City of Abbotsford Accelerates Value-Driven Procurement

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The Opportunity

The City of Abbotsford, located in the Fraser Valley region of BC, serves a rapidly growing population of over 141,000.

With many staff changes and significant projects on the horizon, the timing was perfect to offer Procurement information sessions geared to bringing everyone up to speed on the important topics of the supply chain world.

The historical approach of awarding contracts based primarily on low price was changing, and staff needed to understand the importance of examining overall best value when spending tax dollars. They also needed to be able to explain this shift to constituents and other municipal stakeholders, which required a uniform understanding of both the legal and business rationale.

New trade agreements, new attitudes and limited training budgets created importance for training that would be succinct, efficient and provide consistent messaging across the organization.

The Procurement School Response

In consultation with key staff at the City, and drawing on material from its Signature Seminars and Public Sector Procurement Program, The Procurement School created two custom sessions for the City — now collectively known as the “Municipal Training Bundle” — each with a different focus but centering on the same key messages and information.

Part 1 (Procurement Essentials for Elected Officials), was delivered to Mayor and Council at City Hall on May 15th, and sparked an informed discussion and engagement around the role of elected officials in the procurement process. For many, the information presented a valuable lens on the legalities of the competitive process, and for others it reinforced the importance of maintaining conflict-free and unbiased effective oversight. A common understanding of the critical importance of the procurement function and a high-level review of some key strategies helped to ensure elected officials understood the importance of providing staff with sufficient time and resources for thorough procurement planning.

In a parallel but more detailed and nuanced delivery, managers came together on May 30th for Part 2 — a half-day session entitled Procurement Essentials for Municipal Managers. Specific ‘burning issues’ were embedded in the delivery, including an overview of the pending (at that time) new trade agreements, wrestling with incumbent advantage and local preference issues.

Attendees included procurement staff as well as managers from various departments, including Parks, the Airport, Finance, Engineering and Planning, to facilitate a cross-functional understanding and team-building.

Proven Value

This training, tailored specifically for the municipal sector, helped to ensure the City of Abbotsford was well-positioned for success with upcoming procurement processes, including some for significant infrastructure projects.

At a time when many municipalities struggle to get even a single bid, the City of Abbotsford is proud to be seen as an ‘owner of choice’. Collaboration with industry, carefully structured solicitation and contract documents coupled with a fair and transparent selection process has ensured their processes attract robust competition, and has translated into best value for municipal taxpayers in Abbotsford.

Forward Thinking

What if you could get the most out of your budget without sacrificing the quality of goods and services delivered to your organization?

What if you could clearly demonstrate return on investment for your training dollars?


We help organizations ensure their procurement professionals remain up to date on new developments and best practices.

The Procurement School offers customizable training based on the unique needs of the organization and the current procurement legal and business landscape. Value is delivered through courses, curriculum consulting, and ongoing communications such as our newsletter which now incorporates The Legal Edge.

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