2.1 ..... Overall Impact
2.2 ..... City Impact
2.3 ..... Community Impact
3.1 ..... Emergency Management Program
3.2 ..... Neighbourhood Planning
3.3 ..... Working City
3.4 ..... Access to Culture
3.5 ..... Children and Youth Agenda
3.6 ..... Community Investment
3.7 ..... Learning and Literate Community
3.8 ..... Physical Activity Strategy
3.9 ..... Public Education: Safety and Safe Behaviour
3.10 .. Staff Investment Strategy
3.11 .. Housing Agenda
3.12 .. Seniors Agenda
4.1 ..... Closeout Plan and Next Steps
In 2005, the Community and Protective Services Department (CPS) created a new CPS strategic framework for the delivery of services and a three-year plan. The strategic plan resulted in the identification of 12 priority initiatives anchored in a common purpose, an overall “How Can We Help?” service delivery philosophy that have been successfully implemented over the last two years.
This final report provides information on the outcome of the 2005-2007 CPS Strategic Plan and highlights results from all twelve priority initiatives that have significantly enhanced the CPS service delivery approaches of building collaborative communities, focusing on prevention and on continuous service improvement. The implementation of the priority initiatives has had a significant and positive impact on community partners, the citizens of Ottawa and on City staff through a fundamental change of focus of CPS services towards the needs of clients.
The priority initiatives have fostered a new level of trust and collaboration with our community partners and city residents through consultation, engagement and collaboration on issues that matter most to them. This created not only a renewed focus but also excitement about possible outcomes that could not have been realized without strong partnerships. By building this energy around key issues, the initiatives facilitated leveraged funding and in kind service opportunities towards community outcomes that would not have existed otherwise.
There have been numerous examples of increased coordination and collaboration between branches within the CPS department, as well as between CPS and other City departments, thereby, creating service efficiencies and eliminating service gaps. The implementation of the “How Can We Help?” service delivery philosophy was the cornerstone of a client-focused culture within the CPS department.
Although December 31st, 2007 marked the official end of the 2005-2007 CPS Strategic Plan, the CPS Senior Management Team and the CPS department staff are working on sustaining the momentum and continuing to build on the successes of the initiatives. Of the 12 priority projects, 9 have been completed as CPS priority initiatives. Programs and activities initiated as part of the initiative have been moved to operations within branches, with the exception of the Emergency Management Program, which will continue reporting to the corporation as a mandated program and corporate priority. The three remaining projects: Neighbourhood Planning, Children and Youth Agenda, Staff Investment Strategy will be completed in 2008 and will be integrated into the on-going operations of the Department.
The 12 initiatives contributed to the reinforcement of general concepts, knowledge and some new lessons for CPS staff. Engagement with customers is paramount in defining the services and examining how the services respond to the need. The value of understanding the unique and varied needs of the client must not be underestimated. Service excellence is achieved through the active engagement of staff in the delivery of services and ensuring the connection through the common service delivery philosophy of “How Can We Help?” The work of the past three years has also validated the practice of looking at “place” as a method or approach to service delivery and creating healthy communities and individuals.
CPS has identified neighbourhoods, children and youth, staff and seniors as strategically important in moving forward. A transition plan for these and other departmental priority areas, such as Aboriginal and Immigration is presently under development to support and inform a CPS Community Development Framework. This framework development will include the creation of cross-functional teams, networks, partnerships, training and service integration opportunities.
The 2005-2007 Strategic Plan was an enormous success for the CPS Department. The work of the priority initiatives gave the CPS Department a unique identity within the corporation as exemplified in the service delivery approach of “How can we help?” The CPS Department is positioned as a leader, having demonstrated the value of collaborative efforts. The completion of the three-year strategic plan was the precursor to the objective of implementing long-term systemic changes for continuing an enhanced client service focus. The factors driving the need for change include a changing demographic base, diverse customer needs and an evolving workforce.
In 2005, the Community and Protective Services Department (CPS) created a new CPS strategic framework and a three-year plan. The strategic framework was used to prioritize the CPS work plan in support of achieving the Ottawa 20/20 vision. The strategic plan resulted in the adoption of the “How Can We Help?” philosophy and identification of the following 12 priority initiatives that have been successfully completed:
· Emergency Management Program
· Neighbourhood Planning
· Working City
· Access to Culture
· Children and Youth Agenda
· Community and Cultural Investment
· Building a Learning and Literate Community
· Physical Activity Strategy
· Public Education: Safety and Safe Behaviour
· Staff Investment Strategy
· Housing Agenda
· Seniors Agenda
This final report provides details on the outcome of the 2005-2007 CPS Strategic Plan and illustrates how the 12 priority initiatives have significantly enhanced CPS’ service delivery approaches of building collaborative communities, focusing on prevention and focusing on continuous service improvement. The positive impact that the implementation of the initiatives has had on City staff, on community partners and the citizens of Ottawa is outlined in this report.
In 2001, the City of Ottawa undertook a process where the community collaborated in developing a shared vision in managing change and growth for Ottawa. The Ottawa 20/20 Growth Management Strategy represented a new approach to City building. The plan developed a framework for managing growth over the next twenty years in ways that reinforced the qualities that are most valued by the City’s citizens; the availability of high-quality services, innovative economic development and exciting job opportunities, livable communities, diverse artistic and cultural life, varied housing forms, green and open spaces, and the heritage landmarks and landforms that distinguish Ottawa from other cities.
The 20/20 growth plan was based on seven guiding principles:
· A caring and inclusive City.
· A responsible and responsive City.
· A green and environmentally sensitive City.
· A City of distinct, livable communities.
· A healthy and active City.
· An innovative City where prosperity is shared among all.
