An Audit of the General Relations (GR), International Business Development (IBD), Consular and Administration Programs was conducted in Ankara during the period September 29 to October 5, 2004. The Mission's Administration and Consular Programs were last audited in June 1994. The GR and IBD Programs were not audited at that time.
The Mission is well managed as evidenced by good communications, teamwork and morale. The Head of Mission (HOM) provides strong leadership and his management style and openness are appreciated by staff.
Planning processes are well established; however, more emphasis needs to be placed on detailing program workplans and more formally structuring the monitoring and review mechanisms. Communications are facilitated through regular Committee on Mission Management (CMM) and all staff meetings. The Mission has a proper committee structure, however; the Housing Committee requires more transparency by better documenting decisions and the Locally-Engaged Staff (LES) Committee needs to be re-established and meet on a regular basis.
The GR Program is well managed by an experienced Officer. Reporting is effective and appreciated by Headquarters (HQ). Program management and staff are hard driving which has put pressure on resources particularly staff time. Establishing a better balance through more effective prioritizing and training on results-based management and project monitoring would help the Program to more effectively utilize resources. More support level resources would also relieve pressures and allow Officers to pursue higher value work.
The IBD Program faces major challenges. A majority of business development opportunities in the private sector are outside of Ankara, primarily in Istanbul. The resource level in Ankara is hard pressed to remain viable being mainly engaged in government procurement and capital projects which have been reduced due to borrowing constraints and budgetary restrictions. A shift of at least half the IBD resources to Istanbul needs to be considered. On the operational side, more rigour is required in setting priorities, establishing individual workplans and accountabilities for staff, measuring outputs and assessing results.
The Consular Program is effectively managed by the Deputy Management Consular Officer (DMCO). The Program is providing good service to Canadians and consular assets are well controlled and protected. Service standards need to be developed and communicated to clients and additional verification and reconciliation procedures are required.
The Administration Program, until recently, has been stretched with only the Management Consular Officer (MCO) covering all functions as well as the new Chancery project and the Consular Program. The addition of a DMCO this year has greatly relieved this situation allowing more management oversight of all areas. Mission staff have been satisfied with the level of administrative service and recent initiatives introduced have been received positively.
A total of 34 audit recommendations are raised in the report; 33 are addressed to the Mission and one is addressed to HQ. Management has responded to each recommendation indicating action already taken or decisions made, as well as future action. Of the 34 recommendations, management has stated that 24 recommendations have been implemented. For each of the remaining 10 recommendations, management has indicated the initiatives in progress or the intended future action.
The scope of the audit included a review of Mission Management and the GR, IBD, Consular and Administration Programs. An Appendix to this report lists, by Program, the specific areas that were examined during the audit.
The audit objectives were to:
|Assets||Crown Leased||Crown Owned|
* Until the move to the new Chancery is completed (November 2004).
|Operating budget (N001)||$2,202,747|
|Capital Budget (N005)||105,117|
|CBS Salaries Budget (N011)||554,000|
|LES Salaries Budget (N012)||1,416,292|
1.1.1 Annual planning begins in the fall after the changeover of staff. The process focusses on the Strategy for Turkey which is drafted in cooperation with HQ. Elements relevant to each Program are discussed with the appropriate Program Manager.
1.1.2 Performance Measurement Agreements (PMAs) are in place for the HOM and the GR Program Manager. Less formal goals and objectives are established for the other Program Managers. For Administration, specific projects are identified in addition to on-going operational requirements. Monitoring and review of Program plans occur on a reactive and ad hoc basis. A more rigorous framework that requires detailed Program planning to flow out of the planning exercise, combined with periodic formal reviews of progress against these plans, is required to focus efforts particularly in the IBD and Administration Programs. For the IBD Program, Departmental policy requires a PMA between the Program Manager and the HOM regardless of classification level.
1.1.3 The Mission should develop more detailed Program workplans and schedule regular (quarterly) reviews between the Program Managers and the HOM.
1.1.4 A formal PMA should be established between the IBD Program Manager and the HOM.
1.1.3 Program workplans and quarterly reviews with the Program Managers will be established as of April 1, 2006.
1.1.4 A formal PMA will be established between the IBD Program Manager and the HOM for the new fiscal year 2006-2007.
1.2.1 Communication within the Mission and between Programs is good. As mentioned, the HOM is accessible to all staff and interacts with employees on a daily basis. The HOM has an open door policy and regularly walks around meeting staff. Regular CMMs are held weekly and all staff meetings occur at least quarterly and more frequently, if required. There are good teamwork and good relations between Programs and between Canada Based Staff (CBS) and LES, particularly for Mission events, visits, etc. Comments were made suggesting that administrative and procedural issues need to be raised and dealt with more frequently by management. Disparities in workload between Programs were noted by staff, causing resentment by some. Management needs to address these concerns where warranted, and/or clarify situations where perceptions are not valid.
