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CIPS Education Update

New qualifications for 2013 revealed

We are proud to unveil our new qualifications that will be available to study from March 2013.  Many of you will, of course, have seen a preview of this at one of the study centre days in June. This update provides information on the new qualification structure, along with changes to assessments and plans detailing the transition arrangements for learners from the current to the new qualifications.

Our over-riding message to studying members continues to be a simple one - don't stop, or delay, your studies as all units already achieved, or in progress, will remain valid.

In 2011 we announced a review of the current qualifications. This review allowed us the opportunity to engage fully with a range of stakeholders across the world.  The consultation enabled us to use the feedback gathered to develop new qualifications that will be fit for purpose and globally recognised.

As well as structural changes, the new qualifications represent an industry-driven universal standard recognised around the world. There will be five new qualifications to replace the existing levels:
  • Professional diploma in procurement and supply
  • Advanced diploma in procurement and supply
  • Diploma in procurement and supply
  • Advanced certificate in procurement and supply operations
  • Certificate in procurement and supply operations

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Completion of the advanced diploma in procurement and supply and the professional diploma in procurement and supply will consist of three core units and two (from three) optional units, while the remaining qualifications are each made up of five compulsory units.

One notable development will be the change from the CIPS graduate diploma to the CIPS professional diploma in procurement and supply, which will be the ultimate qualification leading to MCIPS (with three years' relevant experience).  Note also that the qualifications have been renamed from ‘purchasing and supply’ to ‘procurement and supply’.

The distinction between the UK and international qualifications has been removed, with the withdrawal of the current international certificate and international advanced certificate.  The current UK Level 2 introductory certificate will also be withdrawn.


A range of assessment methods are being considered for the new qualifications, which are likely to include assignments, case studies, essay questions and multiple choice questions. More information will be available in the coming months, with sample assessments available via the website in March 2013.

Exam series
Current content
New content
May 2013 YES NO
July 2013 NO YES*
November 2013 RE-SIT ONLY*** YES*
All series in 2014 NO YES **

Note: * may not include all units; ** may not include all units in the January, March and July series; *** the table below shows which units will NOT be available in November 2013 - the last opportunity to re-sit them will be May 2013.

Units NOT available for resit in November 2013
Level 3
Level 5
Level 6
Understanding the purchasing environment (L3-01) The machinery of government (L5-13) Strategic public sector programme management (L6-13)
Purchasing operations (L3-02) Contracting in the public sector (L5-14) Public sector stakeholders and governance (L6-14)
Client and supplier relationships (L3-03)
Securing supply (L3-04)
Purchasing in action (L3-05)

The existing work based assessments (WBA) are currently under review with the aim of adding an assignment option for use at non-UK study centres – this will be available on a pilot basis through a limited number of study centres in October 2013 before being formally launched around the world. The last assessment date for the current WBA is May 2013 and there will be no re-sit opportunities.

Study centres wishing to enter learners for L6-03 supply chain management in practice work- or desk-based project must do so by 31 October 2012.  Entries after this date will not be accepted. With immediate effect, we are no longer able to accept applications from study centres wishing to offer work-based assessment.

The last date for eassessments for the current Level 2 introductory certificate is 30 June 2013. We will be unable to accept entries after 31 May 2013. With immediate effect, we are no longer able to accept applications from study centres wishing to offer the current Level 2 introductory certificate.

Transition from current qualifications

We are working hard to enable a seamless transition for learners from the current to the new qualifications.  All units currently achieved or in progress will remain valid when the new qualifications launch in March 2013. In order to transition to the new qualifications, learners are required to complete a combination of five units from the current and new qualifications to achieve the appropriate exit qualification (please see diagram below for more information).

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Study support

Study packs for the new qualifications will be available from the end of January 2013, with sample assessments being made available in March 2013.

Recognition arrangements

Finally, it is worth noting that all existing accreditation, recognition and exemption arrangements in relation to CIPS qualifications will be reviewed by December 2012 in order to determine how each will be recognised in relation to the new qualifications.

New unit content guides 

New unit content guides are now available, in draft, as pdf files (subject to the addition of qualification codes)

Professional diploma in procurement and supply
Advanced diploma in procurement and supply
Diploma in procurement and supply 
Advanced certificate in procurement and supply operations
Certificate in procurement and supply operations

Development of the assessments for the new qualifications

Assessment specifications for the content of the new qualifications are being developed together with the new assessment team roles and team structure required. A number of changes are expected in order to ensure we continue to satisfy the requirements of our regulator, Ofqual. There will be more opportunities for assessors to be involved with production of the new content assessments and there will be a number of new roles created which will involve new activities. We will be recruiting assessors for the new content in two stages:

  • Stage I assessment production teams (appointments 3rd quarter 2012)
  • Stage II assessment marking teams (appointments 1st quarter 2013)

CIPS assessors will be updated via the assessor gateway over the coming months.

Changes to policies

Appeals policy

The assessment appeals policy classifies appeals into two categories: Category A (relating to the content of the question paper) and Category B (relating to the marking outcome of an assessment). From 9 July 2012, both categories have two stages: stage 1 'review' and stage 2 'appeal'. For category B, the outcome of the review stage will be a remark of the answer booklet. Stage two for both category A and category B will be an independent appeal.  This will analyse the procedures involved in setting the question paper or marking the answer booklet respectively. A panel will determine if processes have been followed or if there has been a procedural error. The new documents are available from our website.

Reasonable adjustments policy

The wording of this policy and associated application form have been updated to reflect legislation requirements.

Social networking

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The awarding body – Ofqual Update 

CIPS is an Awarding Body recognised by Ofqual, the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation. In May 2012, CIPS signed a statement to Ofqual confirming that we comply with their new regulations. We are committed to ensuring standards are maintained across all CIPS qualifications, giving you the confidence that we have embedded the highest levels of rigour throughout the Awarding Body.

CIPS Intelligence 

If your learners are looking for fresh ideas and new perspectives on key concepts in purchasing and supply, CIPS Intelligence contains essential resources
to boost performance. This significant member benefit offers free access to a unique and comprehensive online knowledge source quickly and succinctly.

CIPS Intelligence

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Site: www.cips.org

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The Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply

Registered as a charity No 1017938 in England at Easton House, Easton on the Hill, Stamford, Lincolnshire PE9 3NZ

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