PR Procurement Toolkit Module 1
The Public Relations Procurement Toolkit is published by the Joint PR Profession Panel on Procurement
Researched and compiled by Tom Wells, a member of both the PRCA and CIPR.
This is one of a series of modules that together comprise the PR Procurement Toolkit - a joint initiative of the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA), Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), the Kent branch of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS), and the Central Office of Information (COI).
The Toolkit as a whole is designed to help clients of the PR industry - in functions including Marketing and Procurement - and their suppliers, including agencies and other service providers, to work together to maximise the value delivered by PR people and PR activity. The modules within the Toolkit are independent but interlinked, each covering a specific stage of the client/supplier relationship.
Module 1: Indicators of Best Practice in PR Procurement
Although neither procurement nor PR can ever be exact sciences, and there can therefore be no single, definitive 'correct' way of procuring PR services, there are principles and techniques of PR procurement which have proved over the last 15 years to provide efficient solutions to the challenge of purchasing a creatively-based business service.
Some of these are set out in below. Whether setting up a PR procurement process from scratch or reviewing an existing process, it will be useful to bear these, and similar indicators, in mind. While performing strongly against them will not guarantee success, performing poorly against them is likely to preclude it.
Indicators of world-class practice in PR procurement
1 We build/maintain a well-managed roster of agencies and suppliers for individual categories of PR spend
2 We consider extending or scaling existing relationships before engaging with a new agency/supplier
3 We regularly review non-rostered agencies or suppliers to see where they could add value to the roster
4 We ensure that the selection of new agencies/suppliers is informed by a clear understanding of the need
5 We select agencies/suppliers via a comprehensive and structured process
6 All our PR suppliers of every type are fully and appropriately contracted
7 The complexity of the procurement steps we use varies so as to be appropriate to the size of the spend and/or the importance of the project
8 We consider carefully whether each activity should be carried out by a supplier which is
local, regional or global
9 Whenever possible, we include a meaningful performance-related element within agency/supplier costs
10 We hold regular assessments of agency/supplier performance
11 We encourage strong, collaborative working relationships between different agencies/ suppliers
12 We achieve transparency and visibility in project cost estimates (e.g. via tools such as standard cost breakdown templates, rate cards)
13 We benchmark commercial proposals/costs with people with commensurate experience (including use of external, independent specialists)
14 We review proposed outputs to identify potential opportunities for re-scoping/re- specification (to achieve a more ‘fit for purpose' result)
15 We require agencies/suppliers to flag and document any changes from cost estimates as activities/ projects progress
16 We convene regular budget management meetings - tracking committed and planned expenditure vs. budget
17 We ensure that post-activity evaluation includes discussions on how to improve cost
efficiency for similar future activities
18 We capitalise on opportunities to consolidate spend (e.g. across markets or time periods)
19 We regularly assess value for money and return on investment for each category of spend
20 The nature of our procurement process in itself contributes to the creation of value for the organisation