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Management Accountability Framework Assessments

Departmental Response to Round VII (2009-10) Environment Canada Management Accountability Framework (MAF) Assessment

Environment Canada (EC) was pleased to receive acknowledgement in its Round VII MAF assessment for significantly improving its overall performance.  The Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) also recognized that EC increased its "acceptable" ratings by five, compared to last year’s assessment.

TBS further noted EC’s work in moving from "opportunity for improvement" to "acceptable" in two of the three management priorities identified in Round VI.

  • Utility of Corporate Performance Framework -- Clarity and measurability of the organization’s strategic outcomes is evident, by both the level of completeness of the Program Activity Architecture and the quality of the performance measurement framework.
  • Effectiveness of Information Management -- EC improved its rating, as a result of its efforts to ensure compliance with the statutory reporting requirements of the Access to Information Act by providing complete and comprehensive descriptions of its functions, programs, activities, and related information holdings.

In the Round VII assessment, TBS identified the following management priorities for EC in the upcoming year:

1)  Effectiveness of Financial Management and Control – "EC should work to improve its financial management and control by stabilizing financial management capacity, advancing the objective of moving towards a controls-based audit function, and improve efforts in managing the departmental system of internal controls over financial reporting".

In response, EC has filled senior management positions, created an FI pool of resources, and is currently working on assigning a senior individual to increase the knowledge and capacity of its financial management community - a significant component of which is the implementation of succession planning.  EC will ensure that the risk-based internal audit plan contains the necessary audits of financial management practices, and that these internal audits include the required level of scope and substance to assess highest financial management risk areas.  EC will be tracking and monitoring the implementation of recommendations to make sure that audit reports are followed on a timely basis. 

In addition, EC has implemented a 5-year plan which focuses on ensuring the design and operating effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting as well as the establishment of a sustainable program for the sound management of internal controls.

2)  Effective Management of Security – "The organization has made good progress in the departmental security program and in Business Continuity Planning; however, significant deficiencies remain in the Management of Information Technology Security. The Department should pursue on-going initiatives designed to address these deficiencies and continue improving the departmental security program".

In response, EC will finalize an IM/IT Security Policy revision and Roadmap, and will begin certification and accreditation for all critical systems by the end of 2010-11.   EC’s project management methodology and System Development Lifecycle will be updated.  Also, continual and up-to-date risk management work is now required for all IT systems, and IT access management and sanitization/destruction/disposal reviews are underway to ensure continued departmental compliance in these areas.  

The MAF assessment presents an overview of EC's management performance against a specific set of indicators as of March 2010.  The Department is committed to continuous management improvement and in May developed a MAF Action Plan to improve or maintain ratings.  The Action Plan was revised in November 2010 to update the status of milestones and to align with Round VIII performance expectations.

The table below presents EC's Round VII results, a highlight of key achievements since the Round VII assessment, and an overview of the Department's management improvement plans.

Paul Boothe
Deputy Minister

Area of Management[1]

Rating

Departmental Response

Public Service Values

Values-based Leadership and Organizational CultureAcceptableEC will include in all Executive Performance Agreements (EXPAs) core "people management" commitments to: develop Branch Public Service Employee Survey (PSES) employee engagement strategies; ensure that visible leadership is demonstrated; communicate strategic departmental and branch direction to employees; empower managers through appropriate delegation and streamlined branch administrative processes.  The Department will continue to implement the Values and Ethics 2009-12 Action Plan, to further strengthen EC’s Values and Ethics infrastructure.

Governance and Strategic Directions

Managing for ResultsAcceptableEC will maintain, review, and validate annually, through the annual Management, Resources and Results Structure Policy (MRRS) amendment process, clear and measurable Strategic Outcomes; continue with the initiatives to improve its performance measurement framework; and clearly present the Program Activity Architecture (PAA) in the Departmental Performance Report (DPR).
Governance and PlanningAcceptableEC will make the necessary adjustments to the corporate governance structure to align it to the new PAA; assign and align accountabilities to clarify the role of the Program Activity (PA) Lead with the management boards. These adjustments are reflected in the corporate governance structure outlined in the 2010-11 Integrated Corporate Plan (ICP).

Policy and Programs

Quality of Analysis in Treasury Board Submissions

 

AcceptableEC will continue to use existing quality control tools (e.g. sign-off by Areas of Expertise, TBS Checklists, TBS Comments Tracking Schedule) and develop others as necessary; coach and emphasize the use of these and other tools by all analysts in the TB Submissions Unit; and ensure full engagement by the TB Quality Control Section in the early review of draft submissions. 

Results and Performance

Quality and Use of EvaluationStrongEC will continue to implement its 2010-11 Evaluation Plan, which outlines how the Department plans to meet the Policy on Evaluation’s targets for coverage of direct program spending.  EC will continue to incorporate evaluation results in TB submissions, Memoranda to Cabinet, the Report on Plans and Priorities (RPP), the DPR, and Strategic Reviews as appropriate and will undertake initiatives necessary to be compliant with the Policy on Evaluation requirements related to performance measurement.
Risk Management
Integrated Risk ManagementAcceptableEC has finalized and made available to all staff the 2010-11 Corporate Risk Profile (CRP) and Integrated Risk Management (IRM) toolkit to facilitate the collecting of risk information.  This information informed the development of the Risk-Based Audit and Evaluation Plan and the risk section of the 2011-12 RPP, and will be used to support the development of the 2011-12 CRP.  EC is also working to finalize a Framework to articulate roles and responsibilities related to IRM.

