CIPS Level 4 Diploma in Procurement and Supply

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Course Code : N84


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The CIPS Level 4 Diploma in Procurement and Supply will give you an industry-standard qualification that formalises, consolidates, and extends your purchasing knowledge.

The course is accredited by the premier professional body in the industry, the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply; it can lead to continued professional development at Level 5 and eventual Chartered status through membership of CIPS.

Throughout your studies, you'll develop advanced skills in negotiation, and come to understand the complexities of contracts and other commercial arrangements. You'll learn how to measure the effectiveness of supply chains and analyse their impact on your business, and delve more deeply into the intricacies of your buyer/supplier relationships.

Procurement principles are applied in a number of varied contexts, such as private and public sector, not-for-profit and government. You'll explore these, and learn how to manage their different needs.

Challenging economic times and growing corporate social responsibility are making the role of buyer pivotal in every business. This qualification demonstrates to employers that your skills are of the highest standard and that you're abreast of the latest developments in the field.


You'll study five units on this course. They're listed below along with the topics you'll cover in each.

Contexts of Procurement and Supply

  1. Learn how to apply the fundamental principles of purchasing and supply in a variety of different contexts, including a range of private sector organisations, the public sector, national and local government, the NHS, and the not-for profit sector.
  2. Consider the procurement cycle as it applies to a diverse range of purchased products and services, both domestically and in an international context.

Business Needs in Procurement and Supply

  1. Discover how to measure the effectiveness of the supply chain and its contribution towards aiding the competitiveness and effectiveness of an organisation.
  2. Learn how to evaluate supplier performance and how to make suggestions for future improvements.

Sourcing in Procurement and Supply

  1. Understand the complexities of both the legalities and commercial issues of contractual arrangements entered into with external organisations.
  2. Gain an underpinning knowledge of the legalities of the formation of contracts as well as the key ingredients of any commercial arrangement.

Negotiating and Contracting in Procurement and Supply

  1. Learn how to prepare, plan and participate in the negotiation process, discovering how to achieve best value within the supply chain.
  2. Gain the skills to analyse costs and markets effectively.
  3. Consider various legal implications that affect negotiations.
  4. Understand how to avoid conflict while maintaining the balance of power.

Managing Contracts and Relationships in Procurement and Supply

  1. Discover how to develop and manage effective relationships, old and new, within the supply chain.
  2. Consider methods of review, and learn how to identify opportunities for establishing new relationships.
  3. Gain the skills to enhance the performance of the supply chain.
  4. Explore the benefits and risks of relationships.

To take this course, you should be at least 18 with a minimum of 2 A-Levels or equivalent, such as a relevant Level 3 Certificate. If you have no prior qualifications, you must be at least 21 years of age with a minimum two years work experience in business.

It provides a natural progression from the CIPS Level 3 Advanced Certificate, but it isn't essential to have completed the Level 3 before taking this course.

The course is for anyone who wants to understand negotiation, planning, risk management and data analysis, among other things. However, you'll benefit the most if you have some experience in procurement and are looking to take on a junior or middle management role.

Opportunities and salaries for skilled buyers are outstripping those of many other professions. With an advanced qualification from the leading industry body, you'll be sought after and could be on track for a highly lucrative career in purchasing and supply.

You'll be able to apply for the many desirable roles which require candidates to have, or be working towards, a CIPS qualification.

Jobs you could hold at this level of study include:

  1. Buyer
  2. Procurement/purchasing executive
  3. Procurement specialist
  4. Contract officer
  5. Supply chain/inventory/logistics analyst
  6. Supply chain/inventory/logistics planner

Once you've completed this course, you can continue your professional development with the CIPS Level 5 Advanced Diploma in Procurement and Supply. 

We believe in making learning accessible and affordable for all, so you'll have the option to pay for your course through an interest-free payment plan. You'll be able to get started right away with a small deposit and pay the rest by monthly direct debit. Our plans are flexible, so you can pay your balance off sooner if you choose.

If your company will fund your course, we can help you arrange this.

Speak to our course advisors for more information on our payment plans.

Extensive Resources

Once you enrol, you’ll have access to our Student Community, which will allow you to see your course materials, contact your tutor, submit your assignments and connect with your fellow students. 

Your course materials have been specially designed for online learning by experts in the field. You'll work through step-by-step modules so you can easily keep track of your progress.

You'll have the opportunity to join a live induction webinar when you start your course. It's designed to help you navigate your way around the student community, to offer you help and support, and most importantly to give you a warm and friendly welcome to ICS Learn. We usually hold one a week, and you can attend any one that suits you.

You’ll have access to a huge range of resources that will aid your studies, including:

  1. Interactive Quizzes
  2. Progress Checks
  3. Peer Discussions
  4. Personal Journal
  5. Awarding Body Resources

Unlimited Support

You’ll be assigned an expert academic tutor who'll be with you from enrolment to graduation. Their support is unlimited and you can contact them by phone, email or via the Student Community. They’ll answer any questions you have about coursework, study materials, assessments and exams, and help you work through any part of the course you’re stuck with.

They’ll also give you test papers and mock exams to ensure you’re ready to pass your exams. All your papers will be marked and given constructive feedback so you know exactly what your strengths are and what you can improve.

Our dedicated student support team will be on hand to assist you with administrative tasks, using the Student Community, and any other non-academic queries you may have.

You'll sit five exams for this course, one for each unit you've studied. They take 3 hours each and have a pass mark of 50%.

Each exam will assess you based on the learning outcomes for that unit. Learning outcomes are the skills, knowledge or attitudes you should have learned during the unit.

The exams are:

Contexts of Procurement and Supply 

  1. You'll answer four exam questions each worth 25 marks, each testing a different learning outcome.

Business Needs in Procurement and Supply 

  1. You'll answer four exam questions each worth 25 marks, each testing a different learning outcome.

Sourcing in Procurement and Supply

  1. You'll be given a case study of around 500 words that you haven't seen before. You'll answer five questions, each worth 20 marks, within the context of the case. Each question will test a different learning outcome.

Negotiating and Contracting in Procurement and Supply 

  1. You'll answer two compulsory questions, then choose two additional questions to answer from a choice of four. 

Managing Contracts and Relationships in Procurement and Supply 

  1. You'll answer four compulsory questions.

Exams are set by CIPS and take place in the UK five times a year:

  1. January*
  2. March*
  3. May
  4. July*
  5. November

*Only selected exams are available during the January/March/July sessions. All exams can be taken during the May and November sessions.

You'll sit them at an exam centre and you can sit as many exams as you want in one session. However, exam weeks vary so you should check that no exams overlap. It's generally best to spread out your five exams between the five sessions.

Please note that as exams are set by CIPS, their format may change. The details here are intended only as a guide. You can find out more about your exams on the CIPS website.

There are CIPS membership, administration and exam fees that are additional to your course fee:

  1. CIPS UK annual Student membership fee: £166.50 new members, £119 renewal
  2. UK exam fees: £96 per exam (five in total)

Exam fees may change in August 2016.




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