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2006 May Status Report of the Auditor General of Canada

May 2006 Status Report—Chapter 4

Appendix C—List of recommendations

The following is a list of recommendations found in Chapter 4. The number in front of the recommendation indicates the paragraph where it appears in the chapter. The numbers in parentheses indicate the paragraph where the topic is discussed.

Recommendation

Department's response

Financial information reported to Parliament

4.21 The Canada Firearms Centre should ensure that the recording of project development costs over the life of the service agreement conforms to the Treasury Board's Policy on Payables at Year-End. The Centre should record costs against annual appropriations as they are incurred.
(4.11–4.20)

Payment of the remaining development costs over the life of the service agreement was one element of the restructured CFIS II contract intended to provide system delivery and service incentives to the contractor. The approach to appropriation charging was developed with the support of the Office of the Comptroller General, bearing in mind the requirements of the Financial Administration Act and Treasury Board policy. It will be fully disclosed in all parliamentary reporting.

4.27 The Canada Firearms Centre should define what types of cost elements should be reported as the indirect costs of the Canadian Firearms Program.
(4.22–4.26)

Agreed. In conjunction with the Treasury Board Secretariat and program partners, the appropriateness and content of reporting indirect costs will be reviewed. This will be completed in conjunction with the preparation of the 2005–06 Departmental Performance Report.

Measuring and reporting of performance

4.41 The Canada Firearms Centre should improve its reporting on the performance of the Canadian Firearms Program by providing targets and evidence-based results, and by showing through the use of a results chain how these results could contribute to public safety goals.
(4.30–4.40)

Agreed. As a new department the Centre's priority has been to ensure that the program's fundamental baseline data is correct and to develop the capacity for more in-depth analysis of performance information. As the chapter notes, this has resulted in a significant increase in the performance information provided to Parliament. The Centre will continue to enhance its performance reporting as the program matures and more complete longitudinal data becomes available.

4.51 The Canada Firearms Centre should present its performance information in its performance reports in a comprehensive and complete manner that allows Parliament to fully understand the performance it has achieved and the challenges it faces.
(4.42–4.50)

Agreed. As acknowledged by the Office of the Auditor General, there has been a significant increase in performance information provided to Parliament. Having established this foundation, the Centre will continue to enhance its performance reporting as the program matures and more complete longitudinal data becomes available.

4.52 To improve its service to the public, the Canada Firearms Centre should analyze how long it takes to investigate and complete licence and registration applications that have client eligibility failures, identify the nature of the problems, and take appropriate action.
(4.42–4.50)

Agreed. As identified in the Centre's 2004–05 Departmental Performance Report, client service standards are being reviewed. This review will take into consideration lessons learned during the audit, including the impact of the investigation of eligibility issues on meeting service standards. This will be done recognizing that a balance must be struck between the efficiency with which client applications are processed and the effectiveness of the investigation procedures related to public safety.

4.64 The Canada Firearms Centre should ensure that its new information system will be able to provide management with the performance information it needs to run the Canadian Firearms Registry.
(4.53–4.63)

Agreed. The project is being assessed to ensure that the system provides appropriate operational and management information in support of all aspects of the program.

4.65 As part of CFIS II, the Canada Firearms Centre should validate addresses against information in other databases, and check all records for entry errors and completeness.
(4.53–4.63)

Agreed. As noted in the chapter, the Centre has an ongoing plan to monitor and address data quality issues. This initiative will continue to form part of the ongoing continuous improvement plan. Specifically, the Centre will

  • explore cost-effective alternatives to validate address information with other databases,
  • examine a solution to migrate Restricted Weapons Registration System information, and
  • continue the process of validating data accuracy and completeness.

4.70 The Canada Firearms Centre should undertake a complete review of the volunteer Verifiers Network, including determining how many verifiers are needed, where they are needed, and how they should be managed.
(4.66–4.69)

Agreed. As identified in the Department's 2005–06 Report on Plans and Priorities, the development and implementation of a strategy to enhance the firearms verification process was identified as a priority. In the fall 2005, surveys were sent to 3,328 verifiers and 952 firearms owners. These surveys, in addition to the consultations with verifiers, resulted in an approach to identifying the number of verifiers needed. Additional analysis will be completed over the coming months and the resulting strategy will be implemented during 2006–07.

4.73 The Canada Firearms Centre should take the necessary steps to follow up on revocation orders, including seeking the implementation of the Public Agents Firearms Regulations.
(4.71–4.72)

Agreed. In conjunction with the implementation of the Public Agents Firearms Regulations, the Centre will review its processes regarding follow-up on revoked registration certificates.

Management of contracting

4.88 Public Works and Government Services Canada should review how client departments use the contracting tools it has developed. It should be able to provide assurance that its tools are not being used to circumvent contracting policies and regulations.
(4.74–4.87)

Public Works and Government Services Canada response. The Auditor General's recommendation identifies a weakness with the proper use of the Department's contracting tools. The Department recognizes the importance of this recommendation and is taking corrective measures to address the issues highlighted in this chapter. Such measures include training of users on accountabilities, policies, and processes, increased monitoring and reporting of usage; and, where appropriate, restricting use of the tool.

4.89 The Canada Firearms Centre should review its contracting of IT consultants to ensure that it does not create employee-employer relationships.
(4.74–4.87)

Agreed. The Centre continues to take steps to reduce its dependence on the core group of IT consultants. As contracts of the Information Technology Services Branch of Public Works and Government Services Canada come up for renewal, they will not be extended. Additionally, the Centre has contracted the provision of IT services to a private sector service provider. As a result, the contractual relationship with the individuals in question will cease.

Contracting for the Canadian Firearms Information System

4.108 The Canada Firearms Centre should clarify for Parliament the current status of the CFIS II system development phase. It should also clearly identify the nature of the services it is to receive during the operational 15-year period and reconcile their cost with the service charges in the original contract from 2002.
(4.90–4.107)

Agreed. The Centre will continue to provide Parliament with improved CFIS II reporting, including information on the system development project and the nature of services to be provided over the 15-year operation period.