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Audit of the Canadian Embassy, Guatemala City

(February 2003)

Executive Summary

An audit of the General Relations (GR), International Business Development (IBD), Consular, and Administration Programs was conducted in Guatemala City during the period May 2 to 10, 2002. The audit was conducted concurrently with the audit of the Spoke Mission in San Salvador. A previous audit of the Administration and Consular Programs was carried out in 1994.

Management of the Mission

The Mission is well managed. Morale throughout the Mission is very good, and internal communications work well due to proactive Program Managers and active Committees. More detailed Program work plans that roll up into a Mission work plan are recommended to further strengthen the management of the Mission. While support for the Spoke Mission in San Salvador has increased, further assistance there would be welcomed. The San Salvador audit report is calling for this Mission to establish an Accountability Agreement to spell out exactly what is expected from the Spoke.

Management of the Mission - Detailed Report

General Relations Program

The Program operates under sound management, with active involvement of the HOM. The Section works well as a team, and communications within the Program are excellent. An additional resource is recommended for the Program.

General Relations Program - Detailed Report

International Business Development (IBD) Program

The IBD Program is well managed. Objectives are set but the development of formal work plans is being recommended, with a strategy for outcall activity forming part of this. A reduction in resources may be appropriate, given the declining trade potential in Guatemala.

IBD Program - Detailed Report

Consular Program

The Consular Program is effectively managed and the Mission is delivering a high quality of Consular services. Resources are deemed adequate for Program delivery.

Consular Program - Detailed Report

Administration Program

The Administration Program operates well under a solid management team and a standard of service delivery rated very satisfactory by clients. Staff understand their roles and the Program objectives. Although considerable administrative resources are now devoted to the Spoke, and in spite of having effective administration there, San Salvador has expressed a need for further assistance. A reciprocal employment agreement between Canada and Guatemala should be pursued by the Mission in concert with XDX. A renegotiation of the agreement with the bank is also being recommended.

Administration Program - Detailed Report

Recommendation Status

The report contains 16 recommendations, 15 for which the Mission is responsible to implement and one which is directed at Headquarters to action. According to the responses received, the Mission has successfully implemented twelve of these recommendations while three are currently in the process of being implemented. The Headquarters' recommendation is in the process of being implemented.

Management of the Mission

1.1 Overview

1.1.1 The Mission is headed by a HOM who has demonstrated excellent leadership and sound management of Mission Programs and operations. This has been accomplished in large part through maintaining visibility and contact with Program Managers and staff and by fostering good communications. Staff morale is high with effective teamwork and program integration across the Mission. A recent example of this was the organization of the first ever Terry Fox run in Guatemala City, which was successful beyond expectation, involved the participation of all Programs and was cited by staff as a positive and proactive event.

1.2 San Salvador

1.2.1 The Mission is responsible for the San Salvador Mission which reports to Guatemala City. San Salvador, which is headed by an FS-02 with limited management exposure, has been experiencing considerable growth. The HOM has focussed on supporting San Salvador both administratively and operationally, particularly in the past year with numerous visits by himself, Program Managers and administrative staff. Notwithstanding, San Salvador indicated it would welcome even more visits from the HOM. A recommendation is contained in the San Salvador audit report for this Mission to prepare an Accountability Agreement to clearly indicate what it expects from this Spoke Mission.

1.3 Committees

1.3.1 There is an effective operating committee structure in place, including the Committee on Mission Management (CMM), the Housing Committee, the LES Committee, a Contract Review Board, a Technology Committee and a Safety and Health Committee. The CMM meets on a weekly basis and functions as a forum for management to share information, anticipate upcoming events and make decisions.

1.4 Planning

1.4.1 The management process includes retreats and planning sessions, a sound committee structure and frequent and open communications. Major responsibilities and specific objectives have been developed for each Program Manager. More emphasis, however, needs to be placed on developing work plans that document the detailed strategies, activities, time lines, assigned responsibilities, resource requirements and expected outputs for each Program. Once developed, these work plans can be rolled into a Mission work plan.

