This page has been archived.
Information identified as archived on the Web is for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It has not been altered or updated after the date of archiving. Web pages that are archived on the Web are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats on the "Contact Us" page.
I am pleased to present the Public Service Commission's (PSC) Report on Plans and Priorities (RPP) for 2006-2007.
Under the new Public Service Employment Act (PSEA), which came into effect on December 31, 2005, the PSC's mandate for oversight of a more flexible, delegated appointment system has been enhanced. This Report provides Parliament with comprehensive, accurate information about the PSC's plans and priorities related to that mandate, the challenges presented by the internal and external environments, the work to be done over the planning period, the strategies we will adopt to do that work, and the resources, both human and financial, we will need.
The PSC's strategic outcome remains constant: to ensure that Canadians continue to benefit from a highly competent, non-partisan and representative public service, able to provide services in both official languages.
To that end, our priorities for the planning period are:
We will build on the leadership role we have already established in helping departments and agencies prepare for the implementation of the PSEA. The high-level framework of policies, tools and guides that we have developed over the past year has set out our expectations for the staffing system that departments and agencies are creating to meet their individual needs.
To balance the flexibilities offered by the new PSEA, we have adopted a more rigorous audit and investigation role, re-written delegation instruments and established a Staffing Management and Accountability Framework. This accountability regime will allow us to monitor performance, make recommendations to deputy heads, and take any necessary corrective actions up to and including revocation of delegated authorities. We will continue to report to Parliament on our oversight responsibilities in our annual report and audit reports.
To further safeguard the non-partisanship of the public service, the PSC has established a new political activities regime aimed at balancing the right of public servants to participate in the political process with the need to preserve the impartiality of the public service.
Over the planning period we will continue to prepare guidelines to help employees make decisions about their involvement in general political activities. As we have in the past, we will provide guidance through policy and regulations. We will monitor the effectiveness of the new political activities regime, and make any required adjustments.
Our Staffing and Assessment Services Branch (formerly known as the Services Branch) will remain under the PSC umbrella for the foreseeable future. The Branch will be treated as an independent business unit. To ensure the integrity of the PSC's independent oversight mandate, it is necessary to clearly articulate the delineation between our oversight and service delivery roles.
The new PSEA gives departments and agencies the option of choosing any qualified service provider. The Staffing and Assessment Services Branch aims to become the provider of choice for federal organizations in need of key staffing services. The PSC's experience in public service recruitment, executive resourcing and assessment has made us a centre of expertise, and we are well positioned to help organizations take full advantage of the staffing flexibilities offered by the new Act. The Staffing and Assessment Services Branch is working to establish service standards that will ensure the highest level of client support, and will continue to review its services to ensure they maintain their excellence.
If we are to effectively discharge our mandate, the PSC's objectivity must be beyond question. Over the planning period, we will work to solidify our independence and clarify our status as a unique agency reporting to Parliament. We will press for a more independent and objective funding process -- one which will help us avoid the conflict inherent in conducting oversight of the organization that approves our budget. We understand that with greater independence comes increased accountability. We will look at ways of aligning our management practices with those of Agents of Parliament, beginning with the preparation of audited financial statements and the establishment of a new internal audit and evaluation committee that involves independent outside members. We will publish our financial statements and will continue to share the results of our internal audits with parliamentarians through our departmental performance report and web site.
Finally, throughout the planning period we will endeavour to be a model employer through enhanced financial and human resources management practices. We will continue to respect the needs and concerns of our employees as we work to meet our obligations under the new PSEA.
I submit for tabling in Parliament, the 2006-2007 Report on Plans and Priorities (RPP) for the Public Service Commission (PSC).
This document has been prepared based on the reporting principles contained in the Guide for the Preparation of Part III of the 2006-2007 Estimates: Reports on Plans and Priorities:
Maria Barrados, PhD
July 21, 2006
The Public Service Commission (PSC) is dedicated to building a Public Service that strives for excellence. We protect merit, non-partisanship, representativeness and the use of both official languages.
