Advancing Organizational Excellence

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Build a strong internal foundation for Niagara Region to enable a more prosperous Niagara.

  • Advance the six strategic priorities and push the organization to its capacity - achieving results is only possible if there is a disciplined, focused approach by Council, the corporate leadership team, and employees

Focused Projects

  • Revenue generation and line-by-line budget review

      Objective

      To support revenue development and achieve a $1 million target through:

      • Researching successful opportunities in other municipal jurisdictions
      • Exploring potential areas with revenue declines or lack of inflation
      • Conducting focus groups with internal staff to solicit ideas, options, or creative solutions

      Impact and Outcomes

      Commitment to annual line-by-line reviews provides enhanced trust in the accountability and transparency associated with operating budgets across the organization. Alignment of costing practices and departmental awareness of full cost recovery for services strengthened.

      Recommendations and Next Steps

      Line-by-line review of the Fees and Charges By-law identified incremental revenue opportunities for 2018 through inflationary and full cost adjustments.

  • Value for money audits

      Objective

      Value for money audits will determine if regional programs, including the execution of policies and procedures, are delivered in an efficient, effective and economical manner. Additionally, opportunities for improvement will be explored which can include consideration of alternative service delivery methods.

      Impact and Outcomes

      Overall, 13 recommendations have been completed and an additional 13 are currently being acted upon.

      • Improvements have been implemented to address: corporate project management methodology, asset management, cost estimation, document management, performance measurement, and other issues identified in the audits
      • Corporate-wide project management methodology to be implemented for all relevant projects
      • Process for ongoing external Value for Money and special purpose audits implemented as part of organizational performance mandate with dedicated annual budget. This led to the development of an internal audit team situated within Internal Control and Organizational Performance.

      Recommendations and Next Steps

      Ongoing delivery of value for money and other types of audits led internally through Internal Control and Organizational Performance.

  • People Strategy

      Objective

      To deliver an interrelated, intentional and measured approach to driving employee engagement, development and retention through the development of best in class people practices at Niagara Region.

      Measurable Results

      As of Jan. 1, 2018:

      • Better distinction between employee performance standards and expectations
      • Decrease in employer initiated staff departure and related termination cost
      • 50 per cent reduction in work days lost due to accidents causing physical injuries

      Impact and Outcomes

      Over the course of the four year plan, the following successes have made an impact on employee engagement, development and retention at Niagara Region:

      • Customer service and program accreditation (where applicable) scores continue to improve on ongoing basis across all business units
      • Absence of labour disruptions during the four-year term
      • Significant increase in program innovation and creativity across all business units
      • Supporting council's strategic priority of Doing Things Differently which supports a culture which embraces change
      • Succession planning and enhanced training and development program and critical role identification process now resulting in 50 per cent of senior management positions now filled by qualified internal candidates through promotion / development
      • Innovation and culture change demonstrated through 2017's Innov8 competition involving 11 broad-based program improvement / innovations, with several provincially recognized as best in class initiatives

      Recommendations and Next Steps

      Ongoing efforts to drive employee engagement, development and retention will continue into 2018.

  • Customer service

      Objective

      To develop an integrated customer service strategy at Niagara Region that will enhance the customer service experience through:

      • Service modernization across channel touch points
      • Strengthening the corporate customer service culture that puts the customer first

      Impact and Outcomes

      Development of an Integrated Customer Service Strategy outlining recommendations for:

      • Future service modernization to enhance the customer experience
      • Establishment of a Niagara customer service network with local area municipalities
      • Strengthening partnerships with local area municipalities by creating opportunities for shared resources and practices in the delivery of customer service

      Recommendations and Next Steps

      The recommendations presented in the Integrated Customer Service Strategy for customer experience enhancement implementation will be shared with Committee in September 2018. Development of goals for implementation including:

      • Acquisition of technology to support the enhancement of customer service delivery across the corporation
      • Continued exploration of local public sector partnerships to collaborate our efforts to enhance the customer experience for Niagara residents
      • Development of platforms to further engage with our citizens to gather their feedback to inform process enhancements
  • Enhanced financial management service

      Objective

      To implement an integrated enterprise solution to provide system functionality that improves efficiency and effectiveness, reduces risk, enables effective internal controls, ensures better management of the organization, and improves the client experience.

      Impact and Outcomes

      The final asset management governance model may have an impact on the:

      • Niagara Region has a strategy in place for sustaining future system upgrades, allowing us to keep the software relatively current for the business in a cost-effective way for the Region
      • As a result of the improvements put in place, 60 per cent of all payments to suppliers were paid by EFT in February 2016, which has increased to 73 per cent as of May 2018

      Recommendations and Next Steps

      Next steps will include a full review of the EFMS reporting strategy in Q3-Q4 2018. Following this a review of a mobile-approval strategy in Q1 2019 will be initiated; pending some required IT infrastructure updates planned for late 2018.

  • Comprehensive Asset Management Plan

      Objective

      To develop a comprehensive asset management plan to obtain financing for necessary infrastructure investments in Niagara. A detailed plan will enable assets to be managed in a consistent fashion, allowing for greater stability in financial and capital planning, and more informed decision making.

      Impact and Outcomes

      The final asset management governance model may have an impact on the:

      • Organizational structure
      • 2019 budgetary pressures
      • Long-range capital financial plans

      Closer alignment of the capital budget to the Asset Management Plan will also ensure that the Region is doing the right things, at the right time, for the right amount.

      Recommendations and Next Steps

      • September 2018 Council will receive a report on the proposed asset management governance model
      • This report will include the required next steps to meet the July 2019 deadline for an approved Strategic Asset Management Policy
      • A number of sequential deadlines detailed in O. Reg. 588/17 will also need to be scheduled
  • Committee review

      Objective

      To improve the rate that decisions are made by regional council, through simplifying and streamlining the reporting structure across the corporation.

      Impact and Outcomes

      Reviews of each sub-committee were undertaken with the commissioners and a number of sub-committee chairs with regard to:

      • Possibility of merging committees
      • Relationships to council's priorities
      • Planned work activities
      • Legal / contractual obligations

      Recommendations and Next Steps

      • Council maintained existence of regional sub-committees and through the study identified a need to increase the number of committees
      • To assist members sitting on sub-committees council also directed staff to expand the use of eSCRIBE to include sub-committees
      • The processes that guide meetings of committees and council were found effective and remained as status quo
  • Procedural by-law review

      Objective

      To review procedural by-law to facilitate faster decision-making, simplified and streamlined processes and to improve stakeholder understanding. The review also intends to increase access, accountability and transparency through document redesign and increased use of technology.

      Measurable Results

      In 2015, procedural by-law review committee was established by council with terms of reference. Committee held 18 meetings, including public consultation. A comparison chart was developed with 52 themes and options were selected.

      Impact and Outcomes

      • Staff undertook reviews and finalized revised procedural by-law
      • Corporate Policy Framework - Improving Business of Council, included amendments to the Procedural By-law report was approved in March 2018

      Recommendations and Next Steps

      The finalization of the procedural by-law review is being referred to the new council due to the timing of the current term.


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