Recommendation for the Mission

1.4.2 The Mission should develop and document work plans for each Program for roll up into an overall Mission Plan.

Mission Response

1.4.2 The Mission Programs have taken notice of the need for work plans and work plans are now in place.

General Relations Program

2.1 Overview

2.1.1 The General Relations (GR) Program is managed by a First Secretary (FS-02) Program Manager who is supported by an LE-08 Political and Public Affairs Officer and an LE-04 Administrative Assistant on a shared basis with the IBD Program. The GR Program in San Salvador reports directly to Headquarters (HQ).

2.1.2 The GR Program has a heavy agenda, with very active involvement by the HOM, driven by the uncertain political environment in Guatemala and the emphasis placed on promoting issues related to human security, good governance and democratic transition. Given this situation, HQ considers the present GR activities very important and values the reporting and involvement currently being accomplished by the Program.

2.1.3 In addition to carrying out normal activities, the Program encourages Guatemalan involvement in the OAS and reports on the operations of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA). The Program has also implemented an outreach program with respect to public affairs, education and cultural activities.

2.2 Planning

2.2.1 The GR Program's objectives and priorities are based on LGD's Business Plan, the HOM's performance agreement and the responsibilities and objectives statement agreed to by the Program Manager and the HOM. Flowing from this, the Program has developed a detailed events and issues document that looks ahead six months documenting upcoming events, topics that will be reported on, various transition issues, and personnel and administrative initiatives.

2.3 Public Affairs

2.3.1 Public Affairs is primarily the responsibility of the Political and Public Affairs Officer, who reports to the Program Manager. The Program serves Guatemala and assists San Salvador. Through cultural, education and communications activities, the Program strives to raise Canada's profile, increasing contacts with government and cultural bodies, ensuring strategic participation, producing promotional and media materials and supporting Canadian Study Centres. A PIF fund of $14,550 is administered by the Program covering nine proposed projects. Each project is documented with a project description, goals and objectives and expected outcomes.

2.4 Resources

2.4.1 The Political and Public Affairs Officer is spending up to 50 percent of her time on social secretary activities. This is time not being devoted to the GR Program and is an inefficient use of an Officer level resource. The Program Manager, despite working overtime, is stretched to cover the identified priorities and the certain ad hoc issues that arise. Given the focus and importance placed on the GR Program by both HQ and the Mission, consideration needs to be given to increasing the resource base. The Mission should prepare a case documenting the benefits of incremental resources. The Mission is the only Mission in the region that does not have a dedicated resource for social secretary activities. Such a resource would free up the Political and Public Affairs Officer, allowing the Program to put more emphasis on Public Affairs and provide more support to the Program Manager on other files. The Assistant that is shared with the Trade Section could also be devoted full time to the GR Program, given the pressing nature of political activities in Guatemala in comparison to the lesser requirement for this resource in the IBD Program.

Recommendations for the Mission

2.4.2 The Mission should develop a business case to support incremental resources for the GR Program.

2.4.3 The Mission should develop a business case to support a full time Social Secretary for the HOM.

Mission Responses

2.4.2 Correspondence between the Mission and AAM resulted in the Bureau accepting our proposal to transfer 0.5 PY from the IBD Program allowing the LE-08 to perform work at the political officer level. This still does not address logistical administrative support. The Mission will develop business cases for additional resources.

2.4.3 The Social Secretary position has been approved and the staffing process is underway.

International Business Development (IBD) Program

3.1 Overview

3.1.1 The Trade Program in Guatemala is managed by a Trade Commissioner (FS-02) supported by a Commercial Officer (LE-09), a Commercial Assistant (LE-06) and an Administrative Assistant (LE-04) shared with the GR Program on a fifty percent basis. There is also an LE-08 Commercial Officer in San Salvador who reports to the Trade Commissioner (TC) in Guatemala City.

