Management Response and Action Plan

Project Title: Evaluation of the International Legal Programs Section

Responsibility Centre: International Legal Programs Section (ILPS)

Conclusions Recommendations Management Response Action Plan Responsible Manager (Title) Planned Completion Date

Mandate of ILPS

The evaluation found that while ILPS has the mandate to carry out legal technical assistance, it is not well articulated or well known.  Key informants suggested that the Section develop a clearly defined vision and mission statement and to communicate them across the Department and to other relevant federal departments and agencies.

Roles and Responsibilities

The evaluation found that there are various types of international legal technical assistance work undertaken within the Department, and that there is no central point of coordination for requests of this type of assistance. Other sections within the Department provide – generally out of their existing resources - international legal technical assistance on an ad hoc basis and focus on Canadian law. Whereas, ILPS provides – on a cost-recovery basis - legal technical assistance to foreign countries wanting to reform their justice sector, and consequently projects are more targeted, comprehensive, and tied to specific priorities and outcomes.

This fragmentation of international legal technical assistance activities has the potential to result in duplication of work and inconsistencies. Though the evaluation did not find any evidence of this, some key informants thought that there is a lack of understanding of the role of ILPS within the Department and the nature of their substantive legal work.  According to these key informants, one possible solution could be for the Section to promote its roles and responsibilities to relevant areas of the Department.

Recommendation 1:

In line with the findings, it is recommended that the ILPS clearly define its vision and mission statement and communicate them as well as its roles and responsibilities to relevant sections within the Department including the Legal Services Units, the Criminal Law Policy Section, the Contracting and Materiel Management Division, the International Assistance Group, and to other federal departments and agencies, such as pertinent sections within Global Affairs Canada.

We agree with the recommendation.
We consider that, in addition to developing a vision and mission statement, it would be useful to take a number of measures to clarify ILPS' role.

Step 1:
Develop the vision and mission statement.

Step 2:
Develop list for distribution of vision and mission statement.

Step 3:
Distribute vision and mission statement.

Step 4:
Improve ILPS intranet website to better explain its role.

Step 5:
Change the name of the Section to better reflect its responsibilities.

Director General, International Legal Programs Section

Step 1:
September 2017

Step 2:
October 2017

Step 3:
October 2017

Step 4:
December 2017

Step 5:
March 2018

Knowledge Management

Despite the organizational structure of ILPS being efficient, there were some concerns with respect to internal knowledge transfer. At the end of a project or at the end of a specified period with a project, the temporary employee(s) return to their respective department(s), which can lead to a loss of expertise and knowledge gained during a project. Some key informants thought that the Section does not have a strong knowledge management component, and therefore, minimal internal knowledge transfer occurs.

In addition, it was identified that limited knowledge sharing between ILPS project staff was identified as a factor influencing the ability of ILPS to provide its activities in terms of efficiently planning and developing new legal technical assistance projects.

Recommendation 2:

It is recommended that the ILPS improve its internal knowledge management and transfer capabilities to retain corporate memory and to strengthen its capacity to plan and develop technical assistance projects.

We agree with the recommendation.

ILPS has accumulated over the years a good quantity of information. However, this information has remained largely unprocessed, thus generating limited usable knowledge. Correcting the situation is therefore not simply a matter of transferring knowledge but also of generating it.

This requires dealing with two separate but closely linked categories of information:

  • tangible information on substantive matters which is recorded in written documents; and
  • intangible information on law and development flowing from the Section's experience in project design and implementation.

Phase 1A: Knowledge Creation - Tangible Information (document centered)

Step 1:
Develop list of relevant documents produced under various projects.

Step 2:
Identify documents that could be useful beyond the specific context in which they were developed.

Phase 1B: Knowledge Creation - Intangible Information (people centered)

Step 1:
Identify project design and implementation matters on which the Section already has valuable information.

Step 2:
Produce concise and precise fact sheets on the matters on which information is available.

Step 3:
Identify project design and implementation matters on which the Section has an information gap.

Step 4:
Develop strategy for dealing with information gaps identified.  Then implement strategy and capture knowledge in fact sheets.

Phase 2A: Knowledge Sharing – Internal (within ILPS)

Step 1:
Make lessons learned an integral part of the Section’s work by requiring each project director to meet with the officers coming back from a field mission to have an in-depth discussion on the outcome(s) of the mission.

Step 2:
Store substantive documents of precedential value and fact sheets in an IT-based internal knowledge platform accessible by all ILPS staff.

Step 3:
Develop standard procedure aimed at ramping up new employees rapidly.

Phase 2B: Knowledge Sharing – External (outside JUS)

Step 1:
Identify two (2) outside entities (within or outside of the Government of Canada) that are recognized as centres of excellence in specific domains and with which ILPS could establish strategic knowledge partnerships.

Director General, International Legal Programs Section

Phase 1A

Step 1: September 2017

Step 2:
September 2017

Phase 1B

Step 1:
July 2017

Step 2:
September 2017

Step 3:
October 2017

Step 4:
December 2017

Phase 2A

Step 1:
May 2017

Step 2:
December 2017

Step 3:
March 2018

Phase 2B

Step 1:
December 2017

iCase Data

Despite the usefulness of the iCase data, there were challenges in analyzing this data in terms of the inconsistencies on how information was entered into iCase. This made it difficult to differentiate between legal technical assistance project work and strategic advisory work.

Recommendation 3:

It is recommended that the ILPS apply a standardized approach to recording data in iCase in order to improve the overall data integrity, therefore making it possible to assist with workflow tracking, to measure and compare the demands for its services, and to analyze trends over time.

We agree with the recommendation.

Files will be created so that the time spent on technical assistance can be distinguished from the time spent on strategic advice.

Director General, International Legal Programs Section

June 2017

International Contracting

ILPS has experienced challenges procuring international contracts for renting office space, buying equipment or hiring local staff in the recipient country, which has led to long delays in project implementation.

Recommendation 4:

It is recommended that the ILPS initiate discussions with the Contracting and Materiel Management Division to explore options for international contracting.

We agree with the recommendation.

Step 1:
Develop document describing the nature of the contracting issue.

Step 2:
Hold meeting with JUS’s contracting operations section.

Step 3:
Develop internal note summarizing the outcome of the discussions and identifying follow-up measures required, if any.

Director General, International Legal Programs Section

Step 1:
August 2017

Step 2:
September 2017

Step 3:
October 2017

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