An inspection of the General Relations (GR), International Business Development (IBD), Consular and Administration Programs was conducted in Kuala Lumpur from April 30 to May 7, 2008. The Mission was last audited in June 1999. The High Commission in Kuala Lumpur is a medium sized mission with 14 Canada-based staff (CBS) and 32.5 Locally-engaged staff (LES). The Mission is running *** with a good committee structure and strong communications.
GR plans and activities are clearly linked to strategic objectives, however more detailed individual workplans need to be developed. When warranted, the Program uses a regional approach to developing projects and accessing funding. The Section has been redirecting its public affairs efforts from public diplomacy towards more advocacy focussed initiatives. Designations such as Mission Security Officer (MSO) should be indicated on the Posting Confirmation Form so that staff are able to obtain the associated training prior to arrival at the Mission.
The International Business Development Program is focussed, with clear objectives, well-defined activities and established performance indicators. The new Senior Trade Commissioner (STC) has *** used a proactive and forward looking approach ***. By handling this situation directly, the Head of Mission (HOM) has provided the STC with the freedom to focus on rebuilding the Program ***.
The Consular Program takes a client service approach and the Deputy Management Consular Officer has developed a workplan for the Section to guide staff. Controls over passport entitlement and inventories are strong, with the *** involvement of the Management Consular Officers. Processes that need to be strengthened include a regular reconciliation of the seals inventory and the safeguarding of revenues.
Overall the Administration Program is functioning *** though more focus is needed in the Property function to ensure processes are communicated and followed. A long-term strategy for the leased Official Residence (OR), given the suspended OR construction project, needs to be developed. The Mission should review the Office Manager, Property Assistant and three drivers positions to ensure the proper level of responsibility and workload as there may be potential for the redeployment of one or two positions.
A total of 63 inspection recommendations are raised in the report; 58 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 63 recommendations, management has stated that 46 recommendations have been implemented. For each of the remaining 17 recommendations, management has indicated the initiatives in progress or the intended future action.
1.1.1 The High Commission in Kuala Lumpur is a medium sized mission with 14 Canada-based staff (CBS) and 32.5 Locally-engaged staff (LES). Partner departments at the Mission include Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Public Safety Canada and Export Development Canada (EDC).
1.1.2 Staffing changes in the summer of 2008 will include the transfer of the EDC unit to Singapore (the CBS Officer and LES Assistant positions), and the creation of a CBS Public Safety Canada position with the resulting elimination of the LES expatriate Public Safety Canada position.
1.1.3 The Mission is *** managed and programs are focussed on Country Strategy priorities. Staff indicated that internal communication is effective. The arrival of a new Head of Mission (HOM) in *** and the transformation process being implemented by the Department, will necessitate increased communication. The Mission should consider regular town-hall meetings for all staff to provide regular updates on changes occurring. Such meetings are also important opportunities to reinforce Mission priorities to all staff.
1.1.4 The Mission has a well-established committee structure in place. There is an all CBS meeting weekly with minutes taken and distributed. The Committee on Mission Management (CMM) meets monthly. As a best practice, CMM minutes or records of decision should be distributed to all staff to inform them of events, priorities and management decisions. A Contract Review Board (CRB) is in place as well as Classification, Housing, Occupational Health and Safety, Mission Crisis Management/Standing Task Force, and LES Committees. The Mission has identified Official Language and Training Coordinators and there is also a Post Advisory Committee on Education.
1.1.5 The LES Committee meets with management representatives (the Management and Consular Officer (MCO) and the International Business Development (IBD) Program Manager (PM)) upon request. As a best practice, there should be regularly scheduled meetings to ensure that both sides remain current on issues and concerns. The HOM should participate periodically. To ensure all groups of LES are informed and represented, the Committee should consider including a member of the Official Residence (OR) staff.
1.1.6 The Inspection Team met with the LES Committee, and as is the case with many other missions, their primary concern was the out-of-date LES Handbook and the need for a benefits review, primarily with regard to health benefits. The Mission has been informed that the next benefit review is scheduled for 2010. The Mission recently submitted a request to have two special leave days to the present allocation, as marker data indicated that other high commissions/embassies provide from two to five additional statutory holidays and are waiting for a determination from the Locally Engaged Staff Services Bureau (HLD).
1.1.7 Mission management should hold regular town-hall meetings with all staff.
1.1.8 CMM minutes or records of decision should be distributed to all staff, as appropriate.
1.1.9 Mission management, including the HOM periodically, should establish a schedule of regular meetings with the LES Committee.
1.1.10 The LES Committee should be encouraged to include a member of the OR staff as part of its representation.
1.1.7 The Mission shall endeavour to hold town-hall meetings with all staff on a quarterly basis. Meetings will be held more frequently as required. Implemented August 2008.
1.1.8 The Mission will enhance distribution of CMM minutes accordingly. Implemented August 2008.
1.1.9 The Mission will consult with the LES Committee to establish frequency of need for LES Committee meetings. HOM will attend if possible. Implemented August 2008.
1.1.10 The Butler at the OR will be invited to join the LES Committee to represent the OR staff. Implemented August 2008.
1.2.1 Within the HOM's Office are the AS-02 Executive Assistant and the LE-05 Social Assistant. This is a one CBS assistant post with all the challenges that entails; scheduling vacations, communications backup, etc. Tasking is such that the Executive Assistant is responsible for the registry, *** communications and classified mail and acts as recording secretary to the CBS and CMM meetings and the Social Assistant maintains the HOM's schedule and organizes hospitality events. As the two act as each other's back-up both must ensure that all contacts are recorded on the shared database. All staff have been reminded to copy both on requests and messages as required.
1.2.2 As the Social Assistant provides support to programs in organizing hospitality events, in order to clarify roles, responsibilities and timelines, it would be beneficial to develop a document outlining the process and procedures for review and approval of the CMM.
1.2.3 In discussions with the OR staff two issues were raised:
1.2.4 The Mission should create and distribute a reference document outlining the process regarding organizing hospitality events.
1.2.5 The Mission should re-verify with markers the pay structures for the butler and cook positions.
1.2.4 The Mission will task the HOM Social Assistant to create the required document for distribution to all program managers. In progress, to be completed September 2008.
