ARCHIVED - Management Practices Review of the Atlantic Region

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Author: (Audit and Evaluation Sector)
Date: (January 2008)

PDF Version (959 Kb, 20 pages)

 

 

Table of Contents

 

 

Review Objectives

Provide review level assurance that:
grant and contributions, contracting, financial management and human resources management practices comply with authorities and are delivered consistent with the TB Management Accountability Framework.

 

 

Methodology

 

 

Context

 

 

Observations Grants and Contributions

Tobique Education:

 

 

Observations - Contracting

3 of the 26 transactions examined did not comply fully with contracting policies e.g. the acquisition card was not paid within 30 days

Difficulty obtaining timely contracting advice from Headquarters (partly due to staff turnover and retirements)

 

 

Observations - Financial Payments

We noted an error rate in the headquarters selected sample of financial payment transactions which were post audited in the calendar year 2006 of less than 4%. This rate is below the target rate of 5% and significantly below the national average of 15%.

The HQ post audit policy sample methodology does not cover grants and contributions.

 

 

Observations - Human Resources

8 of 42 HR transactions did not comply in full with authorities

In 5 transactions -acting appointments of greater than 4 months without inviting expressions of interest (as per PSC advice)

In 2 transactions -incomplete documentation

In 1 transaction -training authorisations not provided

100% of performance reviews regarding 2006/7 and learning plans regarding 2007/8 completed per regional report

The 6 leave, 4 overtime and 5 classification transactions examined were processed appropriately

The region consists of 30% aboriginal staff compared to a departmental target of 50%. The region gives priority to hiring qualified aboriginals but practice is inconsistent

The Region is developing an Aboriginal Resourcing Plan which is intended to address this issue.

Several employees expressed concern about the fairness of past HR decisions, some dating from many years ago. Most of the commentsabout current decisions related to acting appointments.

Several employees stated that questioning decisions was not welcome. One summarised that employees "are given the opportunity to appeal or complain but are afraid to do so as it black marks their name with various officials".

In the 2005 Public Service Employee Survey employees rated the region significantly better than the INAC and the Public Serviceaverage on matters such as goal setting ,performance feedback, learning plan development, information sharing, occupational health and safety, ethical problem resolution and ability to initiate aformal redress process without fear of reprisal. However the region received average ratings when asked if they could disagree with their supervisor without fear of reprisal.

 

 

Observations - General Management

Strengths:

Need for better data for decision making and management,

Tendency to draw from capital to meet shortfalls in other areas ; commitment in 2007/8 to pay out multi-year funding commitments on priority basis

Quality Assurance function needs to be further developed but awaiting tools from headquarters

Need to establish or enhance service standards regarding regional processes / activities

HR plan should be integrated into overall Atlantic Region Operational Plan

Region should establish a Risk Management Plan

 

 

Observations General Management - Community Based Approach

Atlantic Region developed community based approach to First Nations to enable a more collaborative and integrated approach to the delivery of programs and services.

The Atlantic Region proposed approach shifts emphasis from Programs to communities as a focus.

 

 

Recommendations

HR should:

HR plan should be integrated with existing Regional Operational Plan

Controls over grants and contributions should be strengthened;

A revised INAC intervention policy and tolerance levels (e.g. current operating deficit ratio) should be developed to meet policy objectives including capacity development and self administration of First Nations and implemented by April 2008;

A revised national post-audit policy regarding grants and contribution expenditures should be based on risk factors;

INAC Audit and Evaluation should include Atlantic Region in the grants and contributions audit of 2008/9;

INAC Audit and Evaluation should conduct an audit of Tobique First Nation funding for the period 2001/2 to 2007/8.

The Atlantic region should refine data collection for decision making, consistent with a national initiative already underway ( Smart Reporting) and implement quarterly reporting;

The Atlantic Region should develop consistent service standards around the delivery of funding and services to First Nations;

The Atlantic Region should develop a risk management plan;

INAC Audit and Evaluation should provide guidance and tools for the Quality Assurance function to all regions;

Senior ADM SEPRO and CFO should closely examine value of furtherdeveloping community-based approach to delivery of INAC services in light of current shortcomings/gaps in existing practices and controls and ensure that risks would be mitigated.

 
 
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