For example, a team of 7 or 9 standby committee members can be identified and appropriately trained. This system allows for PC rotation for each evaluation thereby reducing the risk of collusion between PC members and suppliers.