Audit of the Polar Continental Shelf Program Project AU1412

TABLE OF CONTENTS

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Polar Continental Shelf Program (PCSP) was established in 1958. Over the last 55 years, the organization has evolved to become the essential logistics support service for the Government of Canada, supporting a broad range of scientific and sovereignty efforts in the Arctic and across the Canadian landmass. Managed and co-ordinated by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), the PCSP provides Canadian and international scientists and research teams with safe and cost effective logistics, advice and support services.

PCSP provides logistics support services to, on average, 950 scientists conducting 144 projects for Canadian government departments and agencies, territorial governments, academic institutions, non-governmental organizations and northern communities. The average operating expenditures for the program are approximately $18.0 million per year over the last 5 years.

Scientists working in the Canadian Arctic conduct field research across the spectrum of the natural sciences. Their research informs the way Canadians:

  • Understand climate change;
  • Protect the arctic environment by making informed land use decisions;
  • Generate geological maps to attract investment and help Canadians manage resources;
  • Map the Polar Continental Shelf to delineate Canada’s offshore rights;
  • Support Canada's sovereignty; and
  • Capture Inuit traditional knowledge and archaeological data.

The Department’s 2013-2016 Risk-Based Audit Plan (RBAP) identified the PCSP as a “High Audit Priority”. This project was selected for several reasons, notably, the strategic importance of the Arctic in the Government of Canada’s plans and priorities and a one-time investment from the Arctic Research Infrastructure Fund (ARIF).

The objective of the audit was to provide reasonable assurance that PCSP has an adequate management control framework that supports the program and that program activities are in compliance with Treasury Board and NRCan policies.

STRENGTHS

PCSP has a management control framework in place. There are governance processes in place for the fair and transparent selection of projects on the basis for logistical support requirements. The program uses a standard set of criteria for the selection of projects and roles, responsibilities and accountabilities are clearly defined, communicated and understood.

The program was able to demonstrate compliance with Section 32 and Section 34 of the Financial Administration Act (FAA).

The program has the capacity to adapt to changes based on resources. PCSP’s management conducts periodic Human Resource (HR) assessments and HR planning. The program engages in risk-based planning especially in the areas of finance and logistics and monitors resource requirements to ensure that program objectives are met.

AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT

Although management has made improvements to the Program’s administrative processes, further efforts are needed to ensure full compliance with Treasury Board and NRCan Policies. Opportunities for improvements were identified for the management of procurement, acquisition cards and the expenditure recovery process.

Opportunities for improvement were also identified in some administrative functions, knowledge management and succession planning.

AUDIT CONCLUSION AND OPINION

The audit can provide reasonable assurance that the PCSP has a management control framework that supports the program. Specifically, the PCSP has a governance process in place that provides for a fair and transparent selection of projects on the basis of logistics support requirements. The program also demonstrated strong compliance with FAA S32 and S34 in relation to key administrative processes and it has the capacity to adapt to changes based on resources.

In my opinion, opportunities exist to improve the Program’s processes related to procurement, credit card and invoicing clients.

STATEMENT OF CONFORMANCE

In my professional judgement as Chief Audit Executive, the audit conforms with the Internal Auditing Standards for the Government of Canada, as supported by the results of the internal Quality Assurance and Improvement Program.

Christian Asselin, CPA, CA, CMA, CFE
Chief Audit Executive

INTRODUCTION

The Polar Continental Shelf Program (PCSP) was established in 1958. Over the last 55 years, the organization has evolved to become the essential logistics support service for the Government of Canada, supporting a broad range of scientific and sovereignty efforts in the Arctic and across the Canadian landmass. Managed and co-ordinated by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), the PCSP provides Canadian and international scientists and research teams with safe and cost effective logistics, advice and support services.

Given the prohibitive cost of conducting field research in the Arctic, researchers depend on PCSP to provide an efficient solution to their logistics needs. Each year, PCSP provides logistics support services to, on average, 950 scientists conducting 144 projects for Canadian government departments and agencies, territorial governments, academic institutions, non-governmental organizations and northern communities. PCSP’s clients also look to the program for expert advice from trained individuals who know the Arctic. The average operating expenditures for the program are approximately $18.0 million per year over the last 5 years.

Scientists working in the Canadian Arctic conduct field research across the spectrum of the natural sciences. Their research informs the way Canadians:

  • Understand climate change;
  • Protect the arctic environment by making informed land use decisions;
  • Generate geological maps to attract investment and help Canadians manage resources;
  • Map the Polar Continental Shelf to delineate Canada’s offshore rights;
  • Support Canada's sovereignty; and
  • Capture Inuit traditional knowledge and archaeological data.

