Guideline on Service Management

Provides recommended practices, tips and tools regarding service management practices.
Date modified: 2017-03-23

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About this guideline

This document provides guidance to departments on managing their services and implementing the Treasury Board Policy on Service.

Although targeted to the departments to which this policy applies (see section 2 of the Policy on Service), other Government of Canada institutions are encouraged to follow the advice in this guideline, as appropriate. It provides recommended practices, tips and tools regarding service management, which in some cases may already be in place in departments.

Program and service managers and executives who are responsible for implementing the Policy on Service and/or managing Government of Canada services are the intended audience for the guideline.

This guideline was prepared by the Chief Information Officer Branch of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, in consultation with departments and agencies. For more information on this guideline, please contact Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat Public Enquiries.

Government of Canada employees can access more information about service management on the Government of Canada Service Policy Agenda page via GCpedia, a closed government network.

Introduction

Every day, the Government of Canada delivers a broad range of services. Excellence in the design and delivery of services promotes confidence in government, and contributes to the efficient and effective achievement of public policy goals and better service experiences for clients.

The Policy on Service was introduced in 2014 to establish a strategic and coherent approach to the design and delivery of Government of Canada external and internal enterprise services that is client-centric, realizes operational efficiencies and promotes a culture of service management excellence.

This guideline outlines the key components of good service management stemming from the 10 requirements of the Policy on Service:

  1. A service inventory is developed and updated annually.
  2. Learning opportunities regarding service-related knowledge and client service excellence are given to service providers at the commencement of employment and on a regular basis.
  3. A mechanism to provide feedback and to address client service issues in a timely manner is available to clients.
  4. Priority services are reviewed regularly to identify opportunities for service redesign, improved usability, channel integration and mobile optimization and, where appropriate, adopt best-in-class service delivery approaches, alternative service delivery mechanisms and partnership arrangements.
  5. A multi-year departmental service management strategy is developed and implemented in alignment with the Government of Canada service direction, and progress is measured annually.
  6. A user engagement approach to promote awareness and uptake of e-services is developed.
  7. Service standards and real-time service delivery performance information for priority services are available to clients on Canada.ca for external services and on internal collaborative tools for internal enterprise services.
  8. Mandatory external and internal enterprise services are adopted where available.
  9. The proportion of external and internal enterprise e-services is increased annually, according to a department’s service management strategy.
  10. Priority-authenticated external services are e-enabled, with real-time application status available to clients.

1. Service key concepts and definitions

This section outlines some key concepts that underpin the design, delivery and management of government services.

1.1 Service

This section provides advice on what constitutes a service under the Policy on Service. Departments are responsible for determining what constitutes or does not constitute a service based on their own specific operational context.

1.1.1 What is a service?

A service is the provision of a specific or final output that addresses one or more needs of an intended recipient and contributes to the achievement of an outcome.

When identifying services, keep the following in mind:

  • A recipient may not always successfully obtain a final output.
  • A service does not always require that a service provider interact directly with a recipient.
  • A recipient may not always request the service (for example, tax audit, mandatory inspection).

Definitions and explanations of the key terms contained in the definition of service are as follows:

Final (service) output
  • a unit of value that is delivered directly to a client by a service.
  • an output can be tangible (for example, a passport, a licence, a payment, a permit) or intangible (for example, advice), and one service can produce both tangible and intangible outputs. The frequency and time frame of outputs may also vary; some might be delivered to a client only once in a period of years (for example, a passport); others might be delivered regularly over a period of time (for example, employment insurance payments). Some final outputs might take many years to receive (for example, the certification of a new type of aircraft or the granting of a patent).
Need
  • a requirement or desire of a target group that a program has a mandate to satisfy or reduce.
  • the starting point for both programs and services is the identification of a need. Needs are met by a program, which has the mandate and resources to address these needs. A program is delivered through one or many services. Needs are usually addressed by the output of a service.
Recipient (or client)
  • an individual, business, or their representatives served by or using services provided by a government department
  • An individual can be external or internal to government; this includes Government of Canada employees who access or use internal enterprise services. In the context of the Policy on Service, recipient and client are used interchangeably. Recipient applies both to groups and to non-profit organizations.
Outcome
  • an external consequence attributed, in part, to an organization, policy, program or initiative. Outcomes are typically not within the control of a single organization, policy, program or initiative; instead they are within the area of the organization’s influence. Outcomes are usually further qualified as immediate, intermediate or ultimate (final), expected or direct.

To differentiate between these two concepts, the following example is helpful. Passport Canada has the authority to issue Canadian passports. The output of this service is a passport. The outcome is the ability for Canadians to travel abroad.

1.1.2 Applying the definition of service

This section explores some useful concepts to help service owners and service providers better understand and identify services based on the definition provided above. Some services are easy to identify; others are not and require careful consideration and discussion.

1.1.3 How to identify a service?

Departments are responsible for determining what is or what isn’t a service within their operational context. For assistance in determining whether an activity or a series of activities is a service, consider using the Service Test Tool presented in Appendix 1A.

Services vs. programs

Programs provide the context for determining the services to be delivered. Programs are generally delivered through services, which contribute to the achievement of program objectives.

Most departments have already identified, in their Departmental Results Framework, their outcomes, or expected results, which are to be reflected in their Program Inventory, as per the Policy on Results. Services contribute to the achievement of those expected results (outcomes).

An understanding of services first requires knowledge of the context in which they operate. Services are a component of a Program that contributes to a specific set of outputs. Services deliver a final output to recipients, or clients, to support the achievement of the outcome. Services are composed of activities (processes) that lead to the final output. Figure 1 illustrates this context.

Figure 1: Context in which services operate

Figure 1: Context in which services operate
Text version: Figure 1: Context in which services operate

Final outputs vs. intermediate outputs

When determining whether an activity is a service, it is helpful to ask whether the activity produces an intermediate output or a final output to a client. Some examples include:

  • The provision of a regulatory permit or certificate usually constitutes a final service output. The denial of a permit can also be the final service output. The approval or denial of the permit completes the series of activities from the client’s perspective.
  • Information posted on the Government of Canada website about how to apply for a permit or certificate constitutes an intermediate output, because the client must complete subsequent steps before being issued the permit.
  • Advice or information from a call centre agent is the final output of a service when the client does not have to complete subsequent activities.
  • The issuing of a new passport constitutes the final output from a service, but accepting a completed passport application does not because that activity does not conclude the interaction between the service provider and the recipient, and does not result in a final output. In this case, the denial of a passport can be considered the final output of the service.
Relationship between activities and services

A service consists of a series of activities (processes) that result in a single final output for the recipient (or client). Each activity is not considered an individual service, even though it might produce intermediate outputs.

Consider a scenario where a business owner requires a permit or certificate from the Government of Canada to be able to proceed with a specific action on business premises. The series of activities may involve:

  • providing an application form on the Government of Canada website for use by the business owner to apply for the permit or certificate
  • responding to a call from the business owner, who may need additional information to complete an application, or other follow-up questions. Responding to this call supports the service
  • receiving and processing an application, which may include assessing the application against established eligibility criteria
  • inspecting the business premises to ensure that it meets requirements
  • issuing the permit or certificate; this is the culmination of the series of activities and is the final output of the service
Grants and contributions as a service

The administration of grants and contributions usually constitutes a service, except in the case of contributions/transfers made to other governments or other organizations (for example, fiscal equalization, membership dues to NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization).

Grants and contributions meet the definition of a service in that there is a final output (funding); there is a need (funds); there is a recipient; and it supports an outcome or public policy goal (the reason the government is providing the grant and contribution).

Service standards are often applied to the administration of grants and contributions. When there is uncertainty about whether a grant and contribution is a service, it is up to the department to make the final determination.

For more information on grants and contributions, consult the Policy on Transfer Payments.

Information or data as a service

Information or data is a service when it constitutes a final output to a client and when it has the other elements contained in the definition of service (that is, need, recipient and outcome).

Addressing the following considerations can help in assessing whether information or data is a service. In addition, service providers can use the Service Test Tool (see Appendix 1A).

  1. Does the provision of information or data represent a final output?

    Is the information the final output, or is it part of a larger process that leads to a final output? The greater the sense that the information or data is the final output, the greater the likelihood it is a service. For example, the weather forecast published to the weather website is a service because the information concludes an interaction between the service provider (the weather website) and the client (the website visitor). The interaction is concluded because the client obtains the weather forecast as a final output.

  2. How frequently is the information or data produced?

    For information to be considered a service, the final output must be produced frequently or repeatedly. The more frequently the information or data is produced, the greater the likelihood that it is a service.

  3. How great is the need for the information?

    The greater the recipient’s need for the information, the greater the likelihood that the provision of it is a service. Consider whether access to the information helps ensure the well-being, health and safety of Canadians or economic viability of businesses and whether the lack of access to it could hinder this. For example, travel advisories or food recall warnings published to the Internet are services.

  4. Is there a timeliness factor associated with the need?

    The greater the need for the information in a specified time frame, the greater the likelihood that it is a service. For example, consider weather services. The weather website publishes information about the weather forecast with a high degree of frequency; sometimes, as often as every minute. Contrast this to a report or document that is published to the website once or twice per year.

  5. How many individuals or organizations access the information or data?

    The greater the number of individuals that access the information or data as a final output, the greater the likelihood that it is a service. Given the wide range of services offered by the federal government, it is impossible to establish a threshold number here because that number depends highly on the nature of the service and the operational context.

  6. Does the provision of information or data contribute directly to the achievement of an outcome?

    Answering yes to this question increases the likelihood that the provision of the information or data is a service. For example, a call centre agent providing information or advice in the form of a final output contributes directly to an outcome; the client has obtained customized information and advice needed to access Government of Canada programs and services.

1.2 Service owner vs. service provider

The activities that make up a service may be completed by one or several departments, including third-party organizations. When that is the case, it is especially important to understand the concept of service owner.

A service owner may differ from a service provider. A service owner is the organization that has the authority to offer the service. That authority can be conferred through legislation or through a regulatory or other instrument to a service provider, and accountability is delegated to the appropriate level of manager.

1.3 Service management

1.3.1 What is service management?

Service management is the set of activities and practices undertaken by those responsible for designing, implementing, delivering, monitoring and continuously improving the services for which they are accountable.

1.3.2 Why is service management important?

All individuals, businesses, and organizations in Canada require services from the federal government at one time or another, and they expect those services to be of high quality; they expect government to provide services that are easy to access, timely, accurate, reliable and secure.

Effective service management enables excellence in the design and delivery of services. It also contributes to the achievement of public policy goals, delivers value for money, produces high levels of client satisfaction and promotes confidence in government.

