An audit of the Political, Economic Reporting and Public Affairs (PERPA), International Business Development (IBD), Consular and Administration Programs was conducted in Montevideo during the period November 6 to November 9, 2000.
The Mission is effectively managed and the Head of Mission (HOM) has dealt well with the realities which are peculiar to micro-missions. The HOM has made effective use of the resources available to him and has adapted the workload of the Mission to best suit the skills of staff. The Mission Programs are integrated and the Hub and Spoke relationship with Buenos Aires is well defined.
The HOM has optimized resources in this Program by making use of personal services contracts particularly in the Public Affairs and Academic Programs. The HOM has prioritized the Mission activities for effective delivery of the Program and has judiciously restricted these activities to coincide with the Mission resources.
The HOM is focussing on the Mission's involvement in IBD sectors which have been identified as priorities. A large part of the Mission's activities are focussed on MERCOSUR which has its Head Office in Montevideo. The HOM has also been key to re-activating the Canada-Uruguay Chamber of Commerce. An issue arose as to the legality of housing the Canada-Uruguay Chamber of Commerce, a legal entity, within the confines of the Mission. The Mission was advised to contact the Departmental Legal Services Section on this issue.
The Consular Program is well managed with effective use made of iCOSMOS. The Mission is providing good service to Canadians, but it is recognized that the Consular workload is becoming more complex and should be monitored.
The Administration Program is well managed by the Management Consular Officer (MCO) and staff morale is good. The Mission, however, will need to address the following:
1.1.1 The Mission is headed by a HOM who is well aware of the realities involved with a micro-mission and manages the Mission accordingly. The Mission consists of two CBS, including the HOM, and three LES. The Mission has Trade, PERPA, Consular and some Immigration Program responsibilities. The HOM has made effective use of his staff by providing flexibility at the Mission and by adapting their workload to best suit their respective skill set. Given the nature of micro-missions and the shared workload of all staff, the Mission Programs are well integrated. The HOM has made effective use of personal services contracts to supplement his workforce, when required. Communication and relationships between the HOM and his staff are very good. The HOM meets with his staff daily to provide the necessary guidance and support on specific issues. Other Mission committees have not been formally structured given the Mission size and the good working relationships among staff.
1.1.2 There is an Accountability Agreement signed between the HOM and LGD which sets out strategic, operational and management priorities for the Mission. The HOM has further identified objectives and activities for each Program Manager which are in line with his Accountability Agreement.
1.1.3 Buenos Aires is the Hub Mission for Montevideo. In its August 2000 report of Buenos Aires, SIV recommended that a new Hub and Spoke Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) be developed as the old one dated back to 1996. The MOU has since been revised and came into effect in September 2000. The MOU covers all aspects of the Mission Programs and provides the necessary detail to ensure that roles and responsibilities between the Hub and Spoke are clear.
2.1.1 The Program is managed by the HOM. The MCO's involvement in the Program is expected to grow after the move of the Chancery has taken place. The work of the Program encompasses support for Academic Relations, the Development Assistance Program of CIDA and the Cultural and Public Affairs Programs of DFAIT.
2.1.2 The general direction of the Program in terms of strategies and objectives are identified in the HOM's Accountability Agreement and the HOM has identified key activities to meet it. The Program is effectively managed. The HOM has augmented the Mission's limited resources by making use of personal service contracts to deliver portions of the Program.
2.1.3 The HOM spends approximately 15 percent of his time on matters relating to political and economic relations. The majority of reporting relates to MERCOSUR, which is headquartered in Montevideo, and to the FTAA.
2.1.4 With respect to Public Affairs, the Mission has introduced a "Club of sponsors" from the business community who not only assist financially, but also provide guidance and direction on sponsored events identified by the Mission. The Mission, with the assistance of a contractor, prepared a report on the sponsored activities which contains the reason for sponsorship, a complete accounting of the funding of the events as well as an evaluation of the events against anticipated results. The report also makes recommendations on the continued sponsorship of events.
2.1.5 The Mission also effectively collaborates with the Canadian Education Centre (CEC) which is located offsite from the Mission. A contractor has been hired for the delivery of the Academic Program, who is highly respected and is enthusiastic about the Academic Program as a whole.
