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Global Partnership Bureau (IGX) Follow-up Audit

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(October 2007)

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

The Internal Audit Division (ZIV) issued a report on the internal audit of the Global Partnership Bureau (IGX) in April 2006 (herein referred to as the IGX Audit Report). ZIV carried out a follow-up audit (FUA) of the IGX Audit Report in 2006/07 in accordance with the division's 2005-07 Audit Plan.

The scope of the FUA consisted of the 28 recommendations contained in the IGX Audit Report. The objective of the FUA was to determine whether IGX and/or the Program Services Division (IXS) made satisfactory progress in implementing the recommendations. It did not include an assessment of the effectiveness of implementation. The FUA took place during the period of December 5, 2006 to May 4, 2007.

The results of the FUA are depicted in the following table:
Recommendation - Implementation StatusNumber of Recommendations
Level 1: No implementation or insignificant progress0 (0%)
Level 2: Noticeable implementation7 (27%)
Level 3: Substantial implementation3 (11%)
Level 4: Full implementation16 (62%)
Total26(1) (100%)

Of the 10 recommendations that have not been fully implemented, 7 relate to branch wide strategic and support services. Initiatives in these areas are complex, have a significant impact on corporate culture and require an implementation plan that typically spans several years. Accordingly, a level 2 rating is understandable given that only thirteen months have elapsed since the IGX Audit report was issued by ZIV.

In light of the above, the Audit Team is of the opinion that IGX and IXS have made satisfactory progress in implementing the 26 recommendations because 19 or 73% are either substantially or fully implemented. No opinion is being expressed, however, on the effectiveness of the implementation action as it was not an objective of the engagement. IGX and IXS have submitted to ZIV a sound action plan that details the steps they intend to take in order to address the 10 recommendations that have not yet been fully implemented. Target completion dates for the planned action have also been specified.

1.0 Background

1.1 The Internal Audit Division (ZIV) issued a report on the internal audit of the Global Partnership Bureau (IGX) in April 2006 (herein referred to as the IGX Audit Report). ZIV carried out a follow-up audit (FUA) of the IGX Audit Report in 2006/07 in accordance with the division's 2005-07 Audit Plan.

2.0 Audit Scope, Objective, Approach and Timing

2.1 Audit Scope

2.1.1 The scope of the FUA consisted of the 28 recommendations(2) contained in the IGX Audit Report.

2.2 Audit Objective

2.2.1 The objective of the FUA was to determine whether IGX and/or the Program Services Division (IXS) made satisfactory progress in implementing the 28 recommendations forming the audit's scope(3). It did not include an assessment of the effectiveness of the implementation as it was considered premature to undertake such an evaluation(4). The FUA was not, therefore, a "re-audit" exercise but rather one focussing strictly on assessing the level of progress achieved by IGX and/or IXS in implementing the 28 audit recommendations.

2.3 Audit Approach and Timing

2.3.1 The audit approach consisted of conducting interviews with IGX and IXS representatives, reviewing documentation and carrying out tailored audit procedures. The information gathered was analyzed as the basis of applying the following rating scale to assess the level of progress achieved in implementing the 28 recommendations:

IGX FUARecommendation - Implementation Assessment Rating Scale
Not ApplicableRecommendation is no longer relevant due to change(s) in operational/environmental conditions.
Level 1: No implementation or insignificant progressIGX and/or IXS has not implemented, or has made insignificant progress, in implementing the recommendation.
Level 2: Noticeable implementationIGX and/or IXS has made some noticeable progress in implementing the recommendation.
Level 3: Substantial ImplementationIGX and/or IXS has substantially implemented the recommendation.
Level 4: Full ImplementationIGX and/or IXS has fully implemented the recommendation.

2.3.2 The examination stage of the FUA took place during the period of December 5, 2006 to May 4, 2007, with the reporting stage taking place from May 5 to September 13, 2007.

3.0 Follow-up Audit Results

3.1 The following table summarizes the progress achieved by IGX and IXS in implementing the recommendations contained in the IGX Audit Report based on the rating scale described above.

IGX Follow-Up Audit - Summary of Results
IFM LeadTotal # of Recs.Recommendation - Implementation Status
Level 1Level 2Level 3Level 4
#%#%#%#%
IGX1500%00%325%1275%
IXS1100%764%00%436%
Total26(5)00%727%311%1662%

3.2 The results of the FUA indicate that:

  1. 16 or 62% of the 26 recommendations have been fully implemented (i.e. level 4);
  2. 3 or 11% of the 26 recommendations are substantially implemented (i.e. level 3); and,
  3. 7 or 27% of the 26 recommendations have experienced noticeable progress (i.e. level 2).