3.1.2 Trade between Canada and Guatemala has been declining and the environment for conducting business is difficult. The Trade Program monitors and reports on business and economic trends in Guatemala and El Salvador and represents Canada's economic and trade policy interests. Efforts regarding the Central America Free Trade Agreement are coordinated with the GR Program and San Salvador. The Program prepares regular bi-monthly reports analyzing economic and commercial trends and developments in Guatemala and El Salvador, coordinates visits of Canadian businesses and government officials, conducts outreach through visits and involvement in trade shows, etc., and provides service to clients based on TCS's New Approach.

3.2 Management

3.2.1 The TC took over the Program in the Fall of 2001. Since that time, he has introduced a team approach and supports open communications. Staff now report directly to the TC, including the Commercial Officer (CO) in San Salvador. The TC copies the Head of Office in San Salvador on all correspondence. Staff meetings are held weekly, with the CO in San Salvador participating by speaker phone. Input and advice are sought from staff, and the TC has increased his accessibility. The Program also benefits from highly motivated and qualified staff. There is a collegial atmosphere and positive morale in the Program.

3.3 Planning

3.3.1 The Program's activities are based on a list of events and projects largely related to the Client Service Fund (CSF) and the on-going daily requirements to respond to enquiries, tasking from HQ, etc. The Program Manager has a documented list of major responsibilities and specific objectives, developed in conjunction with the HOM. Objectives have also been developed for each employee except for the CO in San Salvador. (This is commented on in the San Salvador report). The Program would benefit from expanding on this to reflect specific strategies, activities, time lines, required resources, expected outcomes and incorporating these in a Program work plan. A work plan will provide the Program with a management tool that can be used to provide direction, monitor results, determine resource requirements and demonstrate achievements. It can also serve as a communication mechanism between the HOM and the TC and between management and staff.

Recommendation for the Mission

3.3.2 The Mission should develop formal work plans for the Trade Program including both Guatemala and San Salvador.

Mission Response

3.3.2 The Commercial Section has implemented an InfoCentre concept to manage information more efficiently and has submitted a Client Service Fund (CSF) Action Plan (i.e., a TCS work plan) for program activities for both Guatemala and San Salvador. Specific objectives for the work plan will be included in the appraisal objectives of the Program Manager/LES Trade Officers as approved by the HOM.

3.4 New Approach

3.4.1 The Trade Program staff have had training in the New Approach and are applying the six core services as intended. All enquiries are registered, forwarded to the TC who assigns to the responsible Officer. They are tracked in WIN and monitored for compliance to the five day turnaround standard. Officers are assigned responsibility for sectors and are engaged in researching, market access and troubleshooting and outreach activities. The Program is using the PSU, IBOC and Horizons where appropriate to deal with global enquiries, government tendering and background checks.

Out Calls

3.4.2 Out Calls are a key feature of the New Approach. Currently, less than ten percent of Officers' time is devoted to Out Calls, most of which involve troubleshooting and market access issues. The Program needs to provide more guidance to staff as to the respective roles of the HOM, the TC and COs and the differing nature of out calls (proactive, reactive, existing contacts, speculative, etc.) and then determine how these fit into the Program's strategic plan. To ensure that priority is given to outcall activity, targets need to be set for the Program as a whole and for individual Officers. Given the difficult business environment in Guatemala, success is dependent on identifying the niche markets of the most potential and how best to utilize out calls to access these.

Recommendation for the Mission

3.4.3 The Mission should develop a strategy and set targets for out call activity.

Mission Response

3.4.3 The Commercial Section strategy and quantifiably increased out call targets have been incorporated into the CSF Action Plan.

3.5 Resources

3.5.1 While the Trade Program maintains that more resources could be utilized, the low level of trade with Guatemala, which is in fact stable ($46 million in 2000, down from $66 million in1999), and the continuing difficult business environment put into question the current level of resources. The Commercial Assistant is essentially performing as a Commercial Officer, with assigned sectors and the latitude to provide the full range of services to clients. The Administrative Assistant in addition to performing clerical administrative duties also carries out Commercial Assistant tasks.