2.1.6 The PERPA Section manages a $250,000 Local Initiatives Project Canada Fund for the Development Assistance Program of CIDA, with the assistance of a contracted Canada Fund project coordinator. The Canada Fund was audited in 1999/2000 by CIDA. The projects are managed according to the parameters established by CIDA with the associated funding flowing through the Mission accounts. Project proposals are systematically reviewed for approval by the HOM before implementation.
3.1.1 The IBD Program in Montevideo is responsible for trade promotion activities in Uruguay. The Program is headed by the HOM who is assisted by an LE-09 Commercial Officer (CO). This position was recently created and staffed by a full-time Officer in November 1999. Prior to the staffing of the position, the previous MCO dedicated 35 percent of his time to the IBD Program. The Messenger/Driver also provides back-up for the CO. He responds to basic commercial inquiries and is fully conversant with WinExport. The Program manages a Special Trade Promotional Fund (STPF) of $7,000.
3.1.2 General direction in terms of strategies and objectives are provided by the HOM's Accountability Agreement. The HOM has identified key activities for the goals and objectives identified. Given the size of the Mission and the IBD Program, the Mission is limited to identifying key sectors on which to focus. The Mission has been able to deliver the Program effectively, while working within the constraints of a micro-mission.
3.1.3 The CO while aware and supportive of the New Approach has not had sufficient training and exposure to the methodology, systems and HQ support functions and contacts. It would be beneficial to the Mission to identify the training and support required in consultation with UAM and the Trade Commissioner Services.
3.1.4 Develop, in consultation with HQ, a strategy to ensure that the New Approach is fully integrated in Mission operations.
3.1.4 The New Approach has been fully integrated in Mission operations. Trade staff at the Mission is fully aware of its tools, support and systems.
3.1.5 The Mission is focussing on the pulp and paper, the agricultural and the high tech sectors as they relate to the sale of services. The Mission also dedicates a large portion of its time to MERCOSUR whose Head Office is located in Montevideo.
3.1.6 The Commercial Officer makes extensive use of WinExport and maintains a spreadsheet of inquiries to ensure that they are actioned within five working days. Evaluation of contacts takes place informally between the HOM and the CO who meet daily. Reports are prepared as required, however neither the contact list nor the evaluations are kept on a database for future reference. A more formal contact list with appropriate evaluations needs to be developed to preserve the corporate memory.
3.1.7 Develop a contact list database which also contains appropriate evaluations of all contacts and integrate it with WinExport, if applicable.
3.1.7 The Mission is working in the integration of "The client information and contact management database of the TCS and Team Canada: WINEXPORT" with the global contact list database.
3.1.8 The Mission has worked hard to resurrect the Uruguay-Canada Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber now has legal status and consists of approximately 40 members. The Chamber provides an unequalled opportunity for access to business people and to specific business subjects. While the Chamber is in its second iteration, the HOM is of the opinion that it will require support for the next year or so in order to ensure its long term viability. The Chamber provides an effective organization through which the Mission can keep abreast of activities and maintain effective contacts in the Uruguayan business community. The Chamber of Commerce has hired a "stagiaire" who will work part time for the Chamber and part time for the Mission. Office space has been located in the new Chancery to house the "stagiaire". The Audit Team raised concerns with respect to the housing of a legal entity in the confines of the Embassy and has requested that the HOM seek clarification on this issue.
3.1.9 Consult with the Legal Services Division (JUS) and the Planning, Program analysis and Budget Division (SMP) with respect to the legal and cost implications of housing a separate legal entity on Mission premises.
4.1.1 The Consular Program is well managed by the MCO with input and assistance from the HOM as required. The Receptionist/Secretary/Consular Assistant (LE-05) received LES Consular training in Ottawa. Both she and the MCO have access to iCOSMOS and use it consistently.
4.2.1 The Mission provides good service to Canadians. The MCO and HOM work closely and collaborate on the more complicated cases. The Mission is aware of the Consular Service Standards and procedures are in place to provide adequate service. Up-to-date lists of hospitals and legal services are maintained and the Mission telephone system has been programmed for after hours answering by the Departmental Watch Office.
