Summary of the Evaluation of Client Service Delivery

Statistics Canada is organized based on a professional services model with multiple service pathways delivered by service entities with functional or portfolio-based service delivery responsibilities. The main organizational units at Statistics Canada are the contact centre, regional offices, subject-matter areas in Ottawa, the media line, and the microdata access network. These organizational units are responsible for managing enquiries and providing services according to the agency's service standards. Within this decentralized structure, each function (subject matter divisions and regional offices) has its own or shared client service unit. Each one is responsible for organizing itself according to the resources available, the volume of requests, the expertise required to respond to requests and the level of knowledge of client service representatives (generalists or experts). The structure requires extensive information exchange between functions to coordinate and route requests based on the required level of expertise.

The Evaluation Division of Statistic Canada's Audit and Evaluation Branch conducted an independent evaluation of the agency's client service delivery. The primary objective of the evaluation was to provide a neutral, evidence-based analysis of the relevance and performance of the organization's client service delivery environment in support of decision making, accountability and improvement. The evaluation was conducted in accordance with the Treasury Board Secretariat's Policy on Results (2016) and Statistics Canada's Risk-Based Audit and Evaluation Plan (2018/2019 to 2022/2023).

The evaluation found that clients of Statistics Canada want fast, reliable, consistent, transparent and professional service at a reasonable cost. While they were satisfied with the professionalism of staff and the quality of the information and services provided, more complex requests (including those for customized products and expert advice) were sometimes challenging. Consistency, transparency, timeliness, communication and cost of services were all areas requiring improvement. The evaluation found some fundamental gaps in the organization: little evidence of an overarching strategy for client service delivery at the agency level, a lack of clarity around roles and responsibilities, inconsistent processes and tools resulting in a fragmented delivery of services, and gaps in corporate governance and leadership.

The evaluation proposed three recommendations:

Recommendation 1:

An agency-wide client service delivery strategy or plan is developed that covers governance and leadership, agency-level objectives, standards including targets, performance measures, roles and responsibilities, and communications. The strategy should focus on creating a more holistic and consistent approach that addresses the various issues highlighted during the evaluation, such as timeliness, transparency, consistency and costs.

Recommendation 2:

The agency's new CRMS is aligned to the strategy in Recommendation 1 and thus supports a more holistic and consistent approach.

Recommendation 3:

The quality and coverage of information in the CRMS are improved, and the awareness among managers about the CRMS is increased.

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