Thursday, December 20, 2012

Increasing Government Efficiency & Effectiveness

As we conclude 2012 and head in 2013, The City continues to look for ways to become more efficient and effective in delivering services to Calgarians. The recent budget adjustments were the latest milestone as we move through the current three-year business cycle.  Overall, the 2012-2014 business plans and budget includes significant productivity savings of $45 million, which all Departments share in achieving. Thanks to the efforts of staff across the organization these savings were identified and are playing a key role in helping Departments and Business Units meet their targets.

The Corporate Strategy for Efficiency and Effectiveness is one of a number of initiatives underway at The City to transform government. The strategy includes a number of elements related to business planning, budgeting, performance benchmarking, measurement, and reporting. It also includes both zero-based reviews and self-initiated reviews by departments and business units.

The Zero Based Review Program is a significant and new component of the strategy which will begin in Parks, Roads, Water Services and Fire over 2013-2014. Zero-based reviews build upon the fundamental premise of zero-based budgeting in that they examine services or functions from a ‘zero-base’. However, rather than focusing solely on budget, zero-based reviews examine all aspects of the business under review, to ensure that every dollar is used well, in creating the city that Calgarians have said they want to live in. 

Outside of the Zero-Based Review Program, a number of business units are undertaking self-initiated improvement activities.  A sample of areas where these activities are being undertaken to support the overall corporate strategy for service efficiency and effectiveness include, but are not limited to:
  • Next City: Transforming Planning - a system rethink intended to improve planning and development services at The City. Part of this effort includes exploring productive collaboration among a representative group of diverse executive stakeholders (both internal and external to The City) to identify challenges in the current planning system and addressing those challenges. 
  • RouteAhead: A Strategic Plan for Transit - the development of a new long-term plan for Calgary Transit, including capital priorities and a new overall network using the vision of the Calgary Transportation Plan (CTP).  This initiative will establish a clear vision for the next 30-years and identify what needs to happen to accomplish this vision. 
  • Collection Services Review - a review of Waste and Recycling Services delivery methods for recycling and waste collections programs (blue and black carts) including the potential for green carts, pending Council’s decision on a city-wide organics diversion program.  Potential for private sector involvement and a decision on the extension of Waste and Recycling Services blue cart collection contract will be presented for Council’s consideration in early 2014.
A comprehensive report on Administration’s activities to continually improve service efficiency and effectiveness will be provided to Council through the 2012 Year-End Accountability Report on Business Plans and Budgets in March of 2013.

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