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Citizen First - Powered by the Institute for Citizen-Centred Service

2012 — David Szwarc

Heintzman Leadership Award

David Szwarc has served the public for over 30 years and his commitment to citizen-centred service has transformed the organizations in which he has served, instilling in them a commitment to employee engagement and inspiring client satisfaction.

As Chief Administrative Officer of The Regional Municipality of Peel, David Szwarc has successfully reinvigorated the culture of the organization by establishing what is known as the Common Purpose. Inspired by the Public Sector Service Value Chain model, the Common Purpose is Peel’s collective commitment to investing in employee engagement, inspiring client satisfaction and instilling trust and confidence in Peel. It is meant to guide the behaviour of Peel employees and provide a common understanding of how employees are to approach their work. David Szwarc has moved the Public Sector Service Value Chain from the theoretical to the applied and, in so doing, has shown how to successfully build both organization practices as well as an organizational culture centred on citizen-service. He has excelled in measuring and addressing employee engagement, making service matter to all stakeholders, listening to and responding to citizens, and driving up trust and confidence in government.

At the Region of Peel, David Szwarc has also led the development of a comprehensive, measurable multi-year Diversity and Inclusion Strategy that guides the organization and ensures an equitable work environment; ensures sensitivity to citizens and customers of diverse backgrounds to maintain/achieve trust and confidence in services delivered. This strategy includes partnering and building positive community relations.

Prior to his current position, David Szwarc served as Commissioner of Social Services and Director of Ontario Works at the Government of Ontario. David Szwarc led several important initiatives such as identification of a new approach to providing social assistance to single parents; a service improvement initiative for TransHelp (transportation services for persons with disabilities) was undertaken which analyzed operations and measured client satisfaction and improved service delivery resulted; and the “Open the Door To Better Futures” was initiated which was designed to provide single, unemployed parents with opportunity to develop employment skills, enhance self-esteem and parenting skills, and participate in their community.

Across jurisdictions and internationally, David Szwarc has demonstrated his commitment to citizen-centred service by sharing widely his experiences. He has participated in many provincial and national organizations where he has provided advice and guidance to public sector leaders about his approach to citizen-centred service.

The winner of this year’s Award truly exemplifies the high expectations embodied in the ICCS Heintzman Leadership Award.