Procurement Capacity Development Guidelines


Stakeholder Engagement

Successful Transformation

No matter how large or small a transformation process, it will have an impact on real people. Those that are going to be influenced by the change, or who will have influence on it, therefore need to be engaged not only at the beginning, but throughout the process. People do not change their attitudes and behavior on command from others, therefore successful change depends on actively and appropriately engaging them throughout a change process.


Stakeholder Engagement

Depending on the scope of the assessment, many different stakeholders have different levels of interest in and influence over the process. By engaging stakeholders early on in a reform or change process it is possible to support the ownership that is critical for later implementing. Moreover transformational leaders are a common feature of successful change processes. Such leaders can be found anywhere in organizations or stakeholder groups and play a key role in "championing" the process.


There are various approaches and tools available to map and analyze stakeholders, but typically it involves a 4 step process.


Download the file "Toolkit for Capacity Development" to support your work. Tool 4 and 5b deal with stakeholder engagement.

Identify Stakeholders

Stakeholders will vary from situation to situation, but may include:



  • national institutions such as the public procurement oversight organization;
  • ministry of finance;
  • civil service commission;
  • anti-corruption commission;
  • audit commission;
  • training and education institutions;
  • political leaders;
  • procuring entities;
  • departments within procuring entities including end-user departments;
  • individual procurement staff and other officials engaged in the procurement process;

Private sector and civil society:

  • professional procurement associations;
  • the business community;
  • civil society organizations;
  • citizens and social and economic leaders;
  • the media;

Development partners:

  • bilateral partners;
  • multilateral partners;
  • new and emerging donors.

Analyze stakeholders

The stakeholders can be mapped according to their relative influence and importance bearing in mind that this may vary at different stages of the transformation process. It can help to present the mapping visually using a matrix.




Plan Communications

There is no "one size fits all" approach: communications to the business community would not be the same as for individual procurement staff whose jobs are directly impacted by the process. The plan therefore needs to include a differentiated approach using different channels to engage different stakeholders and with different levels of active participation.


Channels can include newsletters and bulletins, meetings, workshops and individual or group consultations. Depending on the stakeholder, the communication flow may be mainly or entirely one way i.e. keeping the stakeholder informed, or it may be a two-way communication with active involvement and input.


Follow Through

Once the plan is in place it is important to follow through with it. It can be all too easy to get overwhelmed with the practical aspects of planning and conducting an assessment and the communications aspect gets put on the back burner, so it is important to include it in the work-plan along with other activities. It also needs to be revisited regularly as the influence and importance of different stakeholders will shift during the process.


Stakeholder engagement is a continuous process that should take place throughout any capacity development process.

Country Cases

Sierra Leone

Comprehensive and wide ranging stakeholder engagement has been a key feature of the procurement reform process in Sierra Leone since 2002. The initial kick off was a multi-stakeholder workshop to create a common understanding and generate an initial action plan. The Reform Steering Committee recognised that there were a number of stakeholders with vested interests in the procurement system and considered it essential that they were not only supporting, but driving the process. Different avenues were used to keep them engaged in the process including newsletters, manuals and workshops.


Source: Strengthening Country Procurement Systems: Results and Opportunities, OECD-DAC 2011



The ultimate objectives of any reform process of the public procurement system are value for money and this is directly linked to the trust the private sector has in the system. In 2003, the government of Senegal decided to conduct an assessment of the procurement system with the full participation of all of the key stakeholders from the civil society and the private sector. Representatives from these sectors have been (i) sensitized during a national workshop aiming at informing these actors about the scope and practical details of the execution of the assessment, and (ii) actually involved through a Steering Committee responsible for conducting the assessment and monitoring the implementation of the recommendations following on. The modernization of the system has been successful implemented and one of the most important strengths of Senegalese Public Procurement System is the existence of an independent and financially autonomous Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (ARMP) with a tripartite board of directors of equal representatives of civil servants, private sector and civil society, self-nominated by each sector, and  empowered to regulate policy, carry out compliance audits (audits) and review complaints in procurement. 


Source: African Development Bank, 2011


Design and plan


It is important to start any transformation process, or new phase of a process, with an assessment in order to clarify the objectives, identify the current situation and, not least, to identify and engage stakeholders in the process.


As mentioned in the previous step stakeholder engagement is a critical part of the entire capacity development process. For specific guidance related to stakeholder engagement please refer to the previous step.  The decision to do an assessment is often the result of a perception that the performance, stability and adaptability of one or more institutions need to be improved. From the outset, the assessment exercise needs an Assessment Owner, whose role it is to manage the process and facilitate the stakeholder dialogue.


Assessment overview


Objectives and expectations

The overall objectives and expectations for the assessment need to be clarified.


Discussions should result in an overall objective for the assessment exercise. Sample statement: "To measure progress since earlier assessment exercises of the national procurement system and form baseline against which to measure future progress".


It is important to be clear as to what the assessment results are to be used for. Moreover, the scale and scope of the assessment are key considerations: Whose capacities need to be assessed? What capacities need to be assessed?

