Working book launched for public managers

Co-written by Surrey's fire chief, 'The Right Decision' details how to work on evidence-based decision making.

Decisions made by public bodies must be evidence-based, and followed through with, despite an often changing political landscape.

This is one of the suggestions being made in a newly released 110-page manual widely lauded by Metro Vancouver city managers.

The Right Decision is written by Surrey Fire Chief Len Garis, Paul Maxim, Daryl Plecas and Mona Davies.

The manual stresses that decisions made by public bodies must be based on good evidence of outcomes, as in most cases, taxpayer dollars are being spent.

“The only firm way of thoroughly measuring our effectiveness and efficiency is to examine our programs and services by measuring the outcomes of our programs and policies,” Surrey City Manger Vincent Lalonde writes in the forward of the book.

“In other words, what evidence do we have that we are doing the right things in the right ways?”

Decisions made without sound evidence usually are costly and wasteful, or simply yield poor results. The book details how to assemble that evidence and how to use it to convince others of the merits behind a decision.

“A good decision is one where you can look back and with clear conscience, assert that under the same circumstances, and with the same evidence, you would make the same choice,” the book says.

It also details how to think about issues critically, how to collect evidence and statistics, how to use experimental design and evaluate programs.

Former Vancouver City Manager Dr. Penny Ballem called the  book “readable and practical” and “remarkable step in enhancing the performance of public servants at all levels of government.”

Similar sentiments were shared by city managers of Richmond and Langley, as well as Lori Wanamaker, deputy minister for the provincial justice ministry.

Garis said it’s a practical guide for people to work through the decision-making process.

It’s a subject that’s close to his heart.

“I really try to be mindful of the value of delivering services, particularly when we’re talking about public dollars,” Garis said. “There’s tools out there that are being developed, and mathematics and statistics and we underutilize those, and over utilize anecdotal approaches.”

All of the Right Decision manuals and companion workbooks may be downloaded for free from




Just Posted

Crashes pile up as snow blankets Surrey

Up to 10 centimetres of snow is in the forecast

How much does your city spend per person on snow removal?

Black Press Media compares 2018 ice and snow removal budgets of various Lower Mainland communities

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Surrey pastor in concert with songs from her new ‘Psalms for a Peaceful Heart’ CD

‘Incredible’ church sanctuary in Whalley a stage for Lori-Anne Boutin-Crawford’s music

Plan to redevelop former Surrey motel site too dense, says Coun. Pettigrew

Pettigrew: ‘We need to build liveable community with green spaces… not massive zones that are densified’

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

Ex-Langley spiritual leader cleared of stock trading allegations

Investors allegedly lost $740,000 investing through a local religious organization.

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

Abbotsford man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

Most Read