An audit of the General Relations (GR), the International Business Development (IBD), the Consular and Administration Programs was conducted in Warsaw from March 10 to 16, 2006. These Programs were last audited in October 1999.
The General Relations Program is *** run and has *** ensured coordination with other programs in the Mission through a wide array of public diplomacy activities. Some work is necessary in order to realign the program's activities with its stated strategic priorities and to adjust its organizational structure to improve division of responsibilities. Though the Program delivers many successful events, in some cases the effort and resources expended in these events exceeds their value to the Mission. Certain activities generate large amounts of work, diverting staff from the Program's other responsibilities. There should be more emphasis on bilateral and regional political and security reporting.
The resident Commercial Program in Warsaw is responsible for international business development in Poland, the Ukraine, and Belarus. The Commercial Program Manager (CPM) manages the IBD Program for the Ukraine from Warsaw. The Program Manager is ***. He *** team approach. The Program is well-resourced and is delivered by *** local staff. The Program includes representatives from Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and Export Development Canada (EDC). The NRCan Trade Commissioner position for the Clean Energy Technologies and Climate Change Investment Program is an asset to the Program and should receive ongoing funding.
The Consular Program is *** managed. The Mission is also responsible for Belarus, although there is no Canadian presence in that country. Emergency consular cases in Belarus are handled by the British until a Canada-based Staff (CBS) Officer can be dispatched from Warsaw. There are no Honorary Consuls in Poland, but an active warden system is in place. The absence of Honorary Consuls is also interesting from a commercial perspective given the large size of the country and the large number of industrial centers. Dual citizenship issues present consular challenges given current regulations regarding entry requirements. Warsaw is already operating under the new Mission Passport Print Solution (MPPS), which has been *** implemented despite some minor teething problems.
The Administration Program is *** managed by an *** Management and Consular Officer (MCO) who displays *** within the Program and for the Mission as a whole. The Program staff are ***. Human Resources, Finance, Physical Resources, Information Technology, and other Support Services are delivered ***. Processes and control structures are well established and files are up-to-date.
Though the new Chancery is visually impressive, it is plagued by structural and systems problems. Only four years old, a mid-life Building Condition Report (BCR) has been commissioned for the Chancery - something normally done when a building is ten years old. Problems include: marble exterior wall cladding that is breaking off, creating a safety hazard; poor construction and insulation that have led to an inability to regulate interior office temperature; and incorrect drainage which has led to excessive condensation and water penetration. Mission management is clearly and forthrightly addressing the building's problems, however, the root cause of these deficiencies needs to be closely examined so as to be avoided in future construction and development projects.
Despite the problems associated with the physical structure of the Chancery, Warsaw is a well-run Mission whose practices should be emulated. Strong management practices, solid operations and a complement of *** staff who work consistently as a team to protect and advance Canada's interests, contribute to making Warsaw a model of excellence and effectiveness.
A total of 41 audit recommendations are raised in the report; 36 are addressed to the Mission and five are addressed to Headquarters (HQ). Management has responded to each recommendation indicating action already taken or decisions made, as well as future action. Of the 41 recommendations, management has stated that 27 recommendations have been implemented. For each of the remaining 14 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 Head of Mission (HOM) and Program Managers, a meeting with the Locally-engaged Staff (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.
|Assets||Crown Leased||Crown Owned|
|Financial Information 2005/06|
|Operating Budget (N001)||$1,356,400|
|Capital Budget (N005)||$118,200|
|CBS Salaries Budget (N011)||$613,200|
|LES Salaries Budget (N012)||$2,550,000|
1.1.1 Warsaw is a strong Mission that demonstrates many of the positives that Headquarters is attempting to foster in DFAIT's overseas network. The Mission has a *** management team, a group of *** officers - both local and Canadian - and strong operating practices, procedures and controls.
1.1.2 The new Head of Mission (HOM) arrived only months before the audit but *** . He promotes a whole-of-government approach and has increased Canada's profile in Poland. The Mission had increased the pace of its operations during this time period in order to take advantage of the new HOM's ***.
1.1.3 The HOM is supported by a *** team of Program Managers. Each group in the Embassy is *** led by *** managers, who work cooperatively to achieve Canada's goals. All the Program Managers, except for the MCO (Management & Consular Officer), are due to depart in the summer of 2006. Both the MCO and DMCO (Deputy Management & Consular Officer) are slated to leave in 2007. There is a strong need to manage this significant turnover in order to minimize potential upheaval on the Mission's operations. Many staff ***. It will also be important to ensure that this large rotation does not have any detrimental effects on staff morale.
1.1.4 Not only do Mission managers function *** as a group, but their teams also work *** together. Programs support each other in a coordinated and coherent fashion. The HOM has reinforced the importance of collaboration amongst programs and has avoided the "silo effect" by promoting a common vision for his team.
1.1.5 The Mission's operations benefit from a complement of *** local staff. Overall, morale in the Mission is good though the *** are still recovering.
1.1.6 In some cases, senior local staff are in management positions and others are supervising colleagues. Some of these individuals are in first-time management positions and may have *** that differ from those of Canadian managers. The Mission would benefit from requesting supervisory training for new managers and senior staff who coach and mentor colleagues.
1.1.7 The Mission should consider protecting employees by preventing potential conflict of interest situations in the workplace. The Mission should be vigilant in not employing relatives, especially in the same section, or in positions where responsibilities overlap. The Mission should also encourage all employees to report potential conflict of interest situations to Mission management.
1.1.8 Polish language capabilities are limited among CBS staff. Poland is increasingly embracing the use of English in Warsaw but the use of English in government agencies and organizations remains limited. Interacting with civil society, organizations and enterprises in areas of Poland outside the capital is even more challenging. Headquarters would better serve the Mission by identifying candidates for postings at an earlier stage so they could be selected and placed in language training 12 to 24 months prior to the posting.