1.2.2 The Mission should conduct a workload analysis to identify areas of imbalance and take corrective measures, where necessary.
1.2.2 Last October HQ approved the creation of an interpreter/admin assistant position for the GR Section; this should help to reduce the workload for each member of that section.
1.3.1 The committee structure includes a Policy Committee, Committee on Mission Management, Housing Committee, Contract Review Board and Classification Committee. The Housing Committee needs to better document decisions and their rationale to be fully transparent.
1.3.2 There is no formal LES Committee at the Mission. Representatives of the LES informed the Audit Team that issues had been brought to Management's attention on an ad hoc basis in the past. However, with no real Committee, follow up has been minimal, and LES do not feel that all issues have been properly addressed or communicated. Mission Management has and continues to support initiatives from the LES, and supports the creation of an LES Committee.
1.3.3 The Mission should encourage the LES to form a committee that meets on a regular basis.
1.3.3 The Mission has encouraged LES to form a committee but without success. The Mission will again engage LES on this issue in providing additional encouragement and proposing logistical support.
1.4.1 The following are Mission-wide recommendations regarding training.
1.4.2 The Mission should consider appointing a new Training Coordinator. The MCO currently holds this position but, due to operational priorities, has not been able to carry out the duties.
1.4.3 Develop an annual training plan for all staff that prioritizes the Mission's training requirements.
1.4.2 The new MCO has retained the position of Training Coordinator.
1.4.3 Those Program Managers not having one will develop an annual training plan for their sections. The individual training plan already in place in the GR section will serve as a model for other sections.
2.1.1 The GR Program is led by an EX-01 Counsellor (Political Affairs), supported by a team of two CBS political officers, an employee from CIDA and two LES. The Program is responsible for political, public and cultural affairs. CIDA's Official Development Assistance Program Officer is part of the Program and works in close cooperation with the political team.
2.1.2 The Program covers Turkey and three countries in the Caucasus: Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkmenistan. Each political officer is responsible for one country and its CIDA Canada Fund (Turkmenistan does not have a Canada Fund). The CIDA officer covers Georgia and devotes 25% of his time to bilateral and public affairs issues relating to Turkey and Georgia.
2.1.3 The GR Program provides support to the Mission's other programs in terms of translation and interpretation, the updating of the Mission's Web site and media relations.
2.1.4 Recent years have been marked by significant events that have had considerable impact on the Program's work. The workload has increased because of the events of September 11, regional tensions created by the situation in the Middle East, the Turkish government's efforts to join the European Union, the conflict in Iraq, the NATO Summit, the terrorist attacks in Istanbul and Ankara and the Canadian Parliament's recognition of the Armenian "genocide".
2.2.1 The Program is well managed and the staff is qualified and performs its various duties well. The Political Officers travel regularly to their respective countries of accreditation to promote Canada's objectives in this part of the world, the importance of which is growing. The work environment is good and the spirit of belonging to the team can be readily felt.
2.2.2 In terms of management, staff appreciate the existing team work and the management style. However, with a growing workload, the Program would be well advised to follow the e3 principles aimed at finding balance and prioritizing tasks.
2.2.3 For each employee, objectives have been identified and responsibilities assigned and divided satisfactorily between them. Communications are good and frequent, both horizontally and vertically, as is feedback. Performance appraisals are done within the prescribed time frames.
2.2.4 In consultation with HQ, a strategic framework for the entire Mission is being finalized and, with the action plan, will constitute the basis of activity programming for the Mission in Turkey for the years ahead. From this strategic framework flows an annual planning process that identifies the Program's results and priorities. However, to strengthen this process, it will be important to continue the recently adopted practice of holding weekly meetings, on one hand to inform all members of the team of current priorities, and on the other to discuss activities and initiatives, thus enabling regular follow-up on how the Program's business is being conducted.
2.2.5 Even though Economic Affairs comes under General Relations in most missions, here it is the responsibility of the IBD Program. It does, however, receive support from a political counsellor, who ensures that the political perspective is reflected in the relationship. This dichotomy does not seem to cause any problems, given the good coordination and cooperation between the IBD and GR Programs. This approach would need to be rethought in light of any move of IBD resources to Istanbul.
