ARCHIVED - Audit of the Office of the Federal Interlocutor - Follow-up Report Status Update as of September 25, 2008

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Risk Assessment
1. An OFI risk assessment should be completed and updated annually with focus being placed on both entity-level and program-level risks. Risk mitigation strategies and action plans should be developed for each risk with clear linkages to strategic and operational planning exercises.
STATUS: Pending Implementation
Management's Response
OFI will implement a system to review and update annually its risk assessment as part of its strategic and operational planning exercise.
FY-08/09 As of 30/09/2008:

INAC will be reviewing a risk assessment model for the department in October. As part of this exercise, Audit and Assurances Service Branch has almost finished development of a risk assessment model for OFI.
OFI Senor Management will incorporate a risk-assessment element as part of the annual Strategic Outcome exercise to assess entity-level and program-level risks, as well as develop risk mitigation strategies.

Performance Measurement
2. Performance indicators should be improved to ensure that they include relevant qualitative and quantitative attributes and measurable targets. In selecting an appropriate mix of performance indicators, the OFI should ensure that benefits of each indicator selected are considered in relation to the costs of measuring achievement.
STATUS: Pending Implementation
Management's Response
OFI will continue to refine its performance measurement and reporting framework for its many diverse activities and make them more relevant to its context. In many instances, OFI has the lead role in coordinating several federal initiatives where, to a certain extent, the overall outcome is very much dependent on other partners. In some instances it is difficult to identify indicators that measure OFI's direct contribution on outcomes (issue of attribution). Nonetheless, OFI recognizes the necessity and importance of performance measures and will continue to work with partners in drawing linkages to accurately measure the effectiveness and results of its efforts and will continue to move from an outputs oriented approach to a truly performance measurement one.
FY-08/09 As of 30/09/2008:
The OFI is developing SO level indicators which will combine census data indicators for client socio-economic outcomes and qualitative indicators for co-operative relations.
30/04/2008 As part of the INAC Audit and Evaluation Sector's work on developing departmental performance measures, OFI held a two day workshop in September. Once approved, these indicators will be included in the departmental submission to Treasury Board.
To complement the department's FNITP system, the OFI will be implementing INAC's Program Information Management System (PIMS) to help track both quantitative and qualitative performance measures at the program level. 31/03/2009 Program level performance measures have been included in the development of the OFI PIMS system. OFI should begin using PIMS for all programs as of April 1, 2009.

Communication & Co-ordination
3. Further improvements to internal communication and co-ordination should be implemented to support individuals working with common recipients and to ensure that the newly transferred regional offices are well integrated into the OFI.
STATUS: Implemented
Management's Response
The period during which the audit took place was a period of great transition within the Office, as 26 new employees (most from other government departments) were added to OFI's roster, as well 5 new regional offices being created with people in 9 different locations outside of Ottawa. Communications challenges in this unique context were expected and targeted for action throughout the transition period.

In addition, to achieve a greater level of coordination and communication, the roles of program officers in OFI headquarters have been realigned to ensure that only one program officer has the lead role for each recipient. In addition, the OFI began last summer to develop an electronic system that will link and capture results in real time as well as bridge the geographic divide between regions and headquarters.

OFI Senior Management will continue its focus on communications and coordination and building a culture of information sharing and communications between HQ and its regional offices as part of its strategy to integrate the 25 new regional staff into the department.
Commenced February 18, 2008 As of 30/09/2008:
The ADM has committed to developing a consensus with all staff on the duration and frequency of all-staff meetings with the aim of improving communications and information sharing across the organization.
After discussing with all staff, the ADM has implemented monthly meetings.
Other planned communication enhancing and information sharing activities include: Video-conferencing systems established across organization, and utilized for monthly ADM chaired staff meetings.
  • video-conferencing capacity across the organization;
DG has established bi-weekly management calls – each director is responsible to debrief team.
  • weekly management and team debriefs;
OFI HQ DG and Directors to participate in Regional Director weekly calls.
  • annual OFI all-staff retreat (the four working groups established are to examine organization needs, including communications and information-sharing, which will inform future direction).
First annual staff retreat held in November 2007, with four working groups established to examine organizational needs. Next retreat tentatively scheduled for January 2009.

