The NIGP-CPP Prep Course focuses on the following key areas:
- Focus Area 1: Strategy — For the public procurement function to serve as a valuable, contributing asset to the entity, it must think, plan, and act strategically, aligning entity mission and public benefit alongside social responsibility. As an extension of the procurement function, the public procurement professional must actively serve to the public benefit, helping create the entity’s strategic vison to assist the public as a whole.
- Focus Area 2: Policy & Legislation — As stewards of the public trust, procurement professionals are held to a higher standard of ethics than are most public employees, acting with confidence to wisely expend the taxpayer dollars. It is vital they not only understand and follow applicable laws but also that they act in accordance with the intent of laws created to guard against favoritism, unfairness, and unnecessary spending, meeting the needs of their entity without bowing to either internal or external political pressures. Knowledge of the political environment and entity management are necessary tools in order to do so.
- Focus Area 3: Planning & Analysis — The direction of public sector organizations has generated increased demand for strategic procurement planning and participation by procurement professionals in the implementation of many projects—particularly out-sourcing, privatization, and public-private partnerships. Risk is a critical consideration in the contracting and procurement process, and a thoughtful and proactive approach toward risk, as it relates to specific procurement actions, contributes to the success of contract performance.
- Focus Area 4: Sourcing & Solicitation — In addition to knowing the approved methods of procurement, the procurement professional must know the appropriate situations to use each in order to achieve the best value for the entity while meeting the needs of the end user. To do this, procurement professionals must understand how to deal effectively with individual clients across a variety of situations while ensuring the contractor’s financial strength, ethics, past performance, etc. are duly considered prior to award. Furthermore, procurement professionals must establish positive, pro-active relationships with end users and suppliers (both domestic and international) in both positive and negative situations.
- Focus Area 5: Contract Administration — Public procurement professionals must be prepared to demonstrate good contract writing and management skills when pursuing procurement engagement and supporting uninterrupted public service delivery of commodities for their entity. For the procurement professional, this includes all aspects from the time the need is recognized until the commodity is used or disposed of, including but not limited to receipt, inspection, logistics, inventory management, and contract/supplier management.
- Focus Area 6: Leadership — Public procurement professionals must be prepared to demonstrate good leadership skills when faced with everyday challenges, striving to ensure that both employees and leaders have the necessary agility, innovation, and drive to proactively transform their procurement cultures in strategic, practical ways. In addition, the procurement professional must master communication strategies, problem solving and critical thinking skills, and relationship management skills, learning to operate as forward-thinking stakeholders in their entity to ensure continuous, proactive solutions that align with their entity’s strategic objectives. As the practitioners leave the profession or age and retire, public procurement professionals must ensure that talent recruitment and development, along with long-term succession planning, play a critical role in their public service, working collaboratively to establish and oversee expectations for career progression, retention, and life-long learning for the procurement function.
- Focus Area 7: Business Principles — In our ever-changing and increasingly complex world, the ability for procurement professionals to perform their professional responsibilities alongside common business principles and operations is critical to the success of an entity’s procurement function. It is no longer feasible for the procurement professional to merely be concerned with the purchasing process. Instead, they must understand, apply, and master the use of business, financial, technology, and project management soft skills to serve as an effective and contributing member of an entity’s management team, thereby ensuring project and program success while efficiently and ethically serving as stewards of the public trust.