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Table 5: Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits

Response to Parliamentary Committees
Not applicable

Response to the Auditor General (including to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)
2007 October Report of the Auditor General of Canada – Chapter 2 – Management and Control Practices in Three Small Entities

The Auditor General of Canada found that the Courts Administration Service has effective control procedures in place for acquisition cards, executive travel, and hospitality. However, its controls for contracting and its management of performance pay lack rigour. It also has difficulty finding enough people with the required skills and competencies to fill its positions on a timely basis. A significant number of its employees have been in acting positions for up to two years. Yet the Courts Administration Service has done virtually no planning to address these problems.

Courts Administration Service's response –

In 2006, the Service established a Contracts Review Committee to review contracts and their files on a quarterly basis in order to ensure that they comply with the Government Contracts Regulations, the Treasury Board Contracting Policy, and CAS internal policies and procedures. In 2005, the Service also established and staffed a senior contracting specialist position to ensure that controls were applied rigorously.

As a result of an earlier internal audit of human resources management, the Service has accessed approximately $933,000 in funding from the Canada Public Service Agency's strategic investment framework for six initiatives under the Public Service Modernization Act. A key initiative being funded is the development of a human resources plan across the organization. The Service is currently working with a consultant to develop an action plan, and in the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 fiscal years, the Service will be putting this plan into action. A key component of the action plan will be the provision of training and tools to senior management in order to ensure the sustainability of the process.

The recommendation that the Service should ensure performance pay awards are based on complete performance assessments was also made in an earlier internal audit of human resources management. As a result, the Service now ensures compliance with the Performance Management Program of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and our own internal policies through the monitoring and annual report of the Performance Review Committee. To ensure awareness, all executives provide a written attestation of their compliance with policy.

Link to the 2007 October Report of the Auditor General of Canada – Chapter 2 – Management and Control Practices in Three Small Entities

External Audits (Note: These refer to other external audits conducted by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages)
Staffing Management Accountability Framework for 2007-2008

Courts Administration Service was assessed against the Staffing Management Accountability Framework eleven leading indicators of long-term success for the reporting period April 2007 to March 2008. The organization received an acceptable rating for four of these leading indicators, i.e. delegation, merit, non-partisanship and fairness. An area of strength identified overall was in relation to the values of transparency and access in the manner in which employees of the organization are notified about staffing advertisements and notifications. In the seven remaining areas, i.e. Human Resources Planning, Human Resources Support Systems, Accountability for Results, Flexibility and Efficiency, Representativeness, Access and Transparency, the organization received a rating of "opportunity for improvement". Feedback from the Public Service Commission indicated that corporate-level and sector human resources plans and staffing strategies need to have department-wide staffing objectives expressed in measurable terms and variances from comparisons of actual to planned staffing activities documented and reported to senior management and actively addressed. The length of appointment processes, employment equity provisions in the internal and external advertised processes, the ratio of non-advertised appointments to total appointments and the under-representation of women also needs to be addressed in the HR Plans in measurable terms. HR plans and staffing strategies also need to be communicated to employees and managers. It was also indicated that a continuous learning curriculum for staffing advisors needs to be developed and the staffing services and infrastructure needs to fully meet management's assessment of overall needs.

The organization is presently working on a three year integrated business and HR plan and staffing strategies which will be finalized in the early fall of 2008. The HR Plan and staffing strategies will also be posted at this time on the organization's intranet site. The HR Plan will address the length of appointment processes, employment equity provisions, the ratio of non-advertised appointments to total appointments, and the under-representation of women in measurable terms. In relation to continuous learning curriculum for staffing advisors, the organization has developed learning plans and a coach is in place to train and develop employees in staffing.