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City Council receives phase 3 report of operational review

Read Phase 3 Operational Review Report
(Note: this file is very large)

City Council has received phase three of the operational review from consultant, KPMG. This report explores the operations of Lethbridge Police Service, Lethbridge Public Library and Economic Development Lethbridge to identify potential opportunity for efficiencies, cost improvement, innovation and reinvestment.

"This latest operational review is different than the previous phases," says Mayor Chris Spearman. "Instead of looking at internal City departments, it explores opportunities for improvement within three entities that are funded by Lethbridge taxpayers with limited oversight by Lethbridge City Council. We look forward to constructive discussions with Lethbridge Police Services, Economic Development Lethbridge and the Lethbridge Public Library on the observations and recommendations in the KPMG Phase 3 Report."

Lethbridge Police Service
The Lethbridge Police Service (LPS) welcomes the findings outlined in the KPMG review as they validate many initiatives already in motion, or planned for 2021, that will help create efficiencies and better serve the community.

Programs like the Community Peace Officers and The Watch have already allowed LPS to provide greater support to frontline officers. Initiatives for 2021, include a greater move towards intelligence-led service delivery through the COMPSTAT model, and a pilot project involving staggered shifts to ensure more police officers are available during peak times.

Of particular interest to LPS is opportunities identified in the report around developing stronger partnerships with the City of Lethbridge and other community agencies to gain the upper hand on the opioid crisis. The KPMG review notes it is a "City-wide issue, not a policing issue" and LPS has already engaged with the City of Lethbridge about moving forward on community-driven initiatives with a police presence.

"The drug crisis and the negative spin-offs of that, have put significant pressure on LPS," says Police Chief Shahin Mehdizadeh. "We have to be consistently looking for ways to be more efficient and effective to meet these increasing demands. The analysis and opportunities in the KPMG report, particular around collaborative partnerships, are areas we are excited to move forward with."

Lethbridge Public Library
The City of Lethbridge Library Board is encouraged by the recent KPMG Operational Review in that it highlights that Lethbridge Public Library aligns with Council's strategic goals and is fulfilling its mission of being "A welcoming, inclusive space that connects and strengthens community through equitable access to learning and leisure." The report demonstrates that the Library is an important community resource with above-average service levels, as well as being a collaborative community partner. Metrics indicate increased growth and usage of the Library and its services, and Citizen Survey Results are high in terms of importance and satisfaction.

"We are committed to ensuring responsible use of public dollars, and as we enter a new strategic planning cycle we find ourselves in an advantageous position to incorporate KPMG's analysis in the future planning of library services," outlines City of Lethbridge Library Board Chair, Craig Brown.

The report outlines several possible opportunities to enhance efficiencies and effectiveness including clarifying and enhancing partnerships, adjusting hours of operation and the potential streamlining of corporate services.

"We have been working for several years to find operational efficiencies without negatively impacting services to the public," says Library CEO, Terra Plato. "The KPMG report is another tool for us to use as we evaluate how best to do that."

Economic Development Lethbridge
The KPMG Operational Review has confirmed that Economic Development Lethbridge (EDL) continues to successfully deliver on its mandate to strengthen and diversify the Lethbridge economy while at the same time, providing the taxpayer with a solid return on their investment in the organization and its activities.

"We are pleased with this objective assessment, the recognition of our successes and momentum, and the constructive recommendations for building on our award-winning organization," says Sandra Mintz, EDL Board Chair & President.  "Operational Excellence is one of the key pillars of our Strategic Plan and we embrace every opportunity to find ways to continuously deliver on growing a world-class economy."

Some of the opportunities identified in the report include reviewing the relationship with the City and improving communication, board composition and size including the City's role on the board, clarifying the mandate and alignment of City/regional economic development and the City's investment in EDL.

"Our Board of Directors will be working through the fine points of the report in the months ahead," says Mintz. "We remain steadfastly focussed on the priorities of our Business Plan and in particular, supporting our business community through the ongoing and significant impacts of the pandemic on the economy."

All three of the reviewed organizations are governed by a volunteer board/commission but receive operating funding from the City.

"I would like to thank all three of these organizations for the effort they put into participating in this review," says City Manager, Craig Dalton. "The common thread through all of them is the opportunity to work more collaboratively with the City and that is not lost on me. We have important work to do here to align our priorities and resources and best serve the residents of Lethbridge."

The entire phase 3 report can be found here.

In November 2018, City Council unanimously approved a resolution instructing Administration to conduct an operational review of all City operations. Phase 1 and 2 included a general review of all City departments as well as comprehensive reviews of 17 selected departments.

The City of Lethbridge is now two years into the three-year operational review process and has been working through the close to 90 opportunities already identified through the first two phase.