Proposed research projects are screened by PCSP for logistical feasibility. Projects deemed feasible are then prioritized by either the Coordinating DGs’ Process or the Project Review Committee who provide prioritization input to PCSP for projects from other federal departments and external stakeholders such as academia.

In addition, the PCSP has a Program Advisory Board (PAB) that provides senior management with guidance and advice. For example, PAB provides advice on logistical service needs and directions for the delivery of Arctic science; on the project proposal screening processes; and on the consideration of traditional knowledge and Arctic communities' interests. The PAB includes representatives from other federal government departments, the academic community, territorial governments and agencies, and members representing Aboriginal Peoples' organizations.

Support to these projects can range from 100% direct, in-kind support, where the cost of logistics is fully covered by PCSP activities, to 100% recoverable, where the research proponent covers the direct cost of logistics but PCSP provides in-direct, in-kind support. Project screening starts approximately 6 months before the field season starts.

AUDIT PURPOSE AND OBJECTIVES

The objective of the audit was to provide reasonable assurance that PCSP has an adequate management control framework that supports the program and that program activities are in compliance with Treasury Board and NRCan policies.

Specifically the audit determined whether:

  1. NRCan has a governance process in place that provides for a fair and transparent process for the systematic selection of projects for logistical support;
  2. The program's key administrative processes specifically those relating to procurement, use of acquisition cards, overtime payments, travel reimbursements and expenditure recovery comply with NRCan and Treasury Board Secretariat policies, standards and procedures; and
  3. The program has the capacity to adapt to changes based on resources.

DEPARTMENTAL RISK

Given the importance of the Arctic in the Government of Canada’s plans and priorities, this Program is of significant importance to the Department. As such, inherent reputational risks exist, in addition to other management risks normally associated with the delivery of a departmental program serving the needs of stakeholders.

SCOPE

The scope of this audit covers major aspects of the Program’s governance framework for project selection and support, key administrative processes and capacity management for the period of April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013. Although the focus of the audit was on FY 2012-13, the prior and current fiscal years processes were also included in some cases, in order to review a full cycle of the Program’s operations.

The audit excluded areas related to occupational health and safety and natural hazards as these were covered in the 2012 Evaluation and the DSO’s threat risk assessment.

APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY

The approach and methodology followed in the Internal Auditing Standards for the Government of Canada, which incorporates the Institute of Internal Auditors’ International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing. These standards require that the audit be planned and performed in such a way as to obtain reasonable assurance that audit objectives are achieved.

The audit included various tests, as considered necessary, to provide such assurance. Internal auditors performed the audit with independence and objectivity, as defined by the Internal Auditing Standards for the Government of Canada.

The audit methodology was based on internal auditing guidelines and included:

  1. Interviews with PCSP staff, management and other relevant stakeholders.
  2. Reviewing key documents and relevant background documents related to the audit.
  3. Reviewing applicable TB and departmental policies and procedures for procurement, contracting, and the use of acquisition cards, as well as pay and benefits.
  4. Reviewing a judgemental sample of payments for compliance with TB and departmental policies.
  5. Reviewing a judgemental sample of projects to assess fairness and transparency in logistical support decisions.

CRITERIA

Audit criteria used in the audit were developed based on the Office of the Comptroller General’s Audit Criteria related to the Management Accountability Framework: A Tool for Internal Auditors, as well as other relevant TBS and NRCan policies. The criteria were approved by management prior to the commencement of the audit. These are included in Appendix A.

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

GOVERNANCE

Summary Finding

The Polar Continental Shelf Program has a governance framework in place that provides a fair and transparent process for the systematic selection of research projects on the basis of logistics support requirements. We noted an opportunity to confirm that information on the Program’s website remains up to date.

Supporting Findings

With limited resources, the PCSP does not have the budget to support every project requesting services. As a result, logistically feasible projects must be prioritized for PCSP logistics coordination and support. Within this context, it is important that the process used to determine the projects that will receive logistics support is fair and transparent.

As such, the audit identified the following two mechanisms in place to determine which projects will be supported by the PCSP:

  1. the Co-ordinating Directors General process; and
  2. the Project Review Committee.