1.2.5 Note that the last marker survey showed most marker OR staff are hired by the HOM and are not embassy employees. As such they are not on any incremental salary scale. This will again be looked into as part of the next benefit survey for non-office staff. In progress, to be completed December 2008.
2.1.1 Political and Public Affairs activities are currently delivered by an FS-03 Program Manager, an FS-01 Political/Public Affairs Officer (with an FS-02 incumbent), an LE-08 Public Affairs Officer, an LE-05 Program Assistant and an LE-05 Research Assistant (1/4 full-time equivalent position (FTE)). The majority of the Mission's economic reporting is covered by a regional economic officer located in Singapore who visits the Mission twice per year.
2.2.1 The Program is well aligned to the Country Strategy both in terms of reporting and public diplomacy activities. The Country Strategy outlines the Mission's priorities and cascades down to the team's Performance Management Plans (PMP). Following the completion of activities surrounding the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Canada and Malaysia last year, the Program intends to develop staff workplans to make the PMP objectives more concrete and measurable.
2.2.2 The PM holds weekly Program meetings with minutes now being taken. The team was found to be *** focussed on priorities. HQ indicated that reporting is *** on target. With the creation of the new Common Services Platform and the new division of mission budgets between common services and programs, the GR Program will need to review its projected needs for operational purposes in order to submit its budget requirements. Given the change in public diplomacy funding, the Mission will need to ensure that appropriate funding is allocated to the Program to fulfill its mandate.
2.2.3 The Program would benefit from a centralized approach to contact management, particularly in relation to public affairs. The Program Assistant could take the lead, with officers updating entries as needed.
2.2.3 The Program should develop work-plans for staff.
2.2.4 All Program contacts should be maintained centrally for access by all staff.
2.2.3 As discussed with the inspectors, this has been a GR initiative and we expect work plans for GR CBS and LES officers to be completed by August 1, 2008. Implemented August 2008.
2.2.4 CBS contact lists have been centrally maintained and updated for a couple of years, however the LES Officer only recently has begun to add her contacts to the central list and should be able to complete this process by August 1, 2008. Implemented August 2008.
2.3.1 While there is collaboration between programs, GR staff highlighted a need to develop a strategy to promote public affairs to internal clients so that it can become an integrated part of their planning activities. This could be achieved by better defining how PA can contribute to overall mission and program objectives and, subsequently, participating in planning exercises. In consultation with other programs, the Program should also develop a key messaging document that targets specific priorities. This could then be used by all staff during meetings, presentations and other outreach activities.
2.3.2 With decreased public diplomacy funding in the last few years, the Program has been shifting its PA focus from promoting culture to leveraging events related to Mission priorities. The Mission plans to continue to restructure the Public Affairs Officer's role towards advocacy given the new funding structure that will be implemented. As highlighted in the 2008 Singapore Inspection Report, HQ will need to monitor this situation to determine if a global strategy will be needed for the evolution of the public affairs role. The Program should ensure contact lists are centralized and accessible by all.
2.3.3 As with many missions, this Mission feels it would benefit considerably from an increased number of visits on the political level or from senior Government Officials. These visits could be leveraged to build Canada's image and to help drive advocacy priorities.
2.3.4 The Program should create and distribute a reference document outlining the role of Public Affairs.
2.3.5 The Program, in consultation with other programs, should develop key messaging and a reference document to distribute to all staff.
2.3.4 As discussed with the inspectors, this has been a GR initiative and we expect the document to be finalized by August 1, 2008. Implemented August 2008.
2.3.5 The Program has started work on this document. In progress, to be completed September 2008.
2.4.1 The Program, when feasible, works closely with other missions in the region to develop projects and solicit funding, finding a concerted approach more successful given that these missions are not listed as Departmental priorities. The PM has started to take his approach one step further in organizing monthly teleconference calls between regional GR program managers and the Southeast Asia and Pacific Division (RAE). He has also been successful in using this collective approach with his like-minded counterparts to access interlocutors that are difficult to reach individually.
2.4.2 With the transformation of the Malaysian government following the recent elections, the Program feels that there is potential to do more reporting, particularly outside Kuala Lumpur. For eight months during fiscal year 2007-2008, the Mission experimented with using the LE-07 Office Manager position as a Political-Economic Analyst, for reporting and to provide local language capacity which is needed beyond the capital city. The Mission submitted a business case for the transfer of the LE-07 position to the GR Program but this was not accepted by HQ.
2.4.3 The Mission's 2007-2008 Country Strategy highlighted the need for the LE-05 (½ FTE of which 1/4 of the role is devoted to Department of National Defence needs) to become a full-time position but was unsuccessful in its request. The Mission indicated that it has faced difficulty in retaining staff for more than a few years with the part-time position.
2.4.4 The GR PM is also the Mission Security Officer (MSO) and was tasked with this responsibility upon arrival. As he had been unaware of this part of his duties, he did not have the opportunity to obtain associated training and has been learning on the job. This situation has been observed at other missions regarding the MSO role and is also found with the HOM Assistant not having formal training for *** communication duties. It would be beneficial if these types of designations were included on the Posting Confirmation Forms (PCFs) so that CBS can organize appropriate training prior to arriving at the mission.
2.4.5 The FS-01 Political-Public Affairs Officer position is currently being overfilled by an FS-02 officer, which has been the case in the past. The Mission has restructured the position to take advantage of the incumbents' level and experience. Given that most FS-01 Officers are not posted until their training period is complete, there is a good chance that this position will again be filled by an FS-02 officer. If these officers, many on their first posting, are performing the duties at the FS-02 level, then this position (and perhaps some others worldwide) may be better suited as an FS-02 position. The Assignment and Pool Management Division (HFP) and the Mission should examine the requirements of this position and the corporate need for FS-01 positions abroad.
2.4.6 Designations, such as MSO, should be included on PCFs.
2.4.7 Examine the requirements of the FS-01 Political-Public Affairs Officer position at this Mission in relation to the corporate need for FS-01 positions abroad.
