*A note to readers: This is the first article in a series we are doing on EXCOM sub-committees. Maybe you have heard of them, maybe you haven’t, but they are making decisions that affect your work. That’s why we want to tell you more about them. As part of this process, we will be interviewing one co-chair from each committee about what exactly they are up to. We hope you find these informative and useful.
I know what you’re thinking: Really? Another committee? Another bureaucratic structure that’s a lot of talk, and not a lot of action? I get it because I was thinking the exact same thing before I walked into my sit-down meeting with Fraser Macaulay, Assistant Commissioner, Correctional Operations and Programs (COP) and co-chair of the Safety and Security Sub-Committee. I was looking for him to explain, in broad and general terms, what his committee does. Instead, he gave me specifics and a pretty good idea of why this group works so well.
“The idea is to get more people involved in the safety and security portfolio,” he says. “Everything comes through this group and because of that things flow better, there’s better communication within the organization, there’s more focused work being done, there’s better decision making happening, and everything just runs much more smoothly than it would with no proper oversight.”
But first, let’s back up a bit. It’s important to understand the context behind this committee, and the others, before delving deeper. There are a total of six EXCOM sub-committees at the senior management level on the following themes:
Safety and Security
Transition to the Community
Partnership and Collaboration
Effectiveness and Efficiency
Each one is responsible for identifying priority areas within their themes, as well as trends, challenges, gaps, and best practices in those areas. Essentially, where are we succeeding or struggling, and what can we do to improve? They also provide a forum to examine the progress of specific initiatives (e.g. pilot projects). Each committee is chaired by an Assistant Commissioner and Regional Deputy Commissioner (RDC), and composed of other senior level managers from NHQ and regional operations.
In Fraser’s case, his committee is him, RDC Quebec Alain Tousignant, RDC Ontario Mike Ryan, Assistant Commissioner, Human Resource Management Elizabeth Van Allen, Wardens from Quebec (Marc Lanoie) and Pacific (Terry Hackett), and two Director Generals - Nick Fabiano from the COP Sector and Ghislain Sauvé from Corporate Services. Together they decided to focus on these priorities:
1. Segregation Framework
2. Implementation of the new Preventative Security and Intelligence Model
3. Introduction of the Enhanced Contraband Detection Strategy
4. Governance and oversight for technology innovation, projects and pilots aimed at improving the safety and security of institutions, staff, and offenders
5. Oversight and assessment of the implementation plan with respect to the new Treasury Board Secretariat Personnel Security Screening Standard
To date they have implemented a number of specific changes, including an administrative segregation policy and framework for the organization, with a second iteration in the works. They have also approved pilot projects for testing new tools and equipment for security purposes. And they have established a roundtable of frontline staff aimed at improving contraband detection policies and procedures. For Fraser, the group has been successful thus far.
“This is a layer of bureaucracy, but it’s one that makes sure that operational people in the regions are engaged and involved in addressing the major issues for the organization. It encourages a good dialogue around key topics and issues, with the Wardens and RDCs providing the frontline, operational perspective. I think that as a result of this, we are formulating better ways of developing policies and strategic thinking at CSC.”
I’d like to thank Fraser for sitting down with me to chat about this group and I look forward to hearing from other EXCOM members about their committees.