The Co-ordinating Directors General process provides guidance for prioritizing federal government projects. It is made up of Directors General from NRCan, Environment Canada, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Parks Canada and other government departments that use the services of the PCSP and oversee the prioritization of projects for logistics support only with respect to government departments and agencies under their respective purview. A PCSP staff-member provides advisory input to the DGs on the program’s behalf such as which projects would be feasible for logistical support and as to the potential costs of projects.

The Project Review Committee (PRC) provides guidance and input for prioritizing university-based projects. A new process to prioritize projects was implemented in 2012, the PRC and has gone through only one cycle of prioritizing projects for logistical support using this new process. The Director of the PCSP upon the advice of the program’s Science Liaison Coordinator and the Chief of the Arctic Logistics Support Center appoints PRC members for 3-year periods. As the PRC is mandated to identify the feasibility and priority of projects related to external stakeholders, the process to select projects must be fair and transparent.

The PRC is governed by a well-defined Terms of Reference. Project selection is based on a clearly established set of criteria to facilitate achieving consistency in the assessment process. PRC members are required to sign a confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement to minimize potential risks related to a conflict of interest.

The audit has found that the process to select projects on the basis of logistics support is fair and transparent. The PRC consistently applied the established criteria to prioritize the projects that received support from the PCSP. In 2012, 71 project proposals were forwarded to the PRC of which 48 projects received some level of support, 10 projects were deemed to be eligible for support on a fully recoverable basis,12 projects were labelled “unable to support" and 1 was withdrawn by the applicant.

The audit found; however, that some information on the program’s website was dated and no longer relevant. For example, references on the PCSP website were found to the Program’s Science Screening Committee (PSSC), a governance mechanism, which no longer exists. The PSSC was replaced by the PRC in 2012.

RISK AND IMPACT

Dated information on the Program’s website may cause confusion to visitors and could impact its credibility.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. The Director General Strategic Policy and Operations should conduct a periodic review of the program’s website to ensure that its content is up to date.

MANAGEMENT ACTION PLAN AND TIME FRAME

  1. Management Agrees.
    • The content of the Polar Continental Shelf Program (PCSP) Website has been updated and is ready for upload, pending approval from the Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) WEB Governance Committee. We expect the updated content to be available in December, as per the current NRCan Web Governance Committee process timeline.
       
    • PCSP has a standard operating procedure in place to provide for the maintenance and upkeep of its online content. The SOP is subject to change depending on Government of Canada policy and NRCan implementation of that policy.

Position responsible: Director, Polar Continental Shelf Program

Timing: December 31, 2013

COMPLIANCE WITH KEY ADMINISTRATIVE PROCESSES

Summary Finding

Management has demonstrated that actions have been taken to strengthen compliance; however, further efforts are required in order for the program to fully comply with Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) and NRCan policies and directives related to procurement, credit card and expenditure recovery.

Supporting Findings

Compliance with Procurement Related Policies

In order to provide efficient and cost effective logistics support, the PCSP procures goods and services needed to support scientists in the field as well as those needed to effectively administer the program.

From April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013, the Program entered into contracts valued at approximately $18M. The audit sought to determine whether the contracts were processed in accordance with the Treasury Board Contracting Policy and whether contract payments were processed in accordance with the FAA Section 32 and Section 34. The audit team reviewed a judgemental sample of 20 procurement contracts (14 competitive contracts and 6 non-competitive contracts) and interviewed key program personnel.

Of the 14 competitive contracts reviewed, 11 were for call-ups against standing offers. Detailed file reviews found that services were provided before the contract was established for 6 of 11 call-ups contracts processed. In addition, 2 of 11 call-ups were found to be contract splitting where the Program’s delegated contracting authority was exceeded. Furthermore, the audit also found that 8 of the 20 contract files reviewed were not sufficiently documented as required by the Contracting Policy.

It was noted that there were several improvements to the procurement process that were implemented by management. For example, multi-year agreements and tracking mechanisms have been established which would reduce issues related to contract splitting; time spent on contract administration may result in cost savings. The audit team also noted that the Program was in the process of implementing a process to further improve compliance with procurement requirements of the Canadian Land Claim Acts.

Regarding compliance with Section 32 and Section 34 of the FAA, 30 contract payments were examined. There was a high level of compliance for these requirements. All transactions were proactively disclosed where required.

RISK AND IMPACT

Although management has implemented recent changes to improve processes, there remain potential risks related to compliance with the Contracting Policy. Acquiring goods or services without a contract in place may increase the potential risk for paying more than would be required through a competitive process or not receiving the necessary warranties or insurance.