2.3.1 The Program is responsible for bilateral political processes and reports, as well as issues involving Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. To be well informed, the highest levels of the Canadian government require timely and in-depth analyses of a number of issues, including security and the terrorist threat, the evolution of national policies, democratic development and human rights, and any issue that has an impact on Canada's interests. The Program's work is well regarded, with every indication that the Program's various reports and activities are appreciated by HQ.
2.3.2 Political officers are responsible for managing Canada's official development assistance funding. This includes assessing project proposals, selecting projects to fund and monitoring the projects. Given these new project management responsibilities, officers will be supported and guided at start-up by the CIDA Officer. Officers should also be assisted by establishing a selection committee that would make project recommendations based on proposals from the officer in charge of the country and by receiving training on results-based management and monitoring.
2.3.3 A selection committee should be set up for Canada Fund projects and officers should receive training on results-based management and project monitoring.
2.3.3 As of November 2004, the Mission has established a Review Committee composed of two GR officers to review and comment on the proposal prepared by the other GR officer before it is forwarded to the HOM for final approval.
As the Fund's budget is basically fully dispersed for the current fiscal year, an improved selection and review process will be implemented during the next Canada Fund cycle. The responsibility to manage the Canada Fund for the rest of the current fiscal year was transferred, as a temporary measure, to GR officers due to the September 2004 resignation of the LES Canada Fund Officer. Should Canada Fund funding from Ottawa be re-confirmed in the new fiscal year for Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia, the Mission would consider hiring a new full time LES Canada Fund officer.
Results-based Management and Project Monitoring training will be incorporated in the GR officers' training plan.
2.4.1 Currently, the GR Program does not have an assigned Assistant. The Program uses the services of an IBD Assistant four half-days per week. To use the Assistant, officers copy their requests to the Assistant's supervisor, who ensures that work is coordinated.
2.4.2 Also, given the administrative work that will be generated by the involvement of political officers in the management of official development assistance projects, the Program is proposing to hire the services of a part-time employee (spousal contract). The duties of this employee will consist of handling correspondence, helping to coordinate meetings, routing documents and all project-related office work.
2.4.3 A certain level of support is also provided by the translator who, in addition to translation and interpretation, provides assistance to the Program Manager. The translator, who has been working for the Mission for more than two years, is working under a contract that has been extended until the end of the current fiscal year. It contains a limit on the hours she can work to five half-days per week. Analysis of the current contract revealed that an employer-employee relationship exists, manifested by the provision of an office, work tools (computer, Signet account, etc.) and work schedule set by the Mission. In fact, this is a part-time employee who works for the Program.
2.4.4 The Program is in a situation where it is supported by three employees on a part-time basis, requiring supervision by three people. In addition, the translator's employment status does not comply with departmental policy and needs to be changed. One possibility under consideration by the Mission is to create a position that would combine translation and administrative assistance. This combination is ideal in the sense that it would make use of the linguistic aptitudes of translation to provide support to officers and communicate with local partners and stakeholders.
2.4.5 The Program should identify and consolidate its required administrative support needs by hiring a full time employee.
2.4.6 The Mission should establish a position in the GR Program comprising of translation and administration duties.
2.4.5/6 Administrative support needs have been identified and a detailed proposal with justification was sent to Ottawa in November 2004 requesting the creation of an LES position for the GR Program responsible for translation and administration duties. The request is under examination in Ottawa.
2.5.1 To project a modern image of Canada, the Program has organized various activities revolving around certain Mission events. The Program is, among other things, trying to diversify its programming with themes that reflect Canadian reality, such as La Francophonie. The Mission's Public Diplomacy Fund plan is a very important element of this process and is being used effectively.
2.5.2 The Public Affairs Officer, who contributes to the political reports, is also responsible for the Mission's Web site, helps the Program Manager in all academic initiatives and represents the Program at certain events. The Program, in conjunction with local partners, has set up a Centre for Canadian Studies within one of Ankara's universities.
2.5.3 The Public Affairs Officer has not received any training relating to his duties. He should receive training given by the department in managing public affairs and drafting political reports to improve his abilities and strengthen the Program's capacities. The employee's anticipated training plan makes provisions for the required training.
2.5.4 Although Public Affairs is often centred on events, efforts need to be made to add a proactive component to the Program. As an example, to encourage the establishment of media contacts, the Public Affairs Officer needs to have a hospitality budget and should establish a given number of contacts during the year.
2.5.5 The Public Affairs Officer should receive the appropriate training in the fields he covers within the section.
2.5.5 As part of current training objectives, the Public Affairs Officer together with the GR Program Manager have already identified Political Officer and Public Affairs Officer training as a priority. Training will be undertaken as soon as training sessions are announced and the Officer is personally available to travel to Canada.
