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Audit Of The Canadian Embassy Dakar

PDF Version (163 Kb) *

(October 2007)

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 Dakar from November 28 to December 4, 2006. The Mission was last audited in February 1999.

The Embassy in Dakar is accredited to Senegal, as well as Gambia, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, and Guinea, and has a staff complement of 13 Canada Based Staff (CBS) and 28 Locally Engaged Staff (LES). Accreditation to Guinea was added within the past year as a result of the mission closure in that country. In addition, the Consular, Information Technology and IBD Programs have responsibility for certain aspects of operations for other countries within the region.

The Mission’s Management team meets on a regular basis through the Committee on Mission Management (CMM). The focus of these meetings should be shifted to encourage strategic discussion addressing all programs, and to approach these from a whole of government perspective. Perceptions of inadequate communication should be addressed to foster *** a better understanding of strategic priorities within the Mission. Methods to improve communication such as the distribution of CMM minutes (as appropriate) and a Mission events calendar, as well as quarterly discussion sessions with the Head of Mission (HOM) should be implemented.

The General Relations Program has a *** knowledge of Senegal's strategic relations with Canada and the region. Canada enjoys a good reputation in Senegal, ***. The Program has identified governance as a key priority for Senegal, but first needs to determine the financial and human resources that will be necessary for its planned activities. The implementation of this and other strategic objectives will be difficult due to the absence of a management system for contact networks and local connections. Management of local strategic contacts should be a priority for the Program.

The IBD Program has a *** understanding of the economic and trade opportunities within its priority sectors. In addition to its responsibility for Senegal and the Mission’s other areas of accreditation, the Senior Trade Commissioner (STC) is also due to become the regional Trade Commissioner for the sub-region of West Africa. The Program is well equipped to fulfil its mandate and play a leadership role in the sub-regional Hub-Spoke arrangement. The model developed by the STC for this structure is well designed and should be considered for similar networks in the department. Visibility at Headquarters for the Mission as well as other missions in the sub-region was noted as a concern given that they are not scheduled to receive the TRIO system.

The Consular Program is functioning ***, provides *** service to clients, and has sufficient controls in place surrounding passport issuance and collection of revenue. Communication with the warden network and the Case Management Officer at Headquarters (HQ) ***. Consular Emergency Plans are in place for each country, though all need to be updated.

The Management-Consular Officer (MCO) and Deputy MCO (DMCO) have faced major challenges *** managing the Administration Program. The delayed sale of the old chancery, deficiencies in the current Chancery, and renovation of the Official Residence represent important and costly issues which need to be resolved, not only at the Mission level, but by the Physical Resources Bureau at Headquarters as well. Day-to-day management of the Program has been further hampered by the lack of systems, documentation, and procedures, specifically in the Human Resources and Physical Resources Sections. The MCO and DMCO were aware of the majority of these issues, but had not yet had an opportunity to address many of them in their time at the Mission. A prioritized action plan to address these issues should be created and implemented.

A total of 67 recommendations were made in the audit report, 62 are addressed to the Mission and five directed to HQ. Management has responded to each recommendation indicating action already taken or decisions made, as well as future action. Management reported the implementation of 26 of the 67 recommendations. Ongoing initiatives or anticipated actions were reported for the remaining 41.

Scope, Objectives, Mission Resources

Audit Scope and Objectives

The scope of the audit included a review of Mission Management and the General Relations (GR), 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 programs;
  • 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 was based on an assessment of materiality and related risk. This was done through communication with Headquarters (HQ) bureaux, including briefings by line management and the functional bureaux, review of relevant HQ and mission documentation, past audit findings, and an analysis of recurring trends and systemic issues.

During the audit, audit issues and lines of enquiry were 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 was therefore based on issues and information identified and gathered at all levels, HQ, mission management, and mission operations.

Mission Resources Fact Sheet - Dakar

Physical Resources
AssetsCrown LeasedCrown Owned
Chancery2
Official Residence11
Staff Quarters11
Vehicles7

 

Financial Information 2006/07 
Operating Budget (N001)$1,471,000 $
Capital Budget (N005)$227,888
CBS Budget (N011)$608,600
LES Salaries Budget (N012)$680,291
Total$2,987,779

Organization Chart

Missions Organizational Chart

Mission Management

Overview

1.1 The Embassy in Dakar is one of the few medium-sized missions in the region, with 13 Canada Based Staff (CBS) and 28 Locally Engaged Staff (LES). It covers a large territory in addition to Senegal, including Gambia, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, and Guinea. Responsibility for Guinea is relatively new, added to the Mission’s accreditation after the closure of the mission in Conakry in 2005. A consulate headed by an honorary consul has been in place since fall 2006. Given its priorities in Senegal and the region, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) plays a prominent role in the Mission, though the modest DFAIT International Business Development and General Relations Programs play key roles as well.

Strategic Management

1.2 The Committee on Mission Management (CMM) is the primary venue for communication and interaction between Program Managers. Interviews with staff indicated that the Committee deals primarily with administrative matters. The focus of the CMM should be shifted so that it becomes a forum for discussing strategic, cross-program issues, and approaching these from a whole of government perspective.

1.3 The Head of Mission (HOM) did not receive a mandate letter, setting out the expectations and key priorities for her posting. This document would have been useful in the development of the Mission’s Country Strategy, and setting of priorities and objectives. Since the current HOM is in *** posting, the focus should be on ensuring that the incoming HOM is given the benefit of a mandate letter upon arrival at the Mission ***.

Communication and Morale

1.4 Lack of internal communication was raised as an issue by many staff, and has affected *** the efficient functioning of the Mission in certain areas. In addition to the change proposed by the CMM to be more strategic in nature, it is important that the minutes are shared with all staff (as appropriate, adjusted for sensitive or security-related matters) to foster an improved sense of community within the Mission. Staff in all programs would benefit from a clear understanding of the Mission’s main priorities and key issues, as they all have a role in addressing them. Wide distribution of a Mission events calendar is another tool the Management team could use to promote sharing of information. More frequent meetings between the HOM and all staff would also assist in improving communication. Ideally, the HOM should host these town hall meetings on a quarterly basis.

Recommendations to the Mission

1.7 An events calendar should be created and shared with all staff at the Mission.

1.8 CMM minutes should be circulated, as appropriate, to all staff.

1.9 The HOM should institute quarterly town hall meetings with all staff.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

1.7 The Mission has had an events calendar for three years; it is stored in the Mission’s “I” drive and generally available; it is also reviewed and discussed in CMM meetings on a weekly basis.

1.8 In September 2004, CMM members decided not to circulate their minutes to all staff, in view of the sensitivity of some issues; there was agreement, however, that each Program Manager would share this information orally in weekly meetings with their respective CBS and LES personnel. This decision will be reviewed in the fall by the new HOM and his CMM.

1.9 The recommendation is approved effective immediately.

Recommendation to RFD (Africa Bureau)

1.10 The Geographic Bureau should ensure that the next HOM receives a mandate letter upon arrival at post.

RFD Action and Timeframe

1.10 The Geographic Bureau received the template for the mandate letter on July 24, 2007, and is now working to prepare the document for the new Head of Mission. RGM’s deadline for this exercise is November 2007.