1.1.9 The Mission is also responsible for developing Canada's bilateral relationship with Belarus. Its main function is reporting on important developments in fields such as human rights and democracy and on events such as recent federal elections, as well as providing consular assistance to Canadian citizens. Shortly after the audit field work, the Minister of Foreign Affairs released a statement indicating that the Canadian government would restrict its official relations with Belarusian authorities. However, Canadian organisations and citizens will likely continue to be active in Belarus and the Mission should continue to assist them as required. In the future, official travel to Belarus should be limited to CBS only as they are protected under diplomatic conventions. LES staff do not enjoy these protections. At the time of the audit field work the Head of Mission had not yet been accredited to Belarus.
1.1.10 The Mission should ensure that the pace of operations does not continue at a high tempo for too long as it could contribute to increased stress and lower staff morale.
1.1.11 The Mission should carefully manage the rotation of the Program Managers to minimize the impact on Mission operations and staff morale. Managers should strive to leave handover notes and overlap with their successors when possible or provide transition briefings.
1.1.12 The Mission should request a supervisory skills course for LES in management positions, as well as for senior LES officers who want to develop supervisory and coaching skills.
1.1.13 The Mission should ensure that if family members are hired, they should not be placed in potential conflict of interest situations where they are in the same section with their relatives or in positions where responsibilities overlap.
1.1.14 The Mission, in conjunction with Headquarters, should try to identify candidates for assignments at an earlier stage so that they could be placed in 12 to 24 months of language training prior to the posting.
1.1.15 In order to ensure that there are no travel delays in responding to urgent situations - demarches or consular events - in Belarus, the HOM, all Program Managers, and a select number of designated CBS staff, especially in the Consular and Political Programs, should maintain active visas for Belarus. Care should be taken to ensure that these officers are not all away from Warsaw at the same time.
1.1.16 Only CBS staff should travel to Belarus for official purposes.
1.1.10 To reduce staff stress, the Mission is (1) reviewing all LES GR job descriptions to clarify roles and responsibilities, (2) engaging in a review of all activities with staff to eliminate permanently all those of lower value which are not consistent with key priorities, and (3) establishing a quarterly review mechanism for all activities under the Public Diplomacy Steering Committee (membership Committee on Mission Management (CMM)) to ensure an even workload where possible.
1.1.11 Relocations in summer of 2006 were successfully completed - Mission did not encounter any major difficulties.
1.1.12 Course took place for all LES supervisors on December 13, 2006.
1.1.13 Noted and agreed. Mission will closely review future staffing actions to comply.
1.1.14 Mission fully supports this recommendation - Mission will request that future nominations by HQ include appropriate language training considerations.
1.1.15 Noted. All program staff have been advised that Belarusian visas should be current in order to react to emergency situations. All relevant Mission staff are working on obtaining long term multiple entry visas - this process involves sending passport to Minsk or by obtaining the multiple entry visa during subsequent visits to Minsk.
1.1.16 The Mission will ensure that only CBS staff travel to Belarus for official purposes. Mission will continue to monitor the situation and review policy as required.
2.1.1 The GR Program is led by a Canada-based Program Manager (FS-04), whose team includes four LE Officers. Staff are *** as a team under the *** leadership of the Program Manager (PM) and a *** HOM. The Program has successfully ensured coordination with other programs in the Mission through a wide array of public diplomacy activities. Overall, it is a well-run program, though some work is necessary in order to realign its activities with its stated strategic priorities and to adjust its organizational structure to improve division of responsibilities.
2.1.2 Canada's bilateral relationship with Poland has been increasing in importance since its designation as a "Pathfinder" country. The Mission's strategic objectives in Poland are thus to develop an effective bilateral partnership on international security issues, including political, military, and terrorism related matters, as well as to develop an enhanced Canadian profile, increased Canadian trade and investment, and advancement of North American interests in Poland. These objectives were stated in the Mission's country strategy, which was in draft at the time of the audit. The Program works well with other programs within the Mission in the development and delivery of these objectives, though its primary role is reporting on the bilateral relationship and other political matters.
2.1.3 The Program is also responsible for monitoring Canada's bilateral relationship with Belarus, the Mission's other country of accreditation. The Canadian Government generally has had a limited relationship with the country, therefore the Program's role is mainly one of reporting on events and new developments. The Program Manager visited the Belarus three times in the past year, reporting primarily on human rights and democratic issues such as the recent federal elections. Shortly after the audit field work, the Minister of Foreign Affairs released a statement indicating that the Canadian government would restrict its official relations with Belarusian authorities. This may further reduce the Mission's time spent managing this additional country of accreditation until conditions change.
2.2.1 For the current year, the Program used the relatively new Bilateral Relations (RGM) Country Strategy process to develop and document its strategic priorities, in conjunction with other programs within the Mission. The document is the product of a series of discussions with staff, Program Managers, and the HOM, that have enabled the Program to define key priorities and then translate them into a concrete action plan. Twice a year a "snapshot" report is prepared which details the planned activities and major bilateral issues on the horizon, including the related budget allocations where required. In addition to the forward planning aspect of the snapshot documents, a brief analysis of past initiatives is also included. These documents provide the Program with a good tool for strategic planning as well as evaluation of results achieved.
2.3.1 There has been a heavy emphasis on public diplomacy-related activities, especially since the arrival of the new HOM. Given that the HOM is in the early stages of his tenure, it is understandable that GR activities in the first several months will focus on developing the Mission's profile in the country. In addition to these type of activities encouraged by the HOM, the Mission takes advantage of a lot of opportunities as they arise, which also contribute to a heavy public diplomacy workload. Though many of these events are very successful, the efforts and resources needed to deliver these events often exceeds their benefit to the Mission. Events such as concerts for smaller artists, where the Program in essence acts as the artist's agent, generate a large amount of work that diverts staff efforts from the Program's other responsibilities (for example, reporting). Both the Country Strategy and HOM Mandate letter suggest that there should be more emphasis on the bilateral and regional political and security aspects of the relationship with Poland. In selecting public diplomacy activities to undertake, the Program needs to be more targeted and strategic in its approach, and be able to clearly demonstrate how activities contribute to the achievement of the Mission's overall strategic objectives.
