President's Message

I continue to be so proud of the work done in Canada, and by the Institute for Citizen-Centred Service (ICCS), as we aspire to excellence in public sector service delivery.  We have a solid infrastructure, and an amazing opportunity, to learn from each other and capitalize on best practices.

The ICCS continues to focus on key strengths and core business:  this includes Research, the Common Measurements Tool and Certification and Learning programs. The ICCS also provides secretariat services to the two Councils: the Public Sector Service Delivery Council (PSSDC) and the Public Sector Chief Information Officer Council (PSCIOC).  The secretariat services include agenda management and logistics, support for bi-annual in-person meetings of the Councils and regular teleconferences, hosting Councils websites (public and members-only) and managing the financial accounts of the Councils. We have now successfully stabilized our financial situation, with an eye to sustainability and ensuring that we are able to withstand the ebbs and flows that naturally occur in the not-for-profit world.  Our Board and Committee work provides a strong foundation to ensure that we are maximizing every opportunity to share best practices and improve public sector services in Canada.

In late 2015, the ICCS Board asked its Finance and Legal Committee to provide recommendations for a sustainability plan that included operating, investment and contingency strategies as well as suggested instruments for investment.  The ICCS Board of Directors engaged the services of L.C. (Skip) Lumley to undertake an ICCS sustainability study.  The emphasis of the study was to ensure fiscal sustainability while meeting stakeholder expectations for the continuity of services. The consultants reviewed many of the historical documents, and interviewed a number of ICCS stakeholders.  Stakeholders remarked on the passion, commitment and pride in the Institute’s mission and accomplishments.  The stakeholders felt pride that they had been part of the creation and evolution of the ICCS and believed that its’ potential remained relevant.

The sustainability study focused on all of the ICCS lines of business: Secretariat Services, Research and Common Measurements Tool and Certification and Learning.  The study also included recommendations for organizational sustainability as a not-for-profit organization with implications for the lines of business. The report found that the Secretariat Services were valued and were a core service of the Institute.   The Research and Common Measurements Tool were still of value for members and the consultants concluded that sales volume and market penetration would be greater with more and better marketing.  The consultants also provided strategic options to the Board around the Certification and Learning line of business.  Once again, the consultants advised that increased sales volume and market penetration would occur with more and better marketing and more flexible/customized services including third party licensing would benefit this line of business.

In response to the recommendations in the sustainability study, the ICCS Board of Directors established the ICCS Prosperity Task Force to carefully review each of the recommendations made under the study to determine the next steps for the ICCS.  In terms of the Research line of business, the ICCS Sustainability Review pointed out that members found the Research and Common Measurements Tool valuable but that the research and tool required an update.  The ICCS initiated a review of its current research studies to ensure that they remained relevant, meeting the needs of subscribers and to understand how its research tools will fit into future opportunities for the ICCS over the next several years.  Their recommendations with respect to current research was to continue focusing on special topics that are relevant today and to continuously align the Common Measurements Tool with any changes found in its flagship research.

They also agreed that developing a marketing and communications strategy for the research and other ICCS products was essential.   They recommended a formal annual engagement process with potential and current stakeholders to obtain the full attention of participants for current study design discussions and to co-design upcoming offerings.  Over the next few years, they suggested the Institute look at stand-alone pieces of research as well as investigate new product offerings and pricing, incrementally.

Better marketing and communications of ICCS products and services was a key theme in both the sustainability and research studies.  The Board engaged the services of the Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing (CEPSM) to conduct a market analysis to determine market value, potential and gaps of ICCS’ current products and services.  CEPSM recommended that ICCS continue to promote the strong connection to Canadian public service delivery organizations as it has a strong track record and reputation of delivering high-value products and services.  ICCS has been a leader in citizen-centred service delivery over the past 12 years and has been recognized as experts in this area in Canada and internationally.   ICCS is unique and this separates us from the competition and it is essential to develop its branding and marketing communications.

These three studies have provided the ICCS Board of Directors with a number of thought-provoking recommendations for discussion.  The ICCS Board is planning a business planning session in October of this year in Charlottetown to flesh our plans for the upcoming three years.  We are excited and looking forward to the journey ahead of us. This year I enjoyed my second year as President of the ICCS, guiding us from our affirmation of our strategic goals and objectives to multi-year operational planning to executive on our defined goals.  I continue to be humbled by the expertise of the staff, members, and Joint Councils.

Nancy MacLellan

ICCS Past President & President and Chief Executive Officer, Housing Nova Scotia, Government of Nova Scotia