General Relations Program

2.1 Overview

2.1.1 The General Relations Program has two Canada-based (CB) Officers (FS-04 and FS-02), an Locally-engage (LE) Officer (LE-08) responsible for Public Affairs, and an Administrative Assistant (LE-06). The Program has a *** knowledge of the political and social conditions of its countries of accreditation, particularly of Senegal. The transfer of knowledge from the CIDA Section to the General Relations Program on Guinea has been effective and allowed the Program to have a better understanding of this new country of accreditation. The small CIDA support office in Conakry provides effective on the ground assistance that is sufficient for current GR Program needs.

2.1.2 The Government of Senegal and the Senegalese people have long had a very positive perception of Canada. ***.

2.2 Strategic Planning

2.2.1 The General Relations Section has a *** knowledge of Senegal's issues and strategic relations, but has not worked out a summary of the country's medium-term prospects (three to five year horizon). The result is that the Mission's objectives are still only partially defined, are related to particular sectors, and do not sufficiently consider the greatest risks or opportunities for Canada.

2.2.2 The Mission has identified governance as a key issue for Senegal's future in terms of political stability, the survival of democracy, and its economic development. As a result, a major initiative will be launched to help promote good governance, but the Program has not yet been able to identify the parameters or gather the resources (intellectual, human and financial) required to conduct this operation successfully. Resuming and completing this exercise should be a priority for the Mission and the Department.

2.2.3 The Country Strategy planning exercise, introduced in January 2006, proved to be very useful for the Mission, enabling it to reflect on the objectives it should pursue and the priorities it should set to get the most out of its resources and to understand the political, economic, and social situations of the country. Since this exercise is new, the 2006-2007 Country Strategy is only the first phase of a process of reflection that will continue and gradually improve.

2.3 Management and Operations

2.3.1 The Program (like the Mission) makes *** use of the funds it has available (Post Initiative Fund, Public Diplomacy). The amount of funding available does not, however, meet its priority needs and does not allow the Program to operate as effectively as it would like. This situation will be worsened following the elimination of the Public Diplomacy fund.

2.3.2 Among the Mission’s priorities, programs, and activities, the acquisition and leverage of strategic influence does not rank high enough. This prevents the Mission from having the impact it could have, and should have, on the political and economic life of Senegal and the other countries of accreditation. The Public Affairs Officer represents the Mission's institutional memory and thus is in a central position to properly manage contact networks. The Mission does not sufficiently make use of this, and there is no formal database to manage current contacts.

2.3.3 Over the years, the Mission has not maintained its networks and connections of influence in Senegalese society. In 2006, after more than 40 years of Canadian presence in Dakar, Canada is no longer solidly supported by a Senegal-Canada Chamber of Commerce, by friendship groups or associations of business people, by networks of former students, or by networks of the many Senegalese who have worked with Canadians or who are familiar with Canada. The absence of these networks isolates the Mission, distances it from local conditions, and makes its job much more difficult to accomplish. As long as this situation remains unchanged, the Mission will have great difficulty reversing the decline of Canada's relationships and connections in Senegal and other countries of accreditation.

Recommendation to the Mission

2.3.4 The Program should prioritize the development of networks of local contacts within its areas of strategic priorities. A database of these contacts should be created and maintained.

Mission Action and Timeframe

2.3.4 Though the Program already has a substantial contacts network in Senegal, its management will be formalized and centralized by late August 2007 (via the contacts function in the Microsoft Outlook software and the formal assignment of this work to a section LES).
Reactivating this network will continue as a Program and Mission priority. Developing a contacts network will also be a priority for Guinea (under the responsible political officer) starting immediately with the goal of having a functional network in place by fall 2007. Note that the Canada-West Africa Chamber of Commerce, headquartered in Dakar, will be operational from September 2007.

2.3.5 The Mission does little analysis of economic issues and as a result its overall knowledge of the economic situation in Senegal and Guinea may be incomplete. This gap is partially compensated for by the fact that the CIDA Section does sectoral analyses in the areas in which it is active. The Program should consider holding regular internal round tables or discussions and organizing external meetings concerning the current and future economic situations in Senegal and its other countries of accreditation.

Recommendation to the Mission

2.3.6 The Program should increase its level of economic analysis and reporting, taking advantage of internal and external sources of information.

Mission Action and Timeframe

2.3.6 This formed part of the 2007-2008 reporting agreement reached with Headquarters in April 2007. The Cooperation and Trade sections will be asked for substantial involvement in producing these reports; this cooperation is already under way and has resulted in an initial economic report sent to Headquarters in May 2007.

International Business Development Program

3.1 Overview

3.1.1 The IBD Program is managed by an FS-04 Senior Trade Commissioner (STC), supported by an LE Trade Commissioner (LE-08) and Administrative Assistant (LE-05). The Program is familiar with local markets and Canadian interests in the Mission's territories of accreditation. Priority sectors include mining, major projects/services (with energy as a priority sub-sector), new technology, education, and agri-food. The Program has a *** understanding of economic and trade opportunities within its priority sectors and plans to pursue opportunities for increased investment and provision of services.

3.1.2 In addition to its responsibility for Senegal and the Mission’s other countries of accreditation, the STC will also become the regional Trade Commissioner for the sub-region of West Africa, which is a block of 12 countries with Canadian missions in cities including Abidjan, Bamako, Dakar, Niamey and Ouagadougou. This challenging role will involve leading and coordinating the work of the Trade Commissioners in the region. The position will also be required to provide value-added services, such as providing advice from a local perspective, which are not available on the spot and would not be easily obtained from Ottawa or Canada. In order to fulfill this role, the STC and the Program will need to expand their knowledge of the economic and trade conditions as well as the business networks within the large sub-region.

3.1.3 The next regional consultation with Trade Commissioners and Commercial Officers, planned for January 2007, should give Headquarters and the Commercial Officers in the region the opportunity to review all the aspects of establishing and managing this interregional network, facilitating its rapid success. The experience of creating this first network should be transferable to other sub-regions.

3.1.4 ***. The Program, and the Mission as a whole, has identified the need to develop activities in support of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and good governance, with a view to ***, as well as prospects for Canadian businesses in the region. These support activities should be part of a Canadian strategy for promotion and support of good governance in Senegal and in the sub-region. However, the Program has to formulate such a strategy.

3.1.5 The Program is very aware that a significant part of the business and economic activities that take place between Canada and the countries in the sub-region are in the form of services. Since services do not appear on export-import tables, the impression is given that the region is not of interest to Canada and that the missions are not active. The Program is identifying strategies and actions that will enable it to correct these perceptions.

3.2 Program Management

3.2.1 With the arrival of the *** Program Manager, the level of activity of the Program has increased and it is now ready to fulfil its mandate and play a leadership role in the sub-regional Hub-Spoke arrangement. Program Officers also make an active contribution to the development of the Mission's plans and strategies.

3.2.2 The implementation model for the Hub-Spoke concept, designed by the PM, is appropriate and includes the necessary structures, methods of operation, and agreements to support the successful creation of a sub-region in West Africa. This model thus merits careful study by the Geographic Bureau (WOLA) and by the stakeholder missions in the region.

3.2.3 Dialogue and cooperation with the General Relations and Development Assistance Programs are also priorities for the Program since files overlap in many areas. The results of IBD-GR cooperation *** have been tangible and encouraging on both sides.

3.3 Operations

3.3.1 The Program has an *** understanding, and makes *** use, of the Departmental management systems such as WIN and Horizons to support the work of officers in the field. Dakar (including other missions in the sub-region) is not on the Departmental schedule for implementation of the TRIO system. *** that without TRIO, the Program’s visibility at HQ would be adversely affected.