4.2.2 The Mission is updating the list of registered Canadians and entering it into ROCA. The Mission has identified two Wardens with whom the HOM recently met to discuss Consular activities. This is foreseen to be an annual meeting.
4.3.1 The Mission issues Emergency Passports and can provide Visa page inserts to valid Canadian passports as well as Observation Labels. A five day processing standard is applied so that the passport application can be sent to the Hub and the passport returned to the Mission. Between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2000, the Mission provided 108 passports. The Mission also issues Diplomatic Visas as required. The passport materiel inventory was confirmed, however, the Mission does not receive the COSMOS PMP inventory records. Mission inventory records should be reconciled with the PMP records and entered into COSMOS by the Hub. In fact, all passport services in PMP were zero. These should all be entered by the Hub under the MVDEO mission so that the PMP program provides accurate mission statistics.
4.3.2 Ensure that the Passport Inventory is transmitted to the Hub, entered in COSMOS PMP and reconciled to the passport materiel on hand at the Mission.
4.3.3 Ensure that all passport services for Montevideo are recorded by the Hub in COSMOS PMP.
4.3.2 Consultations have been undertaken with JPC, BAIRS and UAM. UAM will inform the Mission of appropriate procedures at which time they will be implemented.
5.1.1 The Program includes the MCO, a Messenger/Driver and a Receptionist/Secretary/Consular Assistant. The MCO, an AS-02 acting in an AS-03 position, arrived at the Mission in the summer of 2000. This is her first posting as an MCO. The MCO is effectively managing the Program and she is well suited to the small Mission environment. She is also expected to take on some PERPA duties in the near future. At the time of the audit, the MCO was focussing on the upcoming move of the Chancery and on some particularly difficult Consular cases. Since her arrival, she has identified elements of the Administration Program which need to be addressed and has incorporated them into her work plan.
5.1.2 While objectives have been established by the HOM for the Administration Section, the MCO has not yet established goals and objectives for each employee. These goals and objectives would clarify expectations and form the basis of the annual appraisal process for the staff concerned.
5.1.3 Goals and objectives should be set for all sections and employees of the Administration Program.
5.1.3 The MCO will set objectives for each employee at the time of their annual appraisal.
5.2.1 Responsibility for the management of the function rests with the MCO. The function has not received the attention required because the duties of the previous MCO also included IBD. The most recent staffing action was properly conducted; and spousal employment is well managed. Issues were noted with respect to LES pension and medical benefits. The current MCO is aware of these issues and will be developing a work plan to ensure their completion.
5.2.2 The Mission does not have a complete pay scale which contains all LES levels. Instead it only has a pay scale for the three LES employed at the Mission. This issue arose as a precursor to the reclassification exercise. The reclassification of the Driver/Messenger position could potentially result in a change from non-office staff to an LE-02 or LE-03. The Mission does not know what the salary implication of the reclassification of this position would be.
5.2.3 Provide the Mission with a complete pay scale which contains all LES levels.
5.2.3 A complete pay scale has been developed and provided to the Mission
5.2.4 Over the last five years, LES appraisals have not been completed on an annual basis.
5.2.5 Annual performance appraisals should be completed for all LES.
5.2.5 This task is under way and shall be completed by the end of the current month.
5.2.6 The Audit Team reviewed the EXT 208s for the Mission and found that they have not been completed in all cases. Missing EXT 208s could have an impact on the LES pensions. The Audit Team also reviewed salary data and with the exception of the Driver/Messenger, the LES are being paid at the appropriate increment level. In the case of the Driver/Messenger, he is currently being paid at one increment level higher than he should be.
5.2.7 Reconstruct missing EXT 208s and forward them to HRL
5.2.8 Review the Driver/Messenger salary and if required, red-circle the position until the incumbent's length of service is commensurate with his salary.
5.2.7 Mission is in contact with the accounting section of the Hub where all EXT 208s are kept. Mission has asked for a copy of all the forms and the copies provided will be put in each employee's file. That way, mission will be able to verify that the 208s are updated when necessary. A copy of all the 208s will be forwarded to HRL.