3.3 There are a number of environmental conditions that have had an impact on the level of progress achieved in implementing the recommendations as described above. This applies particularly to the recommendations where IXS has assumed the lead role in implementation. The key environmental conditions include:

  1. Thirteen months have elapsed since the IGX Audit Report was issued by ZIV. As such, IGX and IXS have had a limited amount of time to take action;
  2. IXS has not always operated with the current resource levels (i.e. 15 staffed positions). Rather, there has been a gradual increase in the number of staffed positions since the division was first created in September 2005 (i.e. gradual increase from 5 to 15 staffed positions);
  3. A new senior management team (i.e. Assistant Deputy Minister and five director generals) for the International Security Branch (IFM) came into place in September 2006. Time was needed by the team to familiarize themselves with IXS' role, responsibilities and authority and to "buy-in" to the division's mandate and the services it offers;
  4. IFM program bureaux are at different levels in their evolution. IXS, therefore, serves clients with varied needs and demands. This increases the complexity of service delivery particularly given IXS' advisory role;
  5. IXS serves not only IFM branch and program bureaux requirements but also coordinates the branch response to "corporate" demands (i.e. business plan, country specific strategies, Program Activity Architecture, Departmental Plans and Priorities, etc.). Hence, implementing ZIV's recommendations is not IXS' sole priority given its varied workload;
  6. ZIV recommended that IXS provide strategic oriented services in the areas of strategic planning, results based management, risk management and information systems. Initiatives in these areas are complex, have a significant impact on corporate culture and require an implementation plan that typically spans several years;
  7. IXS does not fully control the time line associated with the branch wide strategic initiatives launched in response to the IGX Audit Report. Input and cooperation from IFM program staff and, at times, corporate stakeholders(6) are required;
  8. While IXS has interacted with several corporate stakeholders in discharging its mandate, the division reports that the role and responsibilities of the respective parties have not always been clearly defined. Consequently, the accountability of the parties in areas of common interest carries a degree of ambiguity; and,
  9. Departmental strategic planning, results based management and integrated risk management practices are at different levels of maturity and are evolving. Accordingly, IXS is not simply adapting and applying established corporate practices and standards in these areas within IFM. Rather, the division was required to first define the governance structures and related practices prior to proceeding to detailed implementation(7).

3.4 The Audit Team is of the opinion that, considering the environmental context as described above, IGX and IXS have made satisfactory progress in implementing the 26 recommendations because 19 or 73% are either substantially or fully implemented. No opinion is being expressed, however, on the effectiveness of the implementation action as it was not an objective of the engagement. Appendix A contains an updated Action Plan and Time Frame for those recommendations that were assigned a level 2 or 3 rating.

Appendix A - Updated Action Plan and Time Frame

Appendix A - Updated Action Plan and Time Frame
IGX Follow-up Audit
Updated Action Plan And Time Frame
RecommendationUpdated Action Plan and Time Frame

4.1.6 IFM should establish a Bureau, led by a DG reporting to the ADM, with adequate resources that would provide two tiers of management and support activities:

  1. Strategic, which would include responsibility at the Branch level for strategic planning, results management, risk management, program/project delivery policies and guidelines, liaison with Treasury Board and internally in FAC on management and support issues, coordinated reporting and communications and outreach.
  2. Support services to the program delivery bureaux, which would include financial, contracting, human resource management, legal, information management and systems support and general project support services.

Implementation. Status Rating: 0

 
Strategic Services

Strategic Planning

Implementation.
Status Rating: 2

During FY 2006-07, IXS coordinated and, in many instances, developed IFM Branch inputs into DFAIT's corporate planning process in cooperation with all five bureaux, as well as strategic planning responsibilities related to the direction of program delivery for the IFM Branch as a whole. This included the 2007-08 IFM Business Plan, Report on Plans and Priorities, 2005-06 Departmental Performance Report, 2008-09 Program Activity Architecture and input to the MAF Round IV Assessments (2006). In addition, HSP-IXS developed the 2007-10 IFM Strategic Human Resources Plan. These corporate documents serve as the foundation for IFM strategic planning and have provided senior management and Treasury Board with evidence of IFM's commitment to results-based strategic planning.

As noted above, IXS has made substantial progress in implementing the management response to this recommendation in its significant contribution to DFAIT's current strategic planning process. In our view, the rating of 2, noticeable implementation, does not accurately reflect IXS accomplishments in strategic planning.

Results Based Management

Implementation.
Status Rating: 2

In 2006-07, IXS engaged the services of PWGSC- Government Consulting Services (GCS) to make a number of recommendations for strengthening RBM practices in the Branch based on Treasury Board frameworks, a review of best practices in other departments, and needs of clients.

