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Shared Services for the Capital Region

Aug 24, 2017 Editor

by Roger Stonebanks, citizen reporter

The long-awaited Capital Integrated Services and Governance Initiative Report was released today (Aug. 23, 2017) by the provincial government.

The report was finished some months ago but held up by the then-BC Liberal government during the election. Once the dust settled and it became clear the new government would be BC NDP with Green Party support, it was decided to release the report.

The report was written by consultants Circle Square Solutions and Urban Systems and examines shared services – not amalgamation per-se (see the report, Appendix A). It runs to 234 pages including indices. There is an Executive Summary, a review of the historical development of municipalities in the Capital Region, profiles by subject, and opportunities.

Here is the report’s “Summary”:

“Governance is not a solution; it’s a framework for better decision making.”

“Governance, in regards to service delivery, needs to empower service providers to make the decision[s] that have the best outcomes for all citizens of the Capital region. The following key recommendation[s] have been based on the feedback received from local government officials, stakeholders and the public. In some cases, these recommendations focus on individual services where a critical need has been identified. In other case[s] these recommendations look at governance and actions required to build the capacity of the region to make key decisions related to service delivery. The following three recommendations have been identified:

1. Build on In-Progress Regional Service Initiatives.

Keep moving forward on efforts to streamline service delivery with a clear focus on service structures that can address the future needs of the Capital region. The region is currently making progress on integrating and improving service delivery for protective services (centralized emergency 9-1-1 dispatch and Direct Fire Aid), solid waste service (resource recovery), economic development (South Island Prosperity Project), housing (Regional Housing First) and regional transportation efforts. These efforts should be continued and enhanced where possible.

2. Create a Regional Framework for Discussing Service Integration and Governance.

It was identified that there is a need to establish a regional framework for discussing service integration and governance. The suggested framework consists of three components as follows: * establishing a consistent municipal reporting system to allow for an accurate comparison of services; * creating a leaders forum to discuss service integration and governance; and * developing a regional dashboard for monitoring progress. The framework would allow the Capital region to have open and informed discussions about service delivery and governance in the region.

3. Evaluate New Opportunities for Improving Service Integration and Governance.

The role of this initiative is not to ultimately determine what opportunities for integration could best be achieved, but to provide an overview of the current situation and develop tools for local governments to assess the opportunities to improve service delivery and governance. The workbook provided in this report is designed to help guide local governments in the Capital area through a framework to evaluate new opportunities for enhancing service integration and governance. Therefore, a key recommendation is that  local governments use the information provided in this report and the workbook to assess where opportunities for enhancing service integration and governance exist.”

The full report can be found HERE

You’ll find more SVO coverage of regional governance HERE