Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

international.gc.ca

Audit of The Canadian Embassy Port-Au-Prince

PDF Version (144 Kb) *

(July 2008)

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

An audit of the General Relations (GR), International Business Development (IBD), Consular and Administration Programs at the Port-au-Prince Embassy was conducted from March 5 to 9, 2007. The previous audit took place in February 1994.

Since 2003, the Mission has grown substantially, in-line with Haiti’s increased importance for the Government. Canada is playing a leading role in the reconstruction effort in Haiti and has allocated significant aid and program funding to the Mission in Port-au-Prince. To better leverage these funds, a more functional Official Residence (OR) with improved representational space is required to accommodate the high number of official functions. The Head of Mission (HOM) represents Canada ***. As the Mission continues to grow, however, increased focus will be required on internal management. Areas of focus should also include more formal communications channels and ***. A very heavy visits workload, which the Mission has managed ***, is a further challenge to accomplishing routine daily business.

The General Relations Program’s primary objective is to support Canada’s commitment to Haiti’s democratization and development. The heavy workload is largely shaped by the high number of bilateral visits every year and the management of various local projects and activities. The Program’s personnel have *** working relationships internally with other sections, such as the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), and externally with international agencies and other local missions. These relationships have been crucial in successfully carrying out its mandate. An increase in staff is planned for the summer of 2007 and will greatly assist GR Program personnel in managing their workload and maximizing results. Now that security is improving, the Section will need to reactivate its public diplomacy activities to engage local organizations with focuses on culture, education and communication.

The IBD Program currently consists of one Locally-engaged Trade Commissioner, supervised by the GR Program Manager. Trade with Haiti is limited because of the security challenges and the development-dominated economy. Though the country is a foreign policy priority, there is currently no pressing demand for a dedicated Trade Commissioner resource in Port-au-Prince. Trade opportunities will open when the country is more stable and there is a need for a strategy to reactivate trade operations.

Consular Program personnel are kept very busy with case management, passport processing and emergency planning. Given the high potential for numerous types of local emergencies, emergency planning will remain a high priority going forward. The Deputy Management and Consular Officer (DMCO) exercises *** control over the Program, and formal communications links are in place in the form of staff meetings. There is a need, however, for improved informal communications, as staff in the Section do not ***.

The Administration Section is in a period of transition and recognizes the urgent need to develop a management framework to support a Mission of this size. The recent growth of the Mission and the severity of the local security situation have been at the forefront of Mission’s activities, ultimately taking priority over some administrative controls. Capacity is the main obstacle as the Management and Consular Officer (MCO) is extremely busy with his responsibilities as the Mission Security Officer (MSO). Property management is extremely time-consuming and requires his *** management and constant attention. There is a vacant Canada-based Staff (CBS) Property and Materiel Technician position that should be staffed by someone with technical knowledge to allow the MCO more time for Program management. Similarly, the workload between the MCO and DMCO should also be re-balanced by giving the DMCO responsibility for an administrative function.

There were 46 recommendations made in the post audit report, 43 of which pertained to the Mission and three to Headquarters (HQ). Management responded to each recommendation by indicating decisions that had already been made or actions that had already been taken, as well as future steps. Management indicated that 39 of the 46 recommendations had already been implemented. For the seven remaining, management reported that initiatives were underway and that future action had been planned.

Scope, Objectives, Mission Resources

Audit Scope and Objectives

The Mission Audit included a review of Mission Management and the General Relations, International Business Development, Consular and Administration Programs.

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

The focus and extent of the on-site audit field work were based on an assessment of materiality and related risk. This was done through communication with bureaus at Headquarters, including briefings by line management and the functional bureaus, review of relevant HQ and Mission documentation, past audit findings, and an analysis of recurring trends and systemic issues.

During the Audit, issues and lines of enquiry were further refined from information gathered through interviews with the Head of Mission and Program Managers (PMs), a meeting with the Locally-engaged Staff (LES) Committee, individual interviews with staff, and the 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.

Organization Chart

Organization Chart

Table 1: Mission Resources Fact Sheet of Physical Resources
Physical Resources
AssetsCrown OwnedCrown Leased
Chancery1-
Official Residence1-
Staff Quarters18-
Vehicles14-

Table 2: Mission Resources Fact Sheet of Financial Information
Financial Information 2005/06
Total$5,037,370
Operating Budget$3 840 855
Capital Budget$139 780
CBS Overtime Budget$10 000
LES Salaries Budget$1 046 735

Mission Management

1.1 Overview

1.1.1 The Embassy in Port-au-Prince is a growing mission with 20 CBS and 48 Locally-engaged Staff. Haiti has become a priority for the Government of Canada in recent years, evolving from a small- to a large-sized mission. Much of the growth is directly related to the expansion of departmental programming, particularly in terms of peace and security. The expansion is also related to the activities of other government departments, such as CIDA, DND (National Defence), the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) and CIC (Citizenship and Immigration Canada). Canada plays a leading role in Haiti’s reconstruction efforts and, along with the United States, is recognized as one of the two most important international players.

1.1.2 One of the Mission’s greatest challenges is attracting CBS candidates in light of the constraints imposed by the security issues. HQ should review the security threats in the current environment in order to alleviate those constraints where possible and allow CBSs to be accompanied by their dependents. An asymmetric approach in terms of Foreign Service Directives (FSDs) should also be considered, so CBS in Port-au-Prince can benefit from a certain flexibility to visit their relatives and dependants, as is the case in other difficult posts.

Recommendation for the Security and Intelligence Bureau (ISD)

1.1.3 The Mission’s security situation should be reviewed given the current environment.

ISD Action and Timeframe

1.1.3 Such a re-evaluation has taken place and has been the subject of discussions and meetings within the Department (security, geographic, human resources) during which the Mission gave its point of view via conference call. One aspect of particular importance to the Mission was the "adults only" status at the Embassy, as it believed such a designation reduced the recruiting pool for replacement staff. After discussion and review, it was agreed that school-aged children would not be allowed to return, ***. The Security Operations and Personal Safety Division (ISR) believes that is a very good reason why children should not be in such a dangerous place. Moreover, given the increased number of kidnappings and murders of child victims and the spread of violence in the city, ISR could not support putting children in a situation with such a high risk level. The ISR has agreed to review this situation on a periodic basis but looks to a one-year decline in kidnapping and violent incidents as a bellwether. That being said, the ISR has reached an agreement with the Geographic Bureau that preschool-aged children could be sent to the post, as they would not be subject to the daily necessity of travelling on the streets of the city. This recommendation has been forwarded to the Assistant Deputy Minister, Bilateral Relations (RGM) by the Latin America and Caribbean Bureau (RLD). Should circumstances deteriorate significantly, ISR would immediately review its agreement with respect to preschool-aged children with a view to having them removed from the post to protect them from harm.

