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The House of Commons: Report to Canadians 2011

Performance Review

A panoramic photo of Parliament Hill
Strategic Objective 1
To respond to the evolving role of Members and the institution
  • Improving Members’ access to parliamentary information
  • Facilitating the involvement and awareness Canadians have about their Parliament and the parliamentary process
Projects
Consolidating committee budgets and reports Completed and deployed in January 2011, with a scheduled launch date of April 1, 2011, the Committee Budget Application consolidates the steps involved in committee budgeting and reporting, centralizes all committee budget information, and provides a common look and feel to ensure that information is provided to the Liaison Committee in an efficient, accurate and timely manner.
Renewing the public Web site To provide visitors with easier access to information, the House of Commons redesigned the common navigation features, the About Parliament section and the LEGISinfo portal of its public Web site (www.parl.gc.ca).
Strategic Objective 2
To enhance ongoing services to Members and sustain the institution
  • Advancing the Long Term Vision and Plan to rehabilitate heritage buildings and grounds, and provide additional parliamentary accommodations
  • Providing a flexible technology infrastructure to respond to the needs of Members and the institution
  • Ensuring the guardianship of the institution
Projects
Accommodating House of Commons requirements during building rehabilitation The West Block was vacated and turned over to Public Works and Government Services Canada for rehabilitation work. To ensure the continuation of parliamentary operations, functional requirements were developed for key activities to be relocated outside the Parliamentary Precinct; space was found at alternate sites to support the ceremonial, technical and parliamentary functions previously housed in the West Block.

Development of functional, symbolic and technical requirements proceeded on several fronts: to provide interim space for parliamentary offices and committee rooms in the Wellington Building while the West and East Blocks are vacated; to ensure that the legislative functions presently housed in the Centre Block can be hosted in the renovated West Block; and to ensure that the Bank of Montreal building on Wellington Street can accomodate ceremonial functions previously housed in the West Block.

For projects related to the Northwest Tower of the East Block, the Confederation Building and the Centre Block, strategies were developed to minimize impacts on operations and prevent further deterioration of the structures through priority stabilization of exterior building envelopes and grounds.
Communicating rehabilitation project plans and progress Information booklets and a regular e-bulletin were produced to inform Members, staff and others about the rehabilitation work underway. A more comprehensive communications strategy and plan related to Long Term Vision and Plan programs, projects and moves was developed, and an informational Web site is set to be launched in 2011–2012.
Conserving Canadian artwork Plans were developed and implemented in 2010–2011 to conserve and report on the condition of all moveable artwork within the House of Commons’ collection.
Providing remote access to parliamentary resources A pilot Secure Parliamentary Remote Access (SPRA) project involving 20 Members and 8 House Officers was conducted—and extended to allow for the identification of new requirements. SPRA provides secure remote access—from constituency offices and on the road.
Ensuring the security of Parliament Several steps were taken last year toward developing a Master Security Plan that will centralize the planning, development and implementation of security measures for the Parliamentary Precinct: a joint Master Security Planning Office was maintained to coordinate activities; a Memorandum of Understanding related to information sharing was established with security partners; simulations were carried out to practice the coordinated response of multiple security partners to emergency scenarios; a policy and standards review was completed to ensure the greatest possible integration of security standards and practices; and business requirements were defined, the design was completed and equipment was acquired for an interim vehicle screening facility.
Establishing a pandemic plan The House of Commons continues to be proactive in protecting health and safety within the Parliamentary Precinct. A pandemic plan is in place and will be updated as required. The plan is based on best practices established by the World Health Organization and the Canadian Pandemic Influenza Plan, and outlines steps that the House of Commons would follow during specific phases of a pandemic.
Strategic Objective 3
To promote understanding and support the advancement of legislative institutions
  • Providing learning opportunities for parliamentarians and legislative officials from jurisdictions in Canada and abroad
  • Increasing public awareness and sustaining the independence and traditions of the House of Commons
Projects
Reviewing parliamentary publications The House Administration reviewed several of its publications and online tools, identifying the extent of duplication across products and determining which may need to be modified, enhanced or discontinued. An approach is also being developed for updating products on a regular basis.
Delivering internal training Training sessions on parliamentary procedure were developed for Members and their staff, caucus research services and House Administration employees. To ensure that it is ready to welcome new and re-elected Members of Parliament following an election, the House Administration continued to enhance its Members’ Orientation and Election Readiness Program, with the goal of delivering administrative, financial and procedural information and services to Members in a coordinated way.
Supporting international activities A number of incoming and outgoing parliamentary visits and diplomacy-and protocol-related activities were organized in 2010–2011 including two high-profile conferences, the G8 and G20 events. Plans were put in place to host Speaker-led delegations from other parliaments and to organize meetings, seminars and conferences related to various parliamentary associations. The planned increase in the frequency of the Parliamentary Officers’ Study Program sessions—from two to three— was postponed due to the dissolution of Parliament. The Program hosts officials from other legislatures wishing to learn more about procedural and administrative practices in Canada; two sessions were held last fiscal year and the third was planned for May 2011.
Strategic Objective 4
To apply the highest standards of public sector governance in a parliamentary context
  • Promoting strong stewardship and effective management of public resources
  • Attracting, engaging and retaining our talent
  • Strengthening environmental practices
Projects
Harmonizing printing and mailing services The harmonization of printing and mailing services proceeded, including the consolidation of operations at a facility outside the Parliamentary Precinct, the acquisition and installation of new press and bindery equipment, and the training of employees. Phase 1 of Printing Services’ new Information Management System was launched, with full deployment (and that of a new Web portal) scheduled for 2011–2012.
Enhancing the House Administration’s planning capabilities The Multi-Year Business Plan, which was approved in April 2010 and revised in October 2010, provides an across-the-board view of the House’s major strategic commitments over multiple fiscal years. The Clerk’s Management Group Status Report, approved in December 2010, provides semi-annual performance measure results and project status updates related to strategic priorities. An environmental scan was also completed in April 2010; based on consultations with more than 100 managers, this document will help inform the House Administration as it prepares its strategic priorities moving forward.
Modernizing financial management at the House of Commons Extensive planning was undertaken with regard to the transformation of Finance Services to enable the progression from a primarily manual, transactional service delivery model to a more tool-based, client-service oriented strategic service model. Further planning and implementation will begin in 2011–2012.
Establishing a Quality Assurance Framework To ensure the House Administration’s fiduciary responsibilities continue to be met, planning and implementation of an integrated Quality Assurance Framework proceeded last year for finance, materiel management, procurement and information management functions, including policies, guidelines and internal controls. Policy work focused on improving governance and policies related to financial signing authorities, including expenditure authorization and review, procurement management, and the management of materiel, petty cash and taxes/regulatory charges.
Meeting today’s staffing needs and planning for future requirements Competency profiles were developed for all House Administration positions and integrated into staffing and performance management processes. The House of Commons’ Performance Management Program is being deployed along with the competency profiles.

The Clerk’s Leadership Program was launched this year to provide senior leaders with an opportunity to further develop leadership skills that reflect the culture of the House of Commons and prepare them to move into more senior management positions. The development of a corporate orientation program for new managers is also underway.
Adhering to sound environmental practices The House Administration began to develop guidelines to support and encourage sound environmental practices in the planning and implementation of the Long Term Vision and Plan projects, and to revise existing environmental policies and practices with a view to creating guiding principles for the Partners for a Green Hill program.

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