Janice Charette’s First Annual Report – Canadian Government Executive

NEWS

SEARCH

BusinessCommunicationThe Last Word with David Zussman
September 16, 2015

Janice Charette’s First Annual Report

“Public institutions are the cornerstone of our democratic system” is the starting line of the Clerk of the Privy Council’s Annual Report to the Prime Minister. This is Janice Charette’s first instalment as Clerk, and in this year’s version she has articulated an ambitious set of priorities and concerns about the federal public service.

The report is presented as a social media document with high quality visuals and photos imbedded in the text. The Clerk has reinforced how her work aligns with the government’s agenda by highlighting action photos of the military serving Canadians during times of need, immigration officers welcoming new immigrants, the military protecting Canadian interests in the north, and CBSA officers ensuring border security.

It is clear that Ms. Charette is passionate about the importance of the public service in preserving Canada’s democratic system by providing non-partisan and professional advice and loyalty to the government of the day. This is her starting point, and from there she makes a number of important observations and commitments to the more than 250,000 public servants and 6,400 executives in the federal public service who fall under her direction.

Early in her report, she stresses the independent nature of the Canadian public service by reminding public servants that the public service will be ready to serve whatever government is elected in the October 2015 general election. At the same time, she is committed to continuing the work initiated by her predecessor, of Blueprint 2020, and specifically the following activities detailed below:

First, the public service must make significant improvements in its back office and service delivery processes. To do this, the Clerk is asking public servants to be more innovative by striving for continuous improvements, by becoming more “nimble and agile,” and by operating in an “open and collaborative” manner.

Second, there needs to be more concerted actions to reinvigorate recruitment efforts by making the public service the employer of choice for entry level jobs, especially those in areas of direct competition with the private sector. Moreover, there is also a need to encourage executive-level recruitment from the private and NGO community in order to ensure a diversity of perspectives in the senior ranks of the public service.

Third, Ms Charette is very mindful that employee surveys and APEX’s own studies of executives suggests that the current work environment is becoming unsustainable and stressful for many employees due to excessive workloads and ever more demanding requests from ministers. As a consequence, she would like to see concrete efforts to build a more healthy, respectful, and supportive work environment that pays particular attention to the mental health of employees.

Finally, the Clerk has highlighted the need for rebuilding the policy community that has been diminished in relevance and capacity in recent years. She would like to see a concerted effort to reinforce the policy community as a profession, and to ensure that the “public service can continue to provide world class, timely advice to government” by adjusting to the many new opinion leaders outside of government and working with them in a collaborative manner.

As in the past, the Clerk’s report to the Prime Minister was accompanied by the annual report from the Prime Minister’s Advisory Committee on the Public Service. The report, under the leadership of two new chairs, Massey College Master, Hugh Segal, and former bank CEO, Rick Waugh, issued a similarly urgent call for the public service to “up its game” by moving more decisively in responding to the public’s needs. The committee is concerned that the federal public service will not be able to anticipate and respond to the needs and expectations of Canadians and of government. This is a matter of concern both to ministers and to officials at all levels, especially given the speed at which the challenges and opportunities facing Canada and the public service are emerging today.

The Advisory Committee also acknowledges the ever-increasing complexity of issues and their associated accountabilities, but despite these constraints they call on the public service to act with more agility and responsiveness. In their view, the best way to respond successfully to a constantly changing public environment is to create an institutional culture where change is the norm and a commitment to innovation, rather than risk aversion, is a value.

Interestingly, the Committee offers a similar set of recommendations to those offered by the Clerk in proposing a more effective human resource regime that would attract, develop, and retain talent in the Public Service and more effective ways of improving the processes and problems of speed of service.

Both reports, however, leave the heavy lifting to those with responsibility to improve the HR regime, to make the workplace a more welcoming environment, and to improve the policy and service capacity of government. These are complex challenges that go to the heart of the issue of what kind of behaviour is to be rewarded in government, how much risk is tolerable, and who is accountable for what? Both of these reports are authored by passionate and knowledgeable people, and next year greater precision could be provided as to how these laudable goals will be achieved within the complex work environment of the federal public service. A more detailed road map would be most helpful and welcome by those working within the current system.

David Zussman is Jarislowsky Chair in Public Sector Management in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa and is Research Advisor to the Public Sector Practice of Deloitte. ( dzussman@uottawa.ca)

 

About this author

David Zussman

David Zussman

David Zussman is a senior fellow in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa and is a Research Advisor to the Public Sector Practice of Deloitte.

