2. Evaluation Priorities
To provide a starting point for future year planning a review was conducted of the various evaluation activities undertaken during 2006-2007 and the outstanding commitments that have been identified in existing RMAFs and Evaluation Frameworks. The details of evaluation activities undertaken in 2006-2007 are contained in Appendix B.
Evaluation priorities are identified by aligning the resources devoted to the evaluation function with departmental policy and operational priorities, corporate risks and central agency requirements. The intent is to meet the information needs of the Department for the purposes of strategic decision-making and to enable the Department to report on its results and performance, in accordance with the Government's Management Accountability Framework (MAF).
In May, 2007 a call letter was sent out to all Direct Reports of the Deputy Minister requesting their identification of potential areas for evaluation over the upcoming three year period. All proposed projects were assessed against the following criteria to determine priorities for evaluation activities over the upcoming three years:
- Central Agency Requirements or Priority:
- TBS, the OAG or the Public Accounts Committee may have requested or required a specific evaluation.
- Legislative Requirement:
- Certain DOJ programs and expenditures may have a statutory or legal requirement for an evaluation. For example, the Federal Accountability Act now requires that all transfer payment programs be evaluated every five years.
- Departmental Priority:
- The 2007-08 Report on Plans and Priorities (RPP) reflected three priorities which are: (i) Effective and accessible justice system, (ii) protecting Canadian communities, and (iii) supporting other government departments and agencies in achieving Government of Canada priorities.
- Departmental Corporate Priorities:
- The corporate priorities for the past three years have been: sustainability of the funding regime; strategic information, accountability and performance; managing the volume of litigation; and people development, management and diversity
- Renewal of Authority:
- Programs or initiatives seeking renewal of authority and have program evaluation requirements that are identified in the Results-based Management and Accountability Frameworks (RMAFs) required under the Treasury Board's Transfer Payments Policy.
- Corporate and Legal Risk:
- Consideration of risks faced by the Department of Justice has also been factored into the priority setting of evaluation activities this year.
In addition, key departmental plans and reports were examined for evaluation implications (such as internal audits, the Management Accountability Framework and Treasury Board materials).
Priorities for evaluation are also tempered by the availability or existence of resources. The Department's capacity to evaluate on going operations is restricted.
The Departmental Evaluation Policy (April, 2003), calls for the Departmental Audit and Evaluation Committee to play a significant role in steering the Department's evaluation agenda and ensuring that it is aligned with Departmental plans and priorities. Further, the Committee is responsible for reviewing the plan with respect to its impact on departmental resources and making recommendations on the overall alignment of priorities and resources. The specific terms of reference for the Committee are contained in Appendix C of this document.
In 2007-08, the Department's Evaluation Division will review the Departmental Evaluation Policy in conjunction with a broader TBS-led review of the government-wide evaluation policy. Anticipated changes to the government-wide policy are likely to reflect the results of the Gomery Commission reports and the Federal Accountability Act, both of which could significantly influence the direction for evaluation.
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