There is a tendency to want to measure the whole spectrum of capacities, but resources and relevance for the purpose, priorities and expectations must be kept in mind. Available resources and the ability to mobilize additional resources are key considerations.


Designing the assessment

The next stage is to figure out how these capacities will be assessed. A new framework can be developed, but generally the most practical solution is to use an existing framework, adapting it if necessary. Later sections provide detailed information depending on whether the focus of the assessment is on the Country Context, National Procurement System, Entities and Sector or Individual, or indeed a combination. Most assessment frameworks consist of a series of indicators, often with ranking schemes included.


Involving stakeholders in the design phases can ensure that the process is well adapted to the actual needs and that the results will be relevant and useful. However it also provides an opportunity to reinforce stakeholder commitment to the results and can provide an opportunity to develop their capacities. Last, but not least, engagement with stakeholders can ensure that the process is well integrated with other processes that are taking place.


Planning the assessment

Some of the issues that need to be considered when planning an assessment include who is going to conduct the assessment and how it is going to be conducted. The size of an assessment team will depend on the scale and scope of the assessment as well as the resources available.


 Download the file "Sample Terms of Reference for an assessment" to support your work.

Regardless of the size and scope of the assessment a work plan should be drawn up for the assessment detailing the outputs to be achieved, activities, due dates and roles and responsibilities. This work plan provides the basis for estimating the costs of the assessment.


Assessment team roles

There are various roles needed in an assessment team though each role does not need to be performed by a different person (e.g. one person could play the role of both facilitator and procurement expert).


Specific assessment team roles:

  • Facilitator: to manage the process and facilitate discussions on the design and conduct of the assessment, as well as the analysis of results.
  • Context Expert: familiar with the political and socio-economic environment in which the assessment is being conducted.
  • Procurement Expert: With procurement knowledge relevant for the assessment. Depending on the context, this may need to include sector-specific procurement experience or experts in cross cutting issues such as legal or audit.
  • Administration & logistics: Making appointments and taking care of administrative tasks related to the assessment.

Considerations for selecting individuals for the assessment team roles:



Carry out assessment

Conducting assessments

Data collection will be driven by the assessment framework and the available information. A worksheet can be developed listing the indicators to be assessed and their data sources.


Download the file "Data collection worksheet" to support your work.


Data can be both qualitative and quantitative. Self-assessment and/or web assessment can be utilized depending on the context. Self-assessment instruments are a good way of unveiling perceptions and attitudes, which is important for understanding root causes and aspects relating to the informal structures in place. Web based assessment tools can increase accessibility and levels of participation.


When deciding on the approach to collection and analysis, it is useful to reflect on the purpose of the assessment. This will help decide on the type of data to be collected, who should collect it, if it should be collected periodically to enable tracking of trends, etc.



Things to remember

Different stakeholders will react differently to the data collection process, e.g. the willingness and openness to provide data and information. Therefore plan the communications and information that is provided, as well as the way that data is collected, to take these kinds of reactions into consideration. This can be done by taking care to explain how the assessment results will be used and to remind participants that the assessment is not an individual performance review or audit. Where possible, harness the engagement of supportive stakeholders.


Practical things to remember:

  • Assign roles and responsibilities
  • Review existing literature
  • Prepare interview guides, questionnaires and work sheets
  • Plan travel, meetings and workshops
  • Compile and analyze data and report


Tips for a quick assessment

A quick assessment

While it is recommended to follow all the steps presented here, in some cases it may be desirable to simply the process, for example, when the focus of the assessment is very clear, or when there are constraints in terms of time or capacity. The following are Tips for conducting a quick assessment:


1. Engage Stakeholders: Don't be tempted to skip this stage as it will probably lead to delays later in the process. Be creative on how to include them in the process.


2. Designing Assessments: The key issues to consider are whose capacities are to be assessed, what capacities and for what purpose. For a quick assessment use an existing assessment tool and keep adaption to a minimum.


3. Planning and Conducting: Plan for the essentials, who will do the assessment and how will it be resourced. Use experienced people. Adjust data collection - focus on quality and efficiency in collection and use web-based tools if possible. 


Download the file "Sample Terms of Reference for an Assessment" to support your work.

This can be adapted to a "normal" or a "quick" assessment.  When a quick assessment is needed, make time for stakeholder engagement, design and planning of the assessment. This will save time when conducting the assessment.



Analyze findings

Once the necessary data and information has been collected, usually from multiple sources, the assessment team will compile, summarize and interpret the results. The assessment team may find that the data and information gathered from different sources is incomplete or provides conflicting insights, especially with self-assessments and qualitative data, since individual perceptions are influenced by many factors. It is therefore important, regardless of the type of data and information collected, to get a variety of perspectives and take into account different points of view when formulating the assessment summary.


Typically an assessment report would include:

  • An introduction and background
  • An executive summary
  • A description of the approach
  • A presentation of the country context
  • An overview of the findings, including the emerging trends and issues (detailed data can be included in Annexes).


The assessment report can include recommendations for future actions or strategies, depending on the situation. It is later explained how to use the assessment findings to prepare strategic plans.



Country context

What is meant by country context?

While it is unlikely that a procurement assessment would focus only on the country context tier, it is recommended that any procurement assessment include the context as appropriate according to the scale and scope.


Procurement systems are not static and do not exist in a vacuum. While there are generally accepted principles for what constitutes "good" public procurement, a procurement system operates within a complex web of governance and public sector, society, local, national, regional and global markets. These factors influence the procurement system and changes in the system will influence them. The following points are aspects of the country context:

  • The strength of society, state and the economy
  • Formal and informal institutions
  • Stakeholder interests and politics.

Download the file "Examples of options to address procurement challenges" to support your work.


Procurement challenges related to country context

  • Co-ordination between procurement authorities and other parts of government. 
  • Accountability and feedback mechanisms.
  • Corruption in procurement (including bribery, favouritism, patronage systems and bid rigging).
  • Political interference in procurement processes.
  • Implementation of "international standards" in challenging environments.
  • Social and ethical norms relating to family and kin that command stronger loyalty and respect than for the state and formal laws and regulations.
  • Lack of "political will" which can be the result of vested interests or lack of prioritisation can influence reform.
  • Conditions of service and remuneration.



Assessing the country context

There are a number of tools and approaches that can be adapted to conduct an assessment of the country context. There are three different categories of approaches:

  • Country/macro level analysis (overall governance conditions)
  • Sector level analysis (incentives/constraints in a particular sector)
  • Problem-driven analysis (focused on a particular problem)

Key principles for assessing country context:

  • Should be led by country actors (endogenous)
  • A proposed transformation will be met with resistance
  • Incremental change is sometimes the way forward
  • Timing is important
  • Objectives should be scaled to fit the level of incentives and capabilities
  • Leadership and management must participate in the assessment process



Tools for context and country level analysis are included below.


See the file collection for all resources in this toolkit.


National procurement systems

What is meant by national procurement systems?

The national procurement system is the overall framework for public procurement in a country including the legal framework, organizational set-up including arrangements for control and oversight, as well as the procedures and practices. In terms of assessment, it is typical to differentiate between assessing the framework itself and assessing how well it functions in practice. Conducting an assessment at regular intervals can serve various purposes including:

  • Identifying strengths and weaknesses in the national procurement system
  • Creating a baseline against which to measure and demonstrate progress

Typically, an assessment of a national procurement system will go beyond the public sector framework itself, and also look at the relationship between the public procurement system and other parts of government, the functioning of the national supply market and its relationship with the public procurement system, as well as the role of civil society.


Download the file "Examples of options to address procurement challenges" to support your work.


Assessing the national procurement system

Since 2006, the OECD-DAC Methodology for Assessment of Procurement Systems (MAPS) has become a widely used tool for countries to assess their national procurement system. MAPS provides a "standard" for the overall framework for national public procurement system with a set of baseline indicators (BLIs) against which a country can benchmark. MAPS is structured around 4 Pillars and scoring is done at the sub-indicator level on a rating of 0 to 3 where 3 is the highest. The four pillars are:


  1. Legislative and regulatory framework
  2. Institutional Framework and Management Capacity
  3. Procurement Operations and Market Practices
  4. Integrity and Transparency of the Public Procurement System


Add the file "Methodology for Assessment of Procurement Systems (MAPS)" to your file collection on the right for later download.

Recommendations for using MAPS:

  • Combine with an assessment of the country context
  • Explore root causes
  • Scope: MAPS is a standard framework that can be adapted
  • Data collection: Include data sources on root causes not only MAPS indicators and sub-indicators


Examples of challenges in national procurement systems

The numbers of challenges facing national procurement systems are many and varied, but some examples are included here:

  • Compliance with legal/regulatory framework
  • Conditions of service, incl. career paths and professionalization for procurement staff
  • Capacity and resources of a procurement normative and regulatory body
  • Level of centralisation/decentralisation straining procurement capacity
  • Management information systems
  • Weak links to planning and budgeting systems

Add the file "Examples of options to address procurement challenges" to your file collection on the right for later download.



While MAPS is the main tool available for assessing national procurement systems, other tools can provide additional input to an assessment focused on the national level. Some tools are listed below.


See the file collection for all resources in this toolkit.


External web-links:

  • World Bank: Country Procurement Assessment Report (CPAR): The purpose of the CPAR is to assess the current state of the public procurement system and other factors that affect public procurement in the country in order to identify its strengths and weaknesses for purposes of developing an action plan to address weaknesses and improve the system.
  • PEFA Secretariat: Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) Framework: A performance assessment framework for Pubic Financial Management Systems. The framework includes a number of indicators relating to public procurement, some of which are linked to MAPS indicators.


Sectors and procuring entities

What is meant by sectors and procuring entities?

In the public sector, procurement is conducted within organisations. Most countries operate with a decentralised or delegated approach to procurement which means that procurement is conducted in Ministries, and in local government organisations including municipalities, districts and the like. In some cases a procurement assessment will go beyond an individual organisation to an entire sector.


A procurement assessment at the sector or entity level will typically have a more operational focus than one at the national level. At this level, the function of procurement is to support the sector or organisation in fulfilling its goals and objectives. The capability requirements and procedures to conduct procurement will be different depending on the sector or category of procurement.


