In the spring of 2016, the City of Edmonton conducted a staff needs assessment which identified a requirement to implement contract management training for over 200 procurement staff by the end of the year. While initially considering the development of internal training, the City of Edmonton recognized the benefits of contracting out the training to ensure immediate delivery of market-tested, high-quality education from nationally recognized subject matter experts at NECI.
Having delivered a number of customized and off-the-shelf training sessions for the City of Edmonton over the years, NECI was already familiar with the City’s procurement approach and operating environment, and emerged as the perfect fit. As nationally recognized experts in Canadian public sector procurement and contract management, the NECI team was also uniquely positioned to meet the aggressive timelines established by the City.
Between April and June 2016, over 235 procurement and contract management professionals from the City benefited from the ‘lightly customized’ training developed by NECI. In addition to learning more about City policy and procedural expectations related to the contract management function and exploring best practices from across the country, participants had the opportunity to promote cross-functional team building, discuss ‘burning issues’ and consult with internal subject matter experts.
Within this three month window NECI facilitated twelve 1-day Signature Seminars Successful Contracting: Planning, Managing and Evaluation for City of Edmonton professionals, along with one 2-day PSPP 203: Managing and Evaluation for 38 procurement specialists needing a more in-depth exploration of the topic. Customized case studies and City policy information was embedded in all the training to ensure relevance and effectiveness.
All departments were represented at the training, from Utility Services, Financial and Corporate Services, Operations, Vehicle Equipment and Service Tech Fleet to Waste Management Services. The diverse audiences were comprised of Strategic Analysts, Directors, Senior Superintendents, Supervisors, Engineers, Project Managers, IT Sourcing Analysts, Managers, and Strategic Coordinators.
The scope of this training initiative allowed the City to ramp up its procurement and contract management expertise in a short time frame and create consistency across departments while ensuring a deep understanding of the City-specific expectations around performance management and contract documentation.
Once the immediate training need was addressed, the City turned its mind to a more comprehensive, integrated internal program that could be offered over the long term to address the individual needs at various levels within the organization. In 2017 the City developed a more fulsome Procure to Pay Contract Management
Curriculum comprised of sixteen modules – some for online and some for classroom delivery. NECI participated as a curriculum design consultant to develop and deliver several modules for this City-owned program, including Procurement and Contract Risk Management for Leaders, Defining and Preparing Specifications and Scope of Work, Evaluation Process as well as several modules on different approaches to procurement.
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