In this practice, we assess needs, design, plan, facilitate, report upon and evaluate organizational interventions, such as workshops, retreats and meetings in support of collaborative decision-making.
The process of collaborative decision-making brings people together with the intention of exploring interests and issues, developing and assessing solutions, and / or making timely and lasting decisions. We have IAF1 and IAP22 certified facilitators who use a number of industry-wide and proprietary tools to help define the purpose and requirements of the proposed intervention and plan it in a way that ensures all efforts are pointed towards positive outcomes.
We have used this approach to successfully design and facilitate numerous organizational interventions for groups ranging in size from four to 140. These interventions have involved:
The Program Planning and Coordination Directorate (PPC) is mandated to coordinate planning across the directorates within the branch to ensure overall alignment with departmental and sectoral goals; bi-annual regional workshops on integrated risk management. During the 2008 series, Delaney and Associates Inc. was asked to design, manage and facilitate six regional one-day “Working Better Together” workshops, in conjunction with the risk workshops, and one national wrap-up workshop to discuss the results of the regional workshops. The project included interviews during the needs analysis stage, process and agenda design, development and management of pre-workshop communication tools, workshop facilitation, and preparation of a report on proceedings for each workshop, along with a consolidated report. This series of workshops was very important, as it built a foundation for networking and collaboration across the respective program areas and led to the development of cross-directorate action plans in the areas of integrated business planning, internal and external communications, stakeholder and aboriginal relations, as several other business functions identified as “important” or “high risk” during the risk element of the workshop.
Provide facilitation support to multi-national conference on a review of the UN Convention for Tobacco control. Working through a lead agency we helped to design / refine the review process and provided breakout group facilitation over the two-day event in Ottawa.
INAC is the largest federal lands custodian. In support of their land management program INAC operates a sophisticated geomatics (geographic information system) program. Each year about 40 key geomatics users and service providers gather for a two-day workshop to exchange information on system updates, discuss trends in technology and the changing needs of departmental users in the areas of products and services. We were asked to support the planning, design, development and delivery of this community of practice workshop to share information and plan for the roll-out of the next generation of INAC geomatic infrastructure.
The OCDSB was suffering from declining enrolment over a ten year period. Through a strategic planning initiative the Board identified development of a “community school” model as central to stemming this negative trend. Hired through a different company, Richard was asked to work with the Board, through a series of four meetings, to identify and refine elements of the new model, which will be used to guide overall planning for the Board’s capital and human resource programs.
The Policy Centre for Victims Issues received a budget increase of 50% in the Speech from the Throne in support of significant additional programming responsibilities. We were asked to design and facilitate a one-day business planning session to assess business practices and responsibilities, re-align priorities and develop performance targets.
$300 million of new funding to combat cancer was announced in the Speech from the Throne [www.phac-aspc.gc.ca] and PHAC was tasked to develop a Pan-Canadian strategy. We designed the strategic plan framework and then facilitated and reported eight national working groups over six months.
The CCAC [www.ccac-accc.ca] is a national non-governmental organization that seeks to raise awareness, advocate for health care support and provide outreach to cancer patients. The organization is approaching its tenth anniversary and has grown to a multi-million dollar concern, with a national board of directors and offices in Montreal and Toronto. Each year of the past three years has seen revenues rise by over 20%. CCAC wished to build upon this positive momentum by bringing together the board of directors and several marketing and fund-raising experts to develop a three-year fund-raising strategy.
We designed the day-long event by providing a briefing package to participants, receiving, tabulating and reporting upon the results in order to identify priorities and preferred strategies. This pre-event surveyed allowed participants to engage the subject matter directly and actively from the very start of the day. Results of this project include a “what was said” report, plus a strategic fund-raising plan.
Contaminated sites on federal properties in Canada represent a $13 billion liability. In 2004, the Cabinet endorsed a multi-year strategy to identify, inventory, contain and / or remediate these sites. All custodial and science-based departments are involved to either manage remediation activities or provide support. DFO is active in both areas.
We were asked to bring together all departmental scientists and technicians for a three-day national conference to help them review programme activities and identify opportunities for improvement and actions required. The event concluded with the development of six-month regional and national action plans. We were subsequently retained to convene regular teleconferences and status reporting support.
