As we move into 2015 – with a looming federal election and a first annual report on progress on implementation of Blueprint 2020 (now Destination 2020) – it is appropriate to reflect upon the future state of the public service in Canada, and consider what might result from this major change agenda.
While Blueprint 2020 has been purposely cast as a “bottom up” employee-driven exercise, there is a strategic vision guiding its implementation. Here are some ideas as to how success might be measured for each of the five Destination 2020 priorities, using the following results-based performance measurement principles:
• Results that Canadians and other clients of the public service can observe.
• Performance measures that go beyond activity-oriented, and contain both quantitative and qualitative indicators. Cost reduction and client satisfaction are among key measures of the success of the outcomes of organizational change.
• Balanced, transparent reporting of concrete results against established targets, including successes and areas for improvement.
• Focused measurement of the extent to which Destination 2020 change enablers have succeeded and are being sustained, including senior management support, employee engagement, ownership and accountability.
These ideas are ambitious but achievable, and are directly related to the intent of Destination 2020 (suggested target levels may be specifically debated, but are important to establish). Showing results transparently will bolster the confidence of federal government employees and Canadians.
Performance measures/targets for 2020
Priority 1: Innovative practices and networking
• The majority (e.g., 70%) of programs and services to Canadians and clients are available and related transactions are conducted online. A similar measure and target is already being followed by New Zealand. The Canada Revenue Agency has already reached a 70% target for the percentage of Canadians who file their taxes electronically.
• Public service policy development is predominantly characterized by the use of newer techniques, including citizen science, “nudge” theory, innovation hubs, and change labs.
Priority 2: Processes and empowerment
• Measurable streamlining of both central agency and departmental/horizontal processes is achieved. Targets, such as 20% fewer TB submissions required, (and those reviewed are more frequently approved because of appropriate quality and justification), and “lean” reviews of key departmental service delivery processes, target a 20% reduction in process steps. “Excessive controls” imposed on the public service, such as those for approvals of training and travel in periods of restraint, are decreased.
• The government’s and public service’s authority and accountability regimes are revised to reflect greater tolerance for the principles of appropriate risk-taking, empowerment, and innovation in decision-making and job performance. Both PMO/PCO guidance to ministers and deputy heads as well as public service performance management regimes are revised so that leaders and employees alike know clearly what their authority and accountability is.
Priority 3: Modern technology for a modern workplace
• All four key technology initiatives result in measurable improvements to collaboration, fewer departmental “silos,” and greater sharing of information and work. Targets for cost savings and/or cost avoidance are met.
• There is a measurable positive cross-over effect upon how Canadians interact with public servants (perhaps less frequent but more all-inclusive in nature), and an improvement in their satisfaction level.
Priority 4: People management
• Streamlined staffing, job descriptions, language training and learning initiatives result in improved service delivery to Canadians and greater employee satisfaction as demonstrated by increased professionalism of PS employees, shorter HR transaction times (e.g. a 15% reduction in staffing completion times), measurable cost savings (e.g., a 10% reduction in spending on language training), and reduced levels of appeals/grievances (e.g., a 25% target).
• Canadians and public service employees agree with the direction and results of the government’s human resources management reform agenda (Destination 2020 and other performance management, collective bargaining, pay/benefits, and disability management initiatives). Results are balanced, fair and cost-effective (targets for the latter are met).
Priority 5: Fundamentals of public service
• Published data shows that the integrity of the public service has been strengthened as a result of low or no shortages in attracting and retaining talent, particularly for mission-critical jobs, and similar initiatives such as for values and ethics.
• Public opinion perceives that public servants and politicians work together. It also shows that the bureaucracy’s role as government’s adviser in shaping policy and decisions is recognized rather than being limited to the job of simply carrying out politicians’ instructions.
Follow the PPX Discussion Forum group on LinkedIn or check out www.ppx.ca for thoughts, events and news. Register for our 19th Annual Symposium on May 19-21, 2015.