Update: Evaluation & Financial Audit – 2019
In late 2019 an independent, third-party evaluation and financial audit as required by our Governance Manual was completed. The audit was conducted by Ference and Co. and resulted in nine recommendations to refine, support, and strengthen our approach to conserving and enhancing fish and wildlife in watersheds impacted by BC Hydro dams.
The summary and final reports were posted here in October 2019 and our regional boards began work immediately to respond to the recommendations. Since receiving the final report in fall 2019 we have prioritized the recommendations and developed actions to address each recommendation.
We recognize some recommendations will build on each other and a staged, strategic approach is required. As a result, several recommendations have been prioritized for immediate action and progress is underway. Others will be addressed in sequence, as we balance progress on the audit recommendations with the ongoing delivery of fish and wildlife projects in our three regions. The progress plan (see Table 1) below outlines our timing for implementing actions to address the recommendations.
We are committed to reporting on our progress and will provide annual updates on our progress for addressing all recommendations in our annual reports starting in 2021. Contact our program manager or regional managers anytime if you have questions.
Table 1: evaluation & financial audit progress plan
Key Findings & Conclusions
Five, key findings and conclusions were identified by Ference and Co.:
1. FWCP project expenditures towards compensating for footprint impacts in the Coastal, Columbia and Peace regions have totalled $40.2 million over a five-year period from April 2014 to March 2019 (i.e. F15-F19).
2. According to the stakeholders contacted, some progress has been made against all FWCP Strategic Objectives over the past five years.
3. Most representatives interviewed have a positive view of the five-way partnership model and each partner is represented to some extent in the operation and delivery of the program.
4. The process to select projects is viewed positively by most representatives interviewed, but Action Plans tend to contain too many actions to address over the lifetime of the plans.
5. FWCP has strong regional differences among delivery and project funding mechanisms.
Findings and conclusions are listed in random order; no ranking is implied.
Based on results from the evaluation and financial audit, Ference and Co. provided nine recommendations:
1. Clarify the scope and intended outcomes of Strategic Objective #3: Maintaining or improving opportunities for sustainable use.
2. Undertake a detailed review of the Columbia annual and ongoing programs to ensure that they reflect the intent and priorities of the partnership and are aligned with and maximize the achievement of the intended outcomes of the program.
3. Review and increase program funding levels.
4. Continue to reduce the total number of actions in Action Plans and ensure that there is a clear causal relationship between actions and overall Program Objectives.
5. Explore the potential for increased use of directed studies.
6. Explore options for the Columbia Region to increase the involvement of First Nations in the operation and delivery of the program.
7. Develop a program logic model and performance measurement strategy.
8. Review specific sections of the Governance Manual to ensure it is up-to-date and reflects practices and priorities.
9. Seek further direction from BC Government and BC Hydro regarding the nature of FWCP’s obligations under United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP).
See the Evaluation and Financial Audit Summary for more details on the key findings, conclusions and recommendations.
Recommendations are listed in random order; no ranking is implied.
The FWCP’s regional boards and Policy Committee are developing next steps and a work plan to address the nine recommendations from Ference and Co.
Background and Context
The purpose of evaluation was to advise on opportunities for improvement for the FWCP, by looking at:
• the vision, mission, and strategic objectives of the FWCP;
• the scope of FWCP approved projects;
• what has been done since the last evaluation (2008) and what effect these actions have had;
• the efficacy of the new delivery model (2012), with reference to the five partners’ roles and responsibilities;
• a comparison relative to other funding programs in western Canada and USA with similar jurisdictions and intent;
• the historical context of the FWCP (e.g. Columbia River Treaty – 1964); and
• the program context of the FWCP (e.g. how the FWCP relates to Water Use Plans and other B.C. Hydro programs addressing impacts to fish and wildlife, whether separating programs according to those that address “footprint” impacts and those that address “operational” impacts is optimal).
The purpose of the financial audit was to report out on:
• the effectiveness of existing financial processes and financial documentation of the FWCP;
• the adequacy of existing funding levels relative to other compensation programs of this nature;
• the adequacy of existing funding levels relative to impacts on fish and wildlife;
• financial contributions of the FWCP to date;
• partner contributions to the FWCP; and
• opportunities for improvement.
The FWCP Evaluation and Audit 2019 process was developed with input from FWCP partners including First Nations, Public Stakeholders, the Province of BC, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and BC Hydro. Interviews, an online survey, a review of organizations with similar mandates, and FWCP documentation informed the evaluation and audit. See Method of Study in the public summary for more details.
FWCP funded this evaluation and financial audit. The Province of B.C. (Ministry of Forests Lands Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development) managed the implementation of the evaluation and audit.
In 2008 a formal FWCP evaluation, including all three regions, was conducted, by Robertson Environmental Services Ltd. As a result of this review, the FWCP strengthened its governance and strategic planning, and improved coordination between each region to maximize resources and better align the FWCP’s work across its regions.
In 2015, a survey of perceptions and opportunities for improvement was conducted on behalf of FWCP by Insights West. Final consultant summary report.