2013-2014 Part III - Departmental Performance Report (DPR) - Privy Council Office

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Additional Details on PCO's Performance and Achievements in 2013-14
Internal Services

In 2013-14, PCO worked diligently to continuously improve its core internal services functions, with a view to enhancing their efficiency and effectiveness. Achievements made during the year are identified below.

Human Resources

In order to support the Common Human Resources Business Process (CHRBP) initiative being implemented across the core Public Service, PCO undertook a review and analysis of its human resources business processes. The review identified a number of gaps and opportunities for improvement that were subsequently addressed in an action plan that was endorsed by PCO’s Human Resources Advisory Committee. By the end of 2013-14, PCO’s action plan was fully implemented and the department was deemed fully compliant with the CHRBP requirements. PCO will continue to consider additional opportunities for greater efficiencies in the 2014-15 fiscal year.

PCO worked in partnership with the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer (OCHRO) to prepare for the implementation of the Government of Canada’s new Directive on Performance Management. As a result, all of PCO’s supervisors and managers completed the online mandatory training provided by the Canada School of Public Service. PCO also provided additional in-house training and updates to employees and managers. Performance agreements with employees were put in place. Tools and processes were also established to facilitate effective performance management going forward, such as the designation of PCO’s Human Resources Advisory Committee (HRAC) as the Review Panel for the non-executive ranks in the department. PCO will continue to work closely with OCHRO to monitor the implementation of the Directive within the department throughout the 2014-15 fiscal year.

The Government of Canada continued the ongoing gradual process of transferring its compensation and benefits services to a consolidated and centrally managed location in Miramichi, New Brunswick. In support of this initiative, PCO has successfully completed the first two stages of the planned transfer, resulting in approximately nine percent of employee files now being managed by the new Public Service Pension Centre (PSPC). For those employees and managers affected by the transfer, PCO continues to provide briefing and information sessions on the procedures for requesting service and information from the PSPC. The transfer of remaining employee files, including the collation and verification of employee records, is scheduled to be completed by October 2015.

PCO also undertook a more rigorous human resources planning approach during the year, which was done through enhanced collaboration with the PCO integrated business planning process. This culminated in the development and approval of a newly updated 2013-16 Strategic Human Resources Plan for the department. In addition, PCO completed the implementation of its Action Plan to address the results of the 2011 Public Service Employee Survey, and developed the department’s first Official Languages Action Plan.

Support for the Workforce Adjustment Process

In support of the deficit reduction measures announced as part of EAP 2012, PCO was responsible for completing the remainder of the workforce adjustment process that it had begun in the previous fiscal year. PCO developed a personalized action plan for each employee affected by this process to support their transition. It also provided personalized advice and support throughout the process. The department provided, and continues to provide the affected employees, priority consideration for available job opportunities. By the end of the 2013-14 fiscal year, PCO had completed all of its necessary staff reductions in order to comply with its deficit reduction commitments.

Values and Ethics

PCO continues to actively promote the importance of values and ethics with staff and management alike. Under the leadership of the Values and Ethics Champion, the department continues to implement its 2012-15 PCO Values and Ethics Plan, which includes regular communications, innovative outreach strategies and activities to promote values and ethics. To promote their integration into the work of the department, values and ethics were considered in: the 2013‑16 Strategic Human Resources Plan; the Action Plan to address the results of the 2011 Public Service Employee Survey; and the 2013-16 PCO Integrated Business Plan. In terms of specific activities undertaken during the year, a total of nine Values and Ethics Dialogue Sessions were held within PCO, and values and ethics were included as a key feature of the new PCO Orientation Program that was approved in March 2014.

Disclosure of Wrongdoing

In 2013-14, a new Senior Officer for Disclosure was appointed for the department. To support the Senior Officer’s role to investigate and make recommendations on allegations of wrongdoing in the workplace, PCO launched a new dedicated Disclosure page on its intranet site. The new web page contains information on the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act, options for disclosure and the steps necessary to report wrongdoing, as well as a new guidance document entitled the “PCO Process for Disclosure of Wrongdoing.” PCO also created a new email address that is accessible only by the Senior Officer for Disclosure, which permits employees to confidentially disclose any perceived acts of wrongdoing.

Healthy Working Environments

In September 2013, the PCO Executive Committee approved two new policies, which were implemented during the year, to support a safe and healthy working environment across the department. The Policy on the Prevention and Resolution of Harassment seeks to foster a respectful workplace and promote increased awareness about harassment, as well as provide accessible and flexible resolution mechanisms to promptly address concerns or complaints. The Policy on Violence Prevention in the Workplace outlines the department’s commitment to providing a violence-free workplace where any act of violence is considered unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

In addition, the department revitalized its Workplace Health and Safety Committees, thereby enabling PCO to fulfill its legislative obligation to protect the health and safety of its employees.

Information Technology

PCO invested significant effort and resources to modernize and strengthen its classified networks. The enhancements, which were started in 2013-14 and are expected to be completed in 2014-15, will support continuous service of the networks for years to come.

PCO made significant investments in innovative solutions and tools to enable the department to fulfil its core functions more easily. For example, a Machinery Events Management System was developed to house information and generate reports on important machinery-of-government events. This system allows officials to quickly and accurately track machinery changes over time, so that they can more efficiently provide high quality advice to the Prime Minister on machinery-related matters. PCO also invested in the development of the Autonomy Enterprise System to support its Legal Operations Division. This system uses a single search bar to find relevant documents regardless of where they are housed in the department’s records (e.g., shared drives, emails, official records repositories), thereby decreasing the time required to carry out research and increasing the efficiency of document tracking.

PCO also provided technical support to the Prime Minister on 55 domestic trips, 25 international trips, and 80 local events in the National Capital Region.