3.3.2 The Program’s travel and hospitality budgets are $10,000 and $3,000 respectively. Additional funding is required to support coverage of the new countries of accreditation, so that the challenges of sub-regionalisation can be met.

3.3.3 No Canada-Senegal Chamber of Commerce currently exists and in general, business and friendship groups are ineffective or non-existent, which deprives the Program and the Mission of valuable support. The Program is working diligently to rebuild and revitalize its networks of local connections and sounding boards, with the aim of fostering a renaissance of the Senegal and Canada-West Africa business relationships.

Consular Program

4.1 Overview

4.1.1 The Consular Program is managed by the MCO, assisted by a Consular Officer (LE-06). The Mission provides consular and passport services to all countries of accreditation as well as passport services to Mauritania. The Consular Program has experienced a slight growth in the number of consular cases (38 in 2005) while the number of passports issued has remained fairly constant (145 in 2005).

4.1.2 As indicated in Table 1 below, the number of Canadians registered in ROCA in the Program’s countries of accreditation is relatively low and in line with the number of consular cases handled by the Mission. It should be noted, however, that statistical data for this office may not be accurate ***. The Consular Officer was *** on data requirements and related procedures. To ensure future COMIP data ***, it is recommended that the Consular Officer discuss COMIP procedures and HQ expectations with the Mission’s Case Management Division (CNO) desk officer.

4.1.2 Consular Emergency Plans are in place for all countries, however, all require updating, particularly the one for Senegal as the country prepares for elections in February 2007. The Mission has established a good warden network but a formal and consistent communication framework needs to be established. To this end, the Mission is considering holding a conference this spring for all wardens.

Table 1
 SenegalCape VerdeGuineaGuinée-BissauGambia
ROCA registrants5346109813
Consular Emergency PlansYes, ***Yes, ***Yes, ***Yes, ***Yes, ***
Honorary ConsulNoneNoneProposed for 2007NoneNone
Wardens91812

 

4.1.3 The MCO has *** in the Consular Program and *** on the Consular Officer's ***. They maintain daily contact with each other and regularly exchange information regarding relevant consular cases. The MCO is copied on all CAMANT notes. ***. The MCO should *** to the consular activities, reviewing internal consular practices and ensuring adequate follow-up and documentation of all consular files.

4.1.4 The level of service provided by the Program meets consular service standards, with cases being transferred to Canada on evenings and weekends. The MCO and Consular Officer are available during off-hours for emergency situations. The receptionist has been trained and provides back-up to the Consular Officer. Both the MCO and Consular Officer are bilingual. It was noted that consular service standards are not posted in the lobby and client survey forms are not made available. These should be clearly displayed and made available in both official languages.

4.1.5 A reconciliation of consular and passport revenues was conducted for a four month period. No discrepancies were found for the period reviewed. Internal controls for the receipt of revenues and reconciliation were found to be satisfactory. The MCO conducts detailed reviews of revenue reconciliation and transfers between Consular and Finance. However, the transfer of funds to Finance is only performed at month end regardless of the amount of money collected during this period. Transfers to Finance should comply with the Financial Operations Manual, which stipulates that revenues must be transferred, at a minimum weekly, or when revenue exceeds $500. Official receipts are issued and properly controlled.

4.2 Passports

4.2.1 The Consular Officer and the MCO have both received training on the processing of passports. Internal controls and processes were found to be satisfactory. The MCO reviews all passport requests and approves passports issued on the Passport Management Program.

4.2.2 Dakar experienced a smooth transition during the recent repatriation of passport printing to Ottawa. The new service standard of 15 working days is generally met as shipments of passports to Dakar *** are timely and effective. Delays in meeting service standards occur predominantly when the Mission needs to obtain additional information or photos, as a result of incomplete applications, from clients who can be difficult to reach due to limited communication services in Senegal.

4.2.3 Temporary passports are issued as an exception and are supported by the necessary documentation. Guarantor checks and reference checks are conducted for all passport requests. The inventory of temporary passports is *** and books are issued to the Consular Officer on as needed basis. The MCO maintains tight control of the temporary and emergency passport inventory.

Recommendations to the Mission

4.3.1 The Mission should complete the *** of Consular Emergency Plans for all countries of accreditation.

4.3.2 Formal regular communication mechanisms with the wardens should be developed and implemented. The Mission is encouraged to hold a regional conference with all wardens.

4.3.3 The MCO should ensure the Consular Officer has the training necessary *** to ensure complete and relevant information is communicated, particularly for sensitive cases.

4.3.4 Consular and passport service standards should be clearly displayed in the client waiting area, and client survey forms made available to allow for a more accurate assessment of the quality of services offered by the Mission.

4.3.5 At a minimum, consular revenues should be transferred to the Finance Section on a weekly basis or when revenues exceed $500.

Mission Action and Timeframes

4.3.1 ***. This exercise should be finished for all missions in October 2007. A plan has been established to prioritize plans requiring a larger number of changes, considering the degree of risk associated with each country of accreditation.

4.3.2 ***. To establish a steadier and more regular communications network, the Mission is reassigning functions within the Program. An Administration Program employee will spend a greater part of his time helping the Consular Officer with his duties. This employee took the Consular Specialist training in May 2007.

4.3.3 Steps will be taken to enrol staff with COSMOS access for distance learning sessions under an instructor with the Canadian Foreign Service Institute, specifically on the COMIP and CAMANT modules. Training is scheduled for September 2007.

4.3.4 The Mission has begun a project to refit its public reception areas in conjunction with the Headquarters bureaux concerned (Security and Intelligence Bureau (ISD)/Physical Resources Bureau (SRD)). Service standards and supplies of evaluation questionnaires will be more prominently displayed. The deadline will reflect the progress of the refit project, possibly late fall 2007. In the meantime, the Mission will post the standards in a more visible location.

4.3.5 This recommendation was implemented in spring 2007.

Administration Program

5.1 Overview

5.1.1 The Administration Program is managed by a Management Consular Officer (AS-06) ***, assisted by a Deputy MCO (AS-04) ***. In addition to adapting to a new working environment, the MCOs have had to face a number of challenges in their first months on the job. Ongoing Chancery and property-related issues in particular have put a strain on the team’s ability to manage day-to-day operations.

5.1.2 Overall, a back-to-basics approach is needed to improve operations in the Program. Documentation and systems to manage administrative activities, especially related to the Human Resources and Physical Resources functions, were either absent or required improvement. The MCO and DMCO self-identified many of these deficiencies, but due to other issues requiring immediate action, they have not had time to address them. Standard frameworks, systems, and controls need to be implemented. The Mission should first start by creating an action plan which prioritizes tasks and indicates the expected resources needed. Given the amount of work these improvements will entail, assistance from Headquarters will be required to complete these tasks in a timely fashion and quickly eliminate the risks the deficiencies present to the Mission. After the audit fieldwork, the Area Management Office confirmed that a Temporary Duty Officer would visit the Mission to support the Mission’s efforts.

5.1.3 ***. In addition to the aforementioned deficiencies in the Program, *** from a lack of service standards and policies. Rules governing certain functions, such as overtime and hospitality, were not clear to all staff. The Program should create service standards and policies using examples provided by Headquarters and tailored to the local conditions, to inform all staff of Administration requirements related to finance, physical resources, and general administration. This will help to define realistic expectations of Administration services provided to clients within the Mission.

