Focusing your Business Continuity Management (BCM) (Continuity of Operations (COOP))

The arrival of Covid-19 two years ago posed a serious and more difficult threat to most enterprises’ existence. The importance of business continuity management (BCM) in reducing possible hazards, speeding recovery, and meeting customer expectations has become critical for every firm, regardless of size, business vertical, government, or private entity. BCM is a methodology for determining an organization’s risk of being exposed to both internal and external threats. The purpose of BCM is to give the organization the capacity to respond effectively to risks such as pandemics, natural disasters, and data breaches while also protecting the organization’s commercial interests. Disaster recovery, business recovery, crisis management, incident management, emergency management, and contingency planning are all included in BCM.

When done correctly, BCM may provide any organization a competitive advantage. This is especially true if a disruption affects an entire group segment and you are able to respond or recover faster than your competition, reducing consumer inconvenience. When it becomes evident that you excel at dealing with operational disturbances, your brand will gain trust and certainty, allowing you to position your organization as a preferred alternative for your clients and even bolstering confidence and increasing shareholder value. This is no different in being a trusted government entity, department, or agency.

Understanding continuity and preparedness requirements, establishing business continuity management policies and objectives, implementing and operating controls and measures for managing an organization’s overall continuity risks, and continual improvement based on objective measurements are all covered by one internationally recognized standard, that being ISO 22301. The standard highlights the need of meeting and exceeding customer expectations in order to secure business longevity and revenue development.

It is critical that the thought leadership and every level of the organization understand the importance of readiness and continuity.

The most crucial part of developing a BCM is clearly articulating stakeholder demands; consequently, consumers must receive special attention because they are critical to the organization’s success. Focusing on customer needs will also allow the BCM to be fit for its purpose and provide the organisation with a clear picture of process criticality. As a result, you can expect positive results if you design and implement the business continuity plan from a customer’s perspective to drive the business impact analysis. Understanding your customers’ demands is critical to determining where you add value to them, as it allows you to prioritise and determine how much downtime is tolerable in various areas before affecting your bottom line.

Be S.M.A.R.T. about creating strategies and objectives for business continuity management.

Doing this guarantees that objectives are defined and matched with customer-oriented criteria. Internal and external dependencies that may have the greatest impact on an organization’s consumers are identified when policies and objectives are developed. Customer objectives should attempt to surpass consumers’ expectations rather than merely satisfying their requirements. As a result, any organization should make sure to provide top-notch quality consumer objectives. The goal of this setup is to ensure client retention, brand image, and eventually revenue growth.

There exists the importance of putting in place operational controls and procedures to manage an organization’s overall continuity risks.

Following the identification of customer demands and the establishment of essential policies and objectives for the organization, the next stage will be to implement controls that address and mitigate the identified risks. Because risks and changes are unavoidable in the environment in which your organization operates, a systematic approach to putting in place controls to reduce hazards is required. Setting up disaster recovery sites, business continuity strategies, and business continuity procedures are examples of these controls. Lack of these will eventually cause an organization to fail, leaving clients with little choice but to shift to competitors who will provide better choices, or at minimum a choice.

It’s a cycle of continuous development and improvement.

Continuous improvement is a continuous, cyclical endeavour to enhance goods, services, or processes. Processes are assessed and adjusted on a regular basis based on their efficiency, effectiveness, and adaptability to changing consumer requirements and business circumstances. Organizations employ a variety of approaches to structure the process of recognising and acting on opportunities for improvement. Six Sigma, Kaizen, Lean, and the Toyota Production System are examples of prevalent approaches. Although these approaches differ, they all share a common foundation in the continuous improvement paradigm and principles.

Small tweaks, rather than significant paradigm leaps or new breakthroughs, lead to improvements. One percent improvement a month leads to a 12% improvement annually. Employee suggestions are quite helpful. When Employees take ownership and are involved in incremental changes, which are often affordable to execute, improvement occurs.

And finally…one more thought.