3.5.2 Consideration needs to be given to consolidating resources by having the TC more involved in Officer level work, albeit the higher level and more complex files, with the Commercial Assistant supporting the TC and CO. This would free up the 50 percent of the Administrative Assistant's time for the GR Program as previously mentioned in this report.

Recommendation for the Mission

3.5.3 The Mission should realign Trade Program resources to reflect the slow growing trade potential in Guatemala.

Mission Response

3.5.3 Based on discussion with AAM (Area Manager Advisor) resources have been realized to transfer 0.5 PY of the IBD Administrative Assistant/HOM Social Secretary position. However, an additional requirement for support is likely to be generated from successful implementation of a CA4-FTA this fall.

Consular Program

4.1 Management of the Program

4.1.1 The Consular Program is well managed by the MCO who is supported by two experienced and well trained staff, a Consular Officer and a Consular Assistant. Back-up is provided by the Receptionist who has a COSMOS account. The Program is responsible for San Salvador, and also provides services to the Australians. There is an increasing demand for services, particularly for San Salvador. The Consular Program participated with Administration in a retreat where objectives were developed. Section meetings for the Program are held once a week and once a month for both Programs. The Program visits San Salvador at least every six months. COMIP statistics are consistently inputted and sent to HQ. The Contingency Plan was submitted to HQ in April 2002 and feedback was received regarding format and other edits.

4.2 Service to Canadians

4.2.1 Services are provided to Canadians in three languages and are delivered within the standards established. Currently, this is five working days. However, less time is usually required. A warden system is in place and a warden meeting was held in February 2002. The Receptionist is responsible for inputting information into the Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) system and the validity of the ROCA list is validated each month. There has been only one Canadian in prison over the last two years. There are no Honorary Consuls in the Mission's jurisdiction.

4.3 Passports

4.3.1 The Mission processes on average 70 passports per month, 50 percent of which are from San Salvador. Passports and other document assets are well secured. The inventory was verified and all assets were accounted for.

4.3.2 Official receipts are issued for services provided except for passport revenues as they are not required by the Passport Office. Issuing official receipts is a recommended practice to enhance control over revenues received by allowing for proper reconciliation. SMD is developing a policy that will require official receipts to be issued for passport fees as well.

Recommendation for the Mission

4.3.3 The Mission should issue an official receipt for passport and Consular fees.

Mission Response

4.3.3 Official receipts are being issued for all Consular fees. The Passport Office and SMD are to issue procedures for issuance of official receipts for passports pending policy instructions from SMD referred to in 4.3.2. The Mission will comply once this policy is in place.

Administration Program

5.1 Management of the Program

5.1.1 Administration is a soundly managed Program led by a first time MCO, an AS-03 serving in an AS-04 position. The Program is adequately resourced and the Mission's reference level is deemed to be appropriate. The MCO position is made more complex in that there are major security issues to deal with and the fact that the Mission also delivers administrative services to its Spoke Mission in San Salvador.

5.1.2 The addition this summer of a new MCO position in San Salvador will significantly impact on the role of the MCO. The MCO is currently working about 15 hours of overtime each week with 15 to 20 percent of his total time devoted to San Salvador. In the past year, the MCO visited San Salvador seven times and, as well, most supervisors visited on a couple of occasions. Trip reports are prepared following each visit to San Salvador. The MCO addition, in fact, will impact several different job packages in both these Missions.

5.1.3 The Program is effectively organized and communications within the Section are excellent. Staff are very knowledgeable, qualified and experienced. All positions are effectively backed up with trained personnel. There are weekly meetings held with the supervisors and a monthly meeting of all staff in the Administration and Consular Programs. Each week, at the supervisors' meeting, a list of tasks are identified, assigned and given a specific time-frame to complete. Minutes of the monthly meetings are circulated to all staff in each Program. A two-day retreat was held in April 2002 to identify and develop the goals and objectives for the year. These targets, at the time of audit, were in the process of being formalized. A Hub and Spoke Memorandum of Understanding was updated in February 2002. Service standards are available both in narrative and matrix formats.

