Last month, the provincial New Democrats released a freedom of information request response showing children and family development deputy minister Lesley du Toit hadn't once mentioned Ted Hughes's British Columbia Children and Youth Review in any correspondence she sent between May 1, 2006 and December 8, 2006. But, in her latest missive, Ms. du Toit does, in fact, reference that review.
Writing to ministry staff, the deputy informs them a new "organizational structure" for the ministry's headquarters is now complete. "This structure now supports the direction and the principles which are leading our ministry. Furthermore, it supports the recommendations made by Hughes that MCFD 'find ways to realign roles and responsibilities in ways that will clarify lines of authority and facilitate collaboration across program areas and between regions and central office."
As our astute readers will remember, the ministry rolled out a similar headquarters organization structure back in July. "However through thoughtful deliberation, we have altered some of our initial thinking to better align the core functions and identify who would have primary responsibility for them," writes Ms. du Toit. And what do those alterations mean, you may wonder?
Well, the headlining news is that Doug Hayman has "moved out" as assistant deputy minister of the regional support team. Instead, that team - which is now, in effect, the ministry's new regional support secretariat - will be chaired by the ministry's regional executive directors on a rotating basis, with terms ranging from six months to one year. Of course, this change has nothing to do with much rumoured tension between Mr. Hayman and Ms. du Toit. Indeed, Ms. du Toit writes it has "become clear over the last months that there is no longer a role for an ADM overseeing the Regional Support Services team." As a result, she'll be working with him "to identify the next steps to which he can apply his considerable knowledge, skill and energy." So that's that.
Other changes include the establishment of a provincial support secretariat under chief operating officer Donna Knox. That secretriat will be responsible for "(a) stand alone tasks, (b) tasks which do not relate to the work of the Regional Support Secretariat and regions, and (c) tasks which cross the whole provincial office and do not relate to the specific specialized work of the ADM's, CIO, or Director of Child Welfare." So it looks like there's a whole lot the secretriat won't be doing. The following is a complete copy of that email.
Message from the Deputy Minister - March 6, 2007
Provincial Office Structure & Functions:
I am very pleased to let you know that the structure and realignment of functions has now been completed.
This structure now supports the direction and the principles which are leading our ministry. Furthermore, it supports the recommendation made by Hughes that MCFD "find ways to realign roles and responsibilities in ways that will clarify lines of authority and facilitate collaboration across program areas and between regions and central office".
The past few months of looking at how we shift authority and empower regions has ultimately affected the way we look at the Provincial Office structure. Regions in turn are now working hard to consider various means to work more closely with communities. It has involved thoughtful deliberation to reach a common understanding that clearly articulates what an "integrated client centered" and "bottom up" approach means. This in turn has enabled us to define the changes we are undertaking. I deeply appreciate your patience while we worked through this challenging task. I also want to reassure you again that with this restructuring, every regular employee at the provincial office will continue to have employment with the ministry.
I'm sure many of you are wondering why it has taken so long to complete. Fundamentally there are two reasons for this:
The first being that the new organizational structure has been designed to truly integrate the various "silos" that operated within the Provincial Office. As you are aware, the ministry has been independently operating by program area (e.g. Child Welfare; Child & Youth Mental Health; Youth Justice, etc). Policy and programs thus tended to come to regions for implementation in a fragmented way.
We recognize that program areas in Provincial Office have staff doing both policy and operational/program implementation roles and in many cases both components are done by single individuals. As well, some areas have also taken on responsibility for training and data management. To realign the Provincial Office to the new model, it has required us to thoroughly analyze the way in which business has been delivered in the past and clearly define what core functions would reside with the teams in Provincial Office. The organizational structure shared with you in July remains similar, however through thoughtful deliberation, we have altered some of our initial thinking to better align the core functions and identify who would have primary responsibility for them. This has been done to ensure efficiency and integration of these functions. We believe the result enables the Provincial Office to streamline business processes and provide better support to regions and in turn, the clients and communities they serve. We also recognize that minor adjustments to functions may still need to be made as we evaluate and evolve over time.
