An audit of the General Relations (GR), the International Business Development (IBD), the Consular and Administration Programs was conducted in Kuwait from February 26 to March 1, 2006. The previous audit of the International Business Development, the Political and Economic Relations, and Public Affairs Programs of the Mission was conducted in 1999, and of the Administrative and Consular Programs in 1997.
This is a small Mission accredited to both Kuwait and Qatar. Internal communications was highlighted by staff as an area needing more emphasis from Management. This report notes the need for a Locally-engaged Staff (LES) Committee, more frequent town-hall meetings and the distribution of the Committee on Mission Management (CMM) minutes to all staff, as appropriate.
The General Relations Program in Kuwait is very much a virtual program, with one full-time staff member, who is the LES Public Diplomacy Officer. The Head of Mission (HOM) is the head of the program and contributes about 30% of his time to political reporting. As resources are limited, demands on the program must be managed carefully and tasking by Headquarters (HQ) should be more focussed. Once a political/economic reporting contract is in place, there is potential to task the LES Public Diplomacy Officer with some of this work.
The Gulf region contains a number of rapidly emerging economies, including both Kuwait and Qatar, and needs to be given more attention. The IBD Program Manager is ***. The Program is reasonably well resourced but may need to focus more on appropriate niches suitable to Canadian firms. Traditional approaches to IBD work are not producing the desired results. More creativity is needed to overcome some of the challenges to market entry and business development. The Program needs to become more proactive in identifying and communicating opportunities and engaging clients and contacts. Qatar is a market that has generally been overlooked but has significant potential for Canadian firms and needs to have more effort devoted to it. More attention also needs to be paid to investment attraction in both markets.
The Management/Consular Officer (MCO) has the overall responsibility for the Consular, Administration and Security Programs. Until recently he was responsible for managing Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) visitor visa issuance and acted as the Signet System Administrator (SSA) for the Mission. The transfer of the CIC services to Abu Dhabi and the move of the SSA duties to an LES will allow the MCO to focus more on administration of the Mission, as addressed in several recommendations in this report.
A total of 56 audit recommendations are raised in the report; all of which are addressed to the Mission. Management has responded to each recommendation indicating action already taken or decisions made, as well as future action. Of the 56 recommendations, management has stated that 31 recommendations have been implemented. For each of the remaining 25 recommendations, management has indicated the initiatives in progress or the intended future action.
The scope of the audit included a review of Mission Management and the General Relations (GR), the International Business Development (IBD), Consular and Administration Programs.
The audit objectives were to:
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, and 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, 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.
|Assets||Crown Leased||Crown Owned|
|Financial Information 2005/06|
|Operating Budget (N001)||$701,625|
|Capital Budget (N005)||52,400|
|CBS Salaries Budget (N011)||299,366|
|LES Salaries Budget (N012)||527,545|
1.1.1 Kuwait is a small mission and is staffed by four CBS and 15 LES. As with other missions in the Gulf region, *** were employed at the Mission at the time of the audit. Due to the small size of the staff complement, the Committee on Mission Management (CMM) acts as many of the Mission committees such as the Housing Committee.
1.1.2 The Mission is also accredited to Qatar, however, at the time of the audit fieldwork, the Head of Mission (HOM) had not yet been able to present his credentials. The Mission and Headquarters (HQ) have expressed a desire to open a Trade Office in Doha given the trade opportunities that are present in Qatar. However, the Qatari authorities would prefer a full embassy as opposed to only a Trade Office. As noted in the IBD section, there is a need to develop a separate strategy for Qatar rather than using the Kuwait IBD plan. The development of this strategy will assist the Mission in determining its requirements in Qatar.
1.1.3 Discussions with staff indicated that communications need to be improved with Management, between Programs and among staff members. Staff felt that better communication would improve morale.
1.1.4 At the time of the audit, an LES Committee did not exist. Management highlighted the need for one in the 2005/2006 Mission Plan, as of March 2006 the Committee was not yet in place. The Audit Team discussed the feasibility of such a committee with the LES, who were generally receptive to its creation. Such a Committee would serve to enhance communication and information flow within the Mission, ensure that LES have a platform for open discussion with Management and promote internal communication within the LES community. As a best practice, Committee members should be elected and be representative of each program as well as all levels of staff (officer, support and non-office). The Committee should meet frequently with the LES community to solicit their concerns and should establish regular meetings with the MCO and with the HOM.
1.1.5 Communications could also be enhanced by holding regular town-hall meetings and by distributing the minutes of the CMM meetings to all staff, as appropriate. The Mission may find it useful to consult with CFSD (Centre for International Affairs Learning and Management Development) and/or HPDA (Employee Assistance Program) for guidance and/or to organize a visit for the purpose of team building, conflict resolution, etc.
1.1.6 Staff at all levels need to demonstrate visible commitment to establishing and maintaining a respectful workplace, including respect for individuals and for their contribution to the Mission's objectives. A key element of this commitment will be establishing a zero-tolerance policy for unprofessional behaviour and clearly outlining the consequences of such misconduct. Among some staff, there is a perception that such behaviour exists to varying degrees within the Mission. This perception needs to be addressed. Consistent communications of and adherence to such a policy by attitude and action would go a long way towards establishing confidence and trust among all staff.
1.1.7 An LES Committee that includes members of varying levels and operational groups within the Mission should be established. LES Committee meetings should be scheduled regularly with Management.
1.1.8 To enhance communications, minutes of the CMM meetings should be made available to all staff, as appropriate.
1.1.9 All staff town-hall meetings should be held regularly.
1.1.10 Mission Management should adopt a zero-tolerance policy on unprofessional behaviour.
1.1.7 On several occasions, Mission Management has suggested/requested the LES to form a Committee as a way to enhance communication and information flow within the Mission. Management also quoted other mission success stories and directed LES to pertinent intranet sites. So far staff have remained unwilling to co-ordinate themselves.
1.1.8 Done starting with July 17, 2006 CMM minutes.
1.1.9 Following the Audit Team's debriefing, town-hall meetings have been held on a monthly basis
1.1.10 Unprofessional behaviour has never been tolerated and consequences of such a conduct have always been understood by staff. Following the Audit Team debriefing, town-hall meetings have been held on a monthly basis and have provided occasions to build-up confidence and trust among staff.
2.1.1 The Political, Economic and Public Affairs Program in Kuwait is very much a virtual program comprised of one full-time resource, a local Public Diplomacy Officer. While no full-time LES or CBS Political/Economic officer exists, two positions contribute part-time. The Head of Mission (HOM) is the head of the program and contributes approximately 30% of his time to political reporting with some support from the Public Diplomacy Officer. The HOM Assistant assists as required. The Program is also assisted by the Global Security Reporting Program (GSRP) Officer in Abu Dhabi.
2.1.2 As the resources of the Program are very limited, demands on the Program must be managed carefully and tasking by HQ should be very focussed. It is important that the Program and HQ rapidly conclude a Reporting Agreement so that the Mission has clear expectations of HQ tasking - what they should be reporting on and how frequently reports are expected.
2.1.3 The Public Diplomacy Officer position was vacant for almost one year and was staffed in January 2006. This position will play an important role within the Mission, undertaking media monitoring, advocating Canada's view with local media, and promoting Canadian values. To successfully carry out this public relations function, the Officer must build and maintain a valuable network of contacts and thus should be given a hospitality allowance.
2.1.4 The Public Diplomacy Officer position also contributes to alleviating the reporting demands of the Mission by providing essential background research. At some point in the future, the Mission may wish to consider giving the Public Diplomacy Officer position more responsibility for some of the reporting.
2.1.5 The HOM, working in conjunction with the Middle East Division (RMR), should establish a Reporting Agreement.
2.1.6 The HOM should assign the Public Diplomacy Officer a hospitality allowance.
2.1.5 Reporting agreement with the Gulf and Maghreb Division (RMG) was established in April 2005.
2.1.6 A hospitality budget was assigned to the Public Diplomacy Officer at the beginning of the fiscal year 2006-07.
3.1.1 The resident Commercial Program is responsible for international business development in Kuwait and Qatar, though the focus is primarily on Kuwait. The Program is delivered by a team of one CBS Senior Trade Commissioner, two LES Trade Commissioners and one LES Assistant. The local Trade Commissioners *** to the program, as well as networks that benefit both the Commercial Program and other programs at the Mission.
3.1.2 The Gulf region, as a whole, is comprised of a number of rapidly emerging economies. Though neither country is considered a priority market, Kuwait and Qatar both have economies experiencing significant growth, affluent populations, and substantial government coffers derived from vast oil and natural gas reserves. Qatar's economy grew at a record rate of 29 per cent in 2005 and the government is very active in diversifying the economy away from crude oil exports by rapidly expanding investments in liquified natural gas, steel and aluminum, education, transportation, and tourism. Like Qatar, Kuwait is taking steps to diversify its economy, but progress will continue to be gradual. Though large-scale infrastructure projects have been outlined, the Kuwaiti economy continues to be dominated by the petroleum and petrochemical industries. As both economies continue to offer niche opportunities for Canadian businesses, it would be helpful for the Department to produce a strategy focussed on fostering and developing Canadian imports and investment ties with the region.
3.1.3 For the size of the territory, the Program is reasonably well resourced. For fiscal year (FY) 2005/06 the Program had a budget of $16,200 for travel, $9,900 for hospitality, and $13,200 for the Client Service Fund (CSF). The Program estimates they spend 93% of their time on export promotion, 3% on investment, 1% on science and technology, and 3% on policy and market access issues.
