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The House of Commons: Report to Canadians 2011

Our House is in Order

Photo of the Peace Tower

Managing the daily operations of a democratic institution like the House of Commons can be a complex undertaking—making clear thinking and orderly systems essential.

Taking advantage of new technologies and new processes, the House Administration continues to look for ways to conduct its business more efficiently—for the benefit of Members and the Canadians they represent.

Leaner, Faster and More Efficient

The House Administration continued last year to carry out its financial and risk management duties associated with the ongoing operations of the House of Commons. In doing so, it sought opportunities to increase the efficiency of those operations—for the practical benefit of Members and in the interest of serving Canadians. For example, it harmonized printing and mailing processes and moved these to a new facility where production and distribution are consolidated, improving service levels and reducing costs.

In 2010–2011, the House Administration also looked at ways of accelerating and streamlining the preparation of routine reports by consolidating committee budget and reporting procedures. A new application for committee budgets, completed in January 2011 and launched at the beginning of the new fiscal year in April 2011, will improve data quality and reduce the time and effort needed for creating, processing and reporting by eliminating data redundancy.

The House Administration also began a review of several procedural publications and online tools in order to streamline content and reduce duplication—identifying duplicate materials, publications requiring modification, and others that could be discontinued in the first phase of its ’living documents’ strategy.

Building a More Agile Workforce

Like any organization, the House of Commons is only as strong as its people. Several talent management initiatives were undertaken in 2010–2011 to further develop leaders and employee competencies—the first cohort of the Clerk’s Leadership Program, the development of a corporate methodology for succession planning, the deployment of performance management activities and the development of recruitment tools all contributed to preparing the House Administration for the challenges it will face in coming years.

In Caucus — Highlights from 2010–2011

While the House Administration refines its systems and conducts its internal business over the course of the year, Members do the same for their parties through caucus meetings. Most Members belong to a political party and, together with any colleagues in the Senate, they make up that party’s parliamentary caucus.

Each caucus meets weekly to discuss policies, plan strategies and develop positions on issues being debated in the House of Commons. Held in private, caucus meetings allow Members to express their views and opinions freely and to debate policy.

With the temporary closure of the West Block in February 2011, some caucus meetings have been held in new committee rooms located at 1 Wellington Street and in La Promenade Building.

Photo of Sylvie Franklin, employee of the House of Commons

“I feel a great sense of achievement when I provide excellent service to Members by helping them in the day-to-day operation of their Ottawa and constituency offices or with their travel requirements since it has a ripple effect. It helps Members connect with their constituents, which is very important to me as well as all Canadians.”

– Sylvie Franklin
Financial Review Officer
Corporate Accounts Payable and Travel Services
Finance Services

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