Mental exercises

The Campbell administration will be developing and working toward implementing a new "overall mental health plan" for the province over the next 11 months, Public Eye has learned. And the government is looking for contractor to manage this "time sensitive project." This, according to a request for proposal posted on BC Bid this past Friday. In an interview, Health Minister George Abbott explained the government is writing "a new ten year plan for mental health" - updating one released in 1998, when the New Democrats were still in office. "We're going to be working with the advocacy organizations, with the professional in the area" as part of an effort to "incorporate any changes around how best to manage issues in the mental health area."

The new plan will include "costing options and recommendations, milestones for achievement, (and) completion of a communications strategy" to promote the initiative. The government quietly announced it was looking for a contractor to manage the plan on the same day Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the board of directors for Canada's newly-created mental health coalition - something Minister Abbott says was completely coincidental. "I don't think we knew the federal announcement was coming," he stated. The following is a complete copy of the relevant portion of the aforementioned request for proposal.


B. Requirements and Response
1. Summary of the Requirement

The Ministry of Health is seeking proposals from qualified Proponents to manage the time sensitive development of a proposed Mental Health Plan and an implementation framework for the plan. The Proponent will work closely with the Project Principal and the Policy Development Lead and manage a team of up to 10 support staff and contracted resources.

The Ministry requires a project manager with strong leadership and senior executive experience, combined with in-depth knowledge of mental health and addictions service delivery, to complete this project in the required timeframe.

2. Ministry Situation/Overview

Ministry Responsibility

The Ministry of Health is responsible for the ensuring the health and well-being of British Columbians. It is also responsible for ensuring the best and fairest health system possible, as well as guiding overall health system performance. The Ministry of Health works collaboratively with its partners to achieve population health outcomes and health system outcomes by:

* generating essential knowledge for sound decision making
* developing strategic policy direction
* developing the capacity and tools for effective policy and program implementation
* building and sustaining relationships with key health system partners
* ensuring the structure and management culture of the health system are conducive to achieving outcomes
* ensuring greater accountability at all levels of the health system

Additional information concerning the Ministry can be found on the Ministry's web-site:

Project Background

Good mental health is crucial to the overall well-being of individuals, communities and societies"‚ÄĚpositive mental health is a resource for everyday living that enables people and communities to realize their fullest potential and to cope with life transitions and major life events.

Over the last decade there have been significant changes in the health system and service delivery including the creation of health authorities and the integration of mental health and addiction planning and service delivery. Ministry of Health policy frameworks such as Every Door is the Right Door, Following the Evidence and a complementary Child and Youth Mental Health Plan developed by the Ministry of Children and Family Development, have all supported aspects of sector development.

Expanded capacity and growing integration in the mental health and addictions sector mean British Columbia is well positioned to take advantage of new relationships and new knowledge at the research, policy and practice levels. As a next step, the Ministry is developing an overall mental health plan that takes a whole system approach, sets out a clear vision, guiding principles, and strategic directions for progress, clearly articulates common goals, roles and responsibilities, identifies specific milestones for achievement throughout the period, and establishes mutually developed mechanisms to monitor progress over time.

Project Scope

The scope of the project will include the activities, processes and collaborations required to ensure the timely development of the proposed Mental Health Plan and an implementation framework for the plan.

The term of the project is from and including Sept. 24, 2007 to and including August 31st, 2008

Required Services

The Proponent will undertake project management responsibilities to develop and launch the implementation of the proposed Mental Health Plan. The Proponent will be expected to:

1. Engage key partners in confirming the project approach including Aboriginal leadership, Ministry of Children and Family Development and the Representative for Children and Youth

2. Ensure the timely development of evidence papers to ensure new knowledge is incorporated into the project deliverables

3. Manage and facilitate a Steering Committee and oversee Expert Working Groups to support development of project deliverables

4. Ensure the outputs of Expert Working Groups are integrated into the project deliverables in a timely fashion

5. Engage health authorities, MCFD and other service delivery partners in project development, ensure they are fully canvassed and key findings are incorporated into project deliverables

6. Oversee the development of the Mental Health Plan, specifically ensuring inclusion of key findings from service delivery partners including health authorities and MCFD, an overview of allied initiatives underway across government, and specific project milestones.

7. Ensure that recommended initiatives are fully costed

8. Ensure Public Affairs Bureau has appropriate information to develop a communications plan

9. Ensure the final draft of the Mental Health Plan and accompanying communications plan are ready for review within the specified timeframe

10. Ensure key partners are briefed

11. Oversee the re-engagement of partners through implementation workshops, including building consensus on mechanisms for tracking and reporting progress in achieving the milestones

12. Oversee the preparation of a final implementation framework with recommended mechanisms for monitoring progress

Note: The Proponent will be based in Victoria but will be expected to work on-site in Vancouver, as required, to support the Steering Committee and Expert Working Groups and to travel to each health region to support implementation planning.

Project Timelines

Phase One: Project development, including initial discussions with key partners, preparation of a series of background evidence papers, formation of a steering committee and expert working groups, and a scan of allied initiatives being undertaken by other Ministries and sectors to clarify linkages with the plan.

Deliverable: Draft Mental Health Plan.

Phase Two: Completion of Mental Health Plan with costing options and recommendations, milestones for achievement; completion of a communications strategy.

Deliverable: Final Mental Health Plan.

Phase Three: Implementation planning with key partners and stakeholders to build whole system consensus for implementing the Mental Health Plan and monitoring progress on achieving key milestones in the plan.

Deliverable: Implementation framework with recommended mechanisms to monitor and report on provincial progress.

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