An audit of the Political, Economic Reporting and Public Affairs (PERPA), the International Business Development (IBD), the Consular and the Administration Programs was conducted in New York Consulate General from June 12 to 20, 2003. A previous audit took place in 1997.
The new HOM has expanded the Mission's network of contacts and value-added activities by leveraging the numerous visits from Canada and strategically focussing Mission program objectives and events. The HOM is supported by a team of high level and experienced officers including a DHOM and OGD and provincial representatives. Morale at the Mission is good with staff appreciative of communications and leadership exhibited by management. There is a need, however, for longer-term strategic planning that incorporates the many visits, OR events and program objectives. This could be accomplished through a retreat including all programs along with participants from HQ.
The PERPA Program requires definition of expected results and a reorientation from a passive and reactive mode to a proactive approach tied into the above mentioned strategic priorities of the Mission. A retreat of all PERPA and HQ stakeholders would promote a results based plan and accountability framework as tools to be used by program management to demonstrate, and for the HOM and HQ to assess, performance.
The IBD is led by very capable managers, supported by a team that works well together. HOM activities are integrated, particularly corporate liaison and outreach. There is a strong commitment to the New Approach and TCS service standards. Program limitations include insufficient resources to cover the tri-state territory and a low ratio of support personnel to officers. The Princeton, New Jersey Office needs to be better integrated with IBD activities.
The Consular and Administration Programs are well managed, headed by an experienced MCO. The recent addition of a CBS Consular Officer has resulted in improved consular service. Administration is serving the Mission well, however, resources are stretched and an increasing client base is making it difficult to maintain services levels, particularly in the personnel function. Documented goals, procedures and service standards would improve client access and service delivery.
A total of 45 audit recommendations are raised in the report; 39 are addressed to the Mission and six 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 45 recommendations, management has stated that 25 recommendations have been implemented. For each of the remaining 20 recommendations, management has indicated the initiative in progress or the intended future action.
1.1 The Consulate General In New York is very active, operating in a fast- paced and dynamic environment. The Mission is important in Canada's on-going and often challenging relationship with the United States. The new HOM is making considerable progress, in highly competitive circumstances, towards objectives of expanding a network of high-level and influential contacts and increasing value-added activities.
1.2 The Mission is well managed with the HOM providing strategic leadership and direction with strong support from the DHOM. The HOM has challenged program managers and staff with new initiatives and new directions. This at times has caused concern internally, particularly within the PERPA Program where programming priorities have not always been in accordance with overall Mission strategies. This impasse has resulted in differences at the management level which in turn have negatively impacted operations.
1.3 The Mission's strategies and objectives would also benefit through more dialogue and coordination with the geographic and other HQ partners. A major element requiring clearer definition and better coordination is visit management. The Mission is heavily impacted by visits and joint efforts to better prioritize and schedule these would leverage their usefulness and minimize the impact on operations. An annual retreat with Mission management and HQ partners would be a useful mechanism to set direction and programming objectives and to obtain the support and participation of HQ.
1.4 The Mission should hold an annual retreat with HQ participation to review and establish strategies, objectives and programming.
1.4 CNGNY has unique demands and responsibilities in the financial, entertainment and media capital of the world, including a significantly higher number of client visits. The key to operating a results-based, proactive mission in this environment is sufficient resources - human and financial. The continued effective pursuit of strategies, objectives and programming could be enhanced by taking these requirements into consideration. We recognize the importance of consultation with our HQ interlocutors and this could be done through annual retreats. Consideration should be given to planning retreats at locations that are closer to missions. In order to develop greater consultation with HQ, we would welcome visits of superiors to NYC so that they might witness our activity levels and participate in strategic planning.
1.5 The Chancery is located in the Rockefeller building in downtown Manhattan. The Immigration and Administration Sections are housed in the basement of the building, in a windowless and confining work environment. Even though the remainder of the Chancery is located on the main floor of the building, the location does not provide a visible storefront for Canada.
1.6 In our opinion, there is value in considering co-location of the Consulate General and the Permanent Mission which are within one mile of each other. A long-term assessment of our physical presence in New York should be conducted and a business case developed by the Mission, in cooperation with SRD. Senior management in both Missions should work in partnership to seriously consider potential operational savings and efficiencies.
1.7 In consultation with senior management, SRD and the Mission should conduct a business case to assess the feasibility of co-locating the two New York missions.
1.7 SRD will be holding discussions with key stakeholders in 2005/6 to ascertain support for proceeding with this initiative. ***
1.8 There is a need to recruit a LES Human Resource Officer to address workload pressures and operating issues. The HR function is split between the MCO, program managers and their staff and the MCO's assistant. This has resulted in unclear roles and responsibilities and fragmented and inefficient recruitment and staffing processes. Also, pay and benefit and other information are not readily available to staff. The Mission has made a case to HQ for assistance.
1.9 NAD should provide funding to the Mission for a Human Resources Officer.
1.9 AAM funded an LE 07 human resources position in late 2003.
1.10 The LES Committee is not meeting often enough and when it does individuals are reluctant to bring up issues that deal with their programs as these meetings include the HOM, the MCO and the PM for CIC. It was also noted that discussion of issues in general was often limited when carried out in front of management. There is a need for the Committee to meet periodically with its membership to illicit input and to be able to have open discussion. Resulting issues should then be raised to management as represented by the MCO and the HOM.
1.11 Provide advice and guidance to the LES Committee to encourage regular meetings, with and without management representatives, as determined by the Committee.
1.11 New guidelines re: structure and mandate of the LES Committee encompassing the above recommendations were approved by the Mission's Executive Committee on September 23, 2003 and are now in practice.
1.12 Through discussions with staff and the LES Committee the issue of appraisals was raised. Some staff had not received appraisals for a number of years. In other cases appraisals covering several years were done only recently. It is important that goals and objectives be established for each employee and that regular feedback be given on performance related to the achievement of these goals and objectives. Appraisals also serve as a useful process for management to engage employees in a discussion about their work and training needs.