Mission comments:

The security situation was re-evaluated and the ISD recommendations should allow preschool-aged children to accompany their parents. This measure, although somewhat limiting, still has a positive impact on the Mission. The next ISD review is scheduled for the summer of 2008.

Recommendation for the Employee Services Division (HES)

1.1.4 Port au Prince’s FSDs should be reexamined and where appropriate, brought in line with benefits offered at similar posts.

HES Action and Timeframe

1.1.4 The FSDs are administered equitably across the board for all Level V missions. The only exceptions are Kandahar and Kabul; because of their particular situation, there is a rest and relaxation package, as well as the new, recently introduced special high-risk premium.

1.1.5 Canada’s commitment to Haiti’s reconstruction efforts is reinforced by the significant aid and program funding available to the Mission to support Canada’s objectives. CIDA’s bilateral program has a budget of $520 million over five years (from 2006 to 2011). To better leverage these funds, a more functional Official Residence with improved representational space is required. The current OR cannot accommodate a sufficient number of guests. A review of hospitality diaries indicated that *** guests are regularly entertained at the OR and, given the importance of programming in Haiti and Canada’s role, a business case should be made for a more appropriate Official Residence and submitted to the Geographic Bureau.

Recommendation for the Mission

1.1.6 The Mission should prepare a business case for an OR that would better reflect the role played by Canada and submit it to RSD.

Mission Action and Timeframe

1.1.6 The Mission has already submitted a document to the Fixed Assets Strategy Section (SRSK) for the study of a construction project for a new OR. A visit made by SRSK confirmed the need for the construction of a new OR. A lot has already been identified for the project and the Mission is awaiting developments before beginning negotiations with the land owner.

1.1.7 The Head of Mission *** Canada ***. The HOM and his management team are also aware that as the Mission grows, there is an increased need for formal communication and administrative processes. Given the rapid growth and unstable security environment, it is understandable that much still needs to be accomplished in terms of improving processes and structures. A very heavy visits workload, which the Mission has managed ***, is a further challenge to accomplishing routine daily business.

1.1.8 Management decisions are currently being made by the Committee on Mission Management (CMM). The CMM meets bi-weekly and minutes are taken and distributed to staff. Other committees include the Housing Committee, the Occupational Health and Safety Committee, and the LES Committee. While a Classification Committee was recently named, it has not yet met to review any classification actions.

1.1.9 Hospitality diaries were reviewed for all DFAIT programs. Although appropriate documentation was on file to support expenditures, the completion of hospitality diaries could better demonstrate that value for money is being achieved. Moreover, some hospitality advances had not been settled by their due date and were overdue. To better show the link between the hospitality activity and strategic objectives; the purpose and evaluation of events; as well as the potential for follow-up resulting from the event; should be clearly indicated. Mission management is responsible for ensuring that diaries are completed and that they demonstrate that hospitality funds were used in pursuit of a program objective. It should also be noted that original hospitality diaries should be kept with the Finance Section, as is the case with all other supporting financial documentation. Program Managers may keep copies if needed.

Recommendations for the Mission

1.1.10 The Mission should ensure that hospitality diaries are properly completed and demonstrate linkages to Program objectives.

1.1.11 Original hospitality diaries should be kept by the Finance Section.

1.1.12 Hospitality advances should be settled by their due date and cases of non-compliance referred to the HOM by the MCO.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

1.1.10 Training was given to all personnel concerned to ensure that forms are completed properly.

1.1.11 Completed. The Mission checked with International Financial Operations (SMFF) to find out which procedures should have priority.

1.1.12 Completed. The MCO ensures that hospitality advances are settled when due.

1.1.13 As a best practice, all missions should incorporate a values and ethics session each fall as part of their rotation process, to ensure all staff (new and old) members are updated on policies and procedures. Mission management was encouraged to have open communications with all staff, including LES, to ensure that any ethical dilemmas or potential harassment situations are reported at the outset before issues escalate.

Recommendation for the Mission

1.1.14 Management should formally reinforce the importance of values and ethics on an annual basis. This could be accomplished by providing overviews and a forum for discussion via town-hall meetings scheduled in the early fall, coinciding with the arrival of new CBS, to ensure all CBS and LES understand management’s expectations regarding values and ethics in the workplace.

Mission Action and Timeframe

1.1.14 A local college was awarded a contract to develop a training course on this subject. The course was created and has been given to all staff on a rotating basis since April 28, 2008.

General Relations Program

2.1 Overview

2.1.1 The General Relations Program is led by a Program Manager (FS-03), whose team includes three CBS (1 x FS-02, 2 x FS-01) and one LES Officer (LE-08). An additional CBS will be added in the summer of 2007 as part of the Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force (START). The GR Program Manager is also responsible for a small International Business Development Program, and supervises the sole LES Officer in that Section. Overall, it is clear that the Mission, and the Government as a whole, has taken steps to be a major contributor to Haiti’s democratization and development. From the highest political authorities to staff on the ground, the Canadian government has worked *** to meet its commitments.

2.1.2 In 2003, Canada gave Haiti approximately $16 million in development aid. Following an international conference on assistance to Haiti in July 2004, Canada increased its bilateral cooperation budget to $180 million over two years. After a second international conference in July 2006, a bilateral program of $520 million over five years (from 2006 to 2011) was announced. ***, Canada views its commitment as long term (10 to 15 years). With its contribution set at more than $100 million annually for the next five years, Canada will continue to be one of Haiti’s principal partners for at least the medium term.

