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Ministry of Labour and Citizens' Services  

September Update
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B.C. Home  September Update - Budget 2005  Appendix A: Glossary of Terms Printer-friendly
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Citizens' Services — Continued

Appendix A: Glossary of Terms

Alternative Service Delivery (ASD): transforms how government services and operations are delivered through strategic partnerships with the private sector.

ASD solutions help to:

  • drive cost savings or avoid future costs — such as capital required to build new systems;
  • enhance service levels;
  • increase private sector involvement in the delivery of services, thereby allowing government to focus on its core business;
  • access innovation, creativity and specialized private sector resources;
  • support economic development and growth in British Columbia; and
  • ensure appropriate allocation of risk.

Examples of ASD are:

  • direct delivery — government delivers programs and services through its ministries;
  • agencies — programs and services are delegated to a third party serving on behalf of government;
  • shared services — (see description in Glossary);
  • outsourcing — programs and services are provided by private sector companies under contractual arrangements; and
  • public-private partnerships (P3s) — formal agreement to provide programs and services in partnership with private sector companies with a transfer of risk and appropriate allocation of reward.

The ASD Project Secretariat focuses on providing overall governance to transformational projects (such as outsourcing arrangements) and on transferring knowledge and skills to ensure that government has the capability to handle sophisticated ASD initiatives.

Authentication: is any process that verifies that someone is who he or she claims to be. This could involve picture identification, signatures or an online user name and password.

Benchmarking: the continuous process of measuring products, services, and practices against strong competitors or recognized industry leaders. It is an ongoing activity that is intended to improve performance and can be applied to all facets of operation. Benchmarking requires a measurement mechanism so that the performance "gap" can be identified. It focuses on comparing best practices among similar enterprises.

Broadband: broadband technology refers to high-speed Internet access, which makes it possible to send text, video and voice by cable, digital subscriber line, fibre optics, or wireless connections. It eliminates waiting for dial-up connections and greatly improves the efficiency and ease-of-using the Internet.

Broader Public Sector: other levels of government (federal and municipal governments) and other public sector agencies that provide services. These include regional health authorities, schools and universities, and provincial crown corporations.

Channels: routes used by citizens, businesses and visitors to access communications — generally telephone, in-person or via the Internet.

Client (see also customer): an organization that purchases the service solutions offered by the Ministry of Labour and Citizens' Services, allowing the organization to focus on its core business.

Examples of clients include:

  • ministries purchase common information technology services, payroll services, corporate accounting services and procurement and supply services; and
  • the Ministry of Employment and Income Assistance relies on Service BC – Government Agents to deliver programs in communities where the Ministry of Employment and Income Assistance has no office.

Client-Centred Service Delivery: offering citizens, businesses and public sector organizations client-centred service delivery means organizing the way governments deliver services so they make sense to the end users, the clients. This might entail: providing all services used by a client group through one central point of access; co-ordinating front-counter, telephone, and online channels so that clients don't have to repeat their information when using more than one channel to complete a task; streamlining licensing and permitting processes involving multiple ministries so that clients have a single point of contact to work with; or providing information and services in multiple languages.

Community: any location in British Columbia with a place name and either a public school, library, or health care facility (as defined by the Premier's Technology Council).

Customer (see also client): an individual who receives a service or product from Citizens' Services. Customers may be members of the public, businesses, or government staff.

Examples of customers include:

  • a citizen who visits the Service BC – Government Agent Office to enquire about the programs of the Ministry of Employment and Income Assistance;
  • government staff who contact Common Information Technology Services help desk to resolve an information technology issue, or contact Corporate Accounting Services to track and reconcile payments to vendors;
  • businesses looking for information or services that allow them to comply with government regulations, opportunities to bid on supply goods or services to government, or work with government to bring their private-sector expertise to ASD or other opportunities;
  • visitors to British Columbia looking for tourism information on the government website, calling Enquiry BC, purchasing fishing licences, or obtaining information face-to-face at a Service BC – Government Agent Office;
  • provincial ministries that purchase internal management services from Public Service Operations or that have services delivered on their behalf by Service BC; and
  • other levels of government and jurisdictions; the broader public sector; and Crown corporations that purchase procurement and supply services from Public Service Operations have services delivered on their behalf through Government Agents; or have services delivered through the network. Examples include: the Government of Canada, other provincial governments, municipalities, schools and universities, and regional health authorities.

Because Public Service Operations is a client-led, customer-focused organization, key partners are its customers or clients, whether they are citizens, businesses, or government employees. Public Service Operations takes direction in order to continuously improve service delivery. Other partners include private-sector businesses providing services on the ministry's behalf and suppliers who ensure government has the tools it needs to deliver the priorities identified by British Columbians.

