Summary: Evaluation of Strategic Outcome: Current Government Information is Managed to Support Government Accountability From 2013–2014 to 2016–2017

Program overview

The Strategic Outcome "Current Government Information is Managed to Support Government Accountability," hereafter referred to as the Program, is comprised of two activities. The first activity is "Development of regulatory and recordkeeping instruments," while the second activity is "Collaboration in the management of government records."

The main role of the Program is to issue disposition authorizations to federal organizations and to provide directives and assistance regarding the storage, preservation and transfer of government records to LAC. The Program also plays a role in the development of standards, tools and best practices on recordkeeping. The Program offers advice, support, services and training to federal institutions so that they can manage their information more effectively and comply with the Treasury Board's Directive on Recordkeeping.

Evaluation questions and findings

  • Question 1: Was the performance measurement strategy implemented?

    Finding: Partially. To meet its performance information needs, the Program collected various data. However, this is mostly output data. The evaluators noted that certain data had not been collected for the entire four year period covered by the evaluation and that some indicators had been either altered or dropped. There is little data available to measure the progress made in achieving the intermediate and long-term outcomes.

  • Question 2: To what extent were the immediate and intermediate outcomes achieved?

    Finding: Partially. Some results have been achieved. A new approach was implemented in 2014–2015 that focused, as a first step, to speed up the issuance of disposition authorizations by ensuring that they are completed in a more autonomous manner so that the need to interact with federal organizations is minimal. However, there is a second step that needs to be completed, namely the issuing of validation reports regarding records of archival and historical value that must be transferred to LAC once their retention period is over. In addition, no follow-up mechanism was in place to allow the program to adapt to any significant changes that may occur at federal organization. Regular monitoring of the disposition authorizations and of the validation would allow the program to ensure that they are applied.

  • Question 3: Were other ways of doing things considered to improve the achievement of outcomes?

    Finding: Yes. The new approach, put in place in 2014-2015, has simplified the disposition authorization issuing process and has made it more structured and more targeted. The approach allows the Program to provide disposition authorizations to all federal organizations regardless of the state of their information and records management.

  • Question 4: Was the recommendation of the Auditor General of Canada regarding the disposition authorizations successfully met?

    Finding: Yes. The Program has successfully met the recommendation of the Auditor General of Canada. A three-year plan was implemented to support the issuance of disposition authorizations to the 175 federal organizations subject to the LAC Act.

  • Question # 4.1: Has the response to the recommendation of the Auditor General of Canada contributed to the improvement of the Program?

    Finding: Yes, as new disposition authorizations are issued much faster; it now takes a few months to a year instead of three to five years, which was the case prior to the implementation of the new approach in 2014.

Recommendations and management response

  • 1. The Program should complete and implement its Performance Information Profile (PIP) and ensure that data is collected for all performance indicators on an ongoing basis.

    Agree. The program has or will implement the following measures:

    1. The Government Records Program has developed its Performance Information Profile (PIP).
    2. The Government Records Program has started the data collection.
    3. The Government Records Program will report annually on its performance indicators.
  • 2. The Program should implement an action plan and a schedule for the validation of disposition authorizations.

    Agree. The program has or will implement the following measures:

    1. The Government Records Program has a five-year Validation Plan and Schedule.
  • 3. The Program should implement a communications action plan for federal organizations in order to encourage them to apply their disposition authorizations.

    Agree. The program has or will implement the following measures:

    1. The Government Records Program will develop a communication plan to enable a coordinated approach to communications with Government of Canada organisations.
    2. The Government Records Program will implement the communication plan.

Evaluation methodology

In order to carry out the evaluation the Program's administrative and financial documents, performance statistics and other internal documents were consulted. A total of 23 interviews were conducted with LAC managers and staff members involved in managing and delivering the Program. In addition, 14 interviews were also conducted with federal organizations subject to the LAC Act. Lastly, an interview was conducted with a LAC partner (the Treasury Board Secretariat). The use of several evaluation methods and data triangulation facilitated the corroboration of the findings.

Limitations

  1. Since the performance data available to evaluate the Program outcomes was limited, the evaluation team used other data sources, such as interviews and the Program's internal records to mitigate this limitation and better support the analyses.
  2. The evaluation period covers the period starting in 2013–2014, which made it impossible to do a comparative analysis of the program's outcomes in previous years. The interviews allowed for the mitigation of this limitation by providing retroactive information.
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