Customers are the lifeblood of every organization, and this is something that every organization understands, or should understand. As a result, their pleasure is critical to the organization’s success, which may be secured by providing exceptional customer service. Customer happiness, brand image, and revenue growth have all been shown to improve when BCM is implemented. BCM is critical in this age of unpredictability, and enterprises are encouraged to use it to provide corporate stability and sufficiency for ever-changing client demands.

The Michael White Group International is an approved PECB ISO Standard(s) training provider. It all starts with a conversation.

Plan the Work. Work the Plan.

Reach out. We can help.

Should your Municipality need assistance, contact Michael White Group International today, and we will be happy to answer your questions. Visit michaelwhitegroup.com/contact/

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Are you practicing SITUATION AWARENESS?

Situation Awareness is a skillset that should be practiced daily and is a valuable tool for staff.

Increasing situation awareness, through constant development and use increases security, protection of staff, protection of assets and overall resiliency of staff and the organization.

Training Situation Awareness benefits every department across the organization.

This training can take many forms. The focus however should always be the same. Elevate the staff member’s capability of being aware of their surroundings and the different influences, factors, items, and people that make up the environment they’re in. Situation Awareness is a mental image of what is happening all around you. Hearing, seeing, feeling for information and the various cues and clues that those influences, factors, items, and people are making in that environment and piecing them together so that they can have a good idea of what is happening and then using that information to predict what happens next.

There are many reasons why we need to be situationally aware.

  • Personal Safety & Security
  • Crime
  • Workplace Safety

 

Personal Safety & Security

Situation Awareness training can greatly improve an individual’s personal safety and security, regardless of if they’re at work, home or at play. Being aware of the environment you’re in reduces the risk of placing yourself in harms way or removing yourself from harms way. Being aware of the individual that wants to or is about to cause you harm or steal some of your personal belongings, unfortunately in some locals, environments and situations is much needed. Unfortunately for most, we traverse through many different environments on a daily basis that vary in degrees of safety.

 

Crime

Levels of crime or criminal activity vary geographically and from environment to environment. Unfortunately, criminal activity affects many of us, especially crimes against a person, theft, verbal abuse, physical abuse all the way to the far end of the spectrum of terrorist events. In efforts to be continuously aware, individuals should keep themselves abreast of local news and events and equally important when travelling, their destinations local news and events.

Workplace Safety & Security

It is everyone’s collective and individual responsibility to make and improve workplace safety and security. Law enforcement organizations, Crime Stoppers chapter always encourage us to “See something. Say something”. This very same message applies equally from our personal lives to our working environment. “That’s not my job” just doesn’t cut it anymore. Situation Awareness training assists organizations in bettering the safety, security and overall resiliency of their employees resulting in a more safe, secure and resilient organization.

 

Situational Awareness Training Delivery

There are options for organizations when seeking out Situation Awareness training.

  •          In Person
  •          Virtual Classroom

 

In Person Training

It has been said that In Person training is the best delivery method and most beneficial for the participants. It can create an environment of interactivity between the instructor, the participant and with the other participants also. Our delivery of this training will only take up to half a day.

 

Virtual Training

The recent and ongoing pandemic also allowed us to pivot the training and provide it in the virtual world in the varying platforms of virtual meeting spaces. Virtual training offers benefits also in that, we can bring together staff from geographically challenging locals where costs to bring them together is prohibitive making an even larger training group more feasible.

Benefits

The benefits of Situation Awareness training are many for al individuals. Increased personal safety and security, increased security culture in the workplace and increasing the individual’s knowledge of the environment around them. Whether it is a high or low risk environment, situation awareness belongs there.

The value of the training, the value of the results shouldn’t be overlooked or underestimated.

Should your Municipality need assistance, contact Michael White Group International today, and we will be happy to answer your questions. Visit michaelwhitegroup.com/contact/

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UCaaS is critical for any authority service improvement

what is UCaaS?

Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS)  is a network of cloud-based telephone system that controls the flow of calls coming in and out of your organization. We replace your on-premises PBXs, as well as your SIP, PRIs, and POTS lines. UCaaS enables you to use a variety of hosted programs and services (including instant messaging, video conferencing, file sharing, and email) over the Internet from any location and at any time.  In addition, UCaaS provides security, allows flexibility, and integrates well with your other software applications including MS Teams. UCaaS systems are updated frequently by the provider ensuring that your communication methods will always be up-to-date in our ever-evolving world.

Why UCaaS is critical for all customer-guided corporations?

 
GUARANTEES YOUR BUSINESS CONINUITY & SECURITY

Experteers can easily answer this for all municipalities and companies who care about their customers.

First of all we have to emphasize about the importance of continuity in all circumstances, UCaaS provides the best option to avoid your business any hiccups along the road because of any reasons. UCaaS is available on any communication device, laptop, or PC anywhere at anytime to be able to efficiently communicate with your customers.

Security is another crucial requirement for all connected networks, voice calls, video conferencing, and instant messaging are parts of all departments communications to enable them to work properly and deliver services. Experteers, as part of security provider, enable first layer of security by having all our servers in Canada, maintaining 100% availability by having four communication centers in main four cities in Canada in Montreal, Calgary, Vancouver, and Toronto, and to maintain the second layer of security by having all SOC certified centers.

INCORPORATES THE LATEST FEATURES

When you have UCaaS, you’ll be able to use all the latest functions and features without any additional cost. You’ll also have the assurance that your information is kept safe and secure in a reliable data center. Having the ability to keep your communications up-to-date allows you to remain competitive and helps to increase your overall performance.

 

OFFERS FLEXIBILITY AND SCALABILITY

UCaaS allows organizations to add and remove users (for example, temporary employees) without any significant infrastructure changes or capital investments. UCaaS also provides seamless work experiences for your employees since they are cloud-based and accessible from any location – great for those working remotely.

 

PROMOTES PRODUCTIVITY

By using a UCaaS system, your productivity increases. All of your employees have unified communications support that is sharable amongst all departments, and UCaaS integrates well with your other software applications (like CRM). UCaaS keeps communication lines open and provides ways for your employees to log into various devices to access their information (such as voicemails).

 

LAST BUT NOT LEAST

SAVES YOU MONEY

When switching to UCaaS, there are minimal upfront hardware costs – you only need phones. You will also have the ability to choose the services you need (and not waste money on the ones you do not). UCaaS allows you to concentrate on growing your business by decreasing your dependence on capital investments.

 

UCaaS

 

We at EXPERTEERS are helping municipalities, utility companies, and medical centers increase employee productivity by adding a state of the art Unified Communications Solution, enhancing collaboration and increasing employee efficiency.

  • Enable your team to work remotely (hybrid)
  • Train employees more efficiently with sentiment analysis
  • Monitor key performance metrics with automated reports
  • Boost company performance through detailed analytics & collaboration
  • .. and more

Let us help you improve your client experience, call us at EXPERTEERS to learn how we can help enable your business for success in 2022.

 

Experteers is a system integrator SI and managed service provider MSP for the following services:

– SASE / SD-WAN: to secure all ur networking between all branches.

– NGFW: Next Generation Fire Wall centralized to keep all networks secured in almost real-time updated system.

– NMS: Network Managed System to keep your visibility on all network elements and servers to improve your systems availability.

– Cyber-Security on all endpoints and servers

EXPERTEERS CORPORATION

WWW.EXPERTEERS.COM

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2022 Security Risk Budget Outlook

Moving on up

At the onset of the pandemic, Security Risk budgets decreased as organizations shuttered their doors and employees left the office, and organizations under duress looked for places to cut costs. Many found their savings in the Security budget. But now, the potential to double or triple budgets in 2022 maybe a reality.

Our research shows approximately two-thirds of security budgets increased in 2021 from 2020, but still have yet to reach or return to 2019 levels. 2022 has the potential to change that.