Service management in the Government of Canada is governed through the Policy on Service and requires deputy heads to apply the policy in a manner that reflects the following three principles:

client-centric service:
services are designed and delivered considering client needs and feedback, and are progressively e-enabled
operational efficiency:
services are designed and delivered in a cost-effective manner, considering opportunities for standardization, integration and re-engineering
culture of service management excellence:
services are designed and delivered based on strong service management practices

The above principles of service management are complemented by the consideration of well-known drivers of client satisfaction:

ease of access
(clients have access to what they need, when they need it)
timeliness
(clients are satisfied with the amount of time it took to the get the service)
positive outcome
(clients receive what they need or understand why they cannot obtain it)
professionalism
(clients are treated knowledgeably, fairly, respectfully, politely and with an investment in their needs)
recent service experience
(clients base their opinions based on their most recent service experience)

1.4 Service agreements

1.4.1 What is a service agreement?

A service agreement is a formal administrative understanding between two or more parties that articulates the terms and conditions of a particular service relationship between two or more parties.

1.4.2 Why are service agreements important?

Establishing service agreements is a sound management practice in any type of service owner /service provider arrangement when, for example, a Government of Canada service is provided by one department to, or on behalf of, another department.

Service agreements can enhance governance, accountability and service quality by clearly defining roles, responsibilities, processes and performance expectations. The practice of establishing service agreements is strongly recommended in any type of service owner /service provider or collaborative service relationship. Aspects of the service relationship that are typically documented in a service agreement include scope, governance, operations, finances, performance and implementation.

Service agreements serve three primary functions:

  1. articulating the expectations of the parties to the agreement
  2. providing a mechanism for governance and issue resolution
  3. serving as a foundation against which to examine performance and results

1.4.3 Additional resources

For additional information and tools for this aspect of service management, please consult the two Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat Guidelines on Service Agreements, published separately. The Guideline on Service Agreements: An Overview provides an overview of service agreements and is geared toward senior managers and executives. The Guideline on Service Agreements: Essential Elements describes the essential elements of these agreements and is intended for individuals responsible for developing or reviewing service agreements.

1.5 Priority services

The Policy on Service contains specific requirements relating to priority services. Identifying priority services helps departments focus their attention on particular improvement areas based on their specific operational contexts.

1.5.1 What are priority services and how are they identified?

Priority services are external and internal enterprise services, determined by each department based on a number of considerations, including:

  • volume per channel (applications received and final positive outputs);
  • importance of the service to clients (for example, entitlements, permits, benefits, authorizations, critical services); or
  • use of sensitive personal or commercial information.

Priority Services must be identified in a department’s service inventory and are expected to remain relatively static over time. Departments should review them regularly and should have a strong rationale for their decision as to whether a service constitutes a priority service or for any changes to priority service designations.

The Priority Service Identification Tool identified in Appendix 1B is intended to support departments in the identification of their priority services and in documenting the analysis and assessment; it can be refined to reflect other considerations or factors, such as weighting to reflect the relative importance of the criteria being used. However, departments should ensure comprehensiveness.

1.6 External services

1.6.1 What is an external service?

An external service can be defined as a service where the intended recipient is a client that is external to the Government of Canada. The following are examples of external services:

  • providing visitor access to a national park
  • issuing a passport
  • providing a permit for food products to indicate that they are safe for consumption by citizens

1.6.2 How to identify and categorize external services?

The general types of external services are outlined in Appendix 1C, which can be helpful in in the identification of, and reporting on, external services.

1.7 Internal enterprise services

1.7.1 What is an internal enterprise service?

An internal enterprise service can be defined as a service provided by a Government of Canada department to other Government of Canada departments on a government-wide basis (they may be provided to several or all departments) and are distinct from internal services, which are provided within a department. The following are considered internal enterprise services:

  • mandatory services, including those that are outsourced (for example, pay and pension services delivered by Public Services and Procurement Canada)
  • shared or optional services, including those that are outsourced where the intent is to deliver them on a government-wide basis (for example, Shared Services Canada’s email and network services)

1.7.2 Identifying and categorizing internal enterprise services

The general types of internal services (as prescribed in the Policy on Results) are outlined in Appendix 1D, which can be helpful in in the identification of, and reporting on, internal enterprise services.

1.8 E-enabled services

1.8.1 What are e-enabled services?

E-services / e-enabled services are defined in the Policy on Service as the provision of a service that can be completed online from end-to-end, except in circumstances where it is prohibited by law or security considerations.

It is understood that an e-enabled service is one that can be completed online from the client’s perspective. The final output may not be delivered online in all cases, as it may be a material document, such as a passport, a medical certificate or otherwise; however, departments are encouraged to consider the possibility of e-enabling the final output as well. In instances of third-party delivery, departments must incorporate e-enabled requirements into their contracts or agreements, as compliance with the Policy on Service remains necessary in those situations.

The e-enablement of services usually applies to all of the interaction points between the service provider and the client, including:

  • account registration / enrolment
  • authentication
  • application
  • decision
  • issuance
  • issue resolution / feedback

Departments are encouraged to document their approach (rationale) when excluding a service or part of a service (an interaction point) from being e-enabled, and note this in the departmental service inventory.

1.8.2 Why are e-enabled services important?

The requirements of the Policy on Service related to e-services are intended to better position the Government of Canada to meet the needs and overall expectations of clients while also realizing efficiencies by increasing the reliance on lower-cost delivery channels.

Given their complex and transformational nature, e-service policy requirements are the last to come into effect in the policy’s phased implementation schedule. This also reflects the reality that, for many departments and agencies, e-service initiatives need to be incorporated into existing planning exercises, such as business and IT plans, as well as contracting.

Beyond legal or security considerations, e-enabling all or part of a service may not be practical from a cost-benefit perspective, or based on other considerations, such as technical feasibility. In other circumstances, a particular intermediate activity of a service may not be suitable to be completed online, for example, an in-person consultation or inspection. E-enabling a service requires taking a client-centric approach, and clients should be given the option to revert back to the online channel once an activity requiring a different delivery channel has been completed.

Appendix 1A. Service test tool

This tool is designed to assist Government of Canada service providers in determining whether an activity or group of activities constitutes a service. The tool provides general guidance on identifying services however departments must make the final determination in this regard.

Instructions

Based on your understanding of the activity or group of activities, use the table below to respond to the following questions and answer yes or no in the space provided. If you answer no to any question, the activity is not a service.

If you have answered yes to all the questions, the activity is a service and should be included in your service inventory.

Table 1: Service test tool
Questions Analysis Yes/No
1. Does the activity result in a final output to a recipient/client?    
2. Is the final output produced repeatedly?    
3. Does it address one or more need?    
4. Is there a timeliness factor associated with a need?    
5. Is there a clearly defined recipient/client or group of recipients/clients?    
6. Does the activity contribute, on its own, to the achievement of an outcome?    
7. Is the activity independent of all other services?    
8. Is the activity delivered over at least one service delivery channel (that is, Internet, in person, mail or telephone)?    

The following three examples show how the service test tool can be used to determine whether an activity is a service.

Example 1: AgriStability

Department/ Agency:
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Description:
Provides funding (based on the selected level of protection) when producers’ production margins fall below their reference margin.
Table 2: Service test tool example 1: AgriStability
Questions Analysis Yes/No
Conclusion: This is a service.
1. Does the activity result in a final output to a recipient/client? The funding is the final product of the service and is what the farmers were seeking when they originally applied for and paid for the service. The distribution of funds is the final output. Yes
2. Is the final output produced repeatedly? The funding is given repeatedly and in different years. Yes
3. Does it address one or more need? Provides funding when producers’ production margins fall below their reference margin by more than 30%. Yes
4. Is there a timeliness factor associated with a need? The service is provided when producers’ production margins fall below their reference margin by 30%. The funding assists producers at a time of financial need and is therefore time-sensitive. Thus, there is a timeliness factor associated with meeting a need. Yes
5. Is there a clearly defined recipient/client or group of recipients/clients? There are many farmers who could use this service. Yes
6. Does the activity contribute, on its own, to the achievement of an outcome? AgriStability does not require additional activities or processes to ensure that it contributes to a program outcome. Yes
7. Is the activity independent of all other services? AgriStability does not depend on other services. Yes
8. Is the activity delivered over at least one service delivery channel (that is, Internet, in person, mail or telephone)? Funding is delivered in person or by mail. Some of the information related to the service is delivered over the Internet. Yes

Example 2: Icebreaking Program

Department/ Agency:
Canadian Coast Guard
Description:
Supports economic activities by assisting commercial vessels to voyage ice-covered waters.
Table 3: Service test tool example 2: Icebreaking Program
Questions Analysis Yes/No
Conclusion: This is a service.
1. Does the activity result in a final output to a recipient/client? The icebreaking and the protection that goes along with icebreaking are what the client has requested and is paying for. It is the final output. Yes
2. Is the final output produced repeatedly? The ice is cleared many times during the winter, year after year. Yes
3. Does it address one or more need? Supports economic activities by assisting commercial vessels to voyage efficiently and safely through or around ice-covered waters. Yes
4. Is there a timeliness factor associated with a need? Icebreaking is required to enable the passage of sea vessels and to maintain shipping schedules, which indicates that the need is time-sensitive. Yes
5. Is there a clearly defined recipient/client or group of recipients/clients? This service is provided to many clients: commercial vessels, fishing vessels, Arctic residents, port operators, and the general public. Yes
6. Does the activity contribute, on its own, to the achievement of an outcome? The Icebreaking Program does not require additional activities or processes to contribute to a program. Yes
7. Is the activity independent of all other services? The Icebreaking Program would continue to exist and would remain unchanged if another service disappeared. Yes
8. Is the activity delivered over at least one service delivery channel (that is, Internet, in person, mail or telephone)? The Icebreaking Program is delivered in person. Yes

Example 3: Canada Benefits

Department/ Agency:
Service Canada
Description:
The Canada Benefits website is a tool that provides government-wide information about benefit programs and services for individuals. A number of government departments developed this website, including the Canada Revenue Agency, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Canadian Heritage, Employment and Social Development Canada, the Department of Justice Canada, Service Canada, and Veterans Affairs Canada. The site also contains information on programs administered by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and all of Canada’s provinces and territories.
Table 4: Service test tool example 3: Canada benefits website
Questions Analysis Yes/No
Conclusion: This is not a service.
1. Does the activity result in a final output to a recipient/client? The website is a tool that identifies various benefit programs and services based on target group and life events. It provides links to other websites. It is therefore an intermediate output, rather than a final output to a client. No

Appendix 1B. Priority services identification tool

This Tool is intended to assist departments in identifying their priority services and complements the Policy on Service.

