Evaluation Summary – Pipeline Safety and Public Awareness Initiatives

Evaluation Summary – Pipeline Safety and Public Awareness Initiatives [PDF 291 KB]

About the Initiatives:

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The Treasury Board (TB) Submission for Pipeline Safety (2012) and Public Awareness (2012 and 2014) provided the National Energy Board with a total of $32.1 million in temporary funding over five years (April 2012 – March 2017) to increase activities related to pipeline safety oversight and to address increased public awareness of energy safety.

For example:

  • Inspections and audits
  • Follow-up on corrective actions
  • Data and trend analysis
  • Regulatory and guideline development
  • Responding to Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) requests
  • Legal review, input, and advice
  • Responding to public demand for information and engagement on pipeline safety
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The funds supported the following Business Units with staff and operating and maintenance costs: Operations, Regulatory Policy, Legal Services, Communications and Secretary’s Office (ATIP).

Evaluation Results:

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The Pipeline Safety and Public Awareness Initiatives are aligned with the federal role and government and organizational priorities. Both initiatives have delivered their intended outcomes, with efforts to do so in an efficient and economic manner.

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Given that these initiatives had temporary funding, and there has been some organizational change, the NEB will need to assess both its base allocation and sources of other temporary funding in order to determine appropriate needs for continued program delivery.

Key Findings:

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Inspections: The NEB has surpassed its goal of 150 inspections per year and builds flexibility into its annual plans in order to carry out unplanned activities. Since fall 2015, inspection summaries are shared on the NEB website.

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Incidents: The process of incident reporting has been enhanced by the Event Reporting System (ERS), introduced in 2015; however improvements are needed in the time it takes to close an incident. There is a general declining trend in the the number of incidents that have been reported to the NEB in past years. This includes serious injuries, fatalities and liquid and gas releases.

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Audits: Each audit the NEB has completed of a company’s management systems has detected one or more non-compliance with regulations. Improvements are required to documenting the audit program structure and timelines at the NEB.

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Unauthorized Activities: Ground disturbance is the most common type of reported UA. The time it takes for a company to report a UA can be quite lengthy, however once reported, more than half of UAs reported have been closed by the NEB in 50 days or less.

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Regulatory Development and Legal Services: The NEB has made progress against its regulatory agenda, developed guidelines, updated the Filing Manual and introduced a system for Administrative Monetary Penalties. Regulatory development work has put a significant demand on Legal Services, which has provided review, analysis and advice and also assists the ATIP function and operations staff in their work requirements, including the development of new data management platforms and enhancing transparency of information.

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Communications: The number of tracked media requests fell in 2015 from previous years, yet remains elevated compared to 2012. Most requests have had a same-day response from staff. Media tone in media-related items that mention the NEB has not changed significantly year-to-year, with the majority being neutral in tone.

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ATIP: The major source of requests has come from the private sector and while the number of requests for ATIP has fallen, the number of pages processed has substantially increased. Legislated service standards for responding to requests have been met almost all the time, with some files requiring an extension mainly due to workload.

Recommendations: Management Response & Completion Date
Data Management (Operations) Accepted
1. Since trend analysis requires multi-year data, the NEB should:
  1. Create a plan, with timelines, to address the validity and completeness of older data;
  2. For those systems that do not have a built-in data validation function, ensure processes require and enforce mandatory quality control of data; and
  3. Where spreadsheets are used as databases for data collection and analysis including public reporting, ensure there is oversight and review for quality of data and calculations are accurate.

a. 31 March 2017

b. Complete

c. Complete

Measuring Efficiency Accepted

2. The NEB should assess which data its systems are designed to capture and introduce the appropriate data fields to better measure and report on efficiency. A starting point to this assessment would be to:

  1. Determine timelines for key processes based on trend analysis and define targets for process completion;
  2. Designate an accountable lead for process performance; and
  3. Continual monitoring of process performance based on defined targets.
Regulatory Development Accepted

3. Data and information are used as input into regulatory development and updates. Given this, the NEB should:

  1. Further define data and information needs to measure regulatory effectiveness; and
  2. Have a mechanism to verify the expected results of regulatory design that have been achieved
Data Management (Communications) Accepted

4. Trend analysis requires multi-year data, thus the NEB should:

  1. Where spreadsheets are used as databases for data collection and analysis including public reporting, ensure there is oversight and review for quality of data and calculations are accurate
31 March 2017

About the Evaluation:

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This mandatory evaluation was conducted by the internal evaluation function at the NEB with data analysis taking place between February and April 2016. The evaluation examines the activities and resources funded by the TB Submissions and address the relevance, performance and delivery of these initiatives.

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Qualitative and quantitative approaches were used to analyze data up to December 31, 2015 or March 31, 2016 depending on what was available at the time.

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Multiple lines of evidence were used to ensure observations were consistent with the information from interviews documentation and data analysis. Some limitations experienced during the evaluation were the availability, completeness and accuracy of some data. The evaluation report notes when this is the case.

National Energy Board 2016

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