As organizations are set to come back to life in 2022 security risk events have not gone away. In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic created new security challenges. The new challenges have yet to be solved, and as schools and businesses reopen / remain open during potential future surges, the security risks of the past return as well. In order to protect themselves from past, current, and future threats, organizations need to reinvest in physical security.

Really watch

Real camera surveillance and real-time monitoring integrated with a uniformed security guard force that is properly trained may be for some organizations the order of the day. High-caliber uniforms security guards and training necessary to protect against threats to an organization cost more than $15-20 an hour. Challenges will emerge to protect your organization, your information, your IP, your personnel. All of this may lead to an explosion of security requirements, and the budget.

Another factor contributing to budget increases in 2022 is executive protection. According to the Ontic 2021 Mid-Year Outlook: State of Protective Intelligence Report, 58% of CEOs and senior leaders who expressed a stance on political issues received physical threats. Senior Public Officials and local health department leadership who encouraged health measures like vaccination or mask-wearing have also become targets of physical threats. Against the backdrop of this increased threat landscape, executive protection has grown in importance among physical security professionals.

An inner look

These aforementioned types of threats could also come from inside an organization. Leadership will either take a stand, or not take a stand. The personnel of an organization expect their leaders to take a stand, whatever that might be, for or against a particular issue or concern. Unfortunately, pent up frustration surrounding decisions may not even be pandemic related, and at times still result in leaders being threatened. In many areas of the country, threats against “leadership” is foreign territory for many organizations.

Integration

The threat landscape has always been uncertain and rapidly changing. With many advancements in approach, strategy, and technology, organizations can protect themselves with integrated security risk strategies.

As both physical and cyber threats compound, organizations are tasked with protecting themselves on all sides. With increased and realized threats there is one unfortunate downside. Higher security costs as risks to supply chains, cyber and physical security risks increase. During this pandemic many organizations have unfortunately learned that their security profile may not be or has been at a level they had hoped it to be. New gaps have been found, existing weaknesses have become even weaker and due to other impacts of the pandemic, organizations may have struggled to get the necessary supplies, purchases and even personnel in a manner to which they were once accustomed.

Plug it

Identify your shortfalls, your gaps and plug the holes. A comprehensive risk assessment will assist in that process. If organizations fail to plug those holes, and as they begin to re-open even more, they unfortunately will remain or fall back into a vulnerable position.

Proactive hard work

Technology enhancements, uniformed security, executive protection, education, and plain old attentiveness and proactive behaviour towards security risks to quickly address existing and newfound challenges brought forth because of the pandemic will require increases in security budgets in 2022.

Now more than ever we need to move beyond reactive, and proactively secure our organizations.

It all simply starts with a plan.

We can Help.

Plan the Work. Work the Plan.

 

Should your Municipality need assistance, contact Michael White Group International today, and we will be happy to answer your questions. Visit michaelwhitegroup.com/contact/

 

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Considering a SaaS Platform for Citizen Request Management? Here are Some Key Questions to Ask

Local governments are continually looking for ways to streamline their operations. But with increasing citizen demands for more modern and accessible digital services, along with limited and declining budgets, bridging all of these needs can be a challenge. A growing number of municipalities are moving to manage these challenges by adopting Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platforms for core operating functions.

In this article, we take a look at some of the key things to consider when selecting a SaaS solution specifically to underpin your citizen request management process.

Does the Service align well with your operational needs?

The answer to this question obviously needs to be a resounding yes, however when evaluating cloud-based citizen request management solutions it is critical to start with a clear understanding of what your true needs are – both immediate and longer term. First and foremost, preferred solutions should be designed from the ground up with the needs of local governments in mind for the best chance of a successful implementation. Where not the case, adaptation to your process requirements will likely be more difficult and prone to failure. Be equally wary of solutions that offer feature functionality that you can’t or won’t actually use as this will normally drive unnecessary cost, and also lead to sub-optimal usability and poorer uptake by staff. To fully benefit from the cost savings promised by moving to the cloud, also look for solutions that include tools that can be used by trained administrators within your organization to configure and customize the SaaS solution to your specific requirements without costly custom software development.

