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The Procurement Process and Document Management

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.

There is no single ‘correct' way to manage the procurement of PR resources, and the processes used by different organisations will vary widely.

However, there are certain phases that are common to most organisations through which procurement can add discipline to the inputs and outputs of PR activity, and add value to its outcomes. As always, the emphasis is on teamwork, with Procurement and PR working together to ensure that the PR need is clearly identified and that the Procurement response delivers suppliers or resources that fully meet the need. A well-structured procurement process can help to ensure that certain essential documents are created and stored properly.

This may sound unimportant or bureaucratic but there are good reasons to do so: without a legally binding contract, for example, neither the client nor the agency is protected from the actions of the other - yet research has shown that around 40% of UK client organisations do not have a proper contract with their agencies. Indeed, this documentation is so important that Module 4 of this toolkit deals specifically with the PR contract, and Module 5 deals specifically with the PR Statement of Work.