Privy Council Office’s new delivery unit increases capacity for centralized control, say experts

Will be interesting to assess in a few years but it is designed to deliver on the government’s agenda:

The Privy Council Office’s Results and Delivery Unit, created by the new Trudeau Liberal government, has increased the capacity for more centralized control over government, say experts.

But while there are early positive signs it will be used to strengthen cabinet, it remains to be seen what the effect will be in practice in the years ahead.

“We don’t really know [yet] whether it will result in centralized control, but what it does mean is that we’ve now increased capacity at the centre,” Anna Esselment, an assistant professor of politics at the University of Waterloo, said in an interview last week. “There’s always suspicion when greater capacity occurs in the centre that this will ultimately mean greater power for the prime minister.”

In a recent interview with The Hill Times, Alex Marland, an associate politics professor at Memorial University and author of Brand Command, said “central control is deepening far more than people know or seem to care about.

“The creation of delivery units in the centre of the Liberal government are an excellent example of PMO control. It is not lost on me that if the Harper administration had created those we’d be hearing howls that Canada is becoming an authoritarian state,” he said. “It is the role of academics to see beyond public personas of political leaders, especially when everyone else is distracted by them.”

The Liberal government announced the appointment of former Ontario deputy minister Matthew Mendelsohn to the new role of deputy secretary to cabinet on results and delivery on Dec. 23, putting him in charge of the PCO’s new Results and Delivery Unit (RDU).

The RDU has been created within the PCO and “will support efforts to monitor delivery, address implementation obstacles on key priorities, and report on progress to the prime minister,” as well as facilitating “the work of government by developing tools, guidance, and learning activities on implementing an outcome-focused approach,” explained PCO spokesperson Raymond Rivet in an email response to questions from The Hill Times. It’s “designed to help ministers deliver on commitments and help the prime minister track progress on the delivery of top priorities,” he said.

…As for Canada’s federal delivery unit, there are a dozen staff listed as working in the office of the deputy secretary to cabinet on results and delivery: Francis Bilodeau, assistant secretary; Valerie Anglehart, executive assistant; Christina Norris, director of operations; Craig Kuntz, director of data; Mélanie Lavictoire, cabinet committee coordinator; Bruce Wang, senior analyst; Yanic Allain, administrative assistant; and analysts Kevin Dobbie, Sophie Hashem, Karim Moussaly, and Melissa Tan.

Source: Privy Council Office’s new delivery unit increases capacity for centralized control, say experts |