The NCPC is a federal agency within the Department of Public Safety and Security; it has a national staff of 112 and an annual budget of $76 million. Their role is to coordinate crime protection and reduction activities and programmes with provincial, municipal and NGO groups. The Centre maintains a national federal / provincial / territorial advisory panel, which meets twice annually to discussion priorities and joint programming initiatives.
Following the change in government after the 2006 federal election, we were asked to facilitate this regular two-day meeting in order to help the advisory panel to develop a renewed action strategy and communication plan. The results of the event included a decentralized, but coordinated 6-month communication initiative and a renewed action planning framework.
The agriculture and agri-food sector in Canada is one of the most highly regulated in the country, second only to air transportation. The CFIA shares administration / enforcement of the regulatory framework with Agriculture and Agri-food Canada.
As part of the SMART Regulation initiative, we were asked to help the Agency develop criteria for a regulatory evaluation framework. Through discussions with the Agency during the conceptualization phase of the project, it was determined that stakeholders should be fully involved in developing the criteria, using the Privy Council Office draft evaluation criteria as a starting point. We worked with staff from the Plant Breeders Rights, Seed Variety Registration Office, Fertilizer Division and Destination Inspection Office to develop a staff-wide position paper on evaluation criteria and data support requirements, and then undertook a feasibility assessment. During Phase II of the project, regulatees will be invited to comment upon the staff paper and propose their own evaluation criteria.
With a change in government the national goals for crime prevention changed dramatically from “crime prevention through social development” to putting greater emphasis on protection and prosecution. The NCPC had to overhaul their $100 million operating plan and submit it to Treasury Board within six weeks.
We were asked to develop a “distant” process (teleconferences, issues papers and e-mails) that helped program and policy officers across the country to “flesh out” new operating principles and how these impacted project selection criteria with provincial, municipal and NGO partners in program delivery. We then planned, organized, facilitated and reported upon a two-day all staff retreat (85 participants) to redevelop their program from the ground up.
Following a major organizational and programme restructuring, we were asked to review and revise the existing “flight simulator” for the Newfoundland Region habitat management programme. We were the creators of this modelling tool, which aims to show the program impacts of fluctuating economic activity and also models various resource deployment scenarios. This project was awarded a Deputy Minister’s Commendation.
DFO is a key partner in Canada’s food safety network with Agriculture Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Their network of six state of the art laboratories provides critical data for on-going and emergency decision-making to assess and quantify health risks.
DFO asked us to design, facilitate and report upon a two-day meeting of systems managers and key users to define and detail system information requirements moving the department forward into a more active and integrated working relationship with other federal departments in this area.
Each region of DFO builds a strategic and business plan based upon the mandate and strategic direction of the department, in conjunction with local and regional priorities. We were commissioned by the Gulf Region (PEI, NS and NB) of DFO to design, develop, facilitate and report upon a two-day all-staff planning session, the purpose of which was to identify and prioritize strategic directions and issues, identify key linkages to internal and external stakeholders, develop action items, and document the results.
We were asked to conceptualize and assist with the development of an approach to creating NRCan’s first corporate strategic plan. In response to the 2005 OAG report on strategic decision-making, NRCan had to develop a five-year strategic plan. The project included developing information packages and pre-intervention templates for sectors and corporate branches to complete prior to the two-day strategic retreat, helping to consolidate returns, facilitatinge retreat and undertaking an assessment of results.
The CFIA is responsible for a wide range of legislation and enforcement activities that protect food safety for Canadians and support a competitive industrial base. Regulations are being reviewed constantly and up-dated, in order to keep pace with global trends and technological developments. We were commissioned by the CFIA to ensure that regulatory amendments proposed by the Agency have undergone public consultation that meets central agency guidelines, aligns with the Smart Regulation expectations, includes best practices from within the federal government and elsewhere as appropriate, and meets the operational needs and financial realities of the Agency.