1.13 Ensure that appraisals are done annually for all staff and that a system is in place to followup on overdue appraisals.
1.13 Agreed. Followup system will be the responsibility of the new human resources officer. Mission awaiting Chancery re-configuration to accommodate this officer which should be completed by October 1, 2004.
1.14 Employees have received training and can request training that they feel is required. This process is informal and dependent on available budgets and time. The Mission does not have a formal training plan that identifies and combines the priority areas for training in each program with the specific training needs of staff. This process is usually linked to the appraisal process.
1.15 In conjunction with the appraisal process, training plans should be developed in each program to form an overall Mission training plan.
1.15 Mission training plan will be developed, provided funding and replacement staff are made available. The management of this plan will be assigned to the human resources officer, once he/she is in place.
2.1.1 The importance of Congen's Political, Economic Reporting and Public Affairs (PERPA) Program in the foremost media, cultural and economic centre cannot be overstated. The program is key to the advancement of Canada's interests and influencing opinion leaders. The program is well resourced in staff and in funding compared to other US consulates - prerequisites for coping with the incredible visits load, many of which are high level and with short lead times. The HOM has repositioned the mission to take a dynamic and assertive approach to outreach activities.
2.2.1 In this environment, the program and program management need to be more dynamic, focussed and results-based. Greater leadership is required in areas of strategy and priority setting. The Mission has many partners within HQ, in OGDs and within the Mission and must be prepared to influence and be influenced by these partners in setting out the direction of the program. The most efficient manner in carrying this out may be through annual strategy retreats with key partners, perhaps alternating location between HQ and New York. The approach would help ensure that the Mission and its partners are on the same page with respect to direction, priorities and deliverables. A recommendation to stage a retreat has been made in the Management of the Mission Section of this report.
2.2.2 The Political Program divides its time equally between its advocacy role and its role in support of visits. The Mission supports two or three major visits per month and a steady stream of lower profile visitors. The Mission is not prolific in its reporting but does report on key issues. Like most political programs it feels there is a need for more dialogue with HQ on priorities of files and reporting and more feedback on reporting that does take place. Nevertheless, there is sufficient dialogue within the Mission to set out a reasonable program for its resources and time available. HQ direction to the program could be clearer on client, topic and frequency of reporting.
2.2.3 On a quarterly basis, with the geographic branch, formally set out reporting priorities and frequency of reporting.
2.2.3 The Mission is active and prompt in reporting on priority issues, both through the NUR advocacy report and with timely (usually same-day) reports on developing political and economic issues and on visits and other advocacy-related events. The Consulate's first priority is to anticipate, initiate and react in areas and on subjects of relevance to Tri-State clients in order to promote Canada and Canadian interests. These may not always fit an Ottawa-designed template encompassing the entire U.S. Proper co-ordination and consultation with HQ will always be vital. Further consideration is required as to whether annual strategy retreats would be the best mechanism for accomplishing this.
2.2.4 The Cultural and Public Affairs Programs are well resourced with strong and experienced staff in each sector. The programs have larger budgets than most missions and expectations are therefore correspondingly high. The Academic Program, however, is unfortunately stalled due to the absence of the lead officer.
2.2.5 The resource allocation in the PERPA Programs has changed under the current HOM, who is far more active than predecessors in her outreach activities. The HOM requires a far greater level of support and this has required shifting some resources from more traditional work. There is some resistance. While resources are adequate, the program, in conjunction with the front office, should assess its activities and duties to ensure that the unit is properly structured and focussed to support the large volume increase in outreach activities. The Library is now shouldering a significant portion of the research work in support of the outreach activities. Resources need to be assessed from both the "activity support" and the "follow-up" side since both are critical to an effective outreach effort. Staff in the programs indicated that more support staff would be most beneficial.
2.2.6 Assess whether the allocation of resources and work-flow within the program are optimized to support both program objectives and support for outreach activities.
2.2.6 Agreed. Flexibility in resource allocation is an essential. This is an ongoing consideration for the program and for the Mission as a whole. With an ever-expanding range of activities, this could be more properly accomplished with increased human and financial resources.
2.2.7 The programs would also benefit from more frequent staff meetings. Scheduled meetings were being cancelled because staff had conflicting appointments and meetings were viewed by some as voluntary. The round-table approach was also seen to be of limited value. Staff would appreciate more frequent meetings - mandatory weekly ones - to discuss strategies, priorities, workload and resource shifts.
2.2.8 Set up weekly staff meetings where strategies, priorities and workloads can be discussed and corresponding decisions made.
2.2.8 Done. More formal schedule for weekly meetings was implemented in October 2003.
2.2.9 With New York as the world's media capital and delivering Canada's message such a key role for Congen, the Mission should review its capacity to manage this function effectively. The CBS in the PERPA Program are responsible for media relations supported by one LES who dedicates only 15% of her time to the function. In the interests of ensuring continuity and developing local expertise and contacts, the Mission may wish to consider developing an LES media position that is perhaps 50% or more dedicated to the function. Media Relations is also hampered by its limitations in French language capacity. HR will need to consider linguistic capabilities on rotation of program staff.
2.2.10 Explore program and mission resources to determine if creating an LES media position is feasible.
2.2.10 The addition of such an officer would assist those officers already engaged in media relations and allow the program to be more activist and comprehensive in this regard. However, the Mission does not have the flexibility within current resources to create a new position.
2.2.11 Ensure that there is French and English capacity among those positions that will be responsible for media relations.
2.2.11 Agreed. The two officers with the main responsibility for media relations are bilingual.
2.2.12 As with other programs, PERPA is in many ways hostage to Manhattan. While being Manhattan-focussed is understandable, a strategy should also be developed with HQ to provide more effective regional coverage. Some interesting small office models are developing in other parts of the world that may be applicable to this Mission and its territory. This could also be a subject for discussion during retreats.
2.2.13 Financial management and record-keeping are very good in this program and need to be because of large volumes of transactions and dollars processed. In this regard a more consistent data capture tool would be helpful. This past year was a particularly difficult one to manage because HQ was working on Treasury Board processes that prevented monies from being allocated to missions until well into the fiscal year. To a degree this has happened for several years with the result that missions are pressured to carry out programming in a compressed time-frame, thereby adding to the risk of spending inefficiently and ineffectively. Our sampling of payments showed a significant level of year-end spending and four cases where after-the fact spending had occurred. Improvement is required in this area.
2.2.14 Develop an event/grant template to ensure key data is captured every time and in a consistent fashion (event, venue, rationale, budget and after-the-event evaluation).
2.2.15 Manage the program to avoid year-end rushes.
2.2.14 Done September 2003.
2.2.15 Agreed, to the extent that this is possible in a system where budget cycles and program cycles do not always coincide. The normal cycle of the activities in NY concentrates spending in the Fall and late Winter. Delays in budget approvals can make planned spending difficult. Note: this section operates eight separate budgets.
2.2.16 The LES in PERPA raised a number of operating issues that mission management will need to address as matters of policy. It is the nature of the Cultural Program that events most often occur during evenings and weekends. To improve their effectiveness, LES would like to be able to remain in the Chancery beyond normal closing time while they await their evening events. This will need to be explored with the Security Bureau. The issue of overtime while attending evening or weekend events is also contentious. The issue of whether event tickets should be charged to hospitality; operating budgets; or not at all is also a policy decision that will need to be made. These issues are not unique to this PERPA Program nor to this Mission and advice should be sought from policy units and functional units in HQ.
2.2.17 In consultation with appropriate policy and functional bureaux in HQ, establish mission policies for after-hours access, overtime at cultural events and event ticket charging.
2.2.17 The access issue depends on application of HQ-determined policy. Mission is eager for a positive resolution. On overtime, any officer required to work is always entitled to compensation. Ticket-charging depends on a clear link to work responsibilities.
2.3.1 The Audit Team was accompanied by two librarians from SXKL who were assisting the team to evaluate the Mission's library as part of an overall audit of the HQ and mission libraries. The librarians' findings are the subject of a separate report. In the mid 1990's the Library (Research Centre) staff was downsized from four to two positions. Whereas originally the Library focussed on services to external clients, it has shifted to Mission clients who now account for 75% of all requests. Floor space was reduced by 60% in 1997 and further downsizing is planned, but the new location of the Centre has given it a central location closer to staff. Staff are hard-working, approachable and helpful and play an integral role in delivering information to staff. The Centre has successfully adapted its services to an electronic information environment. The Head Librarian is the co-ordinator for the Mission's main web site and cultural web site and newsletter "Upper North Side" - PERPA's main vehicle for disseminating Canadian cultural news and events. A local community college provides two interns on six month terms at no charge to the Mission. The librarians on the Audit Team suggested that the Mission consider establishing a permanent position to assume responsibility for the web site and desktop publishing. The Mission has a strong requirement for research services and the demands placed on the Centre relative to the web do not allow it to focus and tailor its value-added research services to the fullest extent possible. The creation of a permanent position would also remove the heavy reliance on the volunteer intern program. The Centre is also responsible for maintaining the Mission's contacts database of approximately 30,000 names. The Centre should review and update its mandate to ensure that it reflects the current information needs of the Mission. The report also recommends that service level standards should be agreed upon by the Mission and posted so all clients, both internal and external, will be aware of what services are available to them.
2.3.2 The mandate and resourcing of the Research Centre should be reviewed as per the SXKL report and within the Mission's resource constraints.
2.3.2 Mission awaits the SXKL report with respect to specific recommendations and will assess the resources required.
3.1.1 The IBD Program is responsible for the promotion of trade and investment in the tri-state region of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Until January of 2003, the program was headed by the Deputy Consul General (EX-03). At that time, both the Investment Consul position and the Trade Consul positions were upgraded from FS-02 to EX-01 and are now referred to as Senior Investment Officer and Senior Trade Commissioner respectively. This change clarified reporting relationships in that there is now no confusion that the Trade Commissioner for Culture funded by Heritage Canada and the Trade Commissioner in Princeton report to the Senior Trade Commissioner. In addition to these positions, the IBD Program has four Business Development Officers (BDOs), a LES Investment Officer and four Business Development Assistants (BDAs). Both the Senior Investment Officer and Senior Trade Commissioner will be departing the Mission this summer.
3.1.2 Despite the economic downturn in the United States and the various implications of promoting business in New York and the US post September 11, the IBD Program remains busy. In fact, according to TCS data, this Mission has among the largest volumes of clients per officer. It is thus paradoxical that the New York office has been asked to cut one BDO position at a time when HQ is calling for enhanced representation in the United States. Based on client demand (i.e. number of enquiries), the Mission has decided to cut the BDO responsible for Life Sciences effective September 2003. This, despite the fact that Life Sciences is considered a priority sector in the US.
3.1.3 The IBD Program is staffed by dynamic and creative individuals who are delivering at a high level. It is overseen by a former Chief Trade Commissioner and Ambassador who provides stability and guidance.
3.2.1 The IBD Program is composed of numerous parts (Trade, Investment, Princeton, Heritage, Ontario, Bank of Canada and Finance). These programs operate well together and are characterized by staff as "synergistic." Three of the four BDOs are new to the position having been with the Mission for less than one year. Given their relative inexperience, it will be important for the new Senior Trade Commissioner, arriving in the summer 2003, to be "hands on" in mentoring these officers and ensuring consistency of service delivery during a period of transition.