2.1.3 Since the coup d’état of February 2004, the Mission’s activities have been dominated by domestic events. The entire GR team arrived ***, with the exception of the Ambassador, who arrived ***, and witnessed the gradual restoration of law and order, and the reestablishment and reforming of Haitian government institutions. The Mission‘s work led to the drafting of the Interim Cooperation Framework (ICF), which covers the period from July 2004 to September 2007. The Mission also played a leadership role during the presidential and legislative elections by delivering $50 million in election funding and providing organizational support through Elections Canada’s services.

2.1.4 The main portion of the Program’s work is dedicated to official visits, numbering 31 in 2006, including that of the Minister of International Cooperation (February 2007), the Minister of Foreign Affairs (June 2006) and the Governor General (May 2006). These visits are useful tools and have demonstrated Canada’s commitment to Haiti’s democratization and development. The GR Program has also been planning and managing of a wide range of activities and projects designed to ensure good governance in Haiti, improve the population’s education, and contribute to social appeasement. There is *** cooperation between the Section and the CIDA cooperation Program.

2.1.5 From February 2004 to March 2007, the Section has carried out its mandate ***. Events in the local environment have shaped the Section’s focus and resulted in the following priorities: monitoring and reporting on the domestic political situation, planning and organizing bilateral visits, and ensuring sound management of political projects and some public relations and cooperation initiatives. Despite the increase in staff in the last few years, a clear strategic focus will continue to be important.

2.2 Strategic Planning

2.2.1 The Mission first began the Country Strategy process in January 2006. Under the direction of the HOM and driven by the GR Section, the Country Strategy has been further refined and is now *** document to guide Mission operations. A reporting agreement has been drafted with the Geographic Bureau and contains priorities, lists of expected reports, and their frequency. The Mission considers this agreement to be pertinent and useful.

2.2.2 The Mission organized a retreat for CBS and *** LES in May 2006 to examine operations and provide input on the strategic planning process. The GR Section held a half-day mini-retreat in September 2006 to follow up on the larger retreat and to develop its own work plan. Although these initiatives demonstrated that there is an awareness of the need for strategic efficiency and coherence, the Mission continues to prepare two distinct strategies: DFAIT’s country strategy and CIDA’s multi-year strategy. As a result, it is essential that both departments continue to consult one another when preparing plans for Haiti. This has occurred at the Mission level, with the GR Section providing input into the development of the CIDA strategy.

2.3 Program Management and Operations

2.3.1 The Program makes *** of its human resources, which are still limited compared to the number of tasks to be accomplished. Program Officers collaborate regularly, but work independently,***. Communication within the Program is done informally, though all important reports and emails are discussed as a group and shared with staff. The HOM maintains direct dialogue with the Officers, but responsibility for their supervision (and their tasking) falls to the PM.

2.3.2 Files and responsibilities are shared within the Section. Since the Mission’s different programs distribute work similarly and their activities are complementary, coordination between officers at DFAIT and those in other government departments is functioning ***. The CIDA and GR sections share management of the CFLI, and based on discussions with staff, both groups *** with this type of collaboration on projects. At the time of the Audit, a total of 18 projects had been completed during the current fiscal year, and the budget of $200,000 was expected to be disbursed by the end of the fiscal year.

2.3.3 The Section’s travel and hospitality budgets ($4,500 and $10,000, respectively) appear modest for a group of four staff (three CBS and one LES), but reflect the insecurity in Haiti and the difficulty of moving around the regions or offering hospitality. As the situation stabilizes, these budgets will need to be re-evaluated and possibly increased.

2.3.4 In terms of its support capacity, the Program is much less equipped to handle its administrative workload, ***. Under the current circumstances, the HOM Assistant’s primary duties prevent her from completing logistical tasks related to visits management or assisting with other GR projects. As a result, these logistical tasks fall to the GR Officers and are completed only as time permits. Also, from a public affairs and cultural relations perspective, there is no capacity to create and maintain databases (contacts, events, institutions, etc.), collect press clippings or monitor websites. The Mission is fully aware of these situations and has requested an Administrative Assistant position in the Country Strategy. The Audit Team supports this request.

2.3.5 The Program, and the Mission as a whole, have good working relationships with international agencies and other missions in Port-au-Prince. Formal meetings with these organizations are supplemented with more informal communication with local civil officials, police and armed forces officers. Establishing a relationship with the Haitian population can be difficult, however, because of the security situation. To compensate, the Mission works with intermediaries, NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and international institutions with the aid of field investigations.

2.3.6 There is strong potential to advance Canada’s foreign policy objectives relating to Haiti by working with the Canadian mission in the Dominican. It is important for the two GR programs in both countries to have regular contact by participating in scheduled conference calls, sharing minutes of team meetings, adopting similar procedures for preparing reports and consulting one another regarding reports on Haiti.

2.3.7 Given the workload, relations with Headquarters are occasionally challenging to manage, but contact is regular (weekly telephone conversations with the desk officer). A number of other sections at Headquarters are involved in Haiti, especially the Peacekeeping and Peace Operations Group (IRP)/Conflict Prevention and Peace-building Group (IRC), which manages the START Program. With this Program, it seems that dialogue procedures are being established and will likely be in place once the START Officer arrives at the Mission. This will improve the information flow between key players at HQ and the Mission.

Recommendation for the Mission

2.3.8 The GR Section should develop a public diplomacy plan to engage civil society with a focus on culture, dialogue, communication, etc.

2.3.9 Once the Administrative Assistant position is approved and created, the duties should include assisting with the Section’s administrative workload.

Mission Action and Timeframe

2.3.8 There is a public diplomacy plan in place with a budget of approximately $100,000, more than half of which is provided by Haitian private sector sponsors and the Department of Culture. The remainder comes from the Mission’s Initiatives Fund. Our strategy has been executed through a program of ten activities in Port-au-Prince and in the provinces. Our public diplomacy activities have touched the lives of thousands of people and have received media coverage. These activities focussed on culture, dialogue and communication (a singing contest on the theme of integrating people with disabilities, Canadian film and jazz festivals, a Cité Soleil drawing contest for children, the publication of a book, etc.). These activities are the result of constant dialogue with civil society organizations and are organized in close cooperation with them.