Information Management

Working closely with Public Works and Government Services Canada, PCO launched a Digitization Strategy that successfully converted over three million pages of classified paper records into a digital format. These records are now stored in the departmental document management system, which allows for fast and accurate search and retrieval by employees for internal business purposes and in order to respond to Access to Information and Privacy requests. The paper source records are now stored in low-cost, secure storage facilities. PCO also successfully established procedures for the ongoing digitization of its records.

PCO continued to implement its multi-year strategy to improve recordkeeping practices across the department, in compliance with the Government of Canada Directive on Recordkeeping. During the year, the focus was on identifying information resources of business value (IRBVs) in business units in order to ensure they are managed in official recordkeeping repositories for the appropriate length of time. By the end of the year, identification of IRBVs was completed in eight of the twenty business units targeted in 2013-14, and it was underway in the remaining twelve. In addition, standard recordkeeping processes were developed for IRBVs resulting from business processes that are common across the department (such as the preparation of advice to the Prime Minister). A new Information Management Policy and a new Recordkeeping Directive were approved. These instruments outline the recordkeeping responsibilities of all PCO managers and employees and establish the standards to which records will be managed within the department.

Access to Information and Privacy

Despite a 70 percent increase in request volume over the last three fiscal years, PCO has maintained a high level of performance in managing the requests for access to information. Between 2011-12 and 2013-14, the percentage of public requests to which PCO responded on-time was 97 percent or better. To support the goal of service excellence, PCO has focused on: modernization of its technology and business environment; process improvement; human resources planning; and managing change.

In addition, PCO’s ATIP Division implemented a number of business process improvements stemming from a Lean Methodology pilot project undertaken in the previous fiscal year. Enhancements included daily all-staff meetings that bolstered communications and accountability, increased use of digital instead of paper records, and improved support to requesters seeking access to information.

Legal Operations and Cabinet Confidences

Throughout the year, PCO Legal Operations provided legal advice and coordination with respect to PCO’s corporate functions, such as the management of human and financial resources. PCO also has the ongoing responsibility of ensuring the protection of Cabinet Confidences. In 2013-14, PCO completed the successful launch and implementation of an electronic document management system compatible with that of the Department of Justice Canada to streamline the process for the review of documents and production of certificates and related legal requirements under section 39 of the Canada Evidence Act. Moving from a paper-based production system to an electronic one has resulted in a noticeable improvement in the review process for cases involving a large number of documents.

During the year, PCO also assumed an oversight role in relation to a new process for consultations on the application of section 69 of the Access to Information Act by providing significant support to the Department of Justice Canada. Between June 2013 and March 2014, PCO reduced the backlog of consultation files by 94 percent (from approximately 650 files to 35), while responding to more than 110 consultations from its clients since July 1, 2013. PCO also responded to 24 requests (140 documents) from the Auditor General. In addition, it monitored and provided litigation support and direction in relation to Cabinet confidences in several court cases, while reviewing unusually large numbers of documents for two current cases (several thousands of documents for each case).

Finance

PCO undertook measures during the year to maximize its financial performance by developing a new financial forecasting discipline, which was successfully implemented. The department also established a Strategic Investment Fund (SIF), which reallocated funding to invest in key strategic initiatives that enhanced PCO’s efficiency and effectiveness and positioned the organization for government-wide transformational changes. SIF initiatives were also aimed at mitigating outstanding operational risks and/or addressing workplace requirements.

PCO Finance worked closely with clients to provide sound financial advice and support throughout the year, particularly during quarterly financial reviews, as well as to monitor the successful implementation of approved SIF initiatives.

Departmental Planning

During the year, PCO developed and implemented its 2013-16 Integrated Business Plan (IBP). The IBP identifies the priorities and planned commitments of the department, and describes how its people and technology will be aligned in order to support PCO’s business and management agenda. The 2013-16 IBP is also supported by a number of other planning instruments, such as the 2013-16 Strategic Human Resources Plan, and periodic financial reviews at the departmental and branch levels, among others.

The department also worked to strengthen its compliance with the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat’s Policy on Management, Resources and Results Structures. To this end, PCO updated its 2014-15 Program Alignment Architecture (PAA) so that it more accurately reflects the current nature of the department’s work, and enhanced certain elements of its Performance Measurement Framework.

Security and Emergency Management

In 2013-14, PCO continued to strengthen its security and emergency management posture by addressing a range of priority areas. In order to enhance operational readiness, PCO successfully formalized the “critical functions” of the department, which provide a clear breakdown of its core responsibilities in the event of a disruption to business continuity. Operational readiness was further strengthened by updating the Departmental Security and Emergency Management Plan, building emergency response plans and communications protocols.

During the year, a number of initiatives were undertaken to strengthen physical and personnel security controls. For example, the department’s Crisis Management Cell (CMC)-PCO’s centre for the coordination of emergency situations-was made fully operational on a 24/7 basis. In addition, training was provided to enhance security expertise and practices across the department. For example, training was provided to all CMC Watch Officers on appropriate protocols, and a Departmental Security Officer Handbook and Tool Box were developed.

In order to strengthen relationships with first responders and the federal security communities, PCO organized several meetings with its security partners in the Parliamentary Precinct and with federal Departmental Security Officers (DSOs) to explore lessons learned over the past year and plan exercises to better coordinate responses to incidents. For example, PCO was instrumental in providing direction and leadership to plan and deliver a two-day DSO Community exercise focussed on improving government security and coordinating responses to incidents. This exercise was attended by approximately 100 departments and agencies, as well as a number of first responder partners, including Gatineau Police Services, Ottawa Police Services and the RCMP.

Please Note: The above examples of PCO’s performance and achievements during the 2013-14 fiscal year are meant to be read in conjunction with the department’s 2013-14 Departmental Performance Report.