What considerations exist to keep the citizen fully engaged in the Service Request Management process?

In all aspects of local government operations, citizen engagement as a strategy to create better and more livable communities is seeing increased emphasis. Yet too often citizen involvement in the service request management process takes a back seat to internal tracking against the municipal assets that the requests relate to. Solutions that keep citizens at the forefront will leave them feeling well served and more compelled to contribute to the process. For example, a well-designed citizen request management platform should support multiple channels for the purpose of accepting requests so that citizens can interact how and when it works for them. Solutions should also be mobile friendly, automate communications for real-time status updates, respect WCAG guidelines for accessibility, and include on-line capabilities for citizens to view and comment on the requests they raise.

What do the SaaS vendor’s track record and reputation look like?

As is the case with any product or service purchase, an understanding of a vendor’s previous experience is a great leading indicator or whether their offer is right for you. When it comes to citizen issue tracking, look for companies that have been around for several years and that can demonstrate success with local governments having similar operations to your own. Speaking directly with appropriate reference customers should be a given. Credible software review sites like G2 and Capterra are also highly useful to gauge customer experience and success and to compare the different options that are available to you.

What happens to my pre-existing data?

If you are currently using an on-premise system for citizen service requests or have other sources of data that you have invested in over time, it is worth understanding the potential and ease with which this data can be preserved. Ideal solutions will provide administrative tools to simplify the data import process. And where source data needs to be cleaned or transformed to make this possible, your SaaS solution vendor should be able to provide professional services expertise to support required ETL efforts.

Can I take a graduated approach to switching over?

Setting aside the many benefits of a cloud-based solution, new technology will always involve change for your staff and, for this reason alone, you might be interested in starting small and evolving the use of the new platform over time. For managing citizen service requests, solutions that you consider should easily support adoption by a single department or limited number of users in parallel to other departments continuing with existing processes. This can reduce risk, provide an opportunity for user feedback and help to validate the business case for other departments.

What assurances can the vendor provide regarding security, performance and resiliency?

Continuity of your operations and security of your data are critical considerations, and a cloud approach necessarily involves placing trust in your selected vendor to have these in hand. For vendors with any significant customer base, the good news is that these requirements should have received a lot of attention and certified experts will likely have been involved in architecting and securing the hosting environment. But given the nature of citizen request data, you will want to make sure that an acceptable privacy policy exists and that handling of personally identifiable information is understood. It is also important to know what safeguards exist against DDOS attacks or other malicious behaviours, and whether redundancy exists for high availability and disaster recovery purposes. And finally, you will want to ask questions about data backup procedures that are in place, including frequency and location.

How well is integration with other systems supported?

If you find yourself in a position where you need to integrate the citizen request solution with other back-office systems, ask how these integrations can be supported for your unique use case. The principal needs are for the vendor to provide open APIs that allow for secure data exchange between systems, along with professional services to support these efforts. If a vendor has created pre-built connections to leading application integration hubs like Zapier even better as this could greatly reduce the effort and cost involved.

What onboarding, training and support resources are provided?

No evaluation would be complete without gaining a high-level of confidence that onboarding will go smoothly and that your vendor will be there to support your success with the selected citizen request management platform over the long term. Mature vendors will employ a customer experience team and provide a proven process to get you up and running quickly, train your administrative personnel and end users, and guide you through branding and configuring the solution to meet your specific needs. Also look for a searchable online knowledge base where answers to common questions can be found, and a robust and responsive ticketing process for situations where additional vendor expertise is needed.

What are the details of the pricing model?

A clear benefit of moving to the cloud is that it avoids any upfront CAPEX spend when municipal budgets are tight, however the SaaS solution that is right for you should result in lower total cost of ownership over the long term. Costs for available citizen request management solutions are highly variable so, first and foremost, look for a service that is priced right for the operating scale of your municipality. Depending on the simplicity of the pricing model, costs may vary based on metrics like user counts, data storage requirements, transaction volumes or number of modules included. As discussed above, your use of the platform could very well expand over time and any potential price increases should be easy to understand and reasonable.

