This audit focused on the recurring reports that are required of federal organizations by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, the Public Service Commission or legislation. We undertook this audit to respond to long-standing concerns about the burden created by these reporting requirements.
We found that for the most part, reporting intended to support accountability and transparency was serving its intended purposes. However, in our view, the efficiency and value of government reporting should be improved. For example, we noted that the efficiency and value of quarterly financial reports could be improved to better support accountability to Parliament.
We also found that some Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat reporting requirements applied equally to all organizations, regardless of their size or mandate. For example, the Canadian Polar Commission—a small organization with 11 staff members—was required to prepare 25 annual or quarterly reports.
In addition, while both the Public Service Commission and Treasury Board Secretariat had reviewed and adjusted some reporting requirements, they had not assessed the costs or level of effort required of federal organizations to meet these requirements. As a result, the Public Service Commission and the Treasury Board Secretariat did not understand the resource implications of reporting requirements for federal organizations.
We also found that about half of departmental security plans, which were due by June 2012, had not been finalized at the time of our audit. These reports are intended to support internal decision-making by providing an integrated view of departmental security requirements.