Role of Procurement Experts in Hiring of Consultancy Services

Contrary to Procurement of Goods, the Consultancy Services is a bit complex and requires much more attention, care and diligence, being intangible in nature. In procurement of Goods, it may be easier to define specifications and other allied details of goods and related services required. While in procurement of Consultancy Services, Terms of Reference (ToR) should be much more elaborate with the view to fulfill objectives of the consulting assignment. The ToR should, at the minimum cover the following sections:

  • background and objectives of the assignment;
  • scope of Services;
  • tasks to be carried out;
  • suggested methodology to be followed;
  • list of key personnel and their qualification and experience;
  • list of deliverables and timelines;
  • duration of assignment; and
  • system of performance monitoring and review
  • any other assignment specific information required to be shared with Consultants


In absence of any of the above, the successful performance of Consultancy assignment may be compromised. In addition, after the ToR is drafted, it becomes prudent to prepare estimated cost of the assignment, based on key assumptions and considering costs to be incurred by any of the consultancy organization. This estimated cost is to be used to assess reasonability of cost quoted by recommended organization, once the selection process is concluded.

In view of complexity involved in hiring of Consultancy Services, the role of Procurement Expert becomes very important. The Procurement Expert is expected to provide hand holding support to the officials responsible for use of the outcome of Consultancy Services. The drafting of ToR can’t be left to user’s officials alone as they may not have overall procurement perspective needed to invite competitive proposal from shortlisted organizations.

Hiring of Consultancy Services is a collaborative process, where role of Procurement Expert and user officials has to be defined in all clarity. Once the ToR is developed, the Procurement Expert is required to draft instructions to consultants, criteria for evaluating proposals, terms and conditions of contract and proposal forms etc. in sync with the need to have transparent selection process.

Similarly, once the proposals are invited, Procurement Expert is expected to lead the proposal evaluation process till award of contract. The role of Procurement Expert is to ensure that the qualified consultancy organization is selected within the prescribed timelines by following the due processes. At key stages of evaluation of proposal, the user officials may be involved to the extent of technical evaluation and as per evaluation criteria given in the Request for Proposal (RfP) document.

Author: Vishal Chaudhary