One noteable quote sums it up ... “Government departments are now evolving to become very centralized, controlled environments becoming more and more difficult to partner with in the development of innovative projects. Their unwillingness to take any risks is resulting in the mentality of being afraid to cross the street on a green light in case they might get hit by a car. In their own paralysis, they force this same controlled and centralized management structure on the communities and the projects that are trying to serve the communities with very mixed results.”
(RECIPIENT COMMENT) - page 35
Message from the co-chairs of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Grant and Contribution Programs (see the government's press release below in response)
February 14, 2007
Dear Sir or Madam:
As members of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Grant and Contribution Programs, we are pleased to inform you that we have submitted our final report to the President of the Treasury Board, the Honourable Victor Toews. The title of our report is From Red Tape to Clear Results.
In June 2006, the former President of Treasury Board, the Honourable John Baird, invited the panel to recommend measures to make the delivery of grant and contribution programs more efficient while ensuring greater accountability. We also were asked to identify barriers to access for applicants and recommend changes to government-wide and departmental policies and practices to ensure that programs are delivered in a fair, cost-effective and efficient manner.
Our report is the result of six months of intense analysis and consultation. We employed a web-based technique to consult with approximately 1,100 recipients of grants and contributions and over 500 federal program managers. We received over 40 written submissions and held face-to-face consultations with business leaders, representatives from the non-profit sector, Aboriginal leaders and the science and research community. We met with members of Parliament, the Auditor General of Canada, the Comptroller General and a number of senior federal officials.
We have arrived at three key conclusions. Our first and most important conclusion is that there is a need for fundamental change in the way the federal government understands, designs, manages and accounts for its grant and contribution programs. Our second conclusion is that, not only is it possible to simplify administration while strengthening accountability, it is absolutely necessary to do the former to ensure the latter. Our third conclusion is that making changes in an area of government as vast and multi-faceted as grants and contributions will require sustained leadership at the political and public service levels.
We hope that the conclusions and recommendations contained in our report will inform government policy and in turn enhance the lives of many Canadians. Our report sets out 32 specific recommendations that are presented thematically in Chapter III. The recommendations are listed again in Appendix 2, where they are organized with respect to time frame for implementation— i.e. short, medium and longer term.
The essence of our recommendations can be distilled into four simple proposals:
1) Respect the recipients—they are partners in a shared public purpose. Grant and contribution programs should be citizen-focussed. The programs should be made accessible, understandable and useable.
2) Dramatically simplify the reporting and accountability regime—it should reflect the circumstances and capacities of recipients and the real needs of the government and Parliament.
3) Encourage innovation—the goal of grant and contribution programs is not to eliminate errors but to achieve results, and that requires a sensible regime of risk management and performance reporting.
4) Organize information so that it serves recipients and program managers alike.
Although many of our recommendations can be implemented forthwith, we do not underestimate the challenges inherent in change. Culture change takes time in any large organization, but in government it can take a particularly long time. Of special note, a commitment will be required of politicians, officials and even the media to look at accountability through the lens of program performance rather than simply control.
Sustained leadership will be required of the President of the Treasury Board and his officials. At a minimum, the following will be required:
a) a clear statement of policy direction;
b) a practical approach that starts by making simple changes and then builds from an expanding base;
c) the assignment of clear roles and responsibilities to manage the change process, at both the political and public service levels, accompanied by the authority required to do the job; and
d) adequate resources, including funding for people, training and tools.
Over the long term, we believe that the adoption of our recommendations will encourage recipients and program managers to work together to plan, deliver and report on federally funded grant and contribution programs.
We would like to thank all of the many people who contributed their insight and expertise, including those we met in person, those who participated in our online consultations and those who made written submissions. These offerings of useful ideas and comments have contributed enormously to the value of this report.
We invite you to visit our website at www.brp-gde.ca. There you will find other products of our work, including reports on our many consultation initiatives. We have also made available a PowerPoint presentation that summarizes our work and recommendations in a user-friendly format. There is also a link to the government’s response to our report. Tape to Clear Results
In closing, we would like to express our appreciation to both the former and current presidents of the Treasury Board for having given us this opportunity to make recommendations to improve an area of federal programming that is of vital importance to Canadians.
Federal Government response ...
Canada's New Government Acting to Improve Grant and Contribution Programs
Treasury Board President Welcomes Report to Cut Red Tape
February 14, 2007
Ottawa - The Honourable Vic Toews, President of the Treasury Board of Canada, today announced a series of immediate actions to improve how grant and contribution programs are managed. The measures are a first step in response to the report of the independent blue ribbon panel on grants and contributions. In their report, From Red Tape to Clear Results, panel members Frances Lankin and Ian Clark outlined their findings and recommendations to make the delivery of grant and contribution programs more efficient, while ensuring greater accountability.