2.3.9 Port-au-Prince has requested the approval of the Administrative Assistant position for a long time. Given the heavy workload, the lack of administrative support hinders the productivity and effectiveness of this Section considerably, resulting in a substantial increase in hours worked. ***, caused by the heavy workload of the only person available to continue carrying out the tasks of Social Secretary for the Head of Mission and manage a multitude of other tasks related to organizing these activities.

International Business Development Program

3.1 Overview

3.1.1 The International Business Development Program consists of one Locally- engaged Trade Commissioner (LE-09), supervised by the GR Program Manager. The LES Officer was absent during the week of the Audit, and therefore the review was limited to discussions with the PM. Canada, though an important partner of Haiti, has very little trade or economic ties with the country. Haiti is currently ranked 87th out of 90 in Canada's Commercial Interests List used to prioritize commercial markets for Canadian exports and investment and 99th (less than $30 million) as an export destination for Canadian products.

3.1.2 The security challenges in Port-au-Prince and the rest of the country make travelling to Haiti difficult and hamper visits and meetings, and, thus, trade between the two countries. Haiti also remains an economy heavily dominated by development funding and, as such, much of Canada's economic interests can best be driven through certain aspects of the work carried out by CIDA, multi-lateral agencies and international financial institutions. Therefore, while the country is a foreign policy priority, there is currently no pressing demand for a dedicated CBS Trade Commissioner resource in Port-au-Prince.

3.1.3 Given the workload and priorities of the GR Program, there has *** to management of the Trade Program. As a result, much of the Program’s support has been from HQ. The GR Program Manager will need to devote additional time to the management of the Trade Program, especially as trade opportunities will materialize in the future and the Mission is planning commercial delegation visits now that security has improved.

Recommendation for the Mission

3.1.4 More *** should be devoted to managing the IBD Section, and an action plan should be prepared.

Mission Action and Timeframe

3.1.4 Regular meetings were set up between the Manager and the Locally- engaged Trade Commissioner in order to provide closer supervision and support. A business plan was created for the 2008 2009 fiscal year.

Consular Program

4.1 Overview

4.1.1 The Consular Program is managed by the Deputy Management Consular Officer. Other staff in the Section include a Consular Officer (LE-08), a Passport Officer (LE-07), and a Consular Assistant (LE-05). While roles in the Section are clearly defined and an official communication structure exists in the form of staff meetings and through email, the work environment could be improved. ***have created an environment in which most communication is done formally in writing. This has *** diminished the amount of time available to assist the MCO with administrative functions.

4.1.2 The Section’s work consists mainly of passport processing, emergency planning, and case management. On average, the Mission handles 8 10 arrest detention cases at any particular point in time. Many of these cases deal with complex issues, such as arrests resulting from particular political affiliations and drugs. Charges are often not laid in the mandatory three-month period and detainees are not always released in timely fashion. Typically, the Mission maintains a service standard of 100% for visitations to detainees. It was noted, however, that the *** 82% ***. Activity pertaining to notarial services is low, with only 39 services provided in the past year. Both the DMCO and Consular Officer have notarial signing authority.

4.1.3 The processing of citizenship cases had been of concern (115 applications processed during the past year), and a review of the process indicated that CAMANT cases were not being opened for each citizenship application. This made follow up very difficult and resulted in unnecessary delays. The Mission took corrective action to address this weakness prior to the audit field work.

4.1.4 The Mission maintains a good network of local contacts with other Diplomatic missions and local authorities, such as the police, hospitals, and immigration. *** and the contacts they have developed during their time at the Mission are invaluable.

4.1.5 The physical work space adequately supports program requirements. All employees in the Section have individual offices and the consular booth is large and functional. There were however,***. During interviews with staff, we were informed that visitors can become impatient while waiting for clients in the booth to finish completing forms, etc. Given there are only 39 notarial services annually, it would appear that changes in the approach in dealing with these clients (e.g. giving clients forms and asking them to fill them out in the lobby) would eliminate the ***. Within the consular booth itself, there is a need to post bilingual signage for service standards and fee schedules. Client feedback forms should also be made available in the waiting area.

Recommendations for the Mission

4.1.6 Bilingual signage for service standards and fee schedules should be posted in both the consular booth and waiting area.

4.1.7 Client feedback forms should be made available to clients in the consular booth and waiting area.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

4.1.6 A bilingual sign indicating the fee schedule was prepared and posted. Service standards were prepared.

4.1.7 Client feedback forms are given to each client after services are rendered.

4.1.8 The Mission accepts only cash as a form of payment. All cash collected is received by the Passport Assistant who issues an official receipt. Proper records are kept and the DMCO exercises sufficient oversight. Official receipt books are well controlled.

4.1.9 The Section keeps two petty cashes, one with US$300 and another with 7,000 Gourdes. Both petty cashes reconciled at the time of the Audit.

4.1.10 The Consular Contingency Plan is up-to-date and has been approved by HQ. A review of the plan found a few instances where more precise information is required, ***. In a few instances, it was noted that information had not been obtainable from local sources. The Mission had not, however, inquired with like-minded Missions to determine whether they had more precise information. In a discussion with the Consular Emergency Services Division (CNE) after the field work had been performed, the Audit Team was informed that more information was on file regarding emergency response in Haiti. However, this information was not made available to the Team while conducting the field work and was not annexed to the Consular Contingency Plan or readily available if needed.

4.1.11 Maintaining the Registry of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) is very important given the local security situation. To encourage Canadians to register, the Mission advertises annually in the local newspaper, and clients are given registration forms. There are approximately 850 registrants in the ROCA, with the Canadian community estimated at 1,500 to 2,000 persons, not including those working with international organizations.

