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Audit of the Canadian Embassy, Tel Aviv

(December 2006)

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

An audit of the General Relations (GR), the International Business Development (IBD), the Consular and Administration Programs was conducted in Tel Aviv from April 21 to 28, 2006. The Mission was last audited in 1999.

The conflict in the Middle East is a foreign policy priority for Canada. The Embassy in Tel Aviv plays an important role in coordinating Canada's efforts in the peace process. From an economic standpoint, trade between the two countries has experienced incredible growth since 1997, at which time the Trade Agreement came into effect (Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA)). The value of trade is approximately $1.24 billion and the two countries also cooperate in the area of technology research and development.

The management team, including the Head of Mission (HOM) and Program managers, provide *** leadership and resource management to the Mission. Despite the regional security climate, the large number of visits and somewhat strained relations between management and local staff, the Mission carries out its various functions effectively. The recently-developed country strategy is a good step towards fostering an integrated approach to program objectives and conducting the Mission's business. It is recommended that the Mission develop an implementation plan for the country strategy that would involve all programs and that clearly sets out how the various programs and sections work together in a consistent manner to achieve the established objectives.

The General Relations Program has been able to adapt to the risks that characterize the regional conflict and is doing ***. The Program Manager (PM) has created a good work environment within the section and interaction between her and the rest of the staff is cordial and professional. Given Canada's interest in the region, greater consultation between the missions in Tel Aviv and Ramallah should be established in the interest of consolidating viewpoints. It is also recommended that the PM focus more effort on developing strategic reports for Ottawa.

The Trade Program is *** and its activities are carried out effectively. The Program would benefit from a review of priorities and the development of a work plan for each priority sector, specifying objectives, expected outcomes and activities, including contact and outreach strategies. It is also recommended that the distribution of various sectors to staff be reviewed to ensure a fair workload.

The Consular Program is service-oriented, exceeding service standards. Staff work as a team and benefit from both formal and informal communication. Given the unstable security situation, a focus has been placed on emergency planning. Staff in the Program find that they now spend a disproportionate amount of time processing passport applications since the roll-out of the Mission Passport Print Solution (MPPS), and with frequent consular emergencies taking priority, staff are now working significant hours of overtime to meet passport processing standards. While all Consular section Locally-Engaged Staff (LES) are involved in passport processing, the Deputy Management and Consular Office (DMCO) ***. Recommendations include the need for a Canada-Based Staff (CBS) to verify all original application forms and citizenship documentation prior to passport issuance, and for Passport Canada (PPSP) and the Consular Bureau (CND) to develop a clearer policy regarding the CBS role in passport issuance.

Administration is not an easy program to manage given a complex local environment, ***, and a high visits workload; all obstacles to accomplishing day-to-day business. While staff follow applicable policies and procedures and their level of effort and output is very good, there is a need for clearer and more formal communication between the Program and the rest of the Mission. Policies should be reviewed regularly by the Committee on Mission Management (CMM), and managers must pay special attention to ensure that policies are interpreted consistently across all programs, particularly the policy on overtime. Important recommendations include the need for a representative Locally Engaged Staff Committee, the development of a comprehensive Mission-wide training plan, and the sourcing of a new Official Residence.

A total of 47 audit recommendations are raised in the report; 43 are addressed to the Mission and four are addressed to Headquarters (HQ). Management has responded to each recommendation indicating action already taken or decisions made, as well as future action. Of the 47 recommendations, management has stated that 24 recommendations have been implemented. For each of the remaining 23 recommendations, management has indicated the initiatives in progress or the intended future action.

Scope, Objectives, Mission Resources

Audit Scope and Objectives

The scope of the audit included a review of Mission Management and the General Relations (GR), the International Business Development (IBD), Consular and Administration Programs.

The audit objectives were to:

  • assess management controls and systems, procedures and activities that make up the program;
  • determine the extent of compliance with legislation, regulations and operating policies;
  • assess the reliability and adequacy of information available for decision-making and accountability purposes;
  • ensure resources are judiciously used and that the Department is receiving value-for-money; and,
  • make recommendations, where warranted, to improve the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of programs.

The focus and extent of on-site work is based on an assessment of materiality and related risk. This is done through communication with Headquarters (HQ) bureaux, including briefings by line management and the functional bureaux, 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 Head of Mission and Program Managers, a meeting with the Locally-engaged Staff 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. Occasionally, due to time limitations or other factors, it is not possible to provide audit coverage for all areas.

Table 1: Mission Resources Fact Sheet of Physical Resources
Physical Resources
AssetsCrown LeasedCrown Owned
Chancery1-
Official Residence1-
Staff Quarters13-
Vehicles-11

Table 2: Mission Resources Fact Sheet Financial Information
Financial Information 2004/05
Total$5,158,577
Operating Budget (N001)$2,669,010
Capital Budget (N005)$159,100
CBS Salary Budget (N011)$694,367
LES Salaries Budget (N012)$1,636,100

Organization Chart

Organization Chart

Mission Management

1.1 Overview

1.1.1 The Embassy in Tel Aviv is a medium-sized mission with 14 Canada-Based Staff (CBS) and 40 Locally-Engaged Staff (LES). Despite the large number of visits that are inherent to strengthening bilateral relations or that relate to the Middle East peace process, and the accompanying logistical considerations, the Mission provides good quality service and the staff have always risen to expectations. The same is true when it comes to managing difficult human resources cases, for w hich the Mission has adopted a professional approach by discussing the cases on the Committee for Mission Management (CMM) and involving Headquarters to obtain advice, where necessary.