Service Name:
Consideration Criteria Example Assessment (high/medium/low) Analysis

Overall rating as a priority service:

Is this service a priority service for the department?

Yes/No

Mandate
  • Is there a clear reference to the service in the department’s enabling legislation or mandate, or in any other legislation?
  • Is the service central to the mandate or peripheral?
     
Government priority
  • Is the service identified as a departmental or government priority (for example, in recent Speech from the Throne, federal budgets)?
     
Volume
  • Does the service entail a relatively high volume of transactions per year?
     
Mission critical or essential
  • Has the service been identified as a mission critical service per departmental continuity plans?
     
  • Has the service been identified as an essential service based on the definition provided in Public Service Labour Relations Act?
     
Importance of service to well-being of individuals or viability of businesses
  • Does the service involve the delivery of an entitlement, benefit or other final output of a financial nature?
     
  • Does the service involve the delivery of a permit or authorization?
     
  • Does the service involve charging of a fee to clients in order to receive the service?
     
Authentication      
Other criteria
  • Other criteria as deemed relevant by the department
     

Appendix 1C. External service types

Use of common terminology can help with Government of Canada reporting exercises. The five external service types in the following table are based on the 19 service output types listed in the Canadian Governments Reference Model (CGRM). Departments are encouraged to use these five types when identifying and categorizing external services.

External service type Description CGRM service output title Examples
1. Resources
  • services that acquire or dispense money, or units of resource or periods of use of a resource
  • services that provide social or medical care or rehabilitation to people
  • services that move people and resources from point to point
  • services that respond to emergencies and give aid
  • (units of) resource
  • care and rehabilitation encounters
  • funds
  • interventions
  • movements
  • acquisitions and supplies
  • benefits (for example, Old Age Security)
  • contributions
  • energy
  • facilities
  • grants
  • labour in response to emergencies or in providing aid
  • land
  • movable assets
  • moving energy, materials, people, letters, emails, messages
  • response to an emergency or non-emergency care or rehabilitation requirement
  • supplies
2. Advisory services
  • services that match, refer or link one party (requestor) to another party (responder) and in which the provider has an explicit or implicit duty to both parties in the match
  • services where data, information or advice is conveyed to a party or a system
  • services that advocate or argue for positions or market government policies, programs and services
  • services that conduct research
  • advisory encounters
  • advocacy and promotional encounters
  • matches, referrals and linkages
  • new knowledge
  • increasing awareness of Government of Canada policies, programs and services
  • information made available through an online database, publication, call centre.
  • prescriptive and non-prescriptive matching
  • research
3. Educational, recreational and cultural encounters
  • services that provide educational and training experiences to people
  • services that provide experiences of a recreational or cultural nature to people
  • educational and training encounters
  • recreational and cultural encounters
  • heritage: museums
  • parks
  • training
4. Regulatory compliance and enforcement
  • services that resolve disputes or create agreements between parties
  • services that express government authority by granting permission for a period of time to engage in activities, possess or control property or resources, or hold status, authority or privileges
  • services that inspect, investigate and analyze to uncover information and prepare findings and recommendations consistent with criteria and constraints, such as the law, policy, approved standards and guidelines, or consistent with credible opinion
  • services that apply rules and dispense impartial decisions
  • services that sanction, force compliance, mete out punishment, and apply penalties
  • services that guard people and resources from threats, includes proactive protection
  • services that intervene, respond to threats and emergencies, give aid, and restore order
  • services that inspect, investigate and analyze to uncover information and prepare findings and recommendations
  • periods of permission
  • findings
  • interventions
  • penalties and periods of sanction
  • periods of agreement
  • periods of protection
  • rulings and judgments
  • courts and tribunals
  • certificates, licences, and permits
  • identity documents (for example, social insurance number, passport)
  • judgments
  • permissions
  • policing
  • regulatory processes
  • safety inspections
  • sanctions and penalties
5. Rule making
  • services that create or amend laws, regulations, policies, strategies, standards, plans and designs
  • rules (laws, regulations, policies, strategies, plans, designs, standards)
  • designs
  • directives and standards
  • laws and regulations
  • plans
  • policies
  • strategies

Appendix 1D. Internal enterprise service types

Use of common terminology can help with Government of Canada reporting exercises. The following list of internal service types (as prescribed in the Policy on Results) can be used to assist in the identification of, and reporting on, internal enterprise services.

Internal service type Examples
1. Acquisition services
  • procurement processing
  • contract management
  • monitoring and reporting
  • policy and procedures
2. Communications services
  • public opinion research
  • corporate identity
  • managing public consultations
  • managing media relations
  • advertising, fairs and exhibitions for the entire department
  • strategic communications and advice
  • publishing
3. Financial management services
  • financial planning and budgeting
  • corporate accounting
  • expenditure control
  • payments
  • collections and receivables
  • accounting for assets and liability
4. Human resources management services
  • human resources planning and reporting
  • organization design
  • job and position management
  • employee staffing and orientation
  • total compensation
  • employee performance, learning, development and recognition
  • permanent and temporary separations
  • workplace management and labour relations
  • human resources systems
  • executive services
5. Information management services
  • data management services
  • records and document management services
  • library services
  • web content management services
  • archival services
  • business intelligence and decision support services
  • IM program management
6. Information technology services
  • distributed computing
  • application and database development and maintenance
  • production and operations computing
  • telecommunications network (data and voice)
  • IT security
  • IT program management
7. Legal services
  • legal advisory services
  • litigation services
  • legislative and regulatory drafting services
8. Management and oversight services
  • strategic policy and planning and government relations
  • corporate policy, standards and guidelines
  • investment planning
  • departmental project management and oversight
  • risk management
  • performance and reporting
  • internal audit
  • evaluation
  • parliamentary affairs
  • access to information and privacy processing and reporting
9. Materiel services
  • materiel planning
  • use and maintenance of materiel
  • disposal
  • policy and procedures
10. Real property services
  • office fit-up
  • office maintenance
  • policy and procedures
  • accommodation services
  • physical security

2. Key elements of service management

The Policy on Service sets out requirements for deputy heads in relation to various aspects of service management. The implementation of the requirements mentioned throughout this document, whether for the development of service inventories or others, can benefit from project management practices.

The Policy on Service also sets out monitoring and reporting requirements under which deputy heads are to confirm compliance with the Policy through reporting mechanisms, such as the Management Accountability Framework, or through an annual confirmation that requirements are being met (see section 8.1.b of the Policy on Service). The following elements are essential to strong service management:

2.1 Service inventories

2.1.1 Requirement

Section 7.1. of the Policy on Service, which came into effect on October 1, 2014, requires that departments develop a service inventory for external services and for internal enterprise services, and to update it annually.

2.1.2 What is a service inventory?

A service inventory is a catalogue of external and internal enterprise services, including the identification of priority services, that provides detailed information based on a specific set of elements (for example, services type, area of responsibility, client and volume).

A service inventory contains information, known as data elements, that enables service providers to fully understand and manage their services. This information should be consistent with data contained in department’s Performance Information Profile.

2.1.3 Why is a service inventory important?

When used effectively, a service inventory can help organizations know, understand and manage their portfolio of services. A service inventory also demonstrates an organization’s commitment to transparency and to service excellence. Using a service inventory has several benefits:

  • It provides a snapshot of departmental services, which in turn can support strategic management and decision making.
  • It can help in determining the resources required for service delivery (for example, staffing, facilities, information technology and information management).
  • It facilitates performance reporting by linking services to internal performance indicators and external service standards.
  • It supports the identification of priority services and opportunities to create efficiencies through consolidating and standardizing services or the constituent activities or processes within the department and across the Government of Canada.

2.1.4 How to develop a service inventory?

Although many departments already have service inventories, they are encouraged to align their inventories with the advice contained in this Guideline to ensure a consistent approach government-wide. Table 5 below provides an overview of the service inventory requirements. A service inventory template can be found on the Government of Canada Service Policy Agenda page via GCpedia, a closed government network.

Many data elements can be included in a service inventory and the most important elements are listed in Table 5 below. Departments may include other data elements in their service inventory, including those related to cost. For more information on costing, consult the Treasury Board Guidelines on Costing.

Table 5: Key service inventory data elements
Departmental service inventory requirements
No Element Description
1 Service ID number

A unique number assigned by the department to a service in the inventory to make it easier to refer to specific services

2 Service name

The official name of the service.

3 Service type

Identifies the external or internal service type. For external services, select from one of the following elements:

  1. resources
  2. advisory services
  3. educational, recreational and cultural encounters
  4. regulatory compliance and enforcement
  5. rule making

For internal enterprise services, select from one of the following elements:

  1. acquisition services
  2. communications services
  3. financial management services
  4. human resources management services
  5. information management services
  6. information technology services
  7. legal services
  8. management and oversight services
  9. materiel services
  10. real property services
4 Special designations

Whether the service has been identified as a priority service, a mission critical service and/or an essential service by the department. These categories are not mutually exclusive and more than one designation can be listed.

5 Service description

A brief (one or two sentences) description of the service, and the need it meets.

6 Responsibility area

The part of the organization that is responsible and accountable for the service.

7 Authority

A list of the legislation and/or policies that grant authority for the establishment of the service.

8 Program name

The name of the program under which the service is delivered.

9 Program ID number

The unique program number associated with program elements for all strategic outcomes, programs, sub-programs, and sub-sub-programs. Corporate planners in the department who are responsible for the Policy on Results can assist in identifying the program ID Number, if needed.

10 External service or internal enterprise service

Indicates whether the service is an external service or internal enterprise service, as defined in the Policy on Service.

Note: Although not required by the Policy on Service, Departments may include their internal services as long as they are properly identified as such in a separate section of the document.

11 Service ownership

Identifies the owner of the service, such as, the organization that is responsible for it based on established authorities. If the owner is another department, provide the name of that department. Departments are encouraged to use the applied title for the department, in accordance with the Federal Identity Program. For a list of applied titles, consult the Registry of Applied Titles.

12 Service agreements

Indicates whether any service agreements have been put in place to support the delivery of the service.

13 Client/service target group

Identifies the client or targeted groups for the service:

  1. persons
  2. non-profit institutions and organizations
  3. economic segments (businesses)
  4. foreign entities
  5. provinces, territories and communities
  6. internal to government
  7. environmental

Note: Should you require further clarifications in regards to these categories, please consult the Standard on Tagging, in the Policy on Results.

14 Volume per channel

The volume of the service that is delivered in a fiscal year, including the absolute number of applications received and number of final positive outputs for each of the following channels used to deliver the service:

  1. online
  2. in person
  3. telephone
  4. mail

Note: If a service is not offered via a channel, please indicate that this question is not applicable. If there is no data for a service yet it is offered via that channel, please indicate the data is not available.

