Why, unusually, I support this charity, by Ian Tait


Nowadays I rarely give money to charity. Why? Because so many of them are inefficient, spending substantial sums on themselves rather than using donated funds for the actual purpose intended.

A US survey in 2014 found that almost 37% of charity expenditure was spent on administration and fundraising activities, with the balance going to good causes. And similarly, more recent research by Channel 4 News in the UK (14 Aug 2017) found that between 60% – 70% of charities’ annual spend goes on ‘charitable activities’ ie ‘providing the services or fulfilling the duties that the charity exists to provide’. This followed the shocking case of the UK’s National Hereditary Breast Cancer Helpline which in financial year 2014 – 2015 spent only 3% (roughly £27k) of its total annual expenditure (over £800k) on charitable activities. That is, the charity gave only 3% of its spend to good causes. And according to the Charities Commission, fourteen UK-based charities have staff members earning over £300k per annum, with the average boss of the UK’s top 100 charities paid £255k a year. That’s why I rarely give money to charity.

Professors Malcolm Harper and Gerry Johnson of the Cranfield of Management were teaching  in India in 1992 when they discovered a small local residential school which took in the orphaned daughters of local sex workers. They decided to support the school from UK, and set up ‘Friends of the Children of Orissa’, raising small amounts of money and sending the funds to India. The school has grown from 25 pupils to some 300, including  50 mor so ‘day girls’ from local slums.  Malcolm visits the school several times a year, all his costs being covered from other work, and  friends and neighbours in the UK give their time and occasional ‘in-kind’ help to cover all  expenses. Thus all the money which is donated to help the children  goes to India and is spent entirely in supporting the school.  Many girls have  ‘graduated’ from  the school and are working in a variety of careers, including teaching, nursing and work in the many local software and other IT businesses. You can see some photos and videos on the charity’s website (link below). In addition to the school, the charity now supports another small  local  charity which rescues lost and runaway children who are found on platforms in railway stations. These children are in danger from unscrupulous kidnap gangs who seize (mostly) boys for their own purposes, often ending in the child’s death, and the charity rescues about 1000 children a year and reunites them with their families.  The film and book ‘Lion’ described the life of one such child who was eventually adopted by an Australian family, and was able to tell the story of his life in some detail.

So, this charity not only does excellent work in helping destitute small children in one of the poorest parts of India; it sends your donation where it belongs – to the children. I encourage you to make a contribution and to spread the word about the valuable work done by The Friends of the Children of Orissa.


CIPS New Education Scheme May 2019


The Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply will introduce a new Education Scheme for Diploma level and above (L4, L5, L6) immediately after the May 2019 examinations. From July 2019 only assessments under the new scheme will be available to students, and current plans are that there will be no opportunity for re-sits for candidates who have failed an examination under the current scheme, after May 2019. Candidates who have failed an exam in March 2019 or May 2019 will need to take an assessment under the new scheme to compensate for their fail under the current scheme.

This means that CIPS Diploma, Advanced Diploma and Professional Diploma students should plan their studies very carefully. As the current scheme has been running for several years, we have a history of past exam papers, past assessor comments, and we can predict for most subjects with some certainty what questions will look like. None of this will be the case after May 2019, although CIPS will release sample question papers with some guidance, but this is nothing compared to the wealth of historic material currently available. To be blunt, it is easier to pass exams under the current scheme than it will be under the new scheme, at least while the new scheme remains ‘new’.

Because of the dates CIPS has chosen to make a changeover to the new scheme, there cannot be a full academic year of study between September 2018 and the summer of 2019, as would normally be the case at our school. We will work on designing a timetable which will seek to enable students to complete one of the Diploma levels in one year if they wish, but this is likely to mean ‘doubling up’ of subjects during one term, for each level. We will try to make this as painless as possible, but students should note that they should not delay until the Autumn of 2018 to commence studies if they wish to complete a level by May 2019. Start early to increase the chances of happy completion of a level by May 2019 is the message.

E-mail me at ian@iantait.biz with any query.


15.2.2018, updated 10.8.2018

High-quality CIPS tuition


High-quality CIPS tuition helping you, your employer & your career

The strapline of our organisation is not just a random set of consultancy-inspired words. They’re serious, like our teaching. Let’s take a look at each of these three sets of benefits in more detail.

Firstly, the benefits to the individual. The increased competence of the individual students can be found both in and out of the workplace. Many students increase their confidence, not only through increasing their technical knowledge of procurement and supply chain, but also through their contributions in class where they find themselves in discussion with students from other organisations and sectors, whose work and life experiences may be radically different. Take for example the ‘Pareto Principle’- the idea that a small percentage of an overall group of items has a disproportionate effect on that group – sometimes known as ‘the 80/20 rule’. Recognition and understanding of the principle helps an individual prioritise their work tasks as well as in some cases aspects of their private lives. Your top five suppliers might account for 70% of your overall organisational spend, or your mortgage / rent and car loan might account for 75% of your monthly after-tax family outgoings. An understanding of what really matters in the workplace helps develop focus, efficiency and higher-quality outputs.

For the individual there is also the likelihood of increasing recognition and enhanced status among colleagues. Peers begin to recognise someone as a ‘professional’ rather than someone who just ‘gets by’. And linked to this, sometimes surprisingly quickly comes the possibility of progression within the organisation, and of course, progression is likely to bring increased personal financial rewards.

For the employer, the benefits of staff undertaking CIPS studies should be almost self-evident. The CIPS Diploma provides all-round professional training at the level of the buyer or procurement manager. The reduced guesswork and risk to be found through qualified team members leads the employer to have greater confidence in their staff, who will have enhanced work quality coupled with faster more value-enhancing decision-making. So, for example, the CIPS subject of ‘Sourcing’ teaches the employee how to effectively locate and contract the most suitable supplier for organisational needs. A process which might previously have been hit-and-miss now becomes almost a science with a step-by-step approach resulting in better quality more reliable suppliers, often with lower overall cost and substantially reduced risk. What price a late delivery when the organisation’s most valued client is waiting? What cost a supplier unexpectedly going into liquidation? What value lost when trading on inappropriate terms and conditions when defective goods or services are received? And these are only three routine experiences of under-performing organisations, all addressed in a single subject, out of five subjects which make up the CIPS Diploma. A single enhanced sourcing or negotiation experience, say, can easily repay the investment in CIPS qualifications, many times over. What we are discussing here is not a rarity – these are routine benefits of undertaking the CIPS educational experience.

In terms of an individual’s career, it follows from the above that the individual can only benefit from all of this. The CIPS (Level4) Diploma is in demand from employers, but the CIPS (Level 6) Professional Diploma is even more in demand owing to the thoroughness of its coverage, the rigour of the assessments and the depth of thinking and understanding it creates in individuals. We have many examples of sponsoring employers promoting and financially rewarding students on our courses, with several being promoted not once but twice by their sponsoring employers during their three years with us. And for those who have invested in themselves, or who have outgrown their sponsoring organisation, we have seen ex-students changing employer and gaining, in some cases, very substantial benefits.

In conclusion, our strapline is not just a trite phrase to sell something to potential customers – it reflects reality as many of our ex-students are happy to testify in our brochure, or at our Summer Open Evenings.