An audit of the Political and Economic Relations and Public Affairs (PERPA), International Business Development (IBD), Consular and Administration Programs was conducted in Atlanta during the period October 15 - 25, 2001. The previous audit of the Consular and Administration Programs was conducted in August 1994. The Consulate in Miami reports to the Head of Mission in Atlanta and is the subject of a separate report.
More involvement of the HOM and Program Managers in day-to-day operations is being recommended, with greater rigour applied to planning, monitoring and assessing operational activities and outputs and with stronger supervision and control mechanisms to ensure administrative effectiveness. Improvements to Program planning and reporting and increased communication and team building are required. The Mission committee structure needs to include an LES Committee, a Contract Review Board and a proper functional Housing Committee.
The Mission is experiencing increasing difficulty regarding operational coordination and supervision of the Miami Mission. Headquarters needs to consider the existing relationship and the benefits of having Miami operate autonomously.
The PERPA Program has been able to demonstrate productive results given its resource base and large territory. The Program faces challenges in resourcing upcoming staff departures and in providing an environment that enhances teamwork. The Program will also need to better prioritize its heavy workload to address the constant and competing demands being placed on it.
The IBD Program in Atlanta presents a formidable challenge to manage. The large territory for which it is responsible includes a wide diversity of rapidly growing sectors as well as 54 of the Fortune 500 companies offering tremendous opportunities for Canada both in business development and investment. The HOM, the Senior Trade Commissioner (STC) and the Business Development Officers all need to be more engaged in corporate liaison visits. The Program needs to be managed more firmly, particularly with a staff whose performance is mixed, and an example needs to be set for officers to follow in making and reporting on these corporate out-calls. The IBD Business Plan continues to be a point of contention with Headquarters because its content is not always sector specific and it is the Program's belief that more flexibility should be provided for horizontal issues (e.g., Women in International Trade) and unanticipated activities. Initiatives, deemed to be important to the Program, remain unfunded with only five months to go before the end of the fiscal year. The Program has had limited success in implementing the Trade Commissioner Service's New Approach.
The Consular Program in Atlanta is operating efficiently and effectively and has successfully negotiated with two states to adopt the Transfer of Offenders Treaty. Recommendations are being raised regarding formalizing work plans, developing a contingency plan for the region and ensuring that inventory reconciliations are performed monthly by the Program Manager.
Recent resource turnover, combined with the need for at least another one-half FTE, has put considerable strain on the Program. The Mission Administration Officer (MAO) is faced with handling many day-to-day duties rather than supervising and managing. This has resulted in inadequate planning and insufficient supervision. Many of the deficiencies noted in the previous audit report persist. More involvement is required by the HOM to ensure that controls are in place and functioning as intended. Formal work plans for the Program would serve as a management tool and provide direction to staff. Long-term planning and follow-up systems regarding the property function are required to alleviate concerns related to SQs and their maintenance. More attention and rigour are required in processing purchasing and financial documents to ensure adherence to Departmental and Government policies and regulations.
A total of 57 audit recommendations are raised in the report; 54 are addressed to the Mission and three are addressed to Headquarters (HQ). Management has responded to each recommendation indicating action already taken or decisions made, as well as future action. Of the 57 recommendations, management has stated that 28 recommendations have been implemented. For each of the remaining 29 recommendations, management has indicated the initiatives in progress or the intended future action.
|Head of Mission||1||1||2|
|Assets||Owned||Crown Leased||Private Leased|