2.3.2 The Program should consider shifting some resources away from public diplomacy events where there is not a clear link to the Mission's strategic objectives, or the benefit of an event is outweighed by the time and energy needed to undertake it.
2.3.2 The Mission is establishing a quarterly review mechanism for all activities under the Public Diplomacy Steering Committee to ensure an even workload where possible. The new Program Manager is developing a quarterly work plan for the Section, including activities, output and outcome based on the Mission country strategy. The LE-09 Political Officer job description is being reoriented to focus primarily on political and reporting tasks.
2.4.1 In 2005, the Program produced 46 political reports on subjects ranging from the recent elections in Poland to the general political situation in the country. The majority of these reports (42 of 46) were generated by the LE-09 Political Officer, while the PM produced only four. The heavy focus on public diplomacy activities has been cited as one of the contributing factors to the *** by the PM. Reducing the public diplomacy focus where appropriate within the Program should allow for a greater reporting capacity, especially on the part of the ***. In addition, in order to have a clear framework of the reporting priorities for the Mission, the Program should work with HQ to finalize a reporting contract (currently in draft) as soon as possible that takes into consideration the medium-to-long term policy interests mentioned in the country strategy and HOM mandate letter.
2.4.2 The Mission, in conjunction with RGM, should finalize a reporting contract.
2.4.3 More resources should be shifted, when appropriate, to reporting and other activities related to the achievement of the Mission's strategic objectives.
2.4.2 This has been completed - the revised agreement was sent to HQ on December 11, 2006.
2.4.3 The allocation of resources within the GR section will be reviewed, and monitored, according to priorities set in the new planning documents mentioned in 2.3.2, including the reporting contract and country strategy.
2.4.4 The staff in the Program work *** together and have ***, despite a hectic workload. However, there seems to be some confusion as to which staff member is responsible for certain tasks. The job titles do not clearly delineate the difference between positions (there is Political and Media Relations Officer (LE-09), Cultural/Academic Officer (LE-08), Public Diplomacy Officer (LE-07), and Public Affairs Officer (LE-06)). Similarly, there is an overlap between the out of date job descriptions and actual duties for some of the staff. The structure is also very different than in other Missions, where LES positions have traditionally been only at two levels; Officers (LE-09) and Assistants (LE-05). It is important to have positions at other levels for developmental purposes and career progression; however, in Warsaw's case, there may not be sufficient differentiation among job duties and responsibilities and this needs to be examined.
2.4.5 There have not been major ramifications from this lack of clarity thus far, mainly attributable to the good working relationship among staff in the program. There is, however, some uncertainty over reporting relationships, and division of duties is not always optimal. For example, the LE-09 has had to handle logistics at times, a duty generally more appropriate for the LE-06 level. Furthermore, as staff change and duties evolve, classification grievances could arise. In order to avoid this type of problem in the future, and to improve client services to the rest of the Mission, the Program should ensure all job descriptions are appropriate and up-to-date.
2.4.6 The Program should critically examine all activities currently performed, consolidating activities within positions where appropriate, and keep only those duties that aid in achieving the strategic objectives of the Mission. Reporting relationships should be examined as well to ensure operational effectiveness. To this end, the Program should formalize the structure that is notionally in place currently; the LE-09 would be primarily responsible for political activities and reporting, the LE-08 for cultural/academic affairs, the LE-07 for media relations, and the LE-06 as the program assistant and management of smaller projects. The Mission should also consider contracting outside firms to assist in the organization of specific events allowing Program staff to focus their expertise on the substance, planning, and management of events rather than the administrative details.
2.4.7 Hospitality funds have been allocated to the PM and LE-09 Officer. The LE-09 Political Officer ***. The Program should consider allocating funds to other Officers to be used strategically to build networks and contacts outside the Mission.
2.4.8 The Program should clarify and update job titles, job descriptions, and reporting relationships. Changes in job packages to better distribute responsibilities should be considered by the new PM, in collaboration with the Locally-engaged (LE) Officers.
2.4.9 LE Officers should be given hospitality allowances and encouraged to engage in targeted hospitality events to build their network of contacts.
2.4.8 The new Program Manager is completing the review of all LES job descriptions as recommended. These are expected to be finalized by January 2007.
2.4.9 The Program Manager is setting networking objectives for the LE Officers. They will receive hospitality allowances in the new fiscal year.
3.1.1 The resident Commercial Program in Warsaw is responsible for international business development in Poland, the Ukraine, and Belarus. The Commercial Program Manager manages the IBD Program for the Ukraine from Warsaw and visits Kyiv quarterly. Officers make demarches in Belarus, however this market is challenging to access for Locally-engaged (LES) Polish officers who neither have diplomatic accreditation to the country, nor its associated immunities and protections.
3.1.2 The Polish market is growing - Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expanded by 5.4% in 2004, the Warsaw Stock Exchange is reaching record highs, banks are benefiting from a credit boom and wages and inflation remain low. However, Poland's economy is continuously challenged by the highest unemployment rate in the European Union (EU) at 18.5%, a complex bureaucracy, perceived corruption and poor infrastructure. Canadian investment in Poland is estimated to be approximately $800 million. Ongoing negotiations between Poland and the EU for a Trade and Investment Enhancement Agreement (TIEA) are aimed at strengthening Canada's relationship with EU countries in the fields of investment, trade facilitation and regulatory cooperation. Analysts indicate that the current ruling government - a coalition of centre-right parties with nationalist business tendencies - could lead to divided opinions on lowering the budget deficit and the extent of privatization initiatives within the country.
3.1.3 Priority sectors for the IBD Program in Poland are the environment, agriculture, ICT (Polish information and communications technology industry), energy, infrastructure, transportation and construction. The Program also has some focus allocated to mining, pulp & paper, shipbuilding, plastics, science and technology, healthcare and pharmaceutical products, geomatics, and capital projects.
