apple Assess Agency Capacity

STEP NINE: Assess the Capacity of Your Agency


Complete the succession planning cycle by assessing the current capacity of your agency. This information will allow the agency to plan and improve in the future. It also provides a “snapshot” of the agency as of the completion date of the survey, which is very useful information in an emergency succession planning situation. Once you have completed an assessment of your agency’s organizational information and capacity, make a plan to improve on any areas where there are gaps. Don’t forget to place a copy of the completed survey in the Succession Planning Binder.

Your survey could include any of the following preliminary information:

  • The date the survey was completed, who completed it, and the date for the next scheduled review of the survey
  • Address, telephone number, email address
  • Business Number (Canada Revenue Agency)
  • GST Registration Number/Date of Registration
  • Incorporation Number/Date of Incorporation
  • A spot to note that you have completed a yearly audit
  • The geographic mandate of this organization (i.e., provincial, regional or local)
  • Total number of paid staff, full-time equivalents, part-time equivalents
  • A list of authorized signing officers for agreement purposes (according to Letters Patent or other incorporating documents) and their contact information
  • A list of the Board of Directors/Principals of the Organization and their contact information

Funding details including all government and non-government funding and project information such as the name of the funder; purpose of funding/activity funded; duration of funding including dates; amount of funding; and the contact person and contact information

Service Function Capacity, Organizational Capacity and Areas of Added Value

After you have obtained and listed all of the administrative type of information, you are ready to move on to examining Service Function Capacity, Organizational Capacity and areas of Added Value. You will need to indicate if a specific criterion is in place (using the options of yes/no/partially makes tracking easier) and provide details or evidence to support your status in each of the specific criteria.

To get a sense of what might be included as criteria in the areas of Service Function, Organizational Capacity and Added Value, you might find the following samples to be helpful. To help you further, Literacy Link South Central developed three different versions of an Organizational Information and Capacity Survey tool. To access the tools in a chart format please visit . You will find the LBS Delivery Agency Information and Capacity tool geared to community-based delivery agencies; the Regional Network Information and Capacity tool, and the Support Organizations and Sectoral Bodies tool.

Sample Service Function Capacity Assessment Criteria

To give you a sense of what might be included in the survey of Service Function Capacity, we will look at criteria that could apply to a literacy delivery agency. Remember that you will also need to indicate if specific criteria are in place and provide details or evidence to support your status.

Information and Referral Criteria

Does your organization:

  • Conduct outreach activities within the local community to inform the appropriate client group of the agency’s services?
  • Conduct promotional and outreach activities which are consistent with the learner focus of the agency’s services?
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the outreach strategy and activities and revise accordingly?
  • Ensure that the agency’s information and referral services build on and are complementary to other similar resources in the community, and that they are based on the literacy services plan?
  • Have a systematic approach to tracking, reporting, and analyzing information and referral activity and follow-up?
Assessment Criteria

Does your organization:

  • Confirm an individual’s eligibility for LBS services?
  • Assist new learners in:
    • determining the learning style or model best suited to them;
    • identifying their goal path; and
    • determining their existing literacy and basic skills?
  • Use assessment tools that are appropriate, meaningful, and understandable to the learners, and that are suitable for their Learner Plans and goals?
  • Ensure that agency staff carrying out assessments have the appropriate skills?
  • Assess learners’ achievements as they progress through and complete their training?
  • Maintain up-to-date learner files?
  • Ensure that assessment results can be understood by other LBS agencies and by key referral agencies, as agreed to in the Literacy Services Plan?
Learner Plan Development Criteria

Does your organization:

  • Assist learners in developing a Learner Plan that is based on their goals?
  • Ensure that learners develop a Learner Plan that:
    • uses the information gathered in the learner profile;
    • identifies necessary referrals;
    • includes the tasks learners need to complete, as supported by the OALCF;
    • relates the learners’ entry skills to the skills they need and tasks they need to complete in order to be able to demonstrate achievement of short-term goals;
    • details the training to be provided to enable learners to achieve their short-term goals;
    • identifies activities that show the learner and the instructor that the learner can apply new skills to real-life situations;
    • indicates which components of the plan will be fulfilled by the delivery agency developing the plan, and which components may be delivered by other agencies;
    • indicates dates and establishes timelines (date the plan was developed, start date and projected end date for learner’s program, and dates for the learner and agency staff to meet to review progress); and
    • connects learners to the next steps toward their goal path?
  • Establish a process for ongoing review of learners’ demonstrated achievements at key points in their course of study? The purpose of ongoing review is to establish when the expected outcomes identified in the training plan have been achieved, when goals have changed, and when a change in training activities is needed.
  • Track numbers of learners who are enrolling in literacy training in order to achieve employment, secondary school credit, postsecondary, apprenticeship, or independence goals?
  • Provide a copy of the Learner Plan to the learner, keep a copy in the learner file for seven years, and ensure that learner plans are available for review by LBS Employment and Training Consultants?
Training Criteria

Does your organization:

  • Provide learners with training in the literacy and basic skills necessary for further training and education, employment, and independence?
  • Provide instruction appropriate to adult learners and their goal path as identified in their Learner Plans?
  • Deliver quality instruction by trained practitioners using materials appropriate for adults?
  • Ensure that training aids and materials support the diversity of learning approaches?
  • Adjust training as needed?
  • Support learners’ transition to other training opportunities?
  • Record learners’ status on completion of training?
Follow-Up Criteria

Does your organization:

