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Internal Audit and Evaluation Documents

Charter for Parks Canada's Evaluation Function

Report tabled and approved by the Evaluation Committee

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Introduction

The purpose of establishing an evaluation charter is to set out the mission, responsibilities and authorities of the Parks Canada evaluation function. The Charter defines:

  • The purpose and scope of evaluation activities
  • Accountabilities and independence of the function
  • Roles and responsibilities of the Chief Evaluation Executive, evaluation staff and program managers
  • Authorities

Our Mission

To contribute to the achievement of Parks Canada's mandate by providing the Chief Executive Officer with evidence-based, credible, neutral and timely information on the ongoing relevance, results, and value of policies and programs, alternative ways of achieving expected results, and program design improvements.

Scope of Activities

The evaluation function conducts independent research on Agency's policies, programs, initiatives and expenditure management to determine whether they continue to be relevant, produce expected results, and if there are alternative ways of achieving expected results and/or to improve program design. The scope of evaluation activity includes

  • All direct program spending (i.e., all operating and capital spending excluding public debt charges and major transfers to persons and to other levels of government). Program in this context refers to the Agency's program activity architecture including all program activities, sub activities and sub-sub activities.
  • All on-going programs of grants and contributions (i.e., as defined in section 42.1 of the Financial Administration Act, as enacted by the Federal Accountability Act)
  • All programs that are set to terminate automatically over a specified period of time (if requested by the Secretariat of the Treasury Board)
  • The adequacy of performance measurement frameworks and strategies associated with the Agency's Management Resources and Results Structure (MRRS), Cabinet and Treasury Board Submissions, Results-Based Management and Accountability Frameworks (RMAFs) and other program performance frameworks.

Actual coverage of these activities is dependent on the resources assigned to the evaluation function.

Accountability and Neutrality

The evaluation function is under the responsibility of the Chief Evaluation Executive who is accountable and reports directly to the Chief Executive Officer. This organizational structure is essential to ensure that the wide range of evaluation activities is unrestricted and that appropriate attention is given to the evaluation findings and recommendations.

The Chief Evaluation Executive shall have direct unimpaired access to all members of the Evaluation Committee to report findings and issues and to request advice, opinions and instructions.

To ensure neutrality and impartiality, an external contracted third party will perform any evaluations related to functions for which the CEE has responsibility.

Evaluators are expect to adhere to the Code of Ethics of the Canadian Evaluation Society and to declare any conflict of interest or situation that would otherwise impair their ability to provide impartial, valid and reliable evaluation findings, conclusions and recommendations.

Evaluation neutrality requires that resourcing of function be done independently from the program or policy being evaluated.

Roles and Responsibilities

Chief Evaluation Executive and staff are responsible for:

  • Develop a rolling five-year Agency Evaluation Plan, consistent with TBS Policy, Standards and Directives (i.e., with respect to coverage and considerations of risk, the work of other assurance providers, and central Agencies requirements, commitments in TB Submissions and RMAFs, etc.) to be updated annually
  • Implementing the Plan as approved including as required any special tasks or projects requested by the CEO or the Evaluation Committee
  • Identifying and communicating to the CEO and the Agency Evaluation Committee the resource requirements of the evaluation function, including significant interim changes, and the impact of resource limitations
  • Support the Agency Evaluation Committee operations including preparing the Agenda, providing documents and material and recording the committee's discussion and decisions
  • Ensuring resources are appropriate, sufficient, and effectively deployed to achieve the approved plan
  • Ensuring timely completion of evaluation projects and that reports are provided directly to the CEO and Evaluation Committee with minimum delay
  • Maintaining a professional evaluation staff with sufficient knowledge skills, experience and professional certification to meet the requirements of the job, as well as providing opportunities for training and development to maintain and improve evaluation competence
  • Establishing appropriate policies, procedures, and quality control and improvement processes to guide and improve the function
  • Reporting at least annually to the CEO and the Evaluation Committee on the
    • Results of evaluation activities and the performance of the evaluation function
    • State of performance measurement of programs in support of evaluation
  • Submitting to the Treasury Board Secretariat Office of Evaluation annually, the Evaluation Plan and Reports of completed evaluation projects including management responses and action plans
  • Posting evaluation reports along with management responses and action plans on the Agency website in both official languages within 90 days of their approval by the Chief Executive Officer.

Agency Managers:

Are responsible for

  • Developing and implementing ongoing performance measurement strategies for their programs, including monitoring service standards and client satisfaction and ensuring that credible and reliable performance data is being collected;
  • Consult with the Chief Evaluation Executive or head of evaluation on the performance measurement strategies for all new and ongoing program spending
  • Ensuring that their staff cooperate fully with the work of the evaluators
  • Preparing management responses to specific evaluation recommendations within 30 working days from the date on which the final draft of the evaluation report was sent requesting the management response. The management response must address each of the recommendations contained in the report. In exceptional circumstances the Chief Evaluation Executive may provide more time for completion of the management response.
  • Determining if a communications plan related to evaluation findings is required and preparing the plan for tabling at the Evaluation Committee along with the management response
  • Preparing reports on progress in implementing management response items as required for up to five years after the original evaluation

Authority

The CEE and staff of the evaluation function are authorized to:

  • Have unrestrictive access to all functions, records, property and personnel and have the right to obtain information and explanations from Agency employees and contractors, subject to applicable legislation
  • Have full and free access to the Agency Evaluation Committee
  • Allocate resources, set frequencies, select subjects, determine scope of work, and apply techniques required to accomplish evaluation objectives
  • Obtain the necessary assistance of personnel in units of the Agency where they perform evaluations, as well as other specialized services from within or outside the Agency
  • Have unimpaired ability to carry out their responsibilities, including reporting findings to the CEO, the Agency Evaluation Committee

The CEE and staff of the evaluation function are not authorized to:

  • Perform any operational duties for the Agency
  • Direct the activities of any departmental employee not employed by the evaluation function, except to the extent that such employees have been appropriately assigned to evaluation teams or to otherwise assist the evaluators.

Standards of Evaluation Practice

The evaluation function will meet or exceed the Government of Canada's Policy on Evaluation and standards.

______________________________
Chief Evaluation Executive
(Submits for approval)
___________________
Date
______________________________
Chief Executive Officer
(Approval)
___________________
Date

Definitions

Chief Evaluation Executive – the official responsible for directing and leading the evaluation function in the Agency

Evaluator: Employee or any other designated Parks Canada Agency official carrying out evaluation duties.

Program Manager: Employee, or any other designated Parks Canada official whose operations, program, policy, Field Unit, Service Centre, or Directorate are being evaluated

Managing for results refers to the use of performance measurement information in the management of programs and services to ensure that there is continual improvement in the effectiveness and efficiency of achieving results. It is accomplished by determining realistic expected results, monitoring and evaluating progress toward the achievement of the expected results, integrating lessons learned into management strategy and decisions, and reporting on performance.

Performance Measurement Strategy: selection, development and on-going use of performance measures to guide program or corporate decision-making. The range of information in a performance measurement strategy could include: outputs and outcomes, client satisfaction, performance against service standards, performance indicators, data sources, methodology and costs.


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