Emergency Procurement Processes

The procurement processes and procedures (“control activities”) we outline in this manual are, in general, less “strict” than most CP’s everyday controls.  (Below we list specific examples of how they might be less strict.)  This is why, on every page where we outline them, we point out that the emergency team must check with the CP before instituting them.  Any emergency team must follow the lead of the existing CP and/or Regional Office, with the understanding that, during an emergency response, a country program can consider reviewing and making reasonable changes to normal procurement control activities in order to respond more efficiently.

Control activities are the actions we use to control risk (Internal Control Policy, pg 2).  In the case of procurement, they are the procedures we use to request a purchase, seek bids, decide between bids, approve a purchase, and approve payment for that purchase.  Though the outlines provided here may be less strict than the standard procedures in Country Programs, they do conform to HQ purchasing rules and regulations.

Some of the ways in which the Controls outlined here might be less strict than a CP’s standard purchasing control activities:

  1. They do not require bid committees for any purchase less than $5,000.
  2. They do not require sealed bids for purchases less than $5,000.
  3. They do not require three, written bids for purchases less than $500.

If standard country program  are more strict than HQ procurement policy – and often they are – the Country Program can consider making them looser for an emergency response.  The CR should consider the cost (in time and money) of a step in the process versus the benefit we get from taking that step.  The goal is to find the right balance between control and risk.  (Internal Control Policy, pg 4).

A CR can consider and, in consultation with the RD, authorize temporary, geographically limited changes (that is, changes that only apply to the emergency area, not other program areas in the country).   If the Country Representative decides to make changes, he or she must document those changes in writing and specify the date the situation will be reviewed.  

As a guide, we have listed here the tasks as well as the structure and job descriptions of a typical purchasing office so you can set up your own in the first weeks of an emergency response.