Correctional Service could be missing out on savings

(Chapter 7—Economy and Efficiency of Services—Correctional Service Canada - December 2008 Report of the Auditor General)

Ottawa, 5 February 2009—Correctional Service Canada (CSC) could be missing out on savings by not considering volume purchasing of supplies for its 58 institutions and more efficient deployment of its security staff, says the Auditor General of Canada, Sheila Fraser, in her Report tabled today in the House of Commons. The Report notes that CSC needs better information on the cost of its approach to purchasing supplies and providing security for federal prisons.

“While we understand its focus on safety and security, Correctional Service needs to analyze what these goods and services are costing it and whether there are more economical and efficient alternatives,” said Ms. Fraser.

The audit found that CSC has not analyzed its overall cost of food preparation and whether there are more economical alternatives. In addition, while it manages most clothing purchases at the national level, a substantial percentage of purchases are still made locally by institutions.

The Report notes that overtime costs have continued to increase, even though the number of prisoners and the reported number of violent incidents have remained relatively stable. Some overtime is necessary, but the audit found that CSC has no strategy to control it. The audit found little analysis of the impact of overtime on total salary costs or of whether hiring additional staff would be more economical.

The audit also found that the information currently tracked by CSC’s senior management does not address the economy and efficiency of operations, and national headquarters provides little direction to the institutions on how to manage their operations more economically and efficiently.  

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The chapter “Economy and Efficiency of Services” is available on the Office of the Auditor General of Canada Web site.

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