2.4.6 Designations could be added to the PCF but HFP suggests this will not address the problem identified. The PCF is an assignment document for financial, passport and visa purposes; comments are usually reserved for matters related to the management of the Foreign Service Directives (FSDs) or the administration of the assignments. In addition, officers going on posting often receive their PCF towards the end of their preparations, often after they have completed pre-posting training. HFP suggests that the way forward could be for it to work with the geographic divisions to improve the information provided to officers selected to go on posting to allow them to identify training requirements better. This can be introduced for the 2009 posting cycle starting in the fall 2008.
2.4.7 HFP is aware of the issue of FS-01 positions raised by the report. The specific case of the Political-Public Affairs Officer is a classification issue; HFP will assist should the Mission or geographic division request that the Human Resources Operational Services Division (HMO) consider reclassifying it. On the broader issue of the role of FS-01 positions at missions, HFP will examine that role in conjunction with geographic divisions and HMO to develop recommendations for the future of the positions as a group. This work will be started in fall 2008.
3.1.1 The International Business Development Program in Kuala Lumpur is led by a Senior Trade Commissioner (FS-03 acting in an EX-01 position) and supported by a CBS Trade Commissioner (TC), two LES TC's and three trade commissioner assistants (TCAs). Both the STC and the CBS TC arrived at post ***. The Program's budget includes $30,000 in Client Service Funds (CSF), $15,000 in travel and $11,000 in hospitality. The Program also makes use of the Honorary Consul located in Penang and benefits from the leadership and coordination provided by the Regional Agriculture Counsellor in Singapore.
3.1.2 Export Development Canada (EDC) has an officer in the Mission that works closely with IBD programs in the region, feeding into business planning, trade shows and other activities as required. The STCs also provide input into EDC's “Doing Business in respective countries” documents. The position, however, will be transferred to Singapore in summer 2008.
3.1.3 Malaysia is an emerging economy and considered to be one of the most economically advanced countries in the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), with the exception of Singapore. It is Canada's largest trading partner in ASEAN, with two-way trade estimated at $3 billion in 2007. The trade balance, however, is five to one in favour of Malaysia. The country provides excellent business and investment opportunities for Canada, particularly in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), Agri-food, and Oil and Gas. While not currently a priority country for investment, the potential will be revisited by the Investment, Innovation and Sectors Branch (IIT). The lack of a Foreign Investment Protection Agreement, however, would present a major challenge.
3.2.1 Overall the Program is *** managed. *** The Program is focussed, with clear objectives, well-defined activities and established performance indicators. Officers also take responsibility for science and technology (ST), investment and market access in their respective sectors.
3.2.2 The STC has made *** use of workplans, facilitating proactive work that is directed at key priorities and objectives. The inclusion of outreach, outcalls and hospitality are all best practices. These workplans are developed by officers, with the guidance of the STC, improving overall buy-in to articulated goals and expected outcomes. There is still room for improvement in consistency and expansion or contraction of existing workplan content. Workplans should also include the intended use of the STC as well as the HOM to facilitate access to high-level contacts.
3.2.3 PMP's are in place for staff and appraisals are completed. ***.
3.2.4 There is scope to make increased use of the Mission's public affairs resources. The GR Program's intentions to make presentations to staff on how public affairs can facilitate the achievement of their objectives should provide an excellent opportunity.
3.3.1 The Program has identified three priority sectors (Oil Gas, ICT and Agri-Food), with education treated as a cross-cutting priority sector focussed on sponsoring organizations. The Program does work with the local Canadian Education Centre office on specific activities. There is an emphasis on enhancing local market knowledge through a solid program of outcalls and effective use of the CSF, travel and hospitality resources.
3.3.2 The Program's focus extends beyond the identification of sectors to targeted sub-sectors. This facilitates a more efficient targeting of local and Canadian contacts, particularly in areas such as oil and gas equipment. ***. This could be accomplished through further refinement of the *** workplan, with a focus on priorities identified in consultation with the Regional Agricultural Officer in Singapore. Attendance at regional trade shows, for example, could be leveraged more effectively through a more systematic and targeted approach to follow-up. The STC has also initiated a re-validation of Oil and Gas as a priority sector. It is positive to see such a challenge exercise take place as programs should regularly revisit their priority sectors to ensure that local opportunities match with Canadian interests and capabilities.
3.3.3 In an effort to stimulate the interest of Canadian oil and gas equipment supply companies in the South China Sea Basin, the CBS TC has attempted to establish a virtual Oil and Gas Regional Team with officers in neighbouring missions. While the initial response was positive, follow-up activities have received little in the way of feedback. This initiative could, however, provide great value in coordinating efforts and providing a key link to the Canadian side of the equation. By localising that knowledge in a regional CBS TC, LES TCs could then focus on better understanding their markets. In addition to obtaining experience in horizontal leadership and coordination, it would also provide the CBS officer with valuable and transferable knowledge for a future assignment.
3.3.4 The Program has a number of tools to report on activities and results. In addition to the summary of results required in the Business Plan, the Program prepares a quarterly report to summarize key activities and outcomes. This quarterly report is effective, and facilitates end-of-year reporting. The Program also uses TRIO to report on its activities. The system has been in place for one year and is gaining acceptance among staff. Improvements are still required, however, and the STC has built the use of TRIO into staff PMPs for the coming year. Should the inclusion of such objectives in PMP not lead to improved usage, the possibilities for additional training or remedial action should be considered.
3.3.5 CSF and hospitality expenditures were found to be aligned with the priorities of the Program. A review of hospitality diaries demonstrated that funds were being used in accordance with the guidelines. Officers were reminded, however, that the purpose, objective and evaluation of events should explicitly link to their objectives and clearly demonstrate value-for-money. In one case, a TC had not taken full advantage of hospitality funds to facilitate the pursuit of objectives. The STC has undertaken to provide coaching and guidance on how to effectively and appropriately utilize this important mission resource.
4.1.1 The Consular Program is overseen by the MCO while the day-to-day management of the Program is undertaken by the AS-04 Deputy MCO (DMCO). The LES complement consists of an LE-07 Consular Officer, a part time (50%) LE-05 Consular Assistant, with back-up support provided by the LE-04 Receptionist. This Program is *** managed and has a *** staff with which to deliver client services. Consular Contingency Plans and the Pandemic Influenza Plan were updated in January 2008 and March 2007 respectively.
