Privy Council Office

Privy Council Office

February 26, 2009 10:41 ET

Prime Minister's Advisory Committee Calls for Strengthened Risk Management and the Elimination of Unnecessary Rules and Procedures Across the Public Service

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 26, 2009) - The third report of the Advisory Committee on the Public Service, co-chaired by the Right Honourable Donald F. Mazankowski and the Honourable Paul M. Tellier, is recommending that the Public Service be empowered to focus on results while managing risks. The report offers three recommendations for public service renewal aimed at achieving results through managing risk, tackling the issue of a "web of rules", and addressing the current state of systems and technology in the Public Service.

"Given the current challenges facing our country, there is a pressing need for the Government, through the Public Service, to achieve results for Canadians" says Committee co-chair, the Rt. Hon. Donald F. Mazankowski. "Canadians need a Public Service that can adapt and act quickly in an uncertain environment."

Focusing first on the current risk management approach in the Public Service, the Advisory Committee recommends that the Public Service adopt a principles-based approach, which draws on managers' knowledge and experience, and seeks a balance between the requirements imposed by rules and the levels of risk involved.

While clarifying they are not downplaying the importance of rules and procedures to the Public Service, the Advisory Committee suggests that too many rules have negative implications for timely decision-making, productivity and innovation.

"The importance of risk management to the Public Service cannot be understated," says Committee co-chair, the Hon. Paul M. Tellier. "Risk management is a powerful tool for Public Service managers to expedite decision-making and achieve results for Canadians. It is a key component of Public Service renewal."

The Committee also acknowledges the need for the Public Service to modernize its internal management processes and systems, and views the development of a centralized pay administration system as a top priority.

The Public Service of Canada is the country's largest and most complex enterprise, employing some 250,000 Canadians in 200 departments and agencies.

The Advisory Committee on the Public Service was created by the Prime Minister in fall 2006 to advise him and the Clerk of the Privy Council on the renewal and future development of the Public Service of Canada. It is composed of nine eminent Canadians.

The Committee's latest report, entitled "Achieving Results: Accountability and Action," can be found online at


Prime Minister's Advisory Committee on the Public Service: Recommendations

In their third report, the Prime Minister's Advisory Committee on the Public Service offers three recommendations for the future development of the Public Service of Canada.

The Committee recommends that:

1. A "whole of government" principles-based approach to risk management must be taken to empower the Public Service to focus on results.

- Senior leaders and elected officials should be prepared to take informed risks to expedite decision making and action on identified priorities in order to deliver results to Canadians.

They should also support public servants by acknowledging that there are potential risks inherent in managing complex issues.

- Central agencies should reduce their oversight on high-performing departments (i.e., those with a proven track record of managing resources and risk effectively).

- Departments and agencies should be challenged to take decisive measures to address their own "web of rules."

Action needs to occur on all these fronts concurrently to demonstrate visible change and momentum.

2. A program for renewing systems and technology in the Public Service should be established. The modernization of the pay system should be a top priority.

3. Public Service renewal, including a continued program of new entry recruitment, should remain a top management priority especially in these difficult economic times.

Contact Information