Documentation in Contribution Files
4. OFI should update its Operational Manual and templates for the Federal Interlocutor's Contribution Program, incorporating minimum documentation standards to ensure that contribution files demonstrate thorough recipient eligibility review, transparent funding decisions, and risk-based monitoring plans. Focus should also be placed on training program officers on updated requirements and on monitoring and enforcing compliance with requirements.
STATUS: Implemented
Management's Response
OFI will address the requirement for recipient funding decisions to be formally recorded in order to ensure sufficient documentation is maintained to support OFI recommendations to the Minister. The allocations table is currently used as minutes of funding decision meetings. OFI will add a column to record the key points of the funding rationale for each decision to ensure proper documentation of the discussions. In addition, the project specific justification will continued to be set out in the memo to the delegated signing authority. OFI also will implement a form to formally record recipient eligibility and risk assessment linked to specific monitoring activities at the time of the funding decision to ensure documentation exists for the contribution files. In addition, the Office will continue with the development and implementation of its electronic data management tool that will among other things address some these concerns.
01/07/2008 As of 30/09/2008:
OFI will ensure sufficient documentation is maintained to support its funding decisions (key points supporting the rationale of why a project should be funded at the recommended level will be documented).
31/05/2008 OFI has implemented the use of recipient eligibility form for the FICP and Core Funding programs; a recipient risk assessment form; and meeting summary notes following peer review assessment of proposals. Each piece of documentation is now included in each proposal file. Funding decisions and dates are recorded in the allocations table.
OFI will also implement a form to formally record recipient eligibility and risk assessment linked to monitoring activities for the contribution files. 01/04/2008 As above, forms have been developed and are in use for the 2008-09 fiscal year.
OFI will update the policy and procedures manual to reflect all procedural changes and include any new forms required for documentation. September 2008 Forms have been added, but update on procedural changes still to be done, pending completion of review of overall processes – seeking efficiencies.
Learning Plans for several existing officers include training on Contributions Agreements. All new officers will be sent for the same training, which is offered by the School for the Canadian Public Service. Ongoing The majority of OFI officers have taken the Canadian Public Service School course on managing contribution agreements. All new officers will be sent on the same training. Learning Plans for existing officers include training on the departmental FNITP system.
Continue implementation of PIMS program. 31/03/2009 Developmental work for the three OFI programs completed. Training manual being developed. Implementation and training of OFI officers to commence.

Processing Contribution Agreements & Payments
5. OFI management should conduct a review of its processes for reviewing proposals, preparing contribution agreements and requesting and approving payments in order to identify opportunities to reduce processing times. With respect to proposal review, consideration should be given to whether recipient expectations could be better managed by instituting a series of proposal submission deadlines.
STATUS: Implemented
Management's Response
OFI will conduct a review of the processes from application for funding, through to approval of the contribution agreement and issuance of payments to look for efficiencies and ways to shorten timelines where possible, including giving consideration to whether recipient expectations could be better managed by instituting a series of proposal submission deadlines.
FY 08/09 As of 30/09/2008:
OFI Management will conduct a review of the processes in order to identify any efficiency that can be realized (including whether post payment review of the adequacy of account verification can be performed by INAC Corporate Accounting).
31/05/2008 This is ongoing. OFI officers are being trained on the use of FNITP in order to be able to upload proposals, workplans and reports, thereby decreasing photocopying and scanning time. Review of overall INAC process to determine where there might be efficiencies still to be undertaken.
OFI will institute a series of proposal deadlines to help manage workload and expectations. 30/06/2008 Deadline implemented for the BOC program (of April 30, 2008). While no formal deadline was posted for FICP, funding decisions were made by end of June. Workplan negotiations for this program are ongoing.
OFI will organize a workshop with a number of key clients to discuss the current process timelines, TB guidelines, and to help manage expectations. 30/03/2208 Completed.  Two one-day sessions were undertaken with all main OFI clients in March 2008 to explain TB requirements, INAC requirements, the process of developing contribution agreements, reporting expectations, and so on.

In addition, as part of the broader INAC website renewal initiative, all program objectives and materials have been updated and will be posted later this fall
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