Rodrigo Goller

I’ve just finished a second reading of the Operating Budget and I am concerned that I don’t see funds allocated to ongoing service reviews.

Why is that?

We’re still telling the community (https://guelph.ca/city-hall/business-service-reviews/) that the City is doing service reviews but in fact, the staffing is no longer in place and based on the lack of mention in this budget, it seems to have disappeared from workplans.

What’s more concerning is that in the 2019 budget there was $258,600 allocated for a Business Process Management, to “Conduct business service reviews to examine service provision and service levels aiming toward the most efficient and effective delivery of City services; Develop multi-year business service review plan; and Support ongoing continuous improvement activities through cross-functional collaboration.” (See page 29 here: https://guelph.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019-approved-tax-supported-operating-budget.pdf) However, I am not even sure that there is an office of Business Process Management. What happened to these funds in 2019?

I hope to clear this up in advance of the Operating Budget discussions because there is still a direction from Council to perform service reviews for all City services, which was approved unanimously by Council on October 3rd 2016 (See page 35 here: https://guelph.ca/wp-content/uploads/council_agenda_102416.pdf).

Now, I am aware that we are currently hiring for a 'Continuous Improvement Office' (https://guelph.ca/job-posting/program-manager-continuous-improvement-office/). However, I am not clear if this position is meant to replace the work previously assigned to the Business/Service Review team - to determine if all City services are being run effectively and identify ways of reducing costs and improve efficiencies. And if that's the case, did I miss a council direction to rescind the Business/Service Review Framework approved on October 2016? Has Council approved a framework or guidelines for the Continuous Improvement Office? 

I sincerely look forward to getting this cleared up. I think it's important to allow time and energy to review how we deliver our services and make sure staff are given the opportunity to find efficiencies and improvements and explore different ways of getting the job done, so we can be sure that we are delivering the right level of service and doing so in the most cost effective way. 

Thank you for attending to this matter.

Regards,

Cllr Goller

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wmcquade
As announced by our CAO through the Corporate Strategic Plan presentation in September 2019, staff are transitioning to a new way forward with driving efficiency in the City, transitioning the Business Process Management (BPM) group to the Continuous Improvement Office (CIO). The framework as included in your link from 2016 has run its course, we have learned from the service review model and staff are currently recruiting and developing a revised framework that will be presented to Council in April 2020 for approval. You can find this budget incorporated into the Finance Department budget in the 2020 binder materials.

The new CIO takes a different approach to that is a grass-roots-up approach in where the LEAN training will be offered across the organization to individuals that will become certified in this methodology and champion these practices throughout the service areas. With this internal capability, the project teams will more effectively focus on implementing continuous reviews and improvements to work process across the organization. The new CIO roadmap is aligned with the strategic direction and priority “Working Together For Our Future. This new area will ensure we are innovative in our day to day practices.

Lessons learned from the completion of the past service reviews, as well as lot of research regarding what our peers are doing in the municipal sector related to innovation and efficiency, Staff believe that the place where Council and the community is going to see the most value is by empowering our staff to find new and efficient solutions to the processes they are involved in every day. This office will be responsible for delivering training to the corporation, monitoring and reporting on corporate efficiency projects with KPIs for Council, and creating tools and templates to assist employees with LEAN initiatives.

The CIO will also monitor current projects and identify new initiatives that would qualify for the province’s extended Audit and Accountability Fund – monies that can be used to perform audits and reviews of municipal services / processes to find savings/efficiencies. The City was successful is obtaining $60,000 in 2019 from this fund which is being used to review and quantify the savings associated with modernizing timekeeping practices across the City. One focus of the CIO will be monitoring KPIs and assisting in the implementation of the recommendations that have come from this review. This is a large body of work that needs to be completed before a new review can begin. Corporate capacity must be considered in terms how many reviews can be on-going at one time. In order to ensure that there is funding available for these types of service reviews in the future (if grant funding was sufficient or available), or if one-time funding is needed to bring in external expertise related to LEAN projects, the savings achieved by reducing the old BPM team of 3 FTEs to the new CIO team of 2 FTEs has been transferred to the Efficiency, Innovation and Opportunity Reserve Fund. This maintains base funding for these initiatives when they are identified.

As a reminder, the City also has an Internal Audit function that perform value for money audits as approved by Council. Further, the City’s Asset Management team is beginning work in 2020 to define and seek Council approval of service levels within the organization as the next phase in the maturity and update of the Asset Management Plan. These are the conversations with Council that will define the “right level” of service. The CIO is focused on implementing a culture of continuous improvement and efficiency – not defining what the right level of service is for each business.

The funds allocated to BPM in the 2019 budget are currently projecting a surplus (within the Finance Department) as a result of the transition to this new CIO model during this year. Recruitment has now started so that we have the people in place to make this plan a successful reality.

Finally, staff are working to update the external web page now that clearer definition of the new office is taking shape. We look forward to sharing this with Council in April 2020.
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Rodrigo Goller
Great, thank you for this thorough update. I look forward to finding out more about the Continuous Improvement Office in April 2020, an in particular how we can let the public know what the City is doing on an ongoing basis to find operating efficiencies. It's also good to know that we have an Efficiency, Innovation and Opportunity Reserve Fund.
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