3rd Session, 61st General Assembly
60 Elizabeth II, 2011
First Reading: April 13, 2011
WHEREAS waste and inefficiency in Government programs undermine the confidence of Nova Scotians in the Government and reduces the Government's ability to address adequately vital public needs;
AND WHEREAS Government managers are seriously disadvantaged in their efforts to improve program efficiency and effectiveness, because of insufficient articulation of program goals and inadequate information on program performance;
AND WHEREAS legislative policy-making, spending decisions and program oversight are seriously handicapped by insufficient attention to program performance and results;
THEREFORE be it enacted by the Governor and Assembly as follows:
1 This Act may be cited as the Value for Money Act.
2 The purpose of this Act is to
(a) improve the confidence of Nova Scotians in the capability of the Government by systematically holding Government agencies accountable for achieving program results;
(b) initiate program-performance reform with a series of pilot projects in setting program goals, measuring program performance against those goals and reporting publicly on their progress;
(c) improve Government-program effectiveness and public accountability by promoting a new focus on results, service quality and customer satisfaction;
(d) help Government managers improve service delivery, by requiring that they plan for meeting program objectives and by providing them with information about program results and service quality;
(e) improve legislative decision-making by providing more objective information on achieving statutory objectives and on the relative effectiveness and efficiency of Government programs and spending; and
(f) improve internal management of the Government.
3 In this Act,
(a) "Deputy Minister" means the Deputy Minister of the Treasury Board;
(b) "Government" means the Government of the Province;
(c) "Government agency" means any organization that is a member of the Government Reporting Entity as defined in the Finance Act;
(d) "outcome measure" means an assessment of the results of a program activity compared to its intended purpose;
(e) "output measure" means the tabulation, calculation or recording of activity or effort that can be expressed in a quantitative or qualitative manner;
(f) "performance goal" means a target level of performance expressed as a tangible, measurable objective, against which actual achievement can be compared, including a goal expressed as a quantitative standard, value or rate;
(g) "performance indicator" means a particular value or characteristic used to measure output or outcome;
(h) "program activity" means a specific activity or project as listed in the annual budget of the Government;
(i) "program evaluation" means an assessment, through objective measurement and systematic analysis, of the manner and extent to which programs achieve intended objectives.
4 (1) On or before March 31st, 2012, and on or before March 31st in every third year thereafter, each Government agency shall submit to the Treasury Board and the House of Assembly a strategic plan for the agency's program activities.
(2) The plan must contain
(a) a comprehensive mission statement covering the major functions and operations of the Government agency;
(b) general goals and objectives, including outcome-related goals and objectives, for the major functions and operations of the agency;
(c) a description of how the goals and objectives are to be achieved, including a description of the operational processes, skills and technology, and the human, capital, information and other resources required to meet those goals and objectives;
(d) a description of how the performance goals included in the agency's performance plan are related to the general goals and objectives in the strategic plan;
(e) an identification of those key factors external to the agency and beyond its control that could significantly affect the achievement of the general goals and objectives; and
(f) a description of the program evaluations used in establishing or revising general goals and objectives, with a schedule for future program evaluations.
(3) The strategic plan must cover a period of five years and be updated and revised every three years.
(4) The agency's performance plan must be consistent with the agency's strategic plan and a performance plan may not be submitted for a fiscal year not covered by a current strategic plan under this Section.
(5) When developing a strategic plan, the Government agency shall consult with the House of Assembly and shall solicit and consider the views and suggestions of those entities potentially affected by or interested in such a plan.
(6) The functions and activities of this Section must be considered to be inherently governmental functions and the drafting of strategic plans under this Section must be performed only by Government employees.
5 On or before March 31st in each year, the Government shall prepare a Government performance plan for the overall budget.
6 (1) On or before March 31st in each year, each Government agency shall prepare an annual performance plan covering each program activity set forth in the budget of the agency.
(2) The plan must
(a) establish performance goals to define the level of performance to be achieved by a program activity;
(b) express the goals in an objective, quantifiable and measurable form unless authorized under subsection (3) to be in an alternative form;
(c) briefly describe the operational processes, skills and technology and the human, capital, information or other resources required to meet the performance goals;
(d) establish performance indicators to be used in measuring or assessing the relevant outputs, service levels and outcomes of each program activity;
(e) provide a basis for comparing actual program results with the established performance goals; and
(f) describe the means to be used to verify and validate measured values.
(3) Where a Government agency, in consultation with the Deputy Minister, determines that it is not feasible to express the performance goals for a particular program activity in an objective, quantifiable and measurable form, the Deputy Minister may authorize an alternative form.
(4) The alternative form must
(a) include separate descriptive statements of
(ii) such alternative as authorized by the Deputy Minister, with sufficient precision and in such terms that would allow for an accurate, independent determination of whether the program activity's performance meets the criteria of the description; or
(5) For the purpose of complying with this Section, a Government agency may aggregate, disaggregate or consolidate program activities, except that any aggregation or consolidation may not omit or minimize the significance of any program activity constituting a major function or operation for the agency.
(6) The functions and activities of this Section must be considered to be inherently Governmental functions and the drafting of strategic plans under this Section must be performed only by Government employees.
7 (1) On or before June 30th, 2013, and on or before June 30th in every year thereafter, each Government agency shall submit to the Premier and the House of Assembly a report on program performance for the previous fiscal year.
(2) Each program performance report must set forth the performance indicators established in the performance plan under Section 6, along with the actual program performance achieved compared with the performance goals expressed in the plan for that fiscal year.
(3) Where performance goals are specified in an alternative form under subsection 6(3), the results of such program must be described in relation to such specifications, including whether the performance failed to meet the criteria of a minimally effective or successful program.
(4) The report for fiscal year 2013-14 must include actual results for the preceding fiscal year, the report for fiscal year 2014-15 must include actual results for the two preceding fiscal years and the report for fiscal year 2015-16 and all subsequent reports must include actual results for the three preceding fiscal years.
(5) Each report must
(a) review the success of achieving the performance goals of the fiscal year;
(b) evaluate the performance plan for the current fiscal year relative to the performance achieved toward the performance goals in the fiscal year covered by the report;
(c) explain and describe, where a performance goal has not been met including, when a program activity's performance is determined not to have met the criteria of a successful program activity under subclause 6(4)(a)(i) or a corresponding level of achievement if another alternative form is used,
(e) include the summary findings of those program evaluations completed during the fiscal year covered by the report.
(6) A Government agency may include all program performance information required annually under this Section in an annual financial statement if any such statement is submitted to the House of Assembly no later than June 30th of the applicable fiscal year.
(7) The functions and activities of this Section must be considered to be inherently Governmental functions and the drafting of strategic plans under this Section must be performed only by government employees.
8 The Deputy Minister may exempt from the requirements of Sections 4 to 6 any agency with annual outlays of $20,000,000 or less.
9 (1) Beginning with fiscal year 2017-18, the performance plans required under Section 6 may include proposals to waive administrative procedural requirements and controls, including specification of personnel staffing levels, limitations on compensation or remuneration, and prohibitions or restrictions on funding transfers among budget objects of each annual budget, in return for specific individual or organization accountability to achieve a performance goal.
(2) In preparing and submitting the performance plan under Section 5, the Deputy Minister shall review and may approve any proposed waivers.
(3) A waiver takes effect at the beginning of the fiscal year for which the waiver is approved.
(4) Any such proposal under subsection (1) must describe the anticipated effects on performance resulting from greater managerial or organizational flexibility, discretion, and authority, and shall quantify the expected improvements in performance resulting from any waiver.
(5) The expected improvements must be compared to current actual performance, and to the projected level of performance that would be achieved independent of any waiver.
(6) Any proposal waiving limitations on compensation or remuneration must precisely express the monetary change in compensation or remuneration amounts, such as bonuses or awards, that result from meeting, exceeding or failing to meet performance goals.
(7) Any proposed waiver of procedural requirements or controls imposed by a Government agency, other than the proposing agency or the Treasury Board, may not be included in a performance plan unless it is endorsed by the agency that established the requirement, and the endorsement included in the proposing agency's performance plan.
(8) A waiver is in effect for one or two years as specified by the Deputy Minister in approving the waiver.
(9) A waiver may be renewed for a subsequent year.
(10) After a waiver has been in effect for three consecutive years, the performance plan prepared under Section 6 may propose that a waiver, other than a waiver of limitations on compensation or remuneration, be made permanent.
10 (1) The Deputy Minister, after consultation with each agency, shall designate not fewer than ten agencies as pilot projects in performance measurement for fiscal years 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15.
(2) The selected agencies must reflect a representative range of Government functions and capabilities in measuring and reporting program performance.
(3) Pilot projects in the designated agencies must undertake the preparation of performance plans under Section 6, and program performance reports under Section 7, other than subsection 7(4), for one or more of the major functions and operations of the agency.
(4) A strategic plan must be used when preparing agency performance plans during one or more years of the pilot period.
(5) No later than May 1, 2016, the Deputy Minister shall submit a report to the Premier and to the House of Assembly that
(a) assesses the benefits, costs, and usefulness of the plans and reports prepared by the pilot agencies in meeting the purpose of this Act;
(b) identifies any significant difficulties experienced by the pilot agencies in preparing plans and reports; and
(c) sets forth any recommended changes in the requirements of this Act.
11 (1) The Deputy Minister shall designate not less than five Government agencies as pilot projects in managerial accountability and flexibility for fiscal years 2013-14 and 2014-15.
(2) Such agencies must be selected from those designated as pilot projects under Section 7 and shall reflect a representative range of Government functions and capabilities in measuring and reporting program performance.
(3) Pilot projects in the designated agencies must include proposed waivers in accordance with Section 9 for one or more of the major functions and operations of the agency.
(4) The Deputy Minister shall include in the report to the Premier and to the House of Assembly required under subsection 10(5).
(a) an assessment of the benefits, costs, and usefulness of increasing managerial and organizational flexibility, discretion, and authority in exchange for improved performance through a waiver; and
(b) an identification of any significant difficulties experienced by the pilot agencies in preparing proposed waivers.
12 (1) The Deputy Minister, after consultation with the head of each agency, shall designate not less than five agencies as pilot projects in performance budgeting for fiscal years 2016-17 and 2017-18.
(2) At least three of the agencies must be selected from those designated as pilot projects under Section 10, and must also reflect a representative range of Government functions and capabilities in measuring and reporting program performance.
(3) Pilot projects in the designated agencies must cover the preparation of performance budgets.
(4) Such budgets must present, for one or more of the major functions and operations of the agency, the varying levels of performance, including outcome-related performance, that would result from different budgeted amounts.
(5) The Deputy Minister shall include, as an alternative budget presentation in the budget submitted for fiscal year 2017-18, the performance budgets of the designated agencies for this fiscal year.
(6) On or before March 31, 2020, the Deputy Minister shall transmit a report to the Premier and to the House of Assembly on the performance budgeting pilot projects that
(a) assess the feasibility and advisability of including a performance budget as part of the annual budget;
(b) describe any difficulties encountered by the pilot agencies in preparing a performance budget;
(c) recommend whether legislation requiring performance budgets should be proposed and the general provisions of any legislation; and
(d) set forth any recommended changes in the other requirements of this Act.
(7) After receipt of the report required under subsection (6), the House of Assembly may specify that a performance budget be submitted as part of the annual budget.
13 (1) Nothing in this Act may be construed as limiting the ability of Legislature to establish, amend, suspend or annul a performance goal.
(2) Any such action has the effect of superseding that goal in the plan submitted under Section 5.
(3) On or before June 1, 2016, the Chair of Treasury Board shall report to House of Assembly on the implementation of this Act, including the prospects for compliance by Government agencies beyond those participating as pilot projects under Sections 10 and 11.
14 The Public Service Commission shall, in consultation with the Chair of Treasury Board and the Minister of Finance, develop a strategic planning and performance measurement training component for its management training program and otherwise provide managers with an orientation on the development and use of strategic planning and program performance measurement.
15 (1) No provision of this Act may be construed as
(a) creating any right, privilege, benefit or entitlement for any person who is not an officer or employee of the Government acting in such capacity; or
(b) superseding any statutory requirement.
(2) No person who is not an officer or employee of the Government acting in such capacity has standing to file any civil action in a court of the Province to enforce any provision of this Act.
16 The moneys required for the purpose of this Act must be paid out of moneys appropriated for that purpose by the Legislature.