Legal Agent Account Verification Process
6. Observations – Memorandum of understanding
6.1 Memorandum of Understanding for Services PPSC Provides to Justice Canada
A Memorandum of Understanding for the services PPSC provides to Justice Canada is required and responsibility for FAA Section 33 needs to be assigned.
On December 12, 2006, the PPSC was formed as a new department of the Government of Canada. It replaced the former Federal Prosecution Service of the Department of Justice.
Justice Canada has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the PPSC for the services the Department provides to PPSC . However, a similar PPSC for work PPSC performs on behalf of Justice Canada has not been developed.
PPSC provides services to Justice Canada with respect to legal agent appointments by Justice Canada. The services provided vary depending on whether the legal agent work was performed for Justice Canada or for other government departments.
When Justice Canada is the client, PPSC enters the legal agent account (invoice) information into the Justice Canada IFMS for tracking purposes and arranges for payment. We were advised that PPSC verifies the legal agent accounts to ensure that they have been taxed; that FAA Section 34 has been signed off by an authorized person in Justice Canada; and that the total amounts (for fees and disbursements) are accurate. We learned, however, that neither Justice Canada nor PPSC signs for FAA Section 33. PPSC advised that it was under the impression that FAA Section 33 payment authority was being performed by Justice Canada. Justice Canada advised that it was under the impression that PPSC was performing FAA Section 33, because PPSC was arranging for payment of legal agent invoices on behalf of Justice Canada.
For client departments other than Justice Canada, PPSC enters the legal agent account into the Justice Canada IFMS for tracking purposes. Client departments perform FAA Section 34 and Section 33.
The Payment Authority under Section 33 of the FAA is generally delegated to financial officers. This delegation ensures that all payments and other charges requisitioned against the Consolidated Revenue Fund are timely, properly authorized, and legal. As far as we could determine, signing authority under FAA Section 33 has not been delegated to PPSC with respect to legal agent work paid for by Justice Canada.
In our opinion, an MOU outlining the services PPSC provides to Justice Canada with respect to legal agent accounts is required. The MOUshould describe the specific responsibilities PPSC will perform on behalf of Justice Canada and assign responsibility for FAA Section 33.
Recommendation and Management Response
10. It is recommended that the Chief Financial Officer develop an MOU to identify the services to be provided by PPSC on behalf of Justice Canada with respect to legal agent work and determine who will sign off under FAA Section 33.
We agree that an MOU was required; however, as of May 31, 2011, all functions pertaining to data entry, reporting, and processing for payment of legal agent accounts, which are currently being performed by PPSC on behalf of Justice Canada, will be transferred into Justice Canada operations. CFOB will undertake the processing of Justice-paid legal agent accounts, and specifically, the associated sign-off under section 33 of the FAA.
Accordingly, an MOU will no longer be required.
Transfer of functions from PPSC to Justice Canada: May 31, 2011
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