· A creative City rich in heritage, unique in identity.
In May 2004, the City of Ottawa presented a new organizational structure to achieve a number of objectives including support for the Ottawa 20/20 Growth Management Strategy, more effective service alignment and improved overall accountability.
As part of the restructuring, the Community and Protective Services Department was established. This change brought together many of the service areas that touch the lives of Ottawa citizens everyday. The newly formed CPS Department included the branches of: By-law and Regulatory Services, Cultural Services and Community Funding, Emergency Measures Unit, Employment and Financial Assistance, Fire Services, Housing, the Ottawa Public Library, Long Term Care, Paramedic Service, Parks and Recreation and Public Health. Bringing these branches and service areas together in the CPS Department allowed for a more holistic approach in serving citizens and communities. The unique and individual needs of varying communities were recognized and celebrated, allowing for the development of targeted solutions to meet the specific community need.
Although each of the CPS branches and service areas has specialized mandates and objectives, there is a common purpose for the department and all of the eleven branches. In an effort to define the common vision that unites CPS and connects over 4,200 CPS staff members working throughout the branches, the CPS management team held a variety of working sessions with staff. The vision “How Can We Help?” was adopted as the CPS service delivery philosophy. The focus has been providing client focused services, enabling communities to build their own capacity to identify and solve issues, and providing citizens opportunities to maintain or improve their quality of life.
The Department as a whole has strived to make a difference in the community by bringing together internal and external expertise and resources to focus efforts to best meet the diverse needs of citizens and neighborhoods. The CPS Departmental vision of How Can We Help included the need to reconnect City staff to frontline service areas and, ultimately, to the citizen requesting those services.
The development of the Community and Protective Services Department Strategic
Framework in 2005 guided the work priorities of the department and provided a vision of how to strengthen the connections between the portfolio of City programs and the citizens of Ottawa. To achieve this vision, CPS identified the service delivery philosophy of “How Can We Help?” and three service delivery approaches and 12 departmental initiatives
How Can We Help?
The CPS Strategic Plan created synergy within the Department that brought the “How Can We Help?” vision to life and created a client service focused culture.
The new vision and philosophy prompted a redefinition of the services and programs provided to citizens by connecting the expertise of City staff at various levels of the organization to the community partners. The plan encouraged a systematic approach to both inter-branch and external consultation with the goals of improving existing relationships, building new networks, facilitating change, and increasing community capacity.
The City of Ottawa is comprised of many communities with unique needs, strengths, and profiles. Understanding that one size does not fit all, CPS consulted and collaborated to endeavor to customize service delivery and program development to meet the needs of varying communities.
The three-year plan and priorities empowered communities to improve the quality of life for their residents. The CPS department recognized that the City is one member in a larger community comprised of citizens, numerous service providers, various community associations, two other levels of government, and other stakeholders who are responsible for collaborating to improve the quality of life in communities.
CPS identified three service delivery approaches in providing services to residents:
1. The first service delivery approach, focusing on prevention, placed emphasis on shifting the focus of programs and services from a reactive to a pro-active approach, from addressing emerging needs to addressing possible root causes of the need, thereby, reducing the demand for service.
2. The second service delivery approach was building collaborative communities. This service delivery approach mobilized community assets and resources to assist with identifying and achieving community goals.
3. The final service deliver approach was focusing on continuous service improvement. The changing demographics and political environment required CPS to respond to unprecedented fiscal challenges while remaining strongly committed to serving the community.
The three service delivery approaches and the commitment to the vision “How Can We Help?” service philosophy guided the identification of the 12 priority initiatives. The 12 initiatives were identified to strategically address the needs of particular demographic groups (i.e. seniors, children and youth), to test innovative delivery methods and to collectively respond to community issues. The development and implementation of the 12 priority initiatives required a strategic allocation of dedicated resources in order to ensure the initiatives would have the best outcomes and the greatest impact.
2.1 Overall Impact
The work undertaken by the priority initiative teams had a significant impact on the CPS department, other city departments, our clients and the community at large. These impacts may be categorized as internal and external: the City of Ottawa and the community partners and members. The most notable benefit realized from the initiatives was that working collaboratively towards shared objectives and goals result in more creative, effective and efficient solutions. This new way of working together to approach issues has permeated the community and been embraced by the CPS Department.
2.2 City Impact
Improved Internal Collaboration: Many of the priority initiatives encouraged and fostered internal collaborative opportunities. The priority initiative teams worked creatively across branches and departments to ensure that the expertise required for the creation of holistic solutions was fully utilized. The collaboration between front line staff, managers, directors and deputy city managers facilitated significant learning opportunities, the creation of cross- departmental best practices and a shared sense of accomplishment. City staff adopted a holistic approach to resolving problems through a more thorough understanding of issues and effective determination of parties involved in the problem solving and solution. The creation of a working environment based on collaboration and a shared ownership ensured that the branches and/or departments involved were focused on the common solution, which ultimately enhanced outcomes.
Leading by Example: CPS Directors in their role as initiative champions encouraged the multi-disciplinary teams to create new and innovative solutions. Several examples of these solutions are: the creation of inter-branch materials for the community to market services with common themes and goals, an invitation for the community to help plan their neighbourhood, celebration events to recognize the valuable contributions of citizens, and the development of effective partnerships with schools to deliver safety messages to children. City staff were empowered by creating an environment where work across branches and departments was encouraged and barriers and impediments to delivering quality client service were removed. CPS staff supported each other in accomplishing common goals and have gained the experience and knowledge required to undertake other similar ventures with greater ease. The three-year priority initiatives promoted staff development and succession planning with many opportunities for mentoring and coaching by staff.
