Trust and Confidence Report

Roadmap to Ongoing Excellence

The City of Hamilton is committed to achieving excellence in public service through ongoing efforts to continuously improve and evolve corporate strategies and processes. By focusing on Strategy and Performance Excellence, we commit to:

  • understand what’s happening both externally and internally in the city and elsewhere that may impact the delivery of City services.
  • use information and evidence to drive strategy, inform decisions and influence the day-to-day delivery of City services.
  • understand and communicate City service performance to the community.
  • ensuring value for money in service delivery and to always consider ways to improve the delivery of City services.

Strategy & Performance Excellence at the City of Hamilton

Illustrating the relationship between Strategy and Performance helps our employees know that what they do, and how they do it, matters. Learn more about how Strategy and Performance are connected at the City of Hamilton.

Strategy is about identifying what we should be doing and where we should be investing to ensure long-term sustainability. Some key City of Hamilton corporate strategic documents include:

Our Future Hamilton is the city’s 25-year community vision. It builds on the legacy of Vision 2020, Hamilton’s first community vision that was initiated in 1992. Our Future Hamilton was created through the engagement of nearly 55,000 residents and community partners. Together, they shaped a shared community vision that included six community priorities, 88 key directions, and 57 signs of success to guide long-term planning.

The six community priorities for Hamilton’s 25-year community vision include:

  • Community Engagement and Participation
  • Economic Prosperity and Growth
  • Healthy and Safe Communities
  • Clean and Green
  • Built Environment and Infrastructure
  • Culture and Diversity

When Hamilton City Council endorsed the Our Future Hamilton Community Vision in 2016, staff were directed to ensure the City’s Strategic Plan was informed by the community vision. Today, more than 125 community partners have committed to using the Our Future Hamilton Community Vision to guide their own organizations strategic priorities and long-term planning.

Learn more about Our Future Hamilton Community Vision

The 2016-2025 Strategic Plan for the City of Hamilton guides everything we do as an organization and illustrates to the community and to our stakeholders how we will contribute to moving our city forward over the next 10-years. It includes the following components:

  • Vision - What we aspire to
  • Mission - Our purpose for being
  • Culture - What we value and how we interact with each other and our residents
  • Priorities and Focus Areas - Our aspirations and measures of success

Learn more about the 2016 - 2025 Strategic Plan

In September 2017, the City of Hamilton conducted a voluntary City-wide employee survey called, Our People Survey (OPS). Recognizing that our people are our greatest assets, we wanted to:

  • Understand what employees need to be supported and engaged at work
  • Drive honest conversations that would lead to thoughtful actions
  • Improve performance through greater employee engagement

The overall City-wide results of the 2017 OPS were positive, with Hamilton scoring higher on average than the survey vendor’s benchmark database of organizations, which includes other municipal comparators. Areas for improvement were identified and all staff have been actively involved in action planning and solution implementation activities since the release of the results in 2018. 

This confidential survey will be conducted every three years, allowing us to gain new insights into our strengths and identify future and on-going improvement opportunities. The next Our People Survey will take place in fall 2020.

Performance Excellence is about understanding how services are performing and using that information to inform continuous improvement efforts and allocate City resources. To provide a robust understanding of how city services are performing, the City:

  • adopted Results Based Accountability (RBA) and Lean Six Sigma (LSS) as the City’s primary performance and continuous improvement methodologies.
  • participates in the Municipal Benchmarking Network Canada (MBNCanada) to understand how the performance of City of Hamilton services compares to service performance in other cities.
  • undertakes the Our City Survey every two years to better understand the needs and perceptions of Hamiltonians with respect to municipal services offered; value for tax dollars; as well as quality of life and wellbeing.

In 2017, the City of Hamilton adopted Results Based Accountability (RBA) to standardize our understanding of performance across all City Services.

RBA is a disciplined way of thinking and taking action that communities can use to improve the lives of residents and the community as a whole. RBA is used by governments to improve the performance of their services and help communicate the performance story in plain language. RBA is about the way we work together to make life better and is based on asking three simple questions:

  • How much did you do? (volume)
  • How well did you do it? (quality)
  • Is anyone better off? (impact)

Continuous Improvement at the City of Hamilton is defined as an effort made to improve products, services or processes. The level of effort can seek incremental improvement over time or breakthrough improvement all at once. Continuous improvement activities will always have a start and an end. 

While everyone is always putting forth their best efforts to deliver City services that meet the expectations of our community, there are always opportunities to implement a change that will result in processes that are easier, faster, better or more cost effective. 

In 2016, to support the evolution of continuous improvement, the City of Hamilton adopted Lean Six Sigma (LSS) as its primary continuous improvement methodology. Although corporate learning and development is aligned with Lean Six Sigma, other continuous improvement methodologies are practiced, depending on the identified problem.

Municipal Benchmarking Network Canada (MBNCanada) was founded in 1998 as the Ontario Municipal Benchmarking Initiative (OMBI) to illustrate how municipal services compare across municipalities. The City of Hamilton has been a member since 2003. 

Through networking, measuring and comparing performance, MBNCanada fosters and supports a culture of service excellence in municipal government across 16 municipalities and six provinces, in 37 municipal service areas. Partners use the annual report to set policy, inform reviews, evaluate programs, support recommendations, identify trends, and develop data dashboards. 

Learn more about MBNCanada

The first ever Our City Survey (called Our Citizen Survey) was undertaken in 2018. In 2019, the Our City Survey was undertaken at a more detailed level (City and Ward) and will be undertaken at this level every two years to monitor the users perception of the performance of municipal services and identify areas where the City is doing well and where there is room to improve.

The initial survey results create a baseline around the level of satisfaction that exists around City services, perception of value for tax dollars and quality of life. This information will be used to understand where progress has been made and where work still needs to be done.

2018 Our Citizen Survey results
2019 Our City Survey results (coming Q4 2020)

Achieving Strategy and Performance Excellence is not something that will happen overnight; it is a journey. The City will continue to evolve with a short-term focus on creating greater connections between strategy and performance, both internally and externally, and will improve access to information about City services to the public. 

As part of the Trust and Confidence Report, individual service profiles are available for all city services. Each service profile highlights information on the service and includes a performance dashboard. In 2019 service dashboards were first integrated into the City’s OpenHamilton open data program; more service dashboards will be added throughout 2020. In addition, beginning in 2020, information on ways to access specific service activities will be merged with the service profile, making it easier for residents and businesses to access services in a modern way. This work is expected to be complete in 2022.

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