Shake, rattle and roll

The ministry of children and family development's is going through another shakeup. In an email sent to employees, top bureaucrat Lesley du Toit announced she's using vacant assistant deputy minister-level positions to promote four regional executive directors. But, in a break with the past, those new assistant deputies won't be handling a specific portfolio - such as early childhood development, human resources or information technology. Instead, they'll be the "final authority and oversight" for their region, with an executive director still responsible for each region's day-to-day operations. But, in an interview with Public Eye, children and family development minister Mary Polak denied she's adding another level of bureaucracy to her department.

"This is entirely the opposite," she said, explaining that new assistant deputy ministers will empower regional staff "to use their discretion and design what they're doing with families based upon what is needed" in different areas of the province.

According to the email, the ministry will also be creating ten new senior management positions. In January, each of its five regions will get an extra "integrated practice" director as well as a new "quality assurance" director. But a spokesperson said staff changes will be made to ensure those positions don't add to the ministry's budget or its compliment of directors. The following is a complete copy of that email.

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From: Gabitous, Jason MCF:EX
Sent: Friday, October 30, 2009 10:03 AM
To: MCF All Exchange mailboxes
Subject: Message from the Deputy Minister

Sent on behalf of the Deputy Minister

Dear Colleagues

Last month you received information from me with regard to changes to the ministry Leadership Team (Ministry Executive). Today I am writing to share with you the final stage of those changes.

It's important for you to know that while roles and functions in leadership may shift, no staff will be layed off as a result of the changes.

In order to move to an organization in which the voice and needs of children, families and communities, as well as the practitioners and their supervisors drive our policy and our decision making, you will be aware that we have been making gradual shifts in our Provincial Leadership Team roles, such as establishing the Regional Executive Director's (RED's) Council and the support secretariat and having RED's take on joint leadership or provincial projects.

Today we take a final and historical step on these changes and set the stage for implementing Practice Change and our new Quality Assurance approach under strong leadership in the service delivery sphere of our work. I am very pleased to announce that Doug Hughes, Peter Cunningham, Bev Dicks and Chuck Eamer are appointed as ADM's of Child & Family Development Services (CFDS) as of today. We warmly congratulate them and welcome them to the provincial team of ADM's!

Bev has worked in the Child Welfare field for the past 25 years. Over her career, she has held the positions of probation officer, adoption worker, protection worker, team leader, area manager, community service manager, child protection manager, Aboriginal services manager, and contract and resource manager. In 2005 she became the Director of Operations for Vancouver Coastal and was appointed as the Regional Executive Director in 2007. In addition to the provincial responsibilities she will hold, Bev is deployed to Vancouver and has oversight of Vancouver Coastal Region and Fraser Region.

Peter has 30 years of health and social service experience. He has worked in a number of different areas including heroin treatment, alcohol and drug treatment, family and marriage counselling, mediation, and child welfare. Within the ministry he has held a variety of positions including Child Protection Manager and Associate Regional Director. A strong advocate for northern child and family services Peter has been the Regional Executive Director in the North Region since 2004. In addition to the provincial responsibilities he will hold, Peter is deployed to and has oversight of the North Region.

Chuck has over 20 years experience working in child and family services working throughout the province in the Okanagan, the Kootenays and the Fraser Valley. His career began with government in BC in the early 1980s as a social worker. Since then, he has had a varied career as a Team Leader, Children's Officer, member of the Transition Commission for Child and Youth Services, and an Analyst in Provincial Office. In 2004 he became the Director of Operations for Vancouver Island Region and was appointed as its Regional Executive Director in 2007. In addition to the provincial responsibilities he will hold, Chuck is deployed to and has oversight of Vancouver Island Region.

Doug has worked in a number of front-line and management positions which have given him a broad understanding of the vast range of work done by staff and service providers in the province. Doug spent 20 years working in various positions within MCFD. His career began as a Social Worker in 1986 and he has held the position of District Supervisor in Kelowna, Community Accountability Manager for the Interior Region, Director of Operations and was appointed Regional Executive Director for the Interior Region in 2006. In addition to the provincial responsibilities he will hold, Doug is deployed to and has oversight of the Interior Region.

