ARCHIVED - Evaluation of the Income Assistance, National Child Benefit Reinvestment and Assisted Living Programs - Follow-up Report Status Update as of December 31, 2012

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Action Plan Implementation Status Update Report to the Evaluation, Performance Measurement and Review Committee - As of December 31, 2012

EDUCATION AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS AND PARTNERSHIPS – SOCIAL POLICY AND PROGRAM BRANCH

Evaluation of the Income Assistance, National Child Benefit Reinvestment and Assisted Living Programs (200812)
AEC Approval Date: 26/FEB/2009

Project
Recommendations
Action Plan Expected
Completion Date
Program
Response
Overall Recommendations
1. Create an Evaluation working group of AANDC Audit and Evaluation Sector and Program Staff and First Nations representatives to develop outcome indicators for all three programs that will be meaningful and acceptable at the community level. The Program, in consultation with regions, developed an RMAF which outlined program objectives, expected results and evaluation criteria.

The Program, in collaboration with regions is developing an integrated Performance Measurement and Risk Management Strategy which will include the following components: program profile, logic model, risk profile, performance measurement framework and evaluation strategy. Once an initial draft is completed it will be shared with First Nations with a view to seeking their input.
31/03/2010 Status: Underway

Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2011:

A Performance Measurement Strategy for all 5 social development programs was approved by EPMRC in Feb. 2011 which included consultations with First Nation representatives, regions and stakeholders. Two Umbrella Risk Assessments covering the 5 social programs have been completed and will be used to complete the Social Management Control Framework once approved by A&E senior management.

AES: Closed – Fully Implemented

Consultations with FN and other stakeholders have occurred according to program. The umbrella PM Strategy has identified broad outcomes and indicators for program areas, specific Logic Models and Indicators for each program would be useful.
2. Develop a standard data system and standardization of indicators for all regions to facilitate comparability. As part of the Performance Measurement Strategy presently under development, the Program will identify standard outcomes and indicators, as well as support the implementation of a renewed data collection and management process. 31/12/2010 Status: Underway

Update/Rationale:
As of 31/12/2012

Effective April 1, 2013, on a National platform, SPPB will be using existing departmental software to consolidate recipient level income assistance reporting.

Indicators are approved and complete as part of the Social Performance Measurement Strategy and are also consistently reflected in DIAND's Performance Measurement Framework for 2013-2014.

AES: Underway. In progress.
3. The Working Group created should have a discussion of OCAP principles regarding program data. While AANDC needs to manage data for program design and accountability purposes, it will ensure that program data is publicly available. Ongoing Status: Closed – Fully Implemented

Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2010:

AANDC complies with requirements for transparency and public access to internal data and information.

AES: Closed – Fully Implemented
Income Assistance Recommendations
1. Develop, in partnership with relevant bodies such as HRSDC, AFN, and provincial ministries, an integrated strategy to address on-reserve labour and employment needs. The strategy would recognize the complex and unique needs of the on-reserve unemployed, such as restricted access to labour markets; multiple employability barriers; transportation needs; and the need for child care and other necessary supports while in training or educational upgrading programs. As part of the social program and policy reform, AANDC is working with willing provinces and First Nations in a tripartite process that is unique to each jurisdiction. This process focuses on Active Measures to help a larger number of income assistance recipients to transition to the labour force.

More specifically, AANDC is working with provincial governments to develop and implement approaches for active measures using provincial expertise and services to encourage youth to pursue employment rather than income assistance. These approaches will take into account the need to coordinate and integrate related programming, as well as supports necessary to pursue training, education and employment.

Program redesign and authority renewal will be based on best practices and will be moved out nationally.
Ongoing Status: Underway

Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2011:

In addition to providing support to implement tripartite agreements on Income Assistance and Active Measures in both Quebec and Saskatchewan, AANDC continues to provide targeted funding nationally for projects aimed at assisting Income Assistance clients to transition away from dependency through counselling and participation in training. These projects optimize contributions from a number of partners including other federal departments such as HRSDC and provinces.

