Audit of CFIA's Staffing Framework - Audit Report

This page has been archived

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or record-keeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

June 2016

1.0 Executive Summary

The Canadian Food Inspection Act provides the President of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA or Agency) with the authority to appoint employees and to set terms and conditions of employment. This empowers the Agency with the flexibility and autonomy to design and develop its own human resources (HR) framework, policies and guidelines to meet its unique operational requirements.

An effective HR framework is important for the Agency to coordinate decision-making and staffing activities to support CFIA's goals of enhancing the health and well-being of Canada's people, environment and economy. A robust framework promotes confidence in the integrity of staffing, including respect of its staffing values and statutory requirements. In addition, an effective staffing framework results in hiring the right people, in the right roles, at the right time in a cost-efficient manner to achieve its business objectives.

Staffing authority has been delegated to CFIA managers with the understanding that they and the HR practitioners who support them are accountable to the President for demonstrating, by their actions and decisions, that staffing is carried out in accordance with statutory obligations and established values and policies, and in the best interests of CFIA and its mandate.

To respond to the Agency's transformation and greater efficiency agendas, various staffing policies and processes have been revised including the creation of a new Staffing Framework Policy (SFP) and HR service delivery model, effective April 1, 2013. Together, the staffing framework has a clearly stated objective of reducing resource costs and time to staff, while maximizing the Agency's staffing flexibility. The SFP implementation was also accompanied by a new HR business model, the creation of the Office of the Staffing Ombudsman (OSO), and a concerted effort to promote and implement HRB-led collective staffing processes.

In order to add value, the audit addressed both the operational and strategic levels of the Agency's staffing framework. At the operational level, the audit focused on staffing roles, responsibilities and accountabilities, tools and HRB's staffing performance measurement framework. At the strategic level, the audit assessed HRB's "One Agency" approach to staffing including integrated HR planning and its alignment with CFIA's mandate and strategic objectives. As a result of audit findings, recommendations have also been made at both levels.

Audit Objective

The objective of the Audit of CFIA's Staffing Framework was to provide assurance regarding the extent to which the CFIA staffing framework is:

  • designed to support staffing processes that are aligned with the Agency's staffing values of competency, non-partisanship, fairness, openness, representativeness, access, and efficiency and effectiveness, and
  • implemented with appropriate and sufficient planning, oversight, monitoring, training, performance measurement, tools and communications.

Key Audit Findings

Staffing Framework Design

Under the Agency's staffing framework, managers and HR practitioners are to undertake staffing processes and decisions in accordance with the Agency's staffing values and statutory obligations. The SFP defines the staffing values and requires the application of a balanced approach to meet the Agency's objectives and business requirements. Broad guidance in support of values-based staffing is available on the Agency's intranet.

The audit found that more robust management controls are needed to support the staffing framework and its alignment to the Agency's staffing values.

Accountability and responsibilities are not clearly set out in the CFIA SFP; and active oversight and monitoring, and record keeping have not yet been clearly identified and assigned. HRB has recognized the need to improve the SFP and during the audit drafted a Staffing and Recruitment Framework, and a Staffing and Recruitment Policy that once finalized and approved will replace the SFP.

Staffing Framework Implementation

Staffing needs to be supported by sound human resources planning. While some effort was made to identify Branch planned staffing, Branches do not have HR plans, and there is no consolidated Agency HR Plan. HRB recognizes this gap, and is now working with Branches to develop fulsome HR plans.

The staffing framework assigns staffing processes into three categories: HR-led, joint HR/management-led and management-led processes. This was documented in a heat map, but was not supported with risk assessment methodology and ranking criteria. No further risk-mitigation strategies were identified. There is an opportunity to use this information to inform risk-based monitoring.

Staffing guidance and tools should be strengthened with an emphasis on manager-led processes and in the spirit of a self-serve approach. All information should be consolidated for easy access and navigation. This will assist managers in carrying out their responsibilities and inform all Agency employees of staffing procedures.

Performance Measurement Framework

As a separate employer, we expected HRB to have a Performance Measurement Framework (PMF) in place to showcase the effectiveness of its staffing regime while providing opportunities for continuous improvement.

We found that there was a lack of effective performance measurement framework, including a comprehensive set of performance indicators (outcomes, service standards, cost/efficiency measures), reliable staffing information, regular reporting and monitoring. This may impede the ability of the Agency to evaluate the success of the staffing framework.

Conclusion

The CFIA staffing framework is built on a balanced approach to values-based staffing with the involvement of HRB dependent on the staffing process type. At the time of the audit, the supporting policy suite was still evolving with notable opportunities for improvement. More robust management controls, including clearer accountability for oversight and an updated policy suite are needed to support the integrity of staffing and to assist delegated managers as they take on more responsibilities for certain staffing processes. Agency HR Planning needs to be strengthened to ensure appropriate and adequate resources are in place to meet the Agency's strategic objectives and operational plans. In addition, a staffing performance measurement and reporting system needs to be developed and implemented. A stronger foundation in staffing would enhance a One Agency approach and facilitate values-based staffing.

