Printer-friendly version   

nrmslogo_bc_icon.gif

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release
2013MEM0014-001465

Sept. 24, 2013

Ministry of Energy and Mines
and Minister Responsible for Core Review

 

 

Bennett seeks a bold approach on Core Review

 

VICTORIA – Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines and Minister Responsible for Core Review, released a letter to all government ministers today outlining how the Cabinet Working Group on Core Review (CWGCR) will carry out its evaluation of all government programs and services. Much like the members of the CWGCR, all ministers will be tasked with taking a bold approach to the ideas they submit through the Core Review process.

 

Bennett identified several phases for ministers to work through to achieve the goals of the Core Review. Ministers have been asked to determine which programs and services in their ministry require direction or change, and the scope of what that change may include. Once these programs and services are identified and refined through a detailed process, the CWGCR will present their recommendations to Cabinet for decisions. The CWGCR will monitor the implementation of these decisions and Bennett will provide regular reports to Cabinet on progress.

 

Ministers are being tasked with finding ways to be smarter with less money by looking for duplication and overlap between ministries and identifying programs that can be restructured to reduce costs and improve outcomes for the public. A key element of the process is a review of the agencies, boards and commissions (ABCs) that fall under each ministry. Ministers are expected to work with their deputy ministers and consult with these ABCs as necessary to prioritize those agencies with the greatest opportunities for change.

The Core Review process will not make recommendations on those services provided to the most vulnerable of citizens except to the extent that they are not achieving intended results. The overarching goal of the Core Review process is to ensure the best possible use of government resources and respect for the interests of taxpayers. 

The review will include targeted industry and stakeholder consultations with recommendations expected before the end of fiscal year 2013-14 and completion of the process by Dec. 31, 2014.

 

Quotes:

Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines and Minister Responsible for Core Review –

“I’ve formally requested my Cabinet colleagues to submit bold ideas to the Core Review process to help government control spending and ensure the best possible use of government resources. I look forward to working with my colleagues to identify programs, services and agencies that require direction and change to protect the best interests of taxpayers.”

Learn More:

 

Bennett’s letter to his Cabinet colleagues, letters sent to B.C.’s deputy ministers, and an appendix are attached below.  

 

Media Contact:

 

Jake Jacobs

Media Relations

Ministry of Energy and Mines and Responsible for Core Review

250 952-0628

 

Connect with the Province of B.C. at:  www.gov.bc.ca/connect

 

 


 

Text of Minister of Energy and Mines and Minister Responsible for Core Review Bill Bennett’s letter to ministers:

 

September 24, 2013

 

Dear Colleagues:

 

This letter outlines the approach by which the Cabinet Working Group on Core Review (CWGCR) will carry out its examination of all government programs and services – including Crown corporations, agencies, and boards including the SUCH sector, with a view to positioning our province for sustained economic growth and prosperity.

 

The overarching goal of the core review process is to ensure the best possible use of government resources and respect for the interests of taxpayers.  The CWGCR has been given a timeline of December 31, 2014 to complete its work.  Additionally, we have been directed by Cabinet to take a “bold approach” to our work – I am pleased to report that all working group members are engaged in this process with that direction clearly in mind.

 

The CWGCR has six objectives and will be making recommendations to Cabinet in each of these areas:

 

·         Ensure that the programs and activities of ministries are focused on achieving government’s vision of a strong economy and secure tomorrow;

·         Ensure that government is operating as efficiently and effectively as possible by:

o   Eliminating overlap and duplication between ministries and within the broader public sector;

o   Reducing red-tape and unnecessary regulations that hinder economic development;

o   Restructuring government program delivery and governance models where costs can be reduced and outcomes improved for the public;

·         Confirm government’s core responsibilities and eliminate programs or services that could provide better service at less cost through alternative service delivery models;

·         Ensure budget targets are achieved consistent with Budget 2013 (June Update);

·         Identify opportunities where further savings can be re‑directed to high priority programs;

·         Ensure public sector management wage levels are appropriate while recognizing the need for leaders who can positively impact the effectiveness and productivity of public sector agencies.

 

We will not make recommendations on those services provided to the most vulnerable of citizens except to the extent that they are not achieving intended results.

 


 

There are four phases to the CWGCR’s work; I have provided a brief outline for each phase below:

 

·         Early Opportunities

·         Phase 1 Mandate Review

·         Phase 2 Refinement

·         Phase 3 Implementation

 

Separate streams of work will be undertaken to achieve the objectives to reduce red-tape and unnecessary regulations and to ensure public sector management wage levels are appropriate.