4.1.2 Service standards, fee schedules, client feedback forms, Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) information procedures, and passport application forms are properly displayed in the main reception area and the consular booth. Consular staff are making a specific effort to ensure that all clients receive a client feedback form when services are provided and are encouraging clients to complete the form. Although completed client feedback forms are forwarded to the Consular Division in Headquarters, a copy of these forms should be retained at the Mission for future reference.
4.1.3 The Mission noted that the Honorary Consul (HonCon) located in Penang provides *** service and that there is a *** working relationship between both parties. While his main function is to provide consular assistance to Canadian citizens, he is also involved in Trade promotion activities and official visits to the area. An annual assessment of performance is being completed as required. The HonCon should be provided with a copy of the Mission Duty Officer kit for use in emergency situations.
4.1.4 The Mission should retain a copy of completed client feedback forms for future reference.
4.1.5 The Mission should provide the HonCon with a copy of the Duty Officer Kit for use in the event of emergency situations.
4.1.4 The Mission is at present maintaining a file with copies of feedback forms received. The forms are being forwarded to the Consular Program Services Division (CLP). Implemented August 2008.
4.1.5 Mission provided the HonCon with an updated manual in May 2008. Implemented.
4.2.1 Passport Management Program training has been taken by all staff involved in the delivery of Passport services. ***. Employees have requested feedback from Passport Canada Training Division (PPTC) regarding where they could improve their scores, however, they have only been provided with an overall score and the timeframes for re-taking the exam. Feedback regarding areas for improvement on the mandatory passport training exam would improve learning and should be provided to staff.
4.2.2 The DMCO assumes an active role in processing, verifying, and authorizing passport applications. The passport inventory of related documents and supplies was physically counted and reconciled as part of the Inspection. No variation in inventory levels was noted. However, in-line with Passport Canada requirements, the HOM should be physically involved in the reconciliation process on a quarterly basis.
4.2.3 CND should liaise with Passport Canada to ensure that feedback regarding areas for improvement on the Passport Management Program exam are provided to staff.
4.2.3 Upon request, the Operational Training Development Division (PPHT) - Mission Training reviews exams with mission employees by telephone. PPHT - Mission Training has also made itself available for conference call "coaching sessions" with other missions. There is a 13 hour time difference between Kuala Lumpur and Gatineau, however PPHT Mission Training assistance is available.
4.2.4 The Mission should ensure that the HOM is involved with the physical count and reconciliation process of the passport inventory on a quarterly basis.
4.2.4 The HOM has always participated in the quarterly count when at Mission. In his or her absence, the chargé d'affaires will participate hence forth. Implemented August 2008.
4.3.1 The DMCO has developed a Consular work plan to establish training requirements and help staff manage increasing workload pressures. Succession planning for the eventual retirement of the *** LES Consular Officer is a concern. The Mission is taking steps to ‘groom' a replacement as one possible option. The Mission is also requesting that the Consular Officer update her contact database and develop procedural notes regarding case management in order to share her knowledge and information with other Consular staff.
4.3.2 The Receptionist is responsible for inputting client information into the ROCA database while the senior Consular Officer ensures the validity of information. Registrations are vetted on a regular basis to ensure that lists are current. The Mission is in the process of organizing a warden conference/meeting to be held in the summer of 2008 in order to update the wardens on policies and procedures.
4.3.3 At present, the Mission does not possess an inventory of official seals required for Consular and other official business. Official seals should be retained and secured at the end of each day by a member of the CBS - ***. A review of the inventory of seals at the Mission should be undertaken by the DMCO.
4.3.4 The Mission should conduct a review of official seals on hand and prepare an inventory.
4.3.5 The Mission should ensure that all official seals are secured at the end of each day by a CBS member.
4.3.4 The Mission has prepared an official inventory of seals on hand and has submitted a copy to Ottawa. Implemented August 2008.
4.3.5 The Mission has taken steps to make sure that all official seals are secured by CBS at the end of each day. Implemented August 2008.
4.4.1 Presently, the Receptionist is receiving passport applications from clients along with the required payment for services. The Receptionist conducts the initial screening of the application and reviews documents to ensure completeness prior to passing the application, documents, and payment onto the Consular Assistant or Consular Officer. However, the client is not provided with an official receipt until after the Consular Assistant or Consular Officer has completed the next review of the documents. This places undo risk on both the Receptionist and the Consular staff in the event of any discrepancy regarding amounts of monies being given-received as part of the service.
4.4.2 The Consular Officer is currently storing revenues ***. There is a risk associated with this method of storing revenues, particularly cash. Using a cash register (which can be locked) will alleviate this risk and will allow for a receipt to be provided to the client as soon as monies are provided for services. A cash box should be purchased to store revenues pending deposit with the Finance Section.
4.4.3 Consular revenues are transferred by the Consular Officer to the Finance Section ***. The Officer is not, however, provided with an official receipt. As per recommendation 5.4.6, the Finance Section should issue an official receipt for cash deposits immediately upon receipt of cash from any source.
4.4.4 A receipt should be issued to the client as soon as monies are provided for services.
4.4.5 The Mission should purchase a cash register in order to facilitate the receipt and processing of Consular and Passport revenues.
4.4.6 A cash box should be purchased to store revenues pending deposit with the Finance Section.
4.4.4 A receipt will be issued when the cash register is implemented. All clients will receive a receipt immediately after making payment. In progress, to be completed October 2008.
4.4.5 The Mission is currently in the process of purchasing a cash register for revenue collection. In progress, to be completed October 2008.
4.4.6 A cash box is now in use by the Consular Section to store revenues. Implemented August 2008.
5.1.1 The Administration Program is managed by the AS-06 MCO assisted by the DMCO and 11.5 LES. There is also a CS-01 Foreign Service Information Technology Professional (FSITP) with regional responsibilities. Overall the Program was found to be running ***though more focus is needed in the Property Section in order to address certain compliance requirements. Examples of good practices used by the Program include:
5.1.2 In order to maximize exposure to the Administration and Consular programs, the MCO and DMCO have agreed that for the first half of the DMCO's posting he will be primarily responsible for the Consular Program and the human resources portfolio, and then during the second half he will assume responsibility for the finance and property functions. The MCO and DMCO meet frequently to discuss issues and review Program objectives.
