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Procurement Guide

The PR Procurement Toolkit is a joint initiative of the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA), the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), the Kent branch of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS), and the Central Office of Information (COI).

The Toolkit as a whole is designed to help clients of the PR and communications profession - in functions including marketing and procurement - and their suppliers, including agencies and other service providers, to work together to maximise the value delivered by PR and communications practitioners and PR and communications activity. The modules within the Toolkit are independent but interlinked, each covering a specific stage of the client/supplier relationship. While some smaller clients may not have a dedicated procurement function, the principles in the Toolkit can still be applied to procuring PR and communications services.

To suggest topics for new modules, please email

Module 1 - Indicators of Best Practice in PR Procurement

Although neither procurement nor PR can ever be exact sciences, and there can therefore be no single, definitive 'correct' way of procuring PR and communications services, there are principles and techniques of PR and communications procurement which have proved over the last 15 years to provide efficient solutions to the challenge of purchasing a creatively-based business service.

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Module 2 - The PR Procurement Cycle

Managing public relations and communications should not be thought of as a linear process, but as a continuous cycle. The cycle can be broadly split into three stages: the planning stage, the purchasing stage and the performance stage. These stages are not isolated: each is directly related to one another.

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Module 3 - The Procurement Process and Document Management

There is no single ‘correct' way to manage the procurement of PR and communications resources, and the processes used by different organisations will vary widely. However, there are certain phases that are common to most organisations through which procurement can add discipline to the inputs and outputs of PR and communications activity, and add value to its outcomes.

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Module 4 - The PR Contract

Contract law varies widely from country to country, and contracts should always be agreed locally under the supervision of a local expert. However, there are some common factors which should be considered in most cases:

  • Specified personnel
  • Pitch team
  • Performance-related bonus/penalty
  • Intellectual property
  • Operational territories
  • Survival of clauses
  • TUPE indemnity

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Module 5 - The Statement of Work

Whatever form it takes, the 'Statement of Work' is the foundation of any successful commercial transaction. It describes in clear, precise and mutually understood terms:

  • what services or goods will be provided
  • in what quantity and /or of what quality
  • by whom and to whom
  • when
  • for how much, and how payment will be made

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Module 6 - Good Housekeeping

Once both client and agency have established a full and mutual understanding of what is expected by and from each party, and formalised this through tools such as the Contract and Statements of Work, a few ‘good housekeeping' processes will help to ensure that unmet expectations are addressed before they become a cause for concern.

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