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Zero-Based Review Program

The Zero-Based Review Program was established to raise the care and attention The City pays to restraining expenditures and continually seeking efficiencies in the delivery of municipal programs and services. This program was developed in response to City Council’s organization-wide strategy to improve service efficiency and effectiveness.

Through this program, Administration is aiming to review 80% of city services to identify efficiency and effectiveness opportunities by the year 2020. To accomplish this goal, a number of zero-based reviews of business units across the organization are underway at any given time.

Zero-Based Review Program logo

What is a zero-based review

A zero-based review examines all aspects of the business unit under review to ensure that every dollar is used well, in creating the city that Calgarians have said they want to live. It is an evaluation process in which services within a business unit are systematically reviewed to determine the most appropriate way to provide services and at what level.

The end result of a zero-based review is an overall assessment of services and a series of specific recommendations for efficiency and effectiveness improvements, including: 

  • Changes to service level or delivery that would reduce costs or mitigate future cost increases (efficiency improvements)
  • Changes to service level or delivery that would help to achieve greater results within currently available resources (effectiveness improvements) 

Each review follows a standard methodology led by the Service Efficiency and Effectiveness team in the Corporate Initiatives Division of the Chief Financial Officer’s department, in collaboration with the respective business unit undergoing the review and an external consultant.

The documents below outline the process and tools, methodology and basics of the ZBR program, specific to the various audiences who participate, or are interested in the Program.

Zero-Based Review Program Overview

  • an overview and orientation to the Corporate ZBR Program
  • for City business units, employees and interested external parties

How to Prepare for a Zero-Based Review

  • information on how to prepare for a ZBR including data collection and project planning
  • for City business units participating in a ZBR

Zero-Based Review Method

  • details the scope and approach to be taken for each ZBR
  • for consulting firms conducting work for a ZBR and participating business units