A “generic consultation model” was developed for the Agency, which meets with the above requirements to provide a baseline against which to assess previous / on-going consultations, in order to determine if they are sufficient to keep moving forward or if there are gaps that need to be closed. After collaborative (Agency and stakeholder) assessments, action plans were developed to close any identified gaps.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Habitat Management Program (HMP) has initiated Habitat Compliance Modernization, which aims to promote and ensure compliance with the habitat protection provisions of the Fisheries Act, in order to better protect and conserve fish and fish habitat. This is part of the Department’s on-going efforts to make the HMP more results-based, effective, efficient, and relevant to Canadians.
We worked with the organizing team to help plan, organize, and facilitate meetings and workshops, which included eveloping a workshop planning framework, assisting with agenda building and process design, and providing facilitation services.
As part of the City’s Official Planning process, development applications are reviewed to permit or prevent development. During the winter of 2004, the City received an application to re-zone land in the Stittsville area from “general rural” to “multi-dwelling”. The ensuing review resulted in the identification and re-designation of over 260 ha of private land to “provincially significant wetlands”, which means no development is permitted.
We were asked to design an agenda and facilitate a public meeting of the 60 affected landowners, who were informed by letter two weeks prior to the meeting. Over 125 concerned and angry landowners and residents attended the three-hour meeting. The client rated the meeting as an overwhelming success.
As part of the federal government’s Smart Regulation agenda, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Electricity Association have established an MOU that commits the department and CEA member companies to a greater level of communication and cooperation. The ultimate objective of the MOU is to protect and conserve more fish habitat while generating (potentially) more electricity in a sustainable way.
We worked with the Organizing Team, which was composed of representatives from various partner organizations, to develop a pilot workshop for this project. Tasks included providing project management support; conducting audience profile and needs analysis; assisting with agenda building and process design; developing workshop materials; providing facilitation and logistic services; and preparing the final report on findings and next steps. The workshop design and materials kit were tested and refined through a pilot and the workshops “rolled out” across Canada on a province-by-province basis, sometimes with several workshops in each province.
Natural Resources Canada, in the context of the Climate Change Plan for Canada, and with the participation of many partners – consumer groups, vehicle publications, environmental non-governmental organizations, and vehicle manufacturers – is undertaking measures to promote consumer action on energy conservation. NRCan operates a programme that provides fuel efficiency information to new vehicle consumers. The purpose of the programme is to influence consumers to buy more fuel-efficient vehicles (cars and light trucks). Throughout 2005, the Office of Energy Efficiency is reviewing the programme and will be making changes and up-grades. The programme is a central part of the government’s Kyoto action plan.
During two key consultation events, we were asked to bring together new vehicles stakeholders for an initial and follow-up meeting to develop the plan to review and revise the programme. These one-day events included car manufacturers, consumer group representatives, other governments and environmental groups (40 participants). All objectives were met and participants assessed the workshop as “very successful”.
The City of Ottawa undertakes a budget review process between mid-November and mid-January, every year. The city budget (approximately $8 billion) is approved in mid-January after review by staff, council and the public. We were asked by a group of six Councillors to help form a citywide group of community leaders to review the budget in detail and to develop recommendations for cost savings.
This project involved two two-hour facilitated sessions with council members to develop CBAT membership criteria, “rules of engagement”, and guiding principles, as well as six four-hour facilitated sessions with the twenty-one member CBAT (one for each city ward). The project included the development of a Phase I report, prior to tabling of the draft budget (15 Dec 2004), and a Phase II report that included recommended cost saving measures, based upon the principles laid out in the Phase I report. Results of the team’s work can be viewed at HYPERLINK “http://www.CBAT,ca” www.CBAT,ca.
This work was also undertaken during the 2005 budget review process and reflected practices and lessons learned for the 2004 project.
The Natural Channels Initiative is a group of hydrological and geotechnical engineers, biologists and landscape architects who are committed to protecting, conserving and restoring natural watercourses that have been or could be impacted by human development, such as urbanization or agricultural development. An ad hoc organizing committee of Ontario-based professionals has organized three international conferences, the last of which was during September 2004. The most recent conference attracted participants from 17 countries and is the largest event of its kind. For the 2004 conference, the organizing committee asked us to plan and facilitate a series of decision-making meetings aimed at creating a natural channels professional association. This included three meetings to identify, prioritize and assign actions required.
DFO administers nationally one of Canada’s most important pieces of environmental protection legislation – the Fisheries Act. Section 35 of the Act forbids the destruction of fish habitat. DFO has developed and is moving to a more comprehensive risk-managed approach to protecting habitat.
