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Audit of Information Management – Records Management

Office of Audit and Evaluation

The AAFC Audit Committee recommended this audit report for approval by the Deputy Minister on July 4, 2013.


Executive Summary

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) is heavily reliant on information in order to accomplish its strategic outcomes, and several of the Department's program activities are information intensive. In general, the Information Management (IM) – Records Management (RM) environment throughout the Government of Canada (GC) has been dramatically altered in recent years as technological and other developments have increased the volume and complexity of information that many organizations like AAFC are required to manage. AAFC information management practices are led by the Information Management Services (IMS) group within the Information Systems Branch (ISB).

AAFC must comply with the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) Directive on Recordkeeping by March 2015. ISB conducted a maturity self-assessment of AAFC's recordkeeping maturity based on the requirements of the Recordkeeping Directive using TBS guidance. The self-assessment indicated scores of between two and three on a four point maturity scale for all requirements, with a score of three being required to be considered compliant with the Directive. Based on the results of the self-assessment, ISB developed a high-level Recordkeeping Directive Implementation Plan to help AAFC achieve Recordkeeping Directive compliance by March 2015. ISB plays a coordination role for all the activities required throughout AAFC to achieve compliance with the Recordkeeping Directive. Branches and programs are ultimately responsible for managing their information and records, with ISB providing IM-RM support, advice, guidance and tools.

The Office of Audit and Evaluation (OAE) identified the need for an Audit of Information Management – Records Management (IM-RM) in Fiscal Year 2012-13 as part of its 2012-2015 Three-Year Risk-Based Audit Plan (RBAP).

The objective of the Audit of IM-RM was to provide assurance on the adequacy and effectiveness of the Department's implementation of its IM-RM framework, in terms of visibility, awareness and ownership, and to provide an interim progress check on compliance with the TBS Directive on Recordkeeping. The scope of the audit focused on IM-RM activities within the Department from April 2011 to January 2013.

The audit examined the current Departmental IM-RM framework and progress in the implementation of the Recordkeeping Directive Implementation Plan. Four Branches were selected as part of audit activities in order to gain insight into the extent the IM-RM Framework has been implemented at the Branch level. Branches were selected based on performing a high-level preliminary risk assessment of all branches at AAFC, in consultation with ISB. Considering preliminary document review, ISB input and knowledge of IM-RM practices of other federal government departments, sample selection factors included the nature of branch information holdings, the sensitivity and criticality of branch information, estimated branch information volumes, branch use of records management technology and maturity of branch information management processes. The sample of branches was also selected to provide a representative sample across AAFC's activities of research, policy, and operations.

ISB is implementing SharePoint (K-Space Project), initially to be used primarily as a collaboration tool, with the goal of becoming AAFC's Electronic Document and Records Management System (EDRMS). The Business Information Systems Committee (BISC) approved the construction phase of the project in December 2012 with substantial completion planned by the end of Fiscal Year 2012-13. Due to Departmental priorities, the K-Space Project has received implementation priority and has acted as the first step in the Recordkeeping Directive Implementation Plan and subsequent Branch engagement activities, including discussions on determining information of business value.

The audit found that adequate controls were generally in place to support AAFC's IM-RM framework. ISB has developed an IM-Recordkeeping (RK) governance and policy framework for the Department, and is providing IM-RK training and awareness to the Department. An opportunity for improvement was noted in relation to monitoring and supporting the use of AAFC's current EDRMS, known as AgriDOC, throughout the Department. Furthermore, given the current state of recordkeeping practices within AAFC Branches, there are opportunities for improvement specific to the planning and execution of activities related to the Department's ability to achieve compliance with the Recordkeeping Directive by March 2015.

The audit recommended that the ADM, ISB expand engagement with the Branches related to communication on the Recordkeeping Directive, including clarifying roles and responsibilities, and explaining the linkage between the work being done with the Branches for the K-Space Project and the activities required for Recordkeeping Directive Compliance; update the Directive on Recordkeeping Implementation Plan to reflect the work done as part of the K-Space Project and provide guidance to assist the Branches regarding the development of their implementation plans; expand communication and Branch engagement regarding existing and future formal support structures related to the deployment of an EDRMS and collaboration tools to ensure practices are maintained over time; and include as part of its draft IM Performance Measurement Plan, a strategy to expand monitoring of the use of the EDRMS to help ensure that it is used efficiently and consistently, including communication of results to the Branches.

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background

1.2 Audit Objective

1.3 Audit Scope

1.4 Audit Approach

1.5 Conclusion

1.6 Statement of Assurance

2.0 Detailed Observations, Recommendations and Management Responses

2.1 Engagement with Branches on the Recordkeeping Directive

Recommendation 1:

2.2 Recordkeeping Directive Implementation Plan

Recommendation 2:

2.3 IM-RM Governance, Policy and Training

2.4 Monitoring and support related to the use of AgriDOC

Recommendation 3

Recommendation 4


Annex A: Audit Criteria

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