 

Early Opportunities

The CWGCR is already engaged in reviewing submissions on priority areas.  Budget 2013 (June Update) announced a $50 million savings target for Core Review beginning in 2014/15. The savings target will be allocated based on approved initiatives rather than individual ministry targets.

 

Phase 1 Mandate Review

This phase of core review is intended for Ministers to give an overview to the CWGCR on the performance in their ministry, key trends in policy and service delivery, leading approaches in other jurisdictions, the major themes heard from key stakeholders, and metrics on program and service efficiency and effectiveness.  As Minister you will be expected to highlight those programs and services that require direction and change and the scope of what that change may include.  The CWGCR will direct which programs and services are recommended for further detailed analysis.  The mandate letters provided to you from Premier Christy Clark provide you with direction on your current priorities.

 

Phase 2 Refinement

Based on the direction from the CWGCR in the mandate review phase, in the refinement phase it is expected that more comprehensive and detailed work on the programs and services recommended by the CWGCR will be completed both by ministry staff and, as required, external resources for business case/value for money assessments.  It is expected that this analysis will include targeted consultations with stakeholders.  Following completion of this work, ministries will return to the CWGCR for final recommendations.  Those recommendations will be referred to Cabinet for decision.

 

Phase 3 Implementation

The CWGCR will monitor implementation and as the Minister responsible, I will provide regular reports to Cabinet on progress.

 

The public will have an opportunity to provide input to core review as part of the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services’ 2014 budget consultations being undertaken in September and October 2013.  As well, Parliamentary Secretary for Core Review Dan Ashton has been tasked with engaging with members of government caucus to solicit and refine proposals for the CWGCR’s consideration.  Effective public and stakeholder communications will be an important element of our approach.

 

Your Deputy Minister will soon receive detailed instructions on the mandate review phase from Kim Henderson, Deputy Minister of Corporate Initiatives, Office of the Premier.  Working with your Deputy Minister, I am confident that you will provide the leadership and creativity needed to successfully carry out these instructions.

 

A key element of the Mandate Review is a review of the agencies, board and commissions (ABCs) that are under your Ministerial responsibility.  Consistent with your accountabilities in your mandate letter, it is expected that you will lead these presentations and that you and your Deputy Minister will consult with the ABCs as necessary in the development of the submissions.  You will be asked to prioritize those agencies with the greatest opportunities for change.

 

The core review process is an important one for our government.  The work we accomplish in this area will contribute significantly to ensuring we are structured for success on our objectives, maintain our fiscal prudence and are well positioned for the future.

 

I look forward to working with you throughout this initiative as we seek new and innovative ways to bring transformation to government and ensure that services and programs are available to British Columbians in the most effective and efficient manner possible.

 

Sincerely,

 

Bill Bennett

Minister

 


 

Text of Deputy Minister, Corporate Initiatives, Kim Henderson’s letter to deputy ministers:

 

September 24, 2013

 

Dear Colleagues:

 

As indicated in Minister Bennett’s letter of September 24, 2013 to Ministers, you are responsible for carrying out government’s Core Review for your Ministry under the direction of your Minister.

 

The purpose of Core Review is to ensure the best possible use of government resources and respect for the interests of taxpayers, and to ensure that we are structured for success on our objectives.  Minister Bennett’s letter and the publicly released Terms of Reference for Core Review outline the context and objectives that inform the approach for Core Review.

This letter is to provide you with more specific information and direction about the instructions and logistics for Core Review as well as timelines and responsibilities.

 

Ministry Responsibilities:

 

Ministers are accountable for the Core Review of their Ministry and the agencies, boards and commissions (ABCs) within their portfolio.  Deputy Ministers are responsible for conducting the Core Review under the direction of their Minister. 

 

Ministries will be expected to undertake targeted consultations with stakeholders and their ABCs as part of the Core Review instructions.

 

The onus of responsibility is on the Ministry to approach the objectives of Core Review in a meaningful way and to satisfy the Cabinet Working Group on Core Review (CWGCR) that the objectives have been fully and creatively addressed.

 

Approach:

 

As outlined in Minister Bennett’s letter, there are four phases to Core Review.  The early opportunities phase is well underway.  The instructions attached to this letter address expectations on Phases 1 through 3 of Core Review.  

The mandate review phase is expected to take place from October through to December 2013.  The refinement phase will take place in the winter and spring of 2014 with implementation and the monitoring of targets to follow. 