The second complexity in designing the new Provincial structure is that it was developed utilizing a "bottom up" approach where the Regional Executive Directors (REDs) have provided input to define the functionality for the service delivery arm of the organization so that MCFD truly reflects a client-centred culture. Our organization is changing - transforming - from a traditional bureaucracy to an organization that is built around children, youth, families and communities. As regions move to transform services to a more community decision making approach, the basis for planning will center around the individual (the child or youth) within their ecological construct (family, community), which will drive the planning and budgeting for the community, and in turn the planning for the region, and then the Provincial Office. The following is a schematic that demonstrates our thinking.
A Regional Support Secretariat will be implemented with the rotation of a RED as the Chair of the Secretariat for a period not less than six months and not more than one year.
It has become clear over the last months that there is no longer a role for an ADM overseeing the Regional Support Services team and thus Doug Hayman has moved out of this ADM role. In the next few weeks he will assist with wrapping up some tasks and I will be working with Doug to identify the next steps to which he can apply his considerable knowledge, skill and energy.
Within a matrix model, all Assistant Deputy Ministers and Provincial Office staff will have two primary roles:
* to support regional needs;
* to support corporate and central government goals, and our Ministers.
Decisions which are now finalized
You are already aware of a number of decisions made over the last five months.
In addition we have now finalized the following:
1. Alan Markwart will hand over all components of his responsibility by June this year, with the exception of Youth Justice and The Maples which he will hold until his retirement during 2008. Therefore:
a. Remaining sections on CYSN and Provincial Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing will move to the Integrated Policy and Legislation team
b. Child Care & ECD (together with policy) will move as one entity to Donna Knox.
c. Migrant Services will move to After Hours.
d. CYMH will be located with Policy & Legislation in terms of the policy component and the delivery components will reside with the Regional Support Secretariat and Regions.
2. A Regional Support Secretariat, led by one of the RED's as Chair will be established this week. REDS have selected this person from among themselves. The RED who will take this on for the first term of office is Les Boon.
3. A Provincial Support Secretariat will be formed under Donna Knox as soon as possible. Donna as Chair of the Secretariat will have a coordinating and management function for those tasks initiated by the Minister, DM, or central government which are (a) stand alone tasks, (b) tasks which do not relate to the work of the Regional Support Secretariat and regions, and (c) tasks which cross the whole provincial office and do not relate to the specific specialized work of the ADM's, CIO, or Director of Child Welfare. The work of the secretariat is to support Donna in her role.
Child Care and ECD will move to Donna over the next month.
In addition, she will liaise with the Regional Support Secretariat through the Chair as well as the corporate team of ADM's, CIO and Director. This will enable her to ensure teamwork and coordination of functions. [You will see this reflected as dotted lines in the diagram]
4. The Executive Director in my office is likely to commence duties in April. She will manage my office which includes both Executive Operations and a small Secretariat on Transformation. The Secretariat on Transformation will be chaired by me as the DM.
The following diagram captures the overall structure and functions of the Provincial Office.
Blue boxes down the left side indicate:
* Policy & Legislation
* Corporate Services
* Strategic Human Resources
* Director of Child Welfare
* Aboriginal Regional Support Services
* Youth Justice
Red boxes down the right side indicate Regions
The process for Provincial Office staff reassignments With the organizational model now complete and many of the senior positions filled, ADM's and other provincial office leaders will be working with their teams, as well as human resources staff, to realign job roles in the Provincial Office.
We expect this to accelerate now and be completed over the next two months, taking into consideration current roles, strengths and preferences.
If the major portion of a person's job remains unchanged they will be mapped directly over to the new team.
With the redesign of core functions, it is recognized that many Provincial Office positions will need to have operational job functions separated from policy to align with their new teams to ensure congruence with the model that has been defined. This may require defining job descriptions for some of the new roles.
You will also start seeing permanent job postings sent out via email "restricted" to MCFD Provincial Office employees to ensure impacted employees here in the Provincial Office continue to have employment with the ministry.
If at the end of the process a job remains vacant, it will be recruited for on the government "job opportunities" web site.
Details on the organizational chart for each team or secretariat
Each ADM or Executive Director has a detailed chart of positions and functions which provincial office staff can access and discuss. The leaders, COO and Pat Doyle and his team will be available to you through this coming week to talk through all of the above and provide you with any information which you feel is unclear or which pertains to you personally.
With the organizational design now complete, I'm looking forward to having staff settled in the new organizational structure. I believe the shift we are making is a great opportunity for us using a "bottom up" approach as a ministry to truly deliver integrated policy and services that will best meet the needs of children, youth, families and communities.
Lesley du Toit