Compliance of Acquisition Card Purchases

Acquisition cards are a mechanism for purchasing lower cost goods and services used by the Program. In total, 1095 purchases were made using acquisition cards from April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013. A statistical sample of 64 transactions was reviewed to determine whether the use of acquisition cards was in compliance with the Directive on Acquisition Cards and the FAA Section 34.

The audit team noted that Section 34 of the FAA was appropriately authorized in 96% of instances reviewed. However, 13% of transactions reviewed were found to be non-compliant with the Directive on Acquisition Cards. Instances of non-compliance included purchases for hotels for contractors while on travel status, as well as split transactions.

Cardholders are given a transaction limit of $5000 when their acquisition card is issued and are required to obtain approval from the Chief Financial Officer for transactions greater than $5000. PCSP staff regularly used their acquisition cards to complete transactions that exceed the $5,000 transactional limit. These transactions were often split in amounts less than $5000 to ensure that goods could be procured in a timely manner.

The audit team noted that management has taken steps recently to improve compliance by limiting the use of acquisition cards and developing standard operating procedures for the use of these cards. In addition, multi-year contracts have been established which stipulate how travel expenditures for air charter service providers are to be reimbursed. Management is also working with Shared Services Office and Financial Management Branch to change the transaction limit on the acquisition cards to an amount that better meets PCSP needs.

Compliance of Travel and Overtime Payments

Staff working at the PCSP often incur overtime and travel expenditures in order to deliver on operational requirements. The audit team reviewed judgemental samples for both travel and overtime payments made by PCSP staff. Travel and overtime were clearly explained to staff at the beginning of the field season. Standard Operating Procedures have been established for these two expense items. All transactions were appropriately authorized for FAA Section 32 and Section 34.

Accuracy and Timeliness of the Expenditure Recovery Process

Expenditures made on behalf of clients are recovered after projects are completed. Of the 28 projects assessed only one did not have an agreement on file. Agreements, which were signed by the Program and the Researcher prior to the beginning of the project, included the estimated value of services that would be provided by the Program and the estimated costs that would be recovered from the client. Of the approximately $11 million aggregate estimated project costs for the PCSP in 2012-13, approximately $7 million were recoverable from clients, which included both other federal government departments, as well as external researchers (i.e. Territorial Governments and academia). The total amount from external researchers was approximately $4.9 million.

The audit team assessed whether the expenditures recovered from third parties were recovered accurately and in a timely manner.

While the Program uses SAP to issue a final invoice to the client to recover expenditures made on their behalf with respect to the logistics requested, a client summary report is created beforehand. The Program relies on the client to confirm that all logistics requirements listed on the summary are accurate prior to issuing the final invoice from SAP. A review of the interim invoices prepared by the Program showed that 15 out of 28 projects reviewed had some errors related to the accuracy of the interim invoice which were corrected by the client. Errors in the interim invoices, which included both over-charging and under-charging, were due to a variety of issues, including data input errors, incomplete documentation and lapses in communication between Resolute and Ottawa.

The PCSP uses a project system, located in Resolute, to track projects, assign costs and to generate interim invoices. Communication issues were partly attributed to the fact that some suppliers sent invoices directly to Resolute for input into the system, while others sent them to Ottawa. As there was IT connectivity issues at that time, real time access to the system was not available in Ottawa, therefore staff could not input invoices into the project system. As a result invoices sent to Ottawa were required to be forwarded to Resolute for entry into the project system. The requirement to forward invoices received in Ottawa to Resolute was one cause of errors in the interim invoices. Management has advised that recent enhancements to the IT network have improved connectivity between Resolute and Ottawa; which will play a critical role in minimizing lapses in communication and improve the expenditure recovery process. Furthermore, management has indicated that they are in the process of realigning roles and responsibilities for expenditure recovery so that the task is completed in Ottawa, where the majority of administrative expertise resides.

The timeliness of expenditure recovery was assessed by calculating the average number of days required to invoice researchers once projects were completed. For the 28 projects reviewed, of which 16 were external clients, the average number of days required to process pre-invoices was 141. After final invoicing was completed an additional 29 days were needed for payment to be received. The audit team noted that the invoicing process was lengthened for some projects where invoices for all actual costs had not yet been received from contractors. This delay increased the number of days required to issue the interim invoice.