When conducting a procurement assessment of an entity or sector it is necessary to have an understanding of:

  • Strategy, goals and objectives or the organization and/or sector
  • A clear picture of the organisation or sector's procurement profile (including what, how, from whom and from where goods and services are purchased).


Assessing the sector or procuring entity

Unlike for national procurement systems, no widely accepted assessment tool exists for assessments at the sector or organizational level. Some of the available tools are used by donors to assess partner institutions for the purposes of capacity assessment and/or risk management. Caution should be exercised as risk and capacity assessment have different objectives: Capacity assessment is intended to help transform procurement, while risk assessment is intended to manage risk.


Download the files "Sample Framework for a Procurement Assessment for an Organization" and "Example of capacity assessment tool for the health sector" to support your work.


Key principles for assessing sectors or entities:

  • Ensure that all actors involved within the scope of the assessment are included as well as the relationships between them, which often are the source of bottlenecks
  • When the focus is on a sector, it is important to conduct a mapping of all the sector organizations to ensure that neither too many nor too few are included
  • The goal for procurement transformations in a sector or organization should be a level of capacity that is fit for purpose i.e. appropriate to the procurement profile of the organization


Examples of procurement challenges in sectors and procuring entities

  • Lack of clarity about roles and responsibilities
  • Poor coordination and knowledge sharing between different actors
  • Problems with forecasting and procurement planning leading to insufficient and inappropriate goods, services and works being procured
  • Problems with links to the budget
  • Weak supply chain management leading to losses, delays and procured goods not reaching end users
  • Inadequate record keeping and management information
  • Procurement seen as strictly an administrative function
  • Lack of appropriate skills and knowledge by those handling procurement resulting in reduced competition, lack of transparency, and deficiencies throughout the procurement process including lack of technical expertise that can limit types of goods and services that can be procured and how
  • Non-compliance with procurement rules - often because of lack of planning or because they are seen to provide a bottleneck
  • Inappropriate political influence in the procurement process
  • Poor contract management
  • Ineffective internal control and external scrutiny of procurement transactions
  • Private sector lacks knowledge or trust in public procurement system resulting in limited competition.



An overview of tools at the sector and procuring entity level is included in the list below.


See the file collection for all resources in this toolkit.




What is meant by individuals?

Individuals are the backbone of all the tiers that make up a procurement system. However, individuals would not often be the initial entry point for an assessment. In most cases, it will be an assessment at the organization or sector level (or even the national level) that will identify that a change in knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors will be required for individuals involved. At this point, however, to avoid leaping to the assumption that training is the solution to every issue, an assessment of the needs of individuals should be conducted.


Assessing individuals

Assessments focused on the individual level are about getting an understanding of the capacities that exist, what needs to be developed and, importantly, the contextual issues.  In terms of the role of individuals the focus is on their behavior.


The behavior of individuals is influenced by their knowledge, skills, expectations and attitudes. When talking about individuals the influence of contextual issues should not be underestimated.


Assessments focused on individuals therefore while including knowledge and skills about technical procurement issues, should also feature context issues including the informal structures within which they operate which may provide motivation for or barriers to transfer of learning. Professional values and principles are also a key aspect when talking about procurement.


Key Principles for assessing development needs for individuals:

  • The assessment should focus on needs that are appropriate to the priorities and strategies of the organization and the specific role of the individual in the organization
  • It should have the current level of the individual as its starting point
  • It should include an analysis of factors that will support or block transfer of learning (source: UN Habitat Good Practice Note: Training, 2011)
  • It should go beyond technical procurement skills and knowledge and look at values and attitudes
  • Communicate, communicate, and communicate
  • Assessments focused on individuals need to be done by those who work and live within the system under consideration
  • Confidentiality issues need to be taken seriously


Examples of procurement related challenges concerning individuals

  • New procurement processes and procedures change the expectations and requirements of those working in procurement.
  • Contextual issues, such as organizational or cultural norms exert demands on individuals that are different or contrary to those required by the formal system.
  • Difficulty with recruiting individuals into procurement jobs with existing appropriate competencies.
  • Procurement not seen as a "profession" with associated values and codes of ethics.
  • No certification programs and recognized accreditation for those working in procurement.
  • Poor motivation of those working in procurement due to low status, no clear career path, etc.
  • Those involved in procurement are not held accountable for results.
  • Need to continuously develop individuals to take on increasingly high levels of responsibility.
  • High turnover of procurement staff.
  • Inappropriate interference in procurement cases from individuals in positions of power.
  • Shortage of skills in particular areas, not only within the public service, but including journalists, suppliers, civil society organizations.
  • Lack of procurement training institutions resulting in ad-hoc training activities



These tools deal with how to conduct an individual level assessment and/or develop a procurement competency framework.


See the file collection for all resources in this toolkit.

External web-links:


Country cases


In 2005 Afghanistan conducted an assessment of the procurement system using an early version of the MAPS tool. The results provided input to the design of a reform program. A new assessment was done in 2009/10 providing a comparative basis to demonstrate progress, but also to provide a baseline for a transformation strategy for the next period.