5.1.4 As is the case in most missions, the DMCO position is filled by a ***. Presently, the focus of the DMCO’s work is primarily Property Management, though the MCO has involved the incumbent in some other areas of Administration. To ensure she is well prepared at the end of the posting to assume the full range of MCO duties in her next assignment, a formal mentoring plan should be developed and implemented.

Recommendations for the Mission

5.1.5 The Mission should create an action plan to address the improvements needed in the Administration Program, taking into account the relative priority, necessary resources, and time required to undertake each activity.

5.1.6 Service standards and policies should be created. These documents should be communicated and accessible to all Mission staff.

5.1.7 A formal mentoring plan should be created for the DMCO, ensuring exposure to all MCO duties and clearly setting objectives for the incumbent.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.1.5 The Mission is redefining the role and responsibilities of each Administration and Consular Services Section. Establishing plans and priorities is a major challenge because of the workload associated with the Mission’s difficulty level and available resources. Working meetings have been held with section personnel to develop an overall plan. Given, the Mission’s concerns with Headquarters’ tardiness to act on the needs expressed in its Country Strategy submission of fall 2006, the Mission plans to move ahead with an action plan by early 2008. Some priority measures will be taken before this date to deal with the biggest deficiencies.

5.1.6 A number of policies, guidelines and processes have been defined or updated and communicated to staff. The MCO is restructuring the shared directories to consolidate all information (policies, procedures, guidelines and internal forms) in a Toolbox type portal. This project will require the cooperation of the Foreign Service IT (Information Technology) Professional (FSITP) whose posting is scheduled ***. This project will be phased over several months and require the updating of most existing procedures and processes, to be communicated as work is completed. Toolbox implementation is planned for September 2007 and will then develop on a continuous basis.

5.1.7 See 5.1.5. A better division of the MCO and DMCO roles and responsibilities has been established to involve each of these employees in all Program areas. Retasking in the coming action plan will formalize this accountability structure.

5.2 Human Resources (HR)

5.2.1 The Human Resources function is delivered by the MCO. The major constraint in managing HR is the absence of structure and documentation within the Section. Many standard HR files and committee structures are either incomplete, out of date, or non-existent. Dealing with the after-effects of five dismissals *** in the past two years has also added to the complexity of administering the function. Despite the aforementioned challenges, the MCO has made progress in identifying these issues and improving the management of the Section.

5.2.2 An examination of HR files at the Mission proved difficult as there were no lists of files, classifications, staffing actions, or other HR activities available. The MCO was able to locate all personnel and position files, though not all files were complete, and some employees had information spread across multiple files. Job descriptions were out of date and the organization chart was incorrect. The incomplete nature of available staffing information creates difficulties in the administration of the Section, especially in cases where performance or pay and benefit related issues occur.

5.2.3 The appraisal process was not being tracked or monitored and many appraisals were out of date. Ensuring that appraisals are up-to-date and that performance expectations and evaluations are well communicated to staff should be a priority for the Section. This is especially true in the wake of the recent dismissals, as many staff expressed uncertainty about their performance and worried they could also be dismissed. The communication between management and employees resulting from the Performance Management Program (PMP) process will help to alleviate the concerns of employees and foster a more open working environment. Although training opportunities and financial resources have been made available to employees, no training plan, a natural outcome of the PMP process, is in place. A coordinator should be named to identify the training needs of employees in the Mission, taking into consideration training priorities and budget levels.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.2.4 The organization chart should be updated.

5.2.5 Job descriptions should be reviewed and updated. Current job descriptions should be signed by employees and placed on their personnel file.

5.2.6 A filing system for personnel files should be created and implemented.

5.2.7 A system for tracking and monitoring the completion of appraisals for all staff should be developed and implemented.

5.2.8 Appraisals for all staff should be completed.

5.2.9 A Training Coordinator should be nominated and a Mission-wide training plan created.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.2.4 Project completed in June 2007. Updated organization charts have been sent to Headquarters.

5.2.5 to .9 Recommendations 5.2.5 to 5.2.9 form part of a major project to update all Human Resources management files. The biggest job is to search the basic documents that constitute the historic staff and position records. Given the nature of these files (privacy), this project will require a major time commitment by the MCO and DMCO. The secondment of someone on temporary duty should help to offset deficiencies within two to three months (target date: January 2008).

5.2.10 Other HR committees and functions also need improvement. An Occupational Health and Safety Committee was formed, but its only function is to support the Mission in its avian flu emergency plan. Treasury Board policy requires that the Committee’s level of involvement reflect policy requirements. A cross-section of Mission staff should be part of the Committee which would meet regularly, distribute reports to staff, and conduct regular workplace inspections. The Mission should also consider re-instituting the Community Coordinator position to assist incoming Canada-based Staff during the busy arrivals season. There was no Community Coordinator during the 2006 posting season, and many staff commented that it would have been greatly appreciated in easing their transition to Dakar and removing some of the burden from Administration staff. The Classification Committee, consisting of three CBS, should also be reinstituted to handle any upcoming staffing actions.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.2.11 The Mission should institute an Occupational Health and Safety Committee.

5.2.12 The Mission should consider hiring a Community Coordinator for the next posting season.

5.2.13 A Classification Committee consisting of three CBS should be created. Results of the Committee’s review and approval of any future classification actions should be documented on the classification file.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.2.11 The project will be reactivated in September 2007 in conjunction with measures within a more general human resources management framework. A tendering process is under way to contract a nurse to run the Embassy mini-clinic, who will arrive in summer 2007 and be given a bigger role on the Committee.

5.2.12 Work has continued with Headquarters (HEF (Foreign Service Directives, Policy and Administration Division) ) since March 2007 to establish the conditions and funding for this position. Given the small rotation in staff numbers arriving in summer 2007, the Mission plans the assumption of duties for October 2007. Informal steps have been taken to identify candidates.

5.2.13 Committee to be established in October 2007. Position files will be updated as a result (see recommendations 2.5.5 to 2.5.9).

5.2.14 A sample of employee, staffing, and dismissal files was examined. In addition to incomplete documentation, appropriate staffing mechanisms were not used consistently. In the past, there had been some confusion as to whether emergency employment or term positions should be used to fill vacancies at the Mission. If in doubt, the Mission should contact Locally Engaged Staff Services Bureau (HLD) to ensure correct staffing mechanisms are used. In the files examined, salary records were accurate and reconciled with payment records in the Finance Section.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.2.15 New employees should not start work at the Mission until they have signed their Letter of Offer.

5.2.16 The HOM should sign all Letters of Offer.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.2.15 The situation has been corrected since January 2007.

5.2.16 The Head of Mission agrees to sign all job offers for indeterminate positions or periods longer than two months. However, as the Mission regularly hires short-term replacements (for sickness and annual leaves), regular offers should continue to be signed by the MCO or DMCO; this will be discussed with the new HOM in September 2007 and adjusted as he deems necessary.

5.2.17 The LES Committee has met with Management several times in the past year, but many issues remain outstanding. A major frustration of the LES at the Mission is the poor service provided by the external administrator of their medical plan. Claims are not reimbursed within the stated service standards, sometimes taking five to six weeks for reimbursement instead of the contracted timeframe of ten days. LES also have concerns regarding the application and interpretation of plan rules by the administrator. Other embassies in Dakar have switched from this administrator to another with excellent results. The Mission, in consultation with the Locally-Engaged Staff Division, should research the possibility and feasibility of switching to another administrator. The HOM should also meet with the Committee on a more regular basis, at least quarterly.

