PCIP Overview

The Procurement & Commercial Improvement Programme (PCIP) has now been running since 2015.  

The PCIP assessment provides a means of measuring and reporting on the procurement and commercial capability of organisations through the provision of evidence, based around a series of set questions and other evaluation methods. 

PCIP Pulse Check is due to commence in 2023, with the offer of a new approach to further support the sector.  This PCIP Pulse Check focuses on the policies and procedures driving procurement performance and, more importantly, the results they deliver.The PCIP assessment process still includes Full, Medium and Lite Assessments and what process to apply from these  will be dependent on several factors, as assessed by the appropriate Centre of Expertise (CoE).  Further to this, the CoE will determine if an abbreviated assessment option is available based on the relevant criterion.

For PCIP Pulse Check, an  assessment model has been developed which offers a reduced question set and streamlined process for organisations, supporting resource whilst still assessing and supporting current procurement priorities.  This hybrid model allows for greater flexibility and consists of a blended question set that can be tailored by the assessing CoE to the organisation and the sectoral context.

The model consists of:

Question Type

Number of Questions

Further Information

Mandatory questions

11 Questions

These questions will be answered nationally across all sectors and organisations.

COE Discretion

9 Questions

This will be at CoE discretion and will be decided upon/communicated prior to your assessments beginning.

Not Required

4 Questions

These questions will no longer be asked but will remain in the assessment document to allow any full assessments to take place where required/desired.


As before, the provision of specific requested evidence is required and a new evidence model will be publsihed in the new year aligned to stragtegic evidence which should be more readily accessible the PCIP assessment day, as well as on the assessment day itself.   Assessments should be carried out remotely where possible.

Centres of Expertise can provide specific information to participating organisations and your contact here should be the first point of call.

The following areas are being worked on ahead of the PCIP Pulse Checks starting in September 2023: 

  • New evidence model aligning with pulse checks
  • Review work of guidance to support organisations and assessors. 
  • Improved post Pulse check reporting.
  • Developing webinars on key content areas.

Quickfire Guide

Quickfire Guide

PCIP Overview

Key Points to Note

  • Organisations are assessed every two - three years, this has been delayed for cycle 3 due to the current macro environment
  • There is a core national question set used by all assessors, which has been agreed by each Centre of Expertise
  • National performance bandings are used to support consistency and reporting
  • There are three assessment types designed to support the varied organisations participating - Full, Medium and Lite
  • The Full Assessment has an extra scoring level to drive further improvement - Advanced Practice
  • The assessment methodology provides for significant information being submitted and assessed in advance of the assessment day
  • All participating organisations are encouraged to provide feedback and input to the assessment as part of the programme

Pulse Check Definition  – an assessment model which recognises the strain across the sector but will provide a benchmark for each individual organisation to work with their CoE to improve and provide insight for the PCIP project to develop moving forward. The assessment will focus on higher level and more strategic evidence areas that are currently produced on a regular basis. The pulse check has a compulsory question set of 11 areas rather than 23, with optional questions that are at the discretion of assessment teams to apply in agreement with individual organisations. This approach will promote maximisation of continuous improvement and support shared learning at a national and local level.

The full contents of PCIP including all guidance, Data Requirements, Advance Information Requirements, Full, Medium & Lite assessments alongside the Information Bank can be found in the following pages.