Emergency buying 2. How to buy faster

Use emergency or accelerated procedures

Use emergency procedures to ensure that products and services can be bought faster than usual

Why it’s important

Emergency or accelerated buying procedures allow buyers more flexibility to source essential products and services during a crisis.

This can include:

  • bypassing or speeding up the normal buying process
  • extending or modifying contracts
  • centralised or aggregated buying

While these methods can be essential to deliver goods or services faster, they should be used with caution to avoid risks of corruption, uncompetitive pricing and a lack of transparency.

What it means

Emergency buying procedures can include:

  • the direct award of contracts to suppliers without first carrying out an open and competitive bid process
  • extending or modifying existing contracts without using a new procurement procedure
  • seeking additional products or services from an existing supplier, which are similar to those that have previously been bought

Accelerated buying procedures can include:

  • shortening normal timescales for a standard, competitive bidding process
  • increased use of framework agreements
  • greater use of aggregated buying by central government

When using emergency buying procedures you should:

  • be able to demonstrate that it was impossible to comply with usual timescales due to a genuine emergency
  • show that you have not done anything to cause or contribute to an emergency - for example by failing to plan or delaying buying decisions
  • limit contract extensions or other modification to what is absolutely necessary to address the unforeseeable circumstances

You should also:

  • keep a record of the reasons why an emergency or accelerated buying method was used
  • publish details of any contracts awarded using emergency or accelerated buying as soon as possible
  • be clear with suppliers when you are using an emergency or accelerated procedure and if or when it may be revoked
  • review ‘force majeure’ clauses, that is contract terms that apply only in an unforseen or emergency situation

Do’s and don’ts


  • use emergency buying to deliver products or services faster in a genuine emergency
  • use more transparent methods wherever possible
  • keep a record of the reasons why emergency or accelerated buying was used


  • do not use emergency buying procedures after an emergency situation has stabilised or recovered

How COVID-19 has accelerated procurement reform in Ecuador