3.2.2 There are four BDA positions in the program: one BDA assists the Deputy Consul General and serves as WIN Champion, one serves as Assistant to the Investment Program, another serves as a Junior BDO co-managing two sectors, and the fourth divides her time between the Cultural Officer and the InfoCentre. Despite having four BDAs, there is a lack of administrative and research support provided to program managers and LES officers. As a result, officers spend too much of their time doing low level activities such as setting up their appointments, researching and doing the administration required for out calls. Some of this activity could and should be done by an effective InfoCentre. Such a Centre, if appropriately staffed, would be responsible for news clipping, setting up of appointments, sector research, meeting follow-up and presentation development. The Centre could service trade, investment and perhaps provide some support to the Princeton office. Boston, a nearby mission, has an effective, well resourced InfoCentre. It would be advisable for management to visit Boston in order to model itself after this operation.
3.2.3 The Mission should analyze the current role of its BDAs with a view to expanding its InfoCentre in terms of resources and functions.
3.2.3 The Mission has reviewed job content and work load with each program assistant and could not find any flexibility in order to expand the Info Centre. The Mission concurs that the Info Centre concept is an extremely useful tool, freeing valuable time for the BDOs to concentrate on the value added they can offer their clients. The Mission has no flexibility to fund this added support and addressed this requirement in a memo to NUB dated October 24.
3.2.4 Officers are delivering results, however, there is a need for a standardized approach to the setting and evaluating of annual objectives. To assist with this, the Senior Investment Officer and Senior Trade Commissioner should establish accountability agreements with their officers. This would clarify expectations in measurable terms that would allow their officers to know the basis upon which performance is to be evaluated. These accountability agreements would link to the performance management agreements of the Senior Investment Officer and the Senior Trade Commissioner.
3.2.5 The Mission should adopt accountability agreements for all LES officers. These agreements should form the basis for annual evaluations (appraisals).
3.2.5 An accountability agreement process with the BDOs has been in place since December 2003.
3.2.6 The program has submitted a CSF Business Plan which has been received and approved by TBX. All parties agree that Client Service Funding (CSF) is sufficient. Indeed, it is felt that a larger budget may be detrimental to the program's primary objective of building networks through an aggressive out call program. The Mission has a CSF budget of $ 265,000 and Princeton $23,000. Heritage Canada also contributes monies to support activities of the Heritage officer.
3.2.7 Office, meeting room and function space are sufficient for the IBD Program in New York. The current configuration, however, is less than optimal as staff of the Trade Development Section are physically divided at both ends of the office with staff of other sections in between. The Ontario officer and his assistant need to switch offices with the BDO agri-food and building products and the BDA/Junior BDO to allow for greater compartmentalization of the Section.
3.2.8 Steps should be taken to better configure the offices of the Trade Development Section.
3.2.8 All the BDOs are now located together. The re-configuration of floor plans will provide for further adjustments upon completion of the project which is due October 1, 2004.
3.3.1 Officers based in the New York office are consistent in saying they spend upwards of 90% of their time in Manhattan. This is largely a result of the size and depth of the New York City market but also a function of the transportation challenges. The result is that the office is unable to cover its complete territory (Eastern and Southern New York State, Connecticut, New Jersey and Bermuda). This is not a recent phenomenon. Alternate forms of regional coverage require exploration. The creation of one or more "virtual offices" staffed by LES or contract staff working from their homes or perhaps in shared office arrangements are options that need to be considered. The Mission's territory is small which would enable these employees to visit the Consulate as required. A recent audit visit to our Bangalore Trade Office in India which was staffed with only two LES indicated a very effective operation at relatively low cost.
3.3.2 Consideration should be given to alternative forms of representation in the New York region. Options include virtual offices staffed by LES (Bangalore model); contract staff working from their homes or shared executive offices.
3.3.2 NAD will consider if and when it has additional resources to improve the level of service.
3.4.1 The New York office has excellent band width and connection speed. Technology tools have been slow in coming but the Mission is currently well served. Canada-Based staff have Blackberries, Signet Remote Access and cell phones. The Mission has two floating laptops. WIN utilization, when compared to other missions, is relatively high but it is not consistently used by officers. Investment staff use CLIMS to track major investment clients but their secondary clients are not efficiently managed.
3.4.2 Local contact tracking is a concern as the Mission is using Outlook Contacts to track. The system is burdened by over 30,000 contacts and, as such, search features are extremely slow. Contacts is a repository and not an effective client relationship management tool.
3.4.3 TCE is developing a Client Relationship Management (e-CRM) tool; however, the forecast timeline for implementation is some time away.
3.4.4 The Mission should consult with TCE to determine what options are immediately available, in terms of purchasing a new contact management system or using existing tools.
3.4.4 A new Virtual Trade Commissioner 2 software, for deployment by April 2005, is being developed in Ottawa and will facilitate the management of local contacts.
3.5.1 IBD staff are well versed and good users of the New Approach tools and methodology. All have had training. While they apply the six core services, the Business Mission Agreement (BMA) is under-utilized despite a large number of missions. Officers have a focus on value-added activities such as network building. The Mission did not receive positive results in its client survey. The Princeton results were integrated with those of New York and it was difficult to discern between the two.
3.5.2 In future client surveys, Princeton's results should be separated from those of New York.
3.5.3 The Mission should employ the BMA for incoming missions.
3.5.2 The Mission concurs, with the caveat that until Princeton has proper resources, the sample size of its client base will remain too small to be statistically significant.
3.5.3 The Business Mission Agreement is already being used by the IBD program for incoming larger missions. The model has been distributed to the Executive Committee to review its applicability to other programs.
3.6.1 New York hosted a two day New Approach at work training session early in 2003. All officers participated. Two of the BDAs who are new participated in a two week New Approach and departmental familiarization program offered by TCS in May of 2003. Staff are able to take local professional training; however, some expressed a desire for official language training.
