Archived - Evaluation of the Intelligence Program - Final Report

April 2014

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Executive Summary

Background

The Canada Border Services Agency's (CBSA) mandate is to facilitate the movement of legitimate travellers and goods and to intercept those travellers and goods that pose a threat to Canada. The Intelligence Program helps the Agency and other law enforcement partners to "identify potential risks to the security and safety of people and goods" through the "timely provision of actionable tactical, operational or strategic intelligence".Footnote 1 In Fiscal Year (FY) 2012-2013, the CBSA processed more than 100 million travellers at its ports of entry, seized over $300 million in illegal drugs, and removed over 18,000 illegal immigrants, including nearly 2,000 serious criminals.Footnote 2 The FY 2013-2014 Government of Canada main estimates allocated $46.8MFootnote 3 on the CBSA's Intelligence Program, which includes 458 full-time equivalents.

Evaluation Purpose

An evaluation of the CBSA's Intelligence Program was identified as a priority in the CBSA Five-Year Evaluation Plan (2013-2018), approved by the Executive Evaluation Committee in July 2013. The purpose of the evaluation was to assess the relevance and performance of the Intelligence Program, in accordance with the Treasury Board Secretariat Policy on Evaluation. The data collected from various methodologies, using both quantitative and qualitative methods, was triangulated to develop the findings. The recommendations presented are based on these findings. The CBSA's Program Evaluation Division carried out the evaluation research between December 2012 and June 2013. The research methodology is detailed in Appendix D.

Summary of Findings

Relevance

Is there a continued need for the Intelligence Program and is it aligned with Government of Canada roles, responsibilities and priorities and with the CBSA priorities?

There is a continued need for CBSA's Intelligence Program, as border-related intelligence that is timely, useful and predictable in nature plays a key role in the identification of border-related risks and is an essential tool to protecting the border from criminality. The Program supports the mandate and priorities of the CBSA and fulfills its obligations to the Government of Canada and to international commitments.

Performance

Does the Intelligence Program adapt to address new and ongoing threats and risks? 

The Intelligence Program has been successful in responding to a needFootnote 4 to develop national intelligence and enforcement priorities as demonstrated with the current Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)-CBSA integrated priorities for the period of FY 2011-2012 to 2013-2014. Although the priorities have the potential to be important for managing human and financial resources, the number of priorities (17) has created uncertainty in terms of how to efficiently guide enforcement and intelligence activities. More guidance or clarification is needed to rank the priorities in importance to know where activities and resources should be focussed.

Does the Intelligence Program provide internal and external stakeholders with timely, accurate, and actionable intelligence? 

Actionable intelligence means "that decision-makers at all ranks are able to incorporate intelligence into their deliberations. To this end, it must be useful and timely."Footnote 5 Those who useFootnote 6 intelligence products are satisfied with many of the products, indicating they were useful to their work but not always actionable. Lookouts are a tactical intelligence product used to intercept persons or goods that pose a threat to Canada. However, while the value of seizures of goods accounted for 38.6% of the total value of seizures from FY 2010-2011 to 2012-2013, the number of seizures of goods derived from intelligence represented 5.2% of all seizures of goods.Footnote 7 The CBSA does not currently report the results of immigration lookouts resulting from intelligence. As noted in the Audit of Lookouts – Traveller ModeFootnote 8, statistics on the persons intercepted and the results of examinations are not gathered. The results related to goods and persons intercepted as a result of intelligence are key to determining how effective intelligence is in the identification of border-related risks.

While most products were considered useful, users indicated they would also like to receive intelligence products that are more specific to their needs, more accessible and more timely. CBSA liaison officersFootnote 9 in particular would like to know the full range of guidance and support that is available to them. Based on the focus groups with border services officers conducted during site visits to three regions, frontline staff at ports of entry would like more frequent intelligence briefings, and to receive more intelligence products specific to their own port of entry and/or region. The Intelligence Program is also providing guidance and support to CIC staff, who are generally satisfied with the intelligence products they receive but which are not fully meeting their needs, especially related to strategic intelligence.

While program staff in the regions and at National HeadquartersFootnote 10, and CBSA liaison officers are generating a range of tactical, operational and strategic intelligenceFootnote 11, support and guidance, the evaluation was unable to identify a single dedicated area or group that collects, archives and maintains an up-to-date inventory of the all CBSA products, which creates barriers to accessibility. This impedes the use of intelligence to inform decision-making. Also, apart from the services of the client relations officer directed specifically to senior and executive management at CBSA and CIC, the evaluation was unable to identify a clear process to gather information on specific client needs prior to the development of product and services. While there is a process in place for client follow-up via a feedback form attached to products, they are rarely completed.