3.2.1 The Commercial Program is led by a Commercial Program Manager (CPM) with a ***. He is ***. The CPM has ***. He has ***.
3.2.2 Kuwait and Qatar are challenging markets which present a number of obstacles to market entry and business development. The Program is a strong proponent of the Trade Commissioner Services Six Core Services; however, traditional approaches to IBD work are not producing the desired results. A more creative approach is needed to overcome some of these barriers. The Program is very strong on analytical analysis, yet much of their reports on the economy and opportunities are not provided to clients. Additional coaching should be provided to officers to help them become more proactive in identifying opportunities and engaging clients. The team should also be more proactive in working with partners and clients in Canada in order to educate them on opportunities in Kuwait and Qatar, as well as advocating with local contacts Canadian capabilities and advantages. Officers also require additional guidance on delivering annual plans and conducting effective outcalls, using hospitality strategically, and increasing targeted reporting of opportunities, market trends and conditions, and improving communications with clients and contacts.
3.2.3 The Program Manager, working with the IBD team and HOM in Kuwait, should develop a strategy to make the Program more proactive, and should explore more creative approaches to assist Canadian firms to take advantage of opportunities in the Kuwaiti and Qatari markets.
3.2.3 In progress. Mission is increasing the number of out-calls and intends to establish more and stronger partnerships in Canada as part of an enhanced outreach program. The new Program Manager, ***, has assumed responsibility for this sector and is also devoting more time to investment activity. We are also conducting a major evaluation of sector priorities and the activities and tasks associated with those priorities which will be reflected in next IBD program business planning exercise.
3.3.1 The Program has a solid approach to planning with all staff participating. This annual exercise has produced a comprehensive but broad IBD Plan. Officers are responsible for a large number of priority sectors. To give a greater concentration to the Program's efforts, a more focussed strategic document and a more limited set of priorities are required. For example, the Oil and Gas sector has a wide variety of sub-sectors that span a diverse range of products and services. Concentrating on specific sub-sectors would allow the Program to better address niche opportunities in place of the current broad sectoral initiatives. For performance management purposes, it is important that all activities undertaken by the Program in the fiscal year have a clear link to the priorities identified in the IBD Plan, especially when new items are added throughout the year. Some work needs to be done to address how the Program's activities are aligned with the strategy.
3.3.2 In addition, the current structure of the Program has only the two local Trade Commissioners working on priority sectors which may not be the most effective use of all the resources available to the Program. The rotation of staff in the summer of 2006, and the ***, may present an opportunity to realign sectoral responsibilities. This would allow the CPM to assume greater responsibility for one of the high-priority sectors, and for the new Assistant to receive an enriched job package by assuming responsibility for a sector. This would also allow the Program to use the Assistant position as a developmental position.
3.3.3 According to the CPM, the Section spends less than 3% of their time on investment-related activity despite the fact that the territory includes a number of large investment funds and other significant asset pools. Investment is a core component of the international business development continuum and should be included in the Program's IBD plan.
3.3.4 The Education sector shows considerable promise as private universities are being introduced in the region. Professional training and international student recruitment are growth areas that could be addressed and promoted more heavily. A local government scholarship program to send Kuwaiti students to universities in Canada remains under-used and under-promoted by the Program.
3.3.5 Significant interest is being generated in opportunities for Canadian firms in Qatar. Although the economies may be similar, niche opportunities could be very different. The Program currently devotes a majority of its time to the Kuwaiti market. On average, the Program makes six trips a year to Qatar. Given the potential of this market, the number of visits needs to increase in order to help identify and evaluate opportunities and develop and maintain networks of local contacts. A distinct plan to address specific opportunities in Qatar would be a valuable tool.
3.3.6 The Program should develop a more focussed IBD strategy that takes into consideration the resources available to the Program, reduces the number of priority sectors, and clearly links activities to priorities.
3.3.7 The Program should realign sectoral responsibilities to make better use of Program resources, including using the Assistant position for developmental purposes.
3.3.8 The Program should incorporate an investment attraction strategy for Kuwait and Qatar in its IBD Plans.
3.3.9 The Program should consider devoting more effort to opportunities in the education and professional training sectors in its IBD Plans for Kuwait and Qatar.
3.3.10 The Program should develop a separate IBD strategy for Qatar.
3.3.6 In progress. Our own thoughts echo the recommendation. We agree that the number of priority sectors are too numerous and that in some cases we may not be pursuing the sectors with the greatest potential. We are presently reviewing our IBD Program to determine the composition and number of sector priorities. Part of this review includes a scrutiny of associated sector activities. Results of the ongoing review will be reflected in the next IBD Program business planning exercise.
