Policy Framework for the Management of Assets and Acquired Services

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1. Effective Date

This framework is effective as of November 1st, 2006.

2. Context

The Policy Framework for the Management of Assets and Acquired Services and its associated policy instruments set the direction for the management of assets and acquired services to ensure the conduct of these activities provides value for money and demonstrates sound stewardship in program delivery. A failure to effectively manage these activities can result in increased program and administrative costs and can compromise program outcomes.

Assets include a very broad range of resources ranging from land, buildings and major IT systems to furniture and equipment. Acquired services can be very simple, such as temporary help, or highly complex service delivery arrangements.

This framework sets out the principles for the management of assets and acquired services, which are consistent with the Management Accountability Framework. As with all areas of government management, it is firmly grounded in the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service.

In addition, the framework identifies key legislation, policy instruments, community professional standards and requirements for integrated information systems that constitute the basis for the government's management practices and controls for assets and acquired services.

Finally, the framework supports the role of Treasury Board ministers in making effective management and expenditure decisions in the context of assets and acquired services while ensuring Parliamentarians have the necessary information for the oversight of management and spending in the Estimates process.

3. Principles

3.1. Decisions with respect to the management of assets and acquired services:

  • are consistent with government priorities and departmental mandates, enable program outcomes, address critical risks, and comply with legislation, regulations and policies;
  • demonstrate public service values and ethics, rigorously assess health and safety, actively promote environmental stewardship, contribute to broader government objectives and ensure access, service quality, privacy, and security;
  • encourage innovation by considering the full range of options available to best meet program needs;
  • are informed by financial and non-financial performance measures and results; and
  • are fair, transparent and accessible to serve Parliament's appropriation and oversight role and the Treasury Board's management role.

3.2. Value for money and sound stewardship in the management of assets and acquired services are achieved through:

  • strategic and integrated decision-making and management processes at a government-wide, horizontal, portfolio, departmental and program levels to optimize the use of assets and services;
  • a risk-based and complexity-based approach to processes, systems, capacity, resourcing, oversight and reporting to promote the attainment of program outcomes;
  • a life cycle management approach reflecting direct and indirect costs of assets and services, to ensure affordability, cost effectiveness and performance;
  • consideration of asset performance and utilization in retention and disposal decisions made in support of program delivery;
  • delegation of authority based on need, capacity and on an effective regime of accountabilities and responsibilities;
  • efficient and effective business processes; and
  • management systems, processes and information that provide the basis for managing performance and for assigning costs to support:
    • effective fact-based decision-making, budgeting and reporting consistent with the Management Resources and Results Structure (MRRS)
    • re-allocation in response to changing priorities,
    • risk-based oversight and monitoring and
    • demonstrated compliance with legislation, regulations and policy.

4. Accountabilities, Roles and Responsibilities

Deputy Heads are accountable to their respective Ministers and to Treasury Board for the management of assets and acquired services in departments. They are responsible for implementing an effective management framework, including departmental procedures, processes and systems, that demonstrates how the department is managing based on the principles identified above. The framework must demonstrate how the management of assets and acquired services is effectively integrated with program, expenditure, financial and human resources related considerations to promote value for money.

Deputy Heads are responsible for ensuring that the monitoring of assets and acquired services management practices and controls is in place within the department and for acting expeditiously when control failures are identified. Responses must be fact-based, get to root causes and respect due process when dealing with issues of personal conduct.

The specific responsibilities of departmental deputy heads for the life-cycle management of assets and acquired services are described in a suite of Treasury Board policy instruments.

The Treasury Board and its Secretariat are responsible for establishing a government-wide system of management and control for federal assets and acquired services pursuant to the authority given in the Financial Administration Act and Federal Real Property and Federal Immovables Act.

A key element of the Treasury Board's role is the review and approval of departmental investment plans, including assessment of the performance and cost of assets and acquired services from government-wide, horizontal, portfolio, departmental and program perspectives.

The Secretariat is responsible for providing appropriate policies, directives, tools and guidance necessary to support this framework and government-wide learning. It also performs a community leadership role by sharing information and fostering best practices.

The Secretariat establishes professional standards for communities of practice. This specifically includes support for the identification of core competencies and associated training and, where applicable, certification standards required of employees working in all areas of life-cycle asset management.

The Secretariat monitors the implementation of Treasury Board policies in and across departments. Where necessary, the Secretariat ensures that the appropriate remedial measures are undertaken by Deputy Heads in support of their responsibilities for the monitoring of asset and acquired services management practices and controls.

Common Service Organizations provide services to departments that support the effective management of assets and acquired services. Common Service Organizations are responsible for contributing to the achievement of value for money for Canadians by providing professional services that are responsive to the needs of client departments in the most cost effective way possible.

5. Relationship to other Treasury Board Frameworks

This Framework is linked to and informed by other key frameworks and associated policies such as the Foundation Framework for Treasury Board Policies, the Integrated Risk Management Framework and the Financial Management Policy Framework.

The specific legislative, regulatory and policy instruments that support this framework are set out in the attached Appendix.

The Asset and Acquired Services policy responsibilities complement legislative and policy requirements in the areas of program, expenditure, financial and human resources management thereby ensuring value for money and sound stewardship in program delivery.

6. Monitoring, Reporting and Performance Assessment

Performance indicators, reporting requirements and compliance mechanisms with respect to the life-cycle management of assets and acquired services are identified in individual policies, where applicable

Information gathered through policy monitoring and reporting, as well as through the review of audits conducted by departments or the Office of the Auditor General, is used to assess a department's management performance. These assessments may be used to inform discussions between the Secretary of the Treasury Board and Deputy heads on the Management Accountability Framework (MAF).

Deputy Heads are responsible for ensuring that the findings of MAF assessments and issues identified through monitoring are examined, reviewed and effectively acted upon.

Departmental performance is the basis for increased delegations and or their limitation or removal by Treasury Board Ministers. Delegations for asset and acquired services related management activities are informed by a department's demonstration of management capacity relative to this framework and associated policies, directives and standards.

7. Consequences

The Foundation Framework for Treasury Board Policies explains the role that consequences play in the application of Treasury Board policies. Assets and acquired services policies provide more subject-specific information on consequences.

8. Enquiries

Please direct enquiries about this policy instrument to the organizational unit in your department responsible for this subject matter. For interpretation of this policy instrument, the responsible organizational unit should contact: TBS Public Enquiries.


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