An audit of the General Relations, International Business Development (IBD), Consular and Administration Programs was conducted in Singapore during the period May 25 to June 1, 2001. The Administration and Consular Programs were previously audited in 1997.
Despite the fact this Mission has been at less than full strength for some time, the Head of Mission (HOM) has effectively raised the profile of Canada in Singapore. This has not been an easy Mission to manage. Vacancies in key positions, a large OGD component, and coping with a Mission that had been previously under-managed, posed a formidable challenge for the HOM in her first year there. Her energy and enthusiasm and her emphasis on team building has garnered the respect of the Program Managers. The HOM has effectively managed this Mission in spite of the many challenges faced.
The recent arrival of a new Program Manager, following an eight month vacancy in the position, has restored confidence and introduced guidance and vision to the Program. His style of management promotes team building and the changes introduced in the short time he has been at the Mission have ensured a more effective utilization of staff. Of concern, however, is the fact that the Program has not fully embraced the Trade Commissioner Service's New Approach. The Program Manager has yet to receive training on the New Approach and many of his staff require refresher courses. The Program Manager needs to become the champion for implementing the New Approach and should strongly discourage the "old practices" from continuing.
The Consular Program is a well managed Program. The staff are very knowledgeable. However, improvements can be made to the handling of revenues by ensuring that a daily reconciliation is completed.
The Administration Program is well managed. Staff are pleased with the Administration and the Program Managers are satisfied with the services provided. Goals and objectives need to be developed for the Section as do service standards for the Mission and the Brunei Spoke.
The Mission had developed a draft Hub and Spoke Agreement with Brunei. The Agreement needs to be more comprehensive in the area of Human Resources. There is a need for additional monitoring and guidance to be given to the Spoke in the areas of staffing and classification.
The Property portfolio at the Mission is well managed. There is a need to proceed with the staffing of the LES Office Manager position to alleviate the MCO's workload. The Mission has requested the conversion of this position to Canada-Based status. The Audit Team is of the opinion that the conversion is not warranted at this time.
The Finance function is operating effectively. Both Accountants have been with the Mission for over 10 years and are very capable. Of concern, however, is the treatment of ROLF refunds. The Mission needs to stop using bank drafts for refunds and, instead, should issue cheques.
This report contains 48 recommendations, 45 of which are directed to the Mission to implement and 3 for which Headquarters is responsible for their implementation. According to the responses received, the Mission has implemented 24 of these recommendations, while 21 are currently in the process of being implemented. The 3 recommendations for Headquarters have been actioned.
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