We safeguard the integrity of staffing in the public service and the political impartiality of public servants. We develop policies and guidance for public service managers and hold them accountable for their staffing decisions. We conduct audits and investigations to confirm the effectiveness of the staffing system and to make improvements. As an independent agency, we report our results to Parliament.
We recruit talented Canadians to the public service, drawn from across the country. We continually renew our recruitment services to meet the needs of a modern and innovative public service.
In serving Parliament and Canadians, we are guided by and proudly adhere to the following values:
Financial Resources ($ thousands)
Human Resources (Full-Time Equivalents)
The following PSC Results Chain links what we deliver to our long-term result or strategic outcome.
Note 1: Includes sunset funding of $12,737 thousands from TB for the deployment of PSRS to departments, and temporary internal reallocations of $1,600 thousand for the business transformation project in Services Branch and $1,340 thousand for employees at-risk resulting from the closure of regional offices.
The PSC's strategic outcome of providing Canadians with a highly competent, non-partisan and representative public service fully supports the Government of Canada's outcomes, as outlined in Canada's Performance 2005 (http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/). The PSC is a key player in strengthening and modernizing public sector management through its oversight and service delivery roles.
The PSC oversees the appointment system through various mechanisms, such as the monitoring of appointment delegations, audits and investigations. It reports annually to Parliament.
We are also adapting our products and services to ensure that departments and agencies continue to have access to professional recruitment and assessment services.
We are actively working to provide improved on-line staffing tools so that all Canadians have access to employment opportunities in the public service.
Finally, through its programs and services, the PSC directly contributes to the Government of Canada's outcomes of fostering an inclusive society that promotes linguistic duality and diversity. It does so by ensuring that the federal government's human resources policies protect merit, non-partisanship, representativeness and the use of both official languages.
The new Public Service Employment Act (PSEA), part of the Public Service Modernization Act (PSMA), came into force on December 31, 2005. The new legislation gives the PSC an enhanced mandate to oversee a more flexible, delegated appointment system that continues to be based on merit and non-partisanship. It reinforces a values-based approach to staffing that incorporates the concepts of efficiency and long-term planning.
This new direction is intended to ensure that Canadians continue to benefit from a highly competent, non-partisan and representative public service, able to serve the public in both official languages. The new PSEA gives managers more flexibility to staff, manage and lead their personnel, enabling them to achieve results for Canadians. At the same time, managers are expected to base their appointment decisions on the values of fairness, access and transparency, and they will be held accountable for their decisions.
In preparation for the current planning exercise, the PSC assessed its key challenges and risks through an executive team retreat held in November, 2005, and through the deliberations of our Executive Management Committee. These are summarized in the next section and are more fully described in the PSC corporate risk profile in Section IV. The PSC's four main priorities in responding to these challenges and risks are identified below.
The PSC will continue to be a key player in helping departments and agencies fully implement the terms of the new PSEA. We have already made deputies aware of our expectations through an appointment framework of policies and delegation and accountability instruments that set out core principles and values they must incorporate into their own approaches to staffing.
While the PSC continues to have the authority to make appointments to and within the public service, the new Act encourages further delegation to deputy heads and through them, to managers. We have signed new delegation agreements with departments and agencies that identify the conditions for delegation and the results to be achieved. As a counterbalance to increased flexibility, a continuum of accountability mechanisms and oversight tools will determine whether deputy heads are exercising their delegated authorities properly.
In particular, we have established a Staffing Management Accountability Framework to set out expectations, monitor results and provide feedback and recommendations. We have also adopted a more rigorous audit and investigation role to ensure that the appointment system is based on integrity and that it meets the needs of Canadians. Where warranted, we will take corrective action, up to and including withdrawal of delegated authorities.
