The Rainy River District Social Services Administration Board will be developing its first-ever strategic plan this fall.
It has hired SHS Consulting of Richmond Hill, which will be contacting stakeholders from across the district for input starting Sept. 6, CAO Dan McCormick said Monday.
Meanwhile, the board will start work on a strategic plan that weekend.
“This is something the board wanted to do,” McCormick explained.
“They’re looking basically for a lens to start making judgements [with]” he added. “Something that they can use to say, ‘Is this the best fit for the district? Should we be proceeding with this? Should we be lobbying for something else?’
“It’s basically going to be a tool for them to use for budgeting purposes, for direction of programs, everything,” McCormick noted.
The consultant will be sending letters out to all of the local DSSAB’s service providers—the child care services, the school boards, the hospitals, the municipalities—to invite them to participate at different levels of the consultation, said McCormick.
Consultation not only will be pertinent to specific programs, but certain concepts (such as homelessness).
Consultation regarding social housing, for example, might prompt questions about the need for assisted living housing for people at a stage in their lives where they’re somewhere between staying at home and living at Rainycrest.
But McCormick clarified the intention is to gather input and not go into the process with any preconceived notions.
“I want to go in with an open slate and let people bring out the ideas to us,” he stressed.
“We are trying to get beyond just the issues of funding because, obviously, that’s always an issue,” McCormick remarked.
“We want to get into, ‘Okay, what should there be in the district for child care, what should there be in the district for housing?’”
McCormick said the aim is to have a final report ready by the board’s October meeting (Oct. 18).
“Hopefully, it will tie into our budget process because we are also trying to have our budget set before the end of the year,” he noted.