An audit of the General Relations (GR), the International Business Development (IBD), the Consular and the Administration Programs was conducted in Belgrade during the period June 12 to 15, 2001. A previous audit took place in May, 1996.
The Mission has focussed on and made considerable progress in re-establishing services in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) since it reopened in August 1999, after the March 1999 evacuation. Greater efforts are underway by Headquarters (HQ) and the Mission to determine future direction and resource requirements for all the Missions in the region.
However, more attention is required by the Mission in developing detailed work plans, at the Program level, to better define and control operational objectives, activities and outputs. Communications can be enhanced through more effective use of formal structures and administrative processes such as CMMs, retreats, staff meetings, an LES Committee, a Health and Safety Committee, appraisals and training plans.
Clarification is required, through consultations with HQ and the Missions in Skopje and Pristina, regarding the provision of Administrative and Consular services and the role of Belgrade as a Hub. An MOU outlining responsibilities and related services would eliminate existing confusion and improve effectiveness and efficiency.
Since the HOM reopened the Mission, she has been rebuilding the Program. The Program is now very active. However, Program planning could be improved. More effort is required to develop action plans outlining activities/strategies to accomplish Program objectives. In addition, Section meetings with other programs would help improve the communications and synergies within and between the GR and other programs.
The Commercial Section is small, consisting of a Commercial Officer and a Commercial Assistant. Soon after the Mission reopened, the Commercial Officer completed an extensive out-call program to former clients. The information gained from these meetings provided the basis for a very clear, well-documented IBD Strategy for the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), taking into account the many sensitivities resulting from the NATO Campaign. The Program is experiencing an increase in commercial activity and, should the trend continue, there may be a point when the Section would benefit from the direction of an experienced Trade Commissioner to implement the IBD Strategy.
The Program is well managed and operating in accordance with Program standards. However, there is no MOU governing the working relationship between Belgrade, Skopje and Pristina. Responsibilities are not clearly understood and practised. The Mission is making every effort to correct the situation. However, little cooperation is being received from the Spoke Missions. ***
For the most part, the Program is effectively managed. However, closer attention by the MCO and stronger controls, particularly for the Finance function, are required. Work planning needs to be strengthened. Each sub-section is independently planning and managing its own tasks. Greater overall planning is necessary with increased integration of the various Administration functions and improved communication. Staff indicated a desire for more information regarding Mission planning, events, and Program planning.
The development of Administrative Service Standards needs to be completed. This will help all staff by describing service expectations and assist management in measuring the performance of the administrative function.
A total of 39 audit recommendations are raised in the report, all of which are addressed to the Mission. Management has responded to each recommendation indicating action already taken or decisions made, as well as future action. Of the 39 recommendations, management has stated that 32 recommendations have been implemented. For each of the 7 remaining recommendations, management has indicated the initiatives in progress or the intended future action.
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