  • Ensure that information collection and recording makes follow-up convenient and effective?
  • With learners, evaluate the effectiveness of the training activities as learners achieve their literacy goals and move on to the next step in their learner plans, either within or beyond the delivery agency?
  • Evaluate the training activities provided by staff and volunteers?
  • Establish and maintain a process for receiving ongoing feedback and information from other service providers in the community, from employers (where appropriate), and from learners?
  • Follow up with learners to document their current status three months, six months, and one year after they leave the program?
Local Planning and Coordination Criteria

Does your organization:

  • Participate actively and productively in the local planning and co-ordination process and the development of the Literacy Services Plan?
  • Collaborate with other LBS agencies in identifying the geographic boundaries of the Literacy Services Plan?
  • Share data and provide information on service projections (the number of learners each agency plans to serve, goal path niches, when, where, how often, and for how long)?
  • Collaborate with other agencies in determining and adjusting service locations and client and service mix in order to meet identified community needs throughout the year?
  • Ensure that there is a continuum of literacy service opportunities for learners and a smooth transition among agencies?
  • Develop working relationships with other Employment Ontario agencies, Ontario Works, and other appropriate community/wrap-around services?
  • Collaborate with other LBS partners in the ongoing development of:
    • a work plan to address LBS local planning and co-ordination;
    • referral protocols;
    • a process for evaluating the effectiveness of the referral protocol and the portability of Learner Plans;
    • common assessment; and
    • local marketing and outreach strategy?

Sample Organizational Capacity Assessment Criteria

Customer Service Management Criteria

Does your organization:

  • Have a process to identify, measure and evaluate its key customers; and determine their needs?
  • Identify, measure, and track operational indicators and processes that drive customer satisfaction scores?
  • Have established customer-based continuous improvement goals?
  • Have “in person” service processes that meet customer expectations – e.g., best service times/ wait times/ hours of operation visibly displayed?
  • Have services that are accessible and include accommodation for special needs?
Service Delivery Criteria

Does your organization:

  • Have an organizational plan for its service delivery requirements with effective processes and operations to execute services agreed to with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities and/or other funders?
  • Have processes where program management staff monitor service delivery results and program performance and regularly communicate to the Executive Director and to the Board?
  • Understand who its customers are, their service needs and expectations, sources of disadvantages, and design its service offerings around its clients?
  • Have the capacity to forecast and quickly respond to changing economic conditions, changes in demand for services, and changing relationships with its customers?
  • Co-ordinate services with local stakeholders to provide clients with seamless access to complementary programs and services necessary to achieve their goals?
  • Actively promote community involvement, generate new ways of working, and build new relationships to help meet the organization’s mission?
Governance Criteria

Does your organization:

  • Have Board members with a diverse range of skills and experiences and are they actively engaged in providing oversight, leadership, and strategic direction?
  • Have processes to ensure that it conducts its activities with accountability and transparency, complying with all legal and legislative requirements governing the organization (e.g., filing tax returns, Registered Charity Information Return, funding requirements)?
  • Have the necessary instruments for decision-making, prudent and effective management of Transfer Payment funds, established procedures to enable the successful completion of the project/program, and procedures to meet reporting requirements?
Human Resources Criteria

Does your organization:

  • Place a priority on fair and equitable Human Resources practices that attract and retain qualified employees and volunteers and are reflective of the community it serves?
  • Have experienced Information Technology personnel or services to support the organization and staff needs?
  • Have its management team track budgets, forecast expenses, identify and account for variances, and develop and track annual budgets in an accurate and timely way, and submit to Board for review?
  • Have an independent third party accounting professional review or audit its financial records and prepare the financial statements and management letter on an annual basis?
  • Have a process to identify and address potential conflict of interest situations?
  • Have privacy policies that comply with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA), theMunicipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) or the Canadian Standards Association Model Privacy Code and that are publicly available?
  • Have an experienced official responsible for ensuring compliance with the privacy policies, including providing individuals with access to their own personal information?
Evaluation and Planning Criteria

Does your organization:

  • Use processes to evaluate its contribution to the community in both quantitative terms and qualitative terms?
  • Have a quality assurance (QA)/program monitoring process that can address BOTH program delivery and program impactquestions?
  • Have a quality assurance process that is integrated into its operating routine that helps everyone involved in the program learn continuously about what is working and what needs improvement?
  • Use indicators to measure and evaluate literacy and basic skills service, monitor results, and take appropriate action to incorporate modifications to services and when appropriate, planning processes?
  • Use cost-accounting processes which allow for the determination of such metrics as the cost per successful outcome as an aid to business planning?
  • Have a diverse revenue and resource base to ensure organizational health and sustainability?

Added Value Assessment Criteria

What else does your organization do that adds value and further justifies the work that you do? Let’s look at your agency’s relevance, responsiveness and strengths or capabilities in serving particular client groups.

  • Does your organization have any formalized referral agreements with other organizations to support client needs in your community? Please describe.
  • How are your organization’s mission and activities aligned with the needs of the customers, including employers and the local community?
  • List and describe the number of strategic alliances, partnerships, collaboration, cooperation or co-ordination your organization has and the purpose they serve to maximize the services available within your community.
  • How does your organization support clients’ literacy and basic skills needs through partnerships, networks, collaboration, and consultation?
  • Does your organization participate in any co-ordinating committees/boards/service planning committees in your community? What is your role on these bodies?
  • What steps has your organization taken to build its own capacity in order to be effective and vital to your community?
  • Has your organization recently received any recognition for the work they are doing in the community and with clients? Please describe.
Strengths/capabilities in serving particular client groups

Is your organization’s mandate directed towards a particular client population or community of interest? Please describe. If yes, explain how this benefits that client group(s).

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