Audit of Business and Regulatory Law – British Columbia Regional Office
October 03, 2012

Executive Summary

Conclusion

1. The Department of Justice British Columbia Regional Office (BCRO) Business and Regulatory Law Portfolio (BRLP) has overall an adequate management framework in place to deliver services to its clients.

2. Recommendations for improvements at the BCRO BRLP include: clarifying the roles and responsibilities of paralegals; and, reviewing administrative duties with a goal of streamlining processes to become more efficient. The requirement for improvement in these areas has led to the recommendations in this report.

Introduction

3. The Business and Regulatory Law Portfolio (BRLP) provides legal services to government clients whose mandates have a strong regulatory or business law component. In the British Columbia Regional Office (BCRO) the BRLP consists of two sections: Advisory Services and Litigation.

4. This audit was identified in the 2011-12 Internal Audit Plan. The overall objective of the audit was to assess the management framework within which the BCRO BRLP delivers services to its clients including:

  • the governance, policies, practices, and procedures relating to planning, organizing, controlling, leading, and communicating;
  • the reliability of information systems for decision– making and accountability purposes;
  • the risk and legal file management and forecasting demand for legal services;
  • the appropriateness of interfaces with other Department of Justice sectors and client departments/agencies; and,
  • the level of client satisfaction with the legal services provided.

Key Findings

5. The audit team observed the following areas where the management framework is properly designed and applied effectively:

  • The BCRO BRLP has effective governance and adequate strategic direction evidenced by several committees; formal and informal meetings which take place on a regular basis; strong leadership and good communication strategies; and relatively high staff satisfaction levels.
  • The BCRO BRLP has a thorough business planning process, adequate controls over legal workload management, and adequate compliance monitoring processes.
  • The reliability of information systems for decision-making and accountability at the BCRO BRLP is adequate.
  • The BCRO BRLP has adequate processes for legal workload management. The assignment and monitoring of workload for high risk legal files is done through the File Assignment Committee, which has been identified as a strength.
  • There are adequate interfaces between the BCRO BRLP, its national counterparts and other sectors. There is interaction and communication between the groups through a variety of regional and national committees and meetings.
  • BCRO BRLP's clients are satisfied with the level of service that is provided.

6. The audit team also identified the following areas requiring improvement:

  • The roles and responsibilities of paralegals in the BCRO BRLP vary depending on the counsel assigned.
  • New legislative and policy requirements have resulted in an increased number of administrative duties and reporting requirements within the BCRO BRLP.
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