LBS Program Administration
This section provides an overview of LBS Program services, the planning cycle, performance management and the roles that different organizations play in the system.
The Ministry, Employment Ontario and LBS
Employment Ontario (EO) is a division of the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development that brings together adult training and employment services under one system.
The Literacy and Basic Skills Program (capital p) funds programs (small p) at community agencies, school boards and colleges. The LBS Program provides five services:
- makes information about the LBS service provider’s literacy training opportunities, approaches and targeted clients available to learners, clients, volunteers, other interested individuals and referring organizations
- offers information and referrals to all Employment Ontario employment and training programs and services, as well as community support services
- determines learner’s current skills and knowledge compared to the skills and knowledge needed for their goal
- happens at intake (upon registration and placement), during programming (as part of program delivery), and at exit (when learners complete the learner plan).
- creates the individualized plan which includes the learner’s goal, background information, assessment results, milestone tasks, culminating task, learning activities, program duration, additional supports required by the learner, and referral results.
- provides literacy instruction to adult learners. This is the focus of the program and all other LBS services support the training service.
- documents the outcomes of learners at exit and at three, six and twelve months after they leave the LBS Program
- demonstrates the effectiveness of the four other delivery services in meeting the literacy needs of learners
The following graphic shows how each of these services contribute to the learner’s transition to goals beyond the LBS Program.
LBS Program Service Provider Guidelines
LBS Services are governed by two documents: the service provider’s annual Transfer Payment Agreement with the Ministry and the LBS Program Service Provider Guidelines 2020. You should become very familiar with the terms of service and agency commitments that are specified in the Agreement. You should also have a good understanding of the LBS Service Provider Guidelines – they form part of the contract between the LBS Program service provider and the Ministry. The Guidelines provide information about your roles and responsibilities in delivering the LBS Program, including
- program documentation requirements
- responsibilities under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
- performance measurement standards
- literacy services planning
- business planning
- financial and auditing guidelines
- monitoring requirements
- Ministry’s role and responsibilities
Find more information in Beginner’s Guide for Program Coordinators of Literacy Organizations Revised 2016 or Guide du débutant pour les directeurs généraux de programmes de formation aux adultes Revised 2016.
Each agency submits an annual business plan for their LBS funding. The fiscal year runs from April 1 to March 31. One of the first things you will want to do as a new program manager is to find your current business plan and familiarize yourself with it, and then make sure the goals and objectives are included in your own annual work plan. Currently, funding is based on outcomes (see Literacy and Essential Skills in Ontario) and numbers of learners served.
The funding cycle begins with the LBS service providers in each community meeting to plan and co-ordinate literacy services for the next fiscal year. All LBS service providers must participate in the literacy services planning and co-ordination (LSPC) process in their community. Regional Networks facilitate the planning process to develop a Literacy Services Plan (LSP) for delivery of services that addresses emerging community needs and ensures there is no duplication of service provision. To read more about the LSPC process, see the section Literacy Services Planning and Co-ordination.
The LSPC process is linked closely to business planning. As part of the process, each service provider determines how they will work to achieve their service performance commitments. As part of the LSP, they then complete a Service Delivery Chart that lists their
- client focus
- number of learners to be served
- percentage of each goal path they expect to serve
- any upcoming changes to programming with rationale
The LSPs recommend to the Ministry how each community plans to deliver LBS services and are generally submitted in late autumn.
The e-Channel service providers, which deliver training on-line only, plan and co-ordinate the literacy services for their virtual community on a provincial basis.
The Literacy Service Plans feed into the annual LBS Business Plan which outlines how each agency will spend their funding from the Ministry. A business plan details how an agency will deliver the LBS Program, meet service commitments, and implement improvements for the year. The business plan also specifies the indicators that will show what progress will be achieved by what date. Detailed information on how to develop a business plan is in the Guidelines – Business Planning Cycle. The business plan for each service provider must mirror their service delivery chart and link to what they have agreed to do in their community’s LSP.
The business plan template is released on-line, through the Service Provider Connect (SP Connect), in November or early December for submission in early January. You can access SP Connect via the OneKey portal, the Government of Ontario’s secure online registration service. It verifies identity and authorizes secure access. The first time you use ONe-key, you will need to create an account, establishing your unique ONe-key ID and password. This is a one-time process that is done through the Ministry.
The business plan template includes the province-wide performance targets, as set out by the Ministry. These will be indicated within the 1st page of the business plan template. The provincial targets will change from year to year, so you will determine how your organization is going to achieve those objectives and indicate this in your business plan accordingly. Your organization does not necessarily need to commit to the provincial target and should discuss the target with your Ministry Employment Training Consultant (ETC). However, you do need to demonstrate year over year that you are working to continuously improve your results.
