Working together for a safer community

La sécurité de notre communauté, un travail d’équipe




DATE                              24 September 2012


TO/DEST.                       Ottawa Police Services Board


FROM/EXP.                   Executive Director, Ottawa Police Services Board







That the Ottawa Police Services Board approve the retention of B. Hume-Wright, Herne Co. to assist with the Board’s 2012 performance evaluation at a cost not to exceed $4,000 plus HST.




In December 2005 the Ottawa Police Services Board received a report from the City of Ottawa’s Auditor General on the governance practices of the Board.  Among the Auditor’s 27 recommendations for improving the Board’s governance practices, was the following:


      “That the Board, as per the Board Policy Manual, determine performance evaluation measures and conduct a formal Board evaluation annually.”  In his report, the Auditor General stated that an annual Board evaluation “would allow the board to determine:

-          whether key responsibilities in the Board Policy Manual are being carried out

-          the adequacy and timeliness of information being received

-          the appropriateness of meeting agendas and meeting time allotted

-          how well board members are working together, appropriateness of communication and discussion, degree of consensus achieved on key issues, etc.

-          overall level of Board’s effectiveness.”


In response to this recommendation, the Police Services Board adopted a performance evaluation process that it conducted as a pilot in late 2006/early 2007.  At the time, no other police services boards in Canada were conducting comprehensive performance reviews and the Ottawa Police Services Board was breaking new ground with this initiative.  Upon the recommendation of the Policy and Governance Committee, the Board adopted a measured approach to ensure the exercise was successful and that board members were comfortable with the process.  The 2006 evaluation process was used as a pilot to fine-tune both the performance evaluation tool to be used and the overall process, including reporting.  Consultant Barbara Hume-Wright, Herne Co., was retained to assist the Board in its first performance review.  She was retained again in the fall of 2009 to conduct the Board’s second comprehensive self-evaluation. The analysis Ms. Hume-Wright conducted on the input that Board members provided through the evaluation survey tool drove the Board’s work plan for the three-year periods following each evaluation.


For the years 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011, at the Board’s direction the Policy and Governance Committee completed less comprehensive performance evaluations by assessing whether the Board had successfully completed its work plan in those years.  The results of these ‘mini-reviews’ were reported to the Board and Council as part of the annual reports on Board Activity, Training and Performance.




The annual work plan approved by the Board in January 2012 includes conducting a comprehensive performance review of the Board in November/December.  It is a good time to conduct such a review as there has been relative stability on the Board and all seven members have served long enough to have gained a good understanding of how the Board operates, what functions well, and where they might be gaps in effectiveness or room for improvement.


It is recommended that the Board once again retain an external consultant familiar with performance evaluation processes to assist it in conducting the process.  While much of the process can be managed in house, it is important to have someone who is objective and independent analyze the Board members’ individual input and make recommendations.  In addition, Board members may feel more comfortable with the process and be more candid if their responses to the survey tool are reviewed by an external party. 


The recommended consultant, Ms. Barbara Hume-Wright, is a principal of Herne Co., a public sector management consulting company.  Ms. Hume-Wright has 31 years experience working within the public and not for profit sectors, with municipal elected officials, boards of directors, and senior staff.  She served for several years as the Consulting Executive Coordinator for the Ontario Association of Police Services Boards, and has also provided consulting services to the Canadian Association of Police Boards on issues related to their strategic plan and governance practices.  She also assisted the Ottawa Police Services Board with its performance evaluation processes in 2006 and 2009.


Ms. Hume-Wright’s scope of work would include assisting in updating the performance evaluation tool, compiling and analyzing the completed performance evaluation survey results from each Board member, and then providing a report on what goals the Board is achieving, areas where it would benefit from improvement, and an action plan for addressing her recommendations.  Her proposal is attached as Annex A. 




Consultation was not required.




Ms. Hume-Wright has submitted a quote to complete the steps described above for under $4,000 plus HST, which includes the cost of an administrative assistant.  In accordance with the Board’s Financial Accountability Procedures Manual, the Board can choose to sole source work estimated to cost less than $25,000.  Given Ms. Hume-Wright’s extensive knowledge of police boards, governance practices and performance evaluation processes, and her direct experience with this Board’s past performance evaluation processes, it is recommended that she be retained to assist the Board in its 2012 performance review. 


The Board’s budget contains sufficient funds in its Professional Services account to cover this expenditure.




In 2006 in response to a recommendation from the City’s Auditor General, the Ottawa Police Services Board embraced the opportunity to improve its governance practices and effectiveness through conducting a formal performance evaluation process.  Since that time less formal performance reviews have been conducted and reported on annually, except for 2009 when a second comprehensive evaluation process was completed.  It is timely to complete another comprehensive performance review since three years has passed since the last one and the composition of the Board has changed significantly.  The priorities and philosophies of Board members may also have changed.  Because of her unique experience and past work with this Board, it is recommended that Ms. B. Hume-Wright be retained to assist the Board in this important task. 




(Original signed by)


Wendy Fedec


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