Policy on Results and Policy on Internal Audit

Background

  • The Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) Policy on Results includes the planning, performance measurement and program evaluation functions. LAC implemented this policy in April 2018 by adopting its Departmental Result Framework (DRF), which consists of core responsibilities, results, indicators, targets and program inventory (PI) [see Appendix A for the 2019–20 version]. The DRF and PI structure the process for reporting to Parliament and Canadians on performance and resources. Every year, the TBS offers to review each department’s DRF and PI. LAC does not plan to make significant changes in 2020–21.
  • The Policy on Results has prompted LAC to broaden the role of its Departmental Program Evaluation Committee in order to include performance measurement. The Departmental Performance Measurement and Program Evaluation Committee (DPMPEC) is chaired by the Librarian and Archivist. The committee’s mandate is to approve the DRF, PI, five-year departmental program evaluation plan, and program mandates and evaluation reports, as well as to track recommendations.
  • The Director, Corporate Planning and Accountability, assumes the roles of head of program evaluation and head of performance measurement.
  • The Policy on Internal Audit stipulates that large departments (budget > $300M) must have an internal-audit function, although it is optional for small and medium organizations like LAC. The deputy heads of small organizations are nevertheless responsible for reviewing their organization’s risk profile and controls, and to determine if the work completed by the Office of the Comptroller General of Canada (OCG) meets the organization’s needs or if other internal audits are required.
  • Since 2014, LAC no longer has an internal audit function. Instead, it has a monitoring and liaison function to coordinate audits conducted by central agencies (Office of the Auditor General, OCG and the Public Service Commission), track the implementation of their recommendations and monitor program management.
  • It is easy to confuse performance measurement, program evaluation and internal audits. The three complement each other to ensure sound management, and an evaluation and audit may be conducted jointly for a specific program. The key distinctions are as follows:
    • Performance measurement provides a real-time snapshot of the performance and progress towards achieving a result/target.
    • Program evaluation allows us to draw conclusions and make recommendations in an objective and neutral manner (free of any influence) in order to determine if a program or initiative is meeting its objectives in terms of relevance, effectiveness and efficiency.
    • Internal audit is an independent, objective activity that helps an organization to meet its objectives by examining the efficiency of its risk-management processes, controls and governance, and by providing advice to improve them. Unlike program evaluation, an audit does not measure the achievement of end results. It focuses instead on management practices, controls and reporting systems.

Considerations

  • Performance measurement
    • The main performance measurement issues are data availability and the interpretation of results that are made public when targets are not met. For example, when DRF indicator results are published in the fall, The Hill Times lists departments that have not met their targets. We therefore encourage program heads to set ambitious targets that are also realistic.
    • LAC promotes transparency regarding the fulfillment of its commitments and exceeds the requirements of the Policy on Results (DRF, Departmental Plan, Departmental Results Report). It also publishes an annual report and a three-year plan, as well as its quarterly/annual progress reports.
  • Program evaluation
    • Evaluations do not seek to raise issues, but to examine aspects of a program that are at risk or that have never been evaluated in order to propose approaches for improving management, delivery and the achievement of results. Some program managers may initially have misgivings about evaluations, often because they worry that it will add to employees’ workload. However, employees generally appreciate having an opportunity to voice their opinions regarding a program in order to improve it. Managers always have an opportunity to review the evaluation mandate before the project begins and to validate the information contained in the reports. They are also invited to attend the DPMPEC meeting when the report is submitted for approval.
    • Two evaluation reports will be published on the LAC website shortly: an evaluation of the Preservation Program’s analog component and an evaluation of the Co-Lab project. Neither of these two reports presents any particular issues. Media lines have been prepared to respond to external enquiries.
  • Internal audit
    • In addition to its monitoring duties, LAC sometimes conducts internal audits, such as on compliance with TBS submission requirements. However, since LAC has no official audit function, the OCG does not recognize these audits.
    • As a small organization not required to have an audit function, LAC has several options for complying with the requirements of the Policy on Internal Audit. An analysis is under way to compare the practices of small departments and agencies in order to identify the best approach for LAC.

Key messages

  • Results-based management culture has significantly evolved at LAC over the last five years, as can be seen in the additional efforts made to ensure transparency with respect to organizational performance (e.g., three-year plan, three-year plan progress report, annual report and major projects dashboard).
  • Program evaluations have earned a sound reputation at LAC over the past several years. According to managers, these evaluations are useful, and the reports are used by programs to analyze and improve practices. Employees enjoy participating in the investigations and interviews, and want to know if changes will be made in response to their feedback.
  • The monitoring and audit liaison function enables LAC to comply with the Policy on Internal Audit by providing senior management with the assurance of sound risk management and by conducting various monitoring reviews with recommendations to improve internal controls.

SME:

Julie St-Laurent, Director, Corporate Planning and Accountability
Email: julie.st-laurent@canada.ca
Tel.: 613-790-3275

Appendix A: LAC DRF and PI

This images depicts LAC’s Departmental Results Framework and Program Inventory for 2019-2020. The two Core Responsibilities are presented at the highest level above, accompanied by their departmental results and the performance indicators used to measure them. The programs and their indicators are presented at the level below.

This images depicts LAC’s Departmental Results Framework and Program Inventory for 2019-2020. The two Core Responsibilities are presented at the highest level above, accompanied by their departmental results and the performance indicators used to measure them. The programs and their indicators are presented at the level below.
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