Activity / Key questions





Procurement Guidance Note










In a non-presence situation, ensure procurement is adequately represented on the assessment team, staff is adequately skilled trained to handle the job, and that policies and systems are put in place as soon as possible. 










Assess staffing needs for the procurement unit and ensure capacity meets emergency demands.





Enact simplified emergency procurement procedures to speed up procurement processes.





Comply with all donor requirements and obtain any necessary waivers.





Identify material needs from the programme and operational assessment, and prepare a procurement plan.





Conduct a market survey for relief items – time permitting in rapid on-set.





Identify sources required supplies from local, national and international markets.





Implement simplified approved vendor selection and screening processes.





Manage contracts that ensure accountability and liabilities are adequately covered.





Ensure importation and custom handling is properly managed appropriately taking duty or tax liabilities in consideration, and approval requirements for restricted items.





Ensure there is appropriate inspection and documentation of goods received.





Maintain a clear paper trail documentation of all steps in the procurement process with the correct forms and files for audit purposes.





Always ensure good collaboration and coordination between procurement, programme, Logistics, Finance and administration units.

Regularly prepare and circulate a procurement status report to help team members plan programme activities based on the expected delivery of programme supplies.










Emergency preparedness is a set of actions taken in anticipation of an emergency to facilitate rapid, effective and appropriate response to the situation by having a mechanism to mobilize the required resources and supplies in a timely and efficient manner










Work closely with the Procurement Unit in the affected areas and establish   a list with detailed specifications for program and support items required for an emergency response.





Establish a list and specification of the programmes and support items required for an emergency response.





Identify sourcing options: donation in kind, purchasing, loan - in country and overseas.





Identify suppliers of standard essential items for emergency response locally/ internationally. Assess their delivery capacity/time. Develop pre-supply agreement.





Have knowledge of national, regional, international market for emergency relief items (availability, stocking levels with various vendors, cost, delivery time).





Knowledge of import and customs procedures.





Pre-identify / select or even enter into an agreement with a qualified Clearing and Forwarding





Sign up an Agent (C&F agent) where the agreement does not have any financial liability on the organisation except for services provided.





Have good knowledge of major donors' guidelines for procurement. Be familiar with donor exceptions for emergency contexts.





Establish a list of required and/or approved vendors for emergency relief items and update information regularly in order to avoid delays in obtaining quotes when the emergency occurs.





Develop pre-supply agreements with local suppliers for emergency relief items.





Develop Frame agreements (FA), where applicable, with suppliers for possible kits constitution (family, shelter kits, etc), with no financial liability for the organisation except for services provided.





Have prices regularly updated for preparation of proposals.





Have the contents of emergency kits already defined (operations and program kits).





Ensure that the processes for tendering and obtaining quotes are followed as per policy and/or donor requirements. Ensure that the tendering/quotes process is adapted. Have tender documentation already prepared. Have a standard purchase contract established and adapted.





Ensure that the procurement process is fast and as streamlined as possible.





Check what exceptions can be made for the emergency period to speed up the process while staying within the audit requirement. Be familiar with donor exceptions for emergency contexts.





Procurement Policies and Procedures in Emergencies





Decisions about what modifications that can be applied to procedures during an emergency should ideally be addressed through an approval process and be able to be activated immediately when an emergency is declared. 










Before activating any emergency procurement procedures, first check the donor requirements and restrictions for specific projects.





Any changes required to speed up the procurement process must be approved by the authorised officer – Director, Vice-President, Manager etc.





These changes should be temporary and valid only for the duration of the emergency.

The nature of the changes, their validity and duration should be documented clearly, approved in writing by the authorised officer, communicated to all procurement staff and maintained on file for audit purposes.





Establish a process to review the application of emergency procedures to determine when they should be suspended or extended.





The following time frames are recommended for temporary emergency procedures:

-          30 days

-          60 days

-          90 days.





Ensure that procedures revert back to normal procurement policy requirements when the emergency ends.





Variations in procedures during emergencies





  • Increase limits of approval and authorisation for purchases.
  • Increase check signatory limits.
  • Suspend the requirement for multiple quotes-authorise single or sole-source purchases where justifiable.
  • Suspend sealed and public bidding procedures (if this is part of your normal process).
  • Decentralise procurement to enable larger-scale procurement at the field level.
  • Immediately process payments due to vendors, as any delay in payments might hinder the delivery of goods.
  • Relax check-run dates for emergency purchases to help with immediate payments.





Procurement procedures must always comply with individual donor guidelines. However, donor guidelines will normally allow such modifications in an emergency situation, subject in some cases to donor approval.