I do, Madam Chair. In fact, I've got a very brief presentation that I'll project here. There are eight slides that will basically provide an overview and a foundational understanding of the policy on results in the department of results frameworks. We'll take questions on that and then turn to a demo on InfoBase.
I'm also joined at the table by my colleagues from expenditure management sector, Chantal Clow and Andrew Gibson. They'll be aiding in the presentation today.
If I may, in the presentation in front of you, slide 2 simply provides some context in terms of the government's results agenda. There are really three pieces that serve as important background here. First is changes at the cabinet level, the creation by the Prime Minister of a new cabinet committee, known as the agenda, results, and communications committee. This brings a focus to results discussions that is a key part of the results agenda going forward.
Second, we have some machinery changes. In late 2015 or early 2016, thePrime Minister announced the creation of a new central unit in the Privy Council Office, known as the results and delivery unit, to provide central oversight of the results agenda and to support his cabinet committee.
Third, we have a new Treasury Board policy that came into effect on July 1, 2016. The policy on results provides a framework for a whole-of-government view of reporting and results, including articulating core responsibilities and key results expectations, identifying a program inventory that departments report on in part III of the estimates, and then making adjustments to ongoing performance measurement and evaluation of programs.
So that is a brief overview of what is behind our new policy. I will now highlight the key elements.
Slide 3 presents in visual form the key elements of the policy. A starting point is the articulation by departments of what we call departmental results frameworks. These are developed by departments, and they are presented by ministers to ministers. The responsible minister will come to the Treasury Board table identifying his or her departmental results framework, which includes the core responsibilities of the department, the key results that they expect to achieve in support of those core responsibilities, and then an explanation of the performance indicators that departments will assess throughout the year to determine whether they're on track.
The program inventories are the mass of programs within a department that support the core responsibilities. This can be anything from, using CRA as an example, a program aimed at audit of large tax filers. In our case, at the Treasury Board Secretariat, we have a program related to our responsibilities as the employer, so there's a program related to collective bargaining.
The performance information profiles are the information holdings of the department. The key metrics of the program in terms of the budget are the number of FTEs—again, some very important performance information—and then plans in terms of how performance will be assessed over the year.
Finally, a key part of the policy was a renewed focus on evaluation. Prior to 2016, there was a requirement for all government departments to evaluate all programming on a five-year basis, so big or small, all programs had to be evaluated on a five-year basis. We found this, in consultation with both departments and our colleagues in other central agencies, to be out of sync with the real needs of both departments and central agencies.
As an example, in a world in which it was mandatory to evaluate a program, the cycle would unfold and we would be in the fifth year, and so a department would have to evaluate program x or y. In some cases it could be a long-standing program that had been evaluated several times in the past, that was of relatively low dollar value, with no changes foreseen. A mandatory evaluation of that program might have displaced something that might have been more critical for the department or the government in terms of future decision points—whether a program was sunsetting, whether it was being considered for significant adjustments as a result of requirements from stakeholders or of discussions with provinces, etc.
The renewed policy and evaluation introduces more flexibility to departments to adopt a risk approach and a needs-based approach to evaluation so that they can have pertinent information at the time of decisions rather than at a set time mandated by a mandatory requirement.
Slide 4 explains a couple of key pillars of this policy, with particular emphasis on governance structures and people. Key in our formulation of the governance of the policy was the designation of certain officials within departments for responsibility in the creation of new monitoring and decision-making bodies in departments.
For example, there is the centralized performance measurement and evaluation committee. It's a new committee.
It didn't exist before the policy. It's led by a deputy minister or associate and has the responsibility to monitor the performance and evaluation work of the department and make sure that such information is considered as part of the ongoing management and resource allocation decisions of the department.
The policy also designated within each department a lead for performance measurement and evaluation. In some cases, departments have chosen to make those positions one and the same; in others, they have a separate evaluation function and a separate head of performance measurement.
The policy also made clear that it's not the head of performance measurement or some other official in the department who is responsible for a specific program. It is the functional lead of that program who is responsible for performance measurement and achieving the objectives.
As a final point to note on governance, Treasury Board approves programs through Treasury Board submissions. In the past they have contained bits and pieces of results information that justify the program expenditure and set out what the organization is trying to do. As a result of the policy, we made this a very clear requirement moving forward. There is a results annex in each and every Treasury Board submission that clearly lays out objectives over the short, medium, and long term, with measures of success in the indicators, and the deputy head of the organization signs off on that results annex.
Turning to slide 5, here are some advantages of this new approach. It's a more systematic way of presenting information and of more explicitly tying resource allocation to the results that departments are trying to achieve.
Slide 6 presents this in visual form. You have your core responsibility, your results expectations and indicators, and then the program underneath.
Slide 7 is a visual representation of a very real example of this. This is for the Canada Revenue Agency, which has identified core responsibilities related to tax, benefits, and its ombudsman role. That layer across the top is your core responsibilities, then underneath, you have your results and expectations, and then the performance indicators.
Madam Chair, that was a brief overview of our policy.
After your questions, we will turn things over to Andrew Gibson, who will demonstrate the Government of Canada's InfoBase system, or GC InfoBase.