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Governance of the public service’s diversity and inclusion strategy is missing important pieces

Press Release

March 14, 2023

VICTORIA—A new audit of the governance framework for the Public Service Agency’s (PSA) diversity and inclusion strategy makes seven recommendations to support its implementation.

Where We All Belong is a three-year strategy introduced in 2021 to ensure the public service reflects the B.C. population and is inclusive of “Indigenous people, minority communities, immigrants, persons with disabilities, and the LGBTQ2S+ community”. It includes 20 objectives that focus on staff training, strengthening workforce planning, and enhancing recruitment and retention.

“We wanted to know if the PSA set up a robust governance framework to support the strategy,” said Auditor General Michael Pickup. “We found there were some important elements missing, that if in place would give the strategy a better chance of achieving its important goals for diversity and inclusion.”

Governance includes the structures and processes organizations put in place to ensure work happens as intended, including ways of managing risks, defining what people are supposed to do and by when, and monitoring progress.

Auditors found that the strategy’s governance framework included several key components, such as clear direction, PSA staff roles and responsibilities for most objectives, oversight of staff work, and a measurement framework for monitoring progress.

However, the framework was missing important pieces, like a strong risk management process, defined PSA staff responsibilities for five recruitment objectives, and clearly defined ministry-level responsibilities. These components matter when the work is spread across a large workforce and more than 20 ministries. Therefore, we concluded that the PSA had not implemented an effective governance framework for its Where We All Belong strategy.

“Some of the strategy’s objectives can be implemented by the PSA, but some clearly need ministry participation to succeed,” Pickup said. “The problem is that the PSA didn’t establish what ministry staff needed to do to implement those objectives.”

“Gaps in governance do not mean work isn’t happening,” said Pickup. “But the lack of clarity about what is expected could mean it isn’t happening consistently or won’t be completed before the strategy ends in 2024.”

The audit report, Governance of the Diversity and Inclusion Strategy for the B.C. Public Service, includes seven recommendations on collaborating with ministries, defining responsibilities, managing risk, and measuring progress. The PSA has accepted all of them.

The PSA is responsible for supporting human resources functions across the B.C. government. Since 2012, it has developed several strategies to build a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

Related links

Governance of the Diversity and Inclusion Strategy for the B.C. Public Service
Audit at a Glance

For general questions and interview requests:
Nicholas Johnson
Manager, Communications


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