3.3.7 In progress. In the last quarter, a new Assistant was ***. The new Assistant *** in taking on sector responsibilities. The plan is to give her sector duties after she is accustomed to the Mission environment and the more traditional Assistant tasks. This should occur in four to six months time, ***.
3.3.8 The Mission will incorporate an investment attraction strategy for its territory in its next IBD plan.
3.3.9 Program is already devoting a lot of effort to develop opportunities in the education and professional training sectors in Kuwait and Qatar and wishes that more of the regional resources earmarked for these sectors would be directed toward our territory. Information material on education in Canada has been produced to respond to general inquiries; weekly sessions have been organized with serious candidates to answer questions and provide advice; a series of visits to schools have been organized; at the institutional level ongoing contact with education authorities to identify potential for technical assistance; assistance to local private groups looking for partnerships with Canadian institutions; and participation at the annual Kuwait education fair. If more of the regional resources earmarked for the education and professional training sectors were available to us, the Mission would increase our efforts along the above lines to further develop opportunities in these sectors.
3.3.10 Kuwait and Qatar economies are both driven by the countries' oil and gas wealth. That wealth enables both countries to direct significant resources to the education and health sectors. For that reason, our priority sectors (oil and gas; education; health) are the same for both countries. As to the strategy (the Mission is presently developing it on the occasion of the preparation of the "Mission Commercial-Economic Program Business Planning 2007-2008" exercise) and it will be articulated along the following lines: market information production; outreach activities (including a program of outcalls); promotional activities; and if applicable market access interventions.
3.4.1 The Performance Management Program (PMP) is currently being used in the objective-setting process. Although responsibilities and objectives have been set for each Trade Commissioner, individual workplans 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.
3.4.2 The Program is making an effort to increase its outcall and outreach activities, but the approach is not always strategic in nature and results are not measured or evaluated. By including an outreach/outcall strategy as part of each officer's sector strategy and workplan, the Program will be able to more effectively use its resources to achieve results.
3.4.3 The Program, in conjunction with partners in Canada, needs to enhance communication with clients about the opportunities that exist in Kuwait and Qatar. The headquarters (HQ) geographic bureau, along with the Regional Trade Offices in Canada, are a critical domestic interface with the Program's clients. Building stronger relationships with Provincial agencies is also necessary.
3.4.4 Hospitality funds are currently underutilized. Hospitality funds should be used strategically in conjunction with the outcall strategy to gain market intelligence and cultivate networks of contacts in the territory. LES Trade Commissioners do not currently have hospitality allocations and should be given funds at the beginning of the fiscal year use help to develop their contact base with respect to their priority sectors.
3.4.5 Staff have not been tracking all of their activities in WIN Exports, and as a result, the statistics for the Mission give a false impression of the extent of work actually being done in the Section. The Program should attempt to increase input into WIN Exports in order to better reflect their level of activity. Creating this best practice is important as use of the new client relationship management application, TRIO currently being rolled out, will be mandatory.
3.4.6 The Program does not have an InfoCentre. The majority of incoming enquiries are directed to specific officers. No central tracking system exists and it is difficult to determine whether the Trade Commissioner five (5) day service standard is being respected. The Program Assistant could play more of a central role in tracking enquiries and should develop a mechanism and process to this end. Officers' business cards and other publications need to reflect the Program's central e-mail address (KWAIT-TD) and not those of the individual officers. All replies to enquiries must then be copied to the central e-mail address.
3.4.7 The Program is small and officers in the Section ***. Regular informal communication occurs between team members. However, there are no formal team meetings and minutes are not kept nor are records of decisions circulated. There is a need to hold regular structured Program meetings to discuss plans, their implementation and ongoing operations.
3.4.8 The Program should develop individual workplans for each priority sector/sub-sector indicating objectives in the sector, activities and expected results.
3.4.9 The Program should include an outreach/outcall strategy and hospitality plan as part of each sector/sub-sector plan, identifying why contacts are being targeted and how they link to the objectives.
3.4.10 The Program Manager, working in conjunction with the World Markets- Middle East and North Africa division (WOLM), should develop a strategy on how to better communicate market opportunities to Canadian clients.
3.4.11 The Program should develop a strategy to increase input into WIN Exports to better track client interaction.
3.4.12 The Program should implement an InfoCentre-like approach to handling incoming and outgoing communications to better track and deal with all business development enquiries and to help ensure service standards are being met.
3.4.13 The Program should commence a regular planning meeting to better coordinate activities and share information.
3.4.8 Next IBD Program business planning exercise will involve a review of the sectors and activities as well as developing individual accompanying work-plans for the priority sectors along the lines suggested.
3.4.9 Mission recognizes that there should be some correlation between priority sectors, outreach activities and hospitality outlays. We shall adopt this approach for the next IBD Program business planning exercise.