5.1.3 The MCO meets with the different administration staff individually at various intervals. A best practice is to hold regular all-Administration Program meetings in order to promote co-ordination and facilitate information sharing. This would also provide another means to mentor the DMCO.
5.1.4 As noted in paragraph 2.4.2, the Mission's request to transfer the currently vacant LE-07 Office Manager position to the GR Program was not accepted by HQ. Given the challenges in the Property Section, the Mission should retain this position, re-structure the responsibilities to meet an LE-06 Property Assistant position and have the LE-05 Property Assistant incumbent assume those duties. This would then leave the LE-05 position available for possible re-deployment.
5.1.5 Given changes to the local environment and the current size and program composition of the High Commission, the Mission should assess demands on the three pooled driver positions to determine if there is sufficient tasking/workload for this team. There may be potential for a position re-deployment or the transfer of other duties such as contractor supervision.
5.1.6 Regular all-Administration staff meetings should be implemented.
5.1.7 The Program should restructure the LE-07 Office Manager position to an LE-06 Property Assistant position to address property function needs. Following this exercise the Program can then evaluate the requirement for the LE-05 Property Assistant position .
5.1.8 The Program should assess the workload levels of the pooled driver team.
5.1.6 Administration staff meeting will be held on a monthly basis. In progress, to be completed September 2008.
5.1.7 The Mission has begun a review of the Office Manager position. Reallocation of the position was contemplated based on the fact we would upgrade the Property Assistant to a LE-06 level and hire a contract handyman. We have been searching in vain for a handyman but we are unable to locate anyone who is willing to take the contract on with only part time work guaranteed. As the most significant portion of the Inspection is on the Physical Resources Section of Administration, it is a clear indication that the Office Manager position is still needed to oversee the Physical Resources functions. We would propose restructuring the Office Manager position to a level LE-06 as recommended by the inspection team and then review the need for the LE-05 Property Assistant position. However, given that we have been searching for a contract handyman for nine months without success, we are unable to give up the LE-05 Property Assistant position at this point in time. In progress, to be completed March 2009.
5.1.8 The Mission has assessed the workload of our drivers and has concluded that three pool drivers is the minimum required to provide services for this Mission. Note should be taken of the local situation as taxis are unreliable, unsafe and in poor condition. Taxis in Malaysia are notorious for overcharging and not using the metre. There are also many places in Kuala Lumpur such as the government complex in Putra Jaya where it is very difficult for individuals to get a taxi to return from appointments. Implemented.
5.2.1 Day-to-day HR management is the responsibility of the DMCO, assisted by the LE-05 Consular-Personnel Assistant (with increasing consular demand now approximately 30% FTE rather than 50%). The Mission also contracts a Community Co-ordinator.
5.2.2 As with the Consular Program, the DMCO has developed a workplan for the HR function to address such needs as up-dating job description files, providing leave balances to PMs, and as the PMP champion, providing training to staff to implement the system.
5.2.3 The DMCO recently completed a Mission-wide training plan. The next step is to have it approved by the CMM and to identify funding requirements. With the creation of the new Common Services Platform and the new division of mission budgets between common services and programs, the Section will need to closely monitor this new process and its impact on the allocation of training funds distribution.
5.2.4 The Mission's current organization charts need to be reviewed and updated in order to more accurately reflect position titles and classification levels. Up-to-date charts should be provided to HLD for confirmation with their database. To complete classification files, a new proposed organization chart should be retained with the other documentation.
5.2.5 To enhance the Section's filing structure the following should be implemented:
5.2.6 For staffing actions, correspondence related to recruitment actions should be maintained in one file rather than dispersed throughout a few. As a best practice the Mission should always advertise all position openings to CBS dependents. To assist staff the Mission should institute a consistent practice of conducting post interview briefings with internal candidates who were unsuccessful in a staffing action.
5.2.7 The DMCO raised a couple of examples of confusion regarding policies such as the claiming of overtime when starting late, and the submission of leave forms. When cases such as these arise, the Section should develop a guideline document for distribution to staff outlining the correct procedure.
5.2.8 The Mission should review and update the organization chart.
5.2.9 Competition files should also include the proposed organization chart.
5.2.10 A separate file for each position should be kept to track the progression of the position.
5.2.11 Copies of EXT208s should be kept on the employee's file.
5.2.12 The Mission should retain all documentation for staffing competitions in one file.
5.2.13 All staffing actions should be advertised to CBS dependents.
5.2.14 Post interview briefings with unsuccessful internal candidates should be conducted following a staffing action.
5.2.15 The Section should develop policy guideline documents for distribution to staff.
5.2.8 The organization chart has been updated. Implemented August 2008.
5.2.9 Noted and will be complied in the future. Implemented August 2008.
5.2.10 Noted and implemented August 2008.
5.2.11 Noted. EXT208's will be kept on employees files starting immediately. Implemented August 2008.
5.2.12 Noted and will be complied with in the future. Implemented August 2008.
5.2.13 Noted and will be complied with in the future. Implemented August 2008.
5.2.14 Noted. This practice has begun with last staffing exercise. Implemented August 2008.
5.2.15 Policy guidelines will be developed for distribution to staff. Implemented August 2008.
5.3.1 The Property, Maintenance and Materiel Services Section is managed by an *** MCO. He is *** assisted by an LE-05 Property Assistant. Policies, guidelines, and service standards are in place and ensure that a *** level of service is delivered to its clients. The Program manages a Crown-leased Chancery, a Crown-leased Official Residence (OR), as well as 12 crown-leased staff quarters (SQs). While the Program is considered to be *** managed, there are a number of compliance issues that should be addressed to ensure adherence to regulations and procedures.
