An audit of the General Relations (GR), International Business Development (IBD), Consular and Administration Programs at the Mission in Islamabad was conducted during the period January 20 to February 2, 2005. The audit included a one-day visit to the Trade Office in Karachi; however, the Team did not have the opportunity to visit the Honorary Consuls in Karachi and Lahore, and the Trade Office in Lahore. The previous audit had been conducted in November 1998.
Overall this is a well managed mission operating in a difficult and stressful environment. Staff morale is fair to good, with only a few exceptions. Since 2002 the Mission has been evacuated twice and school age children are no longer posted to Islamabad. *** Security is management's number one concern. Sectarian violence, death threats, *** and poverty as well as Pakistan's decision to join Western governments to fight the war on terror pose a direct threat to public safety.
Resources in the General Relations and the Management and Consular Programs are overburdened and should be increased.
The General Relations Program is extremely busy. It has an active media relations section and produces timely reports appreciated by Headquarters. There is potential to further promote Canadian studies and educational services as well as cultural relations. The development of a results-based work-plans, accountability agreements and regular staff meetings are recommended.
The International Business Development Program is well managed. The Program is taking advantage of the country's economic reform which is fuelling expansion in the industrial sector and rising consumer demand. The Trade Office in Karachi and Lahore are an integral part of the IBD Program and play an important role because of the emerging private sector. To maximise the contributions of the offices in Karachi and Lahore, there is a need to identify which priorities will be led from these two offices.
The Consular and Administration Program is well managed especially considering the Mission's size and complexity and security environment in which it operates. The need for Canadian oversight over the issuance of passports will further stretch already overburdened Canada-Based Staff (CBS) resources and a solution needs to be found. Communication between non-office staff and CBS management needs to be improved, Locally-Engaged Staff (LES) complaints investigated and a number of LES positions regularized. With the exception of Kabul's accounts, financial management and controls are effective. Similarly, property management provides good and reliable services to the Mission and staff.
A total of 40 audit recommendations are raised in the report. Of these, 33 are addressed to the Mission and seven to HQ. Management has responded to each recommendation indicating action already taken or decision made, as well as future action. Of the 40 recommendations, management has stated that 33 have been implemented. For each of the remaining seven 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 General Relations, International Business Development, 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|
|1 located in Karachi and Lahore|
2 domestic staff quarters were converted into the Mini-Clinic
3 domestic staff quarters are used for storage
|Domestic Staff Quarters||0||45|
|Financial Information 2004/05|
|Operating budget (N001)||$1,695,411|
|Capital Budget (N005)||272,900|
|CBS Overtime Budget (N011)||29,900|
|LES Salaries Budget (N012)||1,841,145|
1.1.1 This Mission operates in a difficult environment. Security is management's number one concern. Sectarian violence, potential bombings such as the recent explosion at the Marriott Hotel in October 2004, death threats, disgruntled immigration clients and general health issues are ongoing concerns.
1.1.2 Over the past several years, the Mission has been evacuated twice and school age children are no longer posted to Islamabad. ***
1.1.3 Management works hard to maintain morale and has succeeded in creating and maintaining good team spirit amongst CBS and most of the LES. The excellent facilities at the Canadabad Club, the new gym, the well appointed clinic, the gym for the LES, the upgraded luncheon area and a recently completed prayer room are all appreciated and used by many. Overall morale is fair to good.
1.1.4 The Committee on Mission Management (CMM), the Health and Safety Committee, the Contract Review Committee, the Security Committe and the Classification Committee meet regularly and provide an opportunity to discuss and resolve management issues. Both the Head of Mission (HOM) and the Management/Consular Officer (MCO) meet regularly with LES and maintain an open door policy.
1.1.5 The opening of our mission in Kabul, in the summer of 2003, resulted in the transfer of a Political Officer and Consular Officer position from Islamabad to Kabul. These transfers reduce the Mission's ability to deliver the Political and Consular programs. In the case of the latter program, it also reduces the depth of back-up support for the Administration and Consular Programs. This issue is discussed in the pertinent sections of this report.
1.1.6 Management has made efforts to communicate with all LES staff and to encourage them to discuss work-related problems with CBS management. A significant number of LES, non-office staff as well as other LES, did not avail themselves of this opportunity to report concerns to CBS management. Instead, a significant number of LES reported to the Audit Team that they are mistreated by their supervisors; there is favouritism in staffing actions; their responsibilities had significantly changed over the years without any reclassification; and that their counterparts' positions in other Canadian missions in neighbouring countries are classified at a higher level. Non-office staff are not aware of their employee benefits and rights as the LES Handbook (1995) had not been translated into Urdu, and benefits such as the Provident Fund and Life Insurance, seemingly approved by Headquarters (HQ) in 1996, had yet to be implemented.
1.1.7 Mission Management needs to communicate more effectively with all LES staff to ensure they understand their rights, and that they can report to CBS management those work-related problems that cannot be resolved with their immediate supervisors.
1.1.8 Investigate and take action to resolve complaints made by LES employees.
1.1.7 Mission Management is working together with the LESWA Committee to encourage better communication with all employees. Employees rights will be communicated clearly in the updated LES Employee Handbook, which has been forwarded to HQ for approval. The handbook has been translated in Urdu and the LESWA Committee ensures that it is communicated to all employees.
1.1.8 Follow-up action was initiated and a report was submitted to HOM on April 9, 2005.
1.1.9 The Mission believes strongly that support for the HOM is needed in the form of a Social Secretary. The HOM is heavily engaged in representational activities and her Assistant is too busy to provide the level of support required. In November 2004, the Mission engaged the services of a Social Secretary on a contract basis with the contract to run until May 19, 2005. This individual, who is being paid at an LE-05 level, is dedicated principally to the HOM and an interview with the incumbent suggests she is fully employed. There seems to be compelling reasons to support the need for this position but the Mission is advised that a business case should be presented to the Geographic Bureau to seek authority for the staffing of this position.