To further safeguard non-partisanship, the PSC has established a new political activities regime aimed at balancing the rights of public servants to participate in the political process, with the need to preserve the impartiality of the public service. Under the new regime, the PSC may investigate allegations of improper political conduct by public servants.
To respond to the needs of delegated managers and Canadians in the new PSEA environment, the PSC will continue to provide high quality recruitment and assessment services. Our aim is to become the provider of choice for departments and agencies seeking to obtain recruitment, staffing and assessment services which fully respect public service values. Clarifying and implementing an overall service vision will also be an ongoing priority.
Finally, we will continue to review our existing governance structures, and will work to increase the representativeness of the Commission. We will also establish review mechanisms to assure Canadians that we are acting with integrity for the public good.
The PSC continues to reorganize its operations and reallocate funds in order to focus more strongly on its oversight mandate and meet the Expenditure Management Review (EMR) commitments. In keeping with these commitments, which were accepted by the Expenditure Review Committee (ERC), a total of $4.6M (including the Employee Benefits Plan) over a three-year period is being reallocated from Recruitment and Assessment Services and Corporate Services to expand the PSC's audit function, enhance the priority system and meet other statutory obligations under the new PSEA.
On July 26, 2005, the PSC announced the consolidation of 16 points of service into seven regional locations. This consolidation is being implemented and will allow the PSC to increase the efficiency of its operations, reallocate resources to priority needs, and put in place the bilingual recruitment and assessment services required under the new PSEA.
The PSC supports the government's Procurement and Expenditure Transformation initiative. The procurement savings target attributed to the PSC for 2006-2007 is estimated at $460K, based on historical spending practices. The PSC continues to work with the Treasury Board Secretariat and Public Works and Government Services Canada to review the future target according to the current spending pattern, based on our new mandate.
The challenges and risks facing the PSC emerge from both the external and internal environments. They are detailed in Section IV under Corporate Risk Profile and Challenges and briefly described below.
First, there is insufficient capacity in the human resources (HR) community and insufficient engagement from line managers to take full advantage of the flexibilities and opportunities offered by the new PSEA. The lack of skilled HR specialists, together with managers' competing priorities, inhibiting their ability to take on expanded staffing roles, will require the PSC to continue to offer guidance and support during the transition to full PSEA implementation.
Making accountability work in a delegated staffing system presents a second risk. Uneven departmental and agency implementation of, and compliance with, accountability requirements will weaken assurance of adherence to the staffing values and affect the PSC's accountability to Parliament. Strategies to mitigate this risk will ensure that managers understand the values, undertake HR planning, and address the PSC's expectations with regard to staffing.
We face a challenge in responding to the growing needs of clients for state-of-the-art recruitment and assessment services. A new PSC service vision is required, together with standardized service levels and innovative programs. There is also the potential for delay in implementing the PSC's e-resourcing technology aimed at re-engineering staffing and recruitment processes. This could, in turn, slow the implementation of the new national area of selection policy. Support for e-resourcing technology must be maintained both internally and externally.
A challenge for the PSC will be to clearly align and communicate our multiple roles in the staffing system as monitor, auditor, investigator, interpreter and service provider. We will also need to coordinate, to the greatest extent possible, our accountability mechanisms and oversight tools.
Obtaining independent funding approval is a challenge, but is key to ensuring that the PSC is perceived as a unique independent organization. The PSC will pursue its discussions with Parliament and TBS to obtain a new funding mechanism. For the purpose of improved budgeting and forecasting, it is a challenge to realign resources with planned activities and priorities, and to obtain authority to cost recover and to respend revenue in a timely manner. This could prevent optimal resource allocation and budget utilization in 2006-2007. Strategies will focus on the continued implementation of zero-based budgeting and improved financial forecasting.