5.2 Human Resources

5.2.1 The Human Resources function is effectively carried out by the LE-06 Personnel and General Services Assistant who reports directly to the MCO. Responsibilities of this Assistant extend to the Spoke Mission in San Salvador. The Assistant is particularly well organized and position descriptions, personnel files, competition files, appraisals, leave and attendance and LES pay certificates (EXT 208s) are up to date and well maintained.

5.2.2 In the past twelve months, there have been ten staffing actions. Another three staffing actions took place in San Salvador and the Assistant is actively involved in the competitions. The LES turnover in Guatemala is considerably lower than in the 90's when the tendency was to hire over-qualified people who would ultimately leave after a short time.

5.2.3 Fifty percent of staff are hired prior to the ERC being completed but their letter of offer is qualified in that they must pass the ERC. Staff are not given access to SIGNET until the ERC is completed. All staff at the time of audit had completed ERCs.

5.2.4 The Mission is in the process of developing a training plan. In February 2002, all employees, including those in San Salvador, were surveyed to identify courses which would potentially be to their benefit. The plan will be in the format suggested by CFSI.

5.2.5 An LES benefits survey was conducted for both Missions and submitted to the Locally-Engaged Staff Division (HRL) in April 2001. The survey made two recommendations for Guatemala. It recommended that, as government and a large number of employers provide bonuses to its employees, a bonus amounting to $31 a month be provided to each LES. The other recommendation included an increase in life insurance coverage. The Mission has yet to receive a formal reply from HRL on this submission. The Mission has never received a response from HRL on its LES Handbook that was submitted in April 2001 as well.

Recommendation for HRL

5.2.6 HRL should reply formally to the Mission in Guatemala City on the LES benefit survey and the LES Handbook that was submitted for approval in April 2001.

HRL Response

5.2.6 HRL is in the process of establishing a new benefits review process and cycle to streamline the review of benefits for each Mission. Under the new process, Guatemala is on the list of Missions to be reviewed in 2002-2003. The Handbook review is tied to the review of benefits and, therefore, will be updated and approved at the same time, before the end of the current fiscal year. Work has already started with the analysis of the benefits pertaining to pension, insurance, severance, social security and Worker's compensation sent to the Mission in September 2002.

LES Meeting

5.2.7 The LES have an elected Committee with three representatives from various Programs. The Committee meets quarterly with the MCO. The LES feel this is an effective forum to channel information. Morale at the Mission is deemed to be high. A recent change of Mission banks has caused concern for some LES as line-ups are inordinately long on pay days. The LES would like to be compensated one day in advance to avoid this problem. LES also feel the UNDP salary survey does not adequately consider inflation in Guatemala.

Spousal Meeting

5.2.8 The biggest challenge facing spouses on this posting is finding employment. There is currently no reciprocal agreement with Guatemala on employment. In the auditors meeting with spouses, the notion of designating certain LES positions for spousal employment was raised as was the issue of pursuing a reciprocal agreement between Canada and Guatemala. Lack of employment opportunities is a serious issue which is demoralizing Canada-based staff and has resulted in one of the current Officers not extending his posting.

Recommendation for the Mission

5.2.9 The Mission should work collaboratively with the Office of Protocol (XDX) in pursuing a reciprocal employment agreement between Canada and Guatemala to help create employment opportunities.

Mission Response

5.2.9 Upon arrival of the new Political Officer, she verified Guatemalan readiness to look at the issue again (apparently an earlier conclusion was of no interest) and was told there had been no change. Consultation with our American and British counterparts indicates they also have not had any success or interest on the part of the Guatemalan authorities. Given the importance to the spousal community, the HOM, in consultation with XDX, plans to raise these issues at the Vice-Ministerial level.

5.3 Physical Resources

5.3.1 The Physical Resources function is well managed. The Mission Property Management Plan is up to date, PRIME is current, inventories have been taken except for the Chancery, Occupancy Agreements are complete and property files are in good order. A work order system is in place to record maintenance requests. The Chancery inventory is in the process of being taken using a bar-coding system jointly developed by the SA and a consultant. This inventory will be completed following the renovation of the Chancery which involves the creation of a multi-purpose room and the relocation of offices within the secure area.

