Management Response and Action Plan

Project Title: Criminal Law Policy Function Evaluation

Responsibility Centre: Criminal Law Policy Section

Conclusions Recommendations Management Response Action Plan Responsible Manager (Title) Planned Implementation Date
Various stakeholders such as the specialized sections within the Department, DLSUs and other departments feed into the Section's policy work thereby contributing to the quality of the end product. Although CLPS' partners indicated that they generally have a very good working relationship with the Section, they did identify a desire for more proactive outreach and information sharing. In particular, key informants noted that it would be helpful to know: CLPS' priorities and any upcoming consultation/engagement activities so that they can anticipate and plan ahead for these; and the various points of contact within the Section for specific subject matter expertise. Additionally, some key informants noted a desire for improving the feedback loop since they can be left wondering how helpful their input was to the Section and if/how it was used. The evaluation also found that federal and departmental stakeholders are not necessarily aware of the need to contact CLPS at the outset when developing criminal justice initiatives with an international dimension, indicating a potential need for the Section to better communicate its role in this area.

1. That CLPS explore opportunities for enhancing proactive outreach and communication with key partners.

Agreed.

While sometimes there are limits imposed on the Section in relation to the extent to which it can engage in outreach or undertake consultations on particular files or share information about certain matters, there is always room for improvement, for example, in closing the feedback loop as is suggested.

We also take note of the view that the services we offer may not be as widely known throughout the government as perhaps they could be.

 Phase 1: Assess the Situation: Discuss this recommendation within CLPS and within the Management Team of the Section.

Phase 2: Develop an Action Plan: Based on the outcomes of those discussions, we will take positive steps to address the recommendation.

Phase 3: Implementation of Action Plan.

The types of activities we would raise as part of our discussion, with a view to the development of the Action Plan, would include:

  • Distribute information material about the Section and the services to the Heads of all DLSUs in Government, together with a link to our intranet site.
  • Make information available about the work of the Section on SharePoint and GC docs.
  • Make further presentations within law practice groups, CLE training sessions, at CLPS or Policy Sector workshops and during training days hosted by other parts of the Department to reach out and increase awareness about what the nature of our work and post these DECKs and relevant materials on our intranet site, SharePoint and GC docs.
  • Share our file responsibilities list with key partners within government and update it on a periodic basis.
  • Review consultation best practices within the Section.

Director General and Senior General Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section

 Phase 1: May-June 2014

Phase 2: July-August 2014

Phase 3: Completed by March 31, 2015

The process of engaging and collaborating with the provinces and territories, given their constitutional responsibility for the administration of justice, occurs primarily through the Coordinating Committee of Senior Officials (Criminal Justice) and its working groups. There is a record of meeting minutes for several, but not all working groups. Some key informants noted that the lack of meeting minutes/records of decisions taken in CCSO working groups can result in misunderstandings or differing recollections of meeting outcomes.

2. That CLPS work with the provinces and territories to assess the feasibility of implementing a process whereby short reports or summaries of decisions taken are recorded and distributed to CCSO Working Group members.

Agreed.

As a matter of practice, the Coordinating Committee of Senior Officials (Criminal Justice) (CCSO) has agreed upon the drafting a Decision Summary following its meetings. For example, a Decision Summary of the last CCSO plenary meeting was prepared and sent to CCSO members.

At the outset of each plenary meeting of CCSO, reports are provided on the results of the working group meetings, which are held in advance of the plenary meeting. These oral reports at the plenary meeting are reflected in the CCSO Decision Summary.

CCSO Working Groups are mostly co-chaired by federal and provincial officials, so a collaborative effort is required.

We will explore how the Working Groups should be following up on this recommendation at the next plenary meeting of CCSO.

Director General and Senior General Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section

April 30, 2014

The Section operates efficiently as it has been producing a greater level of output, that is, policy products and legal policy and legal advice with a lower level of input (financial resources and FTEs). Increasing demands and shorter timelines have placed significant pressures on the Section's limited human and financial resources, prompting it to adopt a more strategic approach to service delivery. The Section has undertaken a number of steps to improve its efficiency while maintaining the quality of its services such as assigning files based on experience, expertise, workload and operational needs and keeping track of the advice it provides so that it can make use of it again, among others. Still, the evaluation identified other potential areas, such as the team structure, for further increasing efficiency given the pressures posed by an increased workload, less staff to carry out the work and the fast pace of policy development.

The team structure within the Section, which is organized by subject matter area helps ensure that it can effectively deliver policy development services as counsel possess expertise in substantive areas. However, the evaluation found that the team structure may not continue to reflect the scope of the Section's work and the government's emphasis on certain priorities over others. The Section may need to be more flexible in aligning its resources with changing government priorities so that it is fully optimizing the resources it has at its disposal.

3. That the Section explore opportunities to re-align resources to more effectively and efficiently address the demand for services, including new priority issues.

Agreed.

The Section has in place a team structure, which assists in the management of the Section.

Team organizations enable officers working on related issues to share knowledge, expertise and workload.  They also frequently involve officers from other teams where issues intersect.  Opportunities for such intersection between teams are encouraged and supported in practice.   

Where large issues arise that demand immediate attention, the Section has drawn from various teams to put in place a surge capacity. Examples include the development and support of the Anti-terrorism Act following September 11, 2001 and, more recently, in supporting the Government's proposed legislative initiative in relation to the Victims Bill of Rights. 

As part of the Section's response to the Public Service Employee Survey 2011, various actions have been undertaken as a means to optimize resources and promote career and people management, among other objectives, including: promoting Individual Learning Plans; Talent Management; mentoring and training, including in-house training and information sessions; and having back-ups on files.

Given our resource challenges, we have increasingly been seeking expressions of interest throughout the Section in respect of various acting opportunities and particular tasks to be performed or positions to be filled.

We are aware of the advantages to be gained by the employees themselves, and by the Department, in having employees learn new skills and gain new experience by working on different files and on multi-disciplinary teams and by being exposed to new work.

 Phase 1: Update Talent Management Plans

Requests will be made within CLPS to update the Talent Management Plans to ensure that the information contained therein is current.

Phase 2: Section Discussions

Hold Section meetings to permit a full discussion of ideas to more effectively and efficiently address the demand for services, including new priority issues.

Phase 3: Implementation of Action Plan.

Expressions of interest will be sought as opportunities arise and training needs will be met to the extent possible. Other approaches would be undertaken, which would be informed by discussions within the Section.

Director General and Senior General Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section

Phase 1: May 2014

Phase 2: November 2014

Phase 3: March 31, 2015

Date modified: