Operating context and key risks

Operating context

The Military Grievances External Review Committee (Committee) is a micro organization of fewer than 50 employees responsible for the delivery of a very specific mandate – the independent review of military grievances. Since it was established in 2000, the Committee has built a strong foundation and reputation, and maintains a stable complement of skilled and experienced employees. As a result, the Committee is able to produce findings and recommendations (F&R) that are sound in facts and law. Over the years, the Committee’s reputation for producing quality F&R has been supported by the appreciation of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members and the decision-makers at the final authority level of the grievance process.

The Committee does not control the number of cases referred for its review in any given year, and in the past several years, the Committee’s workload has fluctuated significantly. These changing numbers have offered the Committee the opportunity to revise its internal grievance review process to ensure that it continues to be able to produce high-quality F&R and respect its established service standards. The Committee is made up of members appointed by the Governor in Council (GIC). At the end of 2017-2018, a complement of all-new members was appointed. This may pose a challenge for the Committee in 2018-2019 in terms of its ability to issue F&R in a timely fashion, as new members become more familiar with their role, learn the grievance review process, and share fresh perspectives. In spite of these challenges, however, the Committee continually demonstrates its ability to adapt to a changing workload and remain an agile organization, able to mitigate risks. By maintaining its complement of knowledgeable employees and its robust operational process, the Committee is assured of its resilience and will continue to demonstrate its ability to adapt and overcome obstacles.

Key risks

Risks Risk response strategy Link to the department’s Core Responsibilities Link to mandate letter commitments and any government-wide or departmental priorities (as applicable)
Committee capacity and competencies

Description

There is a risk that the Committee will not have an adequate complement of members or employees with the appropriate skillset to carry out its mandate
  • Provide training to new Committee members and employees
  • Be ready to adapt the grievance review process
  • Plan for succession in key positions
  • Develop a variety of staffing mechanisms
    • Launch anticipatory staffing processes to address retirements in key positions, if possible six months prior to retirement to enable knowledge transfer
  • Participate in and develop partnerships through government-wide communities of practice
  • Enhance management leadership competencies
    • Focus on key leadership competencies (training and performance evaluation)
  • Maintain and continue to strive for a healthy workplace environment
  • Map, update, and digitize business processes
Independent review of military grievances Government-wide:
Government Affairs – Well-managed and efficient government operations

Departmental:
Supporting the integration of new Committee members
Transformation of Internal Services

Description

There is a risk that the transformation of internal services, including reduction in costs, will impact service delivery
  • Manage priorities
  • Participate in horizontal internal services initiatives
  • Create clusters
    • Partnerships with other small organizations to provide internal services
    • Receive internal services from another organization
  • Reduce costs
    • Search for alternative service delivery solutions
Independent review of military grievances Government-wide:
Government Affairs – Well-managed and efficient government operations

Departmental:
Developing lean and green business processes and support Committee culture change

Managing the transformation of Internal Services
Significant fluctuation in volume of grievances received

Description

There is a risk that there is a significant increase or decrease in referred grievances
  • Maintain quality of Findings and Recommendations
  • Communicate regularly with the CAF
  • Ensure appropriate staffing strategies are in place
Independent review of military grievances Government-wide:
Government Affairs – Well-managed and efficient government operations

Departmental:
Developing lean and green business processes and support Committee culture change

Managing the transformation of Internal Services

Risk #1 – Committee capacity and competencies

As is often the case with small and micro organizations that require employees to be multifaceted and that offer limited room for career advancement, the Committee faces challenges in attracting and retaining an adequate complement of members and employees. This, coupled with the Committee’s unique mandate can make it difficult for the Committee to fulfill its mandate, and ultimately impact the quality and timeliness of its F&R.

To mitigate this risk, the Committee will support the onboarding of its newly-appointed Committee members and ensure that new employees receive in-depth training. The Committee will continue to closely monitor the internal review process and timelines, and will adapt its grievance review process as required. In addition, succession plans for key positions will be maintained, and a variety of staffing mechanisms are available, including anticipatory staffing processes to support knowledge transfer in the case of anticipated retirements, as well as establishing pools of pre-qualified candidates for senior grievance officer positions to ease the transition period in the event that an employee should depart.

Risk # 2 – Transformation of Internal Services

In 2018-2019, the Committee will continue to modernize its way of doing business through its lean and green business process initiative to support the government in transforming its internal services. Routine activities are often in conflict with projects, particularly given the small number of Committee employees. There is, as a result, a risk that the transition associated with government-wide initiatives could interrupt the day-to-day business and ultimately prevent the Committee from effectively delivering on its mandate.

To mitigate this risk, the Committee will manage its priorities, participate in horizontal internal services initiatives, explore opportunities to establish agreements with other small organizations to provide/share/receive internal services, and increase efficiency to reduce costs to the extent possible. The Committee will ensure it monitors this risk closely.

Risk # 3 – Significant fluctuation in volume of grievances received

The Committee is a demand-driven organization and has no control over the volume of cases referred to it by the CAF. The CAF is in the process of implementing a new integrated complaint and conflict management (IC2M) program, which could result in a significant fluctuation in the Committee’s workload.

To mitigate this risk, the Committee will communicate regularly with the CAF to establish and maintain relationships with key stakeholders in the grievance process. The Committee will continue to monitor the quality of F&R produced, and explore opportunities to streamline its internal grievance process, as well as manage workload through careful planning and monitoring. In addition, it will ensure appropriate staffing strategies are in place. The Committee will monitor this risk closely.

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