The inconsistent use and lack of monitoring of two important systems tools used by intelligence staff is having an impact on the ability to provide intelligence that is timely and actionable, and to review and monitor results. The Intelligence Management System (IMS) is the tool that intelligence staff use to share information on activities and results and also to manage work flow. The Occurrence Reporting System (ORS) is the main conduit for frontline staff (border services officers), criminal investigators, and inland enforcement officers, to send observations and tips to the Intelligence Program.

All of these challenges combined interfere with the availability and timeliness of intelligence. This has an impact on how the Intelligence Program can help the Agency to intercept high-risk goods and people along the border continuum. Intelligence-based decision-making was also noted as a risk in the 2013 CBSA Enterprise Risk ProfileFootnote 12.

To what extent has the integration of the Intelligence, Inland Enforcement and Criminal Investigations functions contributed to greater efficiencies resulting in positive outcomes? 

Since integration some regions have developed new streamlined, integrated business processes that have the potential to enhance efficiencies, such as triage-types units that act as a single window for intake of referrals and the assignment of files. The realignment in National Headquarters in October 2012 enabled the development of new tools, such as the 100% Performance Action Plan, to enhance integration across the country. Collaboration between the three business lines has contributed to successful enforcement activities.

Efficiency and Economy

Are the program activities delivered efficiently?

There are gaps in the financial and performance measurement data collected and maintained by the Intelligence Program that limit the assessment of efficiency and economy, and therefore the "value for money" of the program.

Recommendations, Management Response and Action Plan

While many intelligence products are being developed, there is no single dedicated area or group that collects, archives and maintains an up-to-date inventory of the all CBSA products, which creates barriers to the accessibility and, as a result, impedes the use of intelligence to inform decision-making.

In light of these findings, to enable the tracking of the intelligence products developed, and to serve as a point of reference for clients as well as to ensure greater accessibility for clients and users to all products developed across the Agency, it is recommended that:

Recommendation 1: 

The Programs Branch, in cooperation with the Operations Branch, increases the transparency of the intelligence function within the Agency. This includes the identification of all potential clients for intelligence guidance and products, conducting ongoing needs assessments to guide intelligence development that is linked to Agency intelligence priorities, and improved client feedback mechanisms on the usefulness of intelligence. This will also include protocols for the identification, storage, retrieval and timely secure dissemination of intelligence products to clients.

Management Response

Agreed. Enforcement and Intelligence will ensure that intelligence products are both tailored to client needs and readily accessible.

Management Action Plan Completion date
CBSA Intelligence Program clients will be clearly articulated. February 2014
An up-to-date needs assessment will be conducted for each client group. Internal: May 2014 External: September 2014
 Enforcement and Intelligence will assess options with the goal of identifying effective, cost-effective tools to improve product awareness, dissemination, storage, and accessibility. September 2014
Chosen solutions will be implemented. December 31, 2014
Client feedback on the usefulness of intelligence will be assessed as part of the annual review of the Enforcement and Intelligence priorities. Annually

The inconsistent use and lack of monitoring of two important systems tools (IMS and ORS) used by frontline and intelligence staff is having an impact on the ability to provide intelligence that is timely and actionable, and to review and monitor results.

To ensure that all information is being entered into the systems, to ensure the systems are being used consistently and to provide feedback to border services officers on intelligence information shared, it is recommended that:

Recommendation 2:

The Programs Branch, in cooperation with the Operations Branch, sets clearly defined national standards/policy for the use of the IMS and the ORS in relation to intelligence information to ensure that data entry practices are consistent across the Agency.

Management Response

Agreed. Enforcement and Intelligence will ensure that the core intelligence management system is used consistently in order to improve information sharing and data integrity.

Management Action Plan Completion date
Standard Operating Procedures will be created for IMS/ORS to ensure consistent usage and data entry, as well as to promote a regular feedback loop between front line officers and Intelligence. December 2014

Some regions continue to conduct business in the same manner as was the case prior to the realignment of the Intelligence, Criminal Investigations and Inland Enforcement (3Is) business lines, while others have developed new activities and business processes.

In light of these findings, it is recommended that:

Recommendation 3:

The Programs Branch, in cooperation with the Operations Branch, clearly sets out how the intelligence line of business will support integrated and effective enforcement activities. It is also recommended that they develop a communications strategy for senior managers in the regions to ensure that all regions are moving towards this goal.