3.1.1 The Trade Program in Ankara is managed by an STC (FS-02) who is in the final year of a four year posting. The Program Manager is supported by a Third Secretary (FS-01), two LE-09 Commercial Officers (CO) and two LE-05 Commercial Assistants (CA). The STC has successfully fostered a positive team atmosphere within the Program evidenced by good morale and communications. The Program has good relations with other Programs in the Mission and has integrated its activities effectively with HOM initiatives, who in turn provides appropriate support to the Program.
3.2.1 There are two overriding issues impacting the effectiveness of the Program that need to be addressed. The Program is based far from the business centre of Istanbul. There are limited trade development and investment opportunities in Ankara, which is primarily a government centre with mostly procurement and capital project leads. This situation is reflected by a low and declining number of enquiries from Canadian clients. HQ and the Mission agree that Istanbul is where the Program should be based, with residual resources in Ankara. Without IBD programming in Istanbul, the existing level of IBD resources cannot be sustained in Ankara. This is reflected by the level of non IBD tasking of Program resources. The Third Secretary is responsible for economic reporting. One of the CAs is providing up to 40% support to the GR Program and the other CA provides 15% social secretary/HOM support.
3.2.2 ITCan, in consultation with the Mission and the Geographic, should consider establishing a trade presence in Istanbul through redeployment of resources from Ankara.
3.2.2 The Trade Commissioner Service recently launched its 2006 redeployment exercise. This exercise includes a review of trade positions overseas for possible redeployment to reflect changing market conditions, client interest and associated workload demands, and the departmental priorities as per the International Trade Canada Business Planning Framework and the Commerce Strategy of the International Policy Statement. Posts have also been asked to consider regional marketing dimensions that could integrate more than one trade program abroad on a hub and spoke basis. The changes suggested in the audit report will be considered in the context of this wider redeployment exercise.
3.3.1 The second issue impacting the Program is the need for more focussed management direction and oversight. The Program is highly reactive, covering a large number of sectors without specific strategies and related workplans for trade development and investment objectives. While Client Service Fund (CSF) projects are well documented per the departmental template, there is no formal trade development or corporate liaison strategy documenting short, medium and long term goals, objectives and expected results. As mentioned in paragraph 1.1.2 and 1.1.4, PMA between the HOM and the STC would be useful in providing direction and is recommended by ITCan. Further to this, a documented strategy would provide a basis for formulating workplans for the COs that incorporate all of their activities for the year. These workplans should identify, for each activity, expected results and indicate mechanisms to measure effectiveness.
3.3.2 While communications within the Program are good, more effort is required to monitor performance. As well as establishing workplans, formal periodic reviews with each staff member by the STC would ensure that activities and results achieved are in line with Program goals and objectives and, where required, allow for changes to existing plans and priorities. These reviews should incorporate quantifiable outputs such as enquiries processed, tracked and followed up, and outcalls made.
3.3.3 Consideration should also be given to focussing on only one or two priority sectors for each Commercial Officer and assigning a sector to the Trade Commissioner with back-up provided by a CO. The STC should also take the lead on a sector. Resources currently utilised on non-trade activities, or activities with little value, should be refocused on activities with higher potential, such as a focus on market development in Istanbul. Establishing an InfoCentre would also assist in focussing the efforts of Officers on higher valued activities and better integrate the work of the CAs.
3.3.4 The job profiles of, and training for, the CAs need to be brought in line with the established competency profiles. This would include duties associated with an InfoCentre. Neither CA has had formal trade training and their existing duties are primarily low level operational support and administration rather than trade activities and back-up to the Officers.
3.3.5 A PMA should be developed for the STC.
3.3.6 A Program strategy and individual workplans should be developed that encompass all trade activities and related resources.
3.3.7 Mechanisms should be put in place to monitor operational and individual performance.
3.3.8 An InfoCentre should be established.
3.3.9 IBD training should be provided to the CAs and their job profiles should be enhanced to reflect higher level productive activities.
3.3.5 A PMA for the new fiscal year will be developed by the STC, taking into account the 2005-2006 IBD plan, and will be agreed to by the HOM.
3.3.6 The Program Strategy required for IBD planning purposes will be enhanced, and individual workplans will be developed for each TD staff member, encompassing all trade activities by April 1, 2006. Each workplan will identify expected results for each activity and indicate mechanisms to measure effectiveness.
3.3.7 The IBD Program will, in consultation with headquarters and other posts, develop and implement mechanisms to monitor operational and individual performance, and will incorporate indicators into individual workplans by April 1, 2006.
3.3.8 The Mission will look at the feasibility of establishing and managing an InfoCentre by April 1, 2006.
3.3.9 A training plan will be developed by April 1, 2006 for each of the CAs to help ensure that they meet the newly established competency profiles, to include both trade training available electronically and formal training at Headquarters, operational considerations permitting.
4.1.1 The MCO has transferred day-to-day responsibilities for Consular to the newly created DMCO position. The DMCO, who is assisted by a knowledgeable Consular Officer (LE-08), is also responsible for the Property and Information Technology functions. There is an excellent working relationship between consular staff, and overall the Program is running well and providing good service to Canadians. Cash and passport assets are well secured.
4.1.2 Resource levels within the Program are considered adequate now that the Human Resources (HR) Assistant (LE-05) has been trained in Ottawa as a back-up for the Consular Officer. In order to make the most of that training and become more comfortable with her new role, the HR Assistant would benefit from hands-on training in Consular duties at the Mission.
4.1.3 The Mission should implement a formal hands-on or job shadowing training program for the back-up to the Consular Officer.
4.1.3 Job shadowing for half a day per week has been in place since before the HR assistant's consular specialist training course. However, since mid February 2005, job shadowing has been formalized and she is also included in ad hoc discussions on consular issues and as cases arise.
4.1.4 The Mission issues on average 300 passports and provides about 50 passport services per year. The Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) indicates that there are 1100 Canadians living in Turkey at this time; however, this may be inaccurate as there is a backlog in ROCA input at the Mission. The Mission is considering transferring the ROCA input to the Receptionist, as staff in the Consular Section have not had time to complete this.
4.1.5 The Mission should update ROCA and institute a process to keep the information in the inventory up to date.
4.1.5 In January, the ROCA list was updated to reflect those people who had left the country. Wardens have been tasked with contacting each registrant in their district and forwarding updates of contact details to the Mission. Wardens will be tasked with doing this every six months; this is now incorporated into the Consular Work Plan. As of March 2005, the Embassy receptionist will be responsible for entering updates, and reminding wardens every six months to forward updates.
4.1.6 There are currently no Mission service standards for the Consular Section. Though the Section does meet the standards reflected in the Consular Manual, nothing has been developed that is specific to the Mission's operating environment and constraints. A clear set of consular service standards would apprise clients of the types and levels of service one might expect to receive from the Mission.
4.1.7 The Mission should develop a set of Consular service standards and communicate them to clients.
4.1.7 There are Consular service standards in place, as evidenced by the letter sent out with each passport application. The letter outlines the time line for each service, as well as the cost involved. The Mission is now giving this letter to walk-in clients as well. Service standards were posted in the main reception in February 2005.
4.2.1 Passport assets are well secured and the inventory is verified on a regular basis as prescribed by the Consular Manual. The monthly passport counts are done properly, but in the presence of only one CBS - the DMCO. To ensure that adequate controls are in place, there should be two CBS involved in all aspects of the monthly count. Both the DMCO and the Head of Mission (HOM) participate in the quarterly inventory process.
4.2.2 An additional CB staff member, when possible the MCO, should participate in the monthly passport reconciliation with the DMCO.
4.2.2 Implemented October 2004.
4.2.3 Passport applications are initially reviewed by the Consular Officer, who ensures all original documentation is valid and that individuals qualify for a passport. The DMCO then makes a final review and approves each application before a passport is issued. However, only copies of the citizenship documentation were being seen by the DMCO, who was placing reliance on the Consular Officer's verification of originals. A CB staff should verify all original proof of citizenship documentation as part of the final review and approval to issue a passport.
4.2.4 Approximately 50-60 percent of Passport applications processed in Ankara originate from the Honorary Consul (HonCon) in Istanbul. The HonCon and her Assistant are in close contact with the Consular Officer in Ankara, and perform the proof of citizenship verification at their office in Istanbul. Notarized copies of citizenship documentation are sent by courier to Ankara with the application forms, which the Consular Officer processes. This results in a passport being issued without a CB staff verifying the proof of citizenship.
4.2.5 A CB staff should personally verify all original proof of citizenship documentation before a passport is issued.
4.2.6 The Hon Con should include all original proof of citizenship documentation with the passport applications sent by courier to the Mission.
4.2.5 Implemented September 2004.
4.2.6 Implemented September 2004.
4.2.7 The Audit Team was accompanied by a Co-ordinator Data Quality Analyst from the Passport Office who reviewed the Mission's passport processing systems and provided to staff a briefing on the upcoming Mission Passport Print Solution Project. As this project will change the service standards for passport delivery to match the ten day standard in Canada, the Mission will need to develop a communication plan for its clients when the new system is implemented in 2005.