1.1.10 The Mission should prepare a business case to support the need for a Social Secretary position.
1.1.10 Mission Management has prepared a business case for the need of Liaison, Translation and Security Assistant position. This has been submitted to South Asia Division (RAS) for approval.
2.1.1 The GR Program is managed by the Counsellor (Political/Economic), an FS-02 acting in an EX-01 position, who arrived at the Mission in September 2004. Program staff includes an LE-09 Political Analyst, an LE-07 Senior Media/Public Diplomacy Officer and an AS-01 Administrative Assistant whose time is shared with another Program. The Head of Mission also actively participates in the Program. The Counsellor, in addition, serves as the Deputy High Commissioner and is the Mission Security Officer (MSO) and the Chair of the Housing and Security committees.
2.1.2 Pakistan is a fascinating and interesting posting for any Political Officer. It is a country that faces many challenges, including increased poverty, ***. It is also a 'frontline' state in the global campaign to combat terrorism. Following 9/11, its President and Chief of Army agreed to join the war on terror and Pakistan became a key regional ally of the United States and other Western governments. As a consequence, many terrorists have since been detained and many more actively pursued. Terrorist activities are on the rise since 9/11 and the defeat of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is now the world's largest producer of opium and heroin. These activities pose a direct threat to public safety in Pakistan and to peace in Afghanistan. This situation has affected Pakistan's relations with India (both 'nuclear' states) and regional stability in general. Canada's relationship with Pakistan dates back to the 1950s because of their Commonwealth links and Canada's development assistance. Since Pakistan's decision to join the war on terror, Canada has eased sanctions imposed following its nuclear testing (except for military equipment) and is pursuing a policy of 'constructive engagement' designed to encourage and support democratic and other necessary reforms.
2.1.3 GR is a Program that is extremely busy and one whose small resource base is severely stretched. It is a Program whose staff are highly skilled and dedicated and have an excellent network of key local contacts. The Program collaborates closely with the HOM, the Defence Attache, the IBD Program, CIDA and others to ensure effective bilateral relations are continued. The Program has an active media relations component to ensure Canada is properly profiled and its message understood. In the short four months since the Counsellor arrived, the Program's accomplishments have been significant.
2.1.4 The Program is producing timely analysis and reporting on several topics for which RAS has responded very positively. Pakistan's reaction to the recent US election, Pakistan's struggle for good governance, sectarian violence in Pakistan, the Afghan elections and Pakistan perspectives on security and Central Asia are only some of the topics reported on. In addition, the Program coordinated a South Asia Political Officers meeting (SAPOM) and took the lead at this meeting to discuss Canada's Central and South Asia policy initiatives; served as co-ordinator for representatives of like-minded diplomatic missions in observing the Afghanistan elections; lobbied the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs to successfully secure agreement on the re-opening of the Lahore Consulate; assisted with a visit of the CIDA Pakistan Director to northern Pakistan; and successfully managed a visit of a Parliamentary delegation that included the Speaker of the House of Commons. In all, there have been 14 major activities at the Mission since the Counsellor's arrival in which the Program was involved. The heavy calendar of activities as well as time spent with both committees the Counsellor chairs have limited him from focussing on managerial issues. Structured management, coupled with adding another Canada-based resource and providing staff with appropriate tools in which to work, would serve to further enhance this Program. There is potential in the areas of Canadian studies and promotion of educational services as well as cultural relations that is not actively pursued because of limited Program resources. Moreover, the Program's Post Initiative Fund (PIF) of $10,000 could be more effectively used. With two months remaining in the fiscal year, almost 70 percent is unspent.
2.2.1 The Department's Strategic Framework, the country strategy draft and the HOM's Performance Management Agreement (PMA) provide the guidance under which the GR Program operates. Political reporting priorities are outlined in RAS's Reporting Contract with the Mission. A PMA between the HOM and the Counsellor is currently in draft form only and has yet to be signed. This document needs to emphasize more strongly the management component of the Counsellor's position and that the Program's reporting is to be done in accordance with the Reporting Contract.
2.2.2 The Program would benefit from more structured management. A forward looking results-based plan, an accountability accord with each of the LES officers, regular formal staff meetings of the Section, and improved management information are needed. Currently staff have significant discretion in undertaking their duties. The physical dislocation of the LES from the Counsellor's office in the secure zone makes supervision difficult. The fact that both LES Officers are on different floors of the Chancery only exacerbates this issue. At present, the Counsellor maintains daily contact with staff but not in any formalized manner. The Mission intends to integrate the Section following Chancery renovations to expand space for the Immigration Section.
2.2.3 A results-based work plan would identify the Program's objectives, activities, milestone dates, performance indicators and expected outputs. The accountability accord between the Counsellor and the two LES officers would articulate the expectations of each Officer in measurable terms and form the basis upon which each Officer would be evaluated annually. Regular weekly meetings would allow an opportunity to review the work-plan, establish priorities, assign work and monitor performance. Both LES Officers indicated they would welcome this new structure.
2.2.4 Improved management information would also assist the Program in its delivery. Owing to a staffing problem and a vacancy of a few months in the Administrative Assistant position, information is currently not easy to locate. The current Assistant, a contracted term employee, is focussing on setting up suitable hard copy files; encouraging employees to use the "I" drive to store critical information; implementing a contact management system that is more than just a business card; and introducing a system to track the number of demarches processed.
2.2.5 Greater emphasis should be placed on the management of the General Relations Program through the development of a results-based work-plan, accountability agreements between the Program Manager and Officers, and regular staff meetings.
2.2.5 Regular weekly Program meetings are now held where lessons learned and results achieved from previous work are reviewed. Priorities for the week, long-term projects, and major reporting requirements are also determined, including visits and events planning. Accountability agreements are being developed for each staff member and will be in place by Fiscal Year 2006/2007.
2.3.1 The working conditions of both LES Officers need to be addressed. Some of this is due to the wide division physically of both Officers. Each is housed in a different area of the Chancery. Neither has direct access to facsimile and photocopy machines. In the case of the Political Analyst, he must go to the Immigration Section for his printing and to the IBD Program for his faxes. Neither Officer has been provided with a hospitality allocation. Both have entertained clients at their own expense. The Media Analyst needs a laptop computer and the Program has had to lease one in the past. They also have no access to e-mails from outside the office.