5.2.18 A personnel issue related to an LES’ employment situation at the Mission was raised with the Audit Team. ***.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.2.19 The HOM and MCO should meet with the LES Committee on a more regular basis.

5.2.20 The Mission, in collaboration with HLD, should examine other options for the administration of its medical plan for LES.

5.2.21 The Mission, seeking advice from HLD, should investigate *** and whether any steps need to be taken with respect to benefits.

Mission Action and Timeframe

5.2.19 This recommendation is approved for quarterly meetings, regular and when needed, of the HOM, MCO and LES Liaison Committee members to discuss specific situations.

5.2.20 In January and February 2007, the MCO and DMCO held a series of meetings and discussions with the insurer’s representatives. An LES Committee member was invited to attend these meetings. Since that time, identified problems have been corrected and a complaints and problems follow-up system has been put in place.

5.2.21 This file, unknown to the HOM and new MCO prior to the inspection, will be studied with the other files that have surfaced since the inspection. The Mission will work with HLD to regularize a good number of files affecting LES positions. This project falls within the general human resources management reorganization plan (see sections 5.2.5 to 5.2.9).

5.2.22 The Mission’s mini-clinic is managed by a part-time nurse, on contract, with oversight provided by the MCO. No inventory of medications has been completed since the arrival of the MCO and DMCO. ***.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.2.23 An inventory of the mini-clinic medications should be performed on a regular basis.

5.2.24 ***.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.2.23 The nurse’s contract expires in June 2007. In April 2007, the Mission was visited by the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) doctor from Paris with responsibility for Dakar. His recommendations for the mini-clinic and nurse’s role will be taken into account and a strict inventory system set up (October 2007).

5.2.24 Recommendation implemented. ***.

5.3 Physical Resources

5.3.1 The Physical Resources Section is managed by the DMCO with support from the Materiel Property Assistant (LE-06). The major challenges faced by the Section are three outstanding property projects which have seen extended delays, both at the Mission and Headquarters. These include the sale of the old chancery, the completion of the new Chancery and the major renovation of the Crown-owned Official Residence (OR). These initiatives should be acknowledged as priorities requiring immediate attention. Collaboration and communication between the Mission and the Physical Resources Bureau (SRD) should be improved to ensure that responsibility and timelines for specific actions related to these projects are clear.

5.3.2 Given the disarray of property/materiel files upon arrival of the new Administration team, there was a lack of corporate memory with respect to property issues that had been compounded by the recent change of the Materiel Property Assistant. Coupled with an unusually severe period of electrical outages and city-wide fluctuations (considered by staff as the worst season in the past ten years), this period has been particularly challenging for the new property team, as well as their clients.

5.3.3 While clients have indicated *** in recent months under the new Administration team. A number of *** initiatives have been instituted by the Materiel Property Assistant since her return from training at Headquarters last fall, such as maintaining frequent contact with all Staff Quarters (SQ) security guards to monitor technical equipment (e.g. generators) and conducting weekly Chancery inspections with the cleaners. One full day per week has also been set aside to spend in the office to communicate with clients, follow-up on outstanding work orders and meet with the DMCO to discuss work order priorities.

5.3.4 The Materiel Property Assistant and DMCO are often required to perform perfunctory tasks, such as distributing office stationary and carrying out minor repairs, which is disruptive and takes time away from their other important duties. The Mission should evaluate the benefits of enriching the job descriptions of one (or several) of the drivers or cleaners to undertake simple property/material tasks.

Recommendation to the Mission

5.3.5 If deemed appropriate by Mission management, the duties of one (or several) of the drivers or cleaners should be amended to include routine property tasks.

Mission Action and Timeframe

5.3.5 The drivers are regularly used to serve Staff Quarters (delivering and removing household items). One of the two cleaners is more and more frequently asked to perform minor duties in the Chancery. Beginning in fall 2007, Administration will review the drivers’ job assignments to better plan and assign the work of transporting staff and school children.

Major Property Projects

5.3.6 The Mission moved to a new Chancery in May 2004. The previous Crown-owned chancery has yet to be sold. Since its vacancy, costs to maintain the empty office space have amounted to $45,000. Responsibility now rests with the Mission to place the chancery up for sale, an action which was forecasted for early 2007 and confirmed by the DMCO during the udit visit. Both SRD and the Mission need to address the internal issues that have resulted in this 21-month delay. The sale should now be made a high priority. The use of a professional real estate agent is strongly advised given the complexities of selling property in Senegal, the time and effort required for such a sale, and the understandable lack of experience within the Mission for large-scale property disposals.

5.3.7 There is a long list of deficiencies in the new Chancery which has led to an SRD-approved holdback of 85 million CFA (approximately $200,000 CAD) to the builder. A preliminary agreement between the builder and owner was recently reached which will allow the Mission to hire a consultant to effect the repairs (through a tender process) and deduct the costs from the holdback. Once completed, any funds remaining in the holdback will be turned over to the builder. Ownership/Title will not be transferred to the Mission until this dispute is settled and the holdback paid. Without Title, the Mission is unable to carry out the long list of ***. The Mission and SRD should collaborate to establish a timeline to complete this project, and ensure that further delays do not occur.

5.3.8 The HOM has been living in a temporary OR since her arrival at the Mission ***, awaiting the reconstruction/retro-fit of the current Crown-owned OR. Prolonged delays have occurred due to cost under-estimates and to conflicting opinions at the Mission and within SRD as to whether to reconstruct the OR or to purchase a new one. In a follow-up meeting with Fit-Up and Renovation Services (SRPA) after the udit, it was made clear that the reconstruction project will proceed, with a project completion date targeted for March 2008.

5.3.9 The delays in agreeing upon and selecting the best course of action for the OR project have contributed to an extended use of the temporary OR and resulted in additional costs. A course of action for the OR had not yet been approved when the temporary lodging was acquired. Based on December 2006 IMS reports, the temporary OR has cost the department $440,000 since 2004 (approximately $260,000 in lease payments) and the empty Crown-owned OR has cost $150,000 in security and minimum maintenance costs since it became vacant. SRD should focus efforts to ensure that the target completion date for this project is respected.

Recommendation to the Mission

5.3.10 The Mission should immediately proceed with the sale of the old chancery, in collaboration with SRD. The use of a professional real estate agent is strongly advised.

Mission Action and Timeframe

5.3.10 This project has been going on for several months in conjunction with SRD. An initial tendering process had a very limited response. The sale of the old chancery also depends on the condition of the Dakar real-estate market. This file is moving ahead in compliance with SRD guidelines and recommendations.

Recommendations to SRD

5.3.11 SRD should increase communication and follow-up procedures with the Mission to provide support and guidance for the sale of the old chancery.

5.3.12 SRD should collaborate with the Mission to establish a time-line to address the deficiencies at the new Chancery. Routine follow-up should be conducted to address any issues that arise with respect to the transfer of Title.

5.3.13 SRD should focus efforts to meet the target completion date for the renovation of the Crown-owned OR.

SRD Actions and Timeframes

5.3.11 The Property Program Division (SRS) has increased contact with the Mission, including an on-site visit in May 2007. SRS is now finalizing the associated contracts with the real-estate agent and general contractor for the sale of this property.

5.3.12 Fit up and Renovations Services (SRPA) has worked with the Mission and we await confirmation of the division of responsibilities for correcting deficiencies between the developer and SRD. When this is done, there will be a tender call for the work to be done.

5.3.13 A contract has been let to renovate the Official Residence. The work must be completed in September 2008.

Mission Property Portfolio

5.3.14 A Housing Committee exists but a file of its minutes and records of decision was incomplete and further substantiating documentation was not available. As such, it was not possible to verify staff concerns of inequity. Evidence of over-housing, insufficient use of representational housing in two of the four SQs visited (PRID 3230089 and PRID 3230071), and the existence of two accommodation deficiency adjustments (ADA) (PRID 3230089 and 3230098) indicate that SQ allocations are not appropriate for certain CBS. A thorough review of the SQ portfolio should be undertaken prior to the next posting season to ensure that staff are allocated SQs which meet their needs and fall within departmental guidelines. Records of decisions/recommendations of the Housing Committee should be made in writing and rationale for implementation or non-implementation should be well-documented. CBS staff should be given access to this documentation to promote transparency and equity.

5.3.15 The Mission leases a warehouse facility to store surplus residential furniture and office equipment. Extensive and on-going water leakage in this leased facility has resulted in irreparable damage to its contents. The DMCO was working on the leasing arrangements for a new warehouse facility. A complete inventory of items stored in the warehouse did not exist, leading to the fragmenting of residential furniture groupings amongst various SQs. The DMCO should conduct an inventory of all items stored in the warehouse and, to the extent possible, restore original furniture groupings.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.3.16 Housing Committee recommendations and management justifications with respect to housing allocation should be well documented and available to CBS staff.

5.3.17 The current SQ portfolio should be reviewed to ensure that incoming staff are allocated SQs according to departmental guidelines. The lease on PRID 3230071 should be ended if its size and representational function cannot be justified.

5.3.18 The DMCO should continue efforts to lease a new warehouse facility and transfer all stored items immediately. An inventory of stored items should be completed and furniture groupings restored to complete sets, where feasible.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.3.16 A new Housing Committee is in place. The MCO works regularly with the Committee chair to ensure good coordination. The files are now well documented with meeting minutes, recommendations to the HOM and administrative decisions and follow-up on compensatory rent adjustment requests passed on to Headquarters (HEF).

5.3.17 Since the new MCO and DMCO arrived ***, it has been Administration’s objective to restore the equity principle in allocating and managing staff quarters, thus offsetting the many deficiencies noted in the quality of its housing stock and the equipment and furniture available to staff. Anticipating the summer 2007 postings and to end compensatory rent adjustments in effect for some time and granted more recently, Administration took major corrective action. Intensive searches for more recent, better quality quarters began in early spring 2007 so the Mission can rid itself of housing that fails to meet the minimal standards in the Department’s directives. ***.

As for housing that exceeds the standards, the lease on dwelling PRID 3230089 was terminated in summer 2007 ***. The Mission will make arrangements to terminate the lease or reassign the dwelling, depending on the next occupant’s family situation and representation requirements.

5.3.18 A spacious, modern new warehouse has been rented since February 2007. This process was under way before the Inspection Team arrived.

Maintenance of Crown Assets

5.3.19 Based on discussions with SRPA and the Mission, work by contractors for maintenance and repairs is not consistent and is generally of poor quality. Despite the efforts of the DMCO and Materiel Property Assistant, the Mission has been unable to compile a list of contractors who are reliable, knowledgeable and qualified to maintain technical equipment at Crown-owned and leased property. This challenge is exacerbated by the fact that there are no Mission staff members with technical experience. Given the challenging environment and the fact that the Chancery is a Crown-owned asset, the MCO should develop a business case to RSR for the creation of a new position for a technician. The technician, in addition to carrying out general maintenance, would provide knowledgeable supervision of specialized contractors to ensure that quality work is being provided. Cyclical maintenance of specialized equipment (eg. air conditioning system (AC), generators, etc.) by qualified professionals is required to prolong the life of Crown-owned installations and reduce long-term repair costs. This type of expertise is not easily available in the local environment.

5.3.20 The lack of technical capacity at the Mission has reduced the quality of the service provided to CBS, as work orders and routine maintenance are not carried out in a timely and effective manner and often require multiple visits for adequate completion. Technical issues, including repeated problems with the chancery's AC and electrical systems, led to a visit to the Mission by a team from Commissioning and Engineering Services (SRPT) in November 2006, which prepared a report detailing the various electrical and mechanical deficiencies to be addressed. The Mission has requested that SRPT return for a longer visit to assist in correcting these deficiencies and to implement a maintenance plan based on contracts with qualified, SRPT-approved contractors.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.3.21 The Mission should prepare a business case to RSR for the creation of a technical position.

5.3.22 Contracts should be established for cyclical maintenance of technical equipment at Crown properties.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.3.21 The Mission has still heard nothing about this request in the Country Strategy submission of early 2007. Update: on July 20, 2007, the Mission was advised by RFD that its request for added resources had not been approved. The Mission will convey its disagreement with this decision, which was supported by a Department technical team (SRPT) and recommended in the report.

5.3.22 Most of the property maintenance contracts expired on June 30, 2007. New contracts are in place with stricter preventive maintenance provisions.

Recommendation to SRD

5.3.23 If feasible, SRPT should accommodate the Mission's request for a return visit to correct technical deficiencies of Crown equipment and to assist in selecting qualified technicians with whom contracts can be established for cyclical maintenance of specialized equipment.

SRD Action and Timeframe

5.3.23 SRPT and Property Maintenance and Operations Section (SRSF) have worked together to define the scope of the work needed to correct technical deficiencies and those cited in 5.3.12.

Documentation and Management Tools

5.3.24 Several of the basic property/materiel management tools and documentation are out-dated or non-existent and need to be implemented in order to improve client satisfaction and to ensure compliance with departmental guidelines. The implementation of these tools will also provide for corporate memory within the Section, which will be advantageous to future administrators at the Mission. The following items were identified during the audit:

  • Occupancy agreements and inventories did not exist for 11 of the 12 Crown properties.
  • Files for individual Crown-owned and Crown-leased properties were incomplete and not organized.
  • PRIME and the Mission Property Management Program (MPMP) were not up-to-date and therefore could not be used effectively by the Administration team for property planning and forecasting.
  • Work orders were not processed systematically, and not enough attention was paid to the monitoring and follow-up of requests.
  • The new system to monitor gasoline coupons and official vehicle usage, implemented by the DMCO, was a clear step forward in terms of control but was also labour intensive (with 6 pages of forms to complete) and not easily sustainable in this busy section. Good controls and documentation existed for the purchase and receipt of gas coupons by CBS for their personal vehicles.

5.3.25 The Contract Review Board (CRB) is active and involved in approving contract proposals for amounts over $1,500 CAD. Given this relatively low dollar value, CRB action is frequently required and this has led to a simplified e-mail process for approvals with limited consultation, dialogue or file/proposal review. The minimum amount for CRB participation should be raised (for contracts not involving CBS spouse services) and a complete documentation package submitted to CRB members for their review.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.3.26 The Section should update and/or create occupancy agreements and inventories for SQs and the Chancery which should be signed by CBS as per regulations. The DMCO should clarify who will be responsible for future updating and maintenance of these documents.

5.3.27 For each property, the following three files should be established and maintained: lease and owner information; maintenance documentation; and an occupancy agreement/inventory file.

5.3.28 The Mission Property Management Plan and Prime should be updated. The DMCO should clarify who is responsible for updating these tools and ensure that updates are timely and accurate.

5.3.29 The DMCO should establish a work order system which includes the following: well-documented service standards, clear dollar thresholds for required approvals, and a system to track outstanding work orders and provide status updates to keep clients informed.