Les Boon, our Regional Executive Director for the Fraser Region has decided to leave the ministry at the beginning of January 2010 and we deeply appreciate that he has agreed to assist us in the interim period with smoothly transitioning to a slightly new leadership approach across regions. Closer to January you will hear more from me on the incredible role Les has played during his 35 years of Public Service.

Pat Doyle, presently the ADM of Strategic Human Resources (SHR), becomes the Executive Director of Organizational Development as of November 1st. I have made changes to the role as a result of the centralization of a number of HR functions to the Public Service Agency. Pat has done an extraordinary job as the ADM of SHR and has continuously supported all of leadership and many individual staff members through a range of significant HR challenges. He has and will continue to play a significant role in our ongoing transformation work. While it is with sadness that I announce he will not continue as ADM, we are very glad to have him carry on in his work with us and contribute at the Leadership Team table.

As most of you will be aware, Alan Markwart served as ADM from 2001 and retired as ADM in July 2009 after 35 years of a very distinguished career and substantial contribution to the lives of youth at risk, particularly in the youth justice system. He now continues with a portion of his previous work in a part-time capacity as the Senior Executive Director of Provincial Services. We all feel very privileged that Alan will remain with the Ministry.

The compliment of ADM's in MCFD is not increasing. As a result of previous changes to the leadership team and those being announced today, we remain with a total of seven ADM's.

Our Ministry Leadership Team:

Previous DM/ADMs Lesley du Toit

(DM) Mark Sieben

(COO) Alan Markwart

(ADM) Marilyn Hedlund

(ADM) Deb Foxcroft

(ADM) Sarf Ahmed

(ADM) Pat Doyle

(ADM) Karen Dellert

(ADM) Sandra Griffen

(ADM)

Current DM/ADMs Lesley du Toit

(DM) Mark Sieben

(COO) Doug Hughes

(ADM Peter Cunningham

(ADM) Deb Foxcroft

(ADM) Sarf Ahmed

(Senior ADM) Bev Dicks

ADM) Chuck Eamer

(ADM) Sandra Griffen

(ADM)

Roles and functions:

In the light of the shifts I described above, we will be moving to a slightly new leadership structure and approach in and across our regions. The intention is that effective practice be the absolute focus of our regional work, with the operational side providing support to practice.

There are three core functions with regard to integrated services across the full continuum:

(1) Practice, which includes practice support to those who work directly with children, families and communities, statutory responsibilities, all child and family development services, assessment, clinical supervision, community work, and certain aspects of training, (2) Quality Assurance of practice which includes new integrated quality assurance practice across all programs, what are known today as reviews and audits, complaints, advocacy; and (3) Operational support to practice delivery which includes finances, procurement, Strategic HR, Business planning, project management, and technology.

These three functions will eventually be clearly delineated in all regional management positions, but in these next month's we are focussing on the senior leadership in regions.

We want those who have a focus on practice to be able to concentrate their time and professional skill on the work with children, youth, families and communities and not find that their time is taken up by the operational aspects except for necessary administrative work.

So in addition to leadership changes reflected in this letter to you, we will in the months to come be reviewing the role of CSM's to see how we can enable them to focus predominantly on practice and not carry the heavy load they do on the operational side. We want those who have operational responsibility to be very focussed on how their areas of work can best support practice. Operational folks will not be dealing with case related matters or any direct service to children and families. However, this is an example, and we will have much deliberation, participation in planning, and sharing of information with you before we implement any such changes to roles.

The contents of this note apply to all of our work. I don't want there to be any mistaken belief that we are talking only about child protection, or that we are excluding our Aboriginal work. It is inclusive of all existing program areas as well as our Aboriginal work as a ministry. All ADMs and managers in the ministry are expected to collectively carry some responsibility for our priorities. More than a year ago MCFD committed to Aboriginal children, youth families and communities being a significant priority of the ministry. We want to ensure our commitment results in visible outcomes desired by Aboriginal people for their children, youth, families and communities. We are presently working to ensure responsibilities and functions throughout the ministry are aligned with this priority to a much greater extent than they are at present. You will hear more about this in the coming months from me.

Regional Leadership Roles (the new model)

Bearing in mind all of the above, each region will be connected to an ADM of Child & Family Development Services who will have final authority and oversight of the region.

Each region will have a Regional Executive Director, fully responsible and with full authority for the day to day management of the Region. This role has been redesigned to ensure maximum operational support to practice.