2.3.2 The two LES Officers are relatively new to the Mission. The Political Analyst joined the Mission in December 2002 and the Media Relations Officer in April 2004. Only the Political Analyst has received HQ training - a two-day course on "Policy Analysis and Development" offered by CFSI in Ottawa. Both these Officers would benefit from further Departmental training. While in Canada, outreach activities and meeting with the media in centres where there are large Asian communities could also be undertaken.
2.3.3 The GR Program staff should be equipped with access to necessary office equipment.
2.3.4 Provide the LES Officers with the requisite Departmental training.
2.3.3 Both LES officers are now on the same floor in adjoining offices with direct access to facsimile and photocopiers.
2.3.4 One officer has now received training in Canada. Future opportunities are being considered for both officers including French language training.
2.4.1 The GR's current resources are delivering a very active Program but are stretched. These Officers work longer than normal days and are incurring significant overtime. Since September, 218 hours of overtime have been incurred split between both LES. The Program lost an FS-01 Third Secretary position in August 2001. Following 9/11, the Program received a GSRP (Global Security Reporting Program) position in 2002 to be used primarily to report on the security situation in Afghanistan. But this position was moved to Kabul in August 2003 when Canada opened a Mission and deployed 2,000 troops there. In comparing this Program's resources to the UK and Australian missions, the UK has eight UK-based political officers and four LES while Australia, a much smaller mission, has four Australia-based political officers and two LES.
2.4.2 The opportunities being lost could be material. In the education field alone, it is recognized that many Pakistani students go abroad for undergraduate and post-graduation studies but Canada's share is very small and dropping. The US's share alone of the international student market is estimated at US $13 billion. Student visas for Canada issued in 2000 totalled 1325 while in 2004 the number was only 426. The last few years have seen the educational fairs held in April but acceptances of Canadian universities are done in February. The timing presents real problems in that interest in attending Canadian schools wanes following the education fair. Last year, the Program manned booths at fairs held in three different cities and some 10,000 enquiry forms were issued. This suggests that indeed there is interest. Moreover, a "Study in Canada" roundtable hosted by the HOM in November 2004 with heads of schools sending students abroad indicated very strong potential for Canada to recruit large numbers of students. However, sparse attendance of Canadian universities and colleges at education fairs has not helped. There needs to be pro-active Canadian marketing to schools in Pakistan before the Canadian acceptance deadline to sustain interest in Canada. There also needs to be pro-active dialogue with the schools in Canada to raise awareness of the potential this country has to offer. This requires resource enhancement.
2.4.3 On the question of resources, the Mission has submitted a business case to the Geographic Branch for a GRSP position to assist with the reporting. Both RAD and RAS found the submission compelling and have followed this matter up with ISD who is in charge of the GRSP program. A decision, however, is contingent on new funding but this Mission has been advised that it would be at the top of the list for any new GRSP position becoming available. Should GRSP funding not materialize, HQ should pursue other options to provide the Mission with this necessary resource. A business case for an incremental LES position may also be justified but this needs to be further investigated and analysed.
2.4.4 Funding for a Canada-based Political Officer position should be strongly considered.
2.4.4 In response to a strong recommendation by the Bureau, the Department made the decision to create and staff a GSRP position in the Political Section in the Mission, commencing in Fall 2005. Much of the excess demand on the current Political program staff for International Security related reporting and networking should be alleviated as a result. As such, the creation of an additional Political Officer position is not warranted at this time.
2.4.5 A business case to support the addition of another LES position in the GR Program should be developed and submitted to RAD for evaluation.
2.4.5 The need for an incremental LES position will be evaluated following the integration of the new GSRP position into the Political Program.
3.1.1 The Commercial Section is headed by the Trade Program Manager (a management trainee - MM3 - on secondment from Natural Resources Canada). He is supported by two LES Commercial Officers and an LES Commercial Assistant in Islamabad. In addition, two Commercial Officers in Karachi working out of the office of the Honorary Consul and an LES Commercial Officer in Lahore report to the Program Manager in Islamabad.
3.1.2 Trade opportunities in Pakistan have increased largely due to the economic reforms taking place in the country. These reforms have resulted in a rapid expansion of production in the industrial sector and rising consumer demand reinforced by new regional trade initiatives, improved relations between Pakistan and India and continued political commitment to privatize state assets and implement further economic reform. Canadian companies have taken advantage of these reforms to significantly increase their sales to Pakistan, initially in canola and more recently in a wide range of products including Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and industrial equipment. That said, the biggest challenge faced by the IBD Program is the image of Pakistan among Canadian companies. Most remember the difficult times before reform and remain reluctant to enter or re-enter the Pakistani market.
3.1.3 The Program in Islamabad is also responsible for Afghanistan. While opportunities related to reconstruction are potentially significant, results for Canadian companies have been limited to date. Most opportunities are through contracts with the UN and US military. The Program has assisted a few Canadian companies in pursuing contracts through the Asian Development Bank. Given the security and funding issues associated with Afghanistan, few program resources are devoted to this difficult market.
3.2.1 The IBD Program is well managed by a very dynamic manager. Prior to his arrival, the Program post 9/11 was very constrained in what it could achieve. Security made it difficult to travel in Islamabad, much less throughout the country. In addition, economic reform had not begun, and there was little transparency in business transactions. The arrival of the new Manager coincided with the beginning of economic reform as well as a slight lessening in security concerns that made it possible once more to travel on a limited basis. The Manager has concentrated on motivating his staff to get out of the office and the Program has developed an outcall strategy that emphasizes both follow-up and maintenance of the existing network of contacts.