You can find additional information and memos about Business Planning at the Employment Ontario Partners Gateway Site – see Business Planning on the right sidebar menu.
LBS service providers do not charge fees for their service delivery under EO funding. In some cases, learners must pay a book deposit and supply their own supplies such as pens, notebooks and so on.
The Ministry provides training supports funding to LBS providers in addition to core funding. LBS providers may offer training support allowances (TSA) to learners for transportation and childcare. These subsidies are made available to learners living on low incomes who cannot access subsidies from other sources, such as Ontario Works. The subsidies are a key part to supporting these adults to access programs. For example: a single parent needs childcare and bus tickets in order to attend classes. TSA allowances are carefully tracked and accounted for by agencies. Where possible, literacy agencies co-ordinate these training supports with those offered by other agencies to eliminate duplication and realize efficiencies.
LBS Agencies are monitored by MLTSD Employment and Training Consultants (ETCs) via on-site visits and support.
Agencies are expected to monitor program outcomes through various performance indicators set out in the Performance Management System (PMS). Performance Management is an approach that emphasizes the management of outcomes or results via careful monitoring of key performance indicators or measurements.
As shown in the diagram below, the Employment Ontario LBS PMF sets out three dimensions of service delivery success – the Service Quality Standard (SQS):
- Customer Service
These three dimensions are weighted to indicate their value when combined to measure overall service quality. Within each dimension of service quality, core measures of performance are identified and weighted. When the values are compiled monthly into the Detailed Service Quality Report (DSQR), the service provider receives their SQS score. The Ministry holds service providers accountable for achieving the minimum targets for all of the measures, as well as the overall SQS score.
An additional piece of the framework is Service Provider Capacity (organizational capacity), which includes measuring, resourcing, planning and communicating.
Learner Satisfaction Surveys
One important activity related to the measure, Customer Satisfaction, is the Learner Satisfaction Survey. LBS Program service providers must ask all learners who exit their program to complete the survey, at the time of exit or shortly thereafter. The survey is anonymous – the learner is not required to provide a signature or identify themselves in any other way. The Program Co-ordinator records the surveys in CaMS.
The Learner Satisfaction Survey could be completed at the same time as other exit information is gathered during the exit interview. Service providers often add a few other questions to collect feedback on specific areas of programming, to inform program planning. It is important that it be completed at the end of the learner’s program and not during. We want to know how satisfied they are with their experience of being in the whole program and how well the training has prepared them for their goals.
Program Monitoring Process
All LBS agreements are subject to monitoring of expenditures, activities and results. Monitoring helps the ministry determine how effectively organizations are performing, and provide support and feedback related to an organization’s outcomes and activities. Monitoring is conducted throughout the duration of the agreement through a combination of
- Monitoring Questionnaire
- Monitoring Visit (on-site)
- Risk Management Questionnaire
- Interim Report
- Final Report
- Estimate of Expenditures Reports
The Monitoring Questionnaire is based on the requirements outlined in the program guidelines and the deliverables committed to in your Agreement. It provides a service provider with the opportunity to demonstrate the processes and activities it has in place to successfully meet these requirements. The Questionnaire is posted, completed and submitted on-line via SP Connect. Ministry staff use the questionnaire as a starting point for discussion, and will be in touch following submission of the questionnaire to discuss successes and/or or challenges the site has experienced.
If warranted, your MLTSD Employment and Training Consultant (ETC) will conduct an on-site monitoring visit. This extensive review examines all aspects of your organization’s operations, including a look at a sampling of learner files and possibly agency financial reports. The ETC will pay particular attention to what your organization has committed to in your annual Business Plan. Not all service provider sites will receive a visit every year. However, each site generally receives a visit once every three years.
A periodic risk management questionnaire for each service provider is completed by their ETC. Generally, the ETC will contact you only if they need information from you about certain aspects of your organization.
Until 2019-20, service providers were required to complete Quarterly Status and Adjustment Reports (QSAR) to document their progress in completing the commitments in their business plans. The QSAR has been replaced with an Interim Report (submitted in October) and a Final Report (submitted in April). These reports are also completed and submitted via SP Connect.
Periodically throughout the year, service providers complete an Estimate of Expenditures Report (EER) to monitor and forecast whether they expect to fully spend their LBS funding. If the expenses-to-date amount differs from the funding received to date, the service provider will need to explain the reason/s for the difference. After the fiscal year has ended, service providers submit a Statement of Revenue and Expenditures Report (SRER) to show actual revenue and total expenses for the fiscal year. Depending on the funding amount received by the agency, they might also need to submit an Auditor’s Report and copy of their audited statements. The EERs and SRER are completed and submitted via SP Connect.