15 User fee

A yes/no value that indicates whether a user fee is collected for the service (for details, consult the Policy on Service Standards for External Fees).

16 Service standards

A yes/no value that indicates whether there are service standards for the service.

17 Operational performance targets

A yes/no value that indicates whether there are operational performance targets for the service. These are usually outlined in a department’s performance measurement framework (for details on the difference between service standards and operational performance targets, consult the Service Standards section of the Guideline).

18 E-enabled services

Indicates, from the client’s perspective, the percentage of the service’s activities that are completed online, based on the number of the following applicable interaction points of the service:

  • account registration / enrolment
  • authentication
  • application
  • decision
  • issuance (final output)
  • issue resolution and feedback

2.1.5 Key considerations

The following are some key points to consider when developing and updating a service inventory:

  • If a department is in the early stages of developing its service inventory, it could establish a plan outlining how it intends to gradually add data elements to the service inventory and the information that is collected. That plan can be appended to the department’s service management strategy once it is developed.
  • It is important to keep your service inventory evergreen by updating the document on a regular or annual basis. These updates are essential in order for your service inventory to accurately portray the services delivered by your department.
  • In addition to identifying the data elements listed above, it is also important that the document identify the custodian(s) of the inventory, the most recent revision date, as well as all other important information that can serve as a reference point for those utilizing this information in the future.
  • The number of data elements in service inventories can be expanded, if necessary, to meet any specific departmental needs.

2.2 Learning opportunities

2.2.1 Requirement

Section 7.2 of the Policy on Service, which came into effect on October 1, 2014, requires that learning opportunities regarding service-related knowledge and client service excellence be given to service providers.

2.2.2 What are learning opportunities?

Learning opportunities consist of diverse learning methods or tools (formal or informal) to generate awareness or acquire knowledge and skills about the design or delivery of Government of Canada services. This could include training, information or orientation sessions, video, information provided via internal collaborative tools, manager debriefs, account sign-on notifications and electronic newsletters.

2.2.3 Why are service-learning opportunities important?

Departments that regularly provide learning opportunities related to service knowledge and client service excellence lay the foundation for meeting the needs of clients and achieving program outcomes.

Learning opportunities ensure that service providers have the resources, tools, relationships, networks, training, education, and supervisory support to enable them to apply service knowledge and skills (see Table 6 below) in service design and during client service interactions. Ultimately, this results in better service experiences, greater client satisfaction and improved program outcomes.

To effectively provide service-learning opportunities across the organization, departments may want to develop a department-wide approach or plan for learning activities.

2.2.4 What is service-related knowledge and client service excellence?

The term service-related knowledge refers to knowledge about the specific service(s) being provided, whereas client service excellence refers to excellence in the skills required for interacting with clients. Table 6 lists some examples of service-related knowledge and client service skills.

Table 6: Service-related knowledge and client service skills
Component Description
Service-related knowledge

Knowledge of the following:

  • departmental mandate, objectives and priorities
  • departmental products, services and partners
  • the program that the service supports
  • related programs and services for clients (for example, those provided by other departments and other levels of government)
  • any applicable service pledges, commitments and standards
  • client expectations
  • service-delivery concepts and techniques
  • existing and emerging client-engagement tools, management tools, technology and applications
  • privacy, identity management, and security practices that support the service
  • the official languages requirements that must be met when providing the service
Client service skills

The ability to do the following:

  • demonstrate an understanding of own role and responsibilities, and those of other parties involved in providing the service
  • follow applicable Government of Canada and departmental policies, regulations and procedures relating to client service
  • use effective interpersonal communication techniques to identify client needs (for example, questioning, active listening) and to maintain positive relationships
  • demonstrate a helpful, caring and professional attitude when serving clients
  • assess a situation and apply problem-solving techniques to achieve positive client service outcomes
  • resolve client service issues, including urgent ones, in a timely manner
  • seek feedback from clients to improve the quality and efficiency of services
  • work collaboratively to provide integrated services to clients
  • provide service that is consistent with organization’s values
  • use language and actions that show respect for clients

2.2.5 How to provide learning opportunities?

Departments that choose to develop service-learning approaches or plans may include the following possible learning opportunities in those learning approaches or plans.

  1. Upon commencement of employment
    • Provide toolkits that include information about government-wide and departmental policy requirements relating to service.
    • Hold briefing sessions to ensure that service providers know the expected client service behaviors when they interact with clients.
    • Distribute information about organizational structure and the governance structure that supports the delivery of services offered by the department.
    • Provide employees with contact information of those who are involved in the delivery of services. Departments that publish their service inventories on their intranet sites can help ensure that all staff have access to this information.
  2. On a regular basis
    • Support service-related training and certification opportunities.
    • Integrate service and service-learning opportunities into performance agreements and learning plans.
    • Offer informal mentoring and coaching opportunities.
    • Organize departmental events and networking opportunities to share information and knowledge about service delivery.
    • Recognize service achievements during team meetings.
    • Develop, maintain and share a list of best practices relating to service.
    • Raise awareness and encourage experimentation with new approaches and technologies relating to service.
    • Review the service-learning approach or plan to ensure that it remains up-to-date.

2.3 Client feedback and issue-resolution mechanisms

2.3.1 Requirement

Section 7.3 of the Policy on Service, which came into effect on October 1, 2015, requires that a mechanism to provide feedback and address client service issues in a timely manner is available to clients.

2.3.2 What are client feedback and issue-resolution mechanisms?

Mechanisms to provide feedback and address service issues may include diverse methods or tools, formal or informal, to collect feedback from clients and to resolve service issues not related to decisions or appeals, such as an ombudsman, a generic departmental email or social media account and questionnaires during service delivery.

Client feedback and issue-resolution mechanisms provide a means for departments to receive and manage input from clients, and involve recording, processing, responding to and reporting on the input received. These mechanisms are generally related to other departmental activities to effectively manage feedback or service issues, such as:

  • implementation of departmental service related policies
  • review of service business processes and standards
  • maintenance of IM/IT database and systems for recording, transmitting and taking action on feedback
  • learning opportunities for front-line staff and managers
What is a service issue?

A service issue refers to a challenge a client is experiencing at any point in the process of receiving a service. It does not relate to recourse related to a decision or a formal appeal process. Though most service issues are minor in nature, they typically require immediate attention in order to be resolved in a timely manner. This is critical to achieving an overall positive service experience for the client. How quickly issues are resolved will depend on their complexity and the operational circumstances of the department. Examples of service issues that could be addressed by the mechanism include:

  • seeking clarification on what information is required to submit a complete application
  • overcoming difficulty with a web page, registering or authenticating a departmental account or submitting an application
  • enquiring on the status of an application

Service issues are routinely raised with client service officers during normal client interactions and can usually be resolved quickly, to the clients’ satisfaction or understanding during the initial contact. To the extent possible, these should be recorded to inform service management improvement.

A range of mechanisms may already exist within a department for managing other types of issues, including those:

  • that are dealt with by an external complaints agency, court or tribunal
  • that involve employment, staff relations or industrial relations matters
  • that are in regard to administrative decisions of the department (for example, decisions regarding funding, accreditation and licensing of facilities)

Departments may elect to use the same mechanism for all types of client feedback or service issues, however, the types of issues covered by each mechanism should be clearly communicated to employees and clients where appropriate. Determining whether an issue identified by a client is eligible for consideration under a particular mechanism can help to avoid wasting resources on a misunderstanding, a wrongly directed concern, or a frivolous matter. For example, if a client’s application for a permit is denied, their perceptions of the service delivery and the decision taken may be negative, when in fact the delivery met or exceeded established service standards. In this case the outcome of the transaction is influencing the client’s satisfaction with the service.

2.3.3 Why are client feedback and issue-resolution mechanisms important?

Client feedback and service issue-resolution mechanisms are critical to delivering services that meet the needs of clients and to continuous improvement. They serve a number of key purposes, including:

  • identifying areas of service design and delivery that require improvement
  • contributing to the overall evaluation of client satisfaction with the department’s services
  • providing an opportunity to establish trusting relationships with clients and the department by assisting clients in overcoming service related challenges
  • increasing operational efficiency and effectiveness by identifying and addressing systemic service delivery issues

2.3.4 Key considerations in establishing client feedback and issue-resolution mechanisms

Feedback and issue-resolution mechanisms are used to manage a broad range of client experience information and usually employ a number of methods across all service delivery channels, both prompted and unprompted. For example, feedback and issue-resolution mechanisms that involve prompting users for input include offers to participate in an exit survey, while an unprompted method could include a “contact us” section that includes a web link, generic email and/or telephone number to contact the department.

Information received through the mechanism can be classified into two broad categories: general feedback that would be used to improve services, including future service improvement work plans, and more specific feedback or complaints on service delivery issues that are likely to require interaction or follow-up with a client, with varying degrees of urgency.

Depending on the type of information and the circumstances involved, a single method may be used for both collecting feedback and resolving service issues. In certain departmental situations involving a large volume of services and transactions, a specific office dedicated to client feedback and service resolution, such as an office of client satisfaction, could be considered.

Examples of client feedback methods
  • a generic “comments,” “compliments” and “complaints” form or link on the department’s web presence
  • a web pop-up during or after service delivery interactions
  • a service agent recording verbal input during an in-person or telephone visit
  • an electronic kiosk at in-person centres where written feedback can be submitted
  • a service exit survey
  • external stakeholders reference group or public opinion research
Examples of methods to resolve client service issues could include:
  • an online live chat function
  • online co-browsing with a service agent
  • telephone or in-person conversation with a service agent
  • a departmental response to the client via email
  • reference to a frequently asked questions repository

2.3.5 Characteristics of effective client feedback and issue-resolution mechanisms

  1. Easily visible and accessible: Feedback and issue-resolution mechanisms should be easily identifiable by clients and their availability should be actively promoted across all channels. Clients who wish to provide feedback or require assistance to resolve a service issue need to know how to provide it and to whom, and this information should be readily available and clear. Consider the following:
  2. Does the department proactively provide information to clients about how to provide feedback through all delivery channels and to whom feedback should be provided, including a contact name, a phone number, and a street, email or social media address? How is this information disseminated?
  3. Does the department provide information about formal independent review bodies, such as relevant judicial bodies?
  4. Are there suitable arrangements to allow people with disabilities to provide feedback/raise issues?
  5. Broad in scope: Feedback mechanisms designed to obtain a representative response from all client groups will provide more balanced feedback and allow for better service management. This may involve multiple feedback methods targeted at different clients to maximize the diversity of views and effectiveness of service improvement responses. Front line employees often experience direct indications of satisfaction through client reactions on a daily basis and this data should be collected as well. Beware however of response biases, which can occur in situations of voluntary response, where those who care enough to respond may have either extremely negative or positive opinions, and may not necessarily be a statistically representative sample of the actual population. Implementing change to respond to client feedback also requires a strategic whole-system approach, including considering the impact of improving results in one area of performance on another. For example, a focus on reducing transaction time to improve client satisfaction may, if not carefully considered, negatively impact service quality, in turn resulting in lower client satisfaction.
  6. Simple for clients: Feedback and issue-resolution mechanisms should be simple for clients to understand and use. Consider the following:
  7. Is guidance on using the feedback and issue-resolution mechanisms available for clients?
  8. Is the format and language used to collect feedback easily understandable by the service’s target clients?
  9. Staff engagement and training: Internally, procedures designed to guide employees in their collection and management of feedback should be applied consistently across the department. Issue resolution approaches, however, may sometimes vary according to the type and nature of the issue. Consider the following:
  10. Are written procedures and/or guidance on feedback and issue-resolution mechanisms available for employees?
  11. Does the department review these procedures regularly?
  12. Has the department designated staff to help address client feedback issues?
  13. Do the procedures set out clear responsibilities for designated staff?