Source: Strengthening Country Procurement Systems: Results and Opportunities, OECD-DAC, 2011



In the period 1995 to 2006 the Government of Albania implemented numerous legal and institutional procurement reforms as a result of pressure from external partners. Yet during this period there was little improvement in the operation of public procurement in the country. In 2006, however, Albania signed a Stabilization and Association Agreement with the European Union (EU) which included a commitment to move towards approximation with the EU Procurement Directives as part of the obligations towards acceptance into the EU. The political will unleashed by the goal of EU membership resulted in implementation of a number of initiatives that resulted in considerable measurable improvements in the performance of the procurement system in a short period of time.


Source: Strengthening Country Procurement Systems: Results and Opportunities, OECD-DAC, 2011



Ghana has implemented a tool with 50 indicators some of which are directly linked to MAPS. Data collection is done by specially trained assessors and data has been collected from more than 750 procuring entities. A key issue with the system however is the cost of collecting the data, in particular the need for assessors that need to be trained and paid, and the need for continuous technical refinement of the software tool.


Source: Strengthening Country Procurement Systems: Results and Opportunities, OECD-DAC, 2011


A number of organisations in the health sector in Zimbabwe are involved in implementing grants from the Global Fund for Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GF), fulfilling roles at different parts of the supply chain. As part of the process of further developing the capacity of the health sector to deliver, a number of organizations participated in an assessment using a self-assessment tool adapted from the GF requirements including Procurement and Supply Chain Management. The self-assessment included input from managers and staff as well as a review of evidence in existing reports, audits and assessments. The assessment focused on assessing those capacities required to fulfill the organizations' strategic plans and goals. Procurement and supply chain management was assessed in an integrated manner alongside other competence areas such as project management, financial management, monitoring and evaluation etc.



Planning approach

Strategic planning

The strategic planning step starts form the assessment findings and identifies clear goals, objectives and actions for developing procurement capacities.


strategic planning overview


Considerations for planning

  • Clear ownership and commitment at appropriate levels of the "organisation" (this could be the government in the context of a national procurement system).
  • A clear and powerful vision for what the outcome of the transformation will be and communication of that vision including what is required in terms of "new" behaviors and approaches.
  • Clear links as to how the transformation relates to the core objectives and key strategic priorities of the "organisation".
  • A sense of urgency as to why the transformation initiative should be given serious priority.
  • Obstacles to change are addressed.
  • Achievement of "quick wins" and attention taken to anchor the change securely in the "organisational" culture as "the way we do things".
  • Effective engagement with stakeholders.
  • Effective project and risk management for the transformation with clear lines of responsibility and the initiative broken down into manageable steps.
  • Effective follow through to completion with adequate resources provided throughout.



Developing the strategic plan should be a flexible process that is a continuation of the assessment exercise and takes the factors above into account.


Download the file "Sample Terms of Reference for preparing a strategic plan"to support your work.



Project owner

The strategic planning process needs a Project Owner to manage and oversee the process, facilitate the dialogue between different actors and stakeholders and to be a lynchpin to the completed assessment process and its implementation.


Engage stakeholders

Stakeholder engagement is one of the most important factors for the future success of the strategic plan, including ensuring clear ownership at appropriate levels in the organisation. Although stakeholder engagement should ideally have taken place, this is a good time to review, update and re-energise the stakeholder communication plan.


Identify goal(s)

With the Project Owner in place and stakeholders engaged, the next stage is to identify the goal(s) of the strategy. The goal(s) should:

  • Clarify the benefit that is intended to result from the transformation.
  • Be a priority for the government, sector or entity or contribute directly to such priorities.
  • Be meaningful for the key stakeholders and reflect their concerns and priorities.

For example, the goal of the Public Procurement Reform Strategy in the Republic of Zambia is "to promote and institutionalise a transparent, accountable and efficient public procurement system in order to improve expenditure management" (source). 


Clarify vision

Each goal identified needs a vision, in other words, a description of what the situation will look like when the goal is achieved e.g. if the goal is to institutionalise a transparent procurement system - what will that transparent procurement system look like and how will you be able to recognise that it has been achieved?


Different stakeholders may have different expectations or ideas about this e.g. supplier or civil society representatives may have different expectations than government officials of how transparent a procurement system should be. Making the visioning a participatory process involving the key stakeholders, with input of key evidence including assessment findings, can help clarify differences and identify a common vision with appropriate ownership.


Indicators of success

Indicators should be developed for the goal(s) with indicative baselines and targets, though these may well need to be adjusted further on in the process. Goal indicators should be high level and few and measure the overall progress. At the national level for example, scoring against the MAPS tool could be used as an overall goal indicator.


Download the file "Methodology for Assessing Procurement Systems" to support your work.


Solution options

Formulate solution options

The strategic plan will consist of initiatives that are designed to make the transformation from the current situation to the situation that reflects the vision and goals that you have defined.


Therefore the formulation process should start with a thorough review of assessment results including the context. The review should focus not only on weaknesses, but on what works well. Experience shows that designs are often overly ambitious with too many activities scheduled into too short a period of time without adequately taking into account readiness for change and other constraints.