5.3.2 Property management is carried out by an LE-07 Property/Materiel Manager who reports to the MCO and who is assisted by an LE-04 Property Assistant.

5.3.3 All SQs are apartments except for a Crown-leased detached home. The properties provide excellent housing and all apartments come with recreational facilities. Landlords undertake most of the maintenance except during turnover of the occupant when the Mission provides a fresh coating of paint. The Mission is effectively negotiating its leases. In the case of the latest lease signed, not only was the original asking rent reduced significantly but the condominium fee was waived as well.

5.3.4 The Mission has a ten-year lease on the OR which terminates in June 2004. This is a quality OR located in a secure and fashionable area of Guatemala City. The OR is in very impressive condition. The Physical Resources Bureau (SRD) should not overlook the notion of purchasing this OR. The Mission has a very favourable lease currently on this property.

5.3.5 Property and materiel management extends to San Salvador. The Property/Materiel Officer provides support to the Spoke's LES Administrative Officer and has visited San Salvador twice in the past year. Assistance was provided in securing a new SQ for the second Canada-based Officer and disposing of surplus furniture.

Official Vehicles

5.3.6 The Mission's fleet consists of seven vehicles, including an armoured car. There are plans to replace two of the vehicles this year. Vehicle logs are being used as is a coupon system for gasoline. Gasoline usage is well controlled through the use of the Motor Vehicle Report where the efficiency of a vehicle is closely monitored.

5.4 Finance

5.4.1 The Finance function is well managed, with the MCO overseeing a Senior Accountant (LE-07) and an Administrative Assistant/Purchasing Agent (LE-05). Additionally, the Driver/Customs Agent has been trained in IMS and backs up the Administrative Assistant. The Accounting staff are familiar with the IMS system, having had extensive training in Canada and further long-distance training as required. More in-depth training in the production of reports would be beneficial. Currently, monthly reports are produced for Program Managers in the areas of travel, hospitality, and professional services. The budget has been apportioned to Program Managers in these areas, allowing for better planning and control. An additional report showing the cost of accumulated staff overtime would be useful for managers, and the Mission should consider producing one.

Recommendation for the Mission

5.4.2 The Mission should consider further training in the area of IMS reporting for the Accounting staff.

Mission Response

5.4.2 The MCO has trained the Accountant on financial reporting. The Mission is still awaiting approval of CFSI for further financial training.

5.4.3 As MFO, the MCO approves payments for the Mission and the San Salvador Spoke under Section 33 of the FAA. When he arrived at the Mission, to improve budgetary control he devised a template showing year-to-date expenditures by general ledger (GL). This detailed sheet is helpful for the Accounting staff, who are both relatively new to their positions, allowing them to better monitor the budget and to better understand their respective roles. As the staff become more and more comfortable with the Mission budget cycle and the reporting requirements, the MCO may eliminate this extra step. Cheques are efficiently grouped and are processed and printed twice a week. An average of 160 cheques per month are produced by the Mission.

5.4.4 The Mission bank was changed at the start of the current fiscal year, following the receipt and analysis of a number of bids from local banks. The previous bank had proven to be unreliable. The new bank provides an on-line account viewing service permitting the Mission to display bank balances at any time. The Mission opened two accounts, one for USD and one for local currency (GTQ). After the first month of operations, a number of surcharges appeared on the bank statement, including fees for bank drafts and overdraft charges. These surcharges had not been mentioned during the negotiating of the bank services memorandum of understanding (MOU). As such, the Mission should make every attempt to re-open the MOU to see if some or all of these services can be included in the agreement at no cost.

Recommendation for the Mission

5.4.5 The Mission should attempt to re-open the MOU in order to eliminate the surcharges for certain services.

Mission Response

5.4.5 The Mission held a meeting with bank officials in September 2002 and renegotiated the MOU. Bank officials agreed to reduce the charges to a point where they are now considered acceptable.