Digital Divide: those communities without broadband and therefore without access to the many basic programs and services it enables, such as e-learning, e-health and e-government.

Economies of Scale: The benefit that larger production volumes allow fixed costs to be spread over more units lowering the average unit costs and offering a competitive price and margin advantage. Producing in large volume often generates economies of scale. The per-unit cost of something goes down with volume because vendors charge less per unit for larger orders, and often production techniques and facilities cost less per unit as volume increases. Fixed costs are spread over larger volume.

e-government: government activities that take place by digital processes over computer networks, usually the Internet, between the government and members of the public and entities in the private sector, especially regulated entities. These activities generally involve the electronic exchange of information to acquire or provide products or services, to place or receive orders, to provide or obtain information, or to complete financial transactions. The anticipated benefits of e-government include reduced operating costs for government institutions and regulated entities, increased availability since government services can be accessed from virtually any location, and convenience due to round-the-clock availability. In addition, e-government provides direct communications between legislators and their constituents via email.

The Office of the Chief Information Officer has developed an e-Government Strategy which includes the e-Government Delivery Framework. This Framework illustrates the key elements in the implementation of the e-Government plan.

Chart -- e-Government Delivery Framework.

Employee Self-Service: Internet based tool used by employees to view pay and leave balances, update personal contact information and enter leave information (Time On Line). These levels of service are needed — and even expected — from a workforce that has embraced the Internet to accomplish many other tasks, such as buying books, doing their banking, and planning vacations. In today's work environments, it is important to adopt proven business processes, often called "Best Practices". Employee Self-Service is a global best practice. For government employees, self-service means that they can reduce their dependence on support resources to retrieve employment information, and they can now access this information at their own convenience, in a secure online environment.

Governance: the process by which stakeholders articulate their interests, their input is absorbed, decisions are taken and decision makers are held accountable (Institute of Governance). In addition to the process of decision-making, governance also includes the decision-making structure and accountability frameworks. In the case of the Ministry of Labour and Citizens' Services, governance falls under the responsibility of the CIO. The CIO establishes the decision-making structure and accountabilities associated with the use of information and information technology across government, including co-ordinating the Information Resource Management Planning process, developing the e-BC strategy on electronic service delivery, and oversight governance of projects such as bridging the digital divide. In addition, the CIO has responsibility for the corporate privacy and information access functions of government.

Index Measure: an index is a statistical measure of how a variable, or set of variables, changes over time. The purpose of an index is to give a quick, overall picture of performance. Multiple sets of information on performance are compiled into an overall measure.

Information Infrastructure: connects the various technology components. Essentially it comprises:

•  networking software
•  hardware
  — computers — routers/switches
  — servers — hubs
  — modems — wireless technology

Information Management: the function of managing information as an enterprise resource, including planning, organizing and staffing, leading and directing, and controlling information. Information management includes managing data as the enterprise knowledge infrastructure and information technology as the enterprise information technical infrastructure, and managing applications across business value chains.

Information Resource Management (IRM): the concept that information is a major corporate resource and must be managed using the same basic principles used to manage other assets. This means the effective management and control of data/information as a shared resource to improve the availability, accessibility and utilization of data/information as a shared resource within government, a ministry, or program. Data administration and records management are key functions of information resource management. (Core Policy Manual (Ch. 12): 12.3.2 iii Data Management)

Information Technology: general term used to describe technologies that help produce, manipulate, store, communicate, or disseminate information. Includes both hardware and software.

iProcurement: is a web-based approach that automates and streamlines the complete procure-to-pay process. As a result, the ministry can source, negotiate, and collaborate more effectively with suppliers, and identify savings opportunities.

Next-Generation Network: designates the next version of network technology. Much of the commercial Internet technology used today was built on first-generation applications; now programmers are developing next-generation applications.

Shared Services: means that all ministries share a common set of internal management services (finance, information technology, payroll, and procurement and supply), rather than duplicating these functions across ministries. Many people believe that shared services simply means consolidating or centralizing services. In fact, shared services is a "best practice" approach to reducing costs. Creating a shared services organization involves more than consolidation. The shared services approach includes:

  • modifying policies and streamlining processes;
  • standardizing processes to leverage expertise;
  • using technology to drive out further efficiencies; and
  • driving continuous improvement.

The shared services approach has other characteristics that set it apart. Shared services is client-led. Clients are involved in determining the services they want to receive. Shared services organizations value and use input from clients and industry experts to continuously improve service delivery and reduce costs. Generally speaking, governance (rules, policies and regulations) is separated from the delivery of services to ensure the organization focuses on service delivery.

Strategic Sourcing: is a systematic process that begins with thorough analysis of procurement spend across government and then organizes that spend focusing on selected suppliers for best results on cost, product development, quality and services. Strategic sourcing leverages government's purchasing power to improve price, service and quality.

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