AANDC representatives also meet regularly with counterparts from other federal departments such as HRSDC and Health Canada, as well was with provincial representatives, to develop specific measures to ultimately improve First Nation participation in the labour force.

AANDC is working with its federal partners to develop a joint platform and comprehensive approach to facilitate coordinated partnerships with provinces and First Nations.

AES: CLOSED-Progress slow, dependent on willing parties.

Work with provinces in a number of regions so far. Engagements and consultations continue for the program's redesign efforts (in relation to greater emphasis on active measures).

Consistent progress means that this item can be closed
.
2. In the near term, until a strategy to address the causes of welfare dependency is in place, and achieving the desired outcomes; and to provide better support for basic needs: review the 2% funding increase policy to assess whether it is meeting First Nations Income Assistance costs. See response to Recommendation No. 1 (Income Assistance)

The 2 per cent funding cap was imposed on AANDC by the Treasury Board in 1998. With the growth in First Nation demographics, the two per cent is a constraint in delivering the program. However, it is not within the control of the department to remove the funding cap. The Program is trying to reduce funding pressures through a renewed focus on both compliance and Active Measures in order to reduce income assistance dependency and encourage transition to employment.
31/03/2011 Status: Underway

Update/Rationale:
As of 31/03/2012:

In order to address the gap in funding adjustments over the past years, A national compliance framework has been developed and is in the final stages for implementation as of April 1, 2012. This framework improves program management in terms of strengthening and achieving program outcomes, demonstrated by reduced dependency.

Social Policy and Programs Branch has maintained a special fund (Active Measures Reserve Fund) of approximately $2M annually for the last three years, to implement active measures projects in FN communities across regions which could encourage transition to employment and reduce dependency on income assistance.

In 2011-2012 Saskatchewan and Alberta requested additional funding from HQ's funding reallocation mechanisms to implement active measures projects as an interim measure until decisions are made on a national approach to Income Assistance Reform. In 2012-13 several regions (i.e., SK, AB, BC, ON) requested additional funding. These requests, which amount to several million dollars, aim at addressing funding gaps for active measures.

A national working group comprised of regions and HQ program managers developed several risk assessment tools which emphasize program management as the single most important factor for controlling program costs.

AES: Closed - The program has considered and applied several means to make up structural financial gaps in program funding when compared to rates provided by provincial comparison.
3. In the near term, address AANDC staffing shortages and training needs at the national and regional levels. Once the Performance Measurement Strategy has been developed, revisions to the National Manual, First Nations National Reporting Guide and training guides will be undertaken and subsequently provided to regional staff and First Nations. 31/12/2010 Status: Underway

Update/Rationale:
As of 31/03/2012:

Social Policy and Programs Branch has been working to review and update the management control framework in every aspect of the Social programs. The issue of training is recognized as an integral element of successful policy implementation. Active training and development for the program compliance framework is underway and includes regional training. Training and development in the areas of the program manual and reporting requirements are being developed as a second phase, representing the final piece necessary to fully support regional operations in these key activities.

Activity will be completed within the first Quarter of 2012-13.

AES: Closed - Some training initiatives have begun related to the new program manual and reporting requirements.
4. In the near term, fund a representative sample of community needs assessments that will provide meaningful cost measures for items such as shelter, utilities and transportation. As opposed to funding a representative sample of community needs assessments, AANDC will undertake research to identify characteristics and needs of income assistance recipients and service delivery models. This will support the development of policy options aimed at reducing dependency and supporting transition into the workforce. 31/03/2010 Status: Open

Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2011:

Work to assess client needs has already begun. As an example, AANDC is presently funding the operation of two mobile assessment units in Saskatchewan. Operated by the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology, the assessment units are traveling to various First Nation communities in order to conduct client assessments to identify appropriate training opportunities for those assessed. It is projected that the units will support over 800 career assessments before the end of 2011-2012.

Assessment of income assistance client needs is also one of the internal research projects that has been identified to support income assistance program reform.