3.4.10 In progress. With arrival of the new Program Manager the priority has been to increase the number and enhance the quality of outreach contacts. A further goal is to distribute the market information and intelligence that is gleaned to a greater number of Canadian contacts and partners
3.4.11 In progress. The successor to WIN should soon be available to the Mission. TRIO's reputation is that it is superior to WIN and its introduction should help to accomplish the goal of better tracking. Meanwhile, management is stressing with staff the importance of inputting data.
3.4.12 On-going. With the ***, better tracking has been put in place and is gradually being fine-tuned.
3.4.13 Although held on an ad hoc basis, there has been an increasing number of staff meetings since the arrival of the new Program Manager. There are also plans for more regular and formal meetings as part of the Program's weekly/monthly routine.
4.1.1 The Consular Program is managed by the MCO (AS-05), who is assisted by a Consular Assistant (LE-05). The Receptionist (LE-04) is also involved in the Program, answering routine inquiries, entering registrants into the Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) database and providing backup during absences of the Consular Assistant. The HOM Assistant (AS-02) is the initial point of contact when the MCO is absent.
4.1.2 The Consular Assistant is the ***, as was the case with the previous incumbents. Given the small size of the Mission it *** are provided by the MCO and the organization chart ***. It does not appear that this situation will continue beyond the ***. The Mission should, however, ensure that managerial duties in these types of situations are performed by the HOM and be reflected as such on the organization chart.
4.1.3 The Mission covers Qatar as well as Kuwait and demands for consular services in the areas of accreditation have been increasing. The Mission also noted an increase in demand for consular services from the area across the border in Iraq (the Mission in Amman has responsibility for Iraq). Some clients find it more convenient to approach Kuwait for assistance due to distance, conflict in the region and family connections in Kuwait.
4.1.4 Annually, the Mission provides an average of 1,500 passport services and handles 150 citizenship applications and 2,000 notarial requests. The ROCA system indicates there are 4,000 registered Canadians in the Mission's areas of accreditation (although the actual number of Canadians is estimated to be double that number). The Mission needs to systematically review and update the database as a number of registrations have expired. As with other missions in the Gulf, staff noted that some clients were not able to communicate in either official language and preferred to use Arabic. Clients prefer in-person and telephone communications rather than electronic communication.
4.1.5 Contingency Plans for both countries of accreditation were last updated for Fiscal Year 2003-2004. During the warden conference held in November 2005, Consular Emergency Services Division (CNE) provided assistance to the Mission in updating these plans and the Mission should continue its efforts to complete the update.
4.1.6 The move of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) operations to Abu Dhabi in December 2005, while providing the MCO with more time to devote to other duties, also saw the departure of a *** CIC Assistant who provided backup to the Consular Program. The upcoming departure this summer of the MCO and the Consular Assistant coupled with the elimination of this CIC position will have a significant effect on the corporate memory of the Program.
4.1.7 The Mission has submitted a business case requesting an additional LES Consular Assistant. In conjunction with this business case, the Mission has taken a number of initial steps to improve efficiency, for example, moving the consular office ***, no longer providing notarial services to non-Canadians for non-Canadian documents, and restructuring client service hours so that there is a designated quiet time for processing duties. The Receptionist has also taken on additional duties.
4.1.8 The ***, yet has not been keeping the COMIP reports up-to-date or submitting overtime forms. Accurate information on workload levels is essential in establishing resource requirements and these reports should be completed and submitted monthly.
4.1.9 The Mission has not submitted the monthly passport returns to HQ since November 2005 and has not been including PPT028 parental consent forms with the package. These need to be completed as soon as possible. The new Mission Passport Print Solution (MPPS) was to be implemented a few weeks after the audit, and the Mission was examining strategies to catch-up with the backlog in preparation for the roll-over date.
4.1.10 The Receptionist has not yet received consular training at HQ and has been learning on the job. The Mission indicated that to date she has not had much opportunity to work with the new passport scanning process and needs more exposure to the system.
4.1.11 The MCO examines original documentation at the approval stage in the passport process. Training on the new scanning system had not indicated whether there is still a need for a CBS to review the printed passport prior to issuing it to the client. This step should be reinstituted in the process as was done prior to the change of systems.
4.1.12 The Mission noted good communications with Passport Canada though found occasional delays with responses and alerts. With the upcoming full implementation of MPPS, it should consult with Passport Canada regarding the following issues:
4.1.13 Two steps need to be added to the Mission's Canadian Citizenship Card application process: files in the system should be closed when the card is issued and applicants should sign for receipt of the cards.
