Report on the Audit of Timekeeping Compliance – February 2014

Executive Summary

Conclusion

1. The National Timekeeping Protocol (NTP) is the main framework for timekeeping in the Department of Justice and it includes roles, responsibilities and guiding principles. In addition, the Business Practices Division (BPD) provides support, training and guidance materials for timekeepers and managers.

2. Audit tests have revealed improvements in timekeeping compliance from November 2011 to May 2012, for timekeepers within the Department of Justice. Several initiatives observed in this audit have contributed to improved timekeeping practices. BPD started reporting on timekeeping compliance to senior management. New timekeeping business standards were also put in place as of April 1, 2012 as part of the Cost Recovery Process Improvement project.

3. Improvements are required in roles and responsibilities which represent a high risk for the Department. There is no functional authority for the timekeeping process, which would include setting priorities, monitoring, assessing compliance, and supporting corporate decision making.

4. Recommendations to strengthen internal controls surrounding timekeeping compliance are also required, responding to medium risks. The improvements pertain to: integrating measurable criteria in the NTP; reviewing the method of assessing compliance; monitoring compliance for each Portfolio, Departmental Legal Services Units (DLSU), Region; and, establishing and reporting on management performance indicators and targets.

Background

5. This audit was identified in the Long-Term Internal Audit Plan 2011-12 to 2013-14. The objective of the audit was to assess the level of compliance with the NTP, to establish whether adequate and effective practices have been put in place to enable effective resourcing decisions, priority setting and cost recovery practices.

6. The audit included a documentation review, interviews with key personnel and compliance testing with a judgmental sample of 30 timekeepers from the 2011-12 and 2012-13 fiscal years. The audit examined and assessed:

  • the adequacy of the management framework in providing oversight, direction and accountability for the management of timekeeping;
  • compliance with and monitoring of the NTP and related requirements;
  • timekeeping practices in Regional Offices, Portfolios and DLSUs; and,
  • timekeeping information as a corporate resource and its use in supporting performance measurement and mandated initiatives.
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