Leveraged Funding: In order to move the initiatives forward the initiative team members made a commitment to connect with the community, the private sector and other levels of government to explore common issues and potential funding opportunities. Through the twelve priority initiatives, CPS leveraged more than nine million dollars in Federal funding, over two million dollars in Provincial funding, over two million dollars in other partner funding and over one hundred thousand dollars of direct “in kind” services”. The leveraged funding enhanced the success of the initiatives and created a common problem solving structure under which these groups can work again in the future.
Operational Enhancements: The initiatives included a focus on creating quality service within CPS branches to better meet the needs of our changing demographics. Three main questions were posed in relation to each service area: who are our clients, what do clients need, and how best can we meet those needs? The Working City Initiative, Community Investment and Building a Learning and Literate Community demonstrated this particular emphasis. In each of these initiatives, the CPS Department focused on creating new services to streamline with existing services to make the most impact on communities. These service changes were then incorporated into the branch operations to ensure effective resource utilization and sustainability. The Seniors Agenda and the Children and Youth Agenda project teams proposed changes to the way in which the City engages with and serves those specific demographic groups. Aspiring to service excellence ensured that the CPS vision “How Can We Help” became the norm in providing high quality service to the diverse citizens of Ottawa.
2.3 Community Impact
Enhanced Community Involvement: The most significant impact was on the community perception of the City. In total, more than 1,200 community consultation meetings/sessions were held from 2005 to 2007, in which the opinions of close to 8,000 residents and approximately 900 community experts were collected. In addition, countless individual surveys were completed on various subjects related to the 12 initiatives. Many community partners and citizens responded favourably to staff inquiries. Subsequently, the community partners and citizens became enthusiastic about working collaboratively with staff to identify and resolve issues and a new level of understanding and trust between the City and the community has been gained. The work of the priority initiative teams resulted in the identification of opportunities and the development and/or enhancement of over 150 partnerships with community agencies and other levels of government. These partnerships helped to create efficiencies through identification of service gaps and duplication and an overall streamlining of resources.
Section 3: Priority Initiatives Highlights
Each of the 12 priority initiatives contributed to the overall success of the 2005-2007 CPS Strategic Plan. The following section summarizes the highlights and key success areas of the initiatives.
3.1 Emergency Management Program
The Emergency Management Program (EMP) had 29 sub-projects identified for implementation, which have ensured that the City is in full compliance with current legislated requirements, while also addressing Ottawa’s specific risks. This program positions the City to effectively meet emerging legislative standards and manage emergencies. Since this program’s inception, there has been enhanced collaboration and communication on emergency management initiatives across City departments, branches and services and with external partners.
The “Are You Ready?” Public Awareness Campaign was implemented and the community awareness and preparedness for emergencies was increased across the entire City and within hard to reach populations (information was disseminated in five languages). The campaign informed Ottawa citizens about how to be better prepared in the event of an emergency, how to create emergency plans and which items to include in an emergency kit. The importance of acquiring First Aid and CPR skills was also emphasized in the campaign.
The Disaster Psychosocial Plan was developed to provide disaster psychosocial planners, managers, responders and community partners within the city of Ottawa with operational procedures to be followed when implementing disaster psychosocial programs following a large-scale disaster or traumatic event. Community partners, social service agencies, and municipal responders were assembled to develop the plan and protocols necessary to be prepared in the event of a disaster in Ottawa. The plan was developed to mitigate the psychosocial impacts to residents and responders.
Three distinct outreach programs were developed as part of the plan: Community Outreach, First Responders (CISM), and the Employee Assistance Program. The plan was built on the existing Municipal Emergency Plan and the standard operating procedures of the City of Ottawa. The plan describes how an evacuation or shelter-in-place will be managed including the coordination structure and specific to general functions. These interventions are aimed at addressing elevated levels of mental stress during and after an emergency, in addition to reducing or eliminating the potential long-term negative mental health effects on the victims, their families, the community and responders.
The creation of the Exercise and Training Program built on the City employee skill level in managing emergencies and enhanced collaboration across departments, branches and services. Over 70 internal staff and external partners received this training.
The consolidated effort in planning and preparation for the EMP has proven to be very successful. An example of success in coordinated planning is the Emergency Social Services (ESS) team, which is comprised of staff from the CPS branches of Employment and Financial Assistance, Parks and Recreation, Housing, Ottawa Public Library, Strategic Initiatives and Business Planning, and Ottawa Public Health. This team provides food, clothing, and reception and lodging, personal services, registration and inquiry, and public health services for those affected by an emergency situation.
Emergency Management Ontario presented the City of Ottawa and community partners with a letter of achievement to recognize the assistance with the evacuation and housing of 278 evacuees from the Kashechewan community. Another demonstration of success of the EMP was the effort with the repatriation of Lebanese Canadians, which was formally acknowledged by the Province of Ontario in a letter of gratitude to the City of Ottawa.
Although this CPS priority initiative was completed in December 2007, the work will continue as a crucial program within the corporation. Ottawa continues to lead Canadian municipalities in the area of Emergency Management. The partnerships and relationships with other levels of government, local hospitals, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and many other partners committed to emergency planning facilitated the best possible plan for response and provisions to our community in the event of an emergency.
3.2 Neighbourhood Planning
The Neighbourhood Planning Initiative (NPI) involved three City departments: Public Works and Services, Planning, Transit and the Environment, and Community and Protective Services. The NPI had considerable impact on cross-departmental collaboration and resulted in a significant shift in departmental cultures. This initiative was developed in partnership with researched-based institutions to assist in determining how best to engage our communities. The focus on collaboration and extensive consultation resulted in clear benefits to the final products that emerged during the first three years of the Neighbourhood Planning initiative. Some examples of potential solutions to be considered for the Hintonburg Neighbourhood Planning Initiative include: the green roofs project that would pilot the introduction of green roofs intended to prolong the life cycle of the storm sewer system by delaying the run off during rainstorms and the introduction of a new designated bicycle route to be added along Spencer and Armstrong.
The NPI team developed a place-based customized process approach defining the long-term look and feel of a neighbourhood through strategic infrastructure and service planning in addressing the unique needs and issues facing a community. This approach opened doors to creative solutions that made a significant difference at the neighbourhood level. Some examples of potential solutions to be considered for the Hintonburg NPI include: the green roofs project that would pilot the introduction of green roofs intended to prolong the life cycle of the storm sewer system by delaying the run off during rainstorms and the introduction of a new designated safe bicycle route through the neighbourhood. Also, as part of the Wellington Street West Reconstruction, the community benefited from the City of Ottawa Public Art Program, which provides a percentage of funds for municipal development projects to be set aside for public art. Nineteen local artists provided submissions with the winning artist and design to be announced shortly.
In Vars, where the Neighbourhood Planning Initiative process began in Sept. 2007, creative recommendations are being developed to address the unique needs of the community.
The in-depth consultation process undertaken within this initiative has included over 85 meetings and 5 surveys (approximately 1700 individual surveys were analyzed). The intense level of community engagement ensured that the residents of the two pilot sites had meaningful and significant input into the look and feel of the neighbourhood they reside in. The consultation process was also a means of testing a defined process of community engagement. This result of the NPI consultation effort was the creation of a clear sense of ownership and pride for residents and a true investment and interest in the outcome of the NPI. The commitment of the community has been remarkable and all of the departments involved acknowledged the benefits of working collaboratively.
This initiative successfully demonstrated a new way for the City and the community to work together to identify the long-term strategic infrastructure and service needs of the community. The Neighbourhood Planning Initiative provides a best practice process for integrated service and infrastructure planning. The Neighbourhood Planning Initiative teamwork will continue to the end of 2008 to ensure quality around the evaluation and reporting to Council on the pilots.
3.3 Working City
The Working City Initiative was designed to assist Ontario Works (OW) participants in securing sustainable employment. This Employment and Financial, Assistance (EFA) initiative involved a number of research projects, implementation and evaluation of employment interventions and opportunities, and the redevelopment of a marketing campaign.
The dedicated efforts of the Working City Initiative project team contributed to the overall goal of assisting OW participants in securing sustainable employment through the development of a number of key partnerships with internal and external stakeholders. The work of the team fostered and supported internal collaboration within the Employment and Financial Assistance Branch
With a focus on continuous improvement, the branch has evaluated the impact of pilot projects, developed best practices and redesigned the employment service delivery model. Marketing tools were developed to successfully promote programs and services to both OW participants and to potential employers in Ottawa.
The service enhancements created as a result of the work undertaken in this initiative had a direct impact on the number of clients who secured and maintained employment throughout the three-year timeframe. The Ontario Works caseload decreased from roughly 17,500 in 2005 to 15,300 in 2007. These figures represent more than 2,200 financially self-sufficient families who no longer required the support of Ontario Works. In addition to the overall decrease in the number of persons requiring Ontario Works, the average monthly employment earnings declared by families increased from 2005 to 2007, indicative of an improved level of financial independence. Also, 60 paid and unpaid employment opportunities within the City of Ottawa were identified as available to Ontario Works participants.
The evaluation of this branch wide initiative revealed important information about service integration improvements and opportunities in the Employment and Financial Assistance Branch of CPS. Upon completion of this initiative in December 2007, a new team was created in the Employment and Community Programs Division of EFA to maintain and support the service enhancements created as a result of the Working City Initiative.
3.3 Access to Culture
The Access to Culture Initiative enhanced the city of Ottawa cultural experience for both residents and visitors alike. The accomplishments of this initiative include; increased funding to local arts and heritage organizations to stabilize the cultural community infrastructure, improved access to cultural programs, and the development of formal agreements with community partners who demonstrated capacity for continued growth and success in contribution to the vibrant cultural experience in Ottawa.
This initiative facilitated operational and organizational stability for local cultural organizations and enhanced the capacity to leverage new funds from other private sources and levels of government, thereby, further generating new potential sources of revenue. A direct result of this initiative was the preservation of the existing municipal investment in local cultural infrastructure including the operation of cultural programs and services. The work undertaken by the initiative project team to continue to provide for rich culture in the city in the face of fiscal challenges is a testament to the CPS commitment to continuous service improvement. The efforts of the initiative team to create a more diverse cultural experience within the city resulted in an additional investment of $6.3 million in operating and capital funding for local museums. Additional funds of $2.5 million were realized for the operation of local arts, festivals, fairs, and special events organizations.
Consistent with the CPS service delivery approach of building collaborative communities, Cultural Services (CS) developed and formalized partnerships and service agreements with 20 cultural services providers in Ottawa. These essential key partnerships advanced and supported the overall development and improvement of the cultural facilities and assets in the Ottawa community. Some examples include: a public-private partnership for the creation of the new Shenkman Art Centre, financial support obtained from the Province of Ontario for the relocation of the City Archives, and the completion of an agreement with a funding allocation $1.3 million with the Great Canadian Theatre Company for the successful grand opening of the Irving Greenberg Theatre.
This initiative provided critical leadership in the implementation of mechanisms to support community capacity in the development of cultural ventures such as the development of the Ottawa Museum Network as part of the Museum Sustainability Plan. The establishment of 8 steering committees to assist with the development and implementation of capital projects and to support the operation of cultural programs and services. More effective collaboration with the cultural community was a direct impact of the Access to Culture initiative.