All employees who deal with clients regularly should receive training in techniques for handling issues that may arise. This training could include instruction in negotiation and alternative dispute-resolution skills, and in skills for dealing with difficult people. Consider the following:

  • Do procedures allow employees to resolve issues on the spot if possible, and to provide immediate resolution, where appropriate?
  • If employees cannot deal appropriately with an issue immediately, do the procedures identify the key steps for conducting a full investigation and for providing a full final reply?
  • Are there standards for dealing with various types of issues, and for each step in responding to clients, such as acknowledgment, interim reply and final reply?
  • Does the department monitor standards and review them regularly?
  • Does the department’s client relations management system allow employees to access information about an issue quickly?
  • Responsiveness: Capturing and responding to client feedback in a comprehensive and timely manner is important in addressing negative experiences. For complex cases that require more time for follow-up, clients should be kept informed of the progress on addressing the issues they’ve raised throughout the feedback/issue-resolution process.
  • Monitoring and reporting: Most leading organizations also establish performance metrics related to client service (for example, response times, number of rings) and collect data to monitor their own performance. The frequency of data collection should correspond to the nature of the service and the frequency and nature of interaction with a client. A positive outcome or improvement in service resulting from client feedback or issue resolution may boost the public’s confidence in government programs and services in the long term. It is therefore important to publicly report on issues analysis and to show where this had led to improvements.

Providing clients with an opportunity to view a summary of survey results and/or actions undertaken in response to comments/complaints and suggestions will provide transparency, demonstrate that their feedback is valuable, and encourage their continued participation. Consider the following:

  • Has the department made service improvements after assessing issues raised by clients?
  • Does the department publish information about issues and their resolution?

2.3.6 Key considerations

  • Consider a corporate-wide approach: The adoption of a corporate-wide approach allows for a more consistent client experience and provides greater insight in identifying and addressing service issues.
  • Consider third-party research on client satisfaction: Third-party research on client satisfaction can provide valuable insight on how to improve the client experience. As an example of third-party research, the Institute on Citizen Centered Service report Citizens First 7 notes that issue resolution and delivery timeliness for online service have the greatest impact on overall client satisfaction, and represent the greatest opportunities for improvements.
  • Feedback and service issue resolution on Canada.ca: Existing and planned departmental online client feedback and issue-resolution mechanisms are expected to be accessible via Canada.ca once migration and optimization of departmental web content is complete. To improve access to online feedback and issue-resolution mechanisms, it is recommended that departments ensure that their mechanisms are:
    • findable, regardless of the service being sought;
    • relevant and detailed enough for the service(s) it covers; and
    • consistent with the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat findability and presentation guidance from the Canada.ca Content and Information Architecture Specification.

2.4 Review of priority services

2.4.1 Requirement

Section 7.4 of the Policy on Service, which came into effect on October 1, 2015, requires that priority services be reviewed regularly by departments to identify opportunities for service redesign, improved usability, channel integration and mobile optimization. It also requires that, where appropriate, departments adopt best-in-class service delivery approaches, alternative service delivery mechanisms and partnership arrangements.

2.4.2 What is a review of priority services?

A review of priority services consists of a systematic assessment of a department’s priority services against the aforementioned criteria to identify opportunities for service improvement, greater effectiveness and increased efficiency.

2.4.3 Why is it important to review priority services?

The regular review of priority services is a key practice in ensuring that services meet the evolving needs of clients, are efficient, and align with the overall Government of Canada Service Direction.

2.4.4 Application

A departmental review of priority services does not need to be a complex process, although it does require a methodical approach and good understanding of the department’s current service environment, its priorities, its services, as well as coordination with key departmental and other service stakeholders.

When undertaking a review of priority services, consider the following key steps:

  1. Identify or establish a working group composed of representatives from various areas within your department that have an interest or stake in this exercise. Consider, including key representatives from the policy, program, service delivery, information management, information technology, security, privacy and corporate/strategic planning areas of your department.
  2. Identify and confirm your department’s priority services, referring to your departmental service inventory. Consider any recent changes to your departmental mandate, context or services.
  3. Identify and confirm the key review questions that will be used to assess your department’s priority services. Apply the review questions to assess your departmental priority services. See Appendix 2A, which provides a Priority Service Review Tool.
  4. For those priority services that are identified as having potential for redesign or optimization, identify the specific improvement initiatives that are required. For each potential redesign/optimization initiative, consider the following questions:
    1. What are the overall benefits?
    2. What are the associated costs?
    3. What are the risks of proceeding or not proceeding?
    4. Are there opportunities to collaborate with others?
  5. On the basis of Step 5 above, identify which priority services should be recommended for service redesign/optimization and establish a draft implementation plan with key actions, project leads and timelines. As part of this step, consider collaborating with key organizational partners in service delivery, such as program managers, the departmental Chief Information Officer, the Senior Departmental Official, and Web Manager.
  6. Validate the proposed priority service redesign and optimization implementation plan with your organization’s senior management. When appropriate, engage in broader discussions with potential external service delivery partners (such as departments with similar mandates, services or business processes) and clients.
  7. Once approved, your service redesign and optimization initiatives should be reflected in your department’s service management strategy.
  8. Regularly monitor the implementation of the plan and report on progress. Ensure appropriate linkages to your department’s service management strategy, performance measurement framework, and any other government-wide service improvement initiatives.
  9. Review and adjust your plans as required, ensuring that your service improvement initiatives address the needs of your clients and result in operational efficiencies.

2.4.5 Key considerations

Once you have identified your overarching goals or objectives for service improvement, you may wish to consider the following key questions as part of your review of priority services.

  1. Are any of the department’s priority services not available online, end-to-end? If not, why is this the case, and can these be modernized to meet the online service expectations of clients?
  2. Are there any specific client satisfaction issues related to the department’s priority services that need to be addressed? A review of performance against service standards, the results of recent audits, evaluations and surveys of client satisfaction is a good place to start.
  3. Are there any opportunities to improve the general service experience of clients? Consider the following key service elements:
    1. choice of access point
    2. ease of access / “findability”
    3. seamless/integrated
    4. streamlined and intuitive application process
    5. robust security and privacy controls
    6. consistency in experience
    7. proactive delivery
  4. Are there opportunities to improve the efficiency of priority service delivery? Consider the following:
  5. streamlining business processes
  6. managing service channels to increase the number and use of online services and reduce the volume of more expensive in-person and telephone services (incentives/disincentives)
  7. aligning or integrating services or service improvement initiatives with others (within the program, department, government or other jurisdictions)

2.5 Departmental service management strategies

2.5.1 Requirement

Section 7.5 of the Policy on Service, which came into effect on October 1, 2015, requires that a multi-year departmental service management strategy be developed and implemented in alignment with the Government of Canada service direction, and that progress be measured annually.

2.5.2 What is a service management strategy?

In general terms, a strategy is a high-level plan of action to achieve a major or overall goal. A service management strategy outlines, among other things, what selected service improvement initiatives a department intends to pursue over a multi-year (that is, two- to five-year) period to improve the department’s services.

Developing and implementing a service management strategy demonstrates a department’s commitment to effective service management and to advancing the Policy on Service’s principles of client-centric service, operational efficiency, and a culture of service management excellence. A sample table of contents for departmental service management strategies is available in Appendix 2B. Departments may use this as a starting point and adjust the content to reflect their operational context and needs.

2.5.3 Why is a service management strategy important?

There are several benefits to developing a service management strategy:

  • It demonstrates alignment between department-wide strategies and the Government of Canada service direction, which is set out in the objectives, principles, expected results and requirements of the Policy
  • It brings an integrated and coherent approach to selecting service improvement initiatives that lead to better services for clients
  • It improves accountability and enables departments to demonstrate yearly progress towards meeting its service improvement goals

Before developing a departmental service management strategy, departments will want to have developed and reviewed their service inventory.

2.5.4 Key elements of a service management strategy

Typically, a service management strategy contains the following key elements:

  • Departmental context: Overview of the department’s overall role and approach to service. Content in this section could include: a description of the department’s mandate and principal responsibilities related to service; the general context in which the department operates; background information on previous service initiatives (strategies or otherwise); and the relationship to other departmental or Government of Canada–wide investments or initiatives.
  • Service vision: An aspirational description of what an organization would like to achieve or accomplish in the mid-term or long-term future as it relates to its services. Serves as a clear guide for choosing current and future courses of action. Vision statements are aspirational; they lay out the most important primary goals for the department. With a single unifying vision statement, employees and management have a clear understanding of the common goal and can be collectively deployed in reaching the department’s service vision.
  • Analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT): A summary of the department’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats with regard to service design, delivery and overall management. The department can also reference previous client feedback, performance against service standards, assessments, evaluations, and audits (Office of the Auditor General or departmental).
  • Objectives: The aim and purpose of the service management strategy, taking into consideration the defined service vision/goals and findings of the analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Objectives should align to the department’s mandate and overall priorities and the Government of Canada service direction, as established by the Treasury Board Policy on Service and any other relevant high-level, agenda-setting documents (for example, Speeches from the Throne, budget announcements).
  • Service improvement initiatives: Short- and long-term activities, which, when pursued, help the department to achieve their service improvement objectives. As they are completed or as new priorities arise, the department may select new initiatives for the next iteration of the strategy. Key content could include the following: name and general description of the initiative; scope (which services the initiative will apply to); rationale (the basis on which it was selected as a priority/initiative); and implementation information, which may include targets, time frames, milestones, performance indicators, implementation costs and leads.
  • Performance monitoring, reporting and recalibration: Outline of the department’s plan to monitor progress against the service improvement initiatives and their respective objectives. Regular measuring of progress helps those responsible for the strategy (that is, oversight committee, designated senior managers, or a champion) to oversee its implementation, and assists with ensuring that the service management strategy is fully and effectively implemented. The Policy on Service (see section 7.5 of the Policy) requires yearly measurement of progress and this can be demonstrated through an annual performance report or an update to a department’s strategy. Departments may want to share their updates on progress with departmental staff, management and clients. Openly sharing updates on performance allows stakeholders to be aware of progress in implementing service improvement initiatives. To avoid duplication of effort, expected results and indicators should align with those developed for the program’s Supporting Effective Evaluations: A Guide to Developing Performance Measurement Strategies and the departmental Performance Management Framework, per the Policy on Results.
  • Risk assessment and mitigation plan: The expression of the likelihood and impact of an event with the potential to affect the achievement of an organization’s objectives (see Framework for the Management of Risk). This section provides an overview of the key risks in implementing the department’s service management strategy and what plans will be put in place to mitigate these. One might consider the departmental Corporate Risk Profile when developing this section.
  • Integrated service improvement work plan: An overview of how the strategy will be implemented, including a summary of key initiatives, anticipated completion dates and assigned accountabilities. It is meant to provide sufficient detail to understand the basic elements of the strategy (service improvement initiatives) at a glance, and how the pieces fit together. A complete service improvement work plan will also include the date by which the strategy is reviewed and updated. A sample template for an integrated service improvement work plan is provided in Appendix 2C.