2.0 Introduction

2.1 Background

The Canadian Food Inspection (CFIA) Act provides the President of CFIA with the authority to appoint employees and to set terms and conditions of employment. It also provides the President with greater flexibility and autonomy and broader opportunities for human resources (HR) management, when compared to Core Public Administration (CPA) Organizations (for which Treasury Board is legally the Employer).

While CFIA is not subject to the Public Service Employment Act, CFIA staffing is compatible with the principles governing staffing under the Act as per the agreement (2008) between the Agency and the Public Service Commission (PSC) that allows for the deployment of employees to and from positions in the core public service. Enabling mobility between the Agency and the CPA provides broad career opportunities for CFIA's employees and assists CFIA in recruiting experienced talent.

CFIA, like the Public Service, subscribes to a values-based approach to staffing. Staffing at the CFIA is built on the values of competency, non-partisanship, fairness, openness, representativeness, access, and efficiency and effectiveness. Staffing authority has been delegated to CFIA managers with the understanding that they and the human resources practitioners who support them are accountable to the President. They are expected to demonstrate, by their actions and decisions, that staffing is carried out in accordance with statutory obligations (e.g. Canadian Human Rights Act, Employment Equity Act, Official Languages Act, etc.) and established values and policies, and in the best interests of CFIA and its mandate.

Over the past few years, the Agency engaged in activities to renew and modernize its legislation, regulations, policies and inspection programs. To support these business and cultural transformations, staffing policies and processes were revised; 2013 saw the creation of the Staffing Framework Policy (SFP), the HRB Staffing Service Delivery Model and the Recruitment and Staffing Risk Assessment. The service delivery model was also developed in response to the 2012 Deficit Reduction Action Plan (DRAP) and subsequent reorganizations within HRB, which resulted in significant reductions of CFIA staffing professionalsFootnote 1. During the audit period, HRB processed approximately 27,400 staffing transactions ranging from acting appointments and extensions to student placements to indeterminate appointments.

The SFP and its associated delivery model were implemented with the intent of transforming staffing services at the Agency by leveraging HR Branch staffing expertise, improving on time to staff and diminishing overall costs for staffing services while ensuring quality of hire.

To support the Agency's continued focus on people, the President announced the creation of the Office of the Staffing Ombudsman (OSO) in December 2013, the first of its kind in the Federal Public Service. The Office provides a channel for employees at all levels to discuss their staffing concerns in confidence, to determine if staffing decisions in question respect the CFIA Staffing Values and the CFIA values and ethics and to contribute to a positive work environment. The Staffing Ombudsman reports to the Chief Redress Officer, Integrity and Redress Secretariat (IRS) which is outside of HRB. During the audit, the OSO completed a review of the HR collective staffing process, concluding that there is a significant need for increased guidance, information, education and written procedures to better understand and use collective staffing as an option to hire; a strengthened planning process is needed to effectively carry out collective staffing; and a more in-depth review of specific standardized assessment tools is warranted.

During the audit, HRB introduced further refinements to the staffing framework for the executive cadre. On April 1, 2015, the Agency implemented the Policy on the Talent Management of CFIA Executives as part of an integrated HR framework. Resourcing of the executive cadre is further guided by the Directive on Executive Resourcing, also effective April 1, 2015.

This audit was performed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the extent to which the CFIA staffing framework supports staffing processes that are aligned with the Agency's staffing values and is appropriately implemented. Where the staffing framework has evolved in recent months, these initiatives were taken into consideration where possible.

The organizational structure of key players involved in the development, delivery and support of staffing as at August 2015 is outlined in Appendix A.

2.2 Significance

There are five main priorities for the CFIA over the next year. These priorities are meant to help the Agency focus its work on those areas that will help it achieve its most important goals. One of the key priorities is "One Agency" which is about collaboration, relationships, and working together to achieve goals.

A successful staffing regime is integral to the fulfilment of the Agency's One Agency approach as well as its mandate and priorities. Approximately 80% of the Agency's financial expenditures are related to pay and benefits. The CFIA 2015-16 Report on Plans and Priorities identified people management – and its modernization - as a priority that directly enables the broader Agency's goals, stating that "The HR framework is a complete re-tooling of the HR model, away from a traditional, industrial model to a modern, competency-based framework required for inspection modernization to succeed".

Not only is staffing a critical enabler, employee feedback regarding staffing has also been a source of concern. Since 2008, CFIA Public Service Employment Survey (PSES) results have shown that the perception of fairness in staffing is decreasing. The 2014 PSES results also indicate CFIA scores were lower in comparison to the overall Public Service regarding perception of staffing fairness.