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Being aware – situationally aware

Our world has always been in a state of perpetual change. Now more than ever, it is perceived to be doing that at an ever-rapid pace.

Positive changes such as economic growth, and technology advancements to note a couple. Unfortunately, with the positive, comes the negative. A continuous cycle of persons who wish to do harm.

Safety and Security experts inform us that violent events will continue to happen. The violent extremist motivated and driven by an ideology, to the targeting of individuals, place of business, worship, acts of violence that permeate into every vertical, sector of business and government.

Active safety and security programs are continuous reviewed, modified to face existing and the new challenges of tomorrow.

To make your safety and security programs more effective, the program needs ambassadors, staff.

Ambassadors need to be aware. Situationally aware.

Situational awareness training provides your staff with valuable intelligence & time when facing safety and security situations of potential harm or danger.

Being situation aware is truly a change in mindset.

It is a way of thinking that will focus a person’s behaviour, their outlook, and their mental attitude. People that are aware are no longer vulnerable but capable.

Capable individuals are always prepared. Capable individuals are not complacent, they use technology to enhance their preparedness and response and their planning always includes a contingency plan.

Situationally aware staff improve the effectiveness of your safety and security program.

Situationally aware individuals enhance the workplace and enhance their personal safety and security.

We can Help.

Plan the Work. Work the Plan.

Should your Municipality need assistance in Situation Awareness training, contact Michael White Group International today, and we will be happy to answer your questions.

Michael White Group International is Arcuri Group LLC approved Situation Awareness Specialist Certification Training provider.

 

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How to Find the Budget for a Municipal Project

Have you ever received an RFP that doesn’t have any budget listed?  It makes it hard to truly understand the scope of the work requested, doesn’t it?

Municipalities have their hearts in the right place, but often they throw more “wants” into an RFP than they have the budget for. When the bids come in way over their budget, they have to start the whole RFP process all over again – wasting everyone’s time.  

Worst yet, those who bid the first time may not bother to submit a bid the second time around and the municipality may receive fewer bids and ultimately higher pricing.

In defense of municipalities, however, I’ve been on both sides of the argument on whether or not to include the budget for a project in an RFP.

As a CAO, I didn’t want to put the budget number in the RFP either, because I was afraid bidders would simply submit bids right up to the budget number. This is still a common misconception.

But now, experience has taught me, when bidders know the budget number, the reality is they more often submit bids lower than the budget, to try to win the work.

From the Bidders’ perspective though, it’s incredibly frustrating not knowing the budget number because you can’t accurately price the work without understanding the municipality’s expectations.

So, to connect the dots, here’s a tip for Bidders to find the budget for a municipal project.

 

In most cases you can, through good sleuthing, find the budget a municipality has set aside for a specific project.

  • Provincial Announcements

Often when Provinces announce funding for municipalities, they will have a press release and a link to find out which municipality received what amount for specific project(s). That’s the easiest way to find the budget for a project.  

  • Agendas & Minutes

If the municipality received funding for the project, Council will most likely have recently passed a resolution to approve the project.  By searching the municipality’s Agendas/ Minutes section of their website, you can usually find the resolution about a month or so before the RFP was issued.

Personally, I start by looking at the Agendas and searching keywords, related to whatever the RFP has been issued for.  (i.e. Service Delivery Review, Parks & Rec Roof Repairs, etc.).  The Agenda will help you narrow down the minutes that contain the resolution Council passed – and the resolution will normally have the dollar amount approved for the project.  

  • Budget

If the municipality did not receive funding for the project, you may not find a resolution approving it. So, another way you can sometimes find the budget for a project is by finding the municipality’s annual budget on their website.  

This is a bit harder to do if you’re not familiar with how a municipal budget looks, but look at the proposed expenditures for the current year, in the appropriate department and you may see the project noted separately in the annual budget. 