Three new online calendars were developed and launched to promote greater ease of access to a consolidated calendar of cultural events for the greater Ottawa area. This comprehensive arts, heritage, festival, and entertainment event database was facilitated through a partnership with the National Capital Commission and the City of Gatineau.
The Access to Culture initiative made Ottawa a more culturally rich and diverse place in which to live and to visit. The immense amount of work completed within this initiative was systematically incorporated into the branch operations in order to ensure sustainability and future growth in the area of culture.
3.5 Children and Youth Agenda
The Children and Youth Agenda (CYA) facilitated the development of the community led vision and framework to determine the best supports for improving the life chances of children and youth in Ottawa.
The CYA team employed the service delivery approach of building collaborative communities and partnered with United Way to conduct an extensive engagement strategy with the Ottawa community. The consultation was a means to jointly explore and create the shared vision and framework. The CYA engaged approximately 350 service providers, 1,700 children twelve years of age, 550 youth, and 300 parents/guardians to accurately represent Ottawa’s population.
The Healthy Development Framework identified priority areas for action around children and youth needs. Information and evidence-based research was gathered to assist in the identification of the critical influencing factors to promote a holistic approach to healthy child and youth development. Through careful attention to the outlined priority areas of healthy development, the focus is on minimizing, reducing and preventing barriers and impediments to overall child and youth health (consistent with the CPS focus on prevention service delivery approach). Common language was used to ensure that all stakeholders would understand and easily identify the components required for a holistic approach to healthy development. The framework is a central tool for the community and the CPS department to ensure future service integration and service excellence for the children and youth of Ottawa.
The work of the CYA created and strengthened important relationships within the community, fostered collaborative initiatives, addressed service gaps, and reduced duplication in service in meeting the needs of children and youth in Ottawa. Several examples of the results of the CYA team in the creation of synergies in the area of planning are: the consolidation of 4 planning groups to form the Ottawa Network for Children and the consolidation of 9 separate planning tables to support the effective planning for Early Years’ Service Hubs.
The focus on the service delivery approach of continuous improvement was exemplified in the introduction of a centralized waiting list for licensed centre based child care options for families and the creation of a service inventory for children and youth posted on Ozone. The initiative built competencies around optimal child and youth development through the support of quality programs such as summer camp experiences for children with special needs, access to Bully Prevention Kits available at the Ottawa Public Library Branches throughout the city and the pilot of an accreditation tool for use by childcare service providers to assess and address program quality indicators.
CYA activities will continue into 2008 to ensure that the framework is fully integrated and utilized and to ensure that the success of the partnerships created by the CYA will continue to influence work within the CPS branches and in the community at large to promote child and youth health for years to come.
3.6 Community Investment
The Community Investment Initiative (CI) made considerable innovative changes to branch operations and services to support the CPS “How Can We Help” vision and to focus on continuous service improvement.
The CI initiative team developed a Community Funding Framework to assist in defining how to best support valuable community services for the citizens of Ottawa. The framework addresses all funding mechanisms, promotes improved access to funding for community groups and aligns funding priorities to departmental and corporate priorities.
Service agreements were successfully negotiated with community service organizations with clearly identified purpose and objectives of funding, roles and responsibilities, terms and conditions, and reporting requirements. Risk assessment criteria were introduced to determine the appropriate length of a service agreement (from one to three years), which allowed for more stability of community service provisions within the community. These service agreement enhancements resulted in a more streamlined and managed funding process with increased accountability mechanisms in place for funding contributions.
The Community Funding (CF) goal is to support community service providers to better serve the citizens of the community in which they operate. The funding provided to the agencies is intended to build collaborative communities and to ensure that Ottawa citizens have access to high quality community based services.
The first ever community service provider formal recognition ceremony was held to acknowledge and recognize 42 non-profit community organizations that received Community Project Funding. The Mayor of the City of Ottawa presented certificates of acknowledgement to each organization. The second annual recognition ceremony acknowledged 33 organizations and heard testimony from 4 agencies that received project funding. These events provide the City with an opportunity to recognize the importance of building collaborative communities with service providers and to celebrate the truly remarkable work that occurs in the community.
The CI initiative was completed in December 2007. In recognition of the positive impact the initiative had on the relationships with agencies and the quality of service agreements, the Cultural Services & Community Funding Branch of CPS have fully integrated the initiative activities into operations. Further opportunities for service excellence through integration of services and/or service enhancement will be explored as a result of the work of the CI priority initiative.
3.7 Learning and Literate Community
The Learning and Literate Community Initiative (LLC) significantly improved the library experience of many residents in Ottawa, particularly newcomers, people with disabilities and adult literacy learners. The LLC initiative team focused on building sustainable partnerships with strong community agencies and utilized creativity and innovation to ensure the Ottawa Public Library (OPL) services evolved to meet the changing needs of our community. One such example of an innovative outcome is the successful partnership with the VISUNET program to provide access to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) materials. The materials include digital books online, digital audio, Braille, descriptive videos, and CNIB Digital Library and Children’s Discovery Portal. The partnership with CNIB permits people with visual impairments to access resources and opportunities for learning.
The LLC team delivered over 100 computer literacy courses and more than 50 homework help sessions annually to high school students, which made an impact on individual lives and on the overall health of the community through focus on improved literacy and promotion of learning.
A partnership with five local settlement agencies enabled new immigrants to access settlement services from Newcomer Information Officers at nine of the Ottawa Public Library branches. The officers link families to community services, coordinate and deliver information sessions on issues such as education and employment, and offer multicultural children’s programs. This integration of services for newcomers provided a “one stop shop” approach with links to the services and information most needed by newcomers in a timely fashion.