"Grants and contributions are cornerstones of the delivery of government programs to Canadians. These programs provide real benefits to people such as promoting physical activity and healthy eating to school children and providing employment programs for disabled Canadians," Minister Toews said. "That is why we promised, in the Federal Accountability Action Plan, to reduce unnecessary red tape to make these programs work better for Canadians. I want to thank the panel and those around them, who donated their time and expertise to this process, for their hard work and impressive report."
The panel concluded that there is a need for fundamental change, that it is both possible and necessary to simplify administration while strengthening accountability, and that sustained leadership at political and public service levels is required.
"Our report reflects the work of a great many people who realize how important grant and contribution programs are to so many Canadians. Our recommendations are relevant, affordable and feasible," said Ms. Lankin. "The fact that there is so much to be done should not lead to the conclusion that the task is simply too large or too difficult to undertake. Rather, it should lead to the conviction that it is time to begin," added Mr. Clark.
The actions announced today will begin the process of change under clear leadership to strengthen accountability for the management and the results of these programs. They include the following:
- The President of the Treasury Board will lead in the development of an action plan to reform the administration of grants and contributions with a view to ensuring they deliver clear results in the most effective and efficient way possible within a sensible risk management framework. The government will continue to consult with the recipient community as this action plan is developed.
- As a first step in the development of this action plan, Treasury Board Secretariat will work with selected departments to examine business processes to identify opportunities for improved service and efficiencies. Based on the results of this review, departments will develop their own action plans to streamline internal practices and reduce administrative burdens.
- The government will establish a centre of expertise on grants and contributions, to share best practices, and to promote innovation in program administration.
"Time and money are being wasted administering rules and processes that add little to results and nothing to accountability. The actions I am announcing today will allow for programs to be managed more effectively and efficiently and to deliver real results. These actions deliver on our promise to strengthen accountability and management and make these programs work better," Minister Toews added. "We are getting back to first principles- delivering good programs to Canadians."
Each year, the government delivers nearly $27 billion to Canadians through more than 800 grant and contribution programs.
"Panel members were thoughtful, qualified individuals and the process allowed for considerable sector input. Looking forward, we urge the government to focus on taking action and on continued meaningful engagement of the recipient community in the implementation process," says Georgina Steinsky-Schwartz, President and CEO of Imagine Canada.
"It is important that government periodically review its practices and that those affected have the opportunity to participate," said Terry Goodtrack, Chief Operating Officer of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation. "I look forward to reductions-brought about by these recommendations-in the administrative burden placed upon First Nations communities."
The report of the panel can be found at http://www.brp-gde.ca/. Attached are backgrounders that summarize the report and outline the government's actions.
For more information, contact:
Director of Communications
Office of the President of the Treasury Board
Chief, Media Relations
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Blue Ribbon Panel
ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS press release
First Nations women leaders issue strong statement at conclusion of historic meeting
VANCOUVER, Feb. 14 /CNW Telbec/ - First Nations women chiefs and councillors released an eleven point consensus statement today following the conclusion of an historic three-day meeting in Vancouver. Critical issues such as poverty, matrimonial real property, the central role of women in sustainable communities, and First Nations jurisdiction were discussed and debated.
"The strength, knowledge, and capacity of our women leaders must be heard and honoured by all First Nations, and all Canadians," said Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine. "I guarantee that this consensus statement will be taken very seriously and will be acted upon by the AFN."
The following is the complete consensus statement:
"First Nations Women Chiefs and Councillors are mad as hell with Crown government interference in our lives and we're not going to take it anymore.
For the first time in modern history, First Nation Women Chiefs and Councillors, from all across Canada, gathered in unity at the Assembly of First Nations National Forum for First Nation Women Chiefs ("Forum") in Vancouver, British Columbia on February 12-14, 2007. First Nations Women Chiefs and Councillors express their overwhelming concern and frustration with the current situation facing First Nations communities, families and children.
This Statement represents the unanimous voice of the Women Chiefs and Councillors present at the Forum to address critical issues affecting our Nations, families and our future to compel change and make progress.
The following statements were adopted by the First Nation Women Chiefs and Councillors:
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.
/For further information: Nancy Pine, Communications Advisor, Office of the National Chief, (613) 241-6789 ext 243, (613) 298-6382, email@example.com; Bryan Hendry, A/Director of Communications, (613) 241-6789 ext 229, (613) 293-6106, firstname.lastname@example.org/