4.1.12 Maintaining contact with registrants is an ongoing challenge. Thirty warden districts have been identified, with twenty located in Port-au-Prince (three districts were empty at the time of the Audit). In Port-au-Prince, two to three districts typically have more than 50 registrants. ***, the Mission is concerned that it may not be practical to rely on wardens in the city in the event of civil unrest. Telephones are unreliable at the best of times, and it would not be feasible to ask wardens to leave their families and walk the streets to contact registrants. When such crisis situations arise, the Mission contacts these registrants directly, but may have to resort to newspapers to disseminate information should telecommunications become inoperable. An additional means of communication to be examined is text messaging, as most people have cell phones and text messaging typically remains viable even when cellular phone circuits are jammed. Outside Port-au-Prince, two wardens cannot be reached by phone and only 200 registrants have email. However, these regions are less prone to civil unrest and tend to remain more safe and secure.

Recommendations for the Mission

4.1.13 The Consular Contingency Plan should include more precise information on matters ***.

4.1.14 Any additional information should be readily available in the event of an emergency and should be annexed to the Consular Contingency Plan.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

4.1.13 The Consular Contingency Plan was finalized.

4.1.14 Information in the Consular Plan is integrated and undated on a regular basis and we consider it to be a continually evolving project.

4.1.15 The Mission processes approximately 400 passport services per year. CBS supervision of the passport function***, approving all passport services with original documentation attached. During the audit field work, a number of *** were noticed in applications passed forward to the DMCO for approval. In some cases, three to four *** per application were noted. As previously mentioned, the DMCO exercises *** oversight and *** all applications, but the prevalence of errors on applications sent to her for review is time consuming and causes delays. The DMCO should continue to review the situation in order to determine the cause *** and ultimately identify a solution. A review of the passport stock indicated no discrepancies with proper physical inventory controls in place.

Administration Program

5.1 Program Management

5.1.1 The Administration Program is managed by the MCO, who has been at the Mission ***. He is on his *** assignment as MCO, and takes an *** approach to his work. In addition to managing the Administration Section, the MCO is also the MSO and Consular Program Manager, although daily responsibilities for managing the Consular Program has been delegated to the DMCO. Between these three roles, the MCO has an extremely heavy workload, which has been further intensified by the growth in recent years. As a result, there is a need to implement a number of controls across all administrative functions befitting a mission this size.

5.1.2 In order to find the time to add the necessary controls and frameworks, the MCO will need assistance in managing the Administration Section. Oversight of the Physical Resources Section, in particular, takes up to 60% of the MCO’s time, as local contractors and suppliers are unreliable and the local infrastructure is unstable at best. In addition, the Mission has a large compound with complex systems requiring a manager with technical knowledge. It is for these reasons that consideration should be given to re-staffing the Property and Materiel Technician (AS-04) position, which had been filled while the compound was being constructed, as recommended in section 5.3 of this report.

5.1.3 Finally, the DMCO position could be used more effectively to support the MCO. The DMCO is currently dedicated to managing the Consular Program, but from interviews it was apparent that this position has the capacity to manage at least one administrative function, such as Finance or Human Resources. In addition to the assistance this would provide the MCO, it is also important for the DMCO to be exposed to all aspects of administration in a more formalized manner for her professional development.

Recommendations for the Mission

5.1.4 The DMCO should be formally assigned additional administrative responsibilities.

5.1.5 A plan should be developed to ensure the DMCO is exposed to all aspects of administration in a formalized manner.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.1.4 The DMCO took over all “Human Resources” functions, including training, performance evaluation follow-up, up-dating Mission positions, etc., as well as responsibility for Information Technology operations.

5.1.5 With the arrival of the new DMCO, a new approach was adopted to make her responsible for, and associated with, all major financial management and property management operations so that she could fully understand all Mission operations, provide further support to the MCO, and be prepared to replace the MCO during his absence.

5.2 Human Resources (HR)

5.2.1 The Administrative Assistant (LE-05) provides primary assistance to the MCO for Human Resource matters. He handles most of the routine HR work, such as tracking of leave and overtime, and filing. In recent years, there has been a lack of uniformity of processes on items such as staffing actions, with only marginal involvement of the Administration Section in actions undertaken by other programs in the Mission. That has begun to change with the current MCO, who needs to ensure that Administration is able to provide advice and guidance to managers on HR, and ensure that HR practices remain consistent throughout the Mission.

5.2.2 To ensure good and consistent HR practices, the Administrative Assistant should attend HR training at HQ. This would be an important opportunity for the incumbent to learn best practices and develop relationships with his or her counterparts in other missions. Some potential improvements to file structures were noted and include the need to create position files, improve maintenance of CBS employee files (some items that should have been on the employee files were found on other files, such as the staff quarter file), and the need to properly secure employee files containing sensitive information, such as performance appraisals and disciplinary measures. LES leave and overtime were found to be well-tracked but it is recommended that these balances be distributed to managers for verification purposes and as a management tool for planning.

Recommendations for the Mission

5.2.3 A file should be created for each position.

5.2.4 Sensitive personnel information pertaining to LESs should be kept in a secure location.

5.2.5 LES leave and overtime balances should be distributed to managers regularly.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.2.3 After the Audit Team visit, the Administration unit created position files for all Mission personnel.

5.2.4 Sensitive personnel information pertaining to LES is kept in a locked filing cabinet in the DMCO office.

5.2.5 LES leave and overtime balances have been distributed to managers on a monthly basis since March 1, 2008.

5.2.6 As previously mentioned, a review of staffing actions indicated the need for Administration to act as a coordinator on all actions. The last staffing action, for a position in the Administration Section (the hiring of a Locally Engaged Information Technology Professional (LEITP)), was found to have been conducted ***, with all documentation on file to demonstrate all phases of the staffing process (preparatory, recruitment, selection, and appointment). Other staffing actions, however, were found to be lacking in substantiation and had incomplete documentation on file. The LEITP competition should be used as the example for future staffing actions, with Administration providing the necessary guidance and serving as the coordinating unit. Staffing files should also be held by Administration, as they currently reside with the Program Manager initiating the staffing action. It was also noted that unsuccessful internal candidates had not been sent letters of rejection notifying them of their right to appeal.

Recommendations for the Mission

5.2.7 The Administration Section should play a coordinating role in all staffing actions.

5.2.8 Staffing files should be maintained with the Administration Section.

5.2.9 The letter to unsuccessful internal competition candidates should include information on their right to appeal.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.2.7 Since September 2006, the Administration Section has coordinated the majority of selection processes. The Administrative Assistant will need to attend training at Headquarters in order to understand all aspects of the position so that the Administration Section can play a greater technical role in the process. She has already been told on one occasion that she could not attend this course.