Based on the recommendations, IXS then identified options required to further RBM implementation within the Branch.

Action Plan and Time Frame:

As stated in the IGX Follow-up Audit Report (3.3.f), "initiatives in the area of results based management are complex, have a significant impact on corporate culture and require an implementation plan that typically spans several years".

IFM, with the support of IXS, and in consultation with corporate stakeholders will review the recommendations and identified options, develop an action plan, gain buy-in and proceed to implement an agreed approach to RBM implementation. (Fall 2007)

Risk Management

Implementation.
Status Rating: 2

In 2006-07, IXS engaged the services of PWGSC-GCS to develop a branch level risk management strategy. The implementation plan contained separate elements, including:

  1. Development of a strategy and proposed timetable for the implementation; and
  2. Development of a detailed action plan - including tactics, actions, milestones, roles and responsibilities.

Action Plan and Time Frame:

The implementation plan is to be reviewed and endorsed by IFM senior management. Plan is to complete the action by March 31, 2008.

The IGX Program Audit recommended that a system platform for Integrated Risk Management be put in place and that it be linked to project and financial management system (Note: project management system platform not yet defined at branch level).

Action Plan and Time Frame

Started on April 01, 2007. Completion by March 31, 2008.

Program/project delivery policies and guidelines

Implementation.
Status Rating: 2

In consultation with IFM Program delivery bureaux, IXS has developed a Project Approval Cover Sheet and Program Delivery Framework.

The purpose of the draft cover sheet is to standardize project information across the Programs.

The IFM Program Delivery Framework has been drafted to provide the policy, regulatory and procedural context for the delivery of the Branch's grants and contributions programs.

Action Plan and Time Frame:

  • Finalize Project Approval Cover Sheet and implement across GPP, START and CTCB (fall 2007).
  • Approval and development of an implementation plan for the Program Delivery Framework (fall 2007).
Support Services
Financial

Implementation.
Status Rating: 2

In June 2007, senior management decided to review the role of IXS and its mandate. This decision was taken, in part, based on environmental conditions noted in the IGX Follow-up Audit, including:

3.0 (b) - IXS has not always operated with the current resource levels (5 to 15).

(c) - a new IFM senior management team came into place in 2006.

(d) - IFM program bureaux are at different levels in their evolution.

(e) - IXS serves not only IFM branch and program bureaux requirements but also coordinates the response to corporate demands.

IXS was tasked to take the lead on clarifying its mandate. Further implementation of providing financial support services, including the establishment of Branch wide practices on financial matters within IXS, will be decided by senior management upon completion of this review.

Action Plan and Time Frame

Clarification of IXS Mandate - by end of the fall 2007.

In the event IXS is attributed a financial support service role as a result of its mandate review, the roles, responsibilities and procedures for this service will be developed by March 2008.

Information Management

Implementation.
Status Rating: 2

In 2006, IXS signed an MOU with SXKI for records management services in IFM program delivery bureaux. Under the MOU, SXKI developed a records management structure for IGX which is now being successfully implemented in the IGX file registry. Two registry clerk positions (CR-04) were created in IXS to centrally manage the IGX registry and the planned file registry for START. However, now that IXS and START are physically located at 125 Sussex and IGX and its registry are at 111 Sussex, it was determined that it is difficult to have one central registry as staff from both programs need to access the registry on a daily basis. Therefore, the IGX registry position was transferred to IGX effective April 1, 2007.

The development of a similar records management structure for START is underway.

Action Plan and Time Frame:

Further analysis, including consultations with corporate stakeholders, will be undertaken to determine if IXS will continue to provide information management (records management) support to program delivery bureaux.

Clarification of IXS Mandate - by end of the fall 2007.

Updated SXKI-IXS MOU - late fall 2007.

Information Systems

Implementation.
Status Rating: 2

As stated in the IGX Follow-up Audit Report (3.3.f), "initiatives in the area of information systems are complex, have a significant impact on corporate culture and require an implementation plan that typically spans several years".

Three main initiatives have been undertaken by IXS and corporate stakeholders to provide information systems support to the program delivery bureaux.

  • In 2006, IXS retained the services of PWGSC GCS to examine project management applications across IFM program delivery bureaux, identify and document requirements and propose alternatives for an integrated application to support a common business process.
  • IXS developed a discussion document on IFM Program Delivery - Financial Management Best Practices and Recommendations.
  • SMFH prepared a high level technical requirement definition regarding the design and implementation of a project management system integrated with IMS to optimize tracking, reporting and forecasting capabilities.
Action Plan and Time Frame:

IFM, with support from IXS, and in consultation with corporate stakeholders and program delivery bureaux, will review the recommendations and explore options to put in place a comprehensive, reliable system of financial management that is integrated with program management that responds to Branch needs.

