Setting the Stage for Success
The Nova Scotia government has undergone a major transformation since the Shared Services Act (Bill No 60) took effect in December, 2015. With a move to standardizing and centralizing government procurement functions, the Procurement Branch of the Department of Internal Services (ISD Procurement), who was traditionally responsible for working only with government departments, recently took over procurement services for the health authorities in the province, having been consolidated from ten to two entities.
To deal with this shift, ISD Procurement has adopted a category management framework and is now taking a more strategic approach in how they work with their clients. This major shift has resulted in an increase from 30 to 66 FTE within ISD Procurement. Of those 66 FTE, 50 are directly involved in the procurement function, and the other 16 are involved in the corporate support of procurement. In the fall of 2016 their new Procurement Policy was implemented to provide additional and expanded guidance, as procurement takes on a more focused and strategic role within government. Future plans include exploring the benefits of delivering procurement services for other public sector entities in the Province.
In addition to other change management strategies, ISD Procurement has mandated that all staff within the branch involved directly in the procurement function must complete NECI’s nationally accredited PSPP Certificate program. In addition, staff involved in the corporate support of procurement must take at a minimum PSPP 101.
This decision was made to ensure consistency and a common understanding of public sector procurement principles across a diverse workforce, many of whom are new to government and new to public sector in general.
To date, 17 staff have completed the PSPP, and the rest are at various stages of completion. It is anticipated they will all receive their Certificate by the end of 2017.
Initially developed in collaboration with the Nova Scotia government and other subject matter experts in 2010, the PSPP is specifically designed for Canadian public sector audiences. Offering a blended approach of classroom and online learning, the PSPP allows for flexible location and timing options so that staff can stagger their participation while ensuring they all receive the same knowledge and skills development.
By adapting the materials to embed Nova Scotia policy, procedures and template examples, the PSPP is directly relevant to the day to day operations of ISD Procurement without impacting the program’s national accreditation through the Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council. Evaluation scores from participants in the PSPP consistently rate the courses at 4.0 or higher out of 5.0.
With increased emphasis on fiscal responsibility and cost savings, the Nova Scotia government is now well positioned to roll out its broader mandate to other public entities in the province.
“What makes us most proud of the PSPP is its potential to increase the consistency and effectiveness of public sector procurement right across the country. As more organizations adopt the program, it will create more opportunities for shared best practices across jurisdictions, which will only increase the benefits over time”
By mid-2017, 90 staff members from various departments of the Nova Scotia government have enrolled in the PSPP. Among those, 40 have already achieved their PSPP certificate with another 50 eligible by the end of 2017.
Nova Scotia’s wholesale adoption of the PSPP as foundational training for all procurement staff reinforces that the program is becoming widely accepted by sophisticated organizations across the country as the leading public sector procurement and contract management training program in Canada.
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