1. Role of procurement in an emergency

The primary role and responsibility of the procurement unit is to procure the right product in the right quantity and quality, at the right time for delivery to the right place.

All relief activities depend upon procurement for relief materials. Emergencies are life-saving situations, so time is of the essence and we need to procure the required goods and materials, and deliver these to the intended beneficiary in a timely manner.

The importance of communication/collaboration/coordination in the procurement process to the entire relief operation cannot be stressed strongly enough. Slow or ineffective procurement can delay or stop the entire operation if relief items are not available and prevent CARE from achieving its mission of providing urgently needed assistance to disaster-affected people.


Budget holder

Key responsibilities

Approves purchases. Budgets will need to be in place and approved before transactions can occur.

Procurement Manager Provide oversight to emergency procurement activities, including ensuring that preparedness measures are implemented.
Procurement Officer Provide acquisition support for the procurement goods/services required.
Finance Ensure adequate cash flow for procurement needs and timely payment to vendors (to avoid disruptions in supply).
Logistics Coordinate with the procurement unit on logistics requirements including transport needs, receipt and dispatch of goods.
Programme team Provide detailed specifications and any applicable donor restrictions/regulations on all materials to be procured.
Human resources Ensure that adequate staff is recruited.
Security Provide recommendations for security telecommunications equipment.
Country Director/Senior Management Team Approve and responsible for emergency purchases and any changes in the policies relating to procurement and finance for the period of the emergency.
Lead Member procurement unit Advise on procurement policies and provide appropriate support for international procurement activities.
CEG Senior Logistics Advisor Advise on CARE International pre-supply arrangements and provide technical advice on emergency procurement.
CARE USA EHAT Senior Logistics Advisor Advise on CARE USA-managed logistics and procurement partnerships, and technical advice on emergency procurement.

1.2.1 Ensuring adequate procurement staffing levels

Quick, effective procurement in an emergency requires the right number of staff with the right skills to be in place in the procurement team as quickly as possible. Inadequate staffing in the procurement unit will result in overburdening staff, causing stress, conflict of interest and inefficiencies that cause bottlenecks. This will delay the delivery of urgently needed relief to people affected by the disaster.

To avoid this, ensure that procurement staffing needs are considered very early in the emergency response. The level of staffing should be based on an analysis of the projected scope of the response compared with existing capacity. Any additional capacity required should be requested immediately through either local recruitment or internationally via the CERT mechanism (refer to Human resources ).

To assess and activate staffing needs, use the following checklist:

  • Using information from the assessment of relief and operational materials required (see section 5), estimate the number of personnel and skill level of each required to meet the scope of the emergency response.
  • Ensure that you have considered the procurement staffing needs at all CO locations, including decentralized procurement at sub-offices.
  • Consider segregation of duties to avoid conflict of interest and audit issues.
  • Determine if staffing can be reallocated within the existing procurement unit. Wherever possible, put more experienced staff onto emergency duties, with new and less experienced staff back-stopping regular duties.
  • Check with other units for cross-coverage of positions and other expertise available.
  • Conduct gap analysis and take steps to immediately fill gaps.
  • Advise HR and CARE USA Procurement Mgr on personnel needs for the various locations.
  • Alert HR and CARE USA Procurement Mgr if international personnel are required.
  • Provide HR and CARE USA Procurement Mgr with the necessary job descriptions for the various positions.
  • Prepare an organizational chart for the new emergency procurement team.
  • Conduct orientation and briefing for all procurement staff assigned to emergency procurement duties.
  • If CARE location is using PeopleSoft ensure Staff involved with procurement know how to use the system and understand workflow approvals.

1.2.2 Staffing tips for CARE presence and non-presence countries

In an existing CO, new staff will be needed to increase the procurement unit’s overall capacity. It is recommended that experienced CARE procurement staff is deployed for emergency duties, as they are already aware of CARE’s existing procurement policies and procedures pertaining to procurement activity. Newly hired staff is best if they are assigned ‘normal’ duties within the procurement unit.

In a non-presence country, an experienced deployable procurement person should be requested through the emergency roster (refer to Chapter 7 Human resources).

1.2.3 Functions of key procurement staff

The procurement unit should include a Procurement Manager and Procurement Officers. The number of Procurement Officers should be appropriate to the scale of the response (refer to section 1.2.1 ). The key duties are as follows:

 Procurement Manager

  • Ensure preparedness measures for procurement are implemented before an emergency.
  • Make recommendations to the CD/SMT on emergency procedures and thresholds (preferably pre-established during the EPP process).
  • Activate emergency procedures and thresholds pre-established during the EPP process.
  • Manage day-to-day operations of the Emergency Procurement Unit.
  • Coordinate activities with emergency staff (programme, logistics, administration and finance)
  • Ensure donor compliance.
  • Provide training to new staff.
  • Ensure that all procurement policies and procedures are followed.
  • Review/approve all requests for quotations.
  • Review all Summary of Bid Analysis.
  • Liaise with logistics, clearing/forwarding agents and vendors.
  • Coordinate with HR to hire additional staff, if necessary.
  • Ensure proper orientation and training are provided to newly hired personnel.
  • Provide ongoing verbal and written updates to management and other emergency team members.

 Procurement Officers

  • Undertake market survey of emergency items as identified by the programme.
  • Determine the source of supplies-local or overseas markets.
  • Ensure what the donor restrictions and details specification for goods/services from programme.
  • Check with CARE USA Procurement to advise on master contracts already available.
  • Arrange for pre-supply agreements with local/global vendors/manufacturers.
  • Check with CARE International or the Emergency and Humanitarian Assistance Team (EHAT) of CARE Atlanta, on the availability of pre-positioned stocks from the Supply Chain Consortium warehouses-such as the types and quantities that may be available.
  • Prepare necessary bid documents for publication/distribution to prospective vendors.
  • Undertake vendor screening/reviews (new, temporary).
  • Scrutinise vendors for donor compliance, using EPLS, Bridger World Tracker, etc.
  • Prepare all Summary of Bid Analyses.
  • Finalise contracts with vendors and service providers.
  • Ensure all procurement steps are documented and filed.

Annex 12.2 Job Description Procurement Manager