Given the importance of a successful staffing regime, significant changes to CFIA's staffing framework, and the decreasing employee perceptions of fairness, the Agency identified an audit of staffing as a high priority for the 2014/15 fiscal year in the 2014/15 to 2016/17 Risk-based Audit Plan.

2.3 Objective

The objective of the audit was to provide reasonable assurance regarding the extent to which the CFIA staffing framework is:

  • designed to support staffing processes that are aligned with the Agency's staffing values of competency, non-partisanship, fairness, openness, representativeness, access, and efficiency and effectivenessFootnote 2, and
  • implemented with appropriate and sufficient planning, oversight, monitoring, training, performance measurement, tools and communications.

2.4 Scope

The scope of the audit focused on the Agency's staffing framework consisting of, but not limited to, the following CFIA documents: Staffing Framework Policy (2013), HRB Staffing Service Delivery Model (2013) and the Recruitment and Staffing Risk Assessment (2013). The audit also considered, where possible, changes introduced by HRB during the examination phase of the audit. In addition, the audit reviewed the recently introduced Directive on EX Resourcing (2015) and the Policy on Talent Management of CFIA Executives (2015) to consider staffing framework requirements in support of future talent management-based staffing appointment processes.

The audit examined roles, responsibilities and accountability for staffing activities within HRB as well as those relating to hiring managers. Within HR, this included the HR Services Directorate and the Business Line Support Directorate.

A limited review of the OSO's roles and responsibilities in the new staffing framework was also undertaken.

The audit did not include a review of staffing actions to assess compliance with staffing policies, nor did it assess the OSO's performance in meeting its objective.

The audit was conducted from February 2015 to January 2016. The scope of the audit covered staffing activities from April 1, 2013 to December 31, 2015.

2.5 Approach

The examination phase of the audit was performed using the following approaches:

  • Documentation review of the staffing policy suite; performance information (such as productivity, performance indicators and measures, service levels and standards, costs and benchmarks); HRB organization and allocated resources;
  • Documentation review relating to roles and responsibilities including governance committees and the OSO;
  • Interviews with HRB personnel, the OSO and hiring managers;
  • Limited review of staffing appointment files; and,
  • Limited enquiry of staffing frameworks for other government departments.

2.6 Statement of Conformance

The audit conforms to the Internal Auditing Standards for the Government of Canada, as supported by the results of the CFIA's internal audit quality assurance and improvement program. Sufficient and appropriate auditing procedures were performed and evidence gathered in accordance with Institute of Internal Auditor's International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing and to provide a high level of assurance over the findings and conclusion in this report. The findings and conclusions expressed in this report are based on conditions as they existed at the time of the audit, and apply only to the entity examined.

3.0 Findings and Recommendations

3.1 Design of CFIA's Staffing Framework

CFIA's staffing framework consists of, but is not limited to, the following Agency documents: Staffing Framework Policy (2013), HRB Staffing Service Delivery Model (2013) and the Recruitment and Staffing Risk Assessment (2013). HRB designed the 2013 SFP in consultation with CFIA senior management to facilitate competency- and values-driven staffing. The framework was also designed to reduce resource costs and time to staff, while maximizing the Agency's flexibility to develop and acquire modern ways to staff that would better predict how qualified candidates would perform on the job. The SFP was accompanied by a new HR business model with the identification of HR-led staffing processes, joint HR/management-led processes and manager-led staffing processes. The model also identified the assignment of Branch Strategic HR Advisors and the creation of the OSO. The introduction of the SFP included a concerted effort to promote and implement HR-led collective staffing processes.

Together these actions demonstrate management's commitment to innovation in staffing processes and assessment methodology while further utilizing the Agency's staffing flexibility as a separate employer.

Findings related to CFIA's staffing framework are presented below.

Management Controls

More robust management controls are needed to support CFIA's staffing framework and alignment to the Agency's staffing values.

An effective system of management controls is a means through which management ensures that the (staffing) system is effective and is managed with due regard for economy and efficiency within the applicable laws, policies or other constraints. It includes the structures used to provide direction and to ensure that planned results are achieved, for example a staffing policy suite, the clear assignment of accountabilities, roles and responsibilities, standardized tools, and active oversight and monitoring.

Staffing Policy Suite

The staffing policy suite should be strengthened.

One of the key components of management controls is a policy instrument that provides clear and formal direction on what is expected to be achieved.

The audit examined the Agency's key staffing policy instrument, the SFP, and found that it includes the CFIA staffing values, roles and responsibilities, statutory obligations, and the requirements for specific staffing actions.