5.2.8 The position of the driver/messenger has been cancelled and a new position of driver/messenger/admin assistant has been created with a new pay scale. Adjustments to the salary has been done accordingly.
5.2.9 The LES Handbook was forwarded to HRL, along with the Mission's benefits survey in August 1999. A number of issues still remain outstanding, for example, the age of retirement, medical packages and questions arising out of the social security scheme. The MCO has yet to address these issues.
5.2.10 Provide the HRL with a current benefits survey.
5.2.11 Determine, in consultation with HRL, the appropriate medical package and clarify outstanding issues.
5.2.12 Update the LES Handbook accordingly.
5.2.10 A complete benefits survey has been done and forwarded to HRL. Mission is awaiting comments from HRL.
5.2.11 All information required by HRL has been provided. Mission is awaiting comments from HRL.
5.2.12 Mission is awaiting comments from HRL to update the LES Handbook accordingly.
5.3.1 The Physical Resources function is well managed. The MCO is responsible for the management of the Physical Resources and is assisted by the Driver/Messenger with support provided by the Hub. The property portfolio consists of the Chancery and two Crown-leased Staff Quarters (SQ). The fit-up of the new Chancery was underway at the time of the audit. This has increased the property portfolio workload. The SQs are well suited for Mission requirements and located in good neighbourhoods. Both are apartments with good usable space and security. The MCO reviewed the market situation prior to renewing the SQ leases to ensure costs were in line with the market. At the time of the audit, the MCO was in the process of updating the Mission Property Management Plan (MPMP), but not progressing quickly due to other work pressures. The Mission MPMP was previously included in the Hub's MPMP. Property files and lease files are in good order.
5.3.2 Complete the MPMP and forward it to the Hub and SRD.
5.3.2 The MPMP was completed and forwarded to SRD in May, 2001.
5.3.3 The Mission has implemented three of the eight recommendations contained in the from the SRSF Visit Report dated October 1999. Chancery projects identified in the SRSF Work Plan for 2000 are no longer valid as a result of the move to the New Chancery. The next step is for the MCO to update the work plans for the Chancery and SQs. Work is generally assigned in a reactive manner, but the MCO recognizes the need and importance of planning for new work.
5.3.4 Review and update the Mission work plan for the Chancery and SQs.
5.3.4 Will be done by the end of June 2001.
5.3.5 A detailed feasibility study was completed by SRSR in July 2000 which concluded that the Chancery should be moved to a new location. It was agreed that the fit-up work at the new Chancery was to be conducted by the landlord in exchange for a three month rental advance which was paid in September 2000. The SRPA Project Manager engaged a local architect to supervise the fit-up work.
5.3.6 The Mission was, after the first six weeks of fit-up work, concerned by the lack of detailed information from the Project Manager and the lack of progress. The Mission had copies of the lease and scope of work, but was not provided with detailed time lines or work progression schedules. Some work had either not been foreseen or required substantial change. As an example, the lighting had not been planned for and the new furniture had not been ordered to coincide with the Chancery move date. The MCO became increasingly involved in the day-to-day work at the new site, meeting with the local architect and the landlord. A move plan was developed by the MCO and communicated to all Headquarters sections involved. Feedback was requested from HQ, but little was received. The Mission, the local architect, and the landlord were all engaged in resolving the outstanding work. In the absence of detailed time lines and schedules, the landlord argued that delays were not his fault or that some work was outside his scope. As a result, a significant amount of work was required prior to the planned December 2000 move.
5.3.7 On November 30, 2000, the SRPA Project Manager arrived in Montevideo to manage the final preparations and the move. The Communications and Security teams arrived from HQ to proceed with their respective equipment installations but had to wait several days before proceeding. SRPA neither provided any contingency planning nor considered a postponement of the move date to allow for completion of renovations. The result was that the installation teams' work was delayed and the Mission staff moved into work spaces that were not sufficiently completed for their occupancy. The SRPA Project Manager, upon his departure from the Mission, listed 56 outstanding items which will, by their nature, impede the day-to-day work of the Mission staff. Better detailed planning and communication, with realistic assessments of work at various stages would have greatly improved this project and its final completion.