5.3.30 The DMCO should ensure drivers complete daily vehicle use logs and monthly vehicle maintenance logs.

5.3.31 The current gas coupon control system should be re-evaluated with a view to simplifying procedures. A less time consuming system should be implemented.

5.3.32 The minimum contract dollar amount for CRB approval should be raised (for contracts not involving CBS spouses) and a complete documentation package submitted to CRB members for their review prior to providing approval. The DMCO should re-communicate the mandate of the CRB to all members, including the revised minimum amount for mandatory contract review.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.3.26 The Mission was counting on the temporary posting of a MCO from Ottawa (section 5.1.2) to formalize and finalize the occupancy agreements and tracking system for SQ inventories. The completion date should be around December 2007.

5.3.27 Considering the scope of the task of consolidating historic housing stock data and compiling detailed inventories, the administration hopes for the support of someone on temporary duty in fall 2007.

5.3.28 File under way since summer 2007. Completion around November 2007.

5.3.29 Project related to sections 5.3.26 and 5.3.27.

5.3.30 Project in progress with completion anticipated for September 2007. A registry system is being developed.

5.3.31 Project in progress with completion anticipated for September 2007. A registry system is being finalized.

5.3.32 Meetings have been held with the Contract Review Board to clarify their mandate; the minimum amount issue will be discussed with the new Ambassador in fall 2007; it was decided in fall 2004 to lower the amount to bring discipline to Mission contracting procedures that had been lacking.

5.3.33 Traffic in Dakar is substantial, and on-going road construction has led to longer commutes for most CBS, as well as making common errands more time consuming and difficult to undertake. Since Senegalese law prevents diplomats from owning more than one diplomatic personal vehicle and that local bus transport is inadequate, alternative transportation options (aside from daily taxis) do not exist for CBS whose spouses frequently require their personal vehicle. The Administration Team should examine the CBS shuttle/transit system employed at other Canadian missions abroad (e.g. Cairo) and provide a recommendation to the HOM should this type of arrangement prove suitable in the current local environment.

Recommendation to the Mission

5.3.34 The feasibility and necessity of a CBS shuttle/transit to work (on a cost-recovery basis) should be reviewed by the Administration Team and a proposal put forward to the HOM.

Mission Action and Timeframe

5.3.34 This matter has already been discussed and the Mission did not see the need to act on it. The resources currently available (drivers and vehicles) cannot meet this need. Most Canada-based Staff work flexible hours and the introduction of a shuttle system on a fixed morning and evening timetable does not look like a practical solution. The Mission is currently studying the possibility of acquiring a minibus for schoolchildren that could also be used as a shuttle for Canada-based Staff. The matter is under study with a decision expected in late fall 2007.

5.4 Finance

5.4.1 The MCO oversees the finance function in the Mission and, given his background and experience as a Financial Officer (FI), has a *** understanding of financial operations at the Mission. He is assisted by an LE-07 Accountant and an LE-05 Assistant Accountant. The MCO routinely monitors financial transactions in IMS *** in his duties as Mission Finance Officer. The majority of the following recommendations had already formed part of the MCO's future action plan for revisions to financial operations at the Mission.

5.4.2 The Audit Team was made aware of a moderate level *** with respect to processing times for financial requests (e.g. advances, claim reimbursements and payment of invoices). Numerous complaints result from last-minute or urgent requests from clients who did not take into account the time necessary or the information required to properly process their transaction. The establishment of service standards for financial operations would assist in setting realistic client expectations for financial services. The MCO also plans to simplify several paper-heavy financial transactions (e.g. personal telephone bill payment, personal drawings, etc.) based on best practices from a previous posting. These measures should further improve client service. The Mission policy on hospitality rates had not been adequately communicated to CBS and they were unsure where to find the documented rates. Mission policies should be clarified, communicated to all staff and easily accessible for periodic review.

Recommendation to the Mission

5.4.3 The Mission policy for hospitality rates should be clarified and made accessible to all staff.

Mission Action and Timeframe

5.4.3 The policy and rates were discussed in the CMM in fall 2005 and all CBS were advised of the new rates by the former administration. These rates were again reviewed in fall 2006 and approved as still appropriate by the CMM. The policy and rates are thus clear and reviewed every year. However, some CBS have shown a lack of familiarity and compliance with this policy. Rates will be reviewed by the CMM in fall 2007.

Budgeting and Monitoring

5.4.4 Financial status (Finstat) reports were not up-to-date due to the MCO's recent arrival *** and his desire to thoroughly review and understand the budget situation at the Mission prior to submitting a budget status report to Headquarters. At the time of the Audit Team's departure, the MCO had begun to update the Finstat report for the month of October. Bank reconciliations were up-to-date and were being reviewed and approved by the MCO and HOM. SA document reports were not being reviewed. These should be monitored on a regular basis to ensure that entries into IMS for this document type are valid.

5.4.5 Aside from travel and hospitality, the Mission had not devolved a portion of the Mission operating budget to Program Managers for program-related operating expenses. Given the centralized budget, the DMCO was consistently signing Section 34 for goods and services received by other programs, without being in a position to confirm actual receipt of these items. To foster efficiencies within the Embassy, empower Program Managers, and ensure that signing authority is being exercised appropriately, the MCO has planned to devolve part of the Mission operating budget in the new fiscal year. Program Managers will have a small operating budget and would therefore be responsible for signing Section 34 for program related expenses. Financial reports are not currently sent to managers routinely, but should be shared on a monthly basis, particularly in light of the devolved budget plan for next fiscal year.

5.4.6 The Mission was not using the Material Management (MM) module in IMS to track contracts over $5,000 CAD as required by HQ. Neither the Accountant, Assistant Accountant nor the Property/Materiel Assistant were sure of how to use IMS for this function. The Mission should arrange for training and implement the use of the MM module as per departmental policy.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.4.7 Outstanding Finstat reports should be completed.

5.4.8 The MCO should review SA document reports at minimum on a monthly basis to ensure that these entries are valid.

5.4.9 PMs should assume Section 34 signing authority for program-related goods and services received by their section and ensure they understand their roles and responsibilities with respect to delegated authorities and their accountability under the Financial Administration Act (FAA).

5.4.10 The Mission should arrange for training and implement the use of the MM module in IMS as per departmental policy.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.4.7 All Finstat reports are now to be completed as scheduled.

5.4.8 Internal procedures are being developed. This recommendation will be implemented in October 2007.

5.4.9 Budget decentralization was established for FY 2007-2008. Systematic use of cost centres to allocate specific program expenditures forces Program Managers to use their signing power under the Department’s delegation chart. Everyone who can use this power has now complied with departmental on-line training requirements (January 2007).

5.4.10 A bigger reshuffling of financial services is needed to define the roles of various stakeholders: program managers, the MCO, DMCO, property and materiel officers, and accounting staff. When this job has been done and internal processes have been further defined, the administration will move ahead to comply with this departmental requirement (April 2008).

Bank Account and Cash Management

5.4.12 At the time of the audit, the Accountant was the Mission's primary contact at the bank and the MCO had not yet developed a relationship with the account manager. When the *** in the banking operations of a Mission, the risk of fraud increases. The MCO should immediately establish a relationship with the bank and ensure that all communications are directed to him. The letter from the bank detailing the services provided to the mission should be formalized into a banking agreement or contract. ***.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.4.13 The MCO should meet with representatives of the bank, including the Mission's account manager, and ensure that all dealings with the Mission go through him.