The SFP includes a clear statement on the requirement to undertake staffing processes and decisions in accordance with the Policy, the staffing values, statutory obligations and in the best interest of CFIA and its mandate. The SFP defines the seven staffing values (competency, non-partisanship, fairness, openness, representativeness, access, and efficiency and effectiveness), and states that the application of the values may differ for each staffing action to meet varied Agency objectives and business requirements. Broad guidance in support of values-based staffing is available on the CFIA intranet, for example How to Undertake Values-Based Staffing and Values in Action. However, some fundamental elements relating to accountabilities, roles and responsibilities are not included in the SFP. These areas are discussed under separate header below.

The SFP has not been updated since its implementation in 2013. Changes to things such as the length of acting appointments without solicitation requiring HR consultation, OSO inquiry procedures, and approval requirements for exemption from collective staffing processes are not reflected in the SFP.

More robust guidance, training and oversight controls would address confusion on appropriate staffing measures. By way of example, the Talent Management (TM) tool is a competency-based means to identify, evaluate, groom, reward, retain, promote and move talent through the organization based on business demands and priorities. The Agency's Policy on the Talent Management of CFIA Executives includes the allowance for talent management-based appointments for employees in the EX group only and following a roll-out of a structured and consistent assessment of all Agency executives. Notwithstanding these expectations, the audit found instances where TM was used as the basis for staffing of non-EX employees for manager-led processes.

While accountability for staffing decisions rests with the delegated hiring manager, HRB has an important role as the functional authority to provide advice to its internal clients and to protect the integrity of a values-based staffing regime. It is not clear how HRB intends to fulfil this role for manager-led staffing processes. Currently, there is no standardized mechanism or control to facilitate HRB's oversight. Such a mechanism is especially important in an environment where delegated managers are being asked to take on more responsibilities for staffing processes.

HRB has recognized the need to improve the staffing policy suite. During the course of the audit, the Branch drafted three documents to add greater clarity: a 2015 Staffing and Recruitment Framework, a 2015 Staffing and Recruitment Policy, and a 2015 Specific Staffing Guidelines. HRB should continue to update and finalize these documents to support a robust, effective staffing policy suite.

Accountabilities, Roles and Responsibilities

Accountability and responsibility for the overall staffing framework, active oversight and monitoring, and record keeping have not been clearly identified and assigned.

Another key component of effective controls is the formal identification and assignment of accountabilities, roles, and responsibilities. The SFP acknowledges that the President of the CFIA has a statutory authority to appoint the employees to the Agency and to delegate this authority within the Agency. CFIA managers and HR practitioners are accountable to the President for demonstrating that staffing is carried out in accordance with statutory obligations, established values and policies and in the best interests of the CFIA and its mandate. Interviews with HRB staff stated their mandate is to provide advice and guidance to clients. It is not clear, however, who is accountable for collecting and reporting information to ensure that staffing is carried out in accordance with statutory obligations and established values and policies.

There is also confusion regarding the OSO's responsibility for monitoring the SFP. The OSO's Terms of Reference states that the Office is in place to receive staffing concerns or complaints; it does not include the role of monitoring general compliance with the SFP. However, during interviews, some HRB staff stated that one of the responsibilities of the OSO is to monitor staffing. The assignment of a monitoring role to the OSO could blur the lines of independent and neutral body to hear and respond to staffing complaints, and a management monitoring function.

The audit noted that an opportunity exists to further strengthen the OSO's reporting structure by giving the Office formal authority to have direct access to the President while reporting administratively to the Chief Redress Officer of the Integrity and Redress Secretariat.

The policy suite is also silent with respect to defining official records relating to staffing processes and assigning the responsibility to maintain these records.

Recommendation 1.0:

The Vice-President of HRB should ensure that core management controls are in place to support the Agency's staffing framework. The staffing policy suite should be updated, and agreement should be reached on roles and responsibilities for staffing throughout, including accountability, oversight/monitoring and record keeping for staffing in CFIA.

3.2 Implementation of the Staffing Framework

Governance and Risk Management

The Agency's staffing framework lacks consistent, adequate oversight to guide governance and risk management processes.

We expected an effective governance and risk management systems to support the design and implementation of the staffing framework. The Agency Human Resources Committee, chaired by the Vice President of HRB provides strategic advice and makes decisions in regards to horizontal or corporate issues including HR policies, programs and strategies. At the operational level, there is a lack of risk-based oversight to monitor, report and adjust on the various operational aspects of the staffing framework on a timely basis. As noted in the preceding section of this report, the responsibility for monitoring has yet to be assigned. Some Areas of the Operations Branch have created staffing committees to review proposed staffing actions; however, there is no consistent practice across the Agency.

We expected to find a risk assessment for the Agency's staffing framework, including the HR Service Delivery Model, staffing processes and types of appointments. This risk assessment would include the identification of key risks, risk assessment in terms of likelihood and impact, rationale for risk assessment, and processes as well as controls in place to mitigate risks. We found that a "Risk Assessment of Change Agenda for Recruitment and Staffing" document that displayed staffing processes, types of appointments and other staffing actions on a heat map but was not supported by risk assessment methodology. Responsibilities were assigned to HRB, managers or both for each staffing process based on "risk", but there was no explanation of what the risks were and the rationale for their ranking. No further risk mitigation strategies were identified. For example, a more comprehensive risk methodology would have included an assessment of the different types of manager-led Expression of Interest processes: appointments at level versus those resulting in a promotion.