5.3.8 SRP should consider reviewing this project for its lessons learned regarding the implementation of projects at small missions.
5.3.8 SRP Project Managers routinely submit project completion reports that summarize lessons learned. The situation in Montevideo was complicated by the fact that it was the Project manager's first project that he had seen through to completion.
5.3.9 Core PRIME data, which is maintained at the Hub, is not current in the SRD Web Page. The Mission needs to provide the Hub up-to-date data so that it can enter it into PRIME. Once entered into PRIME by the Hub, the data will be transferred to the SRD Web Page.
5.3.10 Ensure PRIME data is fully up-to-date and forwarded to the Hub for entry into PRIME.
5.3.10 This was completed in March 2001 by the Mission with the new direct access system through intranet.
5.3.11 Materiel is generally well managed. Appropriate inventories are in place. Capital expenditures are low and are planned, as required. The Mission has two SQs with new furnishings and there is, therefore, little requirement for new SQ materiel. However, there will be an increase in demand for new materiel as a result of the new Chancery. At this time the Mission purchases locally, or orders small quantities of materiel from SRM (Miami). The Mission does not enquire of the Hub, before placing an order, if it has the materiel in its larger stores. The Mission might also benefit from economy of scale with respect to purchasing and shipping by combining overseas orders with the Hub.
5.3.12 Consider combining purchases with larger Hub orders, where feasible.
5.3.12 The Mission will consult with the Hub on larger orders.
5.4.1 The Mission budget and accounts are well managed by the MCO. The HOM and MCO discuss priorities for the Mission budget and determine how funds should be allocated. The Mission provides the Hub with a monthly spread sheet indicating expenditures and codings for IMS entry. The Mid-term report was completed on time and the Mission reported that the budget was adequate for Mission needs. Funds were reserved for Mission expenses expected from the December Chancery move. The Mission properly manages the various spending authorities they receive.
5.4.2 The Mission does not maintain its own official bank account. Instead, the HOM is provided with a $7,000 standing advance which he has deposited in his name at the Citibank in Montevideo. Both the HOM and the MCO have signing authority for this account. The Mission produces monthly advance settlement reports in Quattro Pro which are transmitted to the Hub. The Hub uses the report to code expenditures against the Mission fund centre in IMS and replenishes the account through an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT).
5.4.3 The Mission receives revenue from several sources which are deposited into the HOM's account for Mission use. The original intent of the standing advance was to make payments only, however it is now used for collection of Federal Government revenue. As a result, management and reconciliation of the account is becoming more complicated. Consideration should be given to providing Montevideo its own official bank account. The Mission would no longer require a standing advance in the name of the HOM and would be funded directly as other missions are. Entries would still need to be entered into IMS by the Hub, but the Spoke would have greater control over its cash management and reconciliations.
5.4.4 The Mission, in consultation with the Hub, should request authority from SMF to open an official bank account in Montevideo managed by the Mission.
5.4.4 The Mission will, with the assistance of SMFB, open an official Bank account by the end of July.
5.4.5 The Hub manages an official bank account in Montevideo at the Abn Amro Bank for the collection of Immigration revenues. Applicants are instructed to deposit fees directly into the bank which transfers all the funds to the Hub. The Spoke has no access or control over this account. Rather than transfer all immigration funds to the Hub, some could be used to fund the Mission operations in Montevideo. The Hub and Spoke have not discussed this matter.
5.4.6 The Mission, in consultation with the Hub, Regional Finance Officer, and SMF, should consider using immigration funds collected in Montevideo to supplement Mission operational expenses.
5.4.6 The Mission does not feel that the time is appropriate to implement this recommendation. Once the official account in opened and new procedures are in place, the Mission will reconsider the recommendation.
