Audit of Performance Against Service Standards Reporting

1. Executive summary

At the request of the Canadian Grain Commission’s  Executive Management Committee, Audit and Evaluation Services undertook an audit of Canadian Grain Commission’s Performance Against Service Standards Reporting, with the audit to be substantially completed before Canadian Grain Commission finalized its first full year of performance reporting in March, 2015. As required by the User Fees Act, the Canadian Grain Commission committed to service standards related to its user fees that came into effect on August 1, 2013. The User Fees Act requires that the regulatory services meet the established standard at least 90% of the time, or user fees may be reduced.

Performance Against Service Standards information for the 18 regulatory fees and some of the 31 non-regulatory fees is gathered from the Industry Services and Corporate Affairs divisions. The Grain Research Laboratory also contributes performance results for the non-regulatory fees. The Planning Reporting unit of the Corporate Affairs division is responsible for compiling and reporting on Performance Against Service Standards.

The objectives of the audit were to assess the appropriateness of the data being tracked for reporting performance against service standards and assess the accuracy, integrity, and reliability of service standard reporting for regulatory fees for the 2014-2015 fiscal year. A limited amount of review was performed on the preliminary performance data for non-regulatory fees in order to advise on the effectiveness of the reporting methods proposed. The objectives were accomplished through interviews with various management and staff and testing of a sample of reported performance results against source data.

Conclusion

Although this report contains several recommendations to improve tracking and reporting methods as well as overall control of the Performance Against Service Standards reporting process, for those service standards that could be confirmed, the 2014-2015 reported results were found to be correct. As described in the attached report, certain services could not be confirmed for various reasons (refer to Objective 2). It was evident during the audit that Management was becoming more engaged in the Performance Against Service Standards reporting process and taking corrective actions where necessary. As a result of the audit, management has now clearly assigned responsibility for all service standards reporting and the Planning and Reporting unit will be serving a control function.

The recommendations made in this report focus on the following areas:

  • All assumptions made, particularly the start and end times chosen for measuring performance, should be documented by service standard owners and maintained in the Planning and Reporting unit. Measurement methods should be as consistent as possible across different services and locations (rec. 1, 2 and 6).
  • Measurement methodologies for certain service standards require further consideration by management to improve reliability and verifiability of data (rec. 3).
  • More thorough review of performance data is required by management and Planning and Reporting (rec. 5 and 6).

Management has provided action plans for each recommendation (see Appendix A) and has committed to implementation by the end of the current fiscal year (March 31, 2016). The action plans are aimed at improving the overall Performance Against Service Standards reporting process for the current service standards which will continue to be in place until at least March 31, 2018. It should be noted that process improvements resulting from this audit will continue or inform potentially updated service standards scheduled for the 2018-2023 user fees cycle.

Statement of Assurance

In the professional judgment of the Chief Audit Executive, sufficient and appropriate audit procedures have been conducted and evidence gathered to support the accuracy of the opinion provided and contained in this report. The opinion is based on a comparison of the conditions as they existed at the time, as described in the Audit Scope, against pre-established audit criteria. The opinion is applicable only to the activity examined. This audit engagement was planned and conducted to be in accordance with the Internal Auditing Standards for the Government of Canada.