RISK AND IMPACT

Reliance on the client to confirm the accuracy of expenditure recovery and challenges in the invoicing process increases the potential risk that some funds owed to NRCan are not being fully recovered.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. The Director General Strategic Policy and Operations should ensure that:
    1. Appropriate training is provided to Polar Continental Shelf Program (PCSP) staff, as required, for Procurement, including related SAP training.
    2. PCSP develop a checklist, in consultation with Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) Shared Services Office (SSO) Procurement, to ensure procurement files are sufficiently documented.
  2. The Director General Strategic Policy and Operations should ensure that roles and responsibilities for expenditure recovery between Ottawa and Resolute staff are clearly documented and communicated.
     
  3. The Director General Strategic Policy and Operations should put in place sufficient procedures to improve the efficiency of the invoicing process.

MANAGEMENT ACTION PLAN AND TIME FRAME

  1. Management Agrees.
    1. Polar Continental Shelf Program (PCSP) is currently drafting and updating existing Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for procurement related activities. In addition, PCSP has developed a working relationship with the NRCan Shared Services Office (SSO) Procurement team to help address issues related to working in the Arctic and to ensure that its training and SOPs align with NRCan (and government) processes. PCSP staff using SAP will identify, as required, procurement-related training in their learning plans.
    2. PCSP will develop, in consultation with SSO Procurement, a checklist in order to enhance and comply with the needs of well documented procurement files.

Position responsible: Director, Polar Continental Shelf Program

Timing: March 31, 2014

  1. Management Agrees.

Expenditure recovery is a financial transaction which is the sole responsibility of Polar Continental Shelf Program’s (PCSP’s) Office Management Unit (OMU). The OMU has detailed standard operating procedures for expenditure recovery which uses the departmental SAP tool for invoicing.

Key enhancements to the PCSP Information Management Technology (IMT) infrastructure in Resolute will enable all staff to have eyes on what is actually taking place in the arctic. Recording this information by project however is the responsibility of the Arctic Logistics Support Centre staff. No other group in PCSP has the training or responsibility for this function. PCSP’s IMT modernization initiative (updating and synchronizing software) is designed to harmonize terminology and responsibility with PCSP’s online tools. This will allow one set of project data to be entered into a single system, accessed from all locations, and to be exported to SAP for invoicing purposes with the requisite controls and communications needed.

Timing: IMT modernization will be completed by March 31, 2015.

  1. Delivering arctic logistics support (including sharing aircraft) is a complex process over an extended timeline (PCSP has an 18 month business cycle). Making this complex process as efficient as possible is essential. Management has taken a number of steps in the past two years to address this issue:
    • PCSP’s IMT modernization initiative (supported by Chief Information Officer Branch (CIOB)) will streamline data entry, verification and reporting and help support accurate invoicing in the SAP system. The first stage of implementation is scheduled for completion by October 2014.
    • A Standard Operating Procedure is now in place and now provides clear and consistent guidance to staff.
    • PCSP will hire a junior administration officer for data input, tracking and reporting, starting April 1, 2014.
    • PCSP has sought the advice of finance and procurement experts regarding the unique challenges that Arctic field seasons present. PCSP has already met and continues to meet with SSO procurement and has plans to meet with the Financial Management Branch in November 2013.

Timing: October 2014 (because of the IMT project)

Note: As part of the Audit Branch’s follow-up process, we will conduct a detailed follow-up on this MAP in two years, allowing time for implementation.

CAPACITY TO ADAPT TO CHANGE

Summary Finding

The program has the capacity to adapt to changes based on resources. There are opportunities for improvement in the areas of knowledge management and succession planning.

Supporting Findings

The audit sought to determine whether the PCSP has the capacity to adapt to changes. Specifically, the audit examined management’s consideration of the PCSP’s HR capacity, risk-based planning and monitoring logistics/resource requirements of research projects, as well as the PCSP’s knowledge management and succession planning mechanisms.

Overall, management considers HR capacity, recruitment and competency requirements to ensure that the program has the capacity to meet its objectives. Periodic assessments are conducted to identify gaps that must be filled. Due to budgetary constraints, there are positions that are not yet filled; however, management intends to fill these positions by April 1, 2014. Where necessary, program management exercises a reasonable degree of flexibility by hiring temporary staff to ensure that program objectives are met.

The audit team also found that program management engages in extensive risk-based planning especially in the areas of finance and logistics. For example, there is an 18-month planning cycle to ensure that risks to finances and program objectives are mitigated. Due to the complex nature of conducting business in the Arctic, business and operational risks are regularly assessed and managed by staff. Management also monitors logistics and resource requirements and implements the necessary changes to ensure that objectives are met. The Chief of the Arctic Logistics Support Center, for example, provides direct logistics feasibility-related counsel and input for the prioritization process of both the Project Review Committee and the Coordinating Directors General group. This ensures that the program selects only projects that it can support.