1.1.2 The Mission in Tel Aviv also provides administrative support to the Ramallah mission. In this regard, the two missions should document a support agreement on the roles and responsibilities of the two parties so as to clarify expectations. Both missions should strive to strengthen coordination and cooperation, both formally and informally.

1.2 Consistency of Policies

1.2.1 There is a need to ensure that the policies in effect within the Mission are interpreted and applied uniformly for the sake of consistency. Program managers are responsible for ensuring that the policies governing overtime, among others, are applied uniformly. The CMM must ensure follow-up to reinforce implementation of the policies. The Employee Handbook is the most important tool in clarifying terms and conditions of employment and key policies, and should be referred to regularly by employees and management.

1.3 Communications

1.3.1 Communication between the various mission programs is sufficient and collegial. Meetings involving the Head of Mission and other Program Managers are held regularly. The LES have formed a committee, however, some employee groups such as assistants and support staff and those who do not work in the Chancery building are not currently represented. Management should encourage LES to elect a formal committee that is more representative and to establish regular, formal communication with Management and the HOM on various issues of concern and conditions of work for LES.

Recommendations for the Mission

1.3.2 The Mission must ensure that its internal policies are clear and that they are interpreted in a uniform manner with regard to all programs.

1.3.3 The LES should elect an LES Committee representative of different employee groups and programs.

1.3.4 The HOM should meet with the LES Committee quarterly.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

1.3.2 Mission will immediately conduct review of its existing internal policies to ensure that they are clear and that they are interpreted in a uniform manner with regard to all programs. Implementation of future internal policies will be monitored for clarity and reviewed to ensure they are interpreted in an uniform manner.

1.3.3 The LES Committee has disbanded, and LES will be encouraged to form a new committee, that is more representative. LES/CBS committee meetings will take place monthly, minutes will be kept and circulated.

1.3.4 The HOM will meet with LES on a quarterly basis. First meeting took place September 2006.

General Relations (GR) Program

2.1 Overview

2.1.1 The Middle East peace process is one of Canada's foreign policy priorities, and like other countries, Canada is involved in the process in several ways, more particularly in the matter of Palestinian refugees. To that end, Canada has assigned a Special Coordinator to the peace process, based in Tel Aviv, although there is a regional responsibility. In addition to the major political and commercial interests in Israel, there is a large Israeli community in Canada. While the reality of the conflict will continue to dominate the political scene and be a focus of Canadian foreign policy, the Mission will also be working on further developing and advancing the bilateral relationship with Israel.

2.2 Management of the Program

2.2.1 The General Relations Program is directed by an *** manager (FS-03 in an EX-01 position) who supervises two CBS political officers, one CBS security officer and three LES, including two in the Public Affairs section. The two political officers are on their *** foreign assignment and each one has been assigned a portfolio of responsibilities. The work of the General Relations Program is significantly affected by local events and the developments and reactions on both sides of the conflict. Given the instability of the environment and the associated unpredictability, a large proportion of the Program's work is reactive in nature. In addition, the many successive high-level visits have further impacted the Program's ability to plan it's work. Nevertheless, staff have adapted well to the difficult environment and perform their duties professionally and in a timely fashion.

2.2.2 Objectives have been established in the Performance Management Program (PMP) for officers of the General Relations Program. Occasionally, work plans are developed for certain events, such as the recent elections. Weekly meetings are held that allow the Program Manager (PM) to establish the week's priorities and, as a result, plan the work. A meeting also takes place between the PM and the Public Affairs sub-section. However, the political officers and public affairs officers do not interact, making it difficult to link projects and, consequently, to obtain better support from Public Affairs to capitalize on the section's activities.

2.2.3 Canada's interest in the regional conflict is accompanied by regular requests for reports from the geographic bureau, as well as Other Government Departments (OGDs) and senior government officials. The Program Manager devotes 40% of her time to the section and to bilateral relations, 20% to supervising the security of the Mission and 40% to mission management, as Deputy Head of Mission. As a result of the workload associated with managing the Mission and her program, the Program Manager has not been able to dedicate enough time to reporting activities. An additional challenge is coordinating the reporting generated by both offices: Tel Aviv and Ramallah. Greater consultation and cooperation would be an asset in this regard. An opportunity to work in each of the two missions would undoubtedly contribute to a better understanding of the different aspects of the conflict and the political, economic and social situation. This would be an asset to the career development of political officers, and further develop expertise in the region.

2.2.4 One of the political officer positions reports to the Global Security Reporting Program (GSRP). This position, which is governed by special directives and a specific reporting contract, appears to cause some problems for the Mission in terms of flexibility. Given the reality of the environment and the Mission's work, the incumbent is required to perform duties that may not be included within the job description as defined by Headquarters. For example, it is often necessary to support the efforts of the Mission during visits or some of the activities of the Special Coordinator. Headquarters should implement a training program to properly prepare officers to assume their duties and issue directives on the expectations of the position, as well as allow for some flexibility so that the job description better reflects the reality of the work at the Mission.

Recommendations for the Mission

2.2.5 Once the country strategy has been implemented, the Program Manager should become more involved in reporting activities.

2.2.6 The two GR sections in Tel Aviv and Ramallah should implement a system of consultation and exchange of viewpoints on common topics or those with an impact on both accredited areas.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

2.2.5 Now that the Program Manager has settled in at post, she will become more involved in reporting activities.

2.2.6 Tel Aviv and Ramallah GR sections have begun meeting on a regular basis. Tel Aviv GSRP officer has completed two weeks of temporary duty in Ramallah.

