Business service reviews

As community expectations around our service delivery and value for money increase, the financial constraints associated with providing those services also increase.

The challenge we are faced with is how best to improve service efficiency and effectiveness.
Guelph is not alone in this challenge.

Many municipalities are facing the same issue and have done service rationalization and/or service review exercises to ensure they are focused on delivering the right services in the best way and at the right level/standard.

What’s happening now



Have your say

You are important in business service review process. The reason we are here is to deliver the services and programs you and your family need and want.

As opportunities for feedback and input are made available, we will let you know!

Where we started

The Corporate Services Committee passed a resolution on February 1, 2016 “that staff report back to committee on options for internal operational savings” and service rationalization and service reviews are both identified on the City of Guelph’s Council Shared Agenda and Corporate Priorities for 2016/2017. Staff was directed to research and develop methods for an internal process to achieve these objectives.

On October 3, 2016, staff delivered the Business Service Review Framework (report CS_2016-61) to the City’s Committee of the Whole and then to City Council on October 24 when Council then approved the framework.

On November 7, 2016, Council received an information report outlining the implementation plan for the 2017 service reviews.

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between service rationalization, service review and value for money audit?

Service rationalization focuses on what services should be, or can afford to be, provided at what level or standard.

Service reviews focus more on how best to deliver the service and at what level and standard it should be provided.

Service Reviews can sometimes be confused with audits which assess the value for money of government spending (Value for Money audits).

Value for Money Audit is conducted by the Internal Audit department and is an independent assessment on the performance of the activities and the effectiveness and efficiency of the use of public funds. Should this type of audit result in a finding that there is not value for money for a given service or program, management would then conduct a business/service review.

Service rationalization  Service review  Value for money audit
Should we be in the business or not Efficient and effective service delivery Independent assessment
Focus on what service should be (or can afford to be) provided at what level or standard
  • How best to deliver the service and at what level and standard
  • Access and inform what services to provide
Assess the performance of the activities and the effectiveness and efficiency of its utilization of public funds

What is a service review framework?

A service review framework, or business review framework, is a systematic, repeatable process for the collection, analysis, interpretation and presentation of information in order to make administrative and operational decisions about the effectiveness of the service/program and the efficiency of service delivery. An assessment of alternative service delivery opportunities may happen during either type of review.

What are the types of things/areas covered in a service review?

A service review can look at:

  • Improving service – can the efficiency, effectiveness and quality of the service be improved?
  • Service basics – what services do we provide, are they core to our business, what value are they offering, do we offer the right services?
  • Service levels – who decided what service level we currently offer, how much would it cost to improve the service level, is the public prepared to pay for the current level of service or should it be reduced?
  • Alternate service delivery – can services be delivered in other ways such as partnerships, in-source, out-source, volunteer, etc.

What are the review stages?

There are five stages in the review process.

  1. Discover – what is to be reviewed, improved or solved?
  2. Analyze – how does the service currently preform?
  3. Identity – what is impacting performance?
  4. Improve – how will it be fixed or improved?
  5. Sustain – how will it be maintained?

All service reviews will go through the five stages; however, the duration of each stage will change from review to review as the individual requirements of the review will be different. In addition, stages can run concurrently. Concurrent stages are likely to occur more often when a service review includes subservice, process and activity reviews (see next question).

What is process classification?

Process classification provides common language, and definitions, for the services and processes within the organization.

Level Classification Definition
1 Service Represents the highest level of service/process within the organization

  • human resources
  • financial management
2 Subservice (process group) Represents the next level of service and a group of processes

  • recruitment
  • procurement
  • accounts payable
3 Process Represents a series of inter-related processes that convert inputs into outputs/results. These processes require resources and stands for repeatable performance

  • job postings
  • candidate screening
  • purchase order processing
  • purchase card management
4 Activity Represents key events required to execute a process. These are task type process steps and often require resources and stands for repeatable performance

  • purchase card statement review
  • offer letter generation
  • contract negotiation
  • conducting an interview

Will community members be consulted during the review?

The inclusion of community consultation will depend on the individual service review. For some reviews which have no direct impact on the community, consultation may not be required. Where the outcome of a service review is likely, or perceived, to have impact on the community, consultation will be part of the service review process.

What are the potential outcomes of the service review?

Outcomes can vary and may include but are not limited to:

  • No change – we are delivering the right service at the right level
  • Change service level – we are delivering the right service but should increase the level of service, which may or may not require additional resources
  • Change service delivery – we are delivering the right service but should change the way we offer the service, which may or may not require a change to resources
  • Change service type – we are not offering the right service and need to change it, which may or may not require stopping to offer a service that is not meeting the needs of users