There are often strong pressures and incentives to produce an ambitious strategy, but this should be managed through dialogue and communication about the planning process and about what is realistic. Transformation usually depends on a number of simultaneous or parallel interventions. Taking a systematic and iterative approach to developing the strategy through a process of prioritisation with a focus on the end results, should result in a strategic plan that is realistically ambitious and achievable. The following steps can facilitate this process.



Using the assessment results as input and with the strategic vision and goals in mind, brainstorm possible solution options. It is important at this stage to focus on common and recurring issues and problems, as well as the root causes underlying current weaknesses and then design solutions that address those root causes, not just the symptoms. It can be a good idea to include stakeholders with different perspectives and competencies in this brainstorming process.


There are no blueprints! The strategic planning goal at this point is to produce a long-list of possible interventions. Be creative and also include non-conventional approaches to solutions.


Download the file "Examples of Options to Address Procurement Challenges" to support your work.



Once the long-list is developed it is then time to review it through different lenses. Preparing a matrix where the results of the various reviews are plotted is recommended. Review each initiative on the long-list according to the following parameters:

  • Stakeholders: Who would be affected by this solution? What are their interests with regards to this initiative? What are their resources and power for influencing? What is their importance for the success? Download the file "Toolkit for Capacity Development" to support your work (see tool 5b).
  • What result will be achieved from this initiative?
  • How does this initiative link to or integrate with other reform initiatives or the overall strategy/priorities of the Government, sector or entity?
  • What are the enabling factors and constraints towards being able to implement the initiative and how strong are they? Download the file "Force Field Analysis Worksheet" to support your work.

Then review the complete list according to the following parameters:

  • Does the overall list include a good balance of "quick wins", medium and long-term initiatives? "Quick wins" are initiatives that require a small investment, can be implemented quickly and communicate progress which provides motivation and incentives for the ongoing change process, as well as providing leverage to elicit support and resources for the longer-term more resource intensive initiatives.
  • Do the initiatives include a balance of internal/external and functional/political perspectives? (see next section, complementary options for interventions).
  • Does the change management capacity exist to implement these options?
  • Is the level of ambition of the overall plan realistic in terms of the resources (including budget) available?

Complementary Options for Interventions


     Predominantly  functional- rational perspective Predominantly political perspective
Internal elements, supply side

Focus on getting the job done


Examples: Change structures, procedures, processes, technology and skills

Focus on getting power, loyalties and incentives right


Examples: Ensure promotions, firing, support to groups of reformers, sanctions against "rent-seeking", performance-based benefits

Context or external stakeholders and factors, demand side

Focus on getting an enabling regulatory and supervisory environment


Examples: Modify resource envelope, legal mandate, supervisory agencies, external audits, formal governance

Focus on increasing external pressure for performance


Examples: User pressure for accountability: strengthen advocacy and lobby groups, train politicians, journalists and media; build network for change; provide knowledge products




Tools which facilitate the formulation of solution options comprise the following:


See the file collection for all resources in this toolkit.

Strategic plan

Transform into a strategic plan

No matter how strong the design of the strategy, it will only achieve its goals if it is effectively implemented. The reality is that the majority of strategies fail to get implemented. It's therefore critical to turn the list of solution options into an implementable plan. This process includes the following steps:

  • Assign roles and responsibilities
  • Define change processes and how they will be implemented.
  • Identify resource allocations and, where necessary, prepare a resource mobilisation plan
  • Identify timelines
  • Construct a results framework and monitoring and evaluation arrangements
  • Prepare the strategic plan document


Download the file "Example of an implementation planning worksheet" to support your work.


Roles and responsibilities

When identifying those who are to be responsible for implementing aspects of the strategic plan, it is important to consider whether they have the appropriate competencies to carry out the role (or how they can be supported in acquiring those competencies) and also whether they have the appropriate level of authority with the organisation as well as the time to carry out the responsibilities, particularly if this will be additional to their regular job.


Change processes

The importance of managing change has already been discussed in terms of the assessment and strategic planning process, and hopefully by this stage there is a good foundation for the ongoing change management process. It is important to plan the necessary change process during the ongoing implementation of the transformation. This will include identifying agents who will bring about the change for each reform as well as harnessing coalitions for change.


Download the file "How to assess change readiness" to support your work.


Resources and timelines

Ideally resources should have been identified to support the strategy prior to initiating the strategic planning process and the assessment. Regardless of the source, at this point it will be necessary to allocate the overall budget to the specific activities and to justify the investment either within the organisation or to external funders.


When doing the allocation it is important to cost in, not only the funding required for the implementation, but also for the independent sustainability of the initiative i.e. the cost of the one-time intervention plus the ongoing costs of maintaining the new situation in the future.


The costs for shorter-term initiatives can be determined through activity-based budgeting. This starts from planned activities and budgets the estimated, quantifiable inputs. Costs associated with more long term solutions are more complicated. If these cannot be accurately projected, the costing exercise should probably be limited to costing actual, planned activities to avoid questioning the credibility or legitimacy of the costs.