Effective risk management practices would further assist HRB with strategic priority setting for staffing, resource allocation, establishing appropriate levels of monitoring according to staffing risks, and informed management decisions.

Recommendation 2.0:

The Vice-President of HRB should implement a risk-based monitoring system to provide oversight on compliance with the Agency's staffing framework.

Staffing Planning

HR planning at the branch and Agency-wide level is insufficient to ensure appropriate and adequate resources are in place to meet Agency strategic objectives and operational plans.

A key goal of HR planning is to get the right people with the right skills, experience and competencies in the right jobs at the right time and at the right costs. HR planning involves forecasting an organization's future demand for and supply of employees based on its business needs; and subsequently developing and employing the strategies required to meet these needs. It requires performing a gap analysis between current HR supply and future demand. Strategies are then developed to address the gap and may involve recruitment and staffing, training, contracting, etc.

The audit did not find branch HR plans but identified staffing plans for each branch for fiscal year 2013-14 on the Agency's intranet site. A calendar of all CFIA collective staffing processes is also posted on the intranet and updated on an ongoing basis. This calendar includes the type of position to be staffed, proposed intake strategy, proposed posting and completion dates, the status of the process and who to contact for additional information.

HR planning is important for the Agency to ensure that adequate resources are available to meet the overall strategic business objectives and operational plans. It further allows the Agency to plan, develop and implement strategies for collective staffing as well as other staffing processes/activities. It also allows HRB to better forecast and plan their work, determine what their own human and financial resource requirements are, and assign resources accordingly.

HRB is addressing the above-mentioned gaps by undertaking strategic HR planning with all branches for 2016-17. In addition, HRB Strategic HR Advisors are being trained on HR planning in order to provide greater advice and guidance to managers.

Recommendation 3.0:

The Vice-President of HRB should continue efforts to promote branch strategic HR planning as well as consolidated HR planning at the Agency level to provide insight on CFIA's overall HR needs, important skills gaps, supply and demand of essential talent, and targeted resourcing strategies.

Guidelines, Tools and Training

Guidance and tools should be consolidated for easy access and navigation, and expanded to include record keeping requirements.

We expected the Agency's staffing framework to be supported by efficient, standardized and technology-enabled tools to promote compliant, efficient and effective staffing processes and to assist managers in taking on new responsibilities. We also expected that both managers and HRB staff involved in staffing would be trained.

For HR-led or joint HR/management-led staffing processes, either the BLSD Strategic HR Advisor or the HRSD Staffing Division representative is involved in the process. In such cases, HRB support is directly available to assist and guide the process according to stated requirements. However, for manager-led staffing, HR is less involved, increasing the risk exposure of not applying the staffing principles and processes as intended. Therefore, it is important that guidelines, tools and training be readily available, accessible and complete particularly for manager-led staffing.

We found that staffing training for new managers or supervisors covers the SFP, including the staffing values. We also found there is material available on the Agency's intranet site that discusses the staffing values and how they should be applied. Most hiring managers interviewed stated that they rely on their HR Advisor for staffing information and guidance. The intranet site was reported as their second most important source of staffing information; they stated that existing staffing information is confusing and difficult to find. We reviewed staffing information on the intranet site and found that it is not consolidated in one place to facilitate easy navigation and access. There is also an opportunity to increase the amount of guidance, with an emphasis on manager-led processes, to enable a self-service approach through the provision of checklists, core requirements, mandatory steps/documents, etc.

Without easily accessible information and support, managers may be vulnerable to being non-compliant with policies. There is also a risk of inefficiency in staffing as managers may spend extra time searching for information or contacting their HR Advisor more frequently than would otherwise be necessary.

During the audit, HRB presented to management a CFIA HR Paperwork Reduction Initiative with the objective of reducing staffing process paperwork in order to create efficiencies. The presentation acknowledges the need to develop guidelines and communications as a next step. We encourage HRB to ensure appropriate alignment of this initiative within the control framework for staffing. Managers as well as HRB staff need to have clarity on staffing documents to be retained, the means through which they must be accessible (i.e. electronically), their retention period and the assignment of responsibility for their retention (HRB or manager).

Recommendation 4.0:

The Vice-President of HRB should ensure that information and mechanisms are easily accessible to provide comprehensive and straight-forward guidance, including record keeping requirements, for HR practitioners and managers in applying the Agency staffing framework.

3.3 Staffing Performance Measurement Framework

A staffing performance measurement framework is not fully developed or implemented.

