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Management response to the September 2011 Centre for Public Management audit report on the Complaints Resolution and Compliance Branch

September 19, 2011

Continuing commitment to improve service delivery

In this time of fiscal restraint, the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) is in constant search of ways to achieve efficiencies. In 2007-2008, we undertook major structural and operational changes to improve our investigative processes and tackle our inventory that had built up over the years. A new business model was adopted that streamlined the complaints process and reduced our inventory significantly. It also allows us to address systemic issues in the access regime and to foster compliance with the access legislation. 

A new risk-based audit plan was developed to gather "just-in-time" feedback on new and maturing processes to allow us to receive and respond quickly to independent, objective and evidence-based recommendations for improvement. The Intake and Early Resolution Unit (IERU), which was created as an intake and triage system for all complaints, was the subject of the OIC's first internal audit. The action plan we implemented in response to the recommendations made in that audit (do link to action plan) produced significant improvements to our intake and triage processes. 

This experience and our continuing commitment to improve our case management processes for investigations led us to commission an audit of our Complaints Resolution and Compliance (CRC) Branch by the Centre for Public Management. The objectives of the CRC audit were two-fold.  First, we wanted to get an assessment of the business processes, performance metrics, and information to support senior management decision-making in the Branch. Second, we wanted to determine the extent to which OIC employees were adhering to legislation and policy directives in completing investigative files. 

The audit (link to CPM letter and audit report) found that the CRC Branch has in place business processes, performance metrics and information, and that our staff adhere to legislation and policy directives in completing investigation files. The audit report also notes opportunities for improvement in the areas of consistency and environmental scanning which would further improve our performance in meeting our objectives. The OIC agrees with the recommendations made in the report. Actions being taken or planned are set out in the Appendix.

We are also taking further action through our investigative strategies to gain additional efficiencies in our continuing goal to improve performance and conduct more timely investigations. In particular, a strategy has been implemented to address cases involving national security, international affairs and defence issues. In addition, we are developing a strategy to investigate priority cases within a six-month timeline, the feasibility of which we will assess at the end of the fiscal year.

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