AES: CLOSED - This recommendation is behind schedule

The program has decided instead of funding pilot community needs assessments – to conduct individual client needs research. Progress in needs assessments remains slow as Saskatchewan is the only region where this research has been conducted. Sufficient progress – closed.
5. In the longer term, create a working group of AANDC, First Nations and Provincial representatives to develop a strategy for addressing IA jurisdictional and funding issues, including a discussion of the costs of needs in rural/remote communities. See response to Recommendation No. 1 (Income Assistance).

The approach of working with provinces on an incremental basis will help to ensure that the geographic and community-specific needs of First Nations are taken into account.
Ongoing Status: Recommend to Close – Fully Implemented

Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2011:

AANDC continues to meet regularly with First Nation partners and representatives from various provinces with a view to improving delivery of income assistance to First Nations residents on reserve. The Active Measures Working Group in British Columbia is one example of cooperation in the area of income assistance and active measures. The group consists of representatives from the federal government, provincial government and First Nations or First Nation organizations, and its overarching purpose is to help link resources and partners with respect to active measures implementation in British Columbia.

Other examples of collaboration between Federal-provincial and First Nations stakeholders can be seen in a number of provinces, including Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario. The program has a process in place to engage with partners and stakeholders.

AES: Closed – Fully Implemented
6. Take the lead in initiating an integrated education and training strategy with HRSDC, Aboriginal organizations, and relevant provincial ministries, to address the education needs of First Nation youth in particular, as a way of reducing the number of youths who choose welfare over further education and/or employment. See response to Recommendation No. 1 (Income Assistance)

AANDC will undertake research to identify the characteristics and needs of income assistance recipients that will help identify the scope of the education and pre-employment needs of First Nation youth.
March 2010 Status: Recommend to Close – Fully implemented

Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2011:

AANDC and HRSDC continue to collaborate on ways in which to optimize programming in order to better meet the training and employment needs of First Nation Income Assistance clients and, more specifically, those of First Nation youth.

AANDC has also partnered with both First Nations and HRSDC to deliver various active measures projects intended to support job counselling, training and skills upgrading opportunities to First Nation income assistance clients, including youth.

AES: Closed – Fully implemented

AANDC has partnered with FN and HRSDC to deliver active measures and support job counselling, training and skills upgrades for FN including youth. A process of collaboration is in place and continues with HRSDC.
AANDC will work with HRSDC and provinces to develop approaches to encourage youth to pursue educational opportunities rather than applying for income assistance. March 2011
7. Strengthen links with other relevant departments such as HRSDC to enhance information sharing so that long term employment outcomes can be measured, and develop more refined outcome indicators for future evaluation activities. AANDC is developing a Performance Measurement Strategy with clear program outcomes and measurable indicators to improve capacity to monitor program effectiveness.

AANDC will work with HRSDC, Health Canada, provinces and First Nations as it transforms its income assistance program so that it can measure employment outcomes from a "passive" to "active measures" approach.
31/03/2010 Status: Underway

Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2011:

A Performance Measurement Strategy for all 5 social development programs was approved by EPMRC in Feb. 2011 which included consultations with First Nation representatives, regions and stakeholders.

Two Umbrella Risk Assessments covering all 5 social programs have been completed and will be used to complete the Social Management Control Framework once approved by A&E senior management.

HRSDC is collaborating with AANDC on the development of the comprehensive national approach to IA reform. AANDC and Health Canada are also collaborating on the development of the comprehensive national approach to IA reform.

AANDC has put in place processes to facilitate collaboration between HRSDC and HC on IA reform, including working groups at the regional and national level.

AES: Sufficient progress – closed.

Working groups between AANDC and HRSDC and HC on IA reform should also consider outcomes, indicators, data collection and sharing of performance data
National Child Benefit Reinvestment Recommendations
1. Initiate a formal discussion with First Nation organizations and AANDC regional staff on the most effective way to address reporting issues so that meaningful outcomes can be measured. AANDC will work with its regional offices and First Nations to identify performance outcomes and indicators as well as the development of appropriate data collection tools, to be pilot tested prior to full implementation. September 2010 Status: Closed – Fully Implemented

Update/Rationale:
As of 31/03/2011:

The umbrella Performance Measurement Strategy for all 5 social development programs was approved by EPMRC in February 2011. The Strategy has a total of 18 indicators, 15 of which match those collected by provinces and territories. Consultation with regions and other stakeholders including First Nation representatives informed the development of the strategy and will be used as AANDC moves to implementation.

