In the first meeting after their annual August break, council adopted the 2022 Municipal Service Delivery Review report, prepared by independent auditing firm KPMG.
The KPMG report, first presented to council on May 31, identifies 27 opportunities for improving efficiency in Meaford’s range of services.
“These have been categorized as top five, modernize operations, those in progress, and process improvements. For the top five, KPMG undertook a more detailed analysis that included impacts or risk, rationale and how it aligned with strategic priorities,” staff noted in their report to council. “The Municipality engaged KPMG to undertake a service delivery review and process mapping exercise for the Municipality. The process was to be an extension of the 2015 – 2017 Service Delivery process which confirmed the services that were to be delivered by staff and evaluate how the various processes could be delivered more effectively.”
Staff advised council that, “The key objectives of the review included performing a comprehensive service delivery review of existing services, conducting online survey with departmental stakeholders and a process mapping exercise.”
In collaboration with Municipal staff, KPMG identified top five opportunities that would lead to streamlined operations and improved service delivery. The opportunities are:
- Implement an end-to-end HRIS Solution
- Develop an IT Business Plan
- Coordinate Asset Management between Departments
- Implement plan to replace Keystone
- Perform an an-depth review of Planning Services
“One of the key findings from the report that staff concur with is the need to implement strategic corporate Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to assist in decision making. This has been lacking in the past for certain services and is critical to be able to track how the municipality is performing. The challenge however is determining the appropriate KPIs that would provide the applicable data and resourcing the ability to compile data beyond those that are legislatively required,” staff explained in their report to council.
Although staff agree with a number of the opportunities identified by KPMG, their report to council suggests that “there may be others that are unattainable with the resources available to implement. The Implementation Plan will evaluate each item to determine priorities and resourcing including costing. Those with budget implications will be included as part of the budget process with Council.”
Staff noted one of the opportunities identified by KPMG would see the responsibilities of a now former employee split into two positions.
“One of the top five opportunities noted was the need to split the Manager of Assets and Technology into two positions. The departure of the incumbent and the inability to recruit someone with both skill sets resulted in proceeding with partial implementation of this change immediately. This is on the basis that several of the opportunities noted in the report will require leadership from an Information Technology expert to implement. As such, a Manager of IT has been recruited. Staff will evaluate how to proceed with the next phase of Asset Management to ensure compliance with the Provincial requirements,” staff advised in their report.
While council supported the adoption of the report as a guiding document, Councillor Ross Kentner expressed displeasure at the limited number of people that KPMG consulted during their review.
“There’s a lot of problems in this report, and one of the problems is the survey in my mind. We interviewed 33 people, 13 of them senior managers, so the results of the survey in my view are skewed very much towards management’s point of view on things,” Kentner suggested.
In their report, staff advised council that the key to addressing the variety of opportunities is to develop an implementation plan for each item that includes the following:
1. Implementation Structure which includes what structure will be put in place to lead the delivery of these opportunities.
2. Implementation Road Map will identify the actions, resourcing and timelines to implement each of the opportunities.
3. Implementation Scorecard will enable the Municipality to monitor progress and demonstrate success. The key to this will the development of KPIs as noted earlier.
4. Develop a Change Management Framework that ensures buy-in from the organization and the public to ensure effect change.
5. A Communication Strategy that establishes a framework for effective communications of any changes.
Councillor Steve Bartley suggested that though there are opportunities for improvement, Meaford’s municipal operations are in good shape compared to some other municipalities.
“I just spent a four-day weekend with an employee from a southern municipality, which I won’t name, and their staff, their council, is pretty much not functioning because of not enough people, not very good people, and I’d just like to say right now, that under the leadership of our CAO, even though there’s problems, and you hear it every day on the emails, and on Facebook, I think this municipality under this leadership team is in really good shape. After listening to what’s happening (elsewhere), I’m thankful we’re here,” offered Bartley, whose comment was met with applause from other members of council.
The full report can be found on the municipal website (www.meaford.ca).