We were asked to facilitate a two-day planning workshop, where staff from Maritime Canada had gathered to develop a strategy to implement the risk management framework. The workshop objectives were met. We helped staff to identify aspects of existing programs that needed to be changed, as well as the “who, how and when” behind those changes.
In the fall of 2003, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act was substantially revised. The amended Act includes new requirements that have a significant impact on the DFO programme. We were asked to design a two-day workshop to bring together CEAA practitioners from across the country, in order to review the new requirements and develop adjustments to the DFO programme.
Each year in Canada, developers refer over 7,000 proposals to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) for advice, guidance or approval, as these projects might negatively impact fish habitat, in relation to enforcement of the Fisheries Act. As part of its Smart Regulation (regulatory process streamlining) initiative, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans was seeking to increase its use of risk analysis and collaborative management with fish habitat partners, such as provincial, municipal and aboriginal orders of government and with resource industries. We were commissioned to design and implement a consultation strategy, which included six two-three day regional workshops with provincial departments and ministries, web-based consultations and a detailed communications strategy.
The Executive Police Centre offers learning events and services to police organization across Canada and around the world. During the winter of 2003, we were awarded a five-year standing offer to provide training (needs analysis, course design and development, delivery and evaluation) and facilitation (event planning, organizing, facilitation and reporting) services in the areas of: leadership, change management, strategic media relations and effective communications, learning organization, and strategic and business planning.
In support of the Fisheries and Oceans National Training Programme, we were commissioned to undertake an assessment of internal trainer skill gaps and to develop and facilitate a two-day workshop to help close these gaps. We designed all workshop processes and data-collection and reporting templates. Over 50 trainers from across Canada attended the workshop.
Natural Resources Canada is developing sustainability criteria relating to the environmental, economic and social objectives for the minerals and metals sector. A two-day workshop was held to discuss and agree upon a short list of potential indicators, based upon the review of a list of over 160 potential indicators. From this, a smaller set of indicators will be piloted.
We were hired to help design, organize and facilitate this two-day workshop. This included assisting with agenda preparation, process design and reporting template development; collecting and analysing pre-workshop data; training internal facilitators and recorders to assist with workshop proceedings; and facilitating breakout sessions and moderating the plenary sessions.
Every federal department is required to operate a three-year rolling strategy that guides implementation of the sustainable development (SD) policy requirement. NRCan is one of only two departments in which (SD) is specifically defined within its mission and enabling legislation. Based upon a draft strategy, we were asked to design and facilitate a one-day consultation session for policy and programme officers whose positions include SD responsibilities.
The City of Ottawa, as part of its Quality of Life Indicators (QLI) project, is developing a long-term vision of quality of life in the City and is developing a framework of indicators, in order to monitor the changing status of quality of life in Ottawa. Part of this development included an information-gathering workshop of 80 business and community leaders. The purpose of this workshop was to give information to stakeholders about indicators and how the City intends to use them, and to gather information from these stakeholders regarding their expectations in this regard.
We designed the workshop, developed all management instruments, provided lead facilitation services, secured nine additional professional facilitators to assist with workshop proceedings, and developed the report on workshop proceedings.
During the provincial elections of 2003, the environment did not receive much campaign attention. In order to raise the profile, The Sierra Legal Defence Fund organized an all- candidates debate in the riding of the former Minster of the Environment. Richard Delaney was hired to design the debate process and to moderate the three-hour session, including a heated question and answer period.
In 2002, the City of Ottawa was amalgamated with twelve outlying municipalities under a provincial streamlining initiative. This meant that policies, programmes, by-laws, etc. of all municipalities had to be harmonized. Realizing that harmonization would require substantial input for stakeholders and the public, the City commissioned us to undertake a series of focus groups and web-based consultations to determine who, how and when stakeholders wished to be consulted. We also tabulated and analyzed the results and made a series of recommendations regarding what the City’s new public consultation policy should contain and how it should be implemented, and outlined what specific staff competencies need to be developed for the policy to be successful.
