Ontario’s engineering regulator continues to fine-tune its latest three-year strategic plan by way of consultation, data collection and a high-level refinement effort aimed at directing the most appropriate new ideas and proposals into the final product.
The 2018-2020 Strategic Plan, developed under the guidewords “protect, engage, advance,” now features nine strategic objectives in three specific focus areas (see sidebar). The plan was approved by PEO Council in November 2017 and its progress will be reviewed by Council on a quarterly basis.
As approved, the focus areas and strategic objectives set by the plan will determine the priorities for PEO programs and transformational change initiatives for the next three years. They will also provide guidance for Council, committees, task forces and staff.
The focus areas all pertain to the regulator’s core objectives. They include protecting the public interest, engaging stakeholders and advancing PEO’s mission.
The nine strategic objectives in the new plan are grouped together under one of the three most relevant focus areas. For example, the strategic objective to refine the Practice Evaluation and Knowledge (PEAK) program falls within the “protecting the public interest” focus area, while the goal of enlisting PEO chapters as a key regulatory resource is captured in the “engaging stakeholders“ focus area.
The full version of the plan (www.peo.on.ca/index.php/ci_id/31717/la_id/1.htm) includes more detailed wording on how each strategic objective should be achieved. However, the more detailed annual actions (called strategies) still need to be determined each year. The process being used to produce these is a prototyping one, where initial ideas are proposed, fleshed out for feasibility and ultimately tested and implemented. As part of this process, PEO committees have been asked to develop and propose strategies by June 30.
PEO Manager of Policy Jordan Max is the lead staff resource directing the current strategic-planning process through its next stage. Max agrees the strategic plan is a top priority for PEO’s policy team over the next several months. Since March, Max has delivered three webinars to all committee chairs and vice chairs and has made presentations to the Experience Requirements Committee, Advisory Committee on Volunteers, Licensing Committee, Academic Requirements Committee, Professional Standards Committee and Registration Committee so far, with others being scheduled. He is also available to present to other committees upon request.
In his webinars and presentations, Max outlines criteria for committee leaders and volunteers to propose new strategies. These criteria, approved by the senior management team, include how directly the proposals achieve the strategic objective, whether extra resources are required and how substantial the proposed change would be. Proposals must also be SMART (specific, measurable, attributable, realistic, timebound) and not be part of the committee’s original work plan.
Since several committees were assigned to each strategic objective, there is also an opportunity for those committees to work collaboratively to identify possible overlapping or intersecting issues, rather than work independently.
After the June 30 deadline, PEO’s senior management team will review the proposals against the evaluation criteria and provide a recommended list to Council for consideration at its September 2018 meeting. Any 2019 operating or capital budget requests associated with recommendations will also be considered at that time.
PEO’s major initiatives from the 2015-2017 Strategic Plan—delivery of the PEAK program, public information campaign, online licensing system and website redesign—will likely take up most of the strategic plan activity for the remainder of 2018.
Council will also monitor the plan’s ongoing progress and the ideas offered to reach the plan’s strategic objectives will be reviewed annually as part of PEO’s budget-planning process.
“The strategic plan is not intended to be an action plan or work plan,” max says. “rather, it is a forward-looking blueprint to provide PEO a common direction of more transformational changes. Specific strategies and action plans, with targeted completion dates, will flow from the plan on an annual basis over the three years.”
NEW STRATEGIC PLAN AT A GLANCE
Strategic objectives according to their focus area:
Protecting the public interest
- Refine the PEAK program; and
- Heighten delivery and awareness of PEO’s enforcement efforts.
- Enhance PEO’s public image;
- Enhance chapters as a valuable regulatory resource; and
- Increase influence in matters regarding the regulation of the profession.
Advancing PEO’s mission
- Augment the applicant and licence holder experience;
- Redefine the volunteer leadership framework;
- Create a seamless transition from student member to EIT to licence holder; and
- Enhance corporate culture.