Commissioners in charm offensive

A professional body created last July to represent commissioners has said it will work to improve the image of commissioning across the voluntary sector.

The Institute of Commissioning Professionals, which trains, represents and monitors standards among commissioners, hopes to convince the third sector that commissioners have an important role to play in the sector.

“Commissioning has quite a bad reputation in the third sector, but we want to show people that it can be a valuable tool,” said Doug Forbes, director of the Institute of Commissioning Professionals. “A big part of the problem is that the voluntary sector looks at commissioning and sees a lot of petty bureaucracy.”

He said commissioners were just obeying public sector procurement regulations, but admitted that they needed to be careful to apply rules sensibly. Commissioners had the advantage of being focused on their beneficiaries and not having a campaigning agenda, he said.

“We’re looking at carrying out workshops, conferences and training to help people get the most out of the process,” he said. “We want to help with bid preparation and the procurement process.”

The institute, which recently re-launched as a not-for-profit company, is now looking for funding to carry out its goals. Major revenue streams will include conferences, training, membership fees and an executive placement service, which will match commissioners with available positions.

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