5.3.2 While the leased OR is well situated and offers adequate representational capacity, it has not been properly maintained by the Landlord. The long term state of repair of this property must be addressed both by the Landlord and the Mission prior to the lease renewal, due by October 2008. The Mission sent a letter to the Landlord in March 2008 to deal with these issues. Serious water damage has occurred in the past caused by roof-top water tank leakage. The exterior finish of this property also requires repair and painting prior to the next HOM's arrival. Steps should be taken to address these issues with the Landlord as part of the lease renegotiation. If the Mission is to retain this property for an extended period, serious consideration should be given by the Physical Resources Bureau (ARD) to providing funding for its retrofit.
5.3.3 The Mission is retaining the property where the previous OR had been situated. A project to develop this property to provide for the construction of a new OR, six staff quarters, and a recreational facility has been put on hold due to economic considerations. A decision should be taken to either retain the vacant land, continue construction, or to dispose of it. A long-term strategy regarding the existing leased OR and the build project should be assessed in-line with this decision.
5.3.4 The Mission should address repair and maintenance issues for the OR with the Landlord as part of the lease renegotiation.
5.3.4 The Mission has an agreement in place with the Landlord to do extensive renovations to the existing temporary Official Residence. These repairs will begin upon the departure of the current HOM. Implemented August 2008.
5.3.5 A long-term strategy regarding the existing leased OR and the construction project should be assessed.
5.3.6 If the Mission is to retain the leased OR property for an extended period, ARD should provide providing funding to retrofit certain areas of the property in order to maintain the building integrity.
5.3.5 ARD has suspended construction and will retain the OR land for the long term owing to its highly favourable *** location. Leasing an interim OR remains more economical in the short term and construction will be reassessed in 2011, unless market conditions change considerably.
5.3.6 The Mission and Physical Resources Bureau are in advanced discussions with the Landlord regarding renewing the lease on the interim OR for a three year term; certain retrofit requirements have been identified and will form part of the lease agreement.
5.3.7 As part of the Inspection, visits to the OR and a select number of SQs were undertaken. While most SQs were considered to be in a good state of repair, two (#5110120 and #5110114 ) are experiencing problematic maintenance and repair issues (termites, sewer gases, mold in ceilings and near air vents). Based on examination of SQ#5110120, it is recommended that Mission release this SQ when the lease comes due this summer and relocate the occupant to a more suitable location.
5.3.8 Concerns were raised regarding the state of SQ#5110114 upon first occupancy, as well as ongoing repair and maintenance issues involving water leaks, poorly operating appliances and lack of attention by the Mission or building management in arranging repairs. The Administration Program should ensure occupants are escorted to their SQ upon first arrival and provided with a briefing regarding the functionality of the SQ. This will also provide Administration with the opportunity to ensure that the SQ has been properly cleaned and that pack up kits are complete and in place. Property Service Standards are in place and should be shared with all CBS and spouses.
5.3.9 The Mission does not have an electronic service request system in place, which may be limiting the delivery of *** service to clients. While Headquarters is planning to rollout a work order system shortly, the Mission should be more vigilant in tracking work orders and obtaining client feedback.
5.3.10 The Program should be more proactive in dealing with SQ building managers concerning maintenance and repair issues. According to the occupancy agreement, the High Commission is the occupant's landlord and as such should be in close contact with property owners and their representatives when maintenance issues arise. There have been occasions where tenants dealt directly with building management rather than to submit maintenance requests through the Property Section. All property related requests should be directed to the property section for follow-up with the property owners or his/her representatives.
5.3.11 The Mission has eight (of twelve) SQ leases coming due for renewal during the summer of 2008. This is a particularly high number and could potentially place an unnecessary workload burden on the property section. There is also the potential risk of escalating rental prices which could place a financial burden on the Mission budget. It is recommended that the Mission attempt to stagger the lease renewal dates whereby an average of four SQ leases would have to be renegotiated in any given year.
5.3.12 The Mission should release SQ#5110120 when the lease comes due this summer and source a more suitable replacement for the occupant.
5.3.13 The Program should ensure occupants are escorted to their SQ upon first arrival and provided with a briefing regarding the functionality of the SQ.
5.3.14 Property Service Standards should be shared with all CBS and spouses.
5.3.15 The Mission should track work orders and obtain client feedback.
5.3.16 All property related requests should be directed to the Property Section for action or follow up with the property owners.
5.3.17 The Mission should stagger the lease renewal dates whereby an average of only four SQ leases would need to be renegotiated in any given year.
5.3.12 SQ 5110120 will be released at the end of the lease term in July 2008. Suitable alternative SQ has been identified. Implemented July 2008.
5.3.13 Noted. This has been the normal practise in the past. Implemented August 2008.
5.3.14 Noted. Service standards have been distributed to all CBS employees and their spouses. Implemented August 2008.
5.3.15 Noted. The Mission has now implemented a Excel Spreadsheet to track work orders until the *** system comes on line. Implemented August 2008.
5.3.16 Noted. Memo has been sent to all CBS with instructions to this effect. Implemented July 2008.
5.3.17 It should be noted that the reason for eight SQs coming due this year is that at the start of these leases, it was anticipated that we would need to move staff into the new compound on the old OR site this summer. Implemented.
5.3.18 A review of Crown asset disposal files (including Information Technology assets) indicates that staff involved with inventory control and/or purchase of furnishings and equipment have taken part personally in disposal sales, creating a potential conflict of interest. The Policy regarding sale of Crown assets prohibits staff involved in the selection of materiel for disposal, or the disposal itself, from purchasing Crown assets.
5.3.19 The Mission has on occasion donated computer equipment to charitable organizations. Any donation of computer equipment must be authorized by the Information Management and Technology Bureau (AID) prior to the donation taking place.
5.3.20 The Mission should ensure that guidelines regarding the disposal of Crown assets are strictly applied in order to eliminate any possible conflict of interest.
5.3.21 The Mission should ensure that any donation of computer equipment is authorized by AID prior to the donation taking place.
5.3.20 Noted for future reference. Implemented July 2008.
5.3.21 Noted for future reference. Implemented July 2008.
5.3.22 Although official vehicle (OV) fuel, repair, and usage logs are being maintained, there is no monthly reconciliation and verification of fuel purchases and mileage driven. It was noted that an annual reconciliation of fuel purchases and repairs for each vehicle was signed off by the MCO for fiscal year 2007/2008, however, mileage distances were not taken into consideration. The review of OV records indicated that the cost of fuel was being documented and not the amount of fuel being purchased. This makes it difficult to undertake an efficiency audit of the OV's performance. Monthly verifications should be undertaken by the MCO or DMCO in order to properly verify fuel consumption and vehicle usage reports.