For example, you would most likely find the budget for “Service Delivery Review” in the General Administration part of the budget, or “Roof Repairs” in the Parks & Recreation part of the budget, etc.  

You can also check out the Special Budget Meetings of Council (again in the Agendas/Minutes section of the municipality’s website), and you may see mention of the project and how much Council wants to budget for it. 

It takes time, and it’s not always easy, but in most cases, it is possible to find the budget the municipality has set aside for a project. 

Happy Sleuthing Sherlock! 

Got questions?

Contact Susan Shannon, Founder & Principal, muniSERV.ca

855.477.5095 or [email protected]

 

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How have the pandemic adaptations affected your Physical Security?

Well into the COVID19 pandemic, organizations, governments big and small have had to take measures and make changes to their environments to adapt to the needs of their staff, customers, their service delivery model, requirements of health science, government agency regulations and perhaps “new” industry best practices and of course the ever-changing virus.

These measures have evolved into many different things. We’re going to specifically focus on physical security devices.

Two of the pervasive items that have been introduced in many environments are plexiglass and signage.

Organizations have installed plexiglass barriers at intersection points of personnel as they have the potential to interact with other personnel, customers, vendors, etc.

Informative signage itemizing physical distancing rules, self assessment health protocols have been placed all around in both strategic and random locations within the environment to ensure every opportunity for personnel and visitors to be informed.

Funny thing about all of this plexiglass barriers and signage.

In some cases, not all, we have inadvertently defeated some or many of the installed security devices functionality and purpose. That is, their ability to monitor, detect and alert (alarm).

  • Motion detectors blocked, unable to provide proper coverage
  • Cameras experiencing sun flare reflection off plexiglass
  • Nuisance alarms due to swinging signage on the increase
  • And other unforeseen affects

There are incidents where this is enough of this added material, that areas, although devices are active and functioning as per specifications, are unable to detect properly – leaving areas with no security detection or proper monitoring.

We have the answers.

Let’s go for a (physically distanced) walk and have a conversation.

Your security risk plans are more than just a motion detector or even a strategic camera placement.

We can Help.

Plan the Work. Work the Plan.

Should your Municipality need assistance, contact Michael White Group today, and we will be happy to answer your questions or provide quotations.

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$31 million Canada Healthy Community Initiative – open for proposals

The Government of Canada announced that the Community Foundations of Canada with the Canadian Urban Institute are open to receive and review your proposal for access to $31 million under the Healthy Communities Initiative.

https://youtu.be/1smdTfZF-zE

 

I attended the Canada Healthy Community Initiative launch webinar February 9 and reviewed the applicant guide which is focused on the increased recognition of social and digital infrastructure that contributes to healthy community outcomes. The applicant guide makes it easy to understand if your organization can apply.

 

The projects eligible for funding need to serve the public or a community disproportionately impacted by Covid19 and fall within three healthy community initiative themes, one of them being community projects that use innovative data and technology solutions to connect people and support healthy communities. Community projects that use digital technologies and solutions to encourage citizen engagement, use open data, online platforms or physical digital devices for public benefit.

All budget items must be project related and expenses occur between April 1 2020 and June 30 2022. Details on how anticipated expenses are outlined in the budget are included in the applicant guide.

You need to demonstrate community engagement. Planned continued engagement with the community to receive feedback on the project may also demonstrate the role of the community in delivering the project. Your team can also elaborate on your equity approach and principles for the project and how it relates to community outreach and feedback.

All projects focusing on the theme of digital solutions and any project that handles public data should demonstrate best practices of digital design and responsible data management. The good news for you and your organization is that Athena Software meets the needs for inclusive design and data management.

