Never retreat, never surrender!

Here's some intelligence for members of the children and family development community: it seems deputy minister Lesley du Toit, along with her leadership and transformation teams, have been at a retreat in Richmond since Tuesday. That retreat is scheduled to last until Thursday, when members of the ministry's larger reference group will join the meeting. Whatever could be under discussion?


They are planning a big reorganisation despite what Ted Hughes recommended.More worker changes, more confusion, more financial wasteage.Of course the agenda is to prepare for an Ontario system of Children's Aid Societies(Even more upper management) to off load on.And of course every new ADM has to exert their influence as a power practice. And of course they will call it community consultation with their handpicked reference group, some like Haliburton salivating at the financial windfall they will reap.Expect them to tall them what they want to hear as that is the only feedback this group will accept.Amazing.

gsb, the handpicked reference group was a concept they picked up from CLBC, which has used these handy extensions of the hive mind to susbstitute for actual community consultation or independent thought while providing a politically priceless veneer of broad-based consent for endless change at every step of the endless restructuring process to achieve the Premier's innovative vision of choice, flexibility and person-centred, community-based community living in British Columbia at a cost that can support a stable and sustainable regime of tax cuts.

One need only look at that unfolding disaster to understand the risks of relying for advice on reference groups that are expressly set up to serve as echo chambers. Of course some participants are genuinely trying to do the right thing, but since the terms of reference invariably prohibit any public dissent and since all the key parameters are never up for debate, the most that's ever achieved is sticking a bandaid here and there while publicly helping to cover up the major underlying flaws and absurdities, allowing them to fester until the inevitable disaster.

CLBC recently took the concept to new heights by appointing a full suite of local and provincial Community Councils. Their task is to attend meetings at their own expense to endorse CLBC's proposed policies (which have mostly already been developed and approved by reference groups) or else proposing what else should be cut instead.

Lots of good intentions out there, no doubt--I blame this whole hivemind thing on the flacks who seem to run everything these days. Everyone's gotta have their talking points and stay on message, you know, and in this game you're either with us or against us.

You have some of it right, gsb, and some of it wrong.

You are right that there will be downsizing despite all the promises du Toit made in her emails to staff on arrival and during the first few months of her "visit" here. She has emailed her "management team" to stay "lean and "mean" and only keep on or hire people who are "90% " on board with her plan and it is without question HER plan - who is Ted Hughes when we can have Lesley du Toit?

We now understand why we have been waiting almost a year to have our positions confirmed.

As for her involving her "management team" in decisions, that doesn't appear to be happening. It is my view and experience, that this is another disaster waiting to happen. It looks like we won't have to wait very long.

What is Amazing is that the Premier hired somebody from South Africa who doesn't appear to have real management experience either there or here to not only undertake a huge transformation but to manage a very large ministry. She's very good with theory but not, in my opinion, with practice.

in this case - mcfd - it is the tax payers who are paying to fly 150 people in to these meetings where, they are not heard to begin with. Dawn is right: 'you're either with us or against us' and we all know what happens to people who express a contrary view. Far be it from du Toit to welcome disagreements.....or even discussion. Secrecy is the order the day at mcfd.

Here is how du Toit wants to receive feedback:

You can share your ideas, comments or suggestions at any time by emailing the Leadership Team at Comments should be constructive, respectful and solution-oriented.

When have any of us ever seen her be constructive, respectful and solution oriented?

So how long is it now that Ms. du Toit has been "transforming" MCFD?

Yes, the buffalos go round and round in the pen and there is lots of smoke and steam but nothing changes - indeed things only get worse!

When is the next meeting?

...nothing at all wrong with being "constructive, respectful and solution-oriented", except when the parameters for discussion preclude any solution that's constructive or respectful. That is, it comes down to either leaving Paul on an endless waitlist, robbing Peter to pay for Paul or splitting the baby and putting them both at risk.

That's why CLBC ends up with "solutions" like spending $1.7 million to see how many adults they can turf out of their homes, or secret internal policies to refuse access to available group home spaces to individuals who choose this option, or setting targets to close as many group homes as they can while they have 3,000+ people on waitlists trying to get in off the streets.

That's why they spent six years and tens of millions to create a new bureaucracy that would cure all the evils of the old bureaucracy, only to end up with a monstrosity that creates unprecedented barriers to access, and consumes more resources than ever while being so carefully depersonalized as to eliminate the humanity that kept the worst risks in check and made the old system barely tolerable.

On the upside, Peter and Paul and thousands more are funding a stable and sustainable program of Provincial highway construction, debt retirement and tax cuts, so I guess that part's constructive, solution oriented and respectful from another perspective.

I don't for one minute think that BC cannot learn from other provinces. Still, I hope gsb is wrong in suggesting we will be following the Ontario model of Children's Aid Societies instead of a single provincial ministry.

Dawn, of course there is nothing wrong with being 'constructive, respectful and solution oriented'. The point is that mcfd staff are not children to be taught by du toit how to behave. The Doug Walls/Chris Haynes controversies are a walk in the park with respect to staff morale.

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