3.6.2 The Mission should consider French language training for those staff who request it.
3.6.2 Development of training plans for the Mission will be the responsibility of the new HR position which should be on strength shortly after October 1, 2004. The Mission will work with CFSI to determine the best method of training and whether funding is available for official language training.
3.7.1 The IBD team is staffed by energetic and capable individuals. BDOs have been hired, in theory, on a three year term which is extendable by two years. The principle behind this is to encourage a dynamic work environment despite the limited scope for career progression offered by LES positions. The principle has been undermined, however, by the decision to engage on a permanent basis, a BDO who had reached his five year tenure. It is commonly believed by CBS and LES that the five year program, if challenged, would be difficult to legally justify and as such may not be enforced.
3.8.1 The Investment Program is headed by the Consul and Senior Investment Officer (EX-01) who is supported by a commercial investment officer and an assistant. The nature of the job changed post September 11 as the promotion of investment required a softer sell in what was normally a tough market. The four core areas of the program are corporate liaison with American and Japanese companies based in the territory; targeting of new greenfield investment opportunities; directing US venture capital towards Canadian firms; and, strategic marketing of Canada as a business partner. There is much scope for Investment and given the horizontal nature of the investment portfolio, the team has worked well with BDOs, PERPA, Princeton and the Provinces. The program is active and has delivered on a number of innovative projects. The program has an active corporate liaison program which makes effective use of the Consul General and has worked effectively with Provinces to get exposure for Canada in important sectoral publications.
3.9.1 The promotion of Canadian cultural products is led by the Trade Commissioner Cultural Industries (FS-02). This is a position created by Heritage Canada in July of 2002 with a two year funding horizon. This position came with funding for 0.5 FTE in the form of a BDA. It is expected that the funding and positions will be extended. The officer has overcome initial resistance from the two LES PERPA officers who handle culture. The PERPA officers do promotion of Canadian events and activities whereas the Heritage officer works as a Trade Commissioner promoting the sale of Canadian cultural products. The officer is enthusiastic, well organized and has initiated a number of leading practices in reporting and tracking. The officer expressed some concern about the administration of his budgets and the fact that culture has received the least amount of CSF funding of any sector.
3.10.1 The Princeton office is unique in DFAIT as it is the only mission where there is a one Canada-Based Officer presence with no permanent support staff. The officer operates from his residence which is located on a large isolated estate. This is not ideal but when the residence was leased the real estate market was very tight. Today executive office space can be found at a reasonable cost. This officer is detached and not an integral part of the New York office. With the newly developed reporting structure, this position will now report to the Senior Trade Commissioner. This officer should participate in regularly scheduled meetings of program staff with more frequent visits to the New York Mission.
3.10.2 Steps should be taken to engage the Canada-Based position in Princeton as an active part of the overall New York IBD Program.
3.10.3 Consideration should be given to having the Canada-Based Officer in Princeton operate from an office separate from the residence.
3.10.2 The officer in Princeton is now under the supervision of the IBD Program Manager, and like other Canada-based BDOs and BDAs in the International Business section, he participates in all the weekly trade section meetings.
3.10.3 The Mission reviewed this option and found that it does not address the key issue of the lack of support staff in Princeton. The Mission reiterated the need for additional support staff for Princeton in a memo to NUB on October 24 (as recommended in 3.10.7 below).
3.10.4 The Princeton Program is focussed on the biotech sector in a State which has 16 of the top 19 pharmaceutical companies worldwide. There is significant work being done and potential to do much more. Given the lack of a BDO or full time BDA, the officer is limited to working the biotech sector and cannot take advantage of his location to visit major ICT players. There is also an active environmental sector in New Jersey which is not being tapped.
3.10.5 The divide between Princeton and New York in Life Sciences has Princeton doing bio-technology and New York primarily doing medical devices. With the elimination of the BDO position in New York, Princeton does not feel it will be able to pick up the resulting workload and territory.
3.10.6 After much delay and effort, the Princeton office is only now fully equipped on the technology front. The officer receives support one day every two weeks from the New York librarian who pays bills, does filing and numerous other administrative functions. This librarian is also available 15-20%, while in the New York Mission, to support the Princeton Office. Interns are also used periodically by the Office. Notwithstanding, there are local administrative challenges that are unavoidable and consume an estimated 25 percent of this officer's time. This officer admits that because of this, he operates largely in a reactive mode on several sectoral initiatives. He believes a full-time support resource, as was the case prior to 1998, would permit him to be more proactive on several key sector developments. The addition of a full-time support resource would also ensure continuity of corporate memory. A business case for this incremental position has been developed for submission to NAD.
3.10.7 Consideration should be given to resourcing the Princeton Office to the same level as other satellite offices in the US.
3.10.7 The problem of sector coverage has been largely resolved by the assignment of a Technology Partnering Officer (TPO) to the Mission. This should enable the Princeton officer to continue to focus on the rich potential of the bio-science cluster in the Princeton region while the TPO in New York City covers other sectors.
4.1.1 The Consular Program is managed by a CBS Consular Officer who reports to the MCO. The Mission is responsible for consular services in Southern New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey, and provides support for an Honorary Consul in Bermuda.
4.1.2 The program operates as a relatively independent section within the Mission, involving the MCO and HOM when necessary for higher profile cases. Staff meetings are held on a weekly basis, and the PM encourages staff to meet with her at any time. An experienced LE-09 Consular Officer reports to the PM and works closely with her on case management issues, as well as supervising two LE-06 Consular Assistants. General inquiries from the public and passport and citizenship duties are shared between the assistants. Appraisals for all three LES have been completed or are in process and training needs have been identified and actioned within the past year.