4.1.14 In cases where an *** directly to the HOM and the organization chart should reflect this.
4.1.15 ROCA registrations should be regularly reviewed and up-dated.
4.1.16 The Mission should finalize updates of the contingency plans.
4.1.17 The Mission should complete and submit COMIP statistics.
4.1.18 The Mission should complete and submit overtime reports.
4.1.19 Monthly passport returns should be completed and submitted to Headquarters.
4.1.20 PPT028 forms should be included with monthly passport returns.
4.1.21 The Mission should submit a request to HQ for Consular training for the Receptionist.
4.1.22 A CBS should review all completed passports.
4.1.23 Upon issuance of Canadian Citizenship Cards, applicants' case files should be closed in the CAMANT system.
4.1.24 Applicants should sign for receipt of Canadian Citizenship Cards.
4.1.14 Noted. Situation does not exist anymore.
4.1.15 Ability to do so is limited by lack of resources. Hopefully the user-controlled registration system being developed by COSMOS-tech will help alleviate the problem though there is no date yet for the new system. Mission has requested another consular position in the resource section of the Country Strategy. Mission will also try and set aside some funds in the new fiscal year to pay for an emergency contractor to help bring ROCA back up-to-date.
4.1.16 Ability to do so in the short term is limited by lack of resources. Process requires several meeting with various groups. First step, meeting with the wardens, is now complete. Next step, discussions with other Embassies to follow. Timeline: six-eight months before completion.
4.1.17 Done. COMIP report is now completed on a daily basis and filed in a timely fashion.
4.1.18 Done. Overtime reports are now submitted within the first week of subsequent month
4.1.19 Done. Passport reports are now completed and sent in a timely fashion.
4.1.20 Done. PPT028 is now sent with monthly passport returns.
4.1.21 Since Audit Team's visit the Receptionist moved to the Consular Assistant position. We are now in the process of hiring a new Receptionist. Training will follow. Timeline: one year before completing the process.
4.1.22 Done. Due to resources limitations, passports review is now shared between MCO and HOM's Assistant.
4.1.23 Done. As of November 1, 2006, all applicants' cases are filed upon arrival of the Canadian Citizenship Cards (CCC) card. A new filling system is presently been implemented to keep better track of the overall process. Timeline: one month.
4.1.24 As per 4.1.23, Mission has created a list of all CCC applications. Once the card arrives and the person comes to retrieve it, they are asked to sign beside their name on our list as having received their CCC. This is then cross-checked with signature on the application and dated for Mission reference.
5.1.1 The Administration Program is headed by the MCO, who manages a complement of seven LES: an LE-07 Accountant, LE-06 Office Manager, LE-05 Translator-Signet System Administrator (SSA), Receptionist, Driver, Handyman and Cleaner. The MCO, currently ***. Staff indicated that the ***. In general, ***.
5.1.2 Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) ceased visa operations in Kuwait in November 2005. This Program had been managed by the MCO and required a significant amount of his time. With the departure of this function, the MCO will be able to devote more time to his other areas of responsibility, including his role as Mission Security Officer. For over a year the MCO also performed the duties of the SSA and is in the process of gradually transferring these responsibilities to the Translator.
5.2.1 Given its small staffing complement, there is a need for the Mission to examine the backup arrangements for staff absences. While the Accountant is backed up by the MCO when required, the MCO is unable to perform all the finance duties during her absence, which could delay processing and create backlogs for the Accountant to address upon her return. When the Receptionist takes breaks during the day, she is replaced by either the cleaner or handyman, neither of whom have ***. In this instance, the Mission may wish to examine a formalized rotation system where support staff from all Programs are assigned replacement responsibilities.
5.2.2 Staff at the Mission work 37.5 per week, from 07:30 until 15:00 (Saturday to Wednesday), with no lunch break. Staff, who are satisfied with the current arrangement, indicated that they take small breaks during the day on an ad-hoc basis. The rationale provided for this workday was to finish earlier to escape the heat, which can exceed 50 degrees Celsius during the summer months. Not having a lunch break contravenes the Canadian labour law (and may contravene Kuwaiti labour law) and the Audit Team was concerned that this practice is tiring for staff. The feasibility of a compressed work week was discussed with the staff and the MCO, and the Mission may wish to examine such options as working Saturday to Tuesday 7:30 to 16:00 and Wednesday 7:30 to 13:00 (with a 30 minute unpaid lunch break).
5.2.3 Appraisals had not been conducted ***, and the Performance Management Program (PMP) had not been fully implemented. In most cases, staff were ***, and did not perceive appraisals to be necessary as many had reached the highest step of their salary band. This has resulted in an absence of discussions about objectives and expectations, actual performance, and training and development requirements. Once training requirements have been identified in the PMP, these should be used to develop a Mission-wide training plan.
