Quality Councils

Submitted by Anonymous on July 21, 2005 - 1:20pm

"Collectively we can do what no person can do singly" - Leland Kaiser


Council Concept

Our goal is for council members selected from staff to form councils to review, discuss, and plan ways to continuously improve business. The concept is very similar to local municipal or borough assembly's that govern local communities. Local assemblies discuss
issues related to improving the communities in which we live.

In this way, DPA will unite management and staff in the decision-making and problem-solving arena, enhancing ownership and teamwork. The councils will be empowered by the importance of their mission, and supported by the direct involvement of their managers and the
Division's Management Council.

Please review the following material, and if you are interested in representing your office, please contact your supervisor to learn more about the process. We are looking for individuals who are committed to continually improving our business, would like the challenge of problem-solving their office issues, learn more about our business,
and solicit and provide feedback from other staff in their regions.

Core Expectations

Councils will tackle issues such as, system or workflow improvements, reducing turnover, improving the work environment and meeting program performance targets. In addition, the agency as a whole will share information relevant to forecasting future plans, and
resolving immediate issues. The councils will be responsible for local achievement of our statewide performance targets.

Specifically, each council should:

  1. Review and assess local performance data;
  2. Develop and endorse local projects that are aligned with identified regional priorities;
  3. Monitor progress toward the Division's goals;
  4. Evaluate issues and initiate solutions when a performance area needs improvement;
  5. Solicit feedback from staff;
  6. Allow flexibility and adaptability to keep the councils a living and strong process;
  7. Be ambassadors of the process.

The council will prioritize initiatives, locate resources, consult with other entities, and develop action plans detailing steps that result in improvement.

Councils will submit a summary of their action plans to the Continuous Improvement Program Coordinator
to post to the web site. This will provide all DPA staff with the latest information on council initiatives.

Meeting Guidelines

Councils will complete operating charters, meet monthly for approximately 1 - 1½ hour and document their action. Due to our geographic challenges, some members will connect via telephone. Our
Quality Council
website will provide on-line reporting and
tracking tools, training materials, and performance updates. Everyone, council members or not will be able to review projects, plans, and meeting notes from any of the various local councils, statewide. Our goals and our progress will
become an open book for all DPA to see.


The council membership should be representative of the full spectrum of job classes if practicable. For example, a field district office council may consist of the following members:

  • Section Chief
  • Regional Manager
  • Supervisor
  • 3-4 staff members (depending on office size)

Strategic Planning Connection

The process relies heavily on locally developed solutions for performance improvement. Those closest to the work know it best, and often generate the most creative ways to solve problems. The management council will meet in a monthly teleconference to review new and
ongoing action items submitted by the local councils.

The management council is responsible for support of the overall continuous improvement process assuring its focus on the division's goals. The management council provides direction, removes barriers to specific project progress, recognizes achievement, and
champions the continuous improvement process.

The management council will consist of various members who manage support teams, regions, and oversee the division. The management council will work closely with local councils.

Support units and Central office staff will mirror a similar composition of management and unit staff.

The membership will rotate every 6-months. The initial membership will be staggered so that the complete membership does not turnover at once. Members appointed may seek to serve longer than a 6-month term.

Why Volunteer?

You may be asking yourself, "What's in it for me?" Serving on the local councils provide members an opportunity to improve their planning, problem solving, and enhance
leadership skills and experience. There will be training and professional growth opportunities. Your growth also supports the important Division need to develop
and promote new leaders.

Again, I want to stress the importance I see in successfully implementing and maintaining the local council concept. I believe the council concept will vertically integrate our management structure
and enhance staff input into our decision-making. This will strengthen our coordination and enhance communication across all of our program and business
endeavors. If we truly want to affect change and improve outcomes, we need everyone at DPA working with management to improve.

There is a role for everyone in this process, whether as a council member or a contributor of suggestions and ideas. I hope you consider my invitation to become part of a team that promotes
continuous improvement.

Katherine Farnham, Director

Division of Public Assistance

Last Revised 7/21/05