5.3.23 Monthly verifications should be undertaken by the MCO or DMCO in order to assess fuel consumption and official vehicle usage reports.
5.3.23 Noted. MCO or DMCO will verify fuel usage rates monthly. Implemented August 2008.
5.3.24 SQ inventories and occupancy agreements are current. While the HOM has signed off the occupancy agreement for the OR, no formal inventory of furnishings and equipment has been signed. This should be undertaken immediately.
5.3.25 There is no current inventory of Chancery furnishings and equipment. This should be prepared as soon as possible and individual office occupants should sign for their specific work areas. The MCO should assume responsibility for common area inventoried items.
5.3.26 The Mission maintains a storage facility located in a high rise building - total space leased is 1007 square feet. The Mission pays approximately $14,000 annually for this storage space. The majority of items being stored in this facility are new furnishing groupings which were purchased in 2005, 2006, and 2007 at a cost of approximately $115,000. As there is no designation of where these furnishings will be used, this indicates that the Mission does not have a long-term plan in place for the purchase and replacement of capital items. Annual capital acquisition plans should be prepared and sent to the CMM for approval.
5.3.27 The HOM should sign the distribution account accepting responsibility for the OR inventory of furnishings and equipment.
5.3.28 The Mission should arrange to complete the distribution account inventory record for the Chancery as soon as possible. The MCO or DMCO should sign off on the common service areas of this inventory in order to assume custodial responsibility.
5.3.29 The Mission should establish a long-term capital replacement plan for furnishings and equipment and submit annual budget plans to the CMM for approval. (Please note recommendation 5.5.11 reflects a similar requirement for IT requirements).
5.3.27 Noted. HOM will sign OR inventory records. Implemented August 2008.
5.3.28 Noted. This will be done. In progress, to be completed December 2008.
5.3.29 Noted. This will be done as part of planning for 2009/2010 fiscal year. In progress, to be completed March 2009.
5.3.30 The RCMP Section has requested that its current office layout be reconfigured in order to provide contiguous office space to accommodate the CBS and the LES assistant as well as to provide additional room for files and equipment. With the relocation of the EDC unit this summer, there is likely an opportunity to accommodate this request.
5.4.1 Financial operations at the Mission are currently overseen by the MCO with the assistance of a Senior and an Assistant Accountant (LE-07 and LE-05 respectively). ***. There was also a good level of interaction from the DMCO and HOM regarding financial matters.
5.4.2 A Contract Review Board is in place at the Mission. The Mission has instituted a $5,000 threshold for contracts to go to the CRB even though the policy requirement is $10,000. Minutes were kept for all meetings of the CRB. Although the files kept for the CRB were in good order, in certain cases the rationale for the selection of the winning bid was not always recorded in the minutes. Including this information in all CRB meeting minutes/record of decision would further strengthen the CRB process. Additionally, while a contracting procedural guide had been developed by the Assistant Accountant, it was noted that the information within the guide was mostly HQ contracting policy information. This guide could be more useful, especially to new CBS employees, if it contained a summary of the Mission-specific contracting process.
5.4.3 The full rationale for the selection of winning contract bidders should be contained in each CRB record of decision.
5.4.4 The contracting guidelines should be updated to include information on Mission specific policies and procedures.
5.4.3 Noted. Implemented August 2008.
5.4.4 Noted. Guidelines will be revised accordingly. In progress, to be completed October 2008.
5.4.5 The LES Senior Accountant accepts revenue from both the Consular and Immigration sections of the Mission. Revenue from the Immigration Section is provided *** and revenue from the Consular Section is provided ***. Official receipts are not always provided immediately by the Finance Section for revenues but a short time after the documentation has been reviewed. If the Finance Section designated specific times for the delivery of revenues, this could facilitate the immediate provision of a receipt, which is required whenever cash or cash equivalents is exchanged between sections.
5.4.6 Official receipts should be provided immediately after revenues are delivered to the Finance Section, in the presence of the Consular or Immigration employee delivering the cash and/or cashier's cheques.
5.4.6 Noted. This is now in effect. Implemented July 2008.
5.4.7 The Senior Accountant is currently securing two section 34 signatures (one for the approval of invoices and one for the IMS printout authorizing payment). Policy requires that one person sign for section 34. When two signatures are secured, individual accountability is diluted. To avoid this situation a section 34 stamp should be acquired and used on the invoice to approve payment. Then the payment requisition IMS printout would only require section 33 approval to process payment.
5.4.8 Only one section 34 signature should be secured prior to payment processing.
5.4.8 Noted and implemented July 2008.
5.4.9 In general, Hospitality diaries were well kept, although in some cases the event evaluation could have been more detailed and informative. This practice helps to ensure that the subsequent CBS assigned to the Mission are able to ascertain the usefulness of various contacts and official functions. Additionally, in a few cases there was inadequate documentation supporting the expenditure. Full supporting documentation (detailed evaluations/purpose, guest lists and complete/itemized receipts) should be present for every hospitality event.
5.4.10 Full supporting documentation for each event should be included in hospitality diaries/files (detailed evaluations/purpose, guest lists and itemized receipts).
5.4.10 Noted. This has been sent to all relevant staff. Implemented July 2008.
5.4.11 Some control improvement opportunities were noted that will further strengthen an operation that is already performing ***. Improvement opportunities were noted in the following areas:
5.4.12 Cheque distribution to Accountant: Currently the LES Senior Accountant retains the full stock of blank cheques. This represents 2000 cheques which lasts approximately seven months. A best practice would be for the MCO or DMCO to issue a working stock of cheques (approximately one month's supply) and to keep the remainder under their control.
5.4.13 The weekly bank run occurs ***. The bank run should be ***.
5.4.14 The monthly bank statement is currently being sent to the LES Senior Accountant. This statement should be delivered to and opened by the MCO or DMCO, reviewed and then passed to Senior Accountant to begin the reconciliation process.
5.4.15 It was noted that the IMS text boxes were unfilled or contained minimal information in certain cases. Text boxes should be completed with an appropriate level of detail so as to identify the nature of the transaction in question.
5.4.16 The Assistant Accountant did not have ***. These should both be installed in her office.
5.4.17 The Administration Section's Assistant controls Petty Cash. Currently she must access the petty cash box *** whenever access is required. *** should be provided to the Administration Assistant to improve access, accountability and efficiency.
5.4.18 Receipts for Department of National Defence (DND) training program payments are currently being processed using a one-time vendor. The use of one-time vendors is limited to the processing of Citizenship and Immigration Canada's Right of Landing Fees. Separate vendors should be created for the DND program participants.
5.4.19 The Finance Section should institute a quiet hours policy to facilitate operations, including the scheduled delivery of revenue from the Consular and Immigration Sections.
5.4.12 Noted. Surplus cheques are now stored ***. Implemented July 2008.
5.4.13 Noted. ***. Implemented July 2008.
5.4.14 Noted. Bank statement is now delivered to the MCO. Implemented July 2008.
5.4.15 Noted. Staff will now make proper use of IMS text box. Implemented July 2008.
5.4.16 Noted. ***. In progress, to be completed September 2008.
5.4.17 Noted. ***. In progress, to be completed September 2008.
5.4.18 Noted. Accountants will use correct vendor codes in the future. Implemented August 2008.
5.4.19 Noted. The Finance Section has instituted schedules hours for CIC and consular revenues to be delivered. Implemented July 2008.
5.5.1 The Mission's Information Technology team is led by a Foreign Service IT Professional who is supported by a Locally-engaged ITP. The FSITP is also responsible for other missions in the region, under the general supervision of the Client Support Regional Manager (CSRM) in Singapore. The FSITP visits each mission approximately four times a year, spending approximately 25% of his time outside of Kuala Lumpur. No workplan exists for these regional activities, rather the FSITP liaises with CSRM and conducts visits when the number or nature of issues warrants. In the event of absences, a back-up process is in place.
5.5.2 A *** team approach is in place, with the FSITP and LEITP working *** together. The separation of duties is logical and efficient and, when needed, they support each other. Discussions with the CSRM indicated that the FSITP's relationship with LEITPs in regional missions is working ***. Support provided by the MCO and HOM for IT related items is adequate and appropriate. There is no Information Management (IM)-IT Committee at the Mission. While no specific issues are present, such a Committee serves to provide co-ordination for IM-IT discussions and decisions and should be in place.
5.5.3 The Mission uses a combination of Infobank and the shared drive to manage information. In order to ensure full implementation of Infobank, a refresher may be needed.
5.5.4 Server back-ups are completed and verified daily, with back-ups being stored in a different location. Access to the Designated Communications Centre (DCC) and MITNET Server Room (MSR) are restricted to necessary staff. Work in the secure zone is completed by CBS, or in the case of absences, by the LEITP with CBS supervision.
5.5.5 Inventories of IT assets are maintained and controlled by the LEITP. A review of equipment available for loan found that assets were in place, or the necessary staff sign-out sheets were completed and kept on file. Staff have also signed for the receipt of mobility tools.
5.5.6 The Mission's business continuity plans designate the *** as the alternate site for operations in the event of a major disruption. It has been equipped with internet access, phone lines, printers and a SIGNET Remote Access (SRA) laptop. There is no uninterrupted power system (UPS) ***. All CBS have mobile communication tools and secondary communications equipment is in place and tested on a quarterly basis. The Mission has not, however, conducted a test scenario to ensure that the existing setup is adequate in the case of an emergency.
5.5.7 IT purchases are made on an ad-hoc basis based on requests received from program managers. While responding to immediate needs, this process does not ensure that the Mission's procurement budget is used to acquire assets based on a relevant program priority basis. As a result, there is a potential that program needs may not be met because they were not planned for. IT equipment purchases should be more cyclical and coordinated to ensure that Mission resources are focussed on program priorities. Periodic consultations with program managers should be held to ensure that IT needs are defined and that equipment is purchased or upgraded in a coordinated fashion. If requests exceed available funds, the Mission will then be able to assess the relative priority of program needs and procure accordingly.
5.5.8 The Mission has carried out IT asset disposals in recent years. While files were well maintained by the Property Section, members of the IT Team participated in auctions for surplus IT assets. As indicated in recommendation 5.3.20, since these staff members are involved in the purchase, maintenance and decision to declare as surplus, they should not have participated in the auction for these items.
5.5.9 The Mission should conduct a test scenario of the business continuity plan to ensure that the existing setup is adequate in the case of an emergency
5.5.10 The Mission should institute a IM/IT Committee.
5.5.11 In concert with Mission budget planning, the IT Section should solicit input/needs assessment from program managers for IT assets. Decisions to purchase equipment should be made based on an assessment of relative need and cost. The purchases should be tabled at the IM/IT Committee.
5.5.9 Noted. ***, this exercise will be carried out in the spring. In progress, to be completed February 2009.
5.5.10 The Mission will institute a IM/IT Committee. In progress, to be completed September 2008.
5.5.11 Noted. To be included in the planning exercise for 2009/2010 fiscal year. In progress to be completed March 2009.
The scope of the Inspection included a review of Mission management and the General Relations, International Business Development, Consular and Administration programs.
The Inspection 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 bureaux, including briefings by line management and the functional bureaux, review of relevant HQ and mission documentation, past audit findings, and an analysis of recurring trends and systemic issues.
During the Inspection, inspection issues and lines of enquiry were further refined from information gathered through interviews with the HOM and program managers, a meeting with the LES Committee, individual interviews with staff, and results of other documentation reviewed. The level of inspection work was therefore based on issues and information identified and gathered at all levels, HQ, Mission management and Mission operations.
|Assets||Crown Owned||Crown Leased|
|Financial Information 2007-2008|
|Operating Budget (N001)||$ 1,347,966|
|Capital Budget (N005)||$ 106,084|
|CBS Salary Budget (N011)||$ 746,900|
|LES Salary Budget (N012)||$ 644,758|