If the exercise reveals insufficient funds for all the proposed activities then either a plan needs to be made to mobilise additional resources, or the plan may need to be adjusted to fit within the available resource envelope. Based on the assessment results and strategic planning so far, a proposal can be prepared for mobilizing additional resources.


The temptation is often to assign all initiatives with high priority and aggressive timeframes, but it is important to ensure the plan is realistic in terms of what is truly achievable as well as to sequence activities appropriately with clear milestones.



Results framework

The importance of identifying a few high level indicators, with baselines and targets relating to the Strategic Goals, was mentioned above. In addition, indicators for the initiatives included in the plan need to be identified and this takes place on two levels:

  • The change in the performance, stability and adaptability of the procurement system or of the organisation. These are called outcomes.
  • The results of activities which are called outputs.

Indicators for both outcomes and outputs are needed to monitor progress and each indicator needs a baseline and target. The baseline data is used as the starting point for measuring progress: the targets may be either short-term or long-term with interim milestones.


Download the file "Illustrative Results Framework" to support your work. 


A monitoring and evaluation plan based on these outcomes, outputs and indicators should be developed and should include the following:

  • How the data is to be collected (methods).
  • The frequency of the measurement
  • Who is responsible for collecting the data/reporting
  • Resources required for monitoring
  • Risks and assumptions for carrying out of the monitoring.

Regardless of the type of indicators selected, they should be SMART. The availability of indicator data, or lack thereof, as well as the cost of gathering it, may mean that certain indicators should be reconsidered. Where possible, the monitoring should be incorporated into existing monitoring frameworks.


The ultimate objective of a functioning monitoring and evaluation system is to verify progress on a regular basis and to provide key decision-makers with a basis for informed decision-making, and adjusting existing strategies, plans, and measures accordingly.


Prepare strategic plan document

Last, but definitely not least, all this information should be compiled into a document. Once a draft has been prepared this should be circulated to key stakeholders for comment and feedback before being finalised.


Download the file "Example Table of Contents for a Procurement Transformation Strategic Plan" to support your work.


Attention should be given as to how the Strategic Plan is going to be communicated to key actors and stakeholders. This should be part of the change process defined in the document.


Options for a quick strategy formulation

In some circumstances it may be desirable to adopt a more simple approach to the strategy formulation, for instance, in situations where the scale of the assessment is small, or where time or resources are limited.


Steps for a quick strategy formulation:

  • Start with a column listing the gaps and root causes that were identified in the assessment process.
  • In the next column identify initiatives to address the root causes. This can be done in a team brainstorming process.
  • Review the overall list of initiatives for similarities, overlaps and inconsistencies and streamline into a coherent plan.
  • For each of the initiatives identify outcome and output indicators, with baselines and targets.
  • Thereafter add columns for roles and responsibilities, timeframes, priorities and sequencing, as well as costing.
  • Review the overall plan to ensure that it is realistic and achievable.

Download the file "Example of an implementation planning worksheet" to support your work.


Tools and resources for strategic planning.


See the file collection for all resources in this toolkit.

Country cases


When designing a strategy to professionalize the procurement community the Government of Bhutan used 3 MAPS sub-indicators as Outcome indicators for the strategy i.e.


Sub-Indicator 5(c): A sustainable strategy and training capacity exists to provide training, advice and assistance to develop the capacity of government and private sector participants to understand the rules and regulations and how they should be implemented. Target: to increase score by at least 1 point. Baseline: 0.


Sub-Indicator 6(a): The level of procurement competence among government officials within the entity is consistent with their procurement responsibilities. Target: to increase score by at least 1 point. Baseline: 2.


Sub-Indicator 6(b): The procurement training and information programs for government officials and for private sector participants are consistent with demand. Target: to increase score by at least 1 point. Baseline: 0.


Source: Strengthening Country Procurement Systems: Results and Opportunities, OECD-DAC, 2011



To support them in the strategic planning process, the Office of the Director of Public Procurement (ODPP) in Malawi prepared a worksheet to guide them through the process. They plotted the capacity gaps and root causes identified in the assessment process with a column which they used to identify relevant initiatives relating to each root cause. They included both "quick-wins" and longer term initiatives. Then they added additional columns to the worksheet and for each initiative identified output and outcome indicators with baselines and targets. After reviewing the initiatives for similar, overlapping or inconsistent initiatives, they were consolidated into a coherent plan including an overall description of the initiative, roles and responsibilities, timeframe and priority.


Source: Procurement Capacity Assessment and Strategy Formulation in Malawi: A Case Study.

OECD-DAC Joint Venture on Procurement.




In the strategic planning section, the needs for a full implementation plan were explained. Implementation requires clear management arrangements, awareness of the change process, M&E processes and adjustments.


implementation overview


Management arrangements and competencies

Since implementation usually spans over a medium or long-term period, appropriate institutional management structures need to be established. Ideally the day-to-day management of the transformation strategy should be embedded in existing sustainable organisational structures. For example a national procurement reform strategy would often be embedded in the national procurement normative/regulatory body.


