Have you ever had a family member or friend lament the frustrations associated with their attempts at obtaining a government service? Whether that frustration comes from not knowing where to find a service or not being able to get all their government-service needs met in one spot, government-service delivery has become shorthand for service that does not meet the demands of clients, particularly when compared to the private sector. That frustration is likely shared by those who deal with said frustrations every day: those Canadians who work to provide other Canadians with government services.
There are many ways to improve services to clients. A simple one is increasing collaboration across levels of government. Being able to share data, pool resources, and lend expertise creates valuable partnerships which can improve the client experience. Increasing levels of collaboration also lends itself to reflections on the future of service and the potential of service delivery partnerships. Such is the focus of the Service Partnerships Playbook: Jurisdictional Collaboration to Improve the Client Experience, or simply the Playbook, a newly-developed resource by the Public Sector Service Delivery Council (PSSDC) which is supported by the Institute for Citizen-Centred Service as the Secretariat. PSSDC is comprised of representatives from federal, provincial and territorial governments, and municipalities focused on interjurisdictional collaboration to improve services for citizens.
As Canadian governments develop and deliver services for the same clients, effective collaborative service partnerships are essential to facilitating connected and ideally one-stop-shop service experiences. PSSDC and the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Deputy Ministers’ Table on Service Delivery Collaboration have endorsed the new Service Partnerships Playbook as a tool for governments in Canada to foster more seamless and integrated services to Canadians. Ultimately, the Playbook encourages multi-level collaboration by envisioning partnerships as a step-by-step process and highlights innovative service-delivery partnerships happening throughout the country.
The Playbook discusses four Service Partnerships models, in increasing levels of sophistication, all with successful implementations as examples. The first model is Cross Promotion, where one government promotes programs and services on behalf of another government. For example, Service Canada in collaboration with the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) supports G1 driver’s licence testing to obtain a driver’s learning permit, for youth and the general public in remote First Nations communities.
The second model is Outreach, where two or more governments reach out together to clients who often have limited access to provide one access point for services. In other cases, one government uses their network to enable clients to access services of another government or organization. The Fort McMurray fires in 2016 required multiple levels of government to provide coordinated joint rapid-response outreach to that community.
With Co-Location, clients can access services from different governments within the same location. One such example is Ottawa City Hall in Ontario, where clients can access numerous federal, provincial and municipal services within the same shared physical space.
The final model, Service Integration, discusses more integrated service-delivery methods between governments. These include integrated digital platforms, integrated payments, data integration and sharing, and bundled services such as the Birth Bundle for new parents.
Going forward, and with the establishment of new partnerships, it is anticipated that the Playbook will inspire more innovative and seamless service delivery in Canada. Building a partnership-adept service-delivery landscape in Canada to improve the client experience requires engagement from all levels. We hope readers will share the Playbook with their teams, colleagues and management, become involved in discussing the future of service and consider ways to build upon the ideas in the Playbook.
Every Canadian accesses government services at different points throughout their lives. The more efficient we can make that process, the better placed governments of all levels and their priorities are to have legitimacy and approval in the eyes of those we serve.
The Playbook and its resources may be accessed through the GCcollab group FPTM Service Partnerships Playbook. If you do not have an account you can easily register at https://account.gccollab.ca/login/. After registration, please search for the “FPTM Service Delivery Partnerships Playbook” to find the Partnerships Playbook page. GCcollab is a professional collaboration platform connecting public servants from government, academics, students and other external stakeholders. If you have questions about this article or the Playbook you can contact: NC-SP-PS-GD@servicecanada.gc.ca.