Value Added: The Origin and Implementation of Newfoundland and Labradorâs Strategic Social Plan (SSP)
In 1998, the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador initiated what was perceived as a bold initiative in mobilizing groups and individuals in the development of provincial social policy. Designed to incorporate citizens, expand their participation in the policy development policy, and remove some of the hierarchical structure underling policy development, the Strategic Social Plan (SSP) provided new structures and guidelines to bring citizen views and suggestions more directly into the policy process.
The SSP has been widely viewed as an innovative way to promote collaborative governance through creating new, less bureaucratic processes for the creation and, to a lesser degree, implementation of social policy, particularly around education, health, and other ‘social policy’ jurisdictions. As such it joined a wider, international collection of ‘government to people’ contracts or compacts to promote and enhance ‘civil society’. The CURA was designed to, in collaboration with all partners to the Plan, provide a process for evaluation and the feedback of information to all stakeholders.
The SSP has now been recast as a rural strategic initiative under a branch of government named the Rural Secretariat, an innovative and forward-focused initiative on governmental reform and policy development. The research, designed as a constructive review and assessment, can potentially provide valuable insight into government restructuring, enhanced citizen participation, and policy development.