4.1.3 The creation of a CBS Consular Officer position as PM in 2002 has allowed the Mission to effectively manage the increase in workload that occurred since the September 11 tragedy in New York. The PM has professionally and constructively managed staff concerns related to changes in reporting relationships and has created a more team-based approach in the section. Improving service to clients has been a major focus since her arrival and this will continue to be an objective for the coming year.
4.2.1 The section adequately provides service in both official languages and consistently meets or exceeds departmental service standards. Hours of operation are posted on the Internet site as 9:00 to 3:00, Monday to Friday; however staff will accommodate cases outside these hours. Approximately 20 walk-in clients are received daily and telephone inquiries average 10 -15 calls per day for each employee. Client service is improving in this high volume environment.
4.2.2 There are a total of 117 prisoners detained in the Mission's territory. Contact, either in person or by phone, is made on a yearly basis in compliance with consular service standards. The PM and LE-09 Consular Officer also manage transfers of detainees between the US and Canada through the Transfer of Offenders Treaty.
4.3.1 The Mission issues approximately 50 passports per month, generally for emergency or urgent requests. All other applications are forwarded to the Passport Office in Hull. This is a well managed operation with good controls in place and regular reconciliations for consular revenues and passport documents.
4.3.2 As part of the audit, a physical count was done which verified the Mission's inventory of blank passports and labels. The Mission currently has a larger inventory of passports (approx. 2000) than it requires as a result of extra quantities sent after September 11, 2002. Reconciliations are done monthly and are properly documented. Boxes that were opened to verify contents have not been re-sealed. Given the large inventory to be counted each month, re-sealing the boxes once verified will decrease time required to take inventory and reduce risk of missing passports.
4.3.3 A small working supply of passports and labels is kept in a safe that all consular staff have access to during the day. Control of these passports should be delegated to one individual who can track the distribution of supplies as needed to other consular staff.
4.3.4 There is one petty cash valued at 200 USD in the section, which is primarily used for financial assistance to distressed Canadians. It is securely stored in a safe and reconciled regularly, ***. For the protection of all employees, access to the petty cash should be limited to one employee who can control disbursements within the section.
4.3.5 Open boxes of passports should be re-sealed once contents are verified.
4.3.6 A working supply of passports should be delegated to one consular staff member who will control and distribute documents as needed to other staff.
4.3.7 Assign access to the petty cash to one consular staff member. ***
4.3.5 Completed September 2003.
4.3.6 Implemented August 2003. Officer responsible is the Consular Manager and in his/her absence the Consular Program Officer.
4.3.7 Because of conflicting work schedules and periodic absences, both the Consular Manager and Consular Program Officer have been delegated responsibility for the petty cash since September 2003. ***
4.4.1 The PM has visited the Honorary Consul in Bermuda once since her arrival. The Mission is satisfied with the level of service being provided to Canadians in Bermuda and is in regular contact with the operation. However, there is no formal agreement to outline the roles and responsibilities of each party. Expenses incurred and invoiced to the Mission for last year's services, though reasonable, lacked adequate support.
4.4.2 Develop a formal Memorandum of Understanding between the Mission and the Honorary Consul for the provision of consular services in Bermuda. This should include roles, responsibilities, and financial arrangements between the two parties.
4.4.2 A Memorandum of Understanding between the Mission and the Honorary Consul for the provision of consular services in Bermuda is currently being prepared and will be in place by December 31, 2004.
5.1.1 The Administration Program is headed by an experienced Management Consular Officer (MCO), an EX-01. The program serves a staff complement of 80 including 21 CBS and 59 LES, maintains a Crown-leased chancery, a Crown-owned Official Residence (OR) and 11 Crown-owned staff quarters (SQ), and administers an operating budget of $6,843,508 and an LES salary budget of $4,518,834. There are 15 administrative staff supporting the MCO.
5.1.2 Administration is serving the Mission well. The MCO and his staff are very experienced, qualified and dedicated. The MCO empowers his staff by delegating the day-to-day responsibilities to each function and interjecting when necessary on high level, sensitive or complex issues. Communications in the section are good and staff have ongoing access to the MCO and appreciate his knowledge and expertise.
5.1.3 The main challenges facing the Administration Program are the lack of resources to maintain service levels with an increasing client base, the need for documented goals and objectives for each section, and developing formalized procedures and service standards to enhance client access and improve service delivery.
5.1.4 The program has only recently received an additional resource (which has yet to be staffed) that will provide one-half of an FTE to both property and finance. This resource will address workload issues and improve back-up capability to these functions. Of greater urgency is the need for a resource to cover the personnel function. At present, personnel activities are split between the MCO, program managers, the accountant and the MCO's assistant. There is no dedicated or central repository to respond to requests, to provide information or to maintain files and documentation. This deficiency was highlighted by program managers, staff and the LES Committee (see recommendation in the Mission Management Section). Greater efficiencies can be obtained through developing procedures for each function that would outline roles and responsibilities, how to access services, service standards and expectations. These exist for the Information Management function and can be used as a model for all areas of the Administration Program. Once completed this information can be communicated to all staff and maintained for easy reference on the Mission's I-drive or on the proposed intranet site.
5.1.5 Goals and objectives should be established for each section.
5.1.6 Procedures and service standards should be developed and communicated to all staff.
5.1.5 Goals for each section will be established prior to end of current calendar year.
5.1.6 Service standards will be developed in order to comply with the generic MOU for partner organizations. These same service standards will be used for all clients. This mission is scheduled to complete these service standards by December 2004.
5.2.1 Human Resources (HR) is the responsibility of the MCO. As mentioned above, the lack of a dedicated resource has resulted in inconsistent, and therefore unreliable, service to the Mission and its employees. The accountant spends 40% of her time on personnel related activities but does not have the training or time to ensure quality service. The administrative assistant provides support in terms of scheduling, processing and maintaining files. Much of the onus for personnel issues has fallen to the programs, particularly staffing actions. This impacts on program resources and increases the risk of errors and inefficient processing. Moreover, many of the deficiencies covered in this section are, in part, due to the absence of a dedicated HR resource.