An effective performance measurement framework for the Agency's staffing framework should include the identification of performance indicators and service standards (qualitative and quantitative), measurable performance data, established targets and/or timelines, costs, benchmarks, measurement, and finally, monitoring and reporting.

As per Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat Guideline on Service Standards, "service standards are integral to good client service and to effectively managing performance. They help to clarify expectations for clients and employees, drive service improvement, and contribute to results-based performance." During the audit, we found that service standards exist for maximum response times for 1-888 HR Service Centre processing of staffing transactions. With the implementation of the SFP, the President committed to 90-day service standards for completing collective staffing processes.

However, HRB does not have in place comprehensive indicators to measure achievement of the overall staffing framework, for example, comparison of actual staffing activities against branch HR plans, targets for use of distinct processes vs. collective processes, client satisfaction with the new staffing framework, etc.

The Agency tracks staffing related data in a Staffing Log that captures tombstone staffing information (i.e. type of staffing process), and permits HRB to produce statistics such as the number and type of staffing processes, appointments, etc. While HRB does track response times manually on an ad hoc basis, there is no efficient automated system to do so. The lack of an automated system increases the risk that reported data is not accurate, complete and reliable.

We expected that there would be regular reporting of staffing performance for decision-making and monitoring staffing framework performance. We did find examples of ad hoc presentations to CFIA management that included staffing related data and costs. Although HRB is externally reporting (through the Treasury Board's Management Accountability Framework and the Evaluation Measurement of the Common HR Business Process Indicators) there are limited measures directly related to staffing. There is no periodic formal internal reporting to management of performance of staffing against established performance indicators.

Effective monitoring of the staffing framework would allow for the assessment of compliance, outcomes/effectiveness, service standards, costs/efficiency, use of modern/flexible approaches and opportunities for continuous improvement. We found no evidence of formal monitoring of the staffing framework. Most HRB staff interviewed stated that if issues were to arise, they would hear about it informally or from the OSO.

Through limited benchmarking with other departments, we identified a good practice where one department conducts risk-based staffing monitoring with the extent or degree of monitoring adjusted according to the level of risk of the staffing option.

The lack of an effective performance measurement framework, including a comprehensive set of performance indicators, reliable staffing information, regular reporting and monitoring impedes the ability of the Agency to evaluate the success of the staffing framework including efficiency and effectiveness.

Recommendation 5.0:

The Vice-President of HRB should develop and implement a formal performance measurement framework (PMF) to assess how well the staffing framework is meeting its objectives. The PMF should include indicators with targets and timelines, measurable performance data, and processes for monitoring and reporting.

4.0 Appendices

Appendix A: Audit Criteria

The criteria were developed from key controls set out in the Institute for Internal Auditors Research Foundation's handbook Auditing Employee Hiring and Staffing, the Public Service Commission of Canada's Staffing Management Accountability Framework Indicators 2014-2015 and the Office of the Comptroller General's Audit Criteria related to the Management Accountability Framework: A Tool for Internal Auditors.

The audit criteria are organized under the lines of enquiry below:

Line of Enquiry 1: The staffing values are embedded in all aspects of staffing including policies, practices, tools, training and communications.

1. Staffing values are sufficiently defined and communicated and respect for them is reinforced and monitored for compliance.

Line of Enquiry 2: Efficiency and effectiveness in staffing are achieved through planning, resourcing and monitoring.

2. Staffing plans exist and are aligned with corporate business plans and objectives, updated as required, communicated and implemented.

3. A performance measurement framework is in place to monitor the efficiency and effectiveness of CFIA staffing.

4. Effective monitoring and reporting mechanisms are in place to provide management with accurate, relevant and reliable information for decision making.

Line of Enquiry 3: The implementation of the staffing framework was planned and managed in manner that ensures successful understanding, acceptance and adherence by stakeholders.

5. A project plan was established for the implementation of the 2013 staffing framework that outlined phases, resources, stakeholders, key activities and timelines. Progress against this plan is monitored and course adjusted, as needed.

6. Governance and risk management frameworks support the design and implementation of the staffing framework.

7. Clearly defined roles, responsibilities and accountabilities for staffing have been established and communicated.

8. Staffing policies, guidelines, tools, training and HRB resources are in place to ensure stakeholders effectively carry out their staffing related responsibilities and accountabilities.