An essential part of the LLC initiative was to create opportunities within our community for new immigrants to develop literacy and essential skills. In partnership with the Ottawa Community Coalition for Literacy, OPL developed a manual to introduce adult learners to the services of the library. Getting to Know the Library/Apprendre à connaître la bibliothèque was successfully piloted. This is one way in which the OPL is reaching out to adult learners to help build confidence and make them feel comfortable in the library.
The Project Manager for this initiative was named the winner of the 2008 Ontario Public Library Association’s First Annual Leadership in Adult Readers Advisory Services Award due, in part, to the success of LLC priority initiative. The Ottawa Public Library is now increasingly recognized as a valued leader and partner in Ottawa literacy, with newcomers to Ottawa, and to persons with specialized needs.
The programs and activities developed as part of the LCC initiative were subsumed into OPL operations upon completion of the project in December 2007. The Children and Teen Services and the Adult & Readers’ Advisory Services have undertaken the responsibility to deliver many of the new and enhanced services as part of regular operations.
3.8 Physical Activity Strategy
The Physical Activity Strategy (PAS) placed emphasis on the benefits of “prevention” for all age groups through daily physical activity, healthy eating and recreation programs to create improved self-esteem, better school/work performance, to reduce the risk of chronic disease and injury, and overall enhanced quality of life.
Collaboration was essential to the success of the PAS. Ottawa Public Health (OPH) and Parks and Recreation (P&R) along with other city departments capitalized on service integration opportunities that resulted in streamlined service delivery for programs like I ♥ 2 Skate, Ottawa on the Move -Makes Good Business Cents (workshops for workplaces), and the Pedometer Lending Library Program. The initiative team members educated children, parents, teachers, workplaces, school staff, and the various community members about the importance of daily physical activity to support a “focus on prevention” and a healthy lifestyle. The initiative was championed and delivered by community partners to internal and external stakeholders: parents and families, at workplaces, and with 4 Ottawa school boards.
The PAS in conjunction with Active Ottawa Actif (AOA) reached Ottawa residents with physical activity initiatives more than 7 million times from 2005 to 2007. New and significant partnerships were created with the National Capital YMCA/YWCA, Ottawa Boys and Girls Club, Community Health Resource Centres, the EnviroCentre and the Ottawa 67’s. Together, the larger group of partners created a range of physical activity opportunities to ensure that activity at all ages remains a priority for city of Ottawa residents. The shared objective was to reduce obesity and related health problems associated with inactivity.
The Healthy Heart Hockey initiative awareness campaign was developed to prevent hockey-related heart attacks among recreational hockey players. The central message: “Get in shape to play hockey - don’t play hockey to get in shape”. This large collaborative effort involved the Ottawa Heart Institute, Carleton University, Canadian Adult Recreational Hockey Association (CARHA), Parks and Recreation branch of CPS, Real Property and Asset Management, Paramedic Services, Heart and Stroke Ontario, Ottawa Heart Beat and Sun Life Insurance. A survey was conducted to gather information about coronary risk factors and physical activity patterns with over 2,200 adult male recreational hockey players. The survey results were used to help develop the campaign and associated public education and awareness materials including posters in City arenas about early identification of heart attacks and appropriate action to be taken in the event of a heart attack. Due to the unequivocal success of the Healthy Heart Hockey initiative, CARHA Hockey will introduce the program to 10 other cities across Canada.
The St. Laurent Friendly Corner was developed for access to an affordable program in which seniors can participate in organized activities such as mall walking and strength training. The program promotes physical activity for seniors, encourages healthy aging and offers emotional support in a lively, social environment. It is a volunteer-led program in collaboration with St. Laurent Shopping Centre and Florida Fitness (who donate space for the program). To date in 2008, there were 8,000 visits to the St Laurent Friendly Corner and volunteers have given 1,300 hours of time to make this initiative successful.
The Physical Activity Strategy provided inviting, creative promotions such as the “Pedometer Challenge” and the “Try it! ” campaign with the goal of encouraging both staff and the general public to be active on a continuous and regular basis. Over the three-year period, over 2800 City staff and 1,500 staff from other workplaces participated in the “Pedometer Challenge”. In the same period, the “Try it!” campaign attracted more than 2,300 participants to over 1,200 free programs across the city of Ottawa.
Beyond the completion of the initiative in December 2007, the Ottawa Public Health branch continues to be committed to the “Active Ottawa Actif “ partnership and has made physical activity a key result area. As programs are transitioned into operations, evaluation will continue to ensure programs are addressing client need and making a real impact on the health of the city.
3.9 Public Education: Safety and Safe Behaviour
The Public Education: Safety and Safe Behaviour (PESSB) initiative increased the level of public education about the safety of school age children. The examination of local injury statistics cited the top causes of injuries for children 5-14 years as falls, sports-related injuries, motor vehicle-related injuries (occupant, pedestrian), cycling, and others (such as burns).
Through community engagement the initiative team established a customized and efficient approach to public education that can be used as a model for future initiatives. The initiative team coordinated existing City of Ottawa safety and prevention programs by collaborating across branches to reduce duplication of efforts and maximize service excellence. The result of CPS collaboration in the provision of services of safety and prevention was cross-departmental education and sharing of best practices around service integration.
This initiative resulted in a modified safety messages to a seasonal cycle to capture school age children interest and to ensure focused attention on the most immediate dangers. The resources and safety program were aimed at students from five to fourteen years of age within eight schools across the City. The Swim to Survive Program, with a focus of drowning prevention and water safety, had tremendous positive impact on the grade three students enrolled in the program as cited in the overwhelmingly positive feedback from the several hundred students, parents, and teachers who participated in the program. The participating schools have indicated interest in offering this program annually.