Recommendation for HFP

2.2.7 HFP should consider a "2+1 " assignment structure whereby Political Economic Reporting and Public Affairs (PERPA) officers assigned to the region would complete two years in one mission and one year in the other.

HFP Action and Timeframe

2.2.7 In practice, it would be difficult to institute a "2+1 " assignment structure.

a. The posts have differing linguistic requirements. While Tel Aviv political officers require only social integration training in Hebrew, Ramallah political officers require two years of intensive Arabic training prior to arrival.

b. In practice it would prove difficult to coordinate postings - in a rotational personnel system, with posts of differing hardship levels - while ensuring that each mission maintain an adequate component of officers at all times.

Recommendation for ISI

2.2.8 ISI should develop a pre-posting training program for GSRP officers and ensure that their mandate is in line with the realities of the Mission.

ISI Action and Timeframe

2.2.8 The Division agrees with this recommendation, that what is needed is a proper, well-designed course of study provided before officers depart on posting to prepare them for the work they will actually be doing. The Interview Program Section (ISIW) is presently engaged in reviewing available and relevant course out-lines with a view to establishing a pre-posting training program. At this point, the Department has not specifically earmarked funding for GSRP training purposes. At last year's (February 2006) annual meeting of GSRP officers two training sessions were offered, one on personal safety and another on information collection. A number of training sessions will part of next February's (2007) GSRP meeting in Ottawa. Though welcome a post facto approach is less than ideal. ISIW has requested to Human Resources that out-doing GSRP officers spend time in ISI prior to departure on posting to familiarize themselves with reporting requirements of their new positions, relations with partner agencies and other government departments, methods of work and other matters related to a successful posting.

2.2.9 The Mission recently developed a country strategy that clearly defines Canada's strategic objectives and its chosen areas of intervention. While this strategy is the background to the Mission's work, an action plan should be developed to outline the implementation of the strategy, the priority sectors, target groups, intervention projects, partners, sources of financing, pooling of the internal synergies of the Mission, project monitoring, and so on. It must be noted that the team has a good vision of what needs to be done and how to link the activities of the GR and Trade programs. The Program Manager also has a good approach to public diplomacy and uses this as a tool to further Canada's interests.

Recommendation for the Mission

2.2.10 The Mission should develop an implementation plan for the country strategy. The GR Program should take the lead and a coordination role, and involve all programs within the Mission.

Mission Action and Timeframe

2.2.10 The Mission will develop an implementation plan for the country strategy involving all programs within the Mission by December 2006.

2.3 Public Affairs

2.3.1 The Public Affairs section, responsible for cultural and academic relations, also supports the other Programs of the Embassy in media and translation. The Section is also responsible for the Post Initiative Fund and public diplomacy budget, which last year were $12,000 and $35,000 respectively. The approach used to date for projects has not been tied to any strategic plan guiding the activities to be undertaken in the cultural or academic arena. Projects were initiated in the section that did not correlate to the Mission's objectives.

2.3.2 The Mission was allocated public diplomacy funds late last year, leaving only a few months to identify and carry-out projects. More rigorous planning is required, taking into account the objectives of the Mission in the short, medium and long term, and targeting what must be done in terms of advocacy, profile raising and relationship building. Projects and activities should be clearly linked to the objectives stated in the country strategy. This approach will require greater collaboration between Public Affairs and the rest of the Mission, and will necessitate training for section personnel and greater supervision by the Program Manager. Duties of each staff member should be examined to ensure an optimal balance between the priorities and objectives of the Mission and the mandate of the Public Affairs section.

Recommendations for the Mission

2.3.3 The activities and support provided by the Public Affairs section to other Programs of the Mission must be reviewed to ensure a better integration with Public Diplomacy.

2.3.4 Section staff should undertake the Public Diplomacy training offered by the Department ( "LES Public Affairs - Tier 1 ").

Mission Actions and Timeframes

2.3.3 Activities and support provided by the Public Affairs section to other Programs of the Mission are being reviewed to ensure a better integration with Public Diplomacy. Review will be completed in 2006-2007.

2.3.4 Public Diplomacy training for Public Affairs staff will be added to the Mission training plan.

2.3.5 At the time of the audit, the promotion of education in Canada was a shared responsibility between the Trade Program and the Public Affairs section. Two officers from the Public Affairs section currently devote a high percentage of their time to activities related to promoting education by holding information sessions with potential students and regularly updating the web site content to respond to the many inquiries from the public. Although staff make great efforts to provide services to promote education in Canada, it should be noted that these do not translate into significant results. In fact, the statistics show that the number of Israeli students coming to Canada has dropped considerably, with only 55 visas issued in 2005, which demonstrates a lack of interest for studying in Canada.

2.3.6 While there may be a number of reasons to explain this decline, the Mission should discontinue efforts made in promotion of education.

Recommendation for the Mission

2.3.7 The Public Affairs section should suspend activities to promote education in Canada among the Israeli public.

Mission Action and Timeframe

2.3.7 The Public Affairs section has suspended activities to promote education in Canada.

International Business Development Program (IBD)

3.1 Overview

3.1.1 The resident Commercial Program is responsible for International Business Development (IBD) in Israel. The Program is delivered by a team of one CBS Senior Trade Commissioner, two LES Trade Commissioners, one LES Junior Trade Commissioner and one LES Assistant. The team is comprised of a group of very *** contribute to Canada's commercial development goals.