The REDs will report to an ADM of CFDS. Both the RED of Fraser and Vancouver Coastal will report to the ADM CFDS of Vancouver Coastal.

Each Region will also have an:

* Executive Director of Practice (reporting to the RED)

* Two Directors of Integrated Practice, (reporting to the Executive Director of Practice) and;

* A Director of Quality Assurance (reporting to the RED).

The new RED role will include the "Director of Operations" work that presently exists. All managers doing operational work as identified above will report up through to the RED in the future.

CSM's will be reporting to the Directors of Integrated Practice in the future.

Geography:

We continue with five regions but a few minor adjustments will be made to existing regional boundaries to reflect equity of span of control and accountability. In addition we will from now on ensure that First Nations' service will not be restricted by geographic boundaries set by the Ministry.

These are the changes which will be made:

* Bella Bella and central coast to be part of Vancouver Island.

* Bella Coola to be part of the Interior.

* The communities of Maple Ridge, Tri-Cities, Pitt Meadows, New Westminster and Burnaby to part of Vancouver Coastal.

The Geographic re-alignments will be planned over the next two months and implemented from January onwards.

In closing, please take note of the following:

1. You will be provided with more detail on roles, functions and reporting relationships as well as implementation timeframes over the coming weeks.

2. Please note that the upcoming changes are with regard to leadership and management at the senior levels of regions only.

3. The changes will be phased in systematically and thoughtfully over the next 2-3 months of transition, starting with the appointment of the new RED's.

4. Until a new RED is appointed Chuck, Peter, Les, Bev and Doug remain fully responsible for the Region they presently manage.

5. All changes will be made within our existing allocated budgets for ministry salaries and FTE's and will not impact any budget components outside of this.

These are important steps in our transformation agenda and provide the potential for new opportunities and much stronger support to those who work directly with children, families and communities, as well as our various partners, and FN communities. However, I am very aware that any change, even for those not directly impacted, can create some measure of anxiety and we will be working hard to alleviate this through regular sharing of information and opportunities to engage and clarify any uncertainty.

Please do contact an ADM, a Regional Executive Director, or a Director of Operations if you have any questions.

Kind Regards,

Lesley

Lesley du Toit

Deputy Minister

4 Comments

"Mary Polak denied she's adding another level of bureaucracy to her department."

Mary Polak either doesn't understand the levels in the bureaucracy or she's not telling the truth. Anyone can see that there is, indeed, a new level in the MCFD bureaucracy and this from a Deputy Minister what swore up and down in emails to staff across the Ministery that under her "leadership" there would be no "silos". She has just created a number of them and there is no justication for them other than to reward her group of "yes" boys and girls.

It's no wonder that the average citizen of BC dislikes the civil service intensely. THAT is where our tax dollars are going - figure out the new costs and you will see that they are substantial. Clearly the only things the Premier cares about are the Olympics and building up his do and achieve nothing civil service power base.

Hmmmm... announced on a Friday so everybody misses it.

Please don't say "the public doesn't like civil servants". They are government employees and all the stupid decisions are made by the folks at the top. Each time some brain decides to reorganize something it costs money, time to come up with new letterhead, shuffle office space and on it goes. Maybe its time to seriously look at the the top gun Lesly, hand picked by Gordo. But that would mean that Gordo made a poor decision and he sure wouldn't like that. Remember as well that DM's report to him not their own Minister.

Polak's staff were finally allowed to invite provincial family groups to discuss this new regional structure and how services for children and youth with special needs would fit into it as of today, on a conference call just a week ago.

I was one of just three provincial family group reps invited (on behalf of Moms on the Move) and we made it very clear that the timing of our involvement, the limited invitation list, the appalling failure to involve family groups in planning all this, and the accompanying cuts to many key services were all hugely problematic issues that would jeopardize the success of this latest rearrangement of the deck chairs on the Titanic. (Does the leadership of this Ministry intentionally set out to fail???).

Family reps also sent a very clear message that downloading all provincial responsibility to this new regional structure raised a number of very serious concerns and have called for broader consultative structures, both at the regional and provincial levels, for discussing and addressing these concerns.

Ministry staff who participated in the call - and they included every one of these new regional directors, along with senior ministry staff - acknowledged a number of serious gaps identified by family and agency groups during that discussion. Now we will have to wait and see if their bosses allow them to respond.

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