This PESSB initiative was completed in October 2007. Part the completion included a comprehensive safety brochure and safety curriculum provided to the Ottawa Safety Council for use in the redevelopment of the Safety Village. The work is continuing for the Ottawa Safety Council to reach its goal and Ottawa Public Health is part of the committee to monitor progress.
3.10 Staff Investment Strategy
The Staff Investment Strategy (SI) unlike the other eleven priority initiatives was internally focused. The objective of the strategy was to promote staff engagement, encourage leadership, facilitate information sharing, and to collaborate and foster a positive work atmosphere throughout the entire CPS department. Supported, productive and happy staff ultimately translates to better quality service to the citizens. Surveys were conducted to gather information from staff about the issues that matter most, to gain knowledge about changes that would make a difference to staff and to measure the impact of those changes once implemented.
The strategy focused on staff development. Some achievements in this area are: the introduction of non-traditional hour training courses now available through the learning centre on evenings and weekends, the development of performance appraisal tools, the implementation of standard performance appraisal forms and process, and the introduction of a Job Shadow Program. These investments in City staff created more opportunities for staff to develop their skills and to explore career options within the corporation. The SI strategy created an environment where staff contribution is valued and staff investment is a shared responsibility.
The mechanisms created to facilitate staff engagement included a departmental workgroup, branch workgroups with worksite representatives, branch staff investment annual work plans, focus groups, staff surveys, electronic suggestion box, leadership forums, and a CPS staff forum. The strategy was instrumental in improved focus on our most valuable asset - “our people”. The Staff Investment team developed initiatives to have a positive impact on the CPS staff experience. One such initiative was the promotion and marketing of the corporate recognition program that resulted in a 30% increase in award presentation to staff. Other tools were developed to foster a culture of recognition such as the “How Can we help?” quarterly communiqué, which highlighted branch accomplishments and the development and implementation of the e-card program. These tools enabled staff at all levels to recognize each other for the extraordinary work completed everyday.
Results of the staff engagement survey conducted in the final year of the three year CPS Strategic Plan indicated there was an increase of 7% satisfaction from the initial 2005 survey results in responding to the question of whether the staff felt recognized. The result indicates that CPS is becoming more successful at creating a positive work environment for staff at all levels and more improvement on satisfaction at work.
The demonstrated benefit of the initiatives and programs developed by the Staff Investment team cannot be sustained without a continued focus on staff. Furthermore, it is necessary for the CPS department to align with the newly announced Corporate Staff Engagement Program into 2008. The well-established and accomplished Staff Investment workgroups will ensure that CPS is well positioned to effectively contribute to the success of the City workforce sustainability efforts within the Corporate Staff Engagement Program.
3.11 Housing Agenda
The Housing Agenda (HA) built community capacity and commitment around housing and homelessness within the City and the Community over the past three years. The agenda provided long-term planning activities to address housing issues in Ottawa in a coordinated way. The work undertaken in the HA created vision and a systematic shift to succeed in addressing emerging housing challenges in the future. The general perception and understanding of housing issues changed to the notion that housing is more than just shelter. The housing continuum incorporates a system of assets, financing, services, supports, policies and programs to enable Ottawa residents and families to live in stable, affordable housing in our community.
The HA initiative team developed and implemented the first comprehensive City Housing Strategy across three levels of government and diverse community groups in the city. The collaborative efforts of those involved in the strategy resulted in an inventory of affordable housing and homelessness support services, a training plan that included a toolkit for shelters and housing service agencies to assess and enhance their own capacity, various sector plans to meet the needs of particular segments of the homeless population, an update of the Community Action Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness in Ottawa, and implementation of planning policies and program funding to increase the supply of non-market and market affordable housing.
The CPS service delivery approach of a focus on prevention is exemplified through housing loss prevention services in which over of 7,000 households were assisted in 2007. The strategy resulted in maintaining the average length of stay in emergency shelters to under 2 months since 2005. The increase in support services and housing support workers in shelters has assisted people to move more quickly into permanent, stable housing.
More than 250 affordable housing units were made available across the city to those in need with the completion of 83 units at Blue Heron Co-operative, 62 units at Nepean Housing Corporation, 40 units of permanent supportive housing at Ottawa Salus, 26 bachelor units provided for supportive housing for ex-offenders at John Howard Society, 36 rental units at Gloucester Non-Profit Housing, and 10 rental units at Multifaith Housing. The Youth Services Bureau completed 48 units providing emergency and transitional housing for young women and men (18 and 30 respectively) and 10 units of transitional housing at the Salvation Army.
Although the City is only one stakeholder in Ottawa’s housing system, the City Housing Strategy establishes a leadership role for the City of Ottawa in promoting increased communication, collaboration and coordination among community partners involved in housing. The goal is to promote a more comprehensive and integrated response to addressing Ottawa’s housing needs. The collaborative efforts of the HA team included work with all three levels of government, private sector partners, and non-profit community-based agencies.
This priority initiative was completed in December 2007; however, the on-going implementation of the activities within the City’s Housing Strategy will be continued in the operations of the Housing branch.
3.12 Seniors Agenda
The main focus of the Seniors Agenda (SA) was to build capacity within City departments and with external groups to identify issues relating to seniors in Ottawa and to facilitate collaborative opportunities to meet their needs. In consultation with senior citizens and community agencies the agenda identified three top priorities for Ottawa seniors: communication of services, transportation, and housing. The SA team developed and executed plans to achieve significant impact in the three priority areas.