5.4.14 The Mission's banking arrangement should be formalized by a contract or agreement.

5.4.15 The MCO should keep ***.

5.4.16 Though reimbursements are individually approved and well documented, the MCO should perform quarterly petty cash verifications, along with counts on a random basis.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.4.13 A meeting was held for this purpose by the MCO, DMCO and bank representative.

5.4.14 After the April 2007 meeting, the Mission awaits an answer from the bank. A formal agreement is expected in fall 2007.

5.4.15 ***. In the meantime, the MCO will conduct a monthly audit and count of cheques in hand, comparing this count with the batch cheque record in the IMS.

5.4.16 This function will be assigned to the DMCO in September 2007.

Expenditures and Revenues

5.4.17 The receipt of cash revenue and the use of official receipts were appropriately controlled. Shortly before the audit, the Mission changed its deposit policy ***. The Mission should continue this new effort and ensure that funds are deposited ***, or when the total cash value exceeds $500.

5.4.18 The Mission has one acquisition card which was under the ***. While it was rarely used, neither the MCO nor the DMCO had seen or reviewed any monthly statements. During the Audit visit, the card was not consistently stored ***, furthering the need to monitor statement amounts to ensure that only authorized purchases were being charged. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the card had not yet been signed and forwarded to Opérations financières internationales (SMFF) as required.

5.4.19 The Mission accepts visa requests from clients and forwards files to the regional CIC office in Abidjan for approval and visa issuance. Visa fees are deposited directly into a separate mission bank account by clients who then present the Mission with a deposit slip as proof of payment. The Point of Sale system (POS+) was not closed off on a daily basis because the MCO had not been given access and a password to this system. At the time of the audit, the MCO had recently been in contact with the regional CIC office in Abidjan to receive access to POS+ so that he could implement daily closure procedures. Up until this point, the MCO had been reconciling CIC revenues based on average percentages for each type of visa service offered. Now that access has been granted to the MCO, POS+ should be closed off daily and reconciled before the MCO signs any further attestations on the bank reconciliation package.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.4.20 Revenue and cash receipts should be deposited in the bank ***, or when the total exceeds $500.

5.4.21 The DMCO should contact SMFF to arrange for access to the on-line statement service for the Mission's acquisition card. The MOU should be signed by the DMCO, forwarded to SMFF and payment made in accordance with departmental policy. The card should be stored ***.

5.4.22 POS+ should be closed off daily and reconciled before the MCO signs any further attestations on the bank reconciliation package.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.4.20 This recommendation was implemented in spring 2007 (see Recommendation 4.3.5).

5.4.21 Changes in the government acquisition cards contract award announced by SMFF postponed the establishment of access at the Mission. This situation will be regularized in October 2007.

5.4.22 Technical POS+ configuration and access problems have been resolved and will enable us to regularize the situation by late November 2007.

5.5 Information Technology (IT)

5.5.1 Information Management and Information Technology operations are carried out by the Mission's Foreign Service Information Technology Professional (FSITP) (CS-02) and a Locally-Engaged Information Technology Professional (LEITP) (LE-07). The FSITP's responsibilities have been decreased from six countries to three countries this past year due to mission closures in Libreville and Conakry, and the transfer of responsibility for Niamey to Abidjan. Providing support to the two missions in Bamako and Ouagadougou occupy approximately 50% of the FSITP's time. He makes regular trips to these missions, at least once per quarter, and is in contact with them almost daily due to the region's specific environmental challenges and their negative impact on IT equipment.

5.5.2 While there are no communicated service standards with respect to IT, Mission staff members have indicated *** with the services received and the responsiveness of IT team. Communications between the FSITP and LEITP are good, with daily meetings to distribute the work. There exists a clear definition between their respective roles and responsibilities; the LEITP handles the majority of system administration related requests (SIGNET and servers) while the FSITP handles IDACS, MITNET, telephones and secure communications along with requests from the micro-missions.

5.5.3 At the time of the audit, the Mission was facing challenges with respect to information sharing amongst DFAIT and other departments’ programs. Infobank and the I: drive were not being consistently used by Mission staff, leading to difficulties accessing various sources of information to create analytical reports on the host country and its countries of accreditation. The Mission should establish a method of sharing information based on a consistent file structure and naming protocols and ensure that it is endorsed by all staff.

5.5.4 The Mission has sufficient secondary communications in place in the form of satellite communications (PSAT), mobile telephones, laptops, SIGNET remote access (SRA) and handheld radios. The radio network, however, was not working in all regions of the city and the FSITP had come up with a plan to modify the system to facilitate access throughout the city. These modifications should be prioritized to ensure that radio communication is available to the Mission prior to the upcoming presidential elections.

5.5.5 During the visit of the Audit Team, the FSITP met with IT personnel from the US Embassy and realized that opportunities existed for knowledge sharing and the implementation of best practices within the local environment. The FSITP should foster this relationship and develop a network of IT professionals from other like-minded missions to take advantage of the learning potential.

5.5.6 The FSITP does not participate in the annual budgetary forecasting exercise and indicated a perceived lack of resources for IT initiatives and for meeting client requests. The division should continue to include in its budget forecasting IT needs as it did in the past with a view to promoting IT planning and facilitating the implementation of new IT initiatives.

5.5.7 The current process of making minor IT purchase requests through the Property/Materiel Assistant (with approval from the DMCO) is time consuming and the FSITP believes that this results in delays which negatively affect client service. Since the arrival of the new administration team, the FSITP has had a mandate to make certain IT purchases. However, there are some problems with the implementation of this mandate. A funding mechanism should be reviewed to facilitate minor purchases (e.g. use of petty cash, bulk purchasing). As part of the Mission's purchasing policy, the MCO should clarify in writing to the FSITP the maximum spending limits for purchases to be made solely at his discretion.

Mission comment:

A preliminary budget has been assigned to the new FSITP until he conducts a full review and needs assessment in this area. It was decided to authorize the FSITP to make purchases within allocated budget limits.

5.5.8 The FSITP requested the creation of an IT Committee to foster communication within the Embassy on areas needing improvement, future IT projects and annual planning, as well as to bring visibility to the IT program and the services it offers. Given the current workload of the MCO, and the number of committees in which he is already involved, the Audit Team is recommending instead that the FSITP be invited to the CMM from time to time, to discuss specific agenda items related to IT services. He should also be encouraged to raise agenda item issues with the MCO, as required.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.5.9 The Mission should establish a method of sharing information (e.g. Infobank, I: drive) and ensure that it is accessible to all staff.

5.5.10 The FSITP should prioritize modifications to the radio system to ensure functionality within all regions of Dakar.

5.5.11 The FSITP should improve his network of IT professionals outside the Mission to develop local knowledge and best practices.

5.5.12 The FSITP should be involved in the fiscal year budget forecasting process to ensure that adequate funds are committed for IT requirements.

5.5.13 A funding mechanism with clear spending limits should be reviewed and communicated in writing to the FSITP to facilitate minor purchases.

5.5.14 The FSITP should attend the CMM from time to time, to discuss IT services.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.5.9 See Recommendation 5.1.6.

5.5.10 to .14 See the “Mission comment” between paragraphs 5.5.7 and 5.5.8. The summer 2007 posting *** will allow the MCO to develop an action plan to regularize the matters raised in Recommendations 5.5.9 to 5.5.14. Implementation no later than November 2007.


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Date Modified:
2012-11-01