Appendix B: Organization Chart Illustrating Staffing Related Functions

Picture - Organization Chart Illustrating Staffing Related Functions. Description follows.
Description for photo - Organization Chart Illustrating Staffing Related Functions
  • The CFIA Staffing Framework organizational chart illustrates the organizational structure of the CFIA in regards to staffing related functions. The chart also illustrates the staffing related responsibilities within each branch.
  • At the first level, which is the top of the chart, there is a dark blue rectangular box which represents the President of the CFIA.
  • At the second level of the organizational structure, there is a dark blue rectangular box below the President of the CFIA box, which represents the Vice President of the Human Resources Branch. There is a line connecting this box to the President of the CFIA box to illustrate the reporting relationship between the two.
  • The Vice President of Human Resources box has three dark blue rectangular boxes below it, which make up the third level of the organizational structure. They are: 1) Human Resources Services Directorate, 2) Agency Transformation Human Resources and 3) Business Line Support Directorate. There is a line connecting the Vice President of Human Resources Branch box to each of these three boxes to illustrate their relationship.
  • For each of the three boxes at the third level, there is a slightly overlapping light blue sub-box with a description of the responsibilities within each branch. They are as follows:
    • For 1) Human Resources Services Directorate, the light blue box reads "Responsible for human resource policies".
    • For 2) Agency Transformation Human Resources, the light blue box reads "Responsible for transforming HR to align with Agency Transformation".
    • For 3) Business Line Support Directorate, the light blue box reads "Responsible for providing services to Agency Branches".
  • Underneath the Human Resources Services Directorate box, there are three dark blue rectangular boxes which are at the fourth level of the organizational structure. These three boxes are: a) HR Systems, b) 1-888-HR and c) Staffing Division. There is a line connecting the Human Resources Services Directorate box to each of these three boxes to illustrate their relationship. Also, there are light blue sub-boxes with descriptions of the responsibilities for each of these units. They read as follows:
    • For a) HR Systems, the light blue box has three bullets. The first bullet reads "Manages staffing databases and HR systems". The second bullet reads "Manages some tools for HR such as Express Lane staffing" and the third point reads "Work with IMIT on reporting tools for HR systems".
    • For b) 1-888-HR, the light blue box has four bullets. The first bullet reads "Responsible for letters of offer for acting, reclassification, term extensions, assignment outside of CFIA, hiring students and student extensions". The second bullet reads "Writing letters of offer". The third bullet reads "Help with data entry for priority appointments" and the fourth bullet reads "Responsible for HR processing".
    • For c) Staffing Division, the light blue box has two bullets. The first bullet reads "Corporate staffing (policies, responsibility for Merlin information Express Lane Staffing module)". The second bullet reads "Strategic group rather than processing group."
  • Moving back up to the third level, for the Business Line Support Directorate box, there are five dark blue rectangular boxes below it which are at the fourth level of the organizational structure. These boxes are: a) Executive Group Services, b) Strategic HR Services – Operations Branch, c) Strategic HR Services-Policies and Programs Branch, d) Strategic HR Services – Science Branch and e) Strategic HR Services – Corporate (CMB, IRS, AEB, CPA). There is a line connecting the Business Line Support Directorate box to each of these five boxes to illustrate their relationship. Also, there are light-blue sub-boxes with descriptions of the responsibilities for each of these units as well. They read as follows:
    • For a) Executive Group Services, the light blue box reads "Works with EX hiring managers to develop letters of offer, memos to the President, staffing competencies and interview material".
    • For b) Strategic HR Services-Operations Branch, the light blue box has five bullets. The first bullet reads "Provide HR guidance and direction to Branch management". The second bullet reads "Strategic workforce planning". The third bullet reads "Planning and Talent Management". The fourth bullet reads "Advice/support on staffing processes" and the fifth bullet reads "HRB Liaison".
    • For c) Strategic HR Services-Policies and Programs Branch, the light blue box has three bullets. The first bullet reads "Align HRB initiatives with PPB". The second bullet reads "Provide advice to PPB on HR matters" and the third bullet reads "Provide advice to management".
    • For d) Strategic HR Services Science Branch, the light blue box has four bullets. The first bullet reads "Strategic workforce planning". The second bullet reads "Planning and talent management". The third bullet reads "Helping clients with staffing processes" and the fourth bullet reads "Provide advice to Science on HR matters".
    • And for e) Strategic HR Services – Corporate (CMB, IRS, AEB, CPA), the light blue box has two bullets. The first bullet reads "Manage budgets" and the second bullet reads "Liaise with Branch heads on HR matters".
  • In addition, moving back up to the second level of the organizational structure, which is right below the President of the CFIA box, there is a dark grey box to the side of the main structure. This dark grey box represents the Chief Redress Officer of the Integrity and Redress Secretariat. There is a line connecting the President of the CFIA to this box to illustrate the reporting relationship.
  • Below the Chief Redress Officer box, there is another dark grey box below it, which is at the third level. This box represents the Office of the Staffing Ombudsman. There is a line connecting the Chief Redress Officer to this box to illustrate the relationship. For this box, there is also a light blue box sub-box with the description of the responsibilities of the Office of the Staffing Ombudsman.
    • There are two bullets in this light blue box. The first bullet reads "Provides venue for employees to discuss concerns in confidence" and the second bullet reads "Determines if staffing decisions in question respect CFIA Values and Ethics".