5.4.6 Revenues are well controlled, with funds being counted and official receipts being issued each time money changes hands. *** The Consular Section does not use a cash register, but maintains a manual system for storing funds. Improved cash control would result with the use of a cash register, with the added benefit of the automatic issuance of a receipt for funds received. Also, reconciliation may be easier, as at the close of the day or once per week, the machine will print out a listing of all revenues received.

Recommendation for the Mission

5.4.7 The Mission should consider the acquisition of a cash register machine for better control and for the issuance of a receipt for payment.

Mission Response

5.4.7 The Mission purchased a cash register in September 2002.

5.4.8 The Mission maintains two petty cash accounts for local purchasing of supplies. *** The Mission should also consider obtaining credit cards to reduce or even replace the petty cash accounts, thus reducing the number of transactions by having a single monthly payment.

Recommendatio0ns for the Mission

5.4.9 ***

5.4.10 The Mission should consider obtaining acquisition cards for local purchases.

Mission Responses

5.4.9 ***

5.4.10 The Mission has three acquisition cards, one for MCO, one for Accounting and one for the property section. The Mission is in the process of drafting guidelines for the use of the acquisition cards. This has also been implemented in San Salvador and is working well.

5.4.11 Cablevision fees, currently in line with costs in Canada, are recovered from CBS for all SQs except for two buildings. In these two buildings, the cable fee is integrated into the condominium fee. An inquiry with building management revealed that the cablevision fee could be identified. These fees should be recovered from the CBS tenants in these SQs.

Recommendation for the Mission

5.4.12 The Mission should charge all Canada-Based Staff for cablevision fees.

Mission Response

5.4.12 Under the Hardship Program, the Mission received funds to purchase and install a satellite dish. Its use is contingent upon the occupant paying the monthly rental charge.

5.5 Information Management

5.5.1 The Information Management functions are carried out by an LE-08 Systems Administrator (SA) who reports to the MCO. The SA is responsible for managing and maintaining SIGNET, providing support to SIGNET and standalone users, and identifying and providing computer training needs. These responsibilities extend to both this Mission and its Spoke in San Salvador. The SA also provides the first line of support for the phone system including MITNET, OCTEL and the local phone lines and serves as the website co-ordinator. On average, five to six hours each week are devoted to San Salvador. In the calendar year 2001, the SA visited San Salvador on six occasions, the last visit being in December 2001. Another visit is planned shortly. While this Mission is generally pleased with the quality of service from the SA, San Salvador would welcome more visits from this individual.

5.5.2 The Mission has a Technology Committee which is chaired by the Trade Program Manager. This Committee meets quarterly to review equipment needs and discuss software issues. Inventories of all IT equipment are up to date.

5.5.3 Information is stored in the registry and electronically. The "I" drive is used to share information peculiar to each Program. Certain elements of the "I" drive are restricted to Canada-based employees only. Public folders are used by the General Relations Program with access restricted to its staff and to certain Immigration personnel. Mission staff are reminded once monthly to clear Outlook and redundant files on the "I" drive.

5.5.4 Personal telephone calls, resulting in charges to the Mission, are well controlled. Individuals making long distance calls submit an e-mail or a "Record of Long Distance Calls" form GC33A to the SA in order that the charge can be recovered at month end. Notwithstanding, the SA spends a full two days each month using Softel to monitor telephone usage. While this monitoring was worthwhile when it was initially launched a couple of years ago when significant amounts were recovered, the "honour system" is now working effectively. Little is being recovered over and above the amount already identified by the caller. In consequence, the SA's time could be more judiciously used elsewhere. Periodic, rather than regularized monitoring, is all that is required.

Recommendation for the Mission

5.5.5 The Mission should reduce the monitoring of long distance calls, and move to a system of random monthly verification.

Mission Response

5.5.5 Appropriate action has taken place.

Appendix A - Resources Fact Sheet

Personnel (FTEs)

HOM Office257
General Relations11.52.5
International Business Development12.53.5

Physical Resources


Financial Information 2002-2003

LES Salaries$847,845
CB Overtime$6,700

Office of the Inspector General


Date Modified: