A little help from some friends

Back in October, children and family development deputy minister Lesley du Toit informed her executive she would be "working on how I can free myself up more to really lead the transformation change management work." And so it has come to pass that Vancouver Coastal regional executive director Donna Knox has been charged with "oversight of the day-to-day running of the ministry." Last Friday, Ms. du Toit announced she had appointed Ms. Knox as her chief operations officer - a new post that will also "provide functional directional assistance to ADMs, screen emergent client issues and organize initial responses, and monitor high level projects." Meanwhile, Patrick Doyle - who was the "human resource lead on the devolution of Community Living programs" from children and family development to Community Living British Columbia - has been named Ms. du Toit's strategic human resources deputy. The following is a complete copy of that announcement.

From: du Toit, Lesley MCF:EX
Sent: Fri, November 10, 2006 5:18 PM
To: McDonald, J L PREM:EX; Christensen, Tom MCF:EX

Dear All

I am delighted to let you know that as of today I have made two new appointments with respect to Leadership in the Ministry. Congratulations Donna and Patrick! I am so thrilled and honored that they have been willing to take on these new challenges and know that you will all welcome them and give them your support in their new role.

Firstly, Donna Knox is appointed as the Chief Operations Officer.

Donna has been involved with child welfare in government for the past 30 years and has been a Social Worker, Community Services Manager, Contracts and Resources Manager, and most recently the RED for the Vancouver Coastal Region. She holds a B.P.E. degree and a Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University of British Columbia. Donna has immense experience in operations, management and direct services to children, youth an ffamilies, and presently serves as a member of the provincial leadership team

The Chief Operations Officer (COO) is a new role at the Provincial Office to bring sharper focus to current and near-term priorities, projects, and critical response management. Donna will assit me in the oversight of day-to-day running of the ministry and free up some of my time to engage in directly facilitating transformation work.Reporting to me, she will oversee daily ministry operations, provide functional directional assistance to ADMs, screen emergent client issues and organize initial responses, and monitor high level projects.

Secondly, Patrick Doyle is appointed as Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic Human Resources.

Patrick has over 20 years experience in Human Resources in both the private and public sector. Most recently he was a member of the province of British Columbia's main table bargaining team and is a current Board member of the Community Social Services Employers Association. Patrick holds a Bachelor of Science and Masters of Public Administration degrees.

Patrick's work experience includes senior level work in labour relations, compensation and rewards, recruitment and retention, education and training, and disability management. He has developed and implemented numerous new HR programs and practices in these fields. He was the Ministry human resource lead on the devolution of Community Living programs from MCFD to the new authority Community Living British Columbia. He presently is a member of our executive leadership team as the executive Director of SHR.

As Assistant Deputy Minister, Patrick's responsibilities include strategic human resources, education and training, transformation change management support, and labour strategy for the ministry's contract sector.

Kind regards


If anyone ever wondered why this Ministry is a non-stop disaster, there's your explanation right there. For the past five years, the "day to day running" of MCFD has been (and continues to be) seen as a low level task to be fobbed off to the minions, while the big brains focus on the "real" job of trying to dismantle it.

Was Lesley not brought to British Columbia to lead and oversee the transformation and regionalization process?

If that is the case, shouldn't her focus be on doing that properly? And if that means bringing in a senior ministry executive to oversee the day to day operations of the ministry, is that not positive?

If anything, I think this underlines that Lesley and the ministry want to ensure that while transformation occurs, other ministry priorities don't suffer. That is good news.

It is truly remarkable to observe the continuing drama at the Ministry of Chaotic and Frustrating Developments. Ms du Toit certainly has acquired a very nice gig whereby she has effectively seconded herself into a position that should be subordinate to the DM.

In addition the new COO position drains resources that could be used more effectively elsewhere.

This may very well be a sign that she is not up to the job of DM and is on the way out, but it would be too embarrassing for the government to pay severance so early in her tenure.

Onlooker has apparently not been watching MCFD for very long. The current Deputy and her new senior executives are just the latest lot to pass through the MCFD revolving door for a stint of focussing on the Premier's never-ending transformation and regionalization process while delegating "day to day running" to the back burner. Sorry, no news there.

They've been doing just that -- transforming and regionalizing while downplaying "day to day running" for over five years and they've accomplished little or nothing that's positive, along with a whole lot of disaster and change for the sake of change. Just take a look at the flagship of regionalization and transformation, CLBC, to see what I mean.

At a certain point, the sane response is to acknowledge that the approach isn't working and to consider something else. That assumes, of course, that your goal is to make MCFD succeed, and that the whole point of endless transformation isn't to divert attention from your reluctance and/or failure to live up to the mandate in the first place (in which case it makes perfect sense).

I agree that this could be "good news" but ONLY IF Ms Knox was charged by Ms du Toit with decision making responsibilities and then respects those decisions. Despite her mantra about giving up power and control which, she does not - to my mind - model that herself, somebody with experience needs to be in charge of the day to day activities of MCFD. By that I mean LEADERSHIP experience which includes trusting staff rather than what we have seen so far.....

Has she created anything over the past 8 months other than fear? The day to day work of MCFD and the transformation she was hired to facilitate cannot and will not be accomplished in the current environment of fear and mistrust.

The bottom line is that, in my opinion, Ms du Toit has created nothing but confusion and chaos at MCFD. Rather than recognizing that there are MCFD staff aross the province who already shared her expressed vision about how one should work and who practice that vision every day, her behaviour since joining MCFD leaves us all wondering what she is really all about.

Words are just words until you actually live them. We have seen little of that from Ms du Toit.

Well now that I have just hired two new ADM's to do my job for me I can finally play the "role" of the unapproachable overlord who can do no wrong.

That way I can blame them and everyone else but myself the next time there is a major screw up at MCFD.

This, in spite of the fact that: "In managing their responsibilities, Deputy Ministers may delegate certain authorities, but the delegation of authority does not relieve the delegator of responsibility or accountability. Deputy Ministers are also charged with creating an environment that fosters continuous learning and openness as they address administrative problems which may arise. When errors occur, the Deputy Minister remains responsible to act quickly and openly in seeking out the causes and identifying appropriate measures to prevent recurrence and improve management practices." Source: Gov't of Canada, Privy Council Office

Dawn Steele is correct. One only has to look at the promotion to ADM of an individual who was directly involved in the transformation of the failed CLBC to know where she and the premier are going with mcfd.

The "brains" Dawn Steele refers to are not in the office of the premier, nor are they in the office of the deputy minister.

This premier and this deputy minister care nothing for families and children.

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