One of the things that any CAO wants to know, is whether their organization is optimum. So CAO Tracey Vaughan has hired KPMG to find out. On Monday, an initial report was presented to Council by Oscar Poloni with a final report due in another week. It’s not clear if all of it will be public so let’s look at what we have. Oscar pointed to the earlier Service Delivery Review for complementary information (it focused on what you do and why you do it) whereas the Organization Review focused on “how you are structured to deliver services” and emphasized that the Organization should be aligned with Strategic priorities. Given that, he was concerned that changing priorities meant that some things were not getting done.
His presentation to Council included some concerns and recommendations:
- Some departments are given new tasks so earlier priorities are not getting done.
- There is no Economic Development Manager yet Economic Development is one of the actions in the Strategic Plan.
- Customer Service is suffering: approx. half of the 219 citizens surveyed were not satisfied with the service provided.
- Employee morale is an area of concern. A survey completed by Town employees (representing more than 60% of all employees) indicated significant concerns over training, succession planning, recognition and performance management. For example, only 49% agreed that the Town is “open to change as an organization”. See Oscar’s presentation in links below.
- There are risks facing the Town – e.g. cyber attacks and procurement – there should be a centralized procurement system and policy.
- There are significant development pressures in the near term (that is, significant growth in Cobourg). This translates into greater emphasis on: Long-range planning, Infrastructure planning and Service expectations for the development community.
- Although staffing levels seem appropriate, some services have no dedicated full-time staff assigned.
- Lack of a formal HRIS requires manual data collection and analysis. That is, HR should have an IT system if they are to do anything more than use paper to record HR information.
- Director-level authority is limited to $5,000 vs $50,000 for other municipalities. That is, too many decisions must come to Council for approval.
- Lack of an e-permitting solution increases time and personnel requirements for building permit applications. That is, Building Permits should use a computer system.
Oscar recommended that:
- Development permitting and long-range planning should be separated
- Capital project engineering and infrastructure planning should be separated
He said that to mitigate risks there are immediate needs that can be addressed in the short term:
- Building inspection (Add some automation)
- Procurement (centralised and standardised)
- Information technology (Cyber risk)
- Human resources (needs an Information System)
- Grant and policy writer
- By-law enforcement (needs more staff)
- Economic development (needs a manager)
- Service Excellence can be addressed by transforming the Organization with a Transformation manager (no details on what this is) and Program financial analyst.
- Service Continuance can be addressed with Staff additions as required to respond to Council direction, regulatory changes and growth pressures.
Oscar warned that the full report is more than 400 pages so includes a lot more detail than in his presentation.
Note that although many of his recommendations seem to call for more staff, Oscar also said that staffing levels seemed mostly OK. This implies that apart from some minor staff increases, he is mostly recommending a better organization and more automation.
His presentation has a lot of food for thought and seems to indicate a lot of changes ahead for Staff.
Earlier Reports on Cobourg News Blog
- Service Levels Review Final report – 16 Nov 2020
- Six Monthly Progress Report on Service Delivery actions by CAO – 19 June 2021