5.2.2 As mentioned above, responsibility for the staffing process falls mainly on programs with advice and oversight provided by the MCO. A more consistent staffing process and better support to programs could be attained with a dedicated HR resource. Documentation supporting competition files was difficult to locate, some of it being held by the programs and some in Administration. Letters of offer are required by the existing staffing delegation to the Mission HOM, to be signed by the HOM. Files examined revealed that letters of offer were being issued by the MCO. As well, five recent hires have been offered starting salaries at the mid-level step, the maximum that the Mission can authorize. The rationale for these exceptions were not properly supported or did not fall under the criteria that allow for an exception.
5.2.3 The Mission should ensure that offers of employment are signed by the HOM.
5.2.4 For starting salaries above step 1, the Mission should ensure that proper pre-defining conditions exist.
5.2.5 HRL should review the decisions made for starting salaries above step 1 and determine corrective action required.
5.2.5 Corrective action is not advised. This issue relates to the relevance of the salary scale and the ability to recruit good candidates.
5.2.6 HQ has requested the Mission to review and update reliability checks for all staff to ensure that required documentation has been obtained and is current. HQ records indicate only a 30% file completion rate. The Mission is in the process of carrying out this request.
5.2.7 Ensure that reliability checks are complete and that the Mission's records match those of HQ.
5.2.7 Mission is now completing all checks in accordance with set procedures and will have updated the reliability checks of all employees mentioned on ISCT's list by February 10, 2004.
5.2.8 The LES Committee raised several issues, primary of which was the lack of a personnel section to provide advice and assistance to employees and the Committee. The Committee has to compensate by doing research on issues that it wishes to pursue with management. Other issues raised were a LES Handbook that has not been updated since 1994, lack of progress on classification actions, the absence of goals and objectives for employees, after hours access to the office and inconsistent appraisal completion.
5.2.9 The functioning of the Committee was raised and is reported on in the Mission Management Section of this report.
5.2.10 There are several positions where incumbents feel that duties and responsibilities have changed to the extent that a reclassification may be warranted. Three cases in particular were cited, the accountant, the assistant accountant and the property manager positions. In order to expedite these cases the Mission, through comparison with other missions and available benchmark data, should determine whether there is sufficient change to present these positions to the classification committee. To ensure transparency, employees need to be consulted and advised as to the action being taken and related results. It was noted that one of the obstacles to proceeding is that the budget will not cover any increases in salary resulting from reclassifications. Notwithstanding the budget situation, positions are required to be accurately classified according to the work being performed.
5.2.11 Identify positions that have undergone changes, and where warranted submit these for classification review.
5.2.11 Mission has identified and reviewed the said positions. We have determined that most of the positions did not warrant re-classification, as the reasons for the requests were based mainly on workload increases rather than changes in responsibility or substance. Review of positions for re-classification is an ongoing exercise which does have an impact on resources.
5.3.1 The Property Manager is responsible for the management of the Mission's physical resources which includes a leased Chancery and twelve Crown-owned staff quarters (SQ) as well as the Official Residence. The Mission Property Management Plan (MPMP) and information in PRIME are up-to-date. Inventories for the Official Residence and SQs are current.
5.3.2 The SQ portfolio is valuable, with owned properties having appreciated significantly since their purchase in the 1960's. However, some are aging and will require extensive, costly maintenance in the near term. Currently, the aggregate cost for maintenance, property taxes, and condo fees average between $60,000 to $90,000 a year for each SQ. Approximately half of the CBS occupy Crown-owned SQ's, with the balance undertaking private leases. The rent ceiling for private leases has been set at $8,000 per month. Considering the high maintenance costs for SQ's and the comparative rental costs, there is a need to consider disposal of some of our most aging units.
5.3.3 Management of the SQ's occupies a large portion of the Property Manager's workload. Development of service standards and standardizing procedures for requesting services would help to manage expectations and enhance service.
5.3.4 Mission management, in partnership with SRD, should review the SQ portfolio and assess whether there would be economic advantages in the disposal of some of the SQ's.
5.3.5 The Property Manager and MCO should develop and implement service standards.
5.3.4 Mission will work with SRD and AAM to assess the financial implications of disposing of Crown-owned accommodation.
5.3.5 As indicated in 5.1.5, service standards will be developed and implemented in December 2004.
5.4.1 The Accounts Section operates under the general direction of the MCO. The section is currently staffed with an accountant and two accounting clerks. One of the clerical positions is shared with the Property Program but will soon be assigned to the Accounts Section on a full time basis.
5.4.2 The accounting staff are all very experienced employees and provide a high level of service to management and staff at the Mission. Notwithstanding the level of experience in the section, we found that management oversight was lacking due to the limited involvement of the MCO in financial matters and the fact that he has yet to be trained on IMS functions. Weekly and monthly IMS reports are produced, however, for his information and review. With the pending implementation of the IMS Profile Generator, it will be critical that the MCO attend an IMS training course since all MCO/MAO's will have to access the system to approve payment runs.
5.4.3 Very detailed and thorough bank reconciliations are prepared by the accountant on a timely basis. Appropriate segregation of duty has been implemented where required. The issuance and physical storage of the mission cheques were found to be well controlled.
5.4.4 The Mission's budget is effectively managed through the establishment of cost centres and commitments which facilitate understanding the budget reports. However, excessive commitments at the beginning of the fiscal year have hampered the payment process.
5.4.5 Numerous events are held at the Official Residence for which expenses are accounted under the hospitality budget. Expenses incurred for these events were found to be well documented and the associated costs reasonable. A review of the hospitality diaries indicated that managers and officers also entertain extensively in restaurants. It was noted, however, that most did not submit restaurant receipts along with the credit card vouchers to support their expense claims. Departmental policy stipulates that credit card slips must be accompanied by an invoice or receipt.