5.1.1 The Administration Program is headed by an MCO in the fourth year of his posting. This is his first experience as Program Manager. The MCO has been focussing his efforts on the new Chancery project, the security situation in Turkey and Consular issues. As a result, less time has been devoted to the functions of Finance, Human Resources (HR), Property and Information Management. The Mission has strong Locally-engaged Staff (LES) providing good service and the recent addition of a DMCO is now enabling the required oversight to all functions.
5.1.2 Managers and staff across the Mission are generally satisfied with services received from Administration. The Mission has a good understanding of projects needed to be done and are now developing workplans for these priorities. Recent changes introduced, such as prioritizing work orders and a checklist for new staff, are seen as positive improvements by Program Managers and staff.
5.1.3 Administration has regular staff meetings though not all staff are involved. Staff indicated that they would appreciate, at least quarterly, Administration/Consular all-staff meetings to allow for better sharing of information and reinforcing of teamwork.
5.1.4 The Mission now has 17 Canada-based Staff (CBS). The Administration Program has responded to recent growth with the addition of the DMCO, the Mission Security Manager, and an Assistant Accountant. A Facilities Manager position will also be staffed to coincide with the move to the new Chancery.
5.1.5 There is a collaborative working relationship between the MCO and DMCO. The DMCO has the responsibilities for the Consular Program and for the Property and Information Technology Sections. To gain exposure to the other sections of Administration and to be able to back up the MCO during absences, she will be involved in projects across the Program, such as the banking survey and competition boards.
5.1.6 The Mission is opening a Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) office in Tibilisi, Georgia. The MCO is planning to visit this fiscal year to evaluate office space, staffing, and training requirements.
5.2.1 The HR Section is managed by the MCO, who is assisted by an HR Assistant (LE-05). The staffing process is generally conducted in an efficient and effective manner. Proper procedures are followed during the competition process, and employees are not taken on strength until their Reliability Status has been approved. While all spouses have had the opportunity for spousal employment at the Mission, the process for contracting spouses is not always transparent. The Mission selects the individual it believes is best qualified for a contract rather than advertizing to all potential candidates. The Mission has stated it will be more transparent in the future for these types of contracts.
5.2.2 The Interpreter and Property Clerk contracts represent two cases of possible employee-employer relationships at the Mission. These have, or are in the process of expiring and will not be renewed. The new Facilities Manager position will take on some of the duties of the Property Clerk contract, as well as building engineer duties. A business case will be made for a position that is half Translator and half General Relations Assistant to replace the duties performed by the translation contract.
5.2.3 A pay reconciliation found some Locally Engaged Staff Employment and Pay Certificates (EXT208) were missing or not up-to-date. The Mission has acknowledged this and is in the process of updating the incorrect forms and re-submitting them to Headquarters.
5.2.4 The Mission should ensure that all EXT208s are completed and submitted to HQ.
5.2.4 Discrepancies discovered on review of mission 208 files by ZIV have already been either corrected or clarified as required, and submitted to HQ in October 2004. Completing these forms is now in the Administrative Assistant's work plan to be completed at the end of each month.
5.3.1 The Mission moved to its new Chancery at the end of November 2004. Staff have looked forward to this move as the former Chancery was overcrowded and outdated. The Physical Resources Bureau (SRD) will be forwarding to the Mission tips on moving to the new facilities based on other missions' experiences. The Mission will be reviewing the requirements related to contracts for cleaning and security services at the new premises. Storage facilities will be available at the new location and the Mission will be eliminating its leased warehouse. Both the Mission and SRD highlighted the excellent level of co-operation achieved during this large project.
5.3.2 With the new Chancery, a Facilities Manager position has been created with the incumbent to start in November, 2004. Given the recent arrival of the DMCO and the creation of this new position, the roles and responsibilities of those involved in the Property function will be monitored to ensure proper alignment.
5.3.3 The DMCO now manages the Property function and has identified areas to be addressed including creating the inventories for the Chancery and the storage facility, developing a Mission Property Guide and instituting an annual staff quarter (SQ) maintenance inspection. The Section has revamped the work-order system, so that a CBS makes the decision on the priority of the request based on service standards with the client signing off on completed work.
5.3.4 The Mission has a Housing Committee, but needs to ensure that proper files are maintained on decisions made. This lack of transparency has led to a perceived double standard and inequities related to past decisions. Two single officers were over-housed and one family was under-housed. The Mission will need to ensure that housing assignments properly take into account family size. The MCO's SQ, although acquired with due process and authorization, is oversized and should be released from the Mission inventory when he departs.
5.3.5 A review of the hospitality files does not show extensive in-house entertaining. Accordingly, the Committee on Mission Management (CMM) should review representational requirements of the Mission.