3.1.2 Israel offers the most diverse and advanced economy in the region. It is known for its innovation and leadership in high tech sectors such as Information and Communication Technology (ICT), biotech, medical / health devices and products, and security products and technologies. Israel is Canada's third largest merchandise export market in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Canada's bilateral trade with Israel has more than doubled since the implementation of the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA) in 1997, from $567 million in 1997, to an all-time high of $1.24 billion in 2005 ($429.2 million exports to Israel, $810.9 million imports from Israel). The Canada-Israel Industrial Research and Development Foundation (CIIRDF) was established in 1994 to promote collaborative research and development between advanced technology companies in both countries. Other bilateral agreements which benefit Canada's commercial activities with Israel include a Double Taxation Agreement, and the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Space Cooperation (signed in March 2005).

3.1.3 Israel is an advanced industrial market that has more in common with Commercial Programs in Europe, as opposed to those in the MENA region. However, the Program has seen a series of cuts in its budget over the last three years, related to the lower commercial priority being given to the MENA region by Headquarters. This is also a Program that has significant visibility in both Canada and Israel. For Fiscal Year 2005/06 the Program had a budget of $9,000 for travel, $9,000 for hospitality, and $22,000 for the Client Service Fund (CSF). The Program estimates they spend 65% of their time on export promotion, 10% on investment, 10% on science and technology, and 15% on policy and market access issues.

3.2 Management of the Program

3.2.1 The Commercial Program is very active and is considered by HQ and peers to be very well run. The Program is led by a Commercial Program Manager (CPM) who brings *** to the Program. He is ***. He is a ***. The Program is well supported by the Heads of Mission in both Tel Aviv and Ramallah.

3.2.2 Staff are proactive in working with partners and clients in Canada to educate them on opportunities in Israel, as well as promoting Canadian capabilities and advantages to local contacts. Some staff are still relatively new to their positions and could be coached more on how to do outcalls and conduct hospitality events.

3.2.3 Staff participate regularly in trade events that occur outside of regular work hours and often travel to third countries for key events. As a result, staff in the Program have accumulated overtime hours which they are being encouraged to take as time in lieu of cash. Staff are unhappy with this situation and feel that they will not be able to use all of their banked time due to high demands on the program; they also fear that their banked time will be lost at year-end. Management should reiterate its Mission-wide policy on overtime so there will be no further confusion among staff. The Commercial Program Manager should pursue alternative methods of forecasting and regulating overtime for his staff, including introducing flexible work hours.

3.2.4 Trade Policy issues, such as market access, industry deregulation, the application of CIFTA, World Trade Organization matters, and the impact of the peace process and the political environment on commercial relations with the Palestinian Territory, are creating greater demand on the Trade Program. The CPM is currently handling these matters directly and as demands may increase in this area it will require more and more attention. This is a potential future challenge which may have an impact on the CPM's priority setting and time management and should continue to be monitored.

Recommendations for the Mission

3.2.5 The Program Manager should incorporate further coaching time into the training plans of staff, in particular on strategic use of outcalls and hospitality funds. Newer staff and junior officers should continue to be monitored to ensure that they understand their role and job duties.

3.2.6 The Program Manager should explore various options to forecast and manage leave in order to minimize the financial impact on staff and the operational impact on the Program.

3.2.7 The Program Manager should continue to monitor the impact of growing trade policy demands on his priority setting and workload.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

3.2.5 CPM will continue to monitor newer staff and junior officers to ensure the understand roles and duties. Training needs will be identified and accommodated through coaching and more formal training if need be. *** senior LES Commercial Officer will assist CPM in coaching and monitoring newer and junior staff in areas of needs or deficiencies (Ongoing). Special sessions on strategic use of outcalls and hospitality funds will be planned as a lead up to Trade Commissioner Service Global Learning Initiative II training being rolled out by HQ for trade staff abroad (Fiscal Year 2006-07).

3.2.6 The CPM is examining is examining various options to forecast and manage leave (Fiscal Year 2006-2007). Trade Section will continue to review leave entitlements against work and events plans in order to better plan staff leave. Staff leave is reviewed at each sectional staff meeting.

3.2.7 CPM will continue to monitor impact of growing trade policy demands on setting priorities and workload (Ongoing).

3.3 Planning

3.3.1 The Program has a solid approach to planning with all staff participating. This annual exercise has produced a solid IBD plan for the territory. Officers clearly understand the priorities of the Program and what needs to be done.

3.3.2 The loss of a CBS Trade Commissioner (FSDP) position in 2004 has had some impact on the Program. The Program is currently giving attention to five priority sectors (Agrifood, Biotechnology, Information and Communications Technology and Aerospace/Defence). The third Officer, a ***, is notionally only assigned reactive sectors, however, is fully responsible for the financial services sector which is extremely active and supports the CPM on investment activities. This Officer is also the lead for reactive sectors: minerals (diamonds), consumer products, building products and education marketing. The Commercial Assistant has no sectoral responsibilities though this position may have the capacity to undertake some of the reactive work including responding to a wider group of general enquiries. Additionally, specific sub-sectors are showing great promise which reinforces the need to have a greater focus of efforts. Sectors that may seem a natural fit for each other are not always grouped together (e.g. technology sectors or science based sectors) with the same officer. The Program Manager should look at reallocating work within the Program and ensure that efforts remain targeted.

3.3.3 The CPM has recognised the need to integrate the Science and Technology (S&T) and Investment pillars into the work of the Program. These are core components of the international business development continuum and are being built into the work plans of the Program. While one Trade Commissioner focuses on Investment, the CPM is the focal point for S&T. However, each officer shares the responsibility for S&T as it relates to their own sectors. In addition, Canada-Israel Industrial Research and Development Foundation (CIIRDF) plays an active but independent role in prompting research and development co-operation. The Program's delivery of S&T needs to be re-examined, including the relationship with CIIRDF.

Recommendations to the Mission

3.3.4 The Program should ensure that Investment and S&T strategies are fully included for each territory in the IBD Plan.

3.3.5 The Program should ensure that the priority sectors being handled remain current and efforts are focussed.

3.3.6 The Program needs to review the distribution of sectors and to ensure that workloads are being distributed equitably.

3.3.7 The Program should review the job package of the Junior Trade Commissioner and confirm that this position should remain as a ***.

3.3.8 The Program should review the job package of the Commercial Assistant. This position may have capacity to take responsibility for some of the reactive sectors. The position could also be used for ***.

3.3.9 The Program, in conjunction with HQ division Science and Technology Bureau (IIS), needs to establish a clear framework between the Trade Commissioner Service and the CIIRDF on the division of roles and responsibilities for science and technology cooperation.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

3.3.4 IBD Plan is being reviewed to ensure that investment and S&T strategies are fully included. The Trade Section will develop and implement a plan to carry this out. Activities will include consulting with HQ to re-examine its relationship with CIIRDF, and ensure that staff receive training and professional development be able to carry undertake this effectively. (FY2006-07, Ongoing).

3.3.5 The Trade Section will continue to review its IBD objectives and priorities to ensure that they aligned properly with Israel's industrial strategy and Canadian capabilities (Ongoing).

3.3.6 As part of the third quarter 2006-2007 IBD review, workloads in the Trade Section will examined to ensure that they are being distributed equitably. The Commercial Assistant (CA) has been assigned responsibility for one of the reactive sectors (consumer products) which will also serve as development for the CA[ref. 3.3.8 below].

3.3.7 Under the PMP process, the CPM and Junior Trade Officer agreed to examine the possibility of re-designating the position. This will be reviewed in the context of the ***. (FY 2007-2008).

3.3.8 The Commercial Assistant (CA) has been assigned responsibility for one of the reactive sectors (consumer products) which will also serve as *** for the CA.

3.3.9 Tel Aviv will consult with IIS and WOLM (Middle East and North Africa) Divisions to re-examine its relationship with CIIRDF, on establishing a clear framework between the Trade Commissioner Service and the CIIRDF on the division of roles and responsibilities for science and technology cooperation. This examination should also extend to S&T activities beyond the CIIRDF framework. (FY2006-07) [ref. 3.3.4 above].

3.4 Operations

3.4.1 The Program is relatively small and the staff work well together. Most communication is done informally, however, regular bi-weekly team meetings are held to discuss the implementation of plans and on-going operations. Minutes are being kept and circulated. The Program has been drafting appraisals annually for all staff and job descriptions are up-to-date. The PMP (Performance Management Program) has been implemented and is actively being used by the team.

3.4.2 Although responsibilities and objectives have been set for each Trade Commissioner, individual work plans for each priority sector need to be established. Such plans, with a focus on establishing objectives, activities and expected results, would assist the Trade Commissioners in better achieving targets and improving performance management. The inclusion of an outreach/outcall strategy as part of each officer's sector strategy and work plan would allow the Program to be able to more effectively use its resources to achieve results.

3.4.3 Hospitality funds are generally being well used to support Program activities. The CPM is very active and events are diverse. All LES Trade Commissioners currently have hospitality allocations, however the allocations are under-utilized and individual events are generally claimed under the allocation of the CPM. Hospitality expenditures are related to group events such as receptions and not individual meetings. Though all Officers are doing outcalls, they need to increase the amount of strategic hospitality they do in order to help gain market intelligence and cultivate networks of contacts in their areas of responsibility. The Program Manager needs to ensure staff are coached on how to effectively plan and carry out hospitality functions. Diaries are generally well completed but need to better describe the IBD program's strategic goals and desired results in hosting the events.

3.4.5 The Program is one of the first in the region to have TRIO, the new client relationship management application, installed. TRIO is regarded as slow and cumbersome, however, the Program has made good progress to ensure that all staff are fully utilizing the system and entering the correct data. This needs to be reinforced as TRIO use is mandatory.

3.4.6 The Program Assistant acts as the InfoCentre, a central point of contact for clients, and is responsible for responding to general inquiries. Officers' business cards and other publications reflect the Program's central e-mail address (TAVIV-TD) and the majority of incoming enquiries are directed to this address. All replies to enquiries are copied to the central e-mail address making it easy to verify if the Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) five day service standard is being respected. The Program Manager should conduct quarterly spot checks to verify if the standard is being upheld.

Recommendations to the Mission

3.4.7 The Program should develop individual work plans for each priority sector/sub-sector that indicates objectives in the sector, activities and expected results.

3.4.8 The Program should include an outreach/outcall strategy and hospitality plan as part of each sector/sub-sector strategy that identifies why contacts are being targeted and how they link to the objectives.

3.4.9 The Program Manager should ensure that staff are coached on increasing their use of strategic hospitality. Staff will need to ensure diary forms are completed so they clearly indicate the link to IBD program strategic objectives, leads or initiatives being advanced, and the evaluation and potential follow-up resulting from the event.

3.4.10 The Program Manager should conduct spot checks to ensure that the TCS five-day service standard is being adhered to.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

3.4.7 The Program has commenced this under PMP and will review the 3rd Quarter of Fiscal Year 2006-07.

3.4.8 The CPM will hold special sessions on strategic use of outcalls and hospitality funds. These may also be covered by modules of TCS Global Learning Initiative II training being rolled out by HQ for trade staff abroad. (FY 2006-07) [ref. 3.2.5 above].

