The annual Lac Carling Congress, which welcomes technology officials from all levels of government in a highly regarded annual conference, is traditionally followed with a joint response from the Public Sector CIO Council (PSCIOC) and the Public Sector Service Delivery Council (PSSDC). Following is the text of their response to Lac Carling VII, last May.
The seventh Lac Carling Congress confirmed once again the importance of bringing together public and private sector organizations, federal, provincial, territorial and municipal jurisdictions, and service delivery and information technology practitioners. This gathering provides a unique opportunity for participants to explore and develop issues, challenges and new approaches to inter-jurisdictional service delivery.
This was emphasized by Sue Varden, CEO of Australia’s CentreLink, who remarked that in her years of working on integrated service delivery she knew of no other venue that brought together the various groups – public, private; elected, non-elected; all orders of government – not only to discuss issues but to actively work to address them and move the agenda forward.
Lac Carling VII had six objectives:
1. To bring key stakeholders together in one forum to advance the e-government agenda for Canada;
2. To advance work on selected significant public sector service delivery solutions at a tactical and operational level in the next 12 months, with a focus on specific deliverables;
3. To continue to build relationships – cross-functional, cross-jurisdictional, public-private – that will foster further collaboration;
4. To reflect on emerging issues regarding e-government and governance;
5. To continue to communicate and share information and lessons learned in all jurisdictions in an effort to raise awareness and obtain further engagement around the e-government agenda in Canada; and
6. To continue to assist the PSCIOC and PSSDC in advancing work on key components of e-government that require inter-jurisdictional cooperation.
At the end of each Congress, members of the PSCIOC and PSSDC meet together to review and discuss the information presented, the questions asked, the answers provided through the voting and, most importantly, what the delegates said. Each year it is a challenge to synthesize, priorize and itemize the issues, input and initiatives in a manner in which the Lac Carling findings can be incorporated and integrated into both the individual and joint action plans of the councils.
Despite these challenges, the councils remain committed to tackling the issues, from the practical to the tactical, and continuing to move the yardstick forward on e-government across Canada.
With respect to the specific themes of this year’s congress, the councils report that both continue to support the need for political engagement ( Plenary Session One – Political Leaders Panel) on the e-government agenda and continue to explore opportunities to interact with political stakeholders on issues such as service transformation, service improvement and integrated service delivery. More specifically, the councils recommend that they be represented on the national forum of elected and non-elected officials proposed by Tony Valeri, MP for Stony Creek.
Plenary Session Two – Identification, Authentication & Authorization included presentations, a working session and a report by Ontario and the federal government (CIOB/TBS). As a result of the input from these sessions, the councils agreed that a multi-jurisdictional working group (Identification Authentication and Authorization [IAA] Working Group) was required to develop common terminology and pursue a proof of concept of the two lower levels of the “trust chain,” focussing on an agreed service application for business. The working group, chaired by Ontario, has begun to identify, develop and propose identity, authentication and authorization standards that facilitate seamless, cross-jurisdictional ESD and leverage the IT infrastructure of each jurisdiction. The working group is planning a May 2004 presentation outlining the progress made and proposing next steps.
Fully recognizing the important role that the private sector plays and will continue to play in advancing the e-government agenda ( Plenary Session Three – Public/Private Collaboration in the Management & Delivery of Service Transformation Projects), the councils recognize that there is work to be done on a variety of fronts. First and foremost is continuing the dialogue in order to address the issues identified by delegates, including public sector procurement, managing large projects and “partnerships.” To advance this item, Greg Georgeff and Mary Tate of Ontario and Lori MacMullen of New Brunswick are taking the lead in engaging the private sector in discussions relating to the issues identified at Lac Carling.
As part of their ongoing work on priority areas for inter-jurisdictional and joint council collaboration, and in addition to the three major themes of Lac Carling VII, the councils have also identified joint and individual priority projects or initiatives that are required enablers of the e-government agenda or will help move the yardstick forward.
1) Institute of Citizen-Centred Service. The objective of this project is to develop a long-term strategy to sustain and grow the institute and ensure the continued availability of research excellence on this topic;
2) Developing a business service delivery vision and a supporting process for use in and between jurisdictions. The governments of Ontario and Canada are leading this effort; and
3) EContact. The objective of this initiative is to provide seamless online information to direct citizens, from anywhere in Canada, to the appropriate “contact” for the service or program they require. Over the next year the councils will be presented the results of the proof of concept, a proposed approach and the business case for pursuing eContact as an inter-jurisdictional shared solution.
PSCIOC – Going Forward
An XML sub-committee, led by Ontario and Nunavut and building on the successful XML workshops, has been established to develop and propose XML schema as a shared tool, identify existing and planned schema for use by all jurisdictions, and promote and develop standards and frameworks for use by initiatives such as the IAA Working Group.
The council continues to support the work of the National Sub-Committee on Information Protection and Security and will be investigating and promoting, as appropriate, inter-jurisdictional standards in a number of areas including for the management and delivery of IT services, accreditation of IT professionals, information management and legal frameworks.
PSSDC – Going Forward
Research continues to be a priority for the PSSDC, with emphasis on the service value chain to better understand the correlation between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction. The Research and Human Resources Sub-committees are cooperating on an initiative to explore case studies that shed light on this connection.
Integrated service delivery initiatives and issues continue to be of prime importance and interest to the PSSDC. The newly formed Integrated Services Delivery Sub-committee has set itself an ambitious work plan to explore a variety of jurisdictional best practices that could be applied inter-jurisdictionally.
In this endeavour, and indeed in the work of the other sub-committees of the PSSDC, the Institute for Citizen-Centred Service (ICCS) plays a significant role in conducting cross-jurisdictional surveys of citizens and businesses, developing and maintaining the Common Measurements Tool (CMT) and developing its best practices knowledge base through its Web site.
The commitment of the councils, in areas of both individual and joint concern, is illustrated in their strategic framework and supporting action plans. The councils continue to meet throughout the year, individually and jointly, to ensure that the initiatives and projects, individual and shared, are moving forward; that the issues and challenges are being addressed; and that all opportunities for sharing best practices and ideas are taken; all with the objective of making sure that we continue to move the yardstick forward on e-government in Canada.