3.1.4 The Program is well-resourced; delivered by one CBS Senior Trade Commissioner (EX-01), one CBS Trade Commissioner (FS-02), three LES Trade Commissioners (LE-09), and three Program Assistants (1 x LE-06 and 2 x LE-05). In addition, the Program includes representatives from Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) - a Trade Commissioner for the Clean Energy Technologies and Climate Change Investment Program (LE-09) and an Assistant (LE-05); and Export Development Canada (EDC) Regional Manager and Assistant (LE-05). The NRCan positions report administratively and functionally to Commercial Program Manager while the EDC positions are co-located within the Mission but do not directly report to the Head of the Commercial Program.
3.1.5 For fiscal year 2005/06, the IBD Program budget was $81,500, of which $49,500 was allocated to the Client Service Fund (CSF), $22,000 to travel, and $10,000 to hospitality. The Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and Export Development Corporation (EDC) officers operate under budgets from their organizations.
3.2.1 The CPM is ***. Communication is perceived to be frequent and open, and staff are able to obtain feedback and advice as required. There is a *** approach with the CPM leading by example. The staff *** support he provides for outcalls, particularly when a "high level"; i.e. strong Canadian presence, is required. Overall program management is *** support of the HOM who, since his arrival, has become actively involved in the Program.
3.2.2 There are defined reporting relationships within the Program, and direction to staff is clear. *** and well aware of the section's mandate and knowledgeable of their individual files. The team is *** to Canada's commercial development goals in the region.
3.2.3 The Commercial Counsellor employs a consultative, integrated approach to planning and emphasizes a coordinated, whole-of government strategy for the region. The representatives from partner-departments and the General Relations Program work closely with the Commercial Program at the strategic and operational levels. The team plans and executes its activities primarily within Poland, however there is some emphasis on the other areas of accreditation, the Ukraine and Belarus. When appropriate, the Mission holds joint events with other Canadian missions in the wider-European region.
3.2.4 The Program prepares an annual, detailed IBD Planning and Reporting document which is the foundation of the Program strategy. Program priorities are adjusted to reflect changes in the operating environment affecting the Program's priority sectors. Specific tasks are adjusted regularly through weekly staff meetings and staff retreats. Although minutes are not kept at every staff meeting, they are taken regularly enough and demonstrate the evolution and execution of priorities and work plans.
3.2.5 The Head of Mission has shown strong commitment to the IBD Program, demonstrated through support of existing plans and activities, extensive personal involvement in Canada Trade Days, and specific outcalls. The HOM has encouraged an enhanced focus on linking trade, public diplomacy, education, outreach and consular activities. The ***, has, in the opinion of IBD staff and external stakeholders, served to enhance Canada's profile in the region, particularly in Poland.
3.2.6 Since 2003, the team has organized eight Canada Trade Days, with a ninth planned for Spring 2006. Based on attendee feedback and media attention, these events are well-regarded by regional business communities. In addition to the focus on existing and emerging markets of the Program's target sectors, Canada Trade Days now place greater emphasis on education, consular issues and public diplomacy. The Audit Team noted that while the Mission's expansion of Canada Trade Day agendas to incorporate greater focus on these areas is important to the Mission's whole-of-government approach, the focus on trade activities should remain the primary objective of the events.
3.2.7 The Program's record archive should include minutes taken at all staff meetings. Records of decisions taken, factors affecting the Program, adjustments to the strategic plan and allocation of responsibilities should be duly noted in the minutes.
3.2.8 The Mission should monitor the Canada Trade Days (content, attendees, response, results, outcomes) to ensure that the objectives and intended results of the IBD Program remain the primary focus of these events.
3.2.7 The Commercial Section has formally implemented the taking of minutes at its weekly staff meetings. Minutes are drafted, approved by consensus, distributed to stakeholders and saved in Infobank.
3.2.8 The Program will continue to leverage the use of Canada Trade Days to promote and advance our commercial objectives by focussing our efforts for these events on directly supporting the participating Canadian companies including through targeted follow-up visits to the regions to maximize gains. We will measure our results through the continued use of previously developed feedback questionnaires to Canadian participating companies and improve and complement these with further monitoring tools including a structured follow-up with the companies in the region after the event.
3.3.1 The Commercial Counsellor has developed a procedure manual to guide all aspects of IBD program management. The manual, which is cross-referenced to the audit guide for the IBD Program, is comprehensive and includes job descriptions, program objectives and criteria, operational processes, and "how to" templates for the development of program-related events. Reports of events, outcomes of retreats, etc. are all retained and contribute to the overall governance of the Program.
3.3.2 Time is well managed. All staff demonstrate a *** knowledge of the country, the region, industries integral to the region and emerging markets within their portfolios. The unit is well supported by *** administration within the Section in particular, and the Mission in general.
3.3.3 Although there are no formal work plans for commercial officers, officers have a solid understanding of their objectives and obligations. The IBD Business Planning and Reporting document details the current business environment in Poland, the rationale for emphasis on the Mission's priority sectors, key results for these sectors and specific initiatives linked to each priority sector. As a result of the involvement of all staff in program planning, officers have a clear understanding of their priorities, expected results and performance criteria. All job descriptions have been updated since the CPM's arrival in 2003. Performance appraisals are done on an annual basis and key objectives are outlined through the PMP process.
3.3.4 Outreach calls and trade events have been extensive. Documents indicate that in 2005, the Mission conducted 368 outreach calls; 296 of which were corporate and 72 of which were primarily to government officials in Poland and Belarus. Fourteen events were organized, including two Canada Trade Days (attracting approximately 300 Polish participants and over 30 Canadian companies/organizations), as well as sector-specific events, staff retreats and training events.
3.3.5 The Program works effectively with the Export Development Canada and Natural Resources Canada offices located within the Mission. The NRCan Officer reports administratively to the Commercial Counsellor. Officers from partner-departments are included in all staff meetings, planning sessions and retreats, and are fully consulted for contribution to the Section's Trade Days. At the time of the audit, the NRCan position (Clean Energy Technologies Office) was to sunset at the end of the 2005/06 fiscal year, however NRCan provided bridge funding for the position until September 2006. The NRCan Program is currently strongly integrated into the Commercial Program and is perceived to be highly beneficial for the Section and the Mission, however its future is dependent upon NRCan's decision to continue funding the position.