5.2.4 Workload assessments should be conducted to determine suitable options for backup duties.
5.2.5 The Mission should ensure that staff are provided with a lunch break.
5.2.6 Outstanding staff appraisals should be completed.
5.2.7 The PMP system should be rolled out.
5.2.8 Training plans should be amalgamated into a Mission-wide training plan.
5.2.4 Underway. Discussion with staff to determine which tasks could be shared took place in November 2006. Management presently researching ways to enhance the information sharing between LES to facilitate substitution in cases of LES absence. However, possibilities are greatly limited by the size of the Mission's current position vacancies.
5.2.5 A survey for the LES (regarding which hours to take as a lunch break) will be drafted in March 2007. Mission has previously informally polled the staff. A comments section will be added to the basic survey in order to give the LES a chance to voice any concerns.
5.2.6 In progress. Staff have been asked to complete their portion of the PMP in order to finalize the process. Management is, however, facing difficulties with many LES not buying in fully the PMP concept. Time line: three months.
5.2.7 Done, but Management has difficulties having the LES buying into the PMP concept.
5.2.8 Done. An Embassy-wide training needs inventory was prepared for all programs in April 2005, and has been the basis for the mission training plan, which however had to be adapted for budgetary reasons. Budget and time permitting, training has been since, and will be in the future, provided on a priority basis.
5.3.1 The Chancery is a rented property and its lease expires in 2009. Over the years there has been a redeployment of resources to other missions and the Chancery is much larger than necessary for current requirements. Staff are dispersed throughout the building, which may be a factor affecting more direct communication between programs and between senior management and staff. Many rooms are vacant and being used for storage space, with materiel scattered throughout these offices. At the time of the audit, file and storage cleanup were in progress, and the MCO was assessing the feasibility of creating a fitness facility within the building.
5.3.2 Planned initiatives for 2005/2006 included maintenance of the interior wall finish of the Chancery and construction of the guardhouse. The wall finish project was complete and guardhouse construction was underway.
5.3.3 The Mission maintains three Staff Quarters (SQs): one apartment and two houses. All properties are leased, which is standard practice as non-nationals are not permitted to own property in Kuwait. The layout of the apartment works well and is very suitable for a single person or a couple. The houses are rather large, however, this reflects the building style of the country. In cases where SQs are too large for the family configuration, the justification for the housing decision should be noted on file. All properties are well maintained and well furnished. The Mission will release the MCO's house at the end of the Summer 2006 at the landlord's request, and is evaluating retention of the second home, currently used by the CPM.
5.3.4 As with the SQs, the Official Residence (OR) is leased and is functional and well appointed, with a good use of space. There is a large basement that is used for meetings, and opens onto an interior courtyard garden that is difficult to access as the door is only 30 cm wide. The Mission should discuss with the landlord and the Physical Resources Bureau (SRD) the feasibility of expanding the doorway to allow for better use of the garden and to provide another ***.
5.3.5 Annual maintenance and materiel surveys of the Staff Quarters and the Official Residence are not consistently conducted. Distribution accounts for the OR and one SQ, as well as the one for the Chancery, including items in storage, are outstanding. The Mission plans to replace the Chancery furniture in fiscal year 2007/2008. The materiel inventory will need to be completed to ensure proper records for future disposals as at the time of the audit, there were no records of the last disposal exercise.
5.3.6 A sample of contracting files from the 2005/2006 fiscal year were reviewed and it was noted that the majority were tendered to the same firm which was consistently the lowest bidder. The MCO indicated that he had been in contact with HQ to discuss techniques for reviewing documentation, etc. The MCO should, over the 2006/2007 fiscal year, play a more hands-on role in contract management to track trends, monitor progress, process documentation, etc., to ensure best value for the Crown. The MCO should liaise more with other diplomatic missions to compare contractors and suppliers.
5.3.7 The PRIME database is generally up-to-date, however there are a number fields with missing data, for example, the lease date and lease amount for PR3480053. The Mission should verify that the database is complete.
5.3.8 The Mission should continue to monitor the market in Kuwait for potential alternate Chancery accommodations based on a continuous needs assessment.
5.3.9 Justifications for situations where occupants are over-housed should be retained in the property file.
5.3.10 The Mission should examine the feasibility of replacing/enlarging the basement courtyard door in the OR.
5.3.11 The Mission should ensure that maintenance and materiel inventory surveys are conducted annually.
5.3.12 Outstanding distribution accounts for all Staff Quarters, the Official Residence, the Chancery and items in storage should be completed.
5.3.13 Disposal records should be maintained for all disposal actions.
5.3.14 The MCO should make efforts to expand the Mission's list of qualified contractors.
5.3.15 The MCO should play a more hands-on role in contract management.
5.3.16 All missing fields in the PRIME database should be reviewed and updated.
5.3.8 Mission is monitoring the market. Management suggests that closer to the 2009 lease expiration, a comprehensive costs/benefits study be undertaken to determine pertinence of moving to another location.
