This internal Transport Canada (TC) audit was requested by departmental senior management and approved as part of the department’s 2012-2013 Internal Audit Plan in order to provide an evidence-based review of how TC safety and security inspectors were being managed across the country. Consistent with government-wide efforts to adopt best practices in the management of its workforce, these kinds of reviews contribute to sound decisions about where and how improvements could be made. Transport Canada conducted its review in 2012 and has since responded to its recommendations with the following actions:
#1: ADM Corporate Services (who oversees HR services for S&S programs) should support S&S program delivery by:
- Working with S&S Assistant Deputy Ministers and Regional Directors General to ensure that every S&S employee has specific, measureable and time-bound performance objectives related to their individual oversight responsibilities;
- Implementing as part of its HR related monitoring a strong Quality Assurance process for TC’s EPM that goes beyond tracking of EPM completion rates.
- Ensuring S&S managers have the tools and support they need to identify, document and address poor performance;
- Ensuring S&S employees receive clear information re: the Department’s Values and Ethics/Conflict of Interest expectations of employees and risks/issues most likely to arise for TC employees;
- Ensuring TC employees in “Positions of Risk” submit COI declarations on a regular basis and there is prompt processing, decision-making and follow-up by the Department;
- Ensuring the HR function works with regional management to better understand their labour relation needs to best prioritize HR activities and resources; and
- Over time, establishing a TC Informal Conflict Resolution Service, as required by the 2005 Public Service Labour Relations Act, to support employees and managers and improve informal conflict resolution.
- Common performance measures for safety and security inspectors and supervisors have been developed and will be used in the new standard Performance Agreements being introduced across the Government of Canada.
- To ensure the Employee Performance Management (EPM) process is fair, credible and effective, Transport Canada Guidelines for Review Committees are in the final stages of development, and an EPM Monitoring Framework is being developed.
- An assessment of labour relations tools and training is underway (which includes available Treasury Board tools). Transport Canada’s labour relations advisors have received performance management training to assist managers, and participate on the headquarters Workplace Development and Management Committee. Labour relations discussions have also become a regular part of Regional Management Committees and other regional management forums.
- Human Resources advisors have conducted values and ethics awareness campaigns involving management training, who in turn held awareness sessions with their staff – resulting in 90% participation of Transport Canada employees.
- Communications have gone out to all employees informing them of the new requirements for conflict of interest and post-employment, and all employees subject to mandatory declarations have been advised of their obligations. Service standards have been developed for the timely processing of declarations and tracking and monitoring is being done on a regular basis.
- An Informal Conflict Management System has been developed and implementation is underway.
#2: ADM S&S (who oversees S&S programs) should improve functional guidance regional S&S staff by:
- Working with the Human Resources Directorate and Regional Directors General to ensure there are clear performance standards (linked to inspection plans and inspection standards) for regional Safety and Security inspectors and managers
- Ensuring that the Quality Assurance systems being developed for Safety and Security programs will specifically include random sampling of staff including inspectors and managers adherence to documented program standards and procedures.
- Safety and Security have developed and are now implementing common work objectives and measures for safety and security inspectors and supervisors. These will assist managers in setting and communicating clear performance expectations with regards to the work of front line staff in delivering the inspection/oversight of the regulated transportation entities. These will also clarify management expectations of inspection standards, and will further reinforce the importance of demonstrating the required competencies, behaviours and engagement required to deliver solid oversight programs.
- The new departmental Directive on Safety and Security Oversight, to be released in 2014, will require all Transport Canada safety and security programs to implement quality assurance practices and procedures, and meet established performance standards.
- The new departmental Directive will also include methodologies and criteria for assessing performance, including third-party random checks to see how well employees and managers are following the established standards and procedures.
#3: Regional Director Generals (who oversee regional S&S inspection regimes), with support from the ADM, Corporate Services, and the ADM, S&S, should:
- Ensure that all S&S managers are trained to discharge their people management responsibilities; and
- Ensure all S&S managers are themselves evaluated on their effectiveness at dealing with poor performance and inappropriate behaviour (and recognizing good performance).
- An updated framework for the delegation of human resource authorities is underway which will include people management knowledge requirements/mandatory training.