Management Response

Agreed. Enforcement and Intelligence will continue to implement activities that the support 3Is integration such as: clear priority setting; organizational renewal at headquarters and in the regions; resource planning against key program objectives; renewal of core policies, training, guidance; and, communication to support this integration. The following activities represent the next steps in the implementation of the integration:

Management Action Plan Completion date
Delivery of the new organizational structure for regions. June 2014
Delivery of the Enforcement and Intelligence triage centre model building on the successful implementation in some regions.  These central information triage units will be set up in all regional Enforcement and Intelligence divisions that do not yet have one, and the best practices of those that already exist will be incorporated into a single preferred model. June 2014
The 3Is vision will be integrated into the following on-going initiatives:
  • 3Is communications
  • 3Is training curriculum development
  • Up-to-date Enforcement and Intelligence policy framework disseminations
  • CBSA-CIC joint Enforcement and Intelligence priorities
Ongoing

The identification of integrated priorities provides managers with an important tool for coordinating activities and resources across business lines to address CBSA and CIC priorities. However, the number of priorities (17) was considered to be too many to efficiently guide Enforcement and Intelligence Program activities. Also, most senior managers were not aware of how progress against the priorities will be assessed.

In light of these findings, it is recommended that:

Recommendation 4:

The Programs Branch, in consultation with the Operations Branch, issue guidance to the regions as to how progress against the priorities will be assessed.

Management Response

Agreed. The Enforcement and Intelligence Program identified 17 priorities that represent the top border threats pertaining to the Agency's enforcement of the Customs Act, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and other border-related legislation. The 17 priorities reflect both the breadth of the CBSA's enforcement mandate, and the somewhat differing threat environments, across each region. The Enforcement and Intelligence Program will use the foundation that has already been set through the Priorities exercise to establish expected outcomes and performance targets.

Management Action Plan Completion date
To further refine the priorities, the Enforcement and Intelligence Program will work with CBSA stakeholders and CIC to drill down so that specific objectives, activities, and outputs against each priority are dearly articulated. This drill down will represent the first step towards setting performance targets and will ensure that all regions understand how progress against the priorities will be assessed. March 31, 2014
To assess progress against the performance targets, the Enforcement and Intelligence Program will work with internal stakeholders (e.g. Business System Support Division, Borders, Targeting) to identify any required process and/or system changes. June 2014

Footnotes

Footnote 1

Source: A Vision for the Intelligence Program at the CBSA, Intelligence Directorate, Enforcement Branch, CBSA, October 5, 2006, pp. 4-5. The document explained CBSA's commitment to strengthening its intelligence capacity and resulted in the Blueprint for Renewal of the Intelligence Program in the Canada Border Services Agency, 2009.

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Footnote 2

Source: 2012-2013 CBSA Departmental Performance Report.

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Footnote 3

Source: 2013-2014 CBSA Main Estimates by Program Activity and Program Sub Sub-Activity, CBSA Comptrollership Branch.

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Footnote 4

This was one of a number of action items outlined in the Blueprint for Renewal of the Intelligence Program in the Canada Border Services Agency, 2009.

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Footnote 5

Source: Handbook on Intelligence Analysis and Production, February 2013. Prepared by the Intelligence Operations and Analysis Division, Enforcement and Intelligence Operations Directorate, Operations Branch.

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Footnote 6

Users include criminal investigators, inland immigration enforcement officers and managers.

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Footnote 7

Program Evaluation Division calculations utilizing data from Detailed Intelligence Performance Measurement Reports, Report Period 1-April-10 to 31-Mar-13. Date Generated: 2013-11-14, pp.4-5. Enforcement and Intelligence Performance Improvement Division, Enforcement and Intelligence Programs Directorate, Programs Branch.

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Footnote 8

Source: CBSA Audit of Lookouts – Traveller Mode, 2013: p. 5 (www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/agency-agence/reports-rapports/ae-ve/2013/altm-asmv-eng.html)

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Footnote 9

CBSA liaison officers are located abroad and identify high-risk travellers and cargo en route to Canada and advise on their admissibility.

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Footnote 10

Intelligence products are produced mainly by intelligence officers and analysts, mostly in the regions, and by CBSA liaison officers overseas, and are shared with a range of groups: National Headquarters, the regions, CBSA liaison officers overseas, CIC, foreign partners and law enforcement partners. Guidance and support is also being provided to these groups.

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Footnote 11

Tactical intelligence relates to a specific current operation or enforcement situation and supports the decision-maker in the short term, and is primarily produced and used in the regions. Operational intelligence is used by decision-makers but does not usually apply to a specific operation or case, e.g. methods of concealment, and is produced by both the regions and NHQ. Strategic Intelligence involves a broad analysis of information to assist in policy development and in establishing direction and focus for the Agency's enforcement. It is primarily produced by National Headquarters but relies on all sources including the front line. Source: A Vision for the Intelligence Program at the CBSA, Annex B, Intelligence Directorate, Enforcement Branch, CBSA, October 5, 2006.

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Footnote 12

Source: 2013 CBSA Enterprise Risk Profile, Corporate Affairs Branch, CBSA, pp. 34-35.

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