5.4.7 The Mission's monthly expenditures vary between $15,000 and $30,000. The largest expenses are LES salaries, rent and utility payments. There are a number of potential improvements that could ease and streamline the financial processes of the Mission. For instance: the Hub is already paying some vendors directly via EFT which could be expanded to include all rent; and the Mission could also increase its petty cash payments to $200, resulting in fewer cheques. Other options include implementing the use of a credit/payment card, invoices for which could be paid directly by the Hub.
5.4.8 Review the feasibility of increasing the use of EFTs by the Hub to pay expenses.
5.4.9 Increase the use of petty cash to pay expenses up to $200, and consider with the Hub the use of a credit/payment card.
5.4.8 Mission will set new EFT payments directly once the new official account is opened.
5.4.9 Mission will set new process once the new official account is opened.
5.4.10 A review of the hospitality files indicated good record keeping and effective use of hospitality. The HOM uses his SQ for at least two events a month. Expenses are claimed using actual costs, not on a per capita basis. An issue that did arise is that the HOM claims from his hospitality account reimbursement of 70 percent of the cost associated with maid services at his SQ. The maid is an employee of the HOM, not the Mission. The remaining balance is absorbed by him personally. The AMA authorized use of hospitality funds for this. SIX understands that the AMA does not have this authority. The Mission is a Category III Mission, meaning that the HOM is entitled to an SQ and not to an Official Residence with staff. The SRM 1996 Circular Document "New Standards Governing the Provision of Property and Materiel at Missions" is clear about HOM SQs in Category III Missions in that it states there is no authority to pay hired staff at the HOM's SQ (or any other SQ) from public funds. Equally, hospitality guidelines do not allow for the payment of maid and/or maintenance staff, except as a cost on an event-by-event basis. Moreover, with generally two events held monthly at the HOM's SQ it is difficult to justify that 70 percent of the maid's services are in support of hospitality events.
5.4.11 Maid services should be appropriately costed on an event-by-event basis and not reimbursed using the current 70/30 percent practice.
5.4.11 We are reviewing this with LGD and UAM in view to establish a consistent approach through the Bureau.
5.4.12 Issues pertaining to the charging of maid services have been noted in many micro-missions. There are many interpretations of the policies governing the payment of maids and/or maintenance services at a Category III Mission. SIX is currently raising the general issues with senior management in Headquarters, which include the categorization of missions and related services.
5.5.1 The MCO is responsible for managing this function and is also the de facto Systems Administrator (SA). The Regional SA, based in Ottawa, provides good assistance. The SIGNET suite provided to the Mission is MM97. This system provides basic and useful tools, but is not a flexible system for users. Each employee at the Mission has two workstations, one to connect to MM97 and the other to connect to a shared office LAN. The need for two computers is frustrating as they are not integrated and sharing of information between them is difficult. The MM97 system allows access to certain corporate applications and remote access to e-mail. Downloading e-mail with attachments, however, is time consuming. One message sent from one workstation to another at the Mission, with a WordPerfect attachment, can take up to 60 minutes to download. As a result, files are copied onto a floppy disk and saved to the second computer workstation on the office LAN, or not shared electronically.
5.5.2 Mission records are maintained in an unclassified registry in the open area and in a classified registry within the secure area. There is good centralization of files with an up-to-date file listing. The Mission has an accumulation of old files that are ready for disposal. Before proceeding with the disposal, the Mission needs direction from the Hub as to what may be disposed.
5.5.3 As there is no Mission computer server, the Mission does not have regular timed back-up of electronic material. The mission does not have an easy and thorough process to ensure that important files are properly backed up. The potential impact is that department records may be lost if one or more of the Mission computers fail.
5.5.4 In consultation with Hub, dispose of old records.
5.5.5 Consult SXCH regarding improved back-up procedures for micro-mission computer systems.
5.5.4 While the Mission agrees with the recommendation, but due to operational requirements, it has been given low priority. The disposals will be done by the end of the fiscal year.
5.5.5 New procedures for back-up have been set up with the new micro-mission 2000 template. MCO is in contact with Hub's SA to input these procedures.
|HOM / PERPA / IBD||1||1.5||2.5|
|Assets||Crown Owned||Crown Leased|
|LES Salaries (N012)||$119,790|
|CB Overtime (N011/0104)||$2,000|