Finally, ineffective succession planning and human resources strategies could lead to a lack of qualified personnel to meet the PSC's leadership and other resourcing needs. Strategies will include developing more rigorous, corporate HR planning processes and building staff capacity and competencies in critical new PSEA areas.
|Planned Spending ($ thousands)|
|Priorities||Type of Priority||2006-2007||2007-2008||2008-2009|
I. Fully implement the new PSEA and solidify the PSC's independence
Expected Results/Plans: See below
II. Provide recruitment and assessment services that respond to the needs of delegated managers and Canadians
Expected Results/Plans: See below
III. Ensure proper oversight and accountability to Parliament
Expected Results/Plans: See below
IV. Become a model organization in human and financial resources management
Expected Results/Plans: See below
Corporate Services' planned spending has been allocated to Priorities I, II and III. All PSC branches contribute to Priority IV; therefore, no separate costing was provided.
The detailed financial information presented in Section II includes the allocation of corporate services' costs, estimated at $29,312K for 2006-2007. These costs include functions related to the President and commissioners' office ($1,017K), corporate secretariat ($1,086K) finance, administration and corporate planning ($7,741K), human resources management ($4,745K), information technology ($8,794K), communications and outreach ($3,652K), library services ($808K), legal services ($887K) and internal audit and evaluation ($582K).
The basis of allocation of corporate services' costs is currently under review as we develop a new costing model for our cost recovery activities.
The coming into force of the new PSEA is only the beginning of a major transformation of how positions are staffed in the public service. We are embarking on a major cultural change that requires all players within the human resources management system to be fully engaged. The commitment of delegated public service managers, as well as the support they receive from human resources specialists, are therefore critical to the success of the initiative.
Throughout the transition to a fully modernized regime, the PSC will continue to offer support and guidance to departments and agencies to help them take full advantage of the new flexibilities. We will continue to provide information sessions, as well as develop guides and tools pertinent to the new Act. We will also test the knowledge of human resources professionals, to ensure that they are sufficiently familiar with the appointment framework to assist managers in assuming their new responsibilities.
As departments and agencies become more knowledgeable about staffing under the new PSEA, the PSC will increasingly focus on its oversight mandate and our accountability to Parliament for ensuring that appointments to and within the public service are made fairly and impartially.
As indicated above, the new PSEA provides the PSC with the appointment authority for hiring to and within the public service. We may develop policies and take actions to protect that authority. Nevertheless, we are accountable to Parliament for the impact these actions have on the staffing system.
To better fulfill our obligations, the PSC must not only be seen to be independent, but must also function in the most independent manner possible. We have studied this issue. We will seek to reinforce our credibility by solidifying our independence and clarifying our standing as a unique, independent agency. In particular, we will press for more independent funding arrangements similar to those under study for Agents of Parliament. We will also enhance and align our management practices with those of Agents of Parliament, beginning with preparing audited financial statements and introducing independent outside members on the Internal Audit and Evaluation Committee. We will continue to strengthen our external and parliamentary communications to help parliamentarians understand the PSC role and mandate and engage them in discussing staffing issues.
The PSC will continue to focus on modernizing its recruitment and assessment programs and standardizing its service levels to ensure the highest quality of service across Canada. It will also strengthen its capacity to respond to changing client needs. This will include offering a wide range of services, including executive (EX) resourcing services, to departments and agencies in support of their newly delegated authorities.
The PSC also plays a leading role in assessment, continues to manage national recruitment programs such as Post-Secondary Recruitment, and offers tailored recruitment services. Deputy heads will be able to choose from a variety of options to meet their recruitment and assessment needs. Through this priority, we will ensure that Canadians, departments and public servants benefit from a full range of quality staffing services that make the public service an employer of choice while respecting key values.
The PSC will continue to provide a common portal for Canadians to access public service jobs. We will also further enhance our e-resourcing technology to manage increased volumes of job applications, thereby improving access to public service job opportunities for all Canadians. In support of this objective, the PSC reaffirms its commitment to the implementation of national area of selection (NAoS) for officer-level positions open to the public in the National Capital Region as of April 1, 2006.