AANDC's NCBR Working Group has been re-established and meets by teleconference monthly or more often if necessary. The Working Group, with its HQ and regional membership, focuses on a number of items including data, reporting, research, best practices and improving collaborative relationships with relevant partners.

AES: Closed - Fully Implemented
AANDC's NCBR program will reinstate the HQ/Regional AANDC NCBR Working Group, which will focus on evaluation of NCB/NCBR impacts, data, reporting, outcomes, strategic research, best practices, and improving collaborative working relationships with relevant partners. Fall 2009
2. Recommend to regions that they adopt a management regime similar to Saskatchewan region, which does the following:
  • Outlines clear expectations;
  • Sets targets in collaboration with First Nations;
  • Communicates the intent of
  • NCBR;
  • Provide project proposal support.
Regions are expected to adopt a management regime similar to the Saskatchewan model. Management practices with respect to NCBR will be on the agenda of an AANDC NCBR national meeting (late summer 2009). August 2009 Status: Closed – Fully Implemented

Update/Rationale:
As of 31/03/2011:

AANDC is strengthening the NCBR guidelines to improve complimentarily with other programs such as Income Assistance/Active Measures while respecting the community-driven nature of NCBR programming, and to provide sufficient guidance and support to communities to target key activities that help reduce poverty and support attachment to the labour force. For example, the Saskatchewan Region is putting more emphasis on the transition to work component of NCBR where appropriate (e.g., where available employment opportunities exist). The Saskatchewan Region's approach has been shared with other regions.

The Social Policy and Programs Branch is updating and consolidating a range of program management tools with the goal of providing clarity to staff and First Nations with respect to roles and responsibilities, improving data collection and reporting, decreasing the number of performance indicators, and introducing a robust risk management approach focused on tracking results and outcomes. The suite of tools that will apply across all 5 social programs include a comprehensive Management Control Framework, an umbrella Performance Measurement Strategy, a single National Program Manual and a Risk Management Framework. Regional and HQ staff have been participating and providing input into strengthening these management tools. All tools will be available for use by the end of the first quarter of 2011-2012. Training of staff and refinement of the tools will occur in the summer and fall of 2011.

AES: Closed - Fully Implemented
As per the design of the National Child Benefit Initiative, of which NCBR is one component, NCBR management and programming must be in the context of P/T/regional regimes; HQ will work with/support each region to strengthen its management regime and supports within the reference P/T/regional social development context. Ongoing
3. Revise reporting mechanisms to avoid multiple counting of program participants. AANDC will work with its regional offices, First Nations, HRSDC (NCB Initiative) to develop an improved project proposal template and reporting tool for collecting more accurate information regarding NCBR activities and beneficiaries and provide better information for evaluating outcomes, with a view to pilot testing and implementation of the new tool. September 2010 Status: Closed – Fully Implemented

Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2011:

An improved NCBR Annual Report form has been developed, which includes measures to help reduce multiple-counting of children/families across projects within communities. The new form was pilot tested, and as part of the Management Control Framework project (improving management tools across the 5 social development programs) informed the development of a new NCBR Data Collection Instrument (DCI), for implementation in 2011-12.

In compliance with the NCBR eligibility criteria, NCBR projects/programs do not require registration by participants. Therefore, it is impossible to completely eliminate multiple counting of children/families (e.g., across communities, or in communities where more than one NCBR project is in operation). Analysis of previous reports has indicated a very low likelihood of multiple-counting of participants within single NCBR projects.