3.2.2 Communication and morale within the Program are very positive. All officers commented on the openness of the Program and that everyone is involved in all meetings and conference calls. The Program Manager ensures that all significant correspondence is copied to everyone and that his management style is very inclusive and transparent. This inclusiveness extends to the offices in Karachi and Lahore. Conference calls are held on a regular basis with all officers participating. Officers also commented on the Program Manager's value to the Program. They see him as their window into Ottawa, as someone who knows the system, as an arbitrator and moderator during the business planning process, and as the primary door-opener into the public sector in Pakistan.
3.2.3 The support by the HOM to the IBD program is very positive. Although not involved in the day-to-day operations of the program, she can be called upon when needed and never hesitates to participate. The HOM has never been reluctant to open the residence to trade events.
3.2.4 At the beginning of each fiscal year, officers draw up strategies for each of the priority sectors. These are based on a template developed by the Trade Program Manager that includes work plans and expected results. To ensure that officers are clear on the results expected of them, the Program Manager should draw up Accountability Agreements with all of his staff. These should be based on the strategic plans developed by the officers and include detailed work plans that outline expectations and performance measurements that are results-based. These should then be used to monitor operations and provide feedback.
3.2.5 Draw up Accountability Agreements between the Program Manager and his staff based on expected results.
3.2.5 All Officers now have accountability agreements within their June 2005 performance appraisals and these are being renewed in December 2005 within the new Department's new structure for accountability agreements which was introduced in May 2005.
3.2.6 The Audit Team spent one day in Karachi to meet with a Commercial Officer (the other Commercial Officer was on *** leave) and the Honorary Consul. The team did not have the opportunity to travel to Lahore. The emerging private sector makes the offices in Karachi and Lahore increasingly important. In an economy still dominated by government ownership and control, Islamabad necessarily concentrates on relations with government officials. Although most sectors are still dominated by government, privatization in key sectors of interest to Canadian companies makes the Karachi and Lahore offices definite assets to the IBD Program. Officers in Islamabad consider these offices as supportive to their priorities and call on them for assistance when private sector companies play a role. Apart from the financial sector, priority sectors are all led in Islamabad. Interest by Canadian companies and subsequent results in the financial sector have been limited. There has been an attempt to identify new emerging priority sectors that could be led from Karachi, although these have not been confirmed. To maximize the contribution of the offices in Karachi and Lahore, there is a need to identify priorities led from these two offices. Given the level of the officers in each of these cities, they need to do more than provide support to priorities in Islamabad.
3.2.7 Priority sectors that could be led from Karachi and Lahore need to be identified.
3.2.7 The lead role on several priority Sectors has been devolved to Karachi (Environment and Packaged foods) and to Lahore (Education Services and Agricultural Services/Equipment).
3.3.1 The office space is co-located with and leased from the Honorary Consul. While the office is a short distance from the city centre, the office has the advantage of being less congested with traffic and has parking space available. Given that officers should spend an increasing amount of their time out of the office, location becomes less important. In addition, co-location with the Honorary Consul (a prominent private sector businessman) brings additional benefits in terms of contacts and market intelligence.
3.4.1 The New Approach is well understood by all officers in the Program. The Program Manager held a retreat to reinforce the New Approach and is planning another. Officers concentrate on the six core services although effective additional service providers are difficult to identify. The Program Manager monitors outgoing correspondence on a selective basis and ensures that the five-day turnaround service standard is met.
3.4.2 The Program concentrates on six priority sectors. Given the limited resources, officers tend to further concentrate on specific opportunities in each of these sectors. The major challenge is matching these opportunities with the limited number of Canadian companies that have expressed an interest in the Pakistani market.
4.1.1 The MCO is responsible for the delivery of the Consular Program at the Mission. The day-to-day operations of the Consular Program have been delegated to an experienced LES Consular Officer and two Consular Assistants. Back-up is provided by the DMCO as needed. Recent political events and a widely publicized consular case have resulted in a heavier-than-usual workload for the section.
4.1.2 The Consular team enjoys a congenial working environment and feels well supported by management. A new physical layout and the recent update of job descriptions are viewed by the staff as very positive. Frustrations are focussed on peripheral activities which distract from core operations, such as dealing with CBS visa requirements and "walk-in" requests by other employees. To mitigate this problem, the MCO is considering the installation of a Dutch-door and posting service hours, which would allow the Consular Assistants the quiet time needed to concentrate on more urgent tasks.
4.2.1 The Mission issues approximately 1,345 passports and handles some 400 citizenship applications per year.
4.2.2 The Consular Officer, a 16-year veteran of the Consular section, is very knowledgeable despite the fact he has never received training in Ottawa. Lack of extensive passport training is currently being addressed by Passport Canada in the context of the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) report. In addition, the assistant to the new Honorary Consul in Lahore has yet to receive passport related training.
4.2.3 Receipts are only issued once a passport has been processed, as opposed to when an application and payment are submitted. Only upon request does the passport staff issue receipts at the time of the transaction.
4.2.4 A risk assessment on Passport operations was conducted by Passport Canada shortly before the Audit. The preliminary results confirmed lack of CBS sign-off of passport applications, one occurrence of an improperly issued passport, as well as an increase in the number and variety of data errors made by staff. Consequently, a representative from Passport Canada accompanied the Audit Team to further investigate the issues. Upon close examination, it was determined that the anomalies initially identified could be explained and/or remedied.
4.2.6 While Islamabad transmits applications of Emergency Passports issued in Kabul to Headquarters, the Mission does not enter the 'tombstone' data on these Emergency Passports into PMP. Islamabad should enter all Emergency Passport applications received from Kabul into PMP upon receipt to ensure any data or security alerts can be dealt with promptly prior to the applications being sent to Canada.
4.2.7 While the High Commission in Islamabad and the Embassy in Kabul do not officially have a 'hub-and-spoke' relationship, the two offices work very closely on a variety of passport and consular issues. Islamabad provided initial training for locally-engaged consular staff prior to the opening of the Embassy, and continues to act as a resource for consular-related questions and concerns originating in Kabul. Kabul does not have the facilities or materiel to issue regular Canadian passports. They are limited to providing Emergency Passport services. Islamabad continues to process applications received from Kabul for regular passport services, as well as transmit Emergency Passport applications processed by Kabul through diplomatic bag to Headquarters. While at times onerous for Islamabad staff, this relationship should continue until Kabul's operating environment stabilizes, at which time roles and responsibilities for each mission can be reassessed.
4.2.8 The MCO and HOM perform quarterly passport inventory reconciliation together as required; however, on a monthly basis, this task is performed by the MCO alone.
4.2.9 The LES Consular Officer signs off on completed passport applications without any CBS oversight. Given the fact that there are only two CBS in the Consular and Administration section, overseeing over 70 LES, this arrangement has been the preferred mode of operation. Given resource restrictions and workload, it may be necessary to create a new CBS administrative position to facilitate CBS passport approval. The MCO has also noted that "more could be done" on the consular front, such as visits to Honorary Consuls, etc., if resources permitted.
4.2.10 Send the Consular Officer on the Consular Specialist Course in Ottawa.
4.2.11 Bring the Honorary Consul's Assistant in Lahore to Islamabad for Consular and Passport training.
4.2.13 Ensure that two CBS participate in the monthly passport inventory reconciliation.
4.2.14 Enter Emergency Passport data into the PMP system as soon as it is obtained from Kabul.
4.2.10 A request to send the Senior LES Consular Officer on the Consular Specialist course in Ottawa was forwarded to HQ.
4.2.11 The Consular Assistant in Lahore has received training in Islamabad.
4.2.13 Two CBS now participate in the monthly passport count.
4.2.14 Kabul Emergency Passport data is now entered when received.
4.3.1 The Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) system indicates there are 356 registrants, totalling 959 Canadians when including their family members. Efforts to update and maintain the database are ongoing.
4.3.2 There are two Honorary Consuls in Pakistan; one in Karachi and one recently appointed in Lahore. The latter has not yet received training but will do so shortly. The MCO is satisfied with the function in Karachi but notes that the Assistant could benefit from additional training in order to address issues directly instead of referring back to the Mission.
4.3.3 The Consular booth does not provide adequate sound attenuation. Upon observation it was noted that the door to the Consular booth does not create a continuous seal around the door jam.
4.3.4 While the services provided to Canadians meet departmental standards, it has been observed that more would be done if time permitted. As such, the Mission should examine the possibility of creating a new CBS position within the Administration/Consular section. It would help improve services to Canadians, and ensure the ability to re-implement and maintain CBS oversight over passport operations. See recommendation 5.1.4.
4.3.5 Make the required changes to attenuate the sound between the Consular booth and the rest of the Public Zone.
4.3.5 The Mission will make the required changes. Completion by February 2006.
5.1.1 This is a well-managed Program headed by an experienced MCO who is assisted by a Deputy MCO and two Foreign Service Information Technology Professionals (FSITP). The DMCO is a CR-04 in an AS-05 position. Together they manage and supervise 68 LES, including three in the Consular Section.
5.1.2 Managing this Program is challenging given the size and complexity of the Mission, the security and terrorist concerns, the need for the Mission to undertake most maintenance and contracting projects itself, and the need to rely heavily on LES employees in key positions in human resources, property maintenance and consular areas. Over the past several years the Program has dealt with several evacuations as well as providing assistance and logistical support to the opening of our mission in Kabul. Extensive maintenance and renovation projects such as refinishing the exterior of the Chancery, creating incremental office space for the Immigration Program, constructing a gym and a warehouse, the installation of an ISDN telephone system, as well as engaging in ongoing negotiations for the construction of an Annex and the Information Technology (IT) re-cabling of the Chancery have consumed much time and energy. In January 2005, the MCO was urgently sent to Phuket in Thailand for several weeks to assist Canadians affected by the recent tsunami that killed 170,000 people in Indonesia and Thailand.
5.1.3 The transfer of the CBS Consular Officer's position to Kabul in 2003 resulted in the need for the MCO to devote more time and energy to the Consular Program. A heavier than usual case load, coupled with a high profile consular case, reduced available time to manage and supervise the Administration Program. The necessity to implement the recommendation to provide CBS oversight to the issuance of passports will only add to an already overburdened workload.
5.1.4 The Mission should develop and present a business case to justify the staffing of a new CBS position who would be responsible for the Consular Program and assist the MCO in other administrative functions such as Human Resources.
5.1.4 The Mission agrees with the recommendation that a new CBS position be created which would be responsible for the Consular Program and assist the MCO in other administrative functions, specifically in the area of Human Resources. A business Case will be prepared and forwarded to HQ for approval. Time frame, end of February 2006.
5.2.1The MCO is responsible for HR and exercises close supervision over this function. Day-to-day HR duties are performed by the LE-07 Human Resources/Finance Manager, who devotes 45% of his time to HR, and the LE-05 Personnel Assistant. Their duties include organising boards for vacant positions; assisting in reclassification exercises; conducting benefit surveys; following up on appraisals; maintaining personnel records, including leave balances and preparing pay records; and inputting salary documents for some 130 LES employees working at the Mission.
5.2.2 Since his arrival in 2002 the MCO has prompted managers and employees to update job descriptions; centralized the staffing process, which was previously undertaken solely by Program Managers (PMs); instituted a mission-wide training program; incited supervisors to complete outstanding appraisals; and transferred from HR to the Consular Program responsibilities related to the requesting of diplomatic ID cards, visas and passes for travel to the northern areas of Pakistan.
5.2.3 Position files, personnel files as the well as the leave and pay system are well kept and up to date.
5.2.4 Mission Management is in the process of up dating job descriptions and has completed most of the office staff positions to be followed by non-office staff positions. LES appraisals, some of which had not been completed for a number of years, are now up to date with only a few exceptions. These exercises have prompted the reclassification of five LES positions.
5.2.5 Benefits were last reviewed and approved in 1995. Since then the Mission has made considerable effort to further align them with markers. Proposals made and ostensibly approved by HQ in 1996, concerning the creation of a Provident Fund and granting Life Insurance to LES, have yet to be implemented. Since 1997 the Mission has provided information requested by HQ on three different occasions. It was misplaced on two occasions. The Mission recently completed a new benefit survey and was in the process of preparing a submission to HQ.
5.2.6 In January 2005, HQ responded to a draft of the new LES employee Handbook, submitted more than a year ago. The response indicates that Life Insurance for LES was not approved. The issue of the age to qualify for pension entitlements also needs to be resolved. The Provident Fund question was not addressed since it was not included in the draft LES Handbook sent to HQ. There are numerous e-mails on file concerning this latter issue which remains outstanding. The Mission was in the process of responding to the January 2005 message from Locally-engaged Staff Service Bureau (HLD).
5.2.7 The LES Committee indicated that the 1995 LES Handbook had not been translated into Urdu. Consequently, many LES non-office workers who cannot read English or French are deprived of first-hand knowledge of their benefits. The Committee also indicated that all LES employees are anxiously awaiting the implementation of the Provident Fund since it is granted to LES in several other missions in Islamabad and was seen to be approved by HQ in 1996.
5.2.8 There is a need for HLD to set a realistic deadline regarding implementation of the new benefits package, including the Provident Fund and life insurance for LES.
5.2.8 HLD advised the Mission that it is re-establishing its priorities and will be issuing an amended review schedule. The Mission has been identified as a priority and the matter will be addressed during the upcoming benefits review. The life insurance plan will be reviewed during the establishment of the Provident Fund, if not sooner.
5.2.9 Translate the 1995 LES Handbook into Urdu and distribute to all LES.
5.2.9 The LES Handbook was translated into Urdu and distributed to LES in April 2005.
5.2.10 There are ten expatriate LES positions at the Mission. The table below compares the expatriate salary scale with the LES scale and indicates the distribution of these positions amongst expatriate and LES employees. The expatriate salary scale does not have any steps while the LES scale has 15 steps. Nine of these expatriate positions were created between 2000 and 2002 in response to security needs ***. No documentation is available to identify when the tenth expatriate position (Migration Integrity Officer - EXT-311857-EXPAT 8) was created. Many of these positions were formally occupied by CBS spouses until CBS dependents were evacuated from the Mission towards the end of 2002. In many instances, it proved difficult to find expatriate replacements for these positions. Consequently, six of these positions are currently filled by non-expatriate LES who are paid non-expatriate wages. This has resulted in salary savings currently used to finance an emergency Social Secretary position. In some instances, it was necessary to re-align responsibilities due to the reduced security clearance granted to an LES. There remains, however, some anomalies as there are other LES positions with similar responsibilities, such as Case Analysts, which are classified and staffed as an LES position. Furthermore, there is little justification to classify the Consular Assistant position as an Expatriate Level 06 other than the person occupying it is an expatriate. This position is normally classified as an LES position and staffed by an LES.
5.2.12 The Mission needs to review the status of all expatriate positions.
5.2.12 The Mission has reviewed all expatriate positions and has submitted revisions to HLD.
5.2.13 The CBS Administrative Assistant's position (EXT-3004R, AS-01) in the Political Section is currently filled by a security cleared CBS spouse occupying the Case Analyst expatriate position (EXT-402137) in the Immigration Program. This Analyst position is at Level 8 and the incumbent is currently paid at Level 7. The CBS position became vacant in December 2004. This staffing action is temporary as a CBS rotational employee is to be posted to this position in the summer of 2005. Extra funding needed to pay for the estimated cost of this position was transferred to the LES budget (N012) by the geographic bureau (RSD). This funding is being used to backfill the expatriate Immigration position by an LES paid an LES wage.
5.2.14 There is currently confusion as to the rate of pay and benefits that should be paid to this CBS spouse. The Mission has not made any formal offer and was uncertain how it would be possible to pay this employee an equitable compensation package. Consequently, she continues to be paid an Expatriate level 7 salary even though the AA's position is classified at the AS-01 level. The salary difference between these two positions is around $10,000 annually. Furthermore, this spouse is currently on leave without pay (LWOP) from the Federal Public Service and paying both the employee's and employer's share of her superannuation plan while on LWOP. Given that she is temporarily occupying a CBS rotational position, there is an expectation that the employer's share of her pension plan should be paid by FAC. These issues and others such as entitlements to Foreign Service Directives (FSDs) need to be resolved.
5.2.15 It is unusual for a CBS spouse to temporarily fill a CBS rotational position. Normally, a CBS employee from HQ would be assigned on temporary duty for the required period. The Mission and the Management and Assignment Services Bureau (HMD) decided that this was the most effective solution as the spouse was qualified and willing to immediately fill this position. Recruiting a temporary replacement from HQ would have taken more time and would have been more costly because of the necessity to pay travel, meals and lodging costs.
5.2.16 The Mission, in consultation with HMD, needs to find a solution to ensure that the CBS spouse currently occupying rotational position EXT-3004R is equitably compensated for the duties and responsibilities she undertakes.
5.2.16 The Mission has already resolved this matter satisfactorily with the CBS spouse in question.
5.2.17 The Mission continues to employ casual labourers for various ongoing property maintenance projects. The number of labourers employed may vary from a few to as many as 60 or more depending on the need, as the Mission often operates as its own prime contractor in matters of repairs and maintenance on the three compounds. The 1999 Audit Report stated "many of these labourers have been continuously employed by the Mission...". The situation has not changed since, as many of these labourers are continuously employed on a number of individual projects. An employer/employee relationship may exist and consequently these labourers may be entitled to the same benefits as other LES at the Mission.
5.2.18 The recommendation contained in the 1999 Audit Report to regularize casual labourers employed on a continuous basis remains outstanding. It has been overtaken by events such as two evacuations, the opening of our Mission in Kabul, complicated consular cases, and the seemingly contentment of these labourers with their current situation. They are either not fully aware of their entitlement to the same benefits as other LES or choose to remain silent.
5.2.19 The Mission needs to reviews its complement of long-term casual labourers with a view to identifying and regularizing positions that are needed continuously.
5.2.19 The Mission will study the hiring trends in order to determine if converting casual daily labourer positions to full time is justified. However, there will always be a need for labourers on a short-term basis. Normally, casual labourers are hired for project work. Reliable workers are rehired when required.
5.2.23 The Mission employs six emergency employees in the Immigration Section. The CIC Program Manager indicated that there is an ongoing need for these six positions, but had been unable to obtain the necessary funding to regularize them. Consequently, every six months, Mission Management diligently follows procedures and organises a competition to find six new employees. This repetitive process is counterproductive.
5.2.24 CIC HQ indicated that there is a shortage of Immigration resources in many missions abroad, and that they were in the process of reviewing this situation globally.
5.2.25 The Mission should continue to seek additional funding from CIC to regularize emergency positions that are permanently required.
5.2.25 The CIC Manager is in contact with his home department in order to try to resolve this matter. If the funding issue is not resolved by year end, the Mission will limit the authority to hire emergency employees.
5.3.1 The Property function is under the general direction of the MCO but the day-to-day management is carried out by the DMCO. The DMCO oversees a staff of 46 LES who handle transportation, purchasing/warehousing, maintenance, cleaning, gardening and construction projects. The Section is providing good service to Mission staff. Files are well documented and include distribution accounts, occupancy agreements, inventories, leases and projects. Systems and policies are in place for transportation/official vehicle use and for arrivals and departures.
5.3.2 The Mission has three compounds located within the Diplomatic Enclave that house the Chancery, Official Residence (OR), 16 Staff Quarters (SQs), a Recreational Facility and the Domestics' SQs. Seven Crown-leased SQs are located off-compound. The Mission is currently constructing a warehouse on Compound B which will eliminate the need for the two leased storage facilities. Outside Islamabad, there is a Trade Office in Karachi and a Trade Office in Lahore which was recently opened.
5.3.3 With 150 staff to accommodate, the Chancery is reaching capacity. The recently completed (CIC) expansion project adds 10 offices which will alleviate some of the pressure; however, space is still an issue. The Mission and the Physical Resources Bureau (SRD) are exploring options for the expansion of the Chancery facility. It is anticipated that plans for an annex on the existing compound will be approved in 2006 with construction to start in 2007. The Mission works closely with the Property Maintenance and Operations Section (SRSF) to develop maintenance plans and has completed projects such as refinishing the Chancery exterior and the refit of the washrooms.
5.3.4 The OR, located next to the Chancery, is an attractive and adequate house with gardens suitable for entertaining. Hospitality diaries indicate that the HOM is making good use of the premises for events. Due to security concerns the HOM is driven in the Official Vehicle and the Mission needs to develop a methodology to determine a personal share of the cost.
5.3.5 The SQs are of reasonable size and well located. They are well maintained and staff are generally happy with their housing. One employee was moving to a different SQ and his vacant SQ will be used, until the next posting cycle, as a transit flat to house employees involved in the window replacement project for the SQs of Compound C. There are currently no Accommodation Deficiency Allowances. Following the designation of the Mission as unaccompanied (September 11, 2001), the HOM made housing allocation decisions. The Mission Housing Committee is functioning well.
5.3.6 Communications between the Property Section and Security Section are, at times, strained. Security indicated that it is not always consulted during the planning of projects that have security implications such as guard hut construction. Administration indicated that security procedures did not always factor in operational constraints, such as the requirement to provide three days notice for contractor visits which is not always feasible when urgent maintenance issues arise. Management of both Sections are aware of this issue and indicated that they are working to improve the relationship.
5.3.7 The Mission, over time, has been using some of the Domestics' Quarters (DQ) for workshops and storage. The limited number of quarters available and a recent incident involving an adult dependent have led the Mission to reaffirm its occupancy policy for DQs and to send a letter to the occupants re-enforcing the policy.
5.3.8 The Mission currently uses a mix of emails, manual forms and spreadsheets for its work order and inventory processing and tracking. The Mission has obtained the work order/inventory system from the mission in Delhi and the Purchasing Officer has visited for training. The Section plans to install the system once the Mission's re-cabling project is complete. SRD is developing a global work order system and should be consulted prior to installing any system.
5.3.9 Develop a methodology for identifying a personal share of the cost for the HOM's use of the Official Vehicle.
5.3.10 Continue efforts to improve communications between Property and Security.
5.3.11 Consult with SRD regarding the Mission plan to install a work order system in relation to the status of SRD's global work order system implementation.
5.3.9 This matter has been pursued with the appropriate Bureau at HQ and it has been determined that there will be no cost to the HOM until such time as Property and Material Policy Section (SRMW) develops a worldwide policy on this issue.
5.3.10 Parties concerned have been consulted and all efforts are being made to resolve all outstanding issues and to improve two-way communications in the future.
5.3.11 The Mission has approached the High Commission in New Delhi who has developed an electronic work order system. Work on this system is already underway. In the meantime, the Mission will be monitoring the progress of the implementation of a global system which is being developed by SRD.
5.4.1 The Finance Section is under the general direction of the MCO and the HR/Finance Manager. Together they supervise a Senior and a Junior accountants who are responsible for the day-to-day financial operations of the Mission. The Section also inputs Kabul's financial transactions into IMS (see Kabul's accounts below). Both accountants as well as the HR/Financial Manager are well qualified and have received appropriate IMS training.
5.4.2 This well-managed Section provides good service to all programs. Financial signing authorities are respected and duties are appropriately segregated to ensure a sufficient level of control over the payment process and the creation of vendor codes. Bank reconciliations for Islamabad accounts are up to date and payments are appropriately supported by the necessary documents. The accounts are meticulously reviewed and signed by the MCO and the HOM monthly. The use of a local bank to collect immigration fees on our behalf is functioning well. A daily reconciliation between amounts collected and services rendered is performed by the Senior Accountant. The Mission needs to examine the possibility of using the local bank to collect Consular revenues. The Mission needs to reconcile passport revenues to the number of passports issued.
5.4.3 The Senior Accountant will be departing this summer. The Mission needs to start the recruitment process as soon as possible to ensure that the new accountant will be properly trained and capable of using IMS prior to the incumbent's departure. This will ensure continuity of financial operations which would otherwise suffer.
5.4.4 Since the opening of our Mission in Kabul in 2003, the Financial Section has been responsible for providing financial services to Kabul without additional resources. Until the Mission in Kabul could find a reliable bank, the Financial Section obtained and transferred cash advances of up to $100,000 and made bank transfers on Kabul's behalf. The Section also trained the LES Accountant in Kabul with respect to basic financial rules and regulations and familiarised him with the IMS financial system and coding structure. Currently, the Section only inputs financial transaction information received from Kabul into IMS and makes payments for Kabul, when required. Presently, the information in IMS is only comprised of cash payments made by Kabul from advances obtained at the local bank. Consequently, other bank transactions such as funds purchases, advances, bank charges and other direct payments are not recorded. The IMS entries for cash payments debiting an expenditure and crediting Kabul's bank account only add to the confusion and make the bank reconciliation process impossible to complete. This needs to be rectified by establishing a Cash Account in IMS for Kabul.
5.4.5 Until Signet and IMS are installed in Kabul and its Accountant trained, the extra work generated by Kabul's accounting needs is best handled by allowing the accountants to work overtime as they are IMS trained. Training a temporary accountant would be counterproductive. An alternative to this solution is finding an available IMS trained resource either in another Mission or at Headquarters to take on this task.
5.4.6 Create a Cash Account in IMS for Kabul.
5.4.7 Transfer the cash payments recorded as bank payments in IMS so they are reflected against the newly created Cash Account.
5.4.8 In collaboration with Kabul all bank transactions should be recorded in the appropriate IMS accounts and bank reconciliations should be completed as required.
5.4.6 Completed in June 2005.
5.4.7 Completed in June 2005.
5.4.8 Completed in June 2005.
5.4.9 Allow the accountants to work overtime to capture Kabul's financial transactions in IMS and complete the banks reconciliations. Alternatively, seek SMFF's help in identifying another IMS trained resource to take on this task.
5.4.9 Islamabad accountants have been working to bring the Kabul accounts up to date. The Mission has benefited from a visit by SMFF for three weeks in June 2005. The Kabul accounts backlog is being addressed with the help of the Kabul Accountant on periodic visits to Islamabad.
5.4.10 The Audit Team noted other areas where financial controls could be improved. These are self-explanatory and are presented as recommendations only.
5.4.11 Previous years' financial records stored in various places need to be grouped together and appropriately protected.
5.4.12 Hospitality claims need to be grouped by employee instead of filed as regular payments.
5.4.13 Official rather than unofficial receipts should be issued for passports.
5.4.14 The Mission should examine the possibility of using the local bank to collect Consular Revenues
5.4.15 Perform a reconciliation of passport revenues to passports issued.
5.4.16 Used official receipt books should be returned to the DMCO instead of retained by the sections using them.
5.4.11 Financial records are now stored in the Accounts section.
5.4.12 Hospitality Claims have now been grouped by employees as recommended.
5.4.13 Only official receipts are now issued by the Consular Program.
5.4.14 The Mission has contacted the management of the local bank to assess using the bank to collect Consular fees.
5.4.15 Reconciliation of passport revenues to passports issued is now being done.
5.4.16 Used official receipts books are being returned to the DMCO.
5.5.1 The Informatics function is managed by two dedicated and capable Foreign Service Information Technology Professionals (FSITPs): a former CS-02 System Administrator (SA), who is assisted by one Locally Engaged Information Technology Professional (LEITP); and a former CS-02 Technician (EL) who covers the secure area, all telephone maintenance, as well as communications for Kabul, Riyadh and Columbo. They have made significant progress since arriving at the post. However, concerns with some of the Mission's systems have yet to be resolved. Years of quick fixes are evidenced by exposed cable connections, dangling data jacks, and supplemental, unauthorized hubs to connect additional workstations. According to the Mission, a significant improvement to data transmission speed and reliability can be achieved by addressing these issues.
5.5.2 An upcoming property expansion project may help provide much needed space. Unused IT inventory is stored in various locations throughout the Chancery, including caged areas in the garage, the Data Communications Closet (DCC), the High Security Zone, and the corridor, with varying levels of safeguarding. The LEITP's small windowless office serves the dual role of computer repair area and parts storage room.
5.5.3 IT and management are aware of these problems and are in the process of restoring systems back to standard. While Mission Management recognizes the importance of these efforts, it raised concerns about overloading its staff. The extensive overtime currently being logged is unsustainable and producing diminishing returns. Efforts may be better spent leveraging available resources, such as support units.
5.5.4 Two recent initiatives from HQ will help the situation. At the time of the audit, a technician from HQ was on site to provide assistance to the SA. His visit is to be followed by a "cabling" team to finish a major network cabling project, which until now has consumed much of the FSITPs' time. In addition, an in-depth IT Security audit is being considered by the Information and Technical Security Division (IST). Such an audit would be of great value.
5.5.5 Ensure that adequate work space is provided for the LEITP, and that IT inventory is centrally stored in a secure location. Superseded equipment should be sent for disposal.
5.5.5 Adequate work space has been made available to the FSITP. IT inventory is now centrally stored in a secure location in the basement. Superseded equipment will be disposed of as required.
5.5.6 In consultation with the Mission, identify and followup on projects needing continued support from, and monitoring by, HQ.
5.5.6 Phase I of the cabling upgrade was completed in June 23, 2005. Funding for Phase II, which includes recabling on the second floor, is being resubmitted for approval. The Regional Manager position has been transferred from London to Delhi, which will mean better proximity. This will allow for better dialogue and appreciation of Mission issues.
5.5.7 Include Islamabad in the upcoming IT Security Audit Plan to assist the Mission in ensuring IT security concerns are being addressed.
5.5.7 The recommendation has been noted and the Mission will be assigned to the list of potential priorities for FY 2006/2007.
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.