 


 

Mandate reviews on ABCs will be prioritized for review by the CWGCR beginning at the end of October 2013 and will be scheduled as separate items from the mandate reviews of the ministries. You are asked to work with your Minister to identify those ABCs with the greatest opportunities for change consistent with the objectives of Core Review (i.e. those with the broadest scope for mandate, governance, program and service changes and greatest financial savings).    You may also advise if there are ABCs that do not require a mandate review as, in the assessment of the Ministry, there are no changes for consideration that meet the objectives of Core Review.  Any ABCs that are not recommended for a mandate review will be reviewed and approved as such by the CWGCR.  Please provide a letter to me by October 1, 2013 outlining the ABCs recommended for priority review and any ABCs that the Ministry recommends does not require a mandate review.

 

For the Ministry mandate presentations, ministries will be grouped by sector to ensure necessary program linkages are made.  Ministry mandate presentations will be scheduled beginning in November. 

 

Other considerations:

 

Budget 2013 (June Update) announced a $50 million savings target for Core Review beginning in 2014/15.  This target will be allocated based on approved initiatives rather than individual ministry targets.  This financial target is not the overarching objective for Core Review; it is just one of the objectives.  As the objectives state, the goals for Core Review are broader and include identifying opportunities where further savings can be re-directed to high priority programs.

 

The attached instructions are intended to ensure that the approach is consistent across ministries and that the objectives of Core Review are achieved.  You will be encouraged to present draft materials to the DMC on Core Review to ensure the approach is consistent, meets the expectations of the CWGCR and as another screen to ensure necessary program linkages are made.

 

A schedule for presentations will be confirmed after receipt of the prioritized ABCs and after consultation with each Ministry on state of readiness.

 

There are a number of avenues where the public and stakeholders may provide input.  Government Members of the Legislative Assembly are providing input through to the Parliamentary Secretary Dan Ashton.  As well, the public service will be encouraged to provide input to Core Review through a specific engagement on the @work site.  A summary of the input relevant to your Ministry will be provided to you as consideration for your presentations.

 

Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Sincerely,

Kim Henderson

Deputy Minister, Corporate Initiatives

 Office of the Premier

APPENDIX: INSTRUCTIONS

 

A.      BC Government Priorities

 

The government’s priorities are to maintain our fiscal prudence and balance the budget in 2013/14, to ensure that government does not grow, to conduct this core review of government services to ensure we are structured for success on our objectives and to eliminate red-tape to facilitate economic development without needless delay.

 

Your mandate letter provides the direction you require on the core priorities for your ministry and are focused on achieving government’s vision of a strong economy and secure tomorrow.  Mandate presentations should begin with a statement on how the current ministry mandate aligns with these priorities.

 

B.      Objectives

 

The objectives of Core Review are to:

 

·         Ensure that the programs and activities of ministries are focused on achieving government’s vision of a strong economy and secure tomorrow;

·         Ensure that government is operating as efficiently and effectively as possible by:

o   Eliminating overlap and duplication between ministries and within the broader public sector;

o   Reducing red-tape and unnecessary regulations that hinder economic development;

o   Restructuring government program delivery and governance models where costs can be reduced and outcomes improved for the public;

·         Confirm government’s core responsibilities and eliminate programs or services that could provide better service at less cost through alternative service delivery models;

·         Ensure budget targets are achieved consistent with Budget 2013 (June Update);

·         Identify opportunities where further savings can be re-directed to high priority programs;

·         Ensure public sector management wage levels are appropriate while recognizing the need for leaders who can positively impact the effectiveness and productivity of public sector agencies.

 

The objective to reduce red-tape and unnecessary regulations will be accomplished by a specific set of instructions that will be provided to ministries; as such it will not be included in the mandate review.  As well, the objective to ensure public sector management wage levels are appropriate will be a review led corporately and is not part of the instructions to ministries.

 


 

C.      Role of the Cabinet Working Group on Core Review

 

The role of the Cabinet Working Group on Core Review (CWGCR) will be to oversee the process, review the analyses completed by ministries and make recommendations to Cabinet for final decisions.  The CWGCR will ensure that the objectives of Core Review are achieved by December 31, 2014.

 

Treasury Board is the Cabinet committee responsible for all matters related to financial management and control, including the allocation of funding; as such, Core Review is not intended as an avenue for ministries to seek additional resources.  Review and approval of revenue proposals is also under the purview of Treasury Board; however, ministry submissions for core review can include information on any revenue proposals that are specifically linked to a ministry or agency mandate issue for consideration by the CWGCR.