People

Excellence in People ManagementAcceptableEC has included in all EXPAs core ‘people management’ commitments to: develop Branch Public Service Employee Survey (PSES) employee engagement strategies to be implemented by the end of the fiscal year; ensure that leadership is demonstrated; communicate strategic departmental and branch direction to employees; empower managers through appropriate delegation and streamlined branch administrative processes.  Regarding workload and workforce planning effectiveness, EC will continue to develop a new Performance Management Regime to provide employees and managers the opportunities to align work with branch and departmental priorities.

Stewardship

Effectiveness of Internal Audit FunctionStrongEC has ensured that the Chief Audit Executive Annual Report continues to meet requirements of the Directive on Chief Audit Executives, Internal Audit Plans, and Support to the Comptroller General and Practice Advisory 2010-11.  The Department has developed a standard timeline for audit engagements and will use it to better plan audits, better track progress of audit engagements, and will continue the progress towards the use of internal audit results.  EC will continue to follow-up on audit recommendations to ascertain the degree to which the management actions are implemented.  Progress reports will be provided regularly to the Executive Management Committee and the External Audit Advisory Committee (EAAC).  The Department will ensure the EAAC continues to meet the requirements of the Directive on Departmental Audit Committees.
Effectiveness of Financial Management and ControlOpportunity for Improvement

EC has filled senior management positions, created an FI pool of resources, and is currently working on assigning a senior individual to increase the knowledge and capacity of its financial management community - a significant component of which is the implementation of succession planning.  EC will ensure that the risk-based internal audit plan contains the necessary audits of financial management practices, and that these internal audits include the required level of scope and substance to assess highest financial management risk areas.  EC will be tracking and monitoring the implementation of recommendations to make sure that audit reports are followed on a timely basis.

In addition, EC has implemented a 5-year plan which focuses on ensuring the design and operating effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting as well as the establishment of a sustainable program for the sound management of internal controls.

Effective Management of SecurityOpportunity for ImprovementEC will finalize an IM/IT Security Policy revision and Roadmap, and will begin certification and accreditation for all sensitive systems by the end of 2010-11.   EC’s project management methodology and System Development Lifecycle will be updated.  Also, continual and up-to-date risk management requirements are now required for all critical systems, and IT access management and sanitization / destruction / disposal reviews are underway.  
Effective ProcurementAcceptableEC’s multi-year capital investment plan, which includes procurement plans and is directly linked to departmental priorities and risks, will be further improved to include review and challenge functions for procurement specialists.  EC will increase enrolment in the Professional Development and Certification program to ensure that staff are qualified and receive the necessary training.  The Department will continue to pursue initiatives on training, monitoring, quality assurance capacity in procurement, and is participating in the Procurement Renewal Pilot with PWGSC.  This Pilot will ensure the efficient use of consolidated procurement instruments and prepare for the forthcoming updated Treasury Board Policy on Managing Procurement
Effectiveness of Information ManagementAcceptable

EC has completed its review of websites and will register the necessary personal information collections.  The Department will continue to work to identify personal information collections in its holdings; maintain its efforts to ensure that Personal Information Banks (PIBs) meet TBS requirements, and review existing PIBs for inclusion in the 2010 edition of Info Source

To comply with the TBS Recordkeeping Directive on Institution-Specific Classes of Records, EC will continue working on revising the classes of records created for the 2009Info Source Chapter, focusing on activities. The Department will finalize its communication and implementation plans on the TBS Recordkeeping Directive by developing IM-awareness products: training, advice, guidance, presentations, communication of best practices, and guidelines and procedures.

Effectiveness of Information Technology ManagementAcceptable

EC will provide a single and concise document describing its IM&IT Plans. In addition, the plans will be refined to include quantitative success metrics that can be monitored through monthly operations reports.  The Department will also strengthen governance structures and processes to fully integrate web accessibility and Common Look and Feel (CLF), through a Quality Assurance Framework, which will be developed and implemented in 2010-11.  EC will continue its efforts to sustain success in achieving CLF compliance of its static content. 

EC will work to improve accessibility compliance, the adoption of an Information Technology service catalogue, and costing models.  Where appropriate, the Department will continue with the integration of common and shared IT services.

Effectiveness of Asset ManagementAcceptable

EC will implement a complete Asset Life Cycle Management (ALCM) system. The ALCM project could position EC as a leader in government, with a full life cycle management for assets management. The Department will also continue improvements to business practices, planning and implementation of the Contaminated Sites Managements Program and implement measures to improve the reporting of environmental liabilities in the Public Accounts of Canada.

In addition, EC will continue to improve the functionality and usability of the Department’s Real Property Information System (RPIS); update the Real Property Framework to reflect the new PAA and any changes to governance; and also seek approvals, prepare communications, and begin implementation of the RPIS.

Investment Planning and Management of ProjectsAcceptableEC is one of TBS’ pilot departments for investment planning and has become the model for other departments.  The Department has a mature and comprehensive capital investment plan process.  EC is developing a Department-wide Project Management Framework that includes standard project management processes, clarifies the roles of project management experts, and includes process improvement and lessons learned. Also, appropriate training will be provided to strengthen EC's project management capacity. 

Citizen-focused Services

Citizen-focused ServiceAcceptableEC will continue to develop the service inventory, and utilize risk-based tools to set priorities for service improvement that considers service performance, client and government needs.



[1] Please note that the management response has been tailored to align with the new Round VIII (2010-2011) assessment structure.