In your Agreement, Schedule H – Audit and Accountability Requirements outlines how LBS funding may be spent. In general, the funding may be spent only on activities directly related to LBS delivery.
Operating funds can be spent on
- rent and utilities for instructional space and program administration functions
- facility mortgage payments – only the interest portion of mortgage payment
- staff and management salaries and benefits
- hiring and training of staff, including professional development
- funding of projects undertaken as part of the Agreement
- ongoing purchase of equipment and furniture directly associated with service delivery
- accounting/bookkeeping services and auditor’s fees
- other direct operating expenditures related to delivery of the Project, such as
- materials and supplies for workshops, instructional resources
- administration of training support
- telephone, fax, and Internet access
- office supplies and leased equipment
- insurance (board, property, and liability)
- costs associated with participating in local planning and coordination
- staff travel for meetings, conferences, professional fees
- bookkeeping/accounting services
- auditor’s fees (when audited statements are required)
Administrative fees or indirect expenditures cannot exceed 15% of the associated operating budget
A service provider can request in-year funding for field support for one-time exceptional expenditures. If granted, the funding agreement will stipulate how the funds may be spent.
Any unspent LBS funding, including any interest that may have been earned on the funding throughout the year, must be kept in an interest-bearing bank account at the end of each fiscal year until the Ministry recovers that funding.
You must have a full financial year-end audit if your agency receives LBS funding equal to or greater than a set threshold. As of 2019-20, the threshold is $150,000.
For a list of documentation and some tips on how to prepare for an auditor or for a monitoring visit, see the Beginner’s Guide for Program Coordinators of Literacy or Guide du débutant pour les directeurs généraux de programmes de formation aux adultes Revised 2016.
Employment Ontario Information System
Agencies submit monthly learner statistics on-line to the Employment Ontario Information System – Case Management System (EOIS-CaMS), a statistical database, which provides ongoing statistics to the Ministry and the service provider and once fully implemented for LBS, it will eventually allow for case management of clients accessing more than one EO service. Attainment within key categories of outcomes or “status at exit” is tracked. The key categories include employed, in further education or training (other LBS, credit programs, apprenticeship, etc.), not currently employed, independent, volunteer work and unknown. A student may complete a “culminating task” at the end of their LBS training to determine that they are ready to transition out of LBS and on to their next step (goal).
You will need to become familiar with the EIOS-CaMS user guides and resources. All documents pertaining to EOIS-CaMS are located on the website: myEOIS. Your Ministry Employment Training Consultant (ETC) will help you sign up for a myEOIS user name and password. The “Resources” section contains all the user guides, desk aids, forms, training guides/videos and an FAQ section. Be sure to select guides the appropriate User Guides, as some pertain to LBS only and some pertain to all users.
Also, the CaMS User Guide for New Staff is an informal guide for new users of EOIS-CaMS to help provide more details on how to use this system. It outlines how to get started with both CaMS and Service Provider (SP) Connect. The Guide also outlines basics of navigating the system, registering and creating service plans for clients/learners and entering data.
Using CaMS Data for Performance Management
The CaMS database generates several reports that managers use to monitor program performance and to adjust programming, as appropriate:
- Detailed Service Quality Report (DSQR) – Report 64
Shows performance indicators for LBS performance commitments and actual results. Available monthly – First Monday
- All Data – Service Plan/Profile – Report 60B
Summarizes all LBS learner profile information (demographics) based on the service plans being open during the fiscal year, for each service delivery site, region and Province. Available monthly – First Monday
- All Data – Outcomes – Report 60D
Summarizes LBS completion information and 3, 6, 12-month follow-up outcomes for each service delivery site, region and the Province. Available monthly – First Monday
- All Data – Information and Referral – Report 60A
Summarizes monthly I&R data collected for each service delivery site, region and the Province. Available monthly – First Monday
Other reports used on an ongoing basis are:
- All Case Activity – Report 61
A large Excel spreadsheet that shows LBS case status, profile, outcomes for individual clients. Includes a summary of case status by case owner. Includes current open cases and closed cases from the previous year. Available weekly – available Monday morning based on previous week’s data
- Service Provider Follow-up Cases – Report 19A (Follow-up dates reports)
Where applicable, shows when case participants’ 3, 6 and 12-month follow-ups are due based on exit date and the percentage that have been completed. Available weekly – Monday morning based on previous week’s data
Questions and Activities for Reflection
- What is your experience with performance management?
- How have you planned for improvements at work and in your life as a community member?
- How have you identified challenges and opportunities?
- How have you implemented and evaluated new strategies?