Buying Finance Training:
Some Questions for Purchasers
The purchasing unit should be involved at the earliest possible stage.
The experience of other departments who have already purchased finance
tuition may be sought (particularly if there is no in-house purchasing
In selecting the shortlist, the purchasing criteria should be understood
by those involved
Ideally start with a competence framework, agreed by the line and
a representative sample of those using the services of the people
to be trained.
Use the competences to conduct a training needs analysis (even a short
and limited sampling gives some good information on the skills people
most need to develop).
Decide who will pay for tuition (and any related fees) central v devolved
2. BEFORE STARTING
Are we clear about our objectives?
What is our desired timescale for delivery?
Do we know (approximately) how many people need to be trained (including
grade and role)?
Do we know the times required
- For each course/module?
- Between each course/module?
What resources are available?
Are there any in-house training delivery options to explore before
going to outside providers?
Are you offering an external qualification - for the organisation's
or individuals' benefit. If so, which best meets your needs?
What eligibility criteria will you use in selecting participants.
For example - "sheep-dip" approach/line manager nomination/self-nomination/HQ
mandate/any prior knowledge needed?
Do you want potential suppliers to come up with the delivery options
covering different styles of training?
For large organisations, will this be a centrally run and administered
contract? Or a call-off arrangement on which management units can
draw? If the latter, how much tailoring for each budget holder or
Should there be assessment of participants?
- What is the best form?
- What happens to failures?
4. FORM OF INSTRUCTION
a. What form should instruction take?
- Face to face tuition, distance learning or other?
- Voluntary or compulsory?
- How much preparation is acceptable/desirable?
- Are the varied learning styles of potential trainees being addressed?
- Is short, sharp systems training enough for some sectors of your
target population? Does everyone need the same level of understanding
of the topics?
b. If face to face
- Is this free-standing or within a competence framework?
- Should there be blocks or segmented teaching?
- Can participants move in an out of parts of the block?
- How much department-specific material?
- Will the course be part of a broader programme?
- Homogenous or heterogenous mix of participants?
- Where will the course take place (ie on- or off-site)?
- Within competence framework?
c. If distance learning
- Is there back-up?
5. POTENTIAL SUPPLIER - POSSIBLE CRITERIA FOR CHOICE
Ability to meet timescale
Quality of trainers
- Do/will they have a grasp of the subject as related to the department?
- Can/will they relate to the needs of the department?
- Can/will they relate to needs of audience?
Is there evidence for the trainers actually going to do the work?
- Is there backup if anything goes wrong?
Quality/size of support teams
- Who will handle administration?
- Relevant to us or off the shelf?
- Who exactly is going to lecture?
- Will it be same or different people for each course?
Testing of course members
- Is it clear what is being tested? (relevant to choice of open/closed
- Are there exemptions?
- Can there be resits?
- Who sets the tests?
- Who marks them?
Course evaluation - arrangements and experience
How important is public sector knowledge? If it is:
- What is the relevance of their experience
- In relation to the department
- The individuals
- Who will be taught?
And, of course, price
- Both in absolute terms
- And in terms of risk (payment per course or per participant?).
- What is included eg:
- Tutors for syndicates?
6. ONCE THE SUPPLIER HAS BEEN CHOSEN
Who briefs from the department on
- the departmental context
- finance issues and examples?
What quality controls are in place for
- Should pilot courses be run?
- Should departmental experts sit in initially?
What are the arrangements for
- Break clauses?
- Extending the contract?
Who manages the contract?
Who evaluates the long term success of the training against the organisation's