With AMR announcement, is NASPO distancing itself and the UPPCC certification program from the NIGP? by Jon Hansen

Posted on May 22, 2015


“It appears NIGP just transferred the crown jewels (certification) to NASPO . . . this would have been absolutely unheard of in the past.  Are they (UPPCC) looking to maintain credibility?
One aspect we did not discuss.  Most professional organizations are based upon individual memberships.  NIGP is based on agency memberships.  It is the city, county, state, etc. that belongs to NIGP; the individuals are representatives.  If NIGP has an ethics issue, it could reflect back upon those agencies.” – Anonymous Source

I barely had the chance to take my first sip of coffee this morning when I received – along with the above note – a copy of yesterday’s announcement that the Universal Public Procurement Certification Council (UPPCC) had selected AMR Management Services (AMR) as its new management partner effective July 1, 2015.

The UPPCC, which was founded in 1978 by the National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO) and NIGP: The Institute for Public Procurement, had been establish as an independent entity to “govern and administer the Certified Public Procurement Officer (CPPO) and Certified Professional Public Buyer (CPPB) certification programs.”

AMR Management Services, which provides professional services for more than 20 leading national and international associations – including NASPO – “handle all facets of association management” for their clients.

Based on the above, what does this move really mean?

Is it, as my anonymous source suggests, reflective of a shift that “would have been absolutely unheard of in the past”?

What role did the growing controversy surrounding the #CodeGate scandal play in terms of either facilitating or accelerating this change?

As another source put it,  “I did not see that (the AMR move) coming. Maybe this was what I had heard that NASPO was upset about with NIGP a couple months ago”. In short, and to what extent prior to the Missouri bid protest that led to the #CodeGate scandal becoming public knowledge, was the relationship between NASPO and the NIGP already strained?

At this stage it is hard to determine whether any one factor, or a combination of factors is behind the announcement. However, one of the first thoughts that came to my mind was simply this . . . by announcing the shift to AMR – who already manages NASPO, will the certification program be associated more with NASPO, as opposed to the NIGP?

After all, the CPPB and CPPO are certifications that are offered through the Universal Public Procurement Certification Council (UPPCC). By placing the management of the UPPCC under AMR, it is a smart way to give the outward appearance that not much as changed, while simultaneously creating some distance between the program and the NIGP.

If you think about it for a moment it is a somewhat brilliant move in that it sends –  under a cover of plausible deniability, a definite message to both the NIGP and public sector professionals. This latter point came to me when I spoke with a third anonymous source who, although already aware of the AMR story, suddenly had to take another call when I offered my distancing theory.

There is of course a downside to the move that likely hasn’t been considered.

When a growing controversy gets out of hand, containment becomes the order of the day. While AMR becoming the UPPCC’s new “management partner” may calm the waters within the procurement community – at least for the time being, it might not be seen as a positive move in the general business world. Especially if another Missouri-type controversy rears its head in the future.

While a good percentage of my readership is made up of procurement professionals, there are many C-Suite executives from the general business community who, as listeners of my radio show, also follow the Procurement Insights blog. This story is no longer just procurement industry news.

Within this context, when the next crisis occurs – and it likely will in some form or another, as long as the NIGP maintains its relationship with Periscope – there will be even more eyes and ears tuned into the story.

At that point the creditability of the industry is likely to take a significant hit. When it does, and as discussed yesterday in my radio interview with Marie Meliksetian, the consequences will be significant. Especially with the recruitment and retention of Generation Next professionals.

IBM Study: How will generation Next professionals react to a scandal like #CodeGate

IBM Study makes one wonder how Generation Next professionals will react to a scandal like #CodeGate

Just started following the NIGP #CodeGate story? Use the following link to access the Post Archive; https://procureinsights.wordpress.com/nigp-codegate/

You can follow my coverage of this story on Twitter using the Hashtags #missbid and #CodeGate

On The Go? You can also listen to the audio version of this post as well as others through @Umano https://umano.me/jhansen