During the winter of 2003, Ottawa City Council made a very public commitment to facilitate a reduction in the use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers, for aesthetic purposes. Based upon this political commitment, we were asked to convene a group of scientific, technical and public opinion specialists to develop a three-year plan to facilitate the aesthetic use of chemicals on public, private and institutional properties.
As part of the federal government’s sustainable development (SD) policy, all departments are required to develop, implement and report upon a three-year strategy to integrate the concepts of SD into their policies, plans and programmes. As part of the government-wide 2004 review and redevelopment of the strategies, Human Resource Development Canada (HRDC) approached us to help the department to better address the social dimensions to SD. New and innovative approaches would be required; therefore, we developed a half-day workshop for SD policy practitioners to understand how they could create an “innovative environment” for themselves, their colleagues and stakeholders. The workshop included a lecture and interactive small-group exercises.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada was developing a decision key to help project proponents better understand the impacts of water crossing projects and define initiatives that can be taken to mitigate these impacts. Timing on this project was important, in order for testing of the decision key to be undertaken prior to the 2003 construction season. A full-day workshop was held to get consensus around the final decision key.
We were asked to provide facilitation services for this workshop. This included assisting with the workshop design, which included pre-workshop data collection and analysis, decision-making process design, and recording templates development; facilitating the workshop; and, producing a report of workshop proceedings and decisions.
The City of Ottawa is developing, as part of its 20/20 Master Planning process, a series of long-term strategies to support the plan. We were commissioned to design, organize and facilitate a one-day workshop of approximately 120 stakeholders, which included industry representatives, community leaders and members of the public. Follow-up to the workshop included analysis of the data to determine trends and distil themes.
The Research Bureau is comprised of 35 staff, organized into two sections – Research and Communication. The purpose of the Research Bureau is to support Liberal Caucus members, by undertaking “on demand” and proactive research, proposing media responses and policy priorities, and suggesting national strategies or positions on issues. Following a restructuring of the Research Bureau, interest was expressed in improving communication and interaction within the organization.
We were hired to organize a team-building retreat. Working with the planning committee, we helped to clarify organizational objectives and to design and organize the retreat to meet those objectives, and facilitated the full-day, experiential team-building activity around which the retreat was organized.
On-going Strategic and Managerial Support to Policy and Programme Planning Workshops
Aquaculture is an important and growing sector of the Canadian sea products industry. Finfish aquaculture operations, however, generate large amounts of organic wastes that accumulate on the floor of marine inlets and estuaries, causing damage to and destruction of marine ecosystems. To help both regulators and operators deal with this problem, Fisheries and Oceans created a national working group of marine habitat biologists who specialize in aquaculture. The role of this group is to advise the department on regulatory and technical issues, as well as issue guidance to industry associations.
In 1999, for the NHMWGA inaugural workshop, we were asked to help design, facilitate and report on workshop proceedings. The purpose of this first workshop was to establish a mandate and five-year operating plan for the working group. In each year since its inception – 2000, 2001 and 2002 – the working group has requested that we design the agenda, organize logistics, and facilitate and report on proceedings for the national annual meetings. One of our resources also attended monthly teleconferences to stay current with and provide advice on strategic and managerial issues affecting the working group.
Part of the mandate of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is to help developing countries to build management capacity within their governments. An important part of this capacity is sustainable development and environmental management.
We were invited to develop a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) orientation course for Chinese environmental practitioners taking part in the CIDA “study tour” programme. The course included information on the Canadian approach to SEA, as well as procedural, constitutional and institutional considerations. The course also included presentations by several prominent Canadian leaders in the field and instruction in the areas of corporate social responsibility and environmental management systems.
The External Relationships and Partnering Division (ERP) of Health Canada’s Healthy Environments Branch is strategically important to the department. Health Canada believes that, as a shared resource, positive action to protect and restore the environment requires the combined efforts of industry, government, consumers and citizens. Building and managing effective partnerships is the responsibility of ERP.
We designed and facilitated the ERP three-day strategic planning workshop. The purpose of the workshop was to review and validate the vision and mandate of the organization, review progress to date against the current work plan, adjust priorities and resources where required for the balance of the current fiscal year, and identify priorities and strategic outcomes for the coming years.
