Second Annual Report by the Witness Protection Program Advisory Committee
This is the second report from the federal Witness Protection Program Advisory Committee presented, per its terms of reference, to the Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
The Committee was created to have independent subject matter experts provide advice on pertinent issues. The Committee's role is to advise the Commissioner, and by extension, Program personnel, on matters related to the effective and efficient administration of the federal Witness Protection Program.
Over the last few years, the Program has undergone substantial change to its structure and operating procedures. These enhancements were articulated around three main pillars that were identified as important in the strategy to address identified challenges and to move the Program forward. These pillars are: Protectee Focus, Program Independence, and Program Standards. These pillars have been significant in setting the course for the Program and remain relevant in any ongoing or future discussions. This report acknowledges and comments on some of the most notable work that has taken place over the past year and suggests methods of further improvement and continued evolution.
These changes to the Program have also had significant impacts on staff at National Headquarters (NHQ) and in the divisions, as well as implications for RCMP members throughout the investigative branches of the Force. In addition, there have been significant changes in personnel within the Program, related to the new functions. At times these changes have combined to place increased workload demands on Program staff, in particular within NHQ, bringing additional strain. The Committee recognizes that the leadership of the Program has endeavoured to manage these changes while ensuring the Program meets its mandate and has taken proactive steps to identify the extent of issues among staff and to address the identified issues with a view to ensuring the Program functions efficiently.
The Committee recognizes that the Program has made much progress in many areas since the last report, notably:
- A Management Action Plan is underway in response to recommendations from last year's internal program audit
- Further development of a resilient, formalized Case Management Model
- Efforts to address ethno-cultural client populations
- Review of employee roles and responsibilities and Program processes for clarification and to ensure independence and avoid overlap
- Staffing vacant positions
- Updates to policy and standard operating procedures (ongoing)
- Development of a performance measurement strategy and logic model for monitoring and evaluation
- Development of both a quality assurance and security framework for its electronic records management system
- Enhancements to the electronic records management system for ease of use and enhanced research capacity
Limited resources have kept the Program from fully addressing all recommendations, however because of this and the Program's complexities, many Committee recommendations are evergreen and will carry over from year to year.
The Committee wishes to commend the personnel for their continued efforts in guiding the Program through a major transformation while ensuring that high quality and effective services are delivered.
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