Management Accountability Framework

… a core concept in Ethics, Rights, and Accountability and Atlas111M

ManagementAccountabilityFramework_miniConcept description

The Management Accountability Framework (MAF) is a tool used by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat to evaluate the priorities and performance of federal government departments and agencies on an annual basis.

The Framework consists of an evaluation of priorities and performance in four core areas: financial management; information management and information technology; management of integrated risk, planning and performance; and people management. Additional axes of evaluation used for certain governmental organizations include: evaluation of acquired services and assets; and security and service.

The MAF process involves the completion of an online questionnaire by required organizations each year, followed by draft reports prepared by the Treasury Board Secretariat. After the distribution of draft reports to each organization, each organization has a month to discuss the results of the draft report with the Treasury Board Secretariat prior to the publication of a final report.

According to the Government of Canada, the Management Accountability Framework establishes the expectations for sound public sector management practices and performance. The MAF supports the management accountability of organizational deputy heads and improves management practices across government departments and agencies.

The objectives of the MAF are:

  • To obtain an organizational and government-wide view of the state of management practices and performance;
  • To inform Deputy Ministers and Heads of Agencies about their organizations’ management capacity;
  • To inform the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat about the state of policy implementation and practices;
  • To identify areas of management strength and any areas that require attention;
  • To communicate and track progress on government-wide management priorities; and,
  • To continuously improve management capabilities, effectiveness and efficiency government-wide.


Leadership and Strategic Direction: Articulates and embodies the vision, mandate and strategic priorities that guide the organization while supporting Ministers and Parliament in serving the public interest.

Results and Accountability: Uses performance results to ensure accountability and drive ongoing improvements and efficiencies to policies, programs, and services to Canadians.

Public Sector Values: Exemplifies the core values of the public sector by having respect for people and democracy, serving with integrity and demonstrating stewardship and excellence.

Continuous Learning and Innovation: Manages through continuous innovation and transformation, to promote organizational learning and improve performance.

Governance and Strategic Management: Maintains effective governance that integrates and aligns priorities, plans, accountabilities and risk management to ensure that internal management functions support and enable high performing policies, programs and services.

People Management: Optimizes the workforce and the work environment to enable high productivity and performance, effective use of human resources and increased employee engagement.

Financial and Asset Management: Provides an effective and sustainable financial management function founded on sound internal controls, timely and reliable reporting, and fairness and transparency in the management of assets and acquired services.

Information Management: Safeguards and manages information and systems as a public trust and a strategic asset that supports effective decision-making and efficient operations to maximize value in the service of Canadians.

Management of Policy and Programs: Designs and manages policies and programs to ensure value for money in achieving results.

Management of Service Delivery: Delivers client-centred services while optimizing partnerships and technology to meet the needs of stakeholders.

Leslie Pal (reference below, p. 80) notes how the MAF is grafted on to the systems inspired by the earlier new public management (NPM):

“The state of public sector reform at the federal level in mid-2008 was therefore quite complicated. On the one hand, the NPM reforms in the mid-1990s and early 2000s had been hardwired into the system, institutionalized, and embedded in review and performance appraisal mechanisms. … The MAF is structured around ten key elements that collectively define ‘management’ and establish the expectations for good management of a department or agency …  Note that they include both “hard” and “soft” elements of new public management: risk management, accountability, results, and performance balanced against people, stewardship, accountability, and public service values.

Pal makes the following conclusions (p. 83) about post-NPM initiatives undertaken at the federal and provincial levels in Canada, as well as other jurisdictions:

“The important point to keep in mind, however, is that these changes, however difficult they may be to align, do make for a very different public sector context for policymaking in the second decade of this century. There are greater pressures on performance, accountability, service, probity, and efficiency than ever before, which complicates the policy environment considerably. While governments continue to uphold the value of a professional public service, they are trying to balance that against enormous fiscal pressures. This situation poses challenges, but opportunities as well.”


Drawn in part from Treasury Board Secretariat (Government of Canada), Management Accountability Framework, at, accessed 25 January 2016.

Leslie Pal (2014), Beyond Policy Analysis – Public Issue Management in Turbulent Times, Fifth Edition, Nelson Education, Toronto. See Beyond Policy Analysis – Book Highlights.

Atlas topic, subject, and course

Responsibility and Accountability (core topic) in Ethics, Rights, and Accountability and Atlas111M Ethics.

Page created by: Dave Marshall, last modified by Ian Clark on 28 March 2017.

Image: From Treasury Board Secretariat (Government of Canada) at, accessed 25 January 2016.