5.3.9 All SQs currently listed in Mission inventory fall within the recommended sizes and so there are currently no cases of over-housing.
5.3.10 Under consideration. Budgetary issues reduce, however, likelihood of implementation during present fiscal year.
5.3.11 Work in progress. More complete files are being created in order to keep better track of the required and performed maintenance, and to more efficiently schedule cyclic maintenance work in the future. Timeline for completion: six months.
5.3.12 In new fiscal year (2007-08), Mission will hire an emergency contractor to implement this recommendation. Timeline: six months.
5.3.13 In future all disposal records will be maintained.
5.3.14 Work in progress. MCO has interviewed new potential contractors/suppliers, some identified with the assistance of the Commercial Section.
5.3.15 Work in progress. MCO has been reviewing offers and sources of supply have been diversified
5.3.16 Done. PRIME is now up to date.
5.4.1 Finance is handled by a *** LES Accountant *** within the Mission, reviews and questions processes, ensures compliance with general accounting practices and looks for ways to make functions more efficient.
5.4.2 Bank reconciliations are up-to-date and appropriately reviewed by the MCO and HOM. Budgets are properly controlled and reports are prepared in a timely manner. Monthly asset and liability reports are prepared but not reviewed and signed by the MCO on a consistent basis. The MCO should also review the Vendor Master Record Change Report monthly. The Mission is not using the materiel management module of IMS, such that contracts in excess of $5,000 are not recorded in the ACS portion of the module.
5.4.3 The emergency cash parcel had not been counted since 2004. The Audit Team reviewed and counted the cash parcel, which was in the amount of $20,000. Funds were securely stored. The Mission should review its need for these funds. Should these funds be retained, the emergency cash parcel must to be counted on quarterly.
5.4.4 Petty cash funds were not counted consistently. Spot checks of petty cash should be conducted at least annually by the MCO and/or the Accountant.
5.4.5 At the time of the audit, service standards for the Finance Section had not been developed. Service standards will clarify the roles and responsibilities of both the Section and clients and communicate time-lines for services. Establishing quiet hours could provide the Accountant the time to focus on key duties requiring concentration.
5.4.6 The MCO or other CBS should sign off on voids made through the consular cash register. The ***.
5.4.7 The MCO should review and sign the Asset and Liability Report on a monthly.
5.4.8 The MCO should review and sign off the Vendor Master Record Change Report monthly.
5.4.9 The Mission should ensure that all contracts in excess of $5,000 are recorded in the ACS portion of the materiel management module of IMS.
5.4.10 The emergency cash parcel should be reconciled quarterly.
5.4.11 The Mission should review its requirement for maintaining an emergency cash parcel.
5.4.12 The MCO or Accountant should conduct spot checks on petty cash accounts.
5.4.13 The Mission should develop and communicate service standards associated with finance services.
5.4.14 The Mission should examine the feasibility of implementing quiet hours for the Finance Section.
5.4.15 The MCO or other CBS should sign off on voids made through the consular cash register.
5.4.16 The ***.
5.4.9 Noted. Will be done as soon as MCO completes her training on MM module. Mission size limits, however, ability to make full use of MM module.
5.4.11 To be done at the beginning of the fiscal year 2007-08.
5.4.13 Work in progress and implementation to be completed by the beginning of new fiscal year 2007-08.
5.4.14 See 5.4.13, work in progress and implementation to be completed by the beginning of new fiscal year 2007-08
5.4.15 Done. A refund/discrepancy report requiring the signature of a CBS has been created to deal with over/under payments and is signed.
5.4.16 Done. ***.
5.5.1 Past problems with the stability of the IT platform caused staff much frustration with access to systems given the frequency of outages. The situation has improved since November 2005 with the repositioning of the satellite, though there are still occasional outages.
5.5.2 At the time fo the audit, the Translator had recently assumed the SSA duties. There is *** for the incumbent in this new role. The MCO was playing a large role in the transition and paying close attention to the training and development needs of the SSA, who has received initial training and *** from Headquarters, the regional IT manager and the Foreign Service Information Technology Professional (FSITP) in Abu Dhabi.
5.5.3 Backup tapes were being made of the server, however these ***. The MCO committed to *** may not be feasible at this time.
5.5.4 The Mission currently only had one staff member trained in the use of the satellite phone, which was not being tested monthly.
5.5.5 Server backup tapes should be stored in a secure location ***.
5.5.6 Other staff should be trained in the use of the satellite phone system.
5.5.7 The satellite phone system should be tested monthly.
5.5.5 Have ordered fireproof safes to store tapes.
5.5.6 Training to take place before end of present fiscal year.
5.5.7 Starting in January 2007 monthly testing will be implemented.