5.4.6 Mission practice has been to retain all supporting documentation for hospitality expenses in the respective work sections. Consequently, the Section 33 is exercised by the Accounting Section based solely on the details reported on the Official Hospitality Advance and Expense Report (EXT 904). The Mission needs to ensure compliance with the Section 33 of the FAA which requires that original receipts be submitted to the Accounting Section for audit and cheque issuance purposes. The Mission Hospitality Policy and office practices also need to be revised to reflect these requirements.
5.4.7 An inventory control of the wine purchased for use at the Official Residence should be implemented to ensure proper management of the stock and allocation of expenses.
5.4.8 The Mission Hospitality Policy should be revised to properly define acceptable documents in support of expense claims and to stipulate the need to attach all supporting documentation for audit and cheque issuance purposes.
5.4.9 An inventory control system should be implemented for the wine stock at the Official Residence.
5.4.8 Agreed. The Mission's Hospitality Policy has been revised to properly define acceptable documents in support of expense claims and all staff are required to attach all supporting documentation for audit and cheque issuance purposes.
5.4.9 A complete inventory of the wine stock at the Residence was completed August 2003 and is controlled by the Chef.
5.4.10 Tight controls have been implemented for the reconciliation of the daily immigration revenue and deposits. The Accounting Section submits a monthly revenue report to the Immigration Program on deposits credited to IMS. However, immigration management was not aware that it should be reconciling the daily deposits to this report. They were also unsure how to do such a reconciliation.
5.4.11 Controls for the return of landing fees (ROLF) to immigration clients were found to be weak. After immigration submits a request for a ROLF refund, there is no follow up or monitoring process to confirm that the Accounting Section has issued the refund. Neither is there a periodic reconciliation at any level of the organization of the G/L's governing the ROLF and other immigration refunds. As a minimum control, Immigration should maintain a log of ROLF refunds and obtain a confirmation of these refunds from Accounts. Accounts should also produce a separate report of the ROLF refunds for reconciliation by Immigration. Immigration will need to obtain information on the procedures and requirements from CIC HQ.
5.4.12 Immigration routinely receives payments through the mail. The mail is opened by only one employee who directs the cheques and related correspondence to the work section. Control of revenues received through the mail need to be improved by ensuring the mail is opened by two employees, the cash receipts recorded in a register and all negotiable items immediately endorsed for deposit to the Mission Bank Account.
5.4.13 Immigration should maintain a log of ROLF refunds and obtain a confirmation of these refunds from Accounts. A monthly reconciliation process between Accounts and Immigration should also be implemented.
5.4.14 Mailroom procedures should be revised to ensure that two employees are assigned to opening the mail addressed to Immigration to ensure that all cheques are immediately endorsed for deposit.
5.4.13 Implemented - Immigration management fully agreed with the recommendation and took appropriate action. Since July 2003, a separate log of all immigration refunds submitted to the Accounting Section is being kept by the Immigration Section. Accounts Section provides to Immigration separate monthly reports of all immigration refunds which are submitted to them together with the Revenue report. This report is reconciled with our own refund log.
5.4.14 Immigration management does not disagree, but this would be a formidable requirement, given limited space and resources. CIC does not always take into consideration the amount of resources that are required to adequately perform cost recovery activities. Some large posts have FTEs totally dedicated to this activity. CNGNY would require additional resourcing; in the meantime, efforts will be made to resolve the concerns identified here.
5.4.15 A small commissary selling duty free alcohol and tobacco is independently operated within the Mission. The PERPA Assistant is the custodian with oversight provided by the Deputy Consul General. Payments for purchases are processed through a separate bank account that requires two signatures.All disbursements and purchases are recorded and supported with back-up documentation. Purchases are restricted to CBS with LES allowed limited purchases twice a year.The commissary supplies events held at the Mission ensuring that orders placed and payments received are recorded including returned items. The accuracy of the inventory is based on verification of purchases and disbursements and is not being reconciled by periodic counts of inventory on hand. Such counts would provide assurance that all transactions are being processed accurately and that no inventory is missing. Inventory counts should be conducted at least twice a year and by someone other than the custodian.
5.4.16 Inventory counts of Commissary stock should be reconciled to the records of purchases and disbursements on a regular basis.
5.4.16 A complete inventory count of Commissary stocks will be reconciled by the end of March 2004 and annually thereafter.
5.5.1 The Informatics function is well managed and provides good support to Mission staff. A senior (LE-08) and junior (LE-07) system administrators oversee daily operations in conjunction with a technician (EL-05) who is shared with the Permanent Mission to the United Nations (PERMIS).
5.5.2 The SAs have developed an excellent orientation package for staff which includes software user guides and a description of available IT support within the Mission. Training is provided for Signet and various software programs to all staff as needed, both in groups and individually.
5.5.3 The technician spends one day a week at PERMIS and makes other visits there as required. The remainder of his time is spent at the Mission maintaining the IDACs, telephone/voicemail, and network systems. He has advised staff how to operate the PSAT that is located at the OR. It has been tested, but not on a regular basis.
5.5.4 Mission files are currently maintained in each program. A common Mission I-drive has been developed for electronic filing. To facilitate ease of access to common and important information, an Intranet site is currently under construction. The site will allow information to be readily available in a user friendly format for all staff, while also serving as a valuable communication link between sections at the Mission. It is important to seek support and input from other programs in the Mission to create an effective Intranet.
5.5.5 The Mission should continue to focus on the creation of an Intranet and should ensure that each program within the Mission has input as to the content.
5.5.5 A Mission INTRANET site was created and has been operating since August 2003. The site was established with the full cooperation and input from each Mission program.
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Financial Information 2002-2003