Want to give Waterloo Region a report card on its efforts to fulfill its strategic plan?
With the introduction of new, online public reporting software, that should be an easy task.
That is the purpose of the recently launched SEE-IT (Social, Environmental and Economic Information Technology), a web-based tool that portrays progress made on the region’s strategic commitments to the community.
“We wanted to be more interactive with the public. Typically, you get a strategic plan that has a report and it sits on a shelf – we really wanted it to be something that we could get out there to the public, drive people to the site and show them how we’re doing, specifically, on each of the actions we committed to,” said Lorie Fioze, the region’s manager of strategic planning and strategic initiatives.
“We wanted it to be more visible, more interactive and easier for people to understand, and we thought the traffic light type of system would help with some of that,” she said, highlighting the website’s progress markers, a legend composed of the three traditional colours of a traffic light: green denotes strong progress achieved; orange, moderate progress achieved, and red, progress needed.
The website, which went live last month, portrays detailed and related information about each of the strategic plan actions in graphic and written formats illustrating progress toward objectives. It also presents the information in a quick, visible and what is meant to be an engaging manner.
The site contains information on, for example, objectives such as sustainable culture, air quality and energy, land, waste and water. Those who visit the site can obtain more in-depth information on those topics, and access to actual documents and council reports related to these initiatives.
A feedback tab at the top of the action sections and a survey on the main page allow the public to ask questions and offer any comments they might have about the information. That information will then be forwarded on to staff for consideration.
The idea is to get the public to “visibly monitor” the region’s progress – or lack thereof – on its strategic initiatives.
“It really gives you a scorecard,” said Fioze. “It gives the public a really good, easy way to see if we’re on track in what we’re doing at each of the milestones.”
Indeed, the site will publish news on the region’s progress as it is: good or bad. If the region is not hitting its targets, this information will also be relayed, said Fioze, noting that while the current report reveals a relatively healthy scorecard, there are already areas – noted on the site – in which the region is lagging.
“We’re doing pretty good on most of them, but … as we go along I’m sure we’re going to get more things where we’re not going to be on track; But this gives you a really direct link to what we said we were going to do to how we are doing in it.”