3.4.9 The CPM will ensure that diary forms are completed properly and on time, and that they are linked to the IBD and followed-up properly.

3.4.10 The CPM will continue to do spot checks to ensure that the TCS five-day service standard is adhered to, using TRIO as a management tool to track inquiries and responses. (Ongoing).

Consular Program

4.1 Overview

4.1.1 The Management and Consular Officer (MCO) oversees the Consular Program, and the day-to-day responsibilities are managed by the Deputy Management and Consular Officer (DMCO) (AS-04), who is ***, assisted by two Consular Officers (LE-09 and LE-07) and two Consular Assistants (both LE-06). They are responsible for the Consular Program in Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Tel Aviv works in close cooperation with the Representative Office in Ramallah delivering consular services. The Representative Office in Ramallah manages the Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA), the warden network, receives, reviews and forwards to Tel Aviv passport and citizenship card applications for processing, and assists Canadians with cases that involve officials of the Palestinian Authority.

4.1.2 The Section is ***, often exceeding service standards. Staff work as a team, with all of the staff capable of processing passport applications, handling complex consular cases, and responding effectively to emergencies. *** by both the DMCO and Program Manager (MCO) and the section benefits from good formal and informal communication. Workload is high, with complex consular cases and a high volume of work generated by the local security situation, such as dealing with clients having problems at the numerous checkpoints. Since the Mission Passport Print Solution (MPPS) was implemented, approximately two months prior to the audit, staff have noted a marked increase in the time taken to process passport applications and staff have worked significant overtime in order to ensure compliance with departmental service delivery standards. As staff become familiar with the new process, overtime requirements are expected to decrease.

4.1.3 Given the unstable local security situation, emergency planning is a priority at this Mission. Significant time is spent on updating Travel Advisories, which require regular changes and amendments. The Mission has an extensive warden network in place and hosts an annual warden conference. The warden network has been tested on numerous occasions and was found a useful medium by which to communicate messages to Canadian citizens.

4.2 Passport Services

4.2.1 All Consular LES are involved in passport processing. The Consular Officer (LE-07) and Consular Assistants (LE-06) review passport applications for the approval of the Senior Consular Officer (LE-09) who has delegated signing authority. The DMCO is not involved in the passport issuing process. A CBS should verify all original application forms and citizenship documentation prior to issuance. There are conflicting instructions on the matter of CBS approval of passports, as the policies on final sign-off, and interpretations thereof, vary between Passport Canada (PPSP) and the Consular Affairs Bureau (CND). The Audit Team raised the issue of ensuring a consistent policy with regard to final passport sign-off with the Consular Affairs Bureau and Passport Canada. A policy on this matter needs to be developed and communicated to missions. Outdated policy instructions need to be removed where appropriate.

4.2.2 The passport program consistently meets the established service standard of 15 working days. All Consular staff regularly work overtime to meet this standard. The repatriation of passport printing has significantly increased processing times. This can be explained by new software requirements (scanning documents) and performance, and to the adjustment to new work methods. Consular staff indicated that passport training has been inadequate and that they would benefit from additional passport policy training.

4.2.3 Passport assets are well secured and the inventory is verified on a regular basis as prescribed by the Manual of Consular Instructions. The DMCO performs the monthly passport counts without the presence of a second CBS, with both the DMCO and the HOM signing the quarterly inventory reconciliation. The passport production room and storage cabinet should be locked when Consular staff are not present.

Recommendations for the Mission

4.2.4 A CBS should exercise the entitlement function by reviewing original applications and proof of citizenship documentation, and approving the application within the Passport Management Program (PMP).

4.2.5 All Consular staff should take the self-directed on-line passport training, which will be available at the end of Summer 2006.

4.2.6 A second CBS should participate in the monthly passport inventory reconciliations with the DMCO.

4.2.7 The passport production room and storage cabinet must be locked when the room is unattended.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

4.2.4 Mission will implement recommendation pursuant to consultations set out in 4.2.8.

4.2.5 All Consular staff will take the self-directed on-line passport training when it becomes available.

4.2.6 Mission will institute the procedure pursuant to consultation with CND.

4.2.7 All consular staff have been reminded of this requirement.

Recommendation for CND and PPSP

4.2.8 CND and PPSP should consult and clearly document the policy regarding LES delegated signing authority for passports. Once documented, this policy should be formally communicated to missions and outdated policy references should be removed.

CND and PPSP Action and Timeframe

4.2.8 CND and PPSP are working together to clarify and formalize authorities delegated to all personnel at missions. A working group will be established to develop "mission models " for each type of mission (Full Service Mission, Honorary Consul, etc.). Each mission will then engage in a Terms of Reference Document with PPSP based on their specific mission model. The Terms of Reference will establish mandatory prerequisites for passport issuance based on mission type. HOM and MCo mandate letters will be incorporated into this process. Timeframe for completion is March 31, 2007.

Administration Program

5.1 Management of the Program

5.1.1 Administration is not an easy program to manage with a complex local environment, ***, and a high visits workload; all obstacles to accomplishing day-to-day business. While Administration staff follow applicable policies and procedures and their level of effort and output is very good, some LES staff in the Mission feel that certain issues, such as the Mission's policy on overtime, have not been clearly communicated and have been unevenly administered. Clients were otherwise satisfied with the level and quality of service provided by the Program. Communication within the Sections is facilitated by a weekly staff meeting involving all staff.