5.3.6 The Official Residence (OR) has been well maintained, provides excellent representational and living space, and has the added benefit of lovely grounds. Upcoming work is planned for the OR's roof, windows and asphalt.
5.3.7 Ensure that proper Housing Committee files are maintained.
5.3.8 The Mission should dispose of the MCO's SQ upon his departure.
5.3.9 The CMM should review the Mission's representational housing requirements.
5.3.7 The Housing Committee will ensure that files are maintained, effective immediately, for all Committee meetings and decisions.
5.3.8 The Mission will evaluate the family configurations of incoming staff to determine if the MCO's SQ should be disposed of this summer. This SQ is in a building that houses another CBS. Given the security concerns at this post, the Mission tries to put CBSs in pairs in buildings to create a buddy-system. In addition, this apartment has already been fitted-up for CBS standards, has an overall cost-of-ownership comparable to other PM SQs, is within a 5 minute walk to the chancery, and has a large terrace for hospitality. If incoming family configurations dictate smaller housing, the Mission will dispose of this property.
5.3.9 The CMM will review the Mission's representational housing requirements prior to the next posting cycle.
5.4.1 The Finance function is managed by the MCO, assisted by an Accountant (LE-07) and an Assistant Accountant (a new LE-05 position). Given the MCO's heavy involvement with security matters and the new Chancery project, there has been less attention devoted to controlling financial operations and monitoring the function. Now that the Mission has moved into the new Chancery, focus will be placed on changing financial institutions and establishing service standards.
5.4.2 The Accountants are knowledgeable and well organized. The Assistant Accountant is relatively new to her position, however, she has accounting experience from her previous responsibilities as Administrative Assistant at the Mission, where she assisted the Finance Section. Both have received IMS training. In the new Chancery, the Finance section may wish to limit hours of service to allow Accountants to enter IMS transactions and prepare bank runs without interruption.
5.4.3 Budget reference levels are suitable for the Mission. Although there has been some flexibility with the budget in the past, the Mission recognizes that it will require all funds for increased operating costs of the new Chancery.
5.4.4 The Mission has three bank accounts: a Turkish Lira account used to pay suppliers; a USD account for rents and Canada Fund purposes; and a Canadian dollar account used solely for immigration revenues. As per local practice, the bank does not return cleared cheques to the Mission; however the Mission retains a copy of all cheques issued.
5.4.5 Utility payments in Turkey can only be made in cash. For this reason, the Mission has created a vendor in the name of "Canadian Embassy". Utility payments are made under this vendor and cash is withdrawn from the bank account by one of the Drivers who transfers it to the Accountant to deposit in the safe. When the payment is due, cash is transferred from the Accountant to the Driver, who then delivers it to the utility company. Receipts are not issued at the Mission when cash changes hands nor is the cash always counted on handover. The Mission should discontinue payments made to the "Canadian Embassy" vendor and ensure proper controls are in place when cash changes hands.
5.4.6 The Mission has been studying the possibility of changing financial institutions to address the issue of cash payments for utilities. A comparison of banks has resulted in the Mission identifying one that will make payments to the utility companies on behalf of the Mission, as well as provide cash pick-ups and drop offs at the Mission, as required. This would reduce the amount of cash in circulation between the Mission and the bank and improve banking services to the Mission. This bank also offers services in English, which is not offered by the current bank. The Mission, in consultation with the Foreign Operations and International Banking Division (SMFF), should negotiate a formal service agreement with the new bank as soon as possible.
5.4.7 Bank reconciliations are up-to-date and appropriately reviewed and signed by the MCO and HOM. Of note is a $335,502.57 "IMS Unrecorded Transaction" on the CAD account which has appeared on the Mission's bank reconciliations for several years. The amount was unreconciled dating back to 2001 when the account was first registered in IMS. The unrecorded amount was due to immigration revenues being received but clients not returning for service. This created a difference between POS+ and the bank account. When the account was registered in IMS, the balance in the account was $355,502.57, which the Mission sent to HQ. The adjustment was cleared in IMS by SMFF at the time of the audit.
5.4.8 Immigration revenues are deposited directly at the bank by applicants. On a monthly basis, the Finance section produces a report from IMS indicating the amounts that have been processed for immigration revenues during that month. The Accountant conducts a reconciliation between IMS and POS+, which is reviewed by the Immigration Cost Recovery Officer.
5.4.9 The Mission should ensure that when cash changes hands, it is counted in the presence of the person transferring the cash and that official receipts are issued.