In 1999, the Wildlife Ministers Council of Canada agreed that governments, resource sectors and conservations should work together to develop a Canada-wide Stewardship Action Plan, in order to enhance stewardship aimed at conserving wildlife habitat and species. DFO’s Oceans Stewardship Branch commissioned us to help design and facilitate a national workshop whose main objectives were to support the drafting of the Oceans Sector response to the Canada-wide Stewardship Action Plan and to create a draft framework for a national Oceans Sector Stewardship Strategy.
In order to meet these objectives, our team assisted with the workshop organization and process design; created reporting templates that included performance measures and projected resource responsibilities and allocations; and facilitated breakout and plenary sessions. At the end of this process, we created a draft work plan, which will serve as the foundation for the national Oceans Sector Stewardship Strategy.
A principal aspect within the department’s “no net loss” of habitat policy is the ability to determine when harmful alteration, disturbance or destruction of habitat occurs. The purpose of this workshop was to bring together key habitat managers from across the country to help develop a standard methodology for documenting, assessing and communicating HADD determinations, and to establish critical thresholds of habitat degeneration. We were commissioned to help design this workshop and to facilitate and report on proceedings.
We were asked to undertake a review Small Craft Harbour environmental management practices and then to develop an environmental management systems. Following the national environmental management system (EMS) review, we were approached by Newfoundland Region and, subsequently, by Central and Arctic Region (ON, MN, SK, AB, & NWT) to help develop a regional EMS and environmental management plans (EMPs) at the harbour level. Through meetings and focus groups, we developed a regional EMS to help staff coordinate activities at the harbour level; a straightforward approach to managing government operated facilities; and, a step-by-step approach to environmental management by Harbour Authority Boards of Directors. As well as developing EMPs for harbour authorities, we coached SCH staff in developing EMPs for those harbours that they continue to manage. [www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca]
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Habitat Management and Environmental Science Branch, requested our services to plan, facilitate and report on a three-day national conference to define long-term, strategic directions for the newly revitalized Habitat Management Program. Seventy-five Habitat Management staff from all regions in Canada attended presentations and breakout group sessions. We provided facilitation and reporting services during the event and prepared the final report, which included gap analysis and action planning on ten major themes. We also developed and presented facilitation training to several volunteer facilitators prior to the conference.
The Export Financing Division of DFAIT is required to establish government policy on the environmental assessment requirements of export credits issued by the Export Development Corporation (now Export Development Canada). This is a very sensitive issue that has wide implications for Canadian competitiveness and host country sovereignty. We were asked to organize, facilitate and report upon an interdepartmental advisory committee, which convened to help clarify the federal position on this issue.
In order to plan for meeting its commitments under the proposed Species at Risk Legislation and the Federal Species at Risk Accord, the Fisheries Research Branch of DFO undertook a three-day planning exercise, which involved regional and headquarters staff. We organized workshop logistics, assisted with workshop design and facilitated breakout sessions. The planning process included the development of “real time” workshop proceedings for participants, which they reviewed, discussed and ratified at the final plenary meeting. This enabled participants to wrap up discussions and leave with a final, comprehensive record of their discussions and decisions.
CEAA is committed to raising awareness and increasing the use of policy and program environmental assessment within the federal community. We were hired to help establish an interdepartmental forum and to develop and implement an awareness campaign.
The FCEMS is a Director General level committee of all federal departments, which fosters the development of environmental management systems. We were awarded a two-year contract to support the committee by creating and supporting issue-oriented sub-committees, developing a 24-month strategic and business plan, and providing strategic and general management support to the committee. This included the organization and facilitation of monthly interdepartmental meetings over the two-year period.
The Department of National Defence is decommissioning a portion of the Distant Early Warning System (DEW Line). Some of these sites contain PCB contaminated materials. As part of its action plan to clean up these sites, DND needed to consult with a wide range of stakeholders, including First Nations, contractors in the North, regulators and the academic community. We were asked to facilitate discussions to help determine the nature and level of risk that this material poses to the environment and human health.
Performance Measurement Workshop Facilitation
The CESD has a long-term plan to develop both performance indicators and measurement metrics for the federal government’s environmental management initiatives. We were asked to facilitate at the national workshop and to help establish consensus, from a wide range of federal departments, on how performance should be measured.