The SA increased staff awareness of services available for seniors and created tools to serve seniors in a more holistic way. Seniors Day Celebration included the distribution of a “Services for Seniors” brochure and the creation of a seniors web pages on ottawa.ca. Public awareness of senior’s issues was enhanced for local caregivers and service providers. The range of services for seniors provided by the City to assist with healthy aging within our community were highlighted; financial supports, snow removal, and physical and social activities. The services are intended to provide choices and options to increase health independence and to reduce social isolation.
Staff dedication and commitment to seniors was most apparent during the 2007 Seniors Day Event in which 17 branches collaborated to profile City services in an interactive way with seniors at City Hall. The event celebrated the significant contributions that seniors make to our community on a daily basis as caregivers, volunteers and mentors.
With a focus on continuous service improvement, City service enhancements were made in the areas of taxation, the Essential Health and Social Supports in EFA, and snow removal assistance. The agenda resulted in increased collaboration both internally between various CPS branches and across departments. One such collaborative effort involved CPS and OC Transpo with a shared focus on seniors and transportation. More affordable transportation options were created to allow seniors to ride the bus free each Wednesday throughout the summer months. A taxi coupon program was created to offer more choice and flexibility for Para Transpo users. These new transportation options created more opportunities for seniors to be mobile and enjoy activities to keep them connected to their community.
The work of the Seniors Agenda team developed and strengthened external partnerships with community partners such as ROTIS, Council on Aging, Service Canada, and United Way with whom a Seniors Affordable Supportive Housing Symposium was organized and a framework and report were developed. The framework and report were useful marketing tools that were presented to major stakeholders such as the Local Health Integration Network to guide the development of the required housing and home supports to enable Ottawa seniors to age well at home.
An "Aging in Place" project was established in five Ottawa Housing Corporation apartment buildings to decrease the frequency of Emergency Room visits for over 1,000 seniors. Each of the buildings was equipped with a "store front" site where a broad range of community and city services intended to improve the health status of at risk seniors were offered. The success of the pilot, as demonstrated by a reported fifty percent decrease in emergency room visits from those buildings, has resulted in a funding increase from the Local Health Integrated Network to expand the program to include more Ottawa Housing Corporation buildings.
Many of the activities of the agenda were subsumed in the operations of the Long Term Care branch. Seniors are a growing demographic and there is a continued need for CPS branches and other City departments to keep senior issues as a priority and focus when planning services. CPS will continue to emphasize the coordination of seniors through the portfolio of Seniors Service Coordinator in Strategic Initiatives and Business Planning.
4.1 Closeout Plan and Next Steps
Although December 31st, 2007 marked the official completion 2005-2007 CPS Strategic Plan, the CPS department is committed to sustain the momentum of the” How can we Help?” vision and will continue to build on the successes of the 12 initiatives of the strategic plan.
For the 9 initiatives that were completed as CPS priority initiatives (Emergency Management Program, Working City, Access to Culture, Community Investment, Learning and Literate Community, Physical Activity Strategy, Public Education: Safety and Safe Behaviour, Senior’s Agenda and the Housing Agenda), the programs, activities and service enhancements implemented through the initiatives were incorporated into branch operations with the exception of the Emergency Management Program given it is corporately mandated program.
The 4 remaining projects: Neighbourhood Planning, Children and Youth Agenda, and the Staff Investment Strategy will be completed in 2008. A transition plan will address the sustainability strategies for these continuing initiatives in addition to departmental emerging issues such as the Aboriginal Working Committee and the Immigration Ottawa Initiative. Strategies identified within the transition plan will help support and inform the Community Development Framework presently being developed by CPS. The transition plan will outline the actions required at all levels of the corporation and in the community to best support the ongoing needs of citizens.
The 2005-2007 Strategic Plan was an enormous success for the Community and Protective Services Department. The introduction and successful implementation of the “How can we Help?” vision and the 12 priority initiatives have reinforced the qualities that are most valued by our citizens: the availability of high-quality services, innovative economic development and exciting job opportunities, livable communities, diverse artistic and cultural life, varied housing forms, green and open spaces, and the heritage landmarks and landforms that distinguish Ottawa as the Nation’s Capital.
The work completed within the 12 priority initiatives solidified the “How can we help?” service philosophy of CPS and has formalized collaboration as one of the most productive and efficient means of reaching shared objectives and goals. Numerous existing key partnerships were strengthened and new working relationships were forged with the community organizations and agencies serving the residents of Ottawa. Networks were created to enhance existing assets or to develop new facilities, programs and/or services to improve the physical and/or social infrastructure in communities. Combined efforts of the City and the community resulted in much improved services and outcomes for citizens.
With the dedication and commitment of CPS staff in their contribution to the 12 initiatives, CPS has adopted a continuous service improvement culture through routine examination of programs and services to find innovative opportunities to reduce costs, find efficiencies, and provide excellent quality service to the citizens of Ottawa. The priority initiatives promoted multi-sector and innovative approaches to solving problems.
The CPS Department is positioned as an effective leader, having demonstrated the value of combining efforts with the community. CPS is prepared to consider the need for solutions to address long-term systemic changes required to ensure a continued and enhanced client service excellence. The factors driving this need for systemic change include a changing demographic base, changing and varied customer needs and an evolving workforce.
The CPS Senior Management Team will develop the next steps to creating a new framework, activities and supports best suited to build on the accomplishments of the 2005-2007 CPS Strategic Plan. The key learning from the 12 initiatives will be invaluable in moving foreword; the value in the connection of customers to service, the knowledge that active engagement of employees leads to improved client service, and the success of place based solutions and service integration. The new CPS strategic direction will incorporate all the successful elements from the work of the last three years and will achieve alignment with the corporate objectives and provide excellent service experience for all CPS clients.