5.2.8 Staffing files are now maintained with the Administration Section.

5.2.9 The letter was modified to reflect this recommendation and was used in the last three selection processes.

5.2.10 The letter of offer template being used by the Mission is not the standard format approved by the Locally Engaged Staff Services Bureau (HLD). It is prescriptive in nature and does not always include the need to obtain a security clearance, nor reference the Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service. When extending emergency employment arrangements, the letter of offer also needs more details than the template being used by the Mission, which does not always mention the pay grade and only broadly references the previous agreement.

Recommendation for the Mission

5.2.11 HLD-approved letter of offer templates should be used by the Mission.

Mission Action and Timeframe

5.2.11 The Mission now uses the new letter of offer.

5.2.12 The Classification Committee, which has been named but has not met since the MCO’s arrival, will need to meet to review the classification of a new position being created. As some position descriptions have not been updated in a number of years, there is potential for the Committee to be very busy in the near future ensuring relativity is maintained and that the classification of these positions adheres to the classification standard.

5.2.13 The Performance Management Program (PMP) has been rolled out in all but two sections of the Mission. It is important that PMP be fully implemented. It is also recommended that position descriptions be reviewed and signed off by the manager and the employee as part of the PMP process to ensure that they are continually updated. PMP information can also be used to provide the Mission with a starting point in the development of a Mission training plan.

Recommendation for the Mission

5.2.14 PMP should be fully implemented in all Programs.

5.2.15 The Mission should develop a training plan to co-ordinate efforts, prioritize needs and identify funding requirements. The plan should be based, in part, on development needs identified in the PMP process.

Mission Action and Timeframe

5.2.14 Directives were given and the various programs established objectives for this fiscal year.

5.2.15 The process is under way, a training coordinator has been identified for the Mission and training needs have been evaluated.

5.2.16 A review of files indicated that a number of personal services contracts and emergency employment arrangements that have been ongoing for extended periods of time and do not conform with departmental policy. In total, there are eleven such arrangements, some dating back to 2001. They largely pertain to non-office positions and the MCO will approach the Geographic Bureau to regularize these positions. When a contract is signed with a company for two technicians, the individuals to be employed are mentioned by name and terms of the contract include a provision for overtime to be paid directly to the individuals outside of the terms of the contract.

Recommendation for the Mission

5.2.17 The Mission should finalize its review and approach the Geographic Bureau with a plan to eliminate or regularize the long-standing emergency employment arrangements and personal services contracts.

Mission Action and Timeframe

5.2.17 Long-term personal services contracts were terminated in September 2007 and the service providers were laid off. There are no longer any employees at the Mission with contracts longer than six months. The contract with the company must be reviewed according to the advice we will get from HLD.

5.2.18 The last approved employee Handbook is dated 2003, having been updated following a visit by HLD. Although the Handbook is dated 2003, a full benefits review has not been completed since 1996. The Mission was asked to provide comments/updates following the 2003 HLD visit, but no reply had been received to date. The updates included comments on health insurance, social security, disability severance, and workers compensation when travelling to and from the place of work. All of these issues were raised by the LES Committee with the Audit Team. The Handbook, which has been circulated to employees, is still in the old format. HLD sent part one of the new versions of the Handbook in November 2006 but it has not yet been distributed to the LES.

Recommendations for the Mission

5.2.19 The Mission should respond to HLD’s request for clarification on benefits.

5.2.20 The Employee Handbook should be updated to the newer format and distributed to all LES.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.2.19 The Mission intends to do the research with the assistance of HLD (target date: summer of 2008).

5.2.20 The Employee Handbook was distributed to employees in October 2007.

5.2.21 A comprehensive benefits review is necessary, but the composition of the current markers should be reviewed beforehand. The Mission has traditionally used three markers for their review: another embassy, an international organization and a foreign bank. Recent staffing actions have revealed difficulty in recruiting employees because of better benefits and salary packages offered by NGOs. However, these organizations are not represented in the current marker pool. HLD should work with the Mission to review the pool of markers to ensure that the Mission is properly positioned in the labour market.

Recommendation for HLD

5.2.22 HLD, in consultation with the Mission, should review the markers used for benefits survey.

HLD Action and Timeframe

5.2.22 Following the development of its strategy to review benefits and update Employee Handbooks, HLD is working on implementing the request for proposal process (DP). This handbook review process could also include a review of the markers that will be part of the review. It should be noted that the Handbook for Haiti is on the schedule for Phase II, that is, in 2009.

Mission comments: The Mission will work with HLD.

5.2.23 A review of the pay lists revealed two findings that require immediate action. First, the Mission has not been sending pay lists to HQ as per instructions. Secondly,***, but have not received the necessary waivers.

Recommendations for the Mission

5.2.24 Copies of pay lists should be sent to HLD.

5.2.25 Deductions *** who have not received the necessary waivers.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.2.24 Copies of pay lists have been sent to HLD.

5.2.25 *** deductions will be made as of April 1, 2008 in order to give the Accountant ample time to prepare (target date: summer of 2008).

5.2.26 The official language capacity of the Mission needs to be increased in certain sections. Neither the regular Receptionist nor the temporary Assistant-Receptionist speak English, and the English capacity in the Consular Section is limited.

5.2.27 An Occupational Health and Safety Committee (OHSC) is in place, and meets 3 5 times a year, with minutes taken. Annual audits are undertaken by the OHSC and the necessary reports are completed.

5.2.28 There is no Community Coordinator at the Mission. Although the Mission identified a need for a coordinator, they commented that it is difficult to find an interested candidate. The Mission Report has not been updated since 2005. An up-to-date Mission Report is particularly important in a Mission with such distinct and difficult environmental challenges.

Recommendation for the Mission

5.2.29 The Mission Report should be updated.

Mission Action and Timeframe

5.2.29 Completed. The Mission Report has been updated.

5.3 Physical Resources

5.3.1 The MCO is responsible for the management of properties and materiel. The MCO is currently assisted by the Assistant Chief of Property and Materiel (LE-06), who has been acting as Chief of Property and Materiel (LE-07) since January 2006. The organization chart also shows a vacant position for the CBS position of Property and Materiel Technician (AS-04). This latter position was staffed during the construction of the Chancery in 2003 and for a period of time thereafter to train LES on maintaining the cooling, ventilation, electrical and water purification systems.

5.3.2 Currently the MCO spends at least 60% of his time on property and materiel management, leaving insufficient time to *** manage his other responsibilities, such as security, finance, information technology and visits. Without additional capacity, it will be impossible for the Mission to implement the level of supervision and control to properly maintain the Chancery, staff quarters (SQ), vehicles, generators and to ensure that value-for-money is achieved when spending funds.

5.3.3 The lack of sufficient supervision and control was noted in the following areas:

Control Over Fuel
  • The Mission spends $1.2 million on fuel annually with little control over usage. There are two large fuel tanks on the compound, one for vehicles and the other for the Chancery generators. The access to fill these tanks is not locked and there are no procedures in place to verify the quantity of fuel delivered and consumed.
  • SQ generators often run seven to eight hours a day or more. A contractor is responsible for delivering fuel to all SQ generators on an ongoing basis. Currently, the Mission is not able to verify whether the quantity of fuel delivered is the same as the quantity billed. Also, fuel consumption is not recorded in order to ensure an appropriate control of fuel purchased.
  • The Mission is in the process of purchasing fuel metres for each generator in order to monitor the consumption of fuel in order to verify the amount of fuel billed by the contractor. It was noted that appropriate records are kept to ensure proper maintenance of each generator.
  • The Chief of Property and Materiel had not received *** operating reports for the last fiscal year. While the Head Driver responsible for the preparation of these reports had partially completed them, the reports do not calculate miles or kilometres per gallon. This analysis is needed to monitor vehicle performance and to ensure an appropriate control of fuel purchased.
Maintenance Activities
  • Several CBSs complained that LES maintenance staff showed up at their SQs without notice to perform work that had not been requested or that work requested remained uncompleted without status reports from the Property Section. Others reported that work done was of poor quality.
  • The current Mission Property Management Plan (MPMP) had not been approved by the HOM. ***.
Inventory and Purchases
  • At the time of the Audit, the Mission was in the process of completing occupancy agreements and distribution accounts and had just completed the inventory of items in storage. The Mission converted part of the Chancery garage to a storage area. However, *** there an effective control over the movement of items. The Audit Team noted a large surplus of new mattresses purchased in the past few years for which there appears to be no immediate need.
  • Items bought locally for maintenance purposes are not always related to specific work orders and projects, thus making it difficult to justify their purchase. These excess items are kept in storage for future need, however, there is little or no tracking of their use.

5.3.4 The Mission’s property portfolio includes a new Chancery and compound with a club, tennis court and swimming pool (completed in 2003), 17 SQs, a pool of 14 vehicles, including two armoured vehicles (AVs), as well as generators for the Chancery and SQs. In the near future, the Mission expects the CBS contingent to grow by at least two additional positions and two additional AVs have been ordered, thus adding to the Section’s maintenance workload. Office space in the Chancery is already at a premium and some renovations will be required.

5.3.5 As outlined in section 1.1.2 of this report, the current OR is not adequate for a Mission of this importance and should be replaced. However, a review of SQs indicated a surprisingly impressive portfolio, particularly given the difficult local conditions. Suitable housing is limited and sourcing SQs that satisfy the need for quality housing *** is difficult. As a result, the Mission often needs to acquire housing that is much larger than departmental guidelines, and the current housing portfolio is, for the most part, significantly oversized. With limited local options, and the growing international community further increasing the competition for suitable housing options, the Mission will need to monitor the local market closely. This task is difficult given the current staffing deficiencies outlined above. The rationale for over-housing should be documented and reviewed on a regular basis with the objective of bringing the Mission’s SQ portfolio in-line with departmental guidelines as the availability of housing in Port-au-Prince improves.

5.3.6 SQ maintenance is a labour-intensive process and landlords often do not fulfill their obligations, resulting in the Mission interceding and paying for repairs. While this is understandable to some extent, the Mission has alleviated the landlords’ responsibility to effect repairs. It is essential that the Mission make every effort to ensure that landlords comply with the lease obligations. In the event that they do not, the Mission should find ways to recover funds spent, possibly by deducting maintenance expenses from future lease payments. It will be important that all future leases contain such recovery clauses to allow the Mission to effectively manage this issue. Once again, if there was a CBS dedicated to this function to rigorously follow-up with landlords, significant maintenance cost savings could be possible.

Recommendations for the Mission

5.3.7 The Mission should submit a business case to staff the AS-04 Property and Materiel Technician position. Ideally, the position should be staffed by a CBS employee with experience and knowledge in maintaining large buildings, complex ventilation, cooling and water systems, supervising technical staff and dealing with contractors in a difficult environment.

5.3.8 The Mission should implement procedures to ensure an appropriate level of control over fuel purchased and consumed by vehicles and generators.

5.3.9 Vehicle operating reports should be completed, include mileage calculations and be submitted for review by the Chief of Property and Materiel on a monthly basis. The MCO should also conduct period spot checks.

5.3.10 The Mission should implement appropriate controls to protect items in storage and to maintain an up-to-date inventory of these items.

5.3.11 The Mission should to develop a process for authorizing purchases for maintenance requests. Stock items should be inventoried as appropriate.

5.3.12 The Mission should implement procedures to ensure that distribution accounts and occupancy agreements are completed on time.

5.3.13 The Mission should establish procedures within its work-order system to improve the scheduling of work and allow for follow-up with clients.

5.3.14 The Mission should document the rationale for over-housing and be reviewed by the Housing Committee on a regular basis and approved by the CMM.

5.3.15 The Chief of Property and Materiel should be provided with training on Prime/MPMP and other areas of property management.

5.3.16 The Mission should find ways to recover maintenance expenses that are the responsibility of the landlord, possibly by deducting maintenance expenses from future lease payments. Future leases should also contain a recovery clause to allow the Mission to effectively manage this issue.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.3.7 The Mission requested a Building Technician for the Port-au-Prince Embassy in August 2006. This request was not approved until 2007, after a document called “the Country Strategy” was created. The Mission hired the spouse of an incumbent CBS who had a great deal of experience in the field, although he was not a specialist in buildings. The Director of Placement and Common Pool Management (HFP) proposed a candidate for the summer of 2008.

5.3.8 Delivery of fuel by suppliers in LPs is now made on set dates, following a request by the Mission, allowing the quantity of diesel delivered to be controlled. A register is maintained so that the rate of fuel consumption in the LPs can be evaluated every two weeks.

5.3.9 ***, the interim incumbent immediately undertook various evaluations as required in the recommendation. The MCO checks these reports every two months, as required in the recommendation.

5.3.10 The Mission is currently fitting up the warehouse (purchase of shelves, reorganisation, etc.). This reorganisation is necessary before completely implementing the recommendation (target date: summer of 2008).

5.3.11 See response for 5.3.10.

5.3.12 Completed April 22, 2008.

5.3.13 Since the arrival of the Properties Manager in August 2007, a “system of request for service” has been put in place. As per the recommendation, this system was put in place to better structure and control the Technicians’ work and to create a form that would allow the Technicians to advise clients on the nature of the work completed or the reasons or time needed to complete the work. The note written by the Technician who performed the work allows the person who requested the service to forward the document to the MCO so that the work can be quality controlled.

5.3.14 A draft document was prepared to justify the purchase of non-standard living quarters and presented to the Housing Committee.

5.3.15 This course is now mandatory. It has already been taken by the Clerk and the Property and Materiels Manager.

5.3.16 Since September 2006, the Mission has asked the owners to contribute. The Mission has taken measures in certain cases to recuperate expenses generated by breakages.

5.4 Finance

5.4.1 The MCO is responsible for managing the Mission’s budget. He is assisted by the DMCO and by two *** LES accountants. A good segregation of duties exists between the MCO, DMCO and the two accountants, and the expected level of control is in place for payment processing. Recently, the MCO was informed of the need to complete online training in order to maintain his financial signing authorities. *** Approval of payments under Section 34 of the FAA for expenses related to the Administration Program is now performed by another Program Manager, with the DMCO signing under Section 33. Subsequent to the Audit, the MCO completed the required training and the signing authorities were restored.

5.4.2 The MCO needs to devote more time to budget planning and forecasting or transfer this duty to the DMCO. While the MCO indicated that he follows the finance function closely, he lacks the time and *** to properly forecast expenditures. In December 2006, the Mission returned $250,000 in anticipated surplus funds. However, by February 2007, there was a forecasted deficit of $200,000. This situation was in part due to the lack of adequate resources in Administration, coupled with the MCO’s recent arrival and a need for greater synergy between the MCO, DMCO and the two accountants. ***. This situation could be alleviated by transferring more financial responsibilities to the DMCO and by staffing the CBS Property and Materiel Technician position, thus leaving more time to the MCO for analysis and planning, as well as other responsibilities. These steps will not, however, *** to monitor and control the finance function and, as *** required.

Recommendations for the Mission

5.4.3 The MCO should undertake the necessary training to develop a sound understanding and knowledge base of departmental systems and processes to facilitate effective control of the finance function.

5.4.4 The transfer of more financial responsibilities to the DMCO should be considered to improve budget analysis and forecasting.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.4.3 Discussions between the MCO and those responsible for finance at Headquarters have indicated that the MCO did not need any training, as the financial situation in Port-au-Prince is under control.

5.4.4 The DMCO has been given other responsibilities in addition to finance to help distribute the workload fairly. However, although he is not in charge of the Mission’s finances, the DMCO is involved in decisions and follow-up regarding the Mission’s financial processes.

5.4.5 The Contract Review Board (CRB) meets electronically with members but does not always see all of the submissions for each contract. While these are available, they are rarely requested as there is a tendency to use the same suppliers. The rationale for the selection of a contractor is not always recorded and minutes of meetings are not formally kept.

Recommendation for the Mission

5.4.6 The Contract Review Board should see all relevant documentation before making a decision. The CRB should ensure that the rational for the selection of each contractor is recorded and that minutes of decisions are documented and retained.

Mission Action and Timeframe

5.4.6 The Mission completely agrees with this recommendation and will do everything it can to implement the elements to better manage this issue. The DMCO has taken charge of this file and efforts are being made to send her to Ottawa to get the training needed, given the delicate nature of this file (target date: summer of 2008).

5.4.7 The Mission has a number of security deposits that should be written off. These have been researched by the Mission and correspondence has been exchanged with Headquarters on this issue. The Mission could not locate documentation relating to security deposits for SQs no longer leased and have advised HQ accordingly.

5.4.8 *** had not been regularly reviewing and clearing the payroll deduction accounts and other assets and liability accounts. This review and clearing is a necessary procedure in IMS in order to eliminate the exchange differences between the entry and settlement dates.

Recommendation for the Mission

5.4.9 Balances in the asset and liability accounts should be analyzed on a monthly basis and submitted to the MCO for review.

Mission Action and Timeframe

5.4.9 The balances in the assets and liabilities accounts are now being analyzed every month and presented to the MCO for review.

5.5 Information Technology (IT)

5.5.1 The Mission has an on-site Foreign Service Information Technology Professional (FSITP), who also covers Santo Domingo. The FSITP is new to the Mission,***In the last year, the Mission has also staffed an LEITP position, which they hope will have two important impacts. First, the number of users has been steadily increasing, and demand to ensure that *** communications remain functional has been increasing with the rising profile of the Mission. Secondly, the demands of serving Santo Domingo have also increased, as that mission continues to grow in size and program activity. While the LEITP is not responsible for Santo Domingo, his presence at the Mission will alleviate the FSITP’s need to deal with a number of user-related requests. As a result, the FSITP will have more time to dedicate to Santo Domingo and his *** communications responsibilities. By all accounts, the new staffing levels are having a *** impact, with both missions ***.


* If you require a plug-in or a third-party software to view this file, please visit the alternative formats section of our help page.

Footer

Date Modified:
2012-12-28