5.4.10 The Mission should discontinue payments made to the "Canadian Embassy" vendor.
5.4.11 The Mission, in consultation with SMFF, should negotiate a formal service agreement with the new bank.
5.4.9 In March the Mission put in place a system whereby cash is counted by both parties prior to its changing hands, and official receipts issued when cash is exchanged internally. Moreover, the Section's overall plan involves a reduction in cash handling by staff. This was accomplished in great part by a change to a financial institution which offers a range of services, such as utility payments and bringing cash to the Embassy for direct distribution of advances, payments, etc, directly to recipients. The Mission also plans to make greater use of the ability to deposit funds directly into staff bank accounts, again reducing cash handling.
5.4.10 These payments have been discontinued.
5.4.11 A comparative study of banking institutions was completed in October 2005 and the results sent to HQ. The Mission is awaiting a final reply from SMFF.
5.4.12 Other observations to improve efficiency and to enhance controls are listed below.
5.4.13 The MCO should undertake spot checks of SA adjustments, in addition to his monthly verifications.
5.4.14 The MCO or DMCO should approve new vendor creations and sign the "Display of Vendor Changes" report which should be submitted as part of the bank reconciliation package.
5.4.15 Travel and Hospitality budget reports and overtime figures should be provided to Program Managers on a monthly basis.
5.4.16 Bank statements should be sent directly to the MCO or DMCO from the bank before they are transferred to the Accounts Section.
5.4.13 Implemented in February 2005.
5.4.14 The Mission has already instituted a process requiring a hard copy form to be submitted to the MCO to approve vendor creation or changes. The form requires an explanation of the nature of the change and the reason for it, and is signed by the accounts personnel requesting the action. A Display of Vendor Changes report will be included with the next bank reconciliation package.
5.4.15 Distribution of Travel, Hospitality and Overtime reports to relevant Program Managers and Supervisors began on a monthly basis, effective February 2005.
5.4.16 Implemented in March 2005.
5.5.1 The Information Technology function is well managed by a Locally Engaged Information Technology Professional (LEITP) who reports to the DMCO. The Regional Systems Manager (RSM) responsible for the Mission is based in London and the Foreign Service Information Technology Professional (FSITP) in Athens. The LEITP is knowledgeable and experienced. Discussions with staff at the Mission revealed that he is providing timely and effective service.
5.5.2 The Mission is scheduled for Signet 3 implementation in January 2005, by which time the LEITP will have received related training. The LEITP, in consultation with the RSM, is exploring Signet 3 training opportunities for all employees once the upgrade is completed.
5.5.3 The departmental inventory system (ITPWorld) for Ankara was last updated in 2002. The Mission should ensure that ITPWorld is up-to-date. The Mission's current inventory includes 15 new PCs and 15 new monitors, which have been provided to replace old equipment. The new equipment has been connected to Signet to ensure that regular updates are received. In the new Chancery, the new equipment will replace the old computers. The Mission should dispose of old equipment according to Departmental policy.
5.5.4 The Mission encounters numerous power failures due to local conditions in Turkey. In the past, the Mission had a large uninterrupted power supply (UPS) unit which experienced several electric sparks due to voltage problems. It was replaced with small UPS units for individual computers. It is the Mission's understanding that the new Chancery will be equipped with a dedicated electricity line for all computers. Discussions are underway between the Mission and HQ to determine whether or not the new Chancery will be provided with a large UPS unit.
5.5.5 The Mission should ensure that ITPWorld is up-to-date.
5.5.5 Updating ITPWorld is now in the SA's work plan. After Signet 3 implementation, the SA will do a complete update, with quarterly revisions thereafter.
The following tables indicate the areas of each Program that were reviewed to determine compliance to policies and procedures and to assess efficiency and effectiveness. For each Program listed, reference can be made to the specific audit guides on the Office of the Inspector General (ZID) Intranet site containing the detailed audit criteria and audit procedures applied during the audit.
The focus and extent of on-site work is based on an assessment of materiality and related risk. This is done through communication with HQ bureaux, including briefings by line management and the functional bureaux responsible for each of the areas listed below, review of relevant HQ and mission documentation and past audit findings and an analysis of recurring trends and systemic issues.
During the audit, audit issues and lines of enquiry are further refined from information gathered through interviews with the HOM and Program Managers, a meeting with the LES Committee, individual interviews with staff, and results of other documentation reviewed.
The level of audit work for a given area is therefore based on issues and information identified and gathered at all levels, HQ, mission management, and mission operations. Accordingly, not all areas receive equal attention. More work and time are devoted to material and high risk issues, particularly those of interest to management. Occasionally, due to time limitations or other factors, it is not possible to provide audit coverage for all areas. Areas not covered are noted in the Scope and Objectives Section of the report.