Information Systems (common branch-wide system) - Explore options- summer 2007.

Integrated financial management and program management system and applications implemented - March 31, 2008.

5.1.7 Annually, IGX should undertake a formal documented review of the original priorities and objectives established for the GPP, taking into account the changing global and Canadian context in which the GPP operates. The review should be shared with and agreed to by the senior management of FAC.

Implementation. Status Rating: 3

The annual IGX priority review took place March 9, 2007. The DG presented its results to the Global Partnership Advisory Group (GPAG) at its April 11, 2007 meeting, receiving concurrence. The Science, Technology and Trade Advisory Group (STTAG) was also briefed at its meeting April 12, 2007. The outcome of the priority review is being sent to the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for approval. The Communications Strategy has been revised to reflect the outcome of the review.

Action Plan and Time Frame:

IGX obtained the approval of the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs on August 24, 2007.

5.1.8 IGX should adopt a results management approach by operationalizing its RMAF and RBAF. This would include a comprehensive schedule of planning, programming, monitoring and reporting for all its activities. Responsibility for delivering each component of the schedule should be stated and all staff informed.

Implementation. Status Rating: 3

In order to fully operationalize the RBAF/RMAFs, and improve planning, IGX has already taken a number of steps this FY: annual work plans with specific timelines, schedules and most milestones; bi-monthly progress reports for each program area; monthly risk updates; monthly report for the Departmental financial planning and forecasting report (FINSTAT). The six month report to Treasury Board presents the Program's activities and outcomes.

Action Plan and Time Frame:

The process of operationalizing IGX's RMAF and RBAF is well underway. It began with a consultants' study, which produced a draft Accountability, Results and Audit Framework (ARAF) in late March 2007. This document is serving as the basis for a new single ARAF to cover all program areas; the ARAF is required as part of the process for the TB Submission to obtain authority for the Global Partnership Program's second half (FY2008-2013), anticipated by December 2007. It will contain information on reporting and monitoring commitments and schedules. IGX will ensure these are respected and will use the related information for program management purposes. (FYs 2008-2013).

5.3.11 To ensure all staff receive formal feedback on their performance, IGX Management should fully implement the new FAC Performance Management Program (PMP).

In FY 2006-07, most IGX staff had a PMP and individual Personal Learning Plan; the PMP evaluation process is being completed.

Action Plan and Time Frame:

For FY 2007-08, all IGX staff will have a PMP and an individual learning plan by September 2007. The PMP of each staff member will be completed with the results achieved with respect to FY 2007-08 and discussed with them by June 2008.


1 IFM management did not agree with one of the 28 recommendations. That is, that communications and outreach activities be carried out by IXS on behalf of all program bureaux. Rather, they preferred that these activities be performed by the individual bureaux. ZIV has accepted this approach as it satisfies the substance of the recommendation. In addition, ZIV found that one other recommendation was no longer relevant due to a change in operational/environmental conditions. Accordingly, ZIV assessed the level of implementation of the remaining 26 recommendations.

2 The IGX Audit Report contained 18 recommendations. Recommendation 4.1.6 referred to 12 individual elements which were treated as separate recommendations for follow-up purposes. In addition, recommendation 5.8.4 was excluded from examination as it's substance was covered by other recommendations that were included in the scope of the FUA. As such, the scope of the FUA consisted of 28 recommendations (i.e. 18 + 12 - 2 [ rec. 4.1.6 & 5.8.4]).

3 The Management Response to the recommendations contained in the IGX Audit Report indicated that IGX and/or the Program Services Division (IXS) would implement the Management Action Plan associated with the recommendations.

4 ZIV has tentatively scheduled an audit of the effectiveness of implementation action to take place in 2008/09. A formal risk assessment will be conducted during fiscal year 2008/2009 to determine the relative priority of this audit.

5 IFM management did not agree with one of the 28 recommendations. That is, that communications and outreach activities be carried out by IXS on behalf of all program bureaux. Rather, they preferred that these activities be performed by the individual bureaux. In addition, one other recommendation was no longer relevant due to a change in operational/environmental conditions. Accordingly, ZIV assessed the level of implementation of the remaining 26 recommendations.

6 Corporate stakeholders include, for example, the SMD, SXD, PDR and may include others as required.

7 In the case of risk management, a risk profile was being developed corporately at the same time IXS engaged the services of a consultant to develop an IFM Branch risk profile.

Office of the Inspector General


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Date Modified:
2012-10-25