2.5.5 Service management strategy: annual update

In order to keep their service management strategy current when significant changes occur, departments are encouraged to prepare an annual update to their service management strategy.

The annual update should clearly articulate what has changed and/or completed from their previously approved strategy, and should be practical and streamlined. For example, the update can consist of:

  • a 2- to 3-page Word document, with a separate, updated work plan as the appendix; or
  • an 8- to 10-slide PowerPoint presentation, with a separate, updated work plan as the appendix.

The annual update should include the following elements:

  1. An overview of the department’s current service management strategy, including:
    • where it can be found (link to current strategy)
    • when it was approved and last updated, if applicable
  2. An overview of what is different and/or what has changed in the strategy. In doing this, consider the following key elements of a service management strategy:
    A. Departmental context
    • any updates relating to the service environment (for example, operational context, mandate, leadership, legislation)
    B. Service vision
    • any changes in the department’s service vision, service priorities or primary goals that affect service (for example, Speech from the Throne, budget announcement)
    C. Analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
    • any updates in the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities or threats
    • state the results and impact of internal or external audits/evaluations (for example, Office of the Auditor General reports)
    D. Objectives
    • any changes in the objectives to align with changes in the service vision
    E. An updated list of service improvement initiatives/commitments
    • progress to date on previous service improvement initiatives
    • new service improvement initiatives that are or will be underway, reflective and as a result of changes
    F. Performance monitoring, reporting and recalibration
    • any new performance measurement plans, reporting and recalibration required to reflect the new service improvement initiatives
    G. Risk Assessment and Mitigation Plan
    • update on key risks in implementing the updated service management strategy, and the plans to mitigate these new risks
  3. Updated integrated service improvement work plan (appendix)
    • an updated work plan, which includes a summary of the key initiatives, including anticipated completion dates and assigned accountabilities, based on the updated service management strategy elements

The annual update should be approved by the same executive or committee that approved the original service management strategy.

Definition of key service management strategy terms
Vision
An aspirational description of what an organization would like to achieve or accomplish in the mid-term or long-term future. Serves as a clear guide for choosing current and future courses of action. Vision statements are aspirational; they lay out the most important primary goals for the department. With a single unifying vision statement, employees and management have a clear understanding of the common goal and can be collectively deployed in reaching the department’s service vision.
Goals and/or objectives
The aim and purpose of the service management strategy, taking into consideration the defined service vision/goals and findings of the analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Objectives should align to the department’s mandate and overall priorities and the Government of Canada service direction, as established by the Treasury Board Policy on Service and any other relevant high-level, agenda-setting documents (for example, Speech from the Throne, budget announcements and mandate letters).
Initiatives
Short- and long-term activities, which, when pursued, help the department to achieve their service improvement objectives. As they are completed or as new priorities arise, the department may select new initiatives for the next iteration of the strategy. Key content could include the following: name and general description of the initiative; scope (which services the initiative will apply to); rationale (the basis on which it was selected as a priority/initiative); and implementation information, which may include targets, time frames, milestones, performance indicators, implementation costs and leads.
Activities
The collection of actions taken by the department that support the achievement of the overall initiatives.

Note: Commitments can be made at the any above levels.

2.5.6 Key considerations

  1. Scope and focus: The scope and focus of a strategy, including the services and service improvement initiatives it encompasses, will be influenced by the department’s operational context and priorities. The service management strategy should align with the Policy on Service and include links, as appropriate, to the department’s Report on Plans and Priorities, Departmental Performance Report, and other key corporate documents.
  2. Ensure department-wide engagement: The most robust and successful strategies are those that are developed, approved and implemented on a department-wide basis, with buy-in from all members of the department’s senior management team.
  3. Assign a senior management lead: The lead can be responsible for ensuring a department-wide approach and liaising with the senior management team, for ensuring the strategy has sign-off by the department’s deputy head, and for monitoring and reporting on its implementation.
  4. Keep it evergreen: While much of the strategy (for example, context and service vision) will remain relatively stable over the life of the strategy, departments may want to update the list of service initiatives and related work plan more regularly. This will ensure that the strategy remains relevant and useful to support service improvement.
  5. Link it to other planning processes: Each department has its own business planning and oversight processes. The service management strategy can be used to support business planning and vice-versa. Departments are encouraged to establish linkages to other corporate processes because it will advance implementation of the strategy over time.
  6. Showcase and promote innovation: Service innovation is a key enabler for service transformation and it’s important to recognize it when it occurs. Departments may want to use awards (to a team or an individual) to recognize important contributions to improving the design and delivery of its services. Additionally, promoting service achievements can raise awareness amongst staff and support a culture of service excellence.

2.6 User engagement approach for e-services

2.6.1 Requirement

Section 7.6 of the Policy on Service, which came into effect on October 1, 2015, requires that user engagement approaches be developed to promote awareness and uptake of e-services.

2.6.2 What is a user engagement approach for e-services?

A user engagement approach is a strategic plan that promotes awareness amongst clients of the availability of e-services, the benefits of using them and how to access and use them, with the ultimate goal of increasing uptake.

2.6.3 Why is a user engagement approach important?

The development and implementation of a user engagement approach helps ensure that clients are aware and making use of the services that are available online and that such services are used effectively.

2.6.4 What should be included in a user engagement approach?

The following are some of the key elements of a user engagement approach:

  1. A client-centric, multiplatform awareness campaign. In order to effectively migrate clients to e-services, clients must be aware that this option is available and be aware of the benefits of online services. Promoting awareness of the availability of e-services should be done through all existing delivery channels, and can include using correspondence or reminders when using them in person or telephone channels. Departments may wish to promote the benefits of using e-services, such as the added convenience it may offer, or the reduced time it would take to complete an application. These benefits may be communicated in real-time, while the client is seeking a service through another channel.

    All plans that include communications with the public must comply with the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada.

  2. A client-centric explanation on how to use the e-service. Ease-of-use is essential to the success of e-services. Clearly and thoroughly explaining how to access and use available e-services will help increase their use. Instructions and guidance should be tailored to a wide range of clients (for example, literacy levels, language).
  3. A measurement plan to assess areas of success and weakness. It is important to know whether or not the user engagement approach is effective. Success of the user engagement approach can be measured through planning for the development and measurement of various indicators, such as the increase in e-service uptake.

2.6.5 Key considerations

The following are some key points to consider when developing or implementing a user engagement approach to promote the awareness and uptake of e-services.

  • Incorporate user engagement into the service management strategy. Departments are not required to have a separate plan on user engagement; it can be articulated within the department’s service management strategy or other corporate documents.
  • Engage the department’s communications group in the development and implementation of the user engagement approach. They can provide valuable insight and advice on outreach activities and can coordinate these efforts with any other related communications initiatives for maximum impact. Also, the user engagement approach should be aligned with and reflected in the department’s existing communications strategy.
  • Explain the benefits of e-services to clients. Making clients aware of the time-saving and potentially cost-saving benefits of e-services provides incentive to use e-channels over other, less efficient channels.
  • Ensure that the department’s e-services are secure and working properly. This will increase the likelihood that those who use e-services have a positive experience and return in the future. It can only take one negative experience for clients to choose not to use the department’s e-services, and possibly other government services.
  • Assure clients that their personal information is secure. Informing clients that the online channel is just as secure as it would be if they were to use other channels is important. It can only take one negative service experience for clients to choose not to use the department’s e-services, and possibly other government services.
  • Address a diverse audience. Clients who are already tech savvy will likely migrate to e-service as soon as they are aware they exist. However, other clients may need further prompting since not all clients can be reached in the same way or through the same communications medium. Use a variety of platforms and methods in developing the department’s user engagement approach.

2.7 Service standards and performance information

2.7.1 Requirement

Section 7.7 of the Policy on Service, which came into effect on October 1, 2015, requires that service standards and real-time service delivery performance information for priority services to be available to clients on Canada.ca for external services and on internal collaborative tools for internal enterprise services.

Departments are responsible for ensuring they comply with all policy requirements for service standards. These include not only those contained in the Policy on Service, but also those in the Cabinet Directive on Regulatory Management, the 2004 Policy on Service Standards for External Fees, the 2004 User Fees Act and the 2008 Policy on Transfer Payments.

This section provides guidance on setting and managing service standards and real-time performance information to support the design and delivery of services, as required by the Policy on Service. Figure 2 below provides a generic step-by-step lifecycle that can be applied to all service standards.

Figure 2. Phases and steps in life-cycle management of service standards

Figure 2. Phases and steps in life-cycle management of service standards
Text version: Figure 2. Phases and steps in life-cycle management of service standards

Figure 2 lays out the overall process (inside circle) and presents the specific steps included under each phase (outside circle). While 5 phases and 15 steps are presented in a sequential order, some can be undertaken concurrently.

2.7.2 What is a service standard?

A service standard is a public commitment to a measurable level of performance that clients can expect under “normal circumstances” (expected level of demand for regular day-to-day service operations).

The term “normal circumstances” refers to the expected level of supply and demand for regular day-to-day service operations. This differs from special circumstances where regular service standards may not apply. These are circumstances that are typically not within the organization’s control. Examples include holidays, the end of April for tax filing, natural disasters, or other emergency situations.

