It’s that time of year when some of us think reluctantly about new year’s resolutions – which in most cases revolve around big life goals – like diet and exercise, work and life balance, mindfulness, productivity and so on.
For public servants at all stages of their career, it’s a superb time of year to rest and reflect on the year passed and set some professional resolutions for the year ahead.
Indeed, some holiday season “down time” is well deserved for many of CGE’s readers. The past couple of years have been extremely active in public service across Canada, with changes in political leadership, ambitious government agendas, large cross-cutting policy initiatives, the unrelenting demands of technological change and the expectations of citizens. Government workplaces are also evolving to better reflect the societies they serve as are our forms of engagement with citizens.
The pace of change and the push toward digital, open government is challenging public sector institutions like never before, and for the most part, we have responded well and are investing in the intellectual infrastructure necessary for future success. Where we haven’t been as successful, and where our traditional models of management have failed, our accountability watchdogs have been vigilant and clear to create opportunities for improvement and reflection.
Understanding the implications of mental illness in the workplace, addressing historical discrimination, embracing workforce diversity and fully committing to reconciliation is now part of the day-to-day parlance within government offices. These are signs of growth and health of our institutions, and we at CGE applaud and celebrate those of you who are leading this evolution in the best tradition of Canadian Public-Sector values.
In December’s issue of CGE, we continue to explore many of these important themes and provide useful advice for government executives on the go. In this month’s feature interview, Hillary Hartley, Ontario’s Deputy Minister responsible for Digital Government sat down with me to discuss her experiences in the US government, her refreshing perspective on leadership, and the journey to this key role for the Ontario Government.
Jeffrey Roy a CGE regular contributor, argues that like other leading jurisdictions, Canada must not only focus on digital service transformation but as a companion must focus on raising digital skills and literacy within the Public service and society more generally if we are to truly embrace our digital future. Also in this issue, CGE’s Managing Editor Marcello Sukhdeo, provides an overview of Microsoft’s roadmap to digital transformation for the government as a lead-in to CGE’s TechGov event in Ottawa.
Big project failures and struggles with government procurement processes are never far off the radar screen of Auditor Generals and seem to regularly be featured on the front page of newspapers. Richard Shimooka of the MacDonald Laurier Institute offers his perspective on this with a focus on challenges and lessons learned from large-scale military procurements. On this theme, Andrew Graham of Queen’s University School of Policy in his “Readings Brief” column provides an overview of two publications that drill down on the common elements of failures in government that will resonate with many and provide useful advice. Program failures, emergencies, and other events can from time-to-time become major issues for government and while all governments have issue management approaches and protocols, seldom do these equip us at a time of real crisis. Conway Fraser provides some very useful advice for Government Executives who may find themselves managing in a crisis; perhaps some food for thought just in case 2018 has some surprises in store.
The use of employee surveys to determine engagement and areas for public sector improvement is now a fairly customary practice across the country. Steve Orsini, Ontario’s Secretary of the Cabinet outlines how Ontario is moving this to a new level by committing to annual surveys and publishing results; a commitment to full transparency and accountability for workplace improvement.
In her “Final Word” column this month Lori Turnbull makes the case that, in keeping with the Federal commitment to open and accountable government, Canada is ready to move to a Cabinet Manual which would formally document Cabinet Operational expectations and move us from an informal approach based on Constitutional convention.
2018 will indeed be an exciting year for the Public Sector in Canada as it will for CGE. We will strive this coming year, with the assistance of our new Editorial Advisory Board to bring you high quality, relevant content that is both thought-provoking and useful. As part of our plans to modernize CGE, we will be moving to a new format with six high-quality issues a year. Stay tuned and best wishes to all of you for 2018.
To view the December issue, click on the image below.