Oxfam plans overhaul of its purchasing strategy

Oxfam is recruiting a procurement manager in a bid to avoid the type of purchasing gaffe that cast a shadow over the Make Poverty History wristband campaign.

It is advertising for an ethical consumerism project manager to oversee the implementation of a strategy to unify the purchase of goods and services across the organisation.

The aid charity was embarrassed by conditions in two Chinese factories that produced wristbands for Make Poverty History in 2005. Oxfam insisted then that its procurement practices had been in line with its policies.

But the fallout from the affair and increased public awareness of procurement practices have pushed Oxfam into tackling the issue through the new post.

Rachel Wilshaw, purchasing strategy manager at Oxfam, admitted the deadline to produce the wristbands meant the charity rushed into agreements with two factories in China.

From now on, she said, Oxfam would ensure it had "all the ducks in a row" before finalising orders.

"We have increased the budget for doing audits and keeping information on the supply chain," Wilshaw said.

She added that the charity had continued to work with the factories that produced the wristbands to drive up their working conditions.

The appointment of the new manager will cap a six-month review of procurement practices across Oxfam.

The successful candidate will also investigate how the charity can promote ethical consumerism through its high street stores.

The job advert says they will have "significant internal and external impact, particularly on income/expenditure and the public reputation of Oxfam".

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