The Audit and Assurance Services Branch (AASB) of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada identified the Audit of Delegation of Authorities, Organization Design and Classification in the Department's 2013-14 to 2015-16 Risk-Based Audit Plan approved by the Deputy Minister on February 27, 2013. This audit was initiated by AASB in 2013.
Human Resources (HR) are essential for a Department to fulfill its mandate and achieve its objectives. Having the right people, in the right positions, with the right roles supports the Department in delivering its programs and achieving its strategic outcomes and expected results.
In the public service, the authority and responsibility for the management and administration of human resources is shared among the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer (OCHRO) / Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS), the Public Service Commission (PSC) and Deputy Ministers. The Public Service Commission delegates to Deputy Ministers all the appointment related authorities they require to fully execute their management responsibilities and human resources plans.
Whereas the primary accountability for HR rests with all members of AANDC management, the Human Resources Workplace Services Branch (HRWSB) provides strategic information and advice to the Department. HRWSB consists of Headquarters-based directorates/divisions and three Regional HR Services Centres.
As of January 2014, the Branch's budget and anticipated expenditures is $31.5M. The HRWSB consists of 227 Full time Equivalents (FTE) across eight Headquarters-based directorates/divisions and three regional HR Service Centres.
With regards to HR management, AANDC's Deputy Minister has delegated his authority to exercise and perform certain powers, functions or duties under various acts, regulations, directives and collective agreements. AANDC has recently implemented a revised Sub-Delegation Instrument – Delegation of Authority for Human Resources. HRWSB is responsible for managing departmental sub-delegated authorities and maintains a database that identifies all AANDC sub-delegated managers as well as those exercising acting authorities.
HR Advisors provide assistance to AANDC management in organizational design and in the classification and creation of required positions within the Department, including Regions, Sectors, and Branches. The organizational structure should define roles and responsibilities, reporting structures and channels of communication to promote sound governance, appropriate segregation of duties, and clarity. Effective and efficient assignment and level of work, accurate description of position duties and responsibilities, and occupational groups should also be defined for all job positions.
The classification process specifies and defines occupational groups, recognizes the relative value of work for the various occupational groups, and provides a framework for establishing the compensation structure. The process ensures fairness, objectivity and equity when creating a new position, changing the duties of an existing position, or making changes to the organization structure.
AANDC Workforce Management Context
Recently, AANDC HR Workforce Management was impacted by both the Deficit Reduction Action Plan (DRAP) and the Common Human Resources Business Process (CHRBP) implementation. These two major initiatives had impacts on both organizational design and classification.
DRAP measures included the re-alignment of corporate service functions across the Department including consolidation of regional administrative services, a transition to a common model for administrative support to managers, and the streamlining of various business processes within sectors. As a result of the Department's response to DRAP, HR functions from ten regional Human Resources offices were consolidated into three Regional Human Resources (HR) Service Centres: one in Alberta for the western regions (Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan) one in Ontario for the central regions (Ontario, Manitoba and Northwest Territories) and one in Québec for the eastern regions (Québec, Atlantic and Nunavut). An HR Service Centre was already in place for the National Capital Region. Currently, Regional HR Service Centre (Hubs) Directors report to the DG, HRWSB whereas previously, HR Directors reported to each Region. The HR Service Centres were implemented starting in May 2013.
Governance over organizational design and classification actions is performed primarily by the AANDC Workforce Management Board (WMB). The WMB was established in February 2012 as a temporary measure to manage workforce adjustment created as a result of the Departmental Deficit Reduction Action Plan (DRAP).
AANDC is also an early adopter of the Common HR Business Process (CHRBP). CHRBP is the Government Standard for HR service delivery across the Government of Canada and is overseen by the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer (OCHRO). HRWSB is leading the implementation of CHRBP in AANDC.
In alignment with TBS's CHRBP initiative, the HRWSB also identified an opportunity to restructure HR services delivery by separating administrative classification actions from non-administrative classification actions and centralizing the administrative-type classification actions into one National Administrative Unit (NAU) located in Headquarters (HQ). The NAU is responsible for routine HR classification actions, with the objective of relieving HR Advisors of administrative type tasks.
Audit Objective and Scope
The objective of this audit was to provide assurance that AANDC management controls in place for organizational design, classification, and associated delegation of authorities are adequate and effective in supporting efficient delivery of programs and services.
The audit scope included:
- Risk management, governance and oversight practices for organizational design and classification;
- Controls used to support accuracy, completeness, and validity of organizational design and classification actions, and to ensure compliance to policy requirements and delegation of authorities;
- Training, systems, tools, and support provided to management and staff in order to fulfill their responsibilities; and,
- Practices used in monitoring quality and performance.
The audit scope included testing of controls related to the organizational design and classification process within the Regions, Regional HR Service Centres in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta, and the HQ HR Service Centre.
The scope of the audit included both EX and non-EX classification actions. The scope of the audit covered the period April 1, 2012 through to August 31, 2013. The audit took into consideration that the HR Service Centres were introduced in May 2013 as a DRAP-related measure.