Procurement processes in the British Red Cross


The international directorate is part of the wider British Red Cross and therefore must abide by the British Red Cross procurement and purchasing policy.


The logistics team must follow the British Red Cross procurement policy if and when:

  • goods or services procured are going to be delivered within the UK
  • suppliers consulted are based in the UK and must abide by UK laws and regulations.

If neither of the above apply, procurement leads must ensure they follow the procedure detailed in the GAD.


A diagram details the BRC procurement policy

Procurement in the UK (and/or led by British Red Cross staff)

UK-based British Red Cross staff use Agresso as a procurement system.

New users must be set up on Agresso and trained according to their user profile (for managing expenses, P2P process or reporting functionalities of the system). New users must request access to the system, which must be approved by the requestor’s line manager and sent to SSC. Agresso guidance is available for British Red Cross staff from Redroom.


View and download a flowchart illustrating how UK-based British Red Cross staff use Agresso as a procurement system here.


The CPT at SSC can support the directorate in the sourcing process when running tenders. In their e-procurement system, suppliers can be registered and invited to bid for online tenders. They hold a database of existing registered suppliers who can be contacted to bid for tenders initiated by the international directorate, which can also be advertised directly on the British Red Cross website.

The logistics team also hold a list of known suppliers.

Finally, tenders can be advertised on the website of the Inter-Agency Procurement Group – the logistics team have access to the website and can support this.

Once the procurement route is clarified, CPT will work with the logistics team to agree a timeline and on which stakeholders should be involved in the process.

Where procurement is done via British Red Cross staff overseas (with British Red Cross staff present to support logistics and procurement), the same rules apply in terms of financial thresholds, procurement processes and approvals.

Deviations from these rules must be justified in writing, approved by the head of logistics in UK and by the head of office locally, then put in writing in a separate document in cooperation between the overseas office and headquarters.


Procurement in partnership with other National Societies

Where the British Red Cross works in partnership with a National Society or with the IFRC or ICRC to deliver a programme, a GAD will be in place to formalise the terms and conditions of the partnership.

A GAD is a non-binding document that sets out the principles under which the collaboration between partners will function. GAD templates are available on the British Red Cross programme quality management system, PIMS, and on request to the UKO logistics team.

After the Internal Grant Agreement (see IQM guidance documents) has been signed, the budget holder has the authority to sign a GAD (or a PMN with the IFRC). No clauses in the GAD can be removed from the template, but the content under each clause can be adjusted, and clauses can and should be added where relevant.

The international finance representative, logistics coordinator, P&A adviser and any other relevant advisers should be consulted when preparing any GAD, which should specify the transfer schedule, reporting schedule and any reporting requirements.

The GAD specifies which rules will apply to procurement done under each programme/grant.

Procurement modalities in GADs

A diagram shows how host national societies, partner national societies, the International Federation of the Red Cross and the British Red Cross conduct procurement policies

*When the PNS or HNS does not have a procurement policy and/or department or focal point, and the IFRC is able to support via one of its regional offices


Additional approvals must be requested from British Red Cross international logistics for procurement above £25,000, regardless of the option defined in the GAD:


Regardless of GAD clause:

  • >£25,000 – UK international logistics must approve CBA.
  • >£50,000 – UK international logistics review the tender document (RFP) before publication
    – UK international logistics must approve CBA or decision minutes.

Approval templates are available to request with UK international logistics’ approval.

The British Red Cross logistics team can advise the PNS or HNS on procurement and support the HNS in conducting procurement, based on its capacity and the type of goods or services that are required.

The British Red Cross has the option to either conduct procurement directly from the UK (following British Red Cross procurement rules) or to use the IFRC or ICRC procurement services in country (following their procurement rules). The logistics coordinators advise which route best matches the requirements of the programme.

Where the British Red Cross works in consortium with multiple other National Societies, the agreement between the consortium partners must specify which organisation’s procurement rules will apply. This decision must be taken following an analysis of each of the partners’ procurement policies (following the partnership due diligence process). The decision on which procedure to follow must be captured in the consortium’s GAD.


Waiving the procurement requirements

Where one or more of the standard procurement rules cannot be followed, a waiver form must be filled out and shared for approval with the budget holder and UK head of logistics. This is to be done regardless of the value of the procurement and before the procurement process is formalised through a PO or contract. The waiver request must be as detailed as possible and, where applicable, supporting documentation should be added (such as a market analysis document evidencing lack of competition, for example).

Note: where the procurement waiver is raised within one of the four international regions, it must be reviewed by the logistics coordinator.

Complete a waiver request for:

  • single source procurement
  • request to allow closed tender instead of open tender
  • waiving the requirement to re-tender when a contract expires
  • significant variations from the organisation’s standard procurement terms and conditions.

When requesting procurement exceptions:

  • Use the waiver request form if requesting before the order is placed.
  • Use the note to file if requesting after the order or if the reason for the request is not part of standard reasons for waiver requests.
  • Procurement lead must raise the request.
  • Head of logistics and finance must approve the request.

Getting fewer quotes or bids than required

View and download a detailed diagram showing the process if fewer quotes than required are received here.


Read the next section on Sourcing for procurement here.




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