Appendix C: Management Response and Action Plan

Recommendation 1: The Vice-President of HRB should ensure that core management controls are in place to support the Agency's staffing framework. The staffing policy suite should be updated, and agreement should be reached on roles and responsibilities for staffing throughout, including accountability, oversight/monitoring and record keeping for staffing in CFIA.

Management Response and Action Plan Target Date Responsible Leads
Staffing Framework Policy has been updated effective April 2016 and will be replaced with Staffing & Recruitment Framework, Staffing & Recruitment Policy and Specific Staffing Guidelines. The new policy suite includes clarification on roles, responsibilities and accountability for staffing. April 2016 – updated Staffing & Recruitment Framework, Policy and Guidelines to be communicated through National InfoBulletin April 21, 2016 and available on Merlin VP-HRB
Collective Staffing Roles and Responsibilities for branches, branch representatives and HR have been created and shared with branches via Strategic HR. February 2016 (completed) Director, HR Services Directorate
A Staffing Tiger Team will be established to review the Staffing & Recruitment Framework, including policies, guidelines, directives and accountability matrix. June 2016 – Staffing Tiger Team to be established
Framework, Policy and Guidelines review to be completed by August 2017
Revised Framework, Policy and Guidelines to be communicated on Merlin by November 2017
Director, HR Services Directorate
The Staffing Tiger Team will conduct a risk assessment exercise to identify high-, medium- and low-risk areas that will inform the Staffing Accountability Matrix, policy suite and future monitoring program. August, 2016

Recommendation 2: The Vice-President of HRB should implement a risk-based monitoring system to provide oversight on compliance with the Agency's staffing framework.

Management Response and Action Plan Target Date Responsible Leads
The Staffing Tiger Team will establish a risk-based monitoring system of Agency staffing activities to provide oversight on compliance with the Agency's Staffing and Recruitment Framework and Staffing Accountability Matrix.

November 2016 – Monitoring system to be established.

December 2016 – Monitoring system implemented

April 2017 – first reporting cycle based on activity in fourth quarter of 2016-17

Director, HR Services Directorate

Recommendation 3: The Vice-President of HRB should continue efforts to promote branch strategic HR planning as well as consolidated HR planning at the Agency level to provide insight on CFIA's overall HR needs, important skills gaps, supply and demand of essential talent, and targeted resourcing strategies.

Management Response and Action Plan Target Date Responsible Leads
The HR Business Line Support team will be working with all branches to establish individual Branch Plans which will roll up into an Agency HR Plan which flows from integrated corporate business plan. This plan will map HR requirements and needs to the business priorities identified in the corporate business plan and will identify gaps in competencies, skill set, and talent to meet future agency needs from an HR perspective.

May – October 2016:
Branch level HR data gathering and analysis-critical roles defined /competencies identified, roles categorized based on importance to executing strategy- environmental risks assessed.

December 2016: Consultations-current workforce vs future workforce gaps-validation.

September - December 2016: Gap Analysis completed by branch

December 2016: Branch plans developed and validated

March 2017: Roll up into Agency HR plan-for approval

April 2017:
Agency Strategic Workforce Plan communicated on Merlin and monitored against progress.

Executive Director, Business Line Support

Recommendation 4: The Vice-President of HRB should ensure that information and mechanisms are easily accessible to provide comprehensive and straight-forward guidance, including record keeping requirements, for HR practitioners and managers in applying the Agency staffing framework.

Management Response and Action Plan Target Date Responsible Leads

The Staffing Tiger Team / Staffing & Recruitment Division, in conjunction with IMIT Branch and CPA, will be reviewing and updating the following to align with the Agency's Staffing policy suite:

  • staffing information available to managers and staff on Merlin.
  • training modules for staffing in Managing for Success (MFS) and People Management for Supervisors (PMfS)
  • Recordkeeping/information requirements with roles and responsibilities for HR practitioners and Managers

September 2016 – Merlin review and cleanup

October 2016 – establish recordkeeping requirements

December 2016 - Communicate recordkeeping requirements to HR Practitioners and Managers

July 2017 – update training modules based on Framework review

Director, HR Services Directorate

Recommendation 5: The Vice-President of HRB should develop and implement a formal performance measurement framework (PMF) to assess how well the staffing framework is meeting its objectives. The PMF should include indicators with targets and timelines, measurable performance data, and processes for monitoring and reporting.

Management Response and Action Plan Target Date Responsible Leads
The Staffing Tiger Team will establish a formal performance measurement framework for the monitoring of Agency staffing activities including service standards, performance measures and targets; and will determine reporting mechanisms and strategy.

November 2016 – Establish performance measures and data requirements

January 2017 - Implement measures that are ready for data collection

April 2017 – first reporting cycle based on activity in fourth quarter of 2016-17

Director, HR Services Directorate
Date modified: