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ARCHIVED - Evaluation of the Treasury Board Submission Process

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Appendix H: Description of Tools

Following are more specific observations on each of the tools:

  • A Guide to Preparing Treasury Board Submissions (the Guide) – Program analysts appreciated it as a communication tool and felt that it was useful for new analysts. Federal organizations appreciated the enhanced checklists, tables, and specific criteria. Nonetheless, both groups saw areas for improvement, including a better index, better Web functionality for searching the online PDF, and the inclusion of more specific details. They also suggested that the implementation of the Guide had been painful and that there should be a better way to consolidate updates besides the current use of "one pagers."
  • Other TBS-developed tools – Federal organization interviewees mentioned the usefulness of training on the new Policy on Transfer Payments, of costing manuals, of the Guide to Costing, and of other guides. Most program analyst and COE analyst interviewees (7 of 10) mentioned using other useful tools, including policies and guides posted on the TBS website, informal networking structures, and internal TBS outreach presentations.
  • Program Analysts Boot Camp – Most program analyst interviewees (7 of 10) indicated that the boot camp was useful for new analysts; however, only half have been on the course themselves. One analyst noted that the course is not being offered as often as it used to be, given that some analysts have been in their role for six to eight months without having taken it. Another analyst noted that the course used to last two weeks and is now only two-day course.
  • Outreach – Few federal organization survey respondents (34.4%) found TBS outreach to be helpful. Interviewees explained that outreach might be in the form of conference presentations, brown bag lunches, or specialized training. A few interviewees (3 of 12) had attended conferences where TBS had made presentations on topics related to submissions, which they all found useful. Another interviewee mentioned having a TBS director deliver a presentation to his department on the strengths and weaknesses of its submissions, while another interviewee had asked for such a presentation on the Guide and got no response.
  • Mentoring and other training – Most interviewees did not note the presence of mentoring; however, a couple of interviewees indicated that mentoring should occur more frequently, especially within program analyst groups.
  • The Treasury Board submission course offered by the Canada School of Public Service – Only 34.0% of federal organization survey respondents had attended the course, the majority of whom had been in their role longer than two years. Of the respondents who had been in their role less than two years, only 20.0% had attended the course. Among the federal organization interviewees, only 2 of the 12 had attended the course, and both found it to be useful. Similarly, some interviewees (5 of 12) had colleagues or acquaintances who had attend the course, all of whom reportedly found it useful. They noted that the course was especially good at setting the submission process in the greater government context. Two interviewees cited the following reasons for not taking the course: it was too expensive and was too hard to get in to.

Appendix I: Description of EXCO Measures

In an effort to streamline the Treasury Board submission process, TBS has considered and introduced a number of new measures to eliminate the need for a submission. For instance, during the TBS Executive Committee (EXCO) Retreat held in the fall of 2007, it was noted that delegated authorities have not kept pace with inflation or departmental capacity, resulting in many low-risk, transactional Treasury Board submissions.2 While increasing delegated authorities to be reflective of inflation has not removed the need for many submissions, for a few small agencies that are frequent submitters of many low-risk submissions, the need for more than 30 submissions can be eliminated annually.3 This will grant more time across TBS for high-risk submissions and strategic initiatives.4

Renewal of program terms and conditions (T&Cs) comprises a significant portion of Treasury Board business (700+ submissions from June 2000 to September 2007). It was proposed at the EXCO Retreat that ministers be authorized to extend expiring T&Cs for up to three years. This will allow Treasury Board more time to discuss high-risk or strategic business. Ministers will take responsibility for program T&Cs, giving their respective departments time to align T&Cs with new policy requirements and with the findings of strategic reviews.5

To qualify for increased delegated authorities, departments will have to demonstrate sound management practices. Of the 39 organizations reviewed, only 8 were recommended as potential candidates for increased delegated authorities. The reasons identified for not recommending organizations included the following: absent or poor track record, capacity issues in managing grants and contributions, low volume of submissions to have any workload impact, or existing thresholds or case-by-case review were deemed appropriate.6 To have increased delegated authorities, a federal organization must demonstrate that the first and second purposes of the submission process (oversight and management) can be completed in-house. In other words, the organization can manage itself successfully and oversight is not required.

It was also noted during the EXCO Retreat that TBS analysts spend a large amount of time reviewing poor quality draft submissions from departments. It is proposed that the chief financial officer (CFO) or delegate sign off on all draft Treasury Board submissions before TBS review to signal appropriate quality and completeness.7 This would assist analysts in their quality review and facilitation roles and would allow them to appropriately devote their time to analysis and not quality control. Furthermore, conditions would solely be used for high-risk submissions.