3.3.6 Each staff member is allocated a hospitality budget which is perceived to be generally sufficient to support activities, however staff noted that hospitality budgets have not been increased "in many years" and current amounts allow approximately 2.25 hospitality events per month. The majority of staff indicated that they would have the time and inclination to conduct more hospitality events if their budgets permitted. However, not all staff have been actively using hospitality funds, which may impact upon their ability to develop efficient networks. The Commercial Program Manager should help officers who have not been able to use their allocations fully to develop a hospitality strategy that is coordinated with an outcall strategy.
3.3.7 A review of hospitality files (diaries, claims and quarterly reports) for each officer in the section revealed that hospitality files, although generally complete, need to be better organized to show linkages between events and the Program's objectives, and to ensure that original receipts are centrally filed in the Finance Section, with copies filed within the Commercial Section.
3.3.8 The Program should develop individual work plans for each priority sector/sub-sector that indicate objectives in the sector, activities and expected results.
3.3.9 The Program should include an outreach/outcall strategy and hospitality plan as part of each sector/sub-sector strategy that identifies why contacts are being targeted and how they link to the objectives. This will also help Officers who have not been able to use their hospitality allocations fully.
3.3.10 The Program should determine whether existing hospitality budgets for Officers are sufficient in light of the Section's outcall strategy.
3.3.11 The Program Manager should ensure that hospitality diary forms are fully completed so they clearly indicate the link to IBD Program strategic objectives, leads or initiatives being advanced, and the evaluation and potential follow-up resulting from the event.
3.3.12 The Program should ensure that original documents are centrally filed within the Finance Section, and that copies are filed within the Commercial Section.
3.3.13 If NRCan decides to fully terminate funding for its position in Warsaw, the Mission and Headquarters should assess the added value and continued feasibility of this position and jointly determine whether it could be funded by DFAIT Headquarters.
3.3.8 The new Program Manager and officers are developing and agreeing on individual work plans for each priority sector that indicate objectives, activities and expected results using the Business Plan and Performance Management Program as tools. These work plans will build on models recently suggested to staff during the Global Learning Initiative 2 training course. The sector strategies will be completed before the next IBD planning and fiscal year (2007-2008).
3.3.9 The Program Manager is including the strategic use of hospitality in discussing and agreeing with officers on individual work plans for priority sectors. Officers have already used the occasion of the arrival of a new Program Manager to organize a series of hospitality events targeting key local contacts in priority sectors.
3.3.10 The Program Manager will monitor the use of hospitality vis-a-vis strategic objectives to determine if existing budgets for officers are sufficient.
3.3.11 The Program Manager is systematically ensuring that hospitality diary forms for each officers are fully completed as required.
3.3.12 Completed original hospitality diaries have been transmitted to the Finance Section for filing with copies kept in the Commercial Section.
3.3.13 The Mission will be liaising closely with NRCan to determine if funding for the existing positions will be continued and, in case of a negative decision, will take action as appropriate with DFAIT Headquarters to determine whether funding can be identified to enable a continuity of the positions.
4.1.1 The Consular Program is well managed under the general direction of the Management and Consular Officer (MCO) and the daily supervision of the Deputy Management and Consular Officer (DMCO). Ongoing Consular, Passport and Citizenship operations are carried out by the Consular Officer (LE-09) and two Consular Assistants (LE-06). The Mission is also responsible for Belarus, although there is no Canadian presence in that country, and very few clients (no Canadians are currently registered with the Mission). There are no Honorary Consuls in Poland, but an active warden system is in place consisting of 20 wardens and 419 Canadian registrants. The Consular Section also acts as the Mission's enquiries center, and responses are provided in English, French, Polish and Russian (for Belarus, primarily).
4.1.2 Dual citizenship issues, centered on passport services, dominate operating conditions. Canadian citizens no longer need a Polish visa for short visits, but Polish dual citizens must enter Poland using a Polish passport. On return to Canada however, they require a Canadian passport to board a flight and to land in Canada. Many dual citizens either do not travel with a Canadian passport, or arrive in Poland with expired Polish passports.
4.1.3 The Mission was operating under the new Mission Passport Print Solution (MPPS) at the time if the audit, having gone live on February 16, 2006. Only one Temporary Passport had been issued between that date and the time of the audit. MPPS is working well, with only the quality of locally-produced passport photographs emerging as an issue. Clients and local photographers are being urged to adhere to the photo standard. Passports arrive from Canada within five days, well within the 15-day service standard. Clients are contacted and informed that their passports are available earlier than initially advised. While the Consular Officer, an LES, can approve passport applications (her MPPS account has this permission) she does not do so. Either the MCO or DMCO approves applications after having viewed original documentation. Old and new (Temporary) passport stocks were reconciled, and security features were good.
4.1.4 During interviews, a question was raised concerning how MPPS detected errors in processing applications in Canada. The Mission had ***? In the Mission's view, knowledge of this type would give them a better insight into fine-tuning their processes and focusing control measures. During debriefing these concerns and the case file number were passed on to Passport Canada (PPTC).
4.1.5 During the two-day MPPS training in Warsaw on February 14 & 15, 2006, the Mission was supplied with names of responsible PPTC contact persons for the three processing areas; Procedures & Directives, Data Quality Analysis, and Technical Support. The Mission does not have one designated passport "desk officer". Access to the three named PPTC officers worked well until one of them went on leave without being replaced, and the Mission could not reach a person who could discuss a specific problem. Having ready access to PPTC contact officers is especially important to missions, given the limited time-overlap with Canada. The contact list on the PPTC website covered only the Official Travel Division in Hull. There should be a directory of PPTC responsible contact officers readily available for missions which clearly indicates mission and subject matter responsibilities.
4.1.6 Although the Mission website contained a notice on the opening page that the new passport system was in effect, the old passport system was described in the detailed passport part of the Consular page.
Recommendations for PPTC - Foreign Operations Division
4.1.7 Clarify the operation of the MPPS passport *** processes in Canada for the guidance of missions.
4.1.8 Issue a directory of PPTC responsible contact officers, clearly indicating mission and subject matter responsibilities.
4.1.7 Passport Canada distributed an outline of the *** processes for electronic passport files originating in missions in January and February 2006. This process was also a topic discussed during the PPTC teleconferences offered to all missions just prior to conversion to MPPS. The Foreign Operations Division will request, by close of business January 29, 2007 that this information be posted in the passport section of the DFAIT Intranet site.
4.1.8 Passport Canada contact lists for Regional Offices, Official Travel Section and Security Bureau are posted on the DFAIT Intranet site The lists are updated regularly, most recently on December 1, 2006.
4.1.9 Update the Mission's website with the details of the new passport system.
4.1.9 This has been completed.
4.1.10 The Consular office where the two Consular Assistants worked was crowded, poorly laid out, and had insufficient and awkward working spaces. File cabinets containing photocopies of all passport applications and documentation divided the room, and cabinets and equipment belonging to the former passport production system were still in place in the room. Because of cold drafts and poor ergonomics in the vicinity of the reception windows, the Assistants' workstations were located at the back of the room, and at the farthest distance from the reception windows. When working at their desks there was no line of sight to the main reception window owing to the location of the file cabinets.
4.1.11 The Consular office workspace should be re-organized and re-laid out, possibly in a two-stage process, as follows:
4.1.12 Improve the functionality of the Consular office by removing un-needed items, and by providing additional ergonomic working space together with all necessary upgraded equipment and related connections.
4.1.12 The Consular office has been reconfigured. Excess cabinets have been moved into another room. Space is now more ergonomically friendly and functional.
4.1.13 The difficulty of providing emergency Consular services to distressed Canadians in Belarus was discussed with the MCO, DMCO and the Consular Officer. Clients without documentation in Belarus cannot leave the country either to enter Poland to be serviced by the Mission or to return to Canada. There being no Canadian presence in Belarus, the MCO or another Warsaw (Canada-based) CB Officer would have to travel to Belarus to provide the necessary services (e.g. Emergency Passport) in person. Both the American and British Embassies in Minsk had previously indicated that they would be prepared to assist with a Canadian in distress.
4.1.14 Recently, just such a case occurred a journalist was arrested in Minsk and jailed for 15 days following demonstrations related to the presidential elections in Belarus. ***, followed by the Warsaw Political officer (who already had a valid Belarus visa), and then finally by the MCO, when his Belarus visa was issued. The journalist was released and was allowed to return home . *** In addition, a sufficient number of Warsaw CBS should ensure that they have long term multiple entry visas for Belarus. Accordingly, there is now a plan in place to provide emergency services to Canadians in Belarus.
5.1.1 The Program is *** managed by an *** MCO who displays *** within the Program and for the Mission as a whole. Staff are ***. There are well established processes and control structures and up-to-date files. Staff indicated that the Program is providing good services. Coaching is being provided by the MCO to the DMCO who is being exposed to a wide variety of experiences in preparation for his future assignments.
5.1.2 The Mission has established a Post Operational Review Committee which reports to Mission management yearly. This Committee was initially created to review and up-date policies and procedures following the move to the new Chancery. With the previous absence of an LES Committee, this has also been used by staff, including CBS, as a means of raising issues.
5.1.3 Communications within the Program are generally good. Weekly meetings are held with the MCO, DMCO and senior LES. However, within certain groups there is a need to augment communications as it was noted that at times there is ***. Regular meetings of the MCO with non-office staff should be instituted to ensure that staff are up-to-date and that roles and responsibilities are clear. As part of the Mission-wide training plan (recommended in paragraph 5.2.9) supervisory skills courses could be considered to ensure that staff have an opportunity to improve their management techniques.
5.1.4 The MCO should establish regular meetings with the non-office staff.
5.1.4 Monthly meetings between MCO and non-office staff will be held beginning in December 2006. Supervisors are also encouraged to discuss issues which directly affect non-office staff at regular weekly meetings.
5.1.5 The Beaver Club located within the Chancery property is used for both social activities for the CBS and their families and to host business events. There is an active Executive Committee which runs the Club. LES are also welcome and many participate in Club events. The Club has proven to be a valuable resource for the Mission in promoting team spirit. There is a need to tighten controls over the Club's inventory. Stock counts are currently not being done and the stock is located in various locations throughout the Chancery.
5.1.6 Stock counts should be done on a regular basis.
5.1.7 Inventories should be consolidated and securely stored.
5.1.6 A new Beaver Club Executive Committee has been established as of November 2, 2006. Stock has been reconciled and will be monitored on a regular basis.
5.1.7 Noted. Mission Administration has arranged for lockable storage facilities for inventoried stock storage. Consolidation of all Beaver Club stock will be completed in January 2007.
5.2.1 The Human Resources function is overseen by the MCO with tasks shared by a number of individuals, following the conversion of the LES HR position to a Finance position. The Administration Assistant/Secretary (LE-05) will be *** shortly and at that time the Mission plans to undertake a review of roles and responsibilities in order to centralize HR duties and restructure that position's job description.
5.2.2 The Performance Management Program (PMP) was rolled out at the Mission and staff will be doing their first reviews at the end of March 2006. The Mission is in the process of re-organizing personnel files to ensure both position and employee files are up-to-date. While most position descriptions have been reviewed and signed by both the supervisor and the employee, there are still a few outstanding. As a best practice, it is recommended that managers review position descriptions with employees when reviewing the PMP, and that both the manager and employee sign the position description after this review. Letters of Offer, currently being signed by the MCO, should be signed by the HOM.
5.2.3 A new LES Committee was elected in November 2005 and had their initial meeting just prior to the Audit Team's visit. While communication between Mission management and the LES staff complement is good overall, it is recommended that a schedule of regular meetings be formalized, with agendas established in advance and minutes taken at each meeting and distributed to all staff.
5.2.4 In order to protect employees and prevent potential conflict of interest situations in the workplace, the Mission should be vigilant in not employing relatives in the same section or in positions where responsibilities overlap. It should be emphasized to all employees that potential conflict of interest situations are to be reported to Mission management.
5.2.5 The MCO is the training coordinator for the Mission. Mission programs are making use of training opportunities that are available locally and through HQ, but there is no formal, Mission-wide training plan linked to Mission objectives. A Mission-wide training plan would allow for co-ordination of training efforts and assist in prioritizing training needs and identifying funding requirements.
5.2.6 Position descriptions should be regularly updated as duties change and reviewed as a part of the PMP process.
5.2.7 The HOM should sign all letters of offer.
5.2.8 A schedule of regular meetings should be formalized between the LES Committee and management, with agendas established in advance and minutes kept and distributed to all staff.
5.2.9 A formal Mission-wide annual training plan should be developed.
5.2.6 All programs have been requested to review and update job descriptions as required. Accounting staff and maintenance staff job descriptions have been finalized in December 2006. Property/Materiel, Citizenship and Immigration (CIC), and GR job descriptions are currently being reviewed and should be completed by early January 2007. All Commercial Program job descriptions were updated in early 2006.
5.2.7 Noted. Mission will comply.
5.2.8 The LES Committee (LESC) and HOM meet every six months unless issues warrant earlier meetings. HOM last met with LESC in November 2006. MCO and DMCO meet with LESC on a quarterly basis unless issues warrant earlier meetings. Agendas for all meetings are prepared in advance.
5.2.9 Noted and agreed. Mission will review this issue in January 2007. Staff have been encouraged to list training requirements in their annual PMP assessments.
5.3.1 The Physical Resources portfolio is efficiently run, under the general direction of the MCO, by the LES Property/Materiel Manager (LE-08) and by the DMCO who supervises the Dispatcher (drivers & vehicles). The Property/Materiel Manager is supported by a Property/Materiel Clerk (LE-06), a Materiel Assistant/Cleaner (LE-04), and two cleaners, and three maintenance staff headed by a Senior Tradesman.
5.3.2 The Chancery is Crown-owned and was purpose-built on the site of the original 1960s Chancery. The project, which began with the demolition of the previous Chancery in August 2000, was finished in October 2001. Staff moved into the facility the same month after an 18-month stay in swing space. The Official Residence is Crown-leased from the Polish Government. There is a good mix of well maintained Crown-owned and Crown-leased Staff Quarters (SQs), and an active program is in place to keep the SQ profile in tune with the needs of the Mission. Two Crown-owned SQs and one Crown-leased SQ are due to be replaced in the near future.
5.3.3 During the pre-tour briefings, the Physical Resources Bureau (SRD) raised the building condition problems being experienced by the approximately four-year-old Chancery. The most significant of these figure prominently in the current year Property Maintenance and Operations Section (SRSF) Work plan, and others are identified in the Building Condition Report (BCR) that was commissioned by SRSF (a Work plan project) six years before it would normally be due. The main problems include: marble exterior wall cladding that is breaking off and creating a safety risk; inability to regulate interior office temperature due to a variety of causes, e.g. poor insulation and construction (sun heat gain in all seasons, and heat loss in winter); and water penetration caused by condensation (melting frost) and incorrect drainage on entrance terraces and roof canopies. The Audit Team reviewed these and other problems during a tour of the building accompanied by the Property/Materiel Manager and the Senior Tradesman.
5.3.4 Viewed from a distance the building looks impressive. According to the BCR, "It is a well proportioned and strikingly attractive building presenting itself well in the surrounding area". Maintaining it and working in it is another story. During the recent period of exceptionally cold weather problems surfaced with two heaters that had incorrect connections. They didn't work the first time they were required to function - easily fixed, but indicative. During interviews, all staff complained of the inability to control temperature. This is important in a climate that is roughly comparable to that of Ottawa, but usually without some of Ottawa's more extreme temperatures. Numerous problems have arisen with the HVAC system, which was commissioned in 2005, four years after the building was commissioned. Until 2005, neither air-conditioning nor ventilation were functioning adequately. Problems remain with faulty VAV (Variable Air Volume) boxes, for controlling air distribution and climate zones, and thermostats. Air leakage around the three glass entrance doorways creates cold drafts that penetrate the speaking grills of the Consular, Immigration and Chancery reception windows. The recent Post Operations Review Committee Report contained two recommendations to the CMM relating to Physical Resources: i.e. improve ventilation and increase storage space (there is no off-site storage).
5.3.5 Questions were raised in discussion regarding why a virtually new building became so difficult to maintain. Conclusions included the notion that the work was not done properly in the first place. The actual construction and the move into the rebuilt Chancery were done reportedly on time and under budget, yet a BCR was required after only four years, when the normal period for a BCR is 10 years. Following a bureau investigation, it was determined that a recourse action against the original construction company was not feasible. SRSF and the Mission are clearly and forthrightly addressing the building's problems, but it appears that such effort should not have been necessary either at all, or at least at this stage of the building's life. The Mission provided a list of the six Fit up and Renovations Services (SRPA) Project Managers involved in the Warsaw Chancery Expansion Project from 1996 to 2001.
5.3.6 In concert with the Mission, proceed with an agreed and funded plan to address the problems raised in the Building Condition Report and other related building problems.
5.3.6 The SRD bureau is currently implementing the necessary projects to address the problems identified in the BCR.
5.3.7 The MCO has developed a work order system based in Outlook and making use of the Task Manager and two custom off the shelf software templates. He implemented this system in his previous missions and other missions have adopted it as well. During debriefing with SRD this system was raised as an example of a best practice that could be considered for use by other missions of a similar size. The Department does not have a recommended or promulgated system or systems in place for missions to use in the management of their property, maintenance and materiel operations. In a number of missions to date the "Warsaw system" has filled a gap in the departmental need for an effective work order system.
5.3.8 In response, SRD referred to the work order system that had been developed within the Bureau, but had not been rolled out to missions. Reference was also made to the working group within the Strategy and Services Bureau (RSD) that was considering a departmental approach to the mission work order situation (as well as to other mission administrative tools). The RSD working group met on April 13, 2006, and decided to consider four work order systems, three already developed and in use in missions (including Warsaw's system), and the Headquarters SRD system, which is in the process of being field-tested in a few missions. The Audit Team has already recommended in another mission Audit report that Strategy and Services Bureau (RSD) of the Bilateral Relations Branch should co-ordinate, develop, facilitate and refine the various aspects of a standard tool kit for mission administrative operations, including physical resources work order systems.
5.3.9 In the Mission, the use of the work order system needs to be extended to capture two types of work that are not being recorded. The first is verbal requests that are actioned outside the system, and the second is self-actioned or self-identified work done by the property and maintenance staff that is not retroactively recorded in the system. Regarding verbal or hand-written work orders, staff always have the option of insisting that the originator enter the request in the system, but this doesn't always happen. Together with the self-actioned work, all work initially actioned outside the system should be retroactively entered, assigned and cleared in the normal manner. In so doing, a complete track record of all tasks is established and identified by subject matter, initiator and action taken.
5.3.10 Greater use could be made of the system's report-generating capabilities. At the very least an annual task report for each property should be generated and reviewed for emerging trends. Reports by other selected criteria could also be set up and monitored. The work order system's report generating capabilities should be used to the extent possible for management information purposes.
5.3.11 All work not originally initiated by a normal work request should, nevertheless, be entered into the work order system.
5.3.12 Work order system reports should be generated regularly for use in trend analysis, work planning and record keeping purposes.
5.3.11 Mission maintenance staff have been advised that all verbal work order requests received must be entered into the Service Order Request System at the employee's earliest convenience. All clients have been advised of this procedure and have been requested to cooperate within these guidelines.
5.3.12 Agreed. Reports will be run on a monthly basis and discussed with the Property and Materiel Management Materiel Officer.
5.3.13 During the last SRSF visit, the need for remote monitoring of Warsaw's Building Management System (BMS) was identified. At present, problems with the building's technical infrastructure that occur after working hours are not apparent until the next working day. This could mean three days if there was a problem at the beginning of a long weekend. The maintenance staff, particularly ***, are the only Mission staff with the experience and expertise to interpret the BMS data. Given a remote monitoring capability, a member of the maintenance staff could monitor the BMS during quiet hours, and, if alerted by the monitor to a situation considered urgent, could ask for escort into the building to deal with the problem. A remote monitoring capability would be useful for all Crown-owned buildings with complex technical infrastructure and the accompanying BMS data array.
5.3.14 The feasability of implementing remote monitoring capability for Crown owned building management systems should be determined and this capability should be adopted for use in missions where warranted.
5.3.14 SRD has investigated the feasibility of a remote monitoring system for the Building Management System and will implement in 2007.
5.3.15 The Property/Materiel Clerk raised the question of using a bar code reading system for use in inventory management and control. The Audit Team has seen off-the-shelf reading systems in use in other missions. The Property/Materiel Clerk currently uses spreadsheets of his own design to manage the distribution accounts.
5.3.16 While both SRD and the RSD working group on administrative tools are considering the development of inventory management systems for use in missions, a bar code reading system could be approved for mission use now, and then worked into the larger inventory management system or systems when they are subsequently developed.
5.3.17 Identify or develop a bar code reading system for use in missions as part of the inventory management process.
5.3.17 Material and Contracting Services (SRBM) and the International and Domestic Financial Management and Contract Service (SMF) are currently investigating the possibilities of using the inventory tracking program of the Material Management Module of IMS which would have the capability of producing bar codes. Management approval will be required to initiate a pilot project which we hope to start in spring 2007.
5.4.1 The MCO oversees the Finance function with the DMCO responsible for its day-to-day management. Both play an active role. They are *** assisted by the Senior Financial Officer (LE-07), the Accountant (LE-06) and the Assistant Accountant (LE-05), ***.
5.4.2 Appropriate processes and controls are in place as evidenced by:
5.4.3 This Mission, as with others, has been experiencing difficulties with the IMS Materiel Management (MM) Module particularly such functions as making multiple payments and accommodating exchange rate fluctuations. While staff indicated that HQ has been helpful in resolving problems, as noted in another audit report, there is a need for HQ to provide feedback to Missions on the reason for the MM problems and the correct method for processing transactions to avoid repeating incorrect procedures.
5.4.4 While processes and procedures within the Program are considered good, improvements can be made by implementing the following recommendations:
5.4.5 The Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) Program Manager should be reviewing and signing the monthly POS+/IMS reconciliation, along with the MCO.
5.4.6 The MCO should review the Asset and Liability report monthly.
5.4.7 The Mission needs to find centralized storage for Hospitality files. The Mission may wish to explore locating the files in the Finance Section as other missions do.
5.4.8 The Contract Review Board (CRB) is virtual and should meet occasionally as a whole to discuss issues.
5.4.9 While the Finance Section provides Program Managers with reports on an ad hoc basis, these reports should be distributed on a regular basis.
5.4.5 Agreed. This will be done beginning with November 2006 monthly accounts reconciliation.
5.4.6 Agreed. This will be done beginning with November 2006 monthly accounts reconciliation.
5.4.7 A cabinet has been installed in the office of the MCO. All dormant hospitality files will be centrally stored accordingly.
5.4.8 The CRB meets on a quarterly basis or earlier as issues require. Minor issues which can be addressed electronically are dealt with accordingly.
5.4.9 Travel and Hospitality reports are now provided to all programs on a monthly basis.
5.5.1 Information Management and Information Technology operations are carried out under the overall direction of the MCO by the Mission's FSITP (CS-02) and a LESITP (LE-08). The FSITP will be returning to Canada to undertake the ESMAIT training course. His replacement will be fully ESMAIT trained.
5.5.2 The Mission supports Copenhagen for Systems Administration services. At present both Warsaw and Copenhagen receive technical (EL) services from London. When the new FSITP arrives, Copenhagen will be fully serviced from Warsaw.
5.5.3 All Mission staff report that *** services are received from the IT team. All communications and systems administration services are well maintained. The current FSITP serves as acting Regional Manager (RM) whenever the RM in London is on leave.
5.5.4 The IT section provides support to the Mission's work order system, and operates the photo identification card system. All mission staff wear a photo ID card.