AES: Closed – Fully Implemented
A national meeting is tentatively scheduled for August 2009 to strategize and move forward with improvements to NCBR outcomes / reporting. Fall 2009
Assisted Living Recommendations
1. Continue the initiative to devolve the funding and authority for the in-home component to the FNIHCC program. Overall Approach: In its broadest context the Assisted Living program is working towards a more integrated and coordinated First Nations continuing care system on reserve that is more responsive to the needs of seniors, and adults and children with disabilities or chronic illness.

The Options Analysis Paper (2008) prepared for the Joint Working Group on Continuing Care, as well as the Assisted Living Program Review (2008), are key documents that will assist in determining future directions for the program. The analysis will take into consideration the recommendations, including service requirements, such as improving access to services for First Nation recipients, greater alignment with provincial/territorial practices, and improving program efficiency and effectiveness.

AANDC will continue to work with Health Canada to improve the delivery of home care services and better meet the needs of First Nation individuals (and Inuit) by exploring and advising on the options for federal home care services. The Options Analysis Paper presented to the Joint Working Group on Continuing Care in July 2008 had included integration of home care services in two of the three proposed options and noted that integration would improve access to home care services for First Nation recipients, allow greater alignment with provincial home care practices, and improve program efficiency and effectiveness.
To be determined Status: Underway

Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2011:

To advance the proposed transfer, AANDC is continuing to work with Health Canada to address issues identified in the 2010 Impact Analysis. Regional consultations are complete. The Department is working with regional program staff to prepare for the proposed integration at the community level.

A later transfer date has been set for April 1, 2013, to allow sufficient time for a transition period and implementation of the integration.

AES: Closed - Sufficient progress has been made.
2. Secure Treasury Board funding for children's AL services, to resource the program authority in place since 2003. See response to Recommendation No. 1 (Assisted Living)

AANDC will undertake needs assessments in the areas of foster care, including supportive living, and institutional care to inform decisions on the further direction of the program.
September 2009 Status: Underway

Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2011:

The findings of the national assessment report were assessed, but were insufficient to reach definite conclusions with respect to the needs of children with disabilities. To gather the additional information required to assess the needs of children on reserve, AANDC is making changes to its data collection instruments for the Assisted Living program. Additionally, research is being undertaken to conduct a gap analysis between the Assisted Living program and comparable programs and services off reserve.

AES: Closed - Sufficient progress has been made.
AANDC will undertake analysis regarding the social, non-medical needs of children with disabilities and related costs to inform proposed options for future direction of the program for this population. April 2009
AANDC is currently reviewing provincial and territorial funding practices related to institutional care clients on reserve and, based on this review, will develop a position paper clarifying roles and responsibilities with respect to the provision of funding. March 2010
3. Coordinate discussions at the Federal / Provincial / Territorial and First Nations level to address other AL service gaps, resolve jurisdictional issues and develop an integrated approach to a full continuum of care model. See response to Recommendation No. 1 (Assisted Living)

AANDC will continue to participate in multi-stakeholder committees and working groups (i.e. Joint Working Group on Continuing Care and Home and Community Care Working Group of the Federal Healthcare Partnership Committee) to explore possible mechanisms to address assisted living gaps on reserve.
March 2010 Status: Completed – Fully Implemented

Update/Rationale:
As of 31/03/2011:

AANDC participates in and contributes to the work of the Interdepartmental Committee for Seniors, organized by HRSDC. AANDC will also continue to work with Health Canada in developing an implementation strategy for the proposed integration of in-home based health and social services on reserve.

AES: Closed - Fully Implemented
4. Fund community-based AL needs assessments and use the information as a basis for reviewing current funding levels. See response to Recommendation No. 1 (Assisted Living)

AANDC's current assisted living allocations are based on a historical funding formula that allows for a 2% increase per year. Any proposed revisions to the funding formula would be based on needs assessments conducted on foster care and institutional care.
31/03/2010 Status: Underway

Update/Rationale:
As of 30/09/2011:

The correlation between community needs and current funding levels and practices remains one of the key indicators in effective program management. The Social Branch is working on program compliance activities to ensure effective program management and determine how current funding meets the needs for Assisted Living supports and services in the communities.

AES: Closed - Program review and analysis of options is sufficient.
 
 
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