 

Athena can provide details on data management considerations including:

Collection – who can collect the data

Access – who can access the data

Use – Who can use the data

Openness – What data is attributed to an individual

Compliance – PIPEDA

Minimum funding is $5000. Maximum funding is $250,000

 

All budget items must be project related and incurred April 1 2020 to June 30 2022. The government provided a budget template in excel. We created a proposal for the Canada Healthy Community Initiative and integrated it with the budget template to help give you a head start on filling out the form. Let me know if you are interested in the proposal and excel budget template and we will send you the forms to begin the process.

 

The first round of funding opened February 9 2021 and will close March 9 2021 5 PM PST. Review committees begin making decisions March 10. All applicants will receive results by April 30 2021.

The second round of funding opens May 14 2021 9:00 AM AST and closes June 25 2021 at 5 PM PST. Applicants that did not receive funding in round one can apply for funding in round two. Review committees begin making decisions June 26. All applicants will receive results by August 13 2021.

 

You will need to check which region your project is in before you apply with the link to the map in the application guide. You will also identify the amount you are applying for. Any project over $100,000 will be reviewed at the national level.

 

Your application will be evaluated with many others in each community. Your application must meet the basic eligibility criteria including project rationale, community engagement, outcomes, project implementation and readiness fulfilling all of the following criteria:

 

  • Submitted by an eligible organization, and provides documentation
  • Responds to needs arising from COVID-19
  • Creates or adapts public spaces, or programming or services for public spaces in the public interest
  • Demonstrates consideration of and connections within the community
  • Serves the general public or a community disproportionately impacted by COVID-19
  • Falls within the Healthy Communities Initiative theme(s)
  • Submitted with a complete budget
  • Is requesting between $5,000 and $250,000
  • Incurs expenses between April 1 2020 to June 30 2022

Please join me March 5 at 1 PM EST for a hands-on webinar as we share ideas from communities that use Penelope to assist those most affected by Covid 19 and review proposals for new and current agencies using Penelope. You can find the registration page on our Athena web site. Hope to see you there. If you have questions before then call or email. Until then stay safe. We will see you soon.

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Municipalities Promoting Positivity During the Pandemic

As Ontario prepares to enter the second Provincial Emergency amid stay-at-home orders, many folks could use some positivity. Here are some lighthearted and fun projects that municipalities across Canada are undertaking to bring a smile to peoples’ faces. 

City of Waterloo

 

The City of Waterloo, Ontario has launched The Community Happiness Project. The Community Happiness Project aims to connect community members by sharing messages of hope, positivity, welcoming, and connectivity from community members and hopefully you!

 

From January to mid-February, residents can submit audio messages and images through an online portal. These will be assembled into signage that will be posted throughout the city and can be accessed through QR codes on mobile devices. Audio messages collected from the community will reflect Waterloo’s caring spirit and can include stories, poems, and notes to combat the feelings of isolation that have grown throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Town of Blackfalds

The Town of Blackfalds, Alberta is continuing the Lunch Box Pandemic Response Program into 2021. The Blackfalds Food Bank has now settled into their new home in the old Community Services Department Shop, at 5014 Waghorn Street, there is plenty of room to accommodate donations to support the Blackfalds Food Bank needs and the Lunch Box program.

 

The Lunch Box Program started in March 2020 due to the pandemic and increased local families’ needs to provide food for their children. Initiated to provide school-aged children with healthy lunches and snacks for school, the program quickly changed when schools shut down and were then expanded to include any local family with children, of any age. This pandemic response program fed 3,877 children in 1,061 families from March through December of 2020. 

 

City of Barrie

 

The City of Barrie, Ontario is running a fun, new contest to name the snowplows. Barrie has 12 snowplows that need names and is asking residents to come up with some creative and unique ideas.

 

Between now and January 22, 2021, Barrie residents are invited to submit their idea for a snowplow name for your chance to win a City of Barrie prize pack. The winning names will also be featured on the City’s Plow Tracker app and will be added to the snowplow machines for the 2021-22 winter season.

 

We love seeing municipalities coming together to enrich the lives of their citizens! We also love connecting municipalities with the businesses that provide the municipal goods and services that they need. Learn more at www.muniSERV.ca and join today. 

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