The Client Centric Policy Playbook

The Client Centric Policy Playbook strengthens the ability to engage clients in the design of program and service policies.
Through extensive engagement with policy experts and employees on-the-ground, the Playbook has brought together innovative best practices, tools and resources for engaging clients.
This solution enhances client experience by giving clients an opportunity to be part of the policy generation process and by ensuring that programs and services are reflective of their needs.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

As leaders in service excellence, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) is adopting world-class service delivery models enabled by modern technologies that respond to our clients’ current and emerging needs. However, one of the largest problems for all governments is program and service experiences not meeting expectations because they are not designed and delivered using an outside-in approach.

To employ a client-centric outside-in approach, ESDC has developed and implemented an innovative Service Transformation Plan (STP) designed with clients at the centre of everything. Included in the STP is the Client Centric Policy solution which recognizes that clients deserve programs and services that provide the best experience for them, when and where they need it. In the short-term, the Client Centric Policy solution completed its work in two phases:

Phase 1 tested in-person approaches for engaging clients through a workshop held in June 2018. The objective was to collect information from Youth on how best to engage them on employment. From there, policy consultations were organized in August 2018 to gather more insights on the youth employment journey and to test approaches for receiving feedback from under-represented groups with unique needs, including Indigenous peoples, newcomers, people living in remote areas and people with disabilities. Community organizations were engaged to assist with recruitment and inform the best way of engaging with those groups.

During Phase 2, the team performed a scan of existing best practices for engaging clients in policy generation building on the learning's of Phase 1, both internally within our Department and with other federal departments and externally across other levels of government. The team consulted with departmental policy and engagement experts during one-on-one consultations and through a workshop in order to identify pain points and best practices to be included in a Playbook.

The first draft of the playbook was socialized with policy and engagement experts. Throughout Phase 1 and 2, staff was also engaged through WebEx sessions, blogs and articles, which generated online discussions on ideal approaches.

The second draft of the playbook was also informed by our staff members’ feedback from all across the Department. The Department of Women and Gender Equity also reviewed the draft Playbook using a Gender-Based Analysis+ lens and provided valuable feedback.

All insights were compiled to finalize the Client Centric Policy Playbook, which provides ESDC employees with innovative approaches, tips and best practices, resources and tools for engaging clients in policy development. The Playbook is an ever-growing, evergreen reference tool that will strengthen employees’ efforts across the Department to develop and refine policies in a client-centric manner. This will ultimately help the Department design and deliver programs and services that will consistently meet the needs and expectations of our clients.

Employees will also benefit from our strengthened ability to effectively plan and execute client engagement. The Playbook’s tips, tools, best practices and available resources will save employees time and effort. Providing key considerations and resources will result in a more-in depth knowledge of client groups or segments and will encourage users to consider gender-based approaches to assess how diverse groups of women, men and non-binary people may experience policies, programs and initiatives differently.

By being engaged in the development of the playbook and being given the opportunity to contribute, employees have been taking a major part in developing this innovative solution and helping to achieve our Service vision and goals. Clients will benefit from an enhanced client experience through increased and more effective opportunities to participate in the policy generation process, resulting in programs and services that are more reflective of their needs.

In the future, we envision moving the Playbook to an open space such as the Government of Canada’s internal wiki – Gcpedia - where it can be shared and continue to evolve as a result of use and feedback from other departments, levels of government and academia. We also hope to continue to gather feedback and insights from clients as we continue to test approaches throughout the Department. Our vision is to use the Playbook as a catalyst for meaningful discussion, more collaboration and smart information exchange both within ESDC and beyond.

Innovation Description

Innovation Development

Innovation Reflections

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Year: 2019
Level of government: National/Federal government


  • Implementation - making the innovation happen
  • Diffusing Lessons - using what was learnt to inform other projects and understanding how the innovation can be applied in other ways

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