 

The CWGCR is responsible for identifying recommendations on savings to achieve the $50 million savings target beginning in 2014/15. Treasury Board Staff will provide support by providing analysis and recommendations on financial and fiscal considerations including assessing the savings proposals and where applicable, program reallocation options.

 

D.     Scope

 

Each Ministry will be asked to assess all of its activities as well as most of their Agencies, Boards and Commissions (ABCs).  Ministers, in consultation with the Chair of the CWGCR, should include Board Chairs in the mandate presentations.

 

In consultation with the Deputy Minister, Corporate Initiatives, some ABC presentations may be grouped.

 

The scope of Core Review includes the full mandate of ministries. The CWGCR will not make recommendations on those services provided to the most vulnerable of citizens except to the extent that they are not achieving intended results.

 

E.      Sectors

 

Ministry presentations will be scheduled and grouped as sectors as follows:

 

Natural Resources: ARR, AGRI, ENV, FLNRO, MEM, MNGD, TRAN

 

Jobs and Economy: FIN (including PSA), JTST (including Labour), MIT, MTICS

 

Secure Tomorrow: AVED, CSCD, EDUC, HLTH, JAG, CFD, SDSI

 


 

F.       Timelines

 

The Early Opportunities phase of core review is already underway. It is expected that the mandate review phase will take place from October through to December 2013.  The refinement phase will take place in the winter and spring of 2014 with the monitoring of implementation targets to follow.  Core review is to be complete by December 31, 2014.

 

Those ABCs that are prioritized by ministries will be scheduled beginning in late October.  Ministry mandate presentations will be scheduled in November and December 2013.  The remaining ABCs are expected to be scheduled in spring 2014.

 

The timelines for submissions of materials to the CWGCR is the same as for all Cabinet committees.

 

G.     Phase 1 – Mandate Review

 

The mandate review phase of core review is intended for Ministers to give an overview on the performance of their ministry, key trends in policy and service delivery, leading approaches in other jurisdictions, the major themes heard from key stakeholders, and metrics on program and service efficiency and effectiveness.

 

The Minister will be expected to highlight those programs and services that require direction and/or transformation and the scope of what that change may include. 

 

Presentations should address the objectives of Core Review by assessing the following questions:

a.      Is the ministry’s mandate, programs and activities focused on the priorities of the mandate letter?

b.      Is the ministry structured for success on government’s objectives?

c.       Are there areas of duplication and overlap between the ministry, other ministries, or the broader public sector?

d.      Could government program delivery be restructured to reduce costs and improve outcomes for the public?

e.      Are the governance models in place for the delivery of services structured for success?

                                                  i.      Are there opportunities where costs can be reduced, AND/OR;

                                                ii.      Are there opportunities to improve outcomes for the public?

f.        Are there programs that could be provided by the private sector or through Alternative Service Delivery arrangements at less cost and with better service for the public?

g.      Are there current Alternative Service Delivery arrangements that could achieve better results?

 


 

Presentations should summarize the key areas of recommended change and order of magnitude of financial savings and legislative change, where applicable.  The CWGCR will then provide advice on those areas that the ministry is to pursue in the refinement phase which will cover more detailed analysis and consultation. 

 

For this phase of Core Review, powerpoint presentations will likely cover the necessary elements required, however, Cabinet Concept Papers may also add value to the CWGCR deliberations.  Deputy Ministers should consult with the Deputy Minister, Corporate Initiatives on materials.

Deputy Ministers are encouraged to test their ideas with the DMC on Core Review before final submissions are provided; this will be coordinated by the Deputy Minister, Corporate Initiatives.

 

H.     Phase 2 – Refinement

 

From the mandate phase, ministries will receive direction on those opportunities to pursue and to complete detailed analysis including targeted stakeholder consultation.  As part of the analysis, where applicable, ministries will conduct value for money assessments and/or business cases on specific opportunities.  For this work, external resources may be used.  The Ministry of Finance will coordinate a procurement process to provide a bidders list for this work. 

 

Further direction on the instructions for the refinement phase will be provided at the completion of the mandate phase of Core Review.  It is expected that detailed submissions will form the substance of the materials for this phase of Core Review.

 

I.        Phase 3 – Implementation

 

Following decision-making by Cabinet at the refinement phase, ministries will be clear on implementation goals and targets.  These targets will be monitored and progress will be reported to Cabinet on a regular basis.

 

 

 

Media Contact:

 

Jake Jacobs

Media Relations

Ministry of Energy and Mines and Responsible for Core Review

250 952-0628

 

 

Connect with the Province of B.C. at www.gov.bc.ca/connect