Whatever the organisational home for managing the implementation process, it is important that the required competencies exist or if not, that a plan is made for how they will be acquired. Relevant competencies relate to:

  • Leadership
  • Project management
  • Risk management
  • Change management
  • Communications
  • Monitoring and evaluation


Steering committees and task forces

As well as responsibility for the day-to-day management and implementation of the transformation strategy, in some circumstances it may also be desirable to establish steering committees, task forces or sounding boards, either one or a combination. Some advantages and uses of these kinds of arrangements include:

  • Creating and sustaining ownership and commitment at appropriate levels in the Government or organisation by including key stakeholders in a steering committee;
  • Ensuring ongoing links between the implementation of the strategy and other key Government or organisational priorities and objectives;
  • Ensuring ongoing links with other related initiatives and reforms such as public financial management (PFM), civil service, audit, sector programs etc.;
  • To ensure ongoing commitment from and coordination of multiple development and funding partners;
  • To provide a forum for external expert advisory support and advice;
  • To ensure ongoing dialogue with the private sector and civil society.

When establishing these kinds of arrangements however, it is important to be clear about what the objectives of the body are, what its roles and responsibilities are, frequency and purpose of meetings and who should be represented. It's also important to ensure that the arrangements are efficient and effective and are not a resource draining coordination burden or a duplication of any existing structures.


Managing change

People and change

Change deals with people and in any change process there will be winners and losers and the balance of influence and power in and between individuals, organisations and groups of organisations will shift (source).


The evidence suggests that contextual factors relating to the informal institutions e.g. social and cultural norms such as those relating to family, kinship or patronage are generally beyond the short-term influence of individuals. However incentives (both positive and negative) for performance and change also exist within organisations, for example, due to the qualities of a leader, or well-motivated staff, though it can be difficult to sustain such situations in the long-term when they go against the grain of prevailing norms. Change readiness tools can help identify such factors.


Download the file "How to assess change readiness" to support your work.

Levers for change management

  • Incentives can be used to motivate and to increase performance.
  • Quick wins are visible initiatives that require a small investment, can be implemented quickly and communicate progress and which should be included in a strategy.
  • Clear Milestones allows key implementation stages to be identified throughout the process, these help recognise achievement and helps reduce reform fatigue.
  • Communication and stakeholder engagement is a critical element of managing change and should be a high priority activity throughout the implementation.
  • Leadership for change is about change agents at all levels in the organisation. These change agents need to be harnessed and supported throughout the change process.
  • Networking with others to share experiences on how to resolve challenges and issues relating both to technical and change management.



Tools for managing change are included below.


See the file collection for all resources in this toolkit.

Country cases


Through various events such as workshops and meetings facilitated by the Public Procurement Office in Serbia, procurement officers working in municipalities have had the opportunity to meet and share experiences. As a result an informal network has sprung up among the Procurement Officers where they use each other for support both relating to issues about applying the new legal framework in practice, but also relating to the challenges of changing attitudes within their organizations towards conducting procurement in a professional manner. As a next step the procurement officers are now working on formalizing the network and opening it to others by creating a procurement association.



The Public Procurement Oversight Authority (PPOA) in Kenya faced challenges in implementing their Strategic Plan 2010-14 mainly due to the lack of availability of financial resources - the levy on procuring entities provide for in the law did not materialize as expected. As a result they had to make pragmatic adjustments to the expectations, for example, relying on seconded staff from other ministries until such times as it was possible to recruit PPOA staff.


Source: Strengthening Country Procurement Systems: Results and Opportunities, OECD-DAC, 2011



Monitoring & Evaluation

Learning and adjusting

Monitoring and evaluation both serve the purpose of learning. While monitoring is an ongoing activity it gives information on the progress of the implementation of the procurement capacity development initiative and enables ongoing adjustment if targets are not being met.


Evaluation is a periodical exercise that allows stock-taking and providing lessons learned both for the ongoing procurement capacity development initiative and for other initiatives.


Monitoring & Evaluation

The implementation of a monitoring and evaluation framework should be integrated into existing monitoring structures. When moving from planning to implementation, the monitoring framework should be reinforced and elaborated including finalizing roles and responsibilities, indicators, baselines, risk and targets and establishing the required information systems. At this point some indicators may need to be adjusted. The monitoring framework should be implemented including applying tools to collect and analysis the data. In addition the communication of results should be an important activity and feeds into the management of change. 


Download the file "Illustrative Results Framework" to support your work.


While monitoring gives ongoing information on whether the change is going in the right direction and at the speed as planned, it doesn't give information on the reason for the changes or how they are happening. Evaluations can be used to uncover what is working and what is not, and why. Generally evaluations should be done when there is a divergence between the planned and actual performance, when there is a need to document that the right results are achieved, or when decisions need to be made about resource allocations. Being able to demonstrate progress and results is an important aspect in being able to justify and ensure ongoing funding.


As well as providing information that can be used to validate the strategy, make mid-term corrections and improve the design and implementation and ensure accountability, monitoring and evaluation activities can provide a good source of data and "stories" to feed into the communications strategy.



Tools for Monitoring and Evaluation are included below. 


See the file collection for all resources in this toolkit.