0 comments

There are no comments for this post yet.

Be the first to comment. Click here.

Business
 
Water is essential to sustain all forms of life and more...
 
Security professionals have an obligation to communicate risks and recommendations to...
 
During the past decade, the international university-level student population in Canada...
 
Professionals, managers, and executives in the cost estimation industry can gain...
 
Canadian Government Executive kicked off its CGE Leadership Series for 2017...
 
A new study from the Conference Board of Canada gives our...
 
As the 5th largest agricultural exporter on the planet, Canada plays...
 
In this episode, hear more about how Canada is a prime...
 
In the recent June issue, we published a captivating piece by...
 
The October issue of Canadian Government Executive on Focusing on Customer...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Executive compensation is considered to be a central component of corporate...
 
Open source was established around the ethos of sharing and collaboration....
 
In December last year, a privately owned aerial drone crashed into...
 
By Gregory Richards A recent study by McKinsey Global Institute suggests...
 
Last week the Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous sources, reported that...
 
Written by Donald Farmer Too often, we base Business Intelligence today...
 
Written By Chris Brown To deliver results that senior executives value,...
 
Written By Jason McNaught Contrary to what you may have heard,...
 
Written by  Gail Vallance Barrington Anyone who has commissioned a program...
 
“Public institutions are the cornerstone of our democratic system” is the...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
A neuromarketing study examines exactly how much life direct mail continues...
 
As one of the U.S. Defense Department’s largest acquisition organizations, Program...
 
Many people say that managing projects is all about managing people...
 
Some of us can only dream of being 20 years old...
 
“With SMARTnership, we have to look into communication, being trustworthy, convincing...
 
Wreaths are placed at the naming ceremony for the new Canadian...
 
Barry Shepherd, the principal surveyor and client support manager for Central...
 
In 2012, the province of Prince Edward Island held a business...
 
The challenges city leaders now face require creativity and innovation. Many...
 
Depending on how you count, 10-20 percent of all Canadian public...
 
In a 2011 white paper published by the Internal Federation of...
 
For the last few years, governments around the world have been...
 
Compensation is often raised as a key tool that can either...
 
The Canadian mining industry is responsible for over 4.5 percent of...
 
Governments throughout Canada are facing a number of challenges, from reducing...
 
Since its founding, Canada has looked either east to Europe or...
 
It is a good management practice to review programs and activities...
 
Few things catalyze infrastructure faster than a major international sporting event....
 
What can you say about the future of long range public...
 
In Canada, it seems like any discussion of copyright quickly turns...
 
We live in a time when physical and digital infrastructures built...
 
How are leaders responding to a competitive and economic environment unlike...
 
We live in times of significant demographic and technological transition across...
 
Public-private partnerships (P3s) have become increasingly important in Canada at both...
 
Les citoyens souhaitent expliquer aux politiciens et aux décideurs ce qu’ils...
 
The need for better accountability has led Treasury Board to enforce...
 
It begs the question: Are federal real property professionals ready to...
 
With an annual deficit of $36.2 billion, the federal government is...
 
It now appears that Canada will emerge earlier than expected from...
 
Strong portfolio management is increasingly important in today’s interconnected world....
 
Early in 2011, the National Quality Institute (NQI) board of governors...
 
The Public Service Modernization Act, which came into force in 2005,...
 
In the current economic climate, the finance function role in the...
 
We live in exciting times: an unprecedented level of innovation is...
 
Saskatchewan’s oil and gas sector is booming, and the amount of...
 
The Economic Action Plan showed how much can be achieved when...
 
Public Works and Government Services Canada has a new and innovative...
 
Citizens may not always look forward to applying and paying for...
 
Maintaining and investing in water and waste water treatment facilities, roads,...
 
Stakeholders and media are currently focusing substantial attention on executive compensation....
 
The spectre of wrongdoing within a department can send chills down...
 
Il n’y a pas si longtemps, les Beatles chantaient : «...
 
The Beatles once sang, “You say you want a revolution? Well,...
 
An idea – that’s where it all starts. Entrepreneurs travel a...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Quote of the week politicians provide the energy generated by ideology,...
Water is essential to sustain all forms of life and more...

Member Login

Forgot Password?

Join Us

Password Reset
Please enter your e-mail address. You will receive a new password via e-mail.