In terms of managing the field season, the PCSP uses an Access-based database tool to capture both planned and actual project activity. The database captures the proposed logistics plan, the cost estimates and the planned, direct, in-kind support contribution from PCSP. From this tool, procurement requirements are also determined. Financial management is handled by the Office Management Unit (OMU). The field logistics requirements are provided to the OMU for budgeting, procurement and billing purposes.

The audit team noted that the program does not have a complete set of standard operating procedures and process maps as well as possible case studies and lessons learned, best practice transfers, documented expert directories to enable knowledge seekers to have speedy access to the required experts and collaborative technologies. PCSP is in the process of establishing standing operating procedures and process maps. Due to the geographical dispersions, unique nature and complexities of the program, it is imperative that such mechanisms are put in place to provide assurance that in the event of a sudden departure of a key staff, program objectives can be met.

PCSP does not have a formal process for identifying and developing internal people to fill key roles in the program. Although some work has been done on this informally it has not been documented.

RISK AND IMPACT

Considering the high-level of expertise required to deliver a complex program with such unique characteristics, the absence of well-defined procedures and a comprehensive human resources succession plan may pose a risk to the program with respect to meeting its deliverables.

RECOMMENDATION

  1. The Director General Strategic Policy and Operations should ensure that procedures, process maps and a comprehensive succession plan are in place to ensure sustainability of the program in the event of the departure of key staff.

MANAGEMENT ACTION PLAN AND TIMEFRAME

  1. Management Agrees.

Polar Continental Shelf Program (PCSP) has developed Standard Operating Procedures to ensure Program compliance and help in the event of staff departures. All are updated on a regular basis and new ones developed as needed. In addition, PCSP is developing and implementing a Human Resources (HR) plan, that will include a succession plan that will identify key positions to be staffed, as well as a plan to support the ongoing knowledge transfer from one staff member to another in order to ensure continuity and the ability of PCSP to meet its objectives.

Position responsible: Director, Polar Continental Shelf Program

Timing: March 31, 2014

APPENDIX A – AUDIT OBJECTIVES AND CRITERIA

The criteria have been developed from the key controls set out in the Treasury Board of Canada’s Core Management Controls, Management Accountability Framework and relevant associated policies, procedures and directives. Actual performance is assessed against the audit criteria and conclusions against objectives are reported.

The overall objective of the audit was to provide reasonable assurance that PCSP has an adequate management control framework that supports the program and that program activities are in compliance with Treasury Board and NRCan policies. Compliance was assessed against various applicable sections of Treasury Board (TB) requirements and other relevant legislation, including the TB Contracting Policy, the TB Directive on Acquisition Cards and the Financial Administration Act Section 32 and Section 34.

Audit Criteria Used to Conduct the Audit

Audit Sub-Objectives

Audit Criteria

Sub-Objective 1: The Polar Continental Shelf Program has a governance process in place that provides for a fair and transparent process for the systematic selection of research projects. 1.1 There are sound governance processes in place for the fair and transparent selection of research projects eligible for logistical support.
1.2 PCSP uses a fair and transparent process to select the research projects for logistical support.
1.3 Roles, responsibilities and accountabilities are clearly defined, communicated and understood.
Sub-Objective 2: The program's key administrative processes specifically those relating to procurement, use of acquisition cards, overtime payments, travel reimbursements and expenditure recovery comply with NRCan and Treasury Board policies, standards and procedures. 2.1 Procurement for the PCSP is compliant with relevant policies and procedures.
2.2 The use of acquisition cards for the PCSP is in compliance with relevant policies and procedures.
2.3 Overtime benefits incurred for the PCSP are in compliance with relevant policies and procedures.
2.4 Travel payments made for the PCSP are in compliance with relevant policies and procedures.
2.5 Costs incurred on behalf of third parties are recovered accurately and in a timely manner.
Sub-Objective 3: The program has the capacity to adapt to changes based on resources. 3.1 Management considers HR capacity, recruitment and competency requirements and monitors actual performance against planned results and adjusts course as needed.
3.2 Management has well-defined knowledge management and succession planning mechanisms in place to address program’s complexities and support the achievement of program objectives.
3.3 Management engages in risk-based planning, monitors logistics and resource requirements of research projects, and implements change where necessary.