What are the types of service standards?

There are generally three types of service standards:

Access standard:
a commitment outlining the ease and convenience the client should experience when attempting to access a service
Timeliness standard:
a commitment stating how long the client should expect to wait to receive a service once the service has been accessed
Accuracy standard:
a commitment stipulating that the client will receive a service that is up to date, free of errors, and complete
What are the characteristics of a good service standard?

When designing service standards, consider the following key characteristics:

Relevant to the client:
service standards are consistent with client expectations and address aspects of the service they value most within available resource allocations
Based on consultation:
service standards are developed in consultation with clients, managers, staff, and other partners in service delivery to ensure that they are meaningful to clients and match the organization’s mandate and capacity
Measurable:
service standards are quantifiable and linked to monitoring activities
Consistent across government:
service standards should be consistent throughout federal organizations providing similar services. Having similar service standards across government for similar services helps both clients and government. Clients will find it easier to deal with different organizations, and the organizations themselves will find it easier to share best practices and adopt common approaches
Ambitious but realistic:
service standards are sufficiently challenging to service providers yet are realistic in terms of capacity
Endorsed by management:
service standards are understood and endorsed by senior management
Communicated:
service standards are clearly communicated to clients, employees, and other stakeholders to help manage expectations and performance
Transparent:
service standards are monitored and reported to senior management, and performance results are published to ensure transparency and promote client trust
Continuously updated:
service standards are regularly reviewed and updated as appropriate

2.7.3 Why are service standards important?

Service standards are integral to good client service and to effectively managing performance. They help clarify expectations for clients and employees can drive service improvement, and contribute to results-based management. Service standards reinforce government accountability by making performance transparent, and increase the confidence of Canadians in government by demonstrating the government’s commitment to service excellence.

Service standards serve two key purposes:

  • They provide staff with performance targets (“Phone must be answered within three rings”)
  • They inform clients what to expect (“Our goal is to resolve all calls within 10 minutes”)

2.7.4 What is real-time service delivery performance information?

Real-time service delivery performance information is information on the current level of performance that clients can expect to be provided for a service.

The concept of real-time means that timely information on the expected delivery of the final (service) output is available so that citizens and businesses can choose when to use government services based on that information.

For example, travellers approaching Canada can check the Canada Border Services Agency’s online service to know the current wait times at a particular border crossing and decide on which to use. In publishing this information, the Canada Border Services Agency helps clients set realistic expectations about its service.

Real-time service delivery performance information can be grouped into three categories based on the frequency of updates and the speed in which information is processed. They are as follows:

Timed updates:
where service delivery performance information is made available to clients based on timed or scheduled events (for example, once a week, day or hour)
Near real-time updates:
where service delivery performance information is made available to clients within a minimal delay (for example, a five-minute delay)
Instantaneous updates:
where service delivery performance information is made available to clients immediately and without delay (for example, live information feed)

The frequency and speed of updates will vary for each service. Departments need to consider what real-time means in the context of each service, including what makes sense to clients, and to determine how best to publish real-time service delivery performance information. Service providers are best positioned to determine which frequency of update is most suited to each service.

Typically real-time information is focused on the timing to deliver a final output to a client. It can however, provide updates on the anticipated time frames for delivering intermediate outputs if they are anticipated by, and given directly to, clients as part of a larger process to deliver a service.

When establishing real-time service delivery performance information approaches, consider the following key characteristics:

  • easily and quickly accessed
  • relevant to the client
  • linked to service standards
  • communicated
  • transparent
  • data timeliness and accuracy
  • focus on outputs: whether on the final (service) output or an intermediate output

2.7.5 Why is real-time service delivery performance information important?

Although service standards inform clients what to expect based on organizational service targets, they do not provide current performance information that permits citizens and businesses to make behavioural choices when accessing government services. Real-time service delivery performance information bridges this gap.

2.7.6 What is an operational performance target?

Service standards and real-time performance information should be linked to an operational performance target. An operational performance target is defined as the frequency (often expressed as a percentage) that the organization expects to meet the service standard (for example, we will meet our service standard 90% of the time).

2.7.7 Why is an operational performance target important?

The target takes into account the risks associated with process delays and uncertainties arising from factors, such as workload fluctuations, staff movements, and seasonal variations.

The purpose of the operational performance target is to help manage operations and track progress against overall delivery objectives. The target is typically for management use but can also be made available to the public.

2.7.8 Understanding how different metrics link together

Service standards, real-time service delivery performance information and operational performance targets are three distinct and complementary metrics. Together, departments can use these metrics to help manage service delivery results and client expectations.

The table below provides examples of the different metrics used to assess service performance.

Table 8: Examples of service performance metrics
Service standard Operational performance target Real-time performance information
The Canada Revenue Agency has put in place a standard to process T2 corporation income tax returns within 60 days. The target for achieving this standard is set at 90%. The Canada Revenue Agency is currently processing T2 corporation income tax returns within 45 days.
Western Economic Diversification Canada has established a standard that states: “WD will issue a claim payment cheque within 15 business days of receiving a complete claim from the client, including all of the required claim information.” The target for meeting this standard is set at 95%. Western Economic Diversification Canada is currently issuing claim payment cheques within 10 days of receiving a complete claim.

2.7.9 How do the metrics contribute to organizational management?

Collecting data on implementing service standards, the attainment of operational targets and performance information over time means that managers can monitor service performance. The data can be analyzed to make improvements to an individual service and to better manage services across a service metrics portfolio.

A service metrics portfolio represents all the service metrics a department has in place, or a common set of services. Examining service metrics across a portfolio increases transparency and encourages consistency. It also facilitates the development of coherent approaches to implementing and using metrics across sectors and branches. Finally, examining service metrics as a portfolio helps ensure that all major services and client groups have been addressed.

When integrated with corporate planning and reporting activities, service metrics are a useful tool to support overall organizational management:

  • The Treasury Board Policy on Results requires departments to establish a Performance Information Profile, providing “an overview of the “raison d’être” of the Program and enables the collection of data to support monitoring, routine decision-making, evaluation, reviews and other activities for Programs.” Service standards and real-time performance information comprise two sources of information that can be used to develop a performance measurement framework related to services.
  • Part III of the Estimates process requires that departments prepare departmental expenditure plans consisting of a Report on Plans and Priorities and a Departmental Performance Report. Service standards and real-time performance information help express and formulate performance objectives and can be incorporated into the business planning process. Reporting on performance against service standards helps demonstrate progress toward expected results.
  • The Management Accountability Framework sets out the Treasury Board’s expectations for effective performance. One of the 10 elements that make up the Management Accountability Framework is service management. Service standards and real-time performance are essential components in achieving service excellence and directly contribute to advancing results-oriented management activities.

2.7.10 Application

As noted above, there are several Government of Canada requirements related to service standards, including those noted in legislation or a Treasury Board policy instrument.

If a department is in the early stages of implementing service standards, it is encouraged to develop a departmental implementation plan to enable compliance with all existing mandatory requirements related to service standards. Additionally, such a plan could be considered as a service improvement initiative or project for inclusion in the department’s service management strategy.

2.7.11 Key considerations

When establishing service standards, consider the following:

  1. Explore the implications of national (or global) service standards on regional services: Departments that deliver services across the country (and, in some instances, worldwide) may wish to consider the targeted client groups and the different resource levels at each of the service points. Determining the impact of national standards on regional operations prior to implementation can address potential variations and implementation challenges.

    National service standards are preferred because they help departments to send a consistent message to all clients. Where possible, avoid sending different messages to each region or client group or encouraging unwanted comparisons between the levels of service offered in each region.

  2. Verify that service standards do not create legal liabilities: Involve legal services early in the process and consult on the wording of service standards and the potential risks associated with non-performance. Fine print, footnotes, and other forms of caveats may provide good risk management, but be careful not to overly diminish the intent of service standards or to create readability or interpretation challenges for clients.
  3. Find the right balance between ambitious and safe standards: Establishing ambitious but achievable standards help an organization improve its performance and meet the expectations of clients. Reviewing service standards regularly and taking performance into account provides an opportunity for adjustment, including raising the standards if appropriate.

    Organizations that strive to continuously improve their performance are likely to meet client expectations more frequently and thereby increase client satisfaction.

    After service standards have been in place for a while, departments may decide to raise their service standards. Increases in expectations should be gradual to ensure that employees understand the changes and can contribute to their attainment.

  4. Monitor performance to determine if course corrections are required: A regular review of whether service standards and operational-targets are being met can help senior managers determine whether resource adjustments are required. It is possible that the service standard may be overly ambitious or overly conservative. Determine whether the variance between the service standard and actual performance is temporary or longstanding.

It may be necessary to scan the environment, both internally and externally, to determine possible influences that affect the attainment of service standards. Table 8 identifies three performance results scenarios and possible courses of action.

Table 8: Three performance results scenarios and possible courses of action
Scenario 1:
results exceed standards
Scenario 2:
results are consistent with standards
Scenario 3:
results fall short of standards
  1. Determine why standards are being exceeded:
    • Was the methodology used to develop the standards adequate?
    • Has the organization’s capacity improved?
    • Are the standards too low?
    • Were projections about trends and client behaviours accurate?
    • Did circumstances change, such as lower than expected demand or new technology?
  2. Decide how to respond:
    • Raise standards where appropriate.
    • Redeploy resources to lower-performing areas.
    • Communicate results to clients, staff, and service delivery partners.
    • Share knowledge, including best practices and lessons learned, with the service community.
    • Celebrate success.
  3. Prepare plans to address emerging/longer-term issues, such as resources, capacity, expected change in demand, and new priorities.
  1. Confirm that clients are satisfied with current levels of service through client feedback and results of client satisfaction measurement.
  2. Determine whether higher standards are warranted or desirable.
  3. Prepare plans to address emerging/longer-term issues, such as resources, capacity, expected change in demand, and new priorities.
  1. Determine why standards are not being met:
    • Are service standards too high?
    • Is the business process unclear or unnecessarily cumbersome?
    • Were there unexpected changes in resource capacity and level of demand for service?
    • Was sufficient attention paid to the potential impact of known trends, such as new demand, or change in channel preferences?
  2. Decide how to respond:
    • Rethink the business process?
    • Increase capacity?
    • Identify best practices for similar services?
    • Consult stakeholders?
    • Lower service standards if appropriate?
  3. Inform stakeholders of your plans to address outstanding issues and to improve service.

    Remember to take financial resources and changing organizational priorities into account.

  1. Secure the necessary approvals for proposed service standards and operational targets: From the outset, determine which level of approval is required before implementing a service standard and an operational target. Some service standards are established in policy or legislation and may require ministerial approval. Also, involving legal affairs from the outset can also identify and mitigate potential challenges early in the approval process.
  2. Determine the best approach for publishing real-time performance: Before determining the best approach to publishing real-time performance data, determine what is affordable given the operational context. A cost-benefit analysis or other type of analysis that determines whether the benefit outweighs the implementation cost is recommended. Undertaking such an analysis provides senior managers with the information necessary to determine the best approach given the operational context.

2.7.12 Additional resources

For additional information and tools for this requirement, please consult the Guideline on Service Standards, published separately.

2.8 Mandatory services

2.8.1 Requirement

Section 7.8 of the Policy on Service, which came into effect on October 1, 2015, requires that mandatory services be adopted where available. This requirement complements section 5.1 of the Common Services Policy, which states that departments must use mandatory services to meet their requirements.

2.8.2 What are mandatory services?

Mandatory services are services provided by a Government of Canada department that other departments must use to meet their business needs. Mandatory enterprise services derive their mandatory status through either legislation or Treasury Board policy.

2.8.3 Why are mandatory services important?

Mandatory services generally address a common Government of Canada business need and are intended to reduce siloed operations, duplication and inefficiency. Examples of mandatory services include acquisition and compensation services (Public Services and Procurement Canada) and legal services (Justice Canada).

2.8.4 Which services are categorized as mandatory services?

A list of mandatory services can be found in Appendix E of the Common Services Policy.

2.9 Proportion of e-services

2.9.1 Requirement

Section 7.9 of the Policy on Service, which came into effect on October 1, 2016, requires that the proportion of external and internal enterprise e-services be increased annually, according to a department’s service management strategy.

The objective of this requirement is to ensure that the number of services available to clients that can be completed online is increased annually and that a department’s plans to do so are captured within their service management strategy.

2.9.2 What are e-enabled services?

As noted previously (see section 1.8.1 ), e-enabled services are defined as services that can be completed online from end-to-end, except in circumstances where it is prohibited by law or security considerations or not practically feasible.

2.9.3 Why is increasing the proportion of e-services important?

Jurisdictions within Canada and around the world are increasingly focusing their efforts on delivering a better online service experience that clients want to use. Canadians and businesses have been clear that they expect e-enabled government services that are accessible, fast, personalized, respect privacy, and secure. E-services are not just convenient for clients; they are significantly more cost-effective than services delivered through in-person or telephone channels.

2.9.4 How to determine the proportion of e-enabled services?

Keeping track of the proportion of departmental external and internal enterprise e-enabled services over time is an important element in meeting objectives related to the availability of online services. The following calculation method can help determine the proportion of e-services:

Number of e-enabled external and internal enterprise services
(divided by)
Total number of external and internal enterprise services

The calculation is to be based on information contained in the department’s service inventory, and any services excluded from the calculation should be documented with a rationale.

When determining the proportion of e-enabled services, consider the following:

  • Establish a consistent department-wide method of measuring and reporting on e-enabled services based on key client interaction points (see Figure 3 below); interaction points are to be applied as relevant to the specific service.
  • Analyze services and intermediate activities to identify and document those that cannot (or should not) be completed online.
  • Identify and address department-wide and government-wide challenges to completing online services.

Figure 3 below provides a measurement framework for determining the proportion of e-services.

In addition to calculating the proportion of e-services, departments may also wish to calculate the average percentage of each service that can be completed online, excluding services and intermediate activities that are not suitable to be completed via this channel. This calculation is important, given that it provides information on the extent of progress in making services available to be completed from end to end, taking into account any exclusion. The following calculation method can help determine the average percentage of each service that can be completed online:

Sum of % of each external and internal enterprise service that can be completed online
(divided by)
Total number of external and internal enterprise services

Figure 3: Measurement framework for determining the proportion of e-services

Figure 3: Measurement framework for determining the proportion of e-services
Text version: Figure 3: Measurement framework for determining the proportion of e-services

2.9.5 Key considerations

Important points to consider regarding this requirement include:

  1. The requirement applies to both external services and internal enterprise, regardless of whether those services require authentication
  2. The requirement does not set a specific target for the proportion of internal enterprise or external e-enabled services that each department must make available to clients
  3. When establishing plans to increase the proportion of e-services, consider the following:
  4. Start with the department’s priority services and broadening the scope over time based on key factors, such as volume of service, cost/benefit, and risk
  5. Collaborating with key partners, such as the departmental Chief Information Officer, Web Senior Departmental Official, and other Government of Canada departments with similar services
  6. The Standard on Web Usability ensures Government of Canada websites and Web applications respect usability principles and approaches. New websites and Web applications must meet the requirements in section 6 when they are published. Also, the Technical specifications for the web and mobile presence describes how to optimize websites and Web applications for mobile devices, as well as the layout and design specifications for websites, Web applications and device-based mobile applications
  7. The Canada.ca Content and Information Architecture Specification, in conjunction with the Canada.ca Content Style Guide will provide the necessary content-related guidance for institutions as they prepare themselves for migration. The Specification provides:
  8. A blueprint for how content on Canada.ca will be organized
  9. Templates and guidelines to inform the content re-work, development and harmonization necessary by institutions as they prepare to migrate their content to the Managed Web Services platform and decommission their URLS
  10. Requirements which are key for effective alignment with the implementation of the Managed Web Service

2.10 Priority-authenticated services and real-time application status

2.10.1 Requirement

Section 7.10 of the Policy on Service , which takes effect on October 1, 2017, requires that priority-authenticated external services are e-enabled, with real-time application status available to clients.

2.10.2 What is a priority-authenticated service?

A priority-authenticated service is a priority service that relies on a credential assurance to carry out a transaction securely (as per the Standard on Identity and Credential Assurance).

2.10.3 Why is e-enabling priority-authenticated services important?

E-enabling priority-authenticated services is important because clients should be able to complete the department’s priority-authenticated external services online from end-to-end, and have access to real-time information on the state of their request or application. When accessing government services, clients need the most up-to-date information that will allow them to make behavioural choices about their interactions.

2.10.4 Key considerations

Important points to consider regarding this requirement include:

  • The requirement only applies to a limited number of the department’s services, which can be identified using the following cascading questions:
    1. What are the department’s priority services?
    2. Which of those priority services are external services?
    3. Which of those priority external services require the client to authenticate themselves in order to apply for and/or receive the service?
  • The requirement sets a clear target that 100% of a department’s priority-authenticated external services be e-enabled, with real-time application status available to clients.

Appendix 2A. Priority service review tool

Name of priority service
Review question Assessment
1. Is further work required to make this service fully e-enabled, end-to-end? Yes/No
2. Are there any specific client satisfaction issues related to this service? If so, identify potential service improvement initiatives. Yes/No
3. Are there any opportunities to improve the general service experience of clients for this service? If so, identify potential service improvement initiatives. Yes/No
4. Are there opportunities to improve the overall delivery efficiency of this service? If so, identify potential service improvement initiatives. Yes/No
a) Can the business process for this service be streamlined? Yes/No
b) Are there opportunities to align or integrate this service with other services (within the program, department, government or other jurisdictions) for better client service and/or greater efficiency? Yes/No
5. If yes to any of the above questions, what service redesign or optimization activities are recommended? Identify the proposed service improvement initiatives and consider the following questions for each.
6. What are the overall benefits of pursuing these initiatives? List the benefits.
7. What are the costs associated with these initiatives? List the costs.
8. What are the risks of proceeding or not proceeding with these initiatives? List the risks.
9. Are there opportunities to collaborate with external partners in pursuing the redesign or optimization initiatives? List any opportunities for collaboration.
10. Should this priority service be recommended for service redesign or optimization? Yes/No

Appendix 2B. Service management strategy: sample table of contents

The following sample table of contents contains the key elements of a service management strategy. Departments can adjust this to meet their specific context and reporting needs:

  1. Executive summary
    • purpose
    • key time frame for the strategy
    • governance
  2. Departmental context
    • department’s operational context
    • department’s mandate and key responsibilities related to service
    • services covered by the service management strategy
    • relationship to other departmental or Government of Canada–wide investments or initiatives
  3. Departmental service vision
  4. Departmental analysis of
    • strengths
    • weaknesses
    • opportunities
    • threats
  5. Service improvement objectives and initiatives
  6. Performance framework
    • performance measurement plan
    • evaluation approach
  7. Risk management
    • key implementation risks
    • risk mitigation plans

Appendix: integrated service improvement work plan

Appendix 2C. Integrated service improvement work plan

The table below provides a sample template for an integrated service improvement work plan that can be used by departments to support the tracking progress of service improvement initiatives contained in their service management strategy.

Name of initiative Objectives Actions Area responsible for the initiative Expected completion date Status

Legend

Green:
Completed
Blue:
On target
Yellow:
Risk of delay
Red:
Delayed
Grey:
Discontinued
For example, service standards Ensure that service delivery performance meets the needs of clients Develop a plan Division X1 July X, 20XX Completed
Consult clients, staff and other partners Division X1 July X, 20XX Completed
Establish service standards for all priority services Division X1 July X, 20XX Completed
Test established service standards Division X1 August X, 20XX Risk of delay
Post service standards for priority services on Canada.ca Division X2 September X, 20XX Risk of delay
For example, e-services
  • Better meet the needs of clients to deliver services in their preferred channel
  • Increase the efficiency of service delivery
Establish departmental working group Division Y1 June X, 20XX Completed
Assess current state Division Y1 June X, 20XX On target
Identify services for transformation purposes Division Y1 June X, 20XX Risk of delay
Seek senior management approval Division Y1 July X, 20XX Risk of delay
Increase the proportion of e-services available to clients Division Y1 August X, 20XX Delayed
For example, user engagement Promote awareness and uptake of e-services Develop a plan Division Z1 August X, 20XX Risk of delay
Launch a client-centric awareness campaign Division Z1 August X, 20XX Delayed
Explain how to access and use the e-services Division Z1 September X, 20XX Discontinued
Establish a measurement plan to assess areas of success and weakness Division Z2 September X, 20XX Delayed

Conclusion

Canadians deserve a public service that is continuously striving towards service management excellence. Service management, and its related activities, can ultimately shape how the public views its government. The design and delivery of services must be convenient, accessible, reliable, timely and secure in order to satisfy their rising expectations. Meeting these expectations for external services requires that supporting internal services also be more efficient and effective. In this regard, this Guideline is intended for the use of departments of the Government of Canada in their journeys towards implementing strong service management practices.

As the world of service management will continue to evolve, so will the contents in this guideline.

We welcome departments to provide any relevant feedback on this Guideline and to contact us via Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat Public Enquiries should they have any further questions or issues.

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