One of the outcomes of the PSMA was to clearly distinguish between the PSC's service role and its independent oversight role. The Staffing and Assessment Services Branch(1) will remain under the PSC and continue to operate as a separate and distinct organization. To assure the integrity of the PSC's independent mandate, we will need to clearly articulate the delineation between the oversight and service roles of the PSC.
The PSC has been entrusted under the new Act with ensuring that staffing respects key public service values. Over the planning period, we will continue to strengthen our approach to oversight to respond to the heightened accountability requirements pursuant to the new PSEA. We will rely in particular on more effective accountability mechanisms and oversight tools, including monitoring, audits and investigations, to detect problems early and take appropriate corrective measures.
More specifically, the PSC's new Staffing Management Accountability Framework will help determine whether deputy heads are exercising their delegated authorities properly, whether they are adhering to the values and whether the system overall is operating effectively. We will monitor and assess departmental staffing performance and provide feedback to deputy heads so that they can take action to improve their appointment processes.
As part of a multi-year plan to build its audit capacity, the PSC plans to hire more auditors, further develop its HR audit expertise, and produce more audit reports. These reports will focus both on public service-wide issues, such as EX acting appointments and the student hiring, as well as on the staffing activities of individual organizations.
The PSC will also pursue statistical studies that analyze and assess staffing and hiring issues, useful in supporting our oversight activities. As well, work will begin on an evaluation framework for identifying the issues to be addressed during the five-year review of the new PSEA.
The PSC will be ready to conduct investigations into improper political activities, external staffing, political partisanship and fraud as well as, in certain circumstances, complaints of staffing irregularities.
In the case of the new recourse regime introduced under the PSMA, the PSC will help departments develop their own internal, values-based approaches aimed at resolving staffing-related complaints early and informally. We will also make our investigation services available to deputy heads. As well, we will exercise our statutory entitlement to be heard by the new Public Service Staffing Tribunal, when we consider it necessary to safeguard the integrity of appointments in the public service.
We have also introduced a new policy and regulatory regime that will balance the rights of employees to engage in political activities with the need to maintain the political impartiality of the public service.
We recognize that accountability for the integrity of the appointment process flows from deputy heads to the PSC and, in turn, from the PSC to Parliament. Above all, we will fulfill our responsibility to protect the integrity of the appointment process for the benefit of Canadians.
The new PSEA modified the PSC's composition, roles and responsibilities. The structure of the newly constituted Commission currently comprises the President as full-time Chief Executive Officer, and two part-time commissioners. The Act allows for the appointment of two or more part-time commissioners and, over the current planning period, we hope to have the representativeness of the Commission improved through the appointment of additional part-time commissioners.
The PSC's budget is determined by the Treasury Board, one of the organizations we audit. Like other independent organizations, the PSC is taking steps to obtain a more independent funding approval process to protect our independence and ensure our budget is appropriate to meet Parliament's expectations. With more independence comes a higher expectation of accountability and assurance on how funds are administered. The PSC will, therefore, continue to improve its budgeting and human resources management and planning processes and align them with those of Agents of Parliament, beginning with the preparation of audited financial statements and the introduction of independent outside members on the Internal Audit and Evaluation Committee.
The PSC is looking at ways to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of its operations. Through its resource allocation process, we will continue to internally reallocate resources to address priority needs. The renewed emphasis on human resources planning will include concrete measures to proactively manage corporate succession challenges, including knowledge retention.
The current planning period will remain one of significant change for the PSC and its employees. The PSC as an organization needs to adapt to the new PSEA, and mandatory training for managers and staff alike will continue. There will be some overlap between the old and new PSEA in areas like appeals that were begun under the old PSEA; internal capacity will need to be maintained.
We will also strive to be a model employer, adhering to the best practices in human resources management. We will continue to value the needs and concerns of our employees during the transition to the governance and organizational structures that best meet our obligations under the new PSEA.