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Audit of Fast Track Staffing (FTS)

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency's (CFIA) internal audit function provides the President, senior officials and agency managers with an independent capability to perform audits of the resources, systems, processes, structures and operational tasks of the CFIA. It helps the CFIA accomplish its objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to assessing and improving the effectiveness of risk management, control and governance processes.

The internal audit function is accountable to the CFIA's Audit Committee, of which the President is a member. All internal audit findings and recommendations must be reported to the Audit Committee, and all audits must be carried out in accordance with federal policy and legislative requirements, including the 2009 Policy on Internal Audit and the 2006  Federal Accountability Act.

CFIA internal audit projects are selected based on highest significance during an annual agency planning process, which are then reflected in the Agency's Audit Plan for review by Audit Committee and approval of the President.

Overview

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) conducted an internal audit of Fast Track Staffing (FTS).

The audit, initiated in September 2010 with fieldwork finished in January 2011, covered fiscal years 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 up to FTS transactions completed by September 30, 2010.

The report noted that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is a separate employer that is exempt from the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA) and its associated regulations. The Agency has its own human resources (HR) policies and programs. As per the CFIA's Renewal Plan 2008-2013, workforce renewal is a top human resource priority and a top business priority for the Agency.

Key Findings

Fast Track Staffing is a web-based self-service staffing process intended to modernize and streamline HR services. It is used to expedite high-volume, low-risk staffing actions such as student hires, acting appointments of less than four months, assignments within the CFIA, and term extensions.

The audit found several opportunities for improvement, including a need for the Executive Director of HR Operations Division to provide clear oversight of the FTS program; a need to employ formal risk management processes and guidelines for FTS, particularly when changes are made; and a need to maintain an appropriate staffing framework, including functional guidance and monitoring to support staffing processes that comply with the CFIA policies and respect for CFIA staffing values.

Response

The CFIA is committed to responding to the report's recommendations. The CFIA continually improves its programs and protocols. Management's commitment to addressing recommendations made by internal audits like this one is a critical part of that continual improvement.

The CFIA has developed a management response action plan to address the opportunities for improvement identified by the audit.

The CFIA recognizes the need for a process that is both nimble (to respond to the significant volume) and efficient within an appropriate framework (to respond to the risks).

The CFIA's management framework is being strengthened to ensure the Agency can continue to meet the policies that direct staff hiring for employment that is short-term and that requires a quick response.

The CFIA has already completed the following actions:

  • The position of Executive Director, HR Operations, and the position of Area Manager, Atlantic, have both been stabilized for consistent oversight of FTS.
  • A National Coordinator position within the Executive Director's office, HR Operations, now provides guidance/oversight role for national FTS issues.
  • FTS has been centralized permanently in the Moncton office. Management has been put in place to oversee the control frameworks for these low-risk transactions to make sure they remain low risk, and to serve the needs of the Agency in the most efficient way possible.
  • A Staffing Monitoring and Accountability Framework that includes monitoring of all staffing actions, including FTS transactions, has been developed (approved in July 2011) and is being implemented.
  • A PeopleSoft Security module has been introduced to make sure that security clearances are completed before Letters of Offer are issued.
  • Specimen Signature Records have been completed for all FTS assistants to make sure that they have the formal delegation to process compensation actions.

As outlined in the management response action plan, the balance of proposed actions is scheduled to be implemented throughout 2011 and 2012.

Complete reports: