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Effective channels of communication and the information that flows through them are integral to good governance. Without timely, accurate, meaningful and appropriate information, members of governing and advisory bodies may not be equipped with the knowledge and insight necessary to effectively discharge their responsibilities. With it, input from the bodies and direction to them is optimized resulting in overall effectiveness of decision making.
In the context of these requirements, LAC's information and communication processes in support of the (SAB) and the (SC) were assessed against the following criteria:
The (SAB) and the (SC) receive and provide information through formal channels, yet priorities and directives from Management Board are provided informally.
Interviews with ADMs (current and former) indicated that information is sent electronically from the Secretariat functions through to the members for their consideration and, as necessary, members' consultations with their stakeholder groups. It was acknowledged that the information sent is not always timely and therefore not always supportive of good consultation between the (SAB) and their broader constituencies. Once communicated, material is posted on the website. More informally, communication comes from the ADM (as a member of Management Board) to the (SAB) members.
As part of this review, the governance structure and the channels of communication were examined to determine the efficiency and effectiveness which with these channels support the flow of communication. The current governance structure does not specify reporting and communication channels, nor is there guidance on the escalation of issues or clear procedures on the allocation of the action items between the (SAB) and (SC) and LAC management. While management has indicated that to date, there has been no need for escalation or dispute resolution, the absence of these escalation channels may pose a risk in the future should such a situation arise.
Reporting from the (SC) and the (SAB) to Management Board on directions and activities may not be sufficient to support managerial oversight, although informal communication between the ADM responsible and the two bodies provides some mitigating measures.
The maintenance of records of decision is the main mechanism by which the activities of the (SAB) and Services Committee are presented back to Management Board. Documentation review indicated that meeting results are summarized, are clear and summarize the main ideas of the meeting and reflect activities that are aligned with the general mandate of the (SAB) and (SC). However, these reports are focused largely on activity reporting rather than results; no formal performance reporting, such as an annual report, is provided, although verbal reporting from the ADM to Management Board is provided. Additional detail on performance management is provided below in Section 2.3.
Insufficient directives on information management are provided to the members of the Services Advisory Board.
Because the (SAB) is a consultative committee, there is an expectation that members will share information with their constituencies, the goal of which is to solicit input from the broader communities which they represent. At the same time, in support of effective communication within the (SAB), there may be requirements to safeguard information. Based on the documents reviewed, there are no guidelines or directives provided to members on information management, the goal of which is to balance information safeguarding with the objectives of consultation.
6. Information management and safeguarding guidelines should be established and shared with all (SAB) members in a manner that balances the need to consult with the requirements of information safeguarding.
Note: For recommendations relevant to the reporting on (SAB) and (SC)'s results, please see recommendation number 7 on performance management and oversight.
6. LAC management will ensure that all information provided to participants in the context of client consultation is approved by senior management to ensure that the information can be made public.