5.1.2 Mission Management takes a professional approach in dealing with difficult management issues, discussing them in the CMM and involving HQ for advice and guidance as appropriate. However, in the Audit Team's meetings with the LES Committee, *** such as the integration of the fringe benefit into basic salary. The ***. While our review indicated that these sentiments were not an accurate reflection of the approach taken by Management, it is evident that there is a need for clearer, more formal communication, as outlined in the Mission Management and Human Resources sections of this report.

5.1.3 There is also a need to ensure that policies are clear and interpreted consistently across all programs. This entails not only ensuring that policies are discussed in the CMM when being developed but that they be brought to the CMM for review to ensure their appropriateness and consistent application following their implementation. Other Program Managers need to take a more active role in communicating Mission-wide policies to their staff and ensuring that Mission policies are consistently followed. The Employee Handbook is the most important tool in clarifying terms and conditions of employment and key policies, and should be referred to regularly by employees and management.

5.2 Human Resources (HR)

5.2.1 The Human Resources function is managed by the MCO with the assistance of the Personnel Officer/Visits Coordinator (LE-07). A review of the function resulted in few findings of a technical nature, with PMP rolled out, good documentation on file to substantiate classification and staffing actions, and most position descriptions reviewed in the past two years. The Employee Handbook was updated in 2001 and serves as a relevant document for the administration of LES terms and conditions of employment. The Mission has also developed good welcome kits and has good practices in place for new employees, who must perform rounds and be briefed by different sections.

5.2.2 The LE-07 position has been increasingly focussed on Human Resources as the visits workload has decreased. This position also supervises the dispatcher, drivers and cleaners, which are typically the responsibility of the Physical Resources section at other missions. The Audit Team supports the plan to transfer responsibility for supervising the dispatcher and drivers to the Property Assistant. The Personnel Officer's supervisory function with the cleaners should be reviewed once the other staff have been successfully integrated into the Physical Resources section.

5.2.3 The Personnel Officer can continue to take on more responsibility for human resources, in particular taking a more active role in advising LES on HR matters. She should be the primary point of contact for staff who have questions on HR issues, bringing complex matters to the attention of the MCO as required. Training will be required as her HR role is expanded.

5.2.4 As the training section of Performance Management Programs (PMPs) are completed, this information should be rolled into a training plan to assist the Mission in identifying common training needs and the best means of addressing those needs.

5.2.5 An LES Committee is in place and is comprised of four program level LES. These members were not elected but were instead appointed by their peers, due to a lack of LES interest in holding an election, and the desire of a core group of employees to keep a Committee in place. Consideration should be given to expanding the Committee membership to include support level and non-office staff. The Audit Team also strongly encourages the LES to hold an election to name a Committee which is representative of all staff and maintains formal communication with Mission management on key issues. It is recommended that the Committee meet with management as detailed in the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the Committee, and also meet with the HOM on a quarterly basis. Special care should be taken to ensure that the LES Committee is not used to advocate on specific issues on behalf of individual employees.

5.2.6 During our interviews, both CBS and LES staff members indicated the need for a cross-cultural training session. Such a session had been held prior to the arrival of the current management team and was considered very helpful in the working environment present at this Mission.

Recommendations for the Mission

5.2.7 Supervisory responsibility for the dispatcher and drivers should be transferred to the Property section.

5.2.8 The Personnel Officer/Visits Coordinator should take on a more active role in advising LES on HR matters.

5.2.9 The Personnel Officer/Visits Coordinator should be provided with necessary training to fulfill a larger role in HR management.

5.2.10 A Mission-wide training plan should be developed.

5.2.11 A cross-cultural training session should be organised.

5.2.12 Letters of Offer should be placed on staffing files.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.2.7 This recommendation has been implemented.

5.2.8 This recommendation has been implemented.

5.2.9 A training plan will be developed for the Personnel/Visits Coordinator for 2006-2007.

5.2.10 A Mission-wide training programme will be developed for 2007.

5.2.11 Mission will hold a cross-cultural training session before December 2006.

5.2.12 Letters of offer are now placed on all staffing files.

5.3 Physical Resources

5.3.1 The Physical Resources program is managed by the DMCO with the day-to-day operations carried out by the LE-07 Property Officer (PO). The PO oversees the work of a Property Assistant, a Handyman and a Gardener. The Section provides effective support to the Crown-leased Chancery and Official Residence (OR) plus thirteen leased Staff Quarters (SQs). A Housing Committee is chaired by the IBD Program Manager and consists of seven members, including a mixture of CBS officers and spouses. The DMCO is also a member of the Housing Committee, acting in an advisory role. The Housing Committee makes recommendations to the HOM regarding staff quarter allocations. The Housing Committee membership changes each fiscal year.

5.3.2 All SQs in Tel Aviv are Crown-leased. In 2005, the Mission revised its ***. As a result, all SQs are located in ***. CBS are satisfied with their SQs, with the exception of the DND Officer who, although he has not submitted a formal complaint, appears to have concerns about the functionality of his SQ, both from representational and personal perspectives. The Audit Team visited this SQ and agrees that its functionality is questionable.

Recommendation for the Mission

5.3.3 The Mission should examine the functionality of the *** SQ and determine if it should remain in the portfolio of SQs.

Mission action and Timeframe

5.3.3 The Mission Housing Committee is reviewing this issue, and will make a decision.

5.3.4 Inspections of SQs are not scheduled annually, but only upon change-over of occupants, or when there is a problem. A sample of files revealed proper documentation to be in place. The Property Officer maintains files on each property detailing purchases and maintenance projects undertaken for each SQ over many years. Occupancy Agreements and Distribution Accounts are also up-to-date and properly filed. All leases include a clause which allows the Mission to terminate the lease upon providing the landlord 60 days notice.

5.3.5 The Chancery underwent an expansion project in 2005, and offers good facilities that serve the Mission well. The Chancery lease is due to expire in 2012, at which time a Chancery move may need be considered due to its current location, in the middle of an expanding industrial park.

5.3.6 The OR is an impressive property, appropriate for official representation. The lease for the OR ends in July 2007, with the possibility of extension to July 2008. The OR was purchased by a new landlord, ***, in September 2005. It is the Audit Team's understanding that the new landlord will take possession of the property at the end of the lease. Therefore, the Mission must develop an exit strategy from the current OR and begin the search for a replacement.

Recommendation for the Mission and Physical Resources Bureau (SRD)

5.3.7 Lease as is terminates as of July 31, 2007, exit strategy from the current OR should be developed as soon as possible.

Mission Action and Timeframe

5.3.7 Mission will develop exit strategy in consultation with SRD.

SRD Action and Timeframe

5.3.7 SRD is actively investigating various options.

Recommendations for the Mission

5.3.8 Distribution accounts should be signed by tenants within two weeks of occupancy.

5.3.9 Inspections of all Staff Quarters should be conducted annually.

5.3.10 Local Purchase Orders (LPOs) should be approved under section 32 prior to the purchase of goods or procurement of services.

5.3.11 Verification of inventoried items in storage should be conducted annually.

5.3.12 Excess inventories should be disposed of as per property management guidelines.

5.3.13 The distribution account for the Chancery should be updated and authorized by the HOM.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.3.8 Tenants now sign distribution accounts within two weeks of occupancy.

5.3.9 Procedure has been introduce to conduct annual Staff Quarter inspections.

5.3.10 LPOs now approved under section 32 prior to the purchase of goods or procurement of services.

5.3.11 Verification of inventoried items in storage now conducted annually.

5.3.12 Current excess inventories to be disposed of as per property management guidelines at auction scheduled for fall 2006. Future excess inventories will be disposed of as per property management guidelines.

5.3.13 Distribution Account for the Chancery will be updated and authorized by the HOM commencing in fall 2006.

5.4 Finance

5.4.1 Finance is managed by the MCO. The Section is staffed with three *** employees: one Senior Accountant and two Assistant Accountants. Signing authorities are properly exercised and there is sufficient segregation of duties to ensure an appropriate level of control. Bank reconciliations are up-to-date and appropriately reviewed by the MCO and the HOM. Budgets are properly controlled and reports prepared in a diligent and timely manner.

5.4.2 The MCO has focussed much of her effort on controlling the financial function at the Mission, with favourable results. She communicates with the accounting staff numerous times each day, asking *** questions and monitoring transactions closely. The HOM has appropriate oversight, asking *** questions and exercising his responsibilities ***. Key financial controls are in place and the section offers a high level of service to clients. Within the Section, there is good segregation of duties. There are effective controls in place over the receipt and payment of funds. Mission accounts are well organized and appropriate processes and controls are in place. Day-to-day responsibilities are directed by the experienced Senior Accountant who is knowledgeable, well organized, and diligent.

Recommendations for the Mission

5.4.3 The Asset and Liability Report should be reviewed by the MCO on a monthly basis.

5.4.4 The Assistant Accountants should be systematically exposed to some of the functions of the Senior Accountant (such as bank reconciliations and budgeting).

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.4.3 The Asset and Liability Report is now reviewed by the MCO on a monthly basis.

5.4.4 The Assistant Accountants are now systematically exposed to some of the functions of the Senior Accountant.

5.5 Information Technology (IT)

5.5.1 The Information Technology section is staffed by a Foreign Service Information Technology Professional (FSITP), who is also responsible for Ramallah. The FSITP is *** in both missions as well as functional HQ bureaux. The Regional Manager (RM) is based in Delhi, and the FSITP indicated that he was very content with the support afforded him by the RM, MCO and HQ.

5.5.2 The FSITP *** of being the only dedicated ITP resource at both missions. Clients *** when he needs to turn off his mobile phone while working in the High Secure Zone (HSZ), and using annual leave is particularly problematic with the Military Security Manager unofficially acting as his back-up. An LES back-up for Tel Aviv should be identified and trained, to the extent possible. Ramallah has a Signet Systems Administrator (SSA) who performs back-ups and troubleshooting, but it is still necessary for the FSITP to travel on an almost weekly basis to the Ramallah office.

5.5.3 The FSITP *** in the absence of an LEITP position in Tel Aviv and feels that he is drawn into activities which are of little value added. However, he is able to carry out all of his required duties without working overtime. To justify the addition of an LEITP position, the FSITP would likely need to be given additional missions in his portfolio. Given the security environment, the RM in Delhi should strongly consider providing the Mission with a CBS replacement during periods of extended absence of the FSITP, such as annual leave.

5.5.4 The Mission has sufficient secondary communications in place in the form of PSAT, mobile telephones, laptops and SIGNET Web Access. However, more focus could be placed on establishing specific procedures to help ensure continuity of IT functions in case of disruption.

Recommendations for the Mission

5.5.5 An LES back-up for the FSITP should be identified and receive necessary training.

5.5.6 The Mission should request to the RM in Delhi that an FSITP be sent on Temporary Duty during periods of extended absence, such as annual leave.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.5.5 LES back-up for the FSITP will be identified in 2006-2007 and will receive necessary training.

5.5.6 Mission has advised RM in Delhi that we will be requesting that an FSITP be sent on Temporary Duty when resident FSITP is to be absent for extended period.

Office of the Inspector General

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Date Modified:
2012-09-10