Sunday, 27 November 2011

Comments on LAC 2010-2011 Departmental Performance Report - V

Library and Archives Canada seems confused about it's Program Activity 1.3: Making the documentary heritage known and accessible for use, the component most visible to clients.

Expenditures for this program activity of $32.4M exceeded authorities of $30.8M according to information on page 20 of the document. But go back to page 10 and the story is different. There expenditures are $21M and authorities $22.8M. So are expenditures 5% over authority or 8% below? If the latter it represents a 14% decrease from the previous year.

In view of this discrepancy will taxpayers have much confidence in LAC achieving this program activity's expected result "Canadians are aware of LAC as an authoritative, innovative source of content and expertise related to Canada’s documentary heritage"? Or does such a discrepancy exhibit LAC's idea of innovation?

What did our tax dollars buy?

The targets against which performance is measured are:
  • 75% of clients who contact us online, or by mail are satisfied with their responses.
  • 60% of clients find what they are looking for.
I wonder why an organization would be satisfied to achieve 25% (20% in 2011-2012) of clients being dissatisfied, and 40% unable to find what they seek?

The document gives examples of initiatives being undertaken under this program activity. For example, the document states "When people request digital copies of First World War files, we place those files online for other clients to view, increasing our digital content."

I requested a digital copy of the CEF file for BARNETT, JOHN ALFRED DERBY very nearly one year ago, on 2 December 2010. I was given access to an electronic copy within the target time frame and was told it would be linked online within a matter of weeks, not months.  A year later there is no sign of it appearing for other clients to view. A query to LAC several days ago has so far gone unanswered. 

This looks like outright deception.

LAC's decision earlier this year to reduce its service standard for such a fundamental service as the production of documents at 395 Wellington belies any claims that client service is improving.

1 comment:

marcus said...

Our apologies for the delay John! The CEF file for JOHN ALFRED DERBY BARNETT is now online.

http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/cef/001042-119.01-e.php?&id_nbr=25889&interval=20&&PHPSESSID=pisqbnelrohg37feajoi2812s0