An Inspection of the General Relations (GR), International Business Development (IBD), Consular and Administrative Programs was conducted in Santiago between June 18 and 25, 2008. The Mission was previously audited in 2000.
The Canadian Embassy in Santiago is a medium sized mission with ten Canada-based staff (CBS) and 31 Locally-engaged staff (LES). The Mission also provides administrative services to the Citizenship and Immigration Canada Program (CIC) and the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) Regional Manager. Overall the Mission is operating well.
The GR Program is well managed, with priorities and reporting that flow from the Country Strategy objectives. The Program would benefit from greater definition of roles and responsibilities in relation to the IBD and CIC programs, as well as improving the use of the Mission website to address frequently asked questions. Consideration should be given by the Geographic Strategy Services (GLD) once more to the business case made by the Mission for additional permanent administrative resources for the Program.
The IBD Program is *** managed and is providing a good level of service to its clients. There is a need for the Program to ensure that hospitality diaries have sufficient management information, and that Business Management Agreements are used when planning initiatives. Further, the Program ought to examine the distribution of both human and financial resources to improve outreach activities and ensure that the needs of the Program are being met.
The Consular Program benefits from having two *** Consular Officers, and has implemented a best practice of maintaining a portable emergency consular kit for rapid reaction to incidents. Locally-engaged Consular staff, and Honorary Consuls would benefit from refresher training to address changes to rules and regulations.
The Administration Program is managed by the Management Consular Officer (MCO), and delivers essential services to the rest of the Mission. It was noted that morale at the Mission has been affected by *** .As a result, there has been a lack of awareness of policies and procedures. As well, it was observed that there has been a haphazard approach to workflow management and a lack of consultation on budget planning with other programs which could be addressed through constructive dialogue and information sharing between Administration and other programs.
A total of 70 inspection recommendations are raised in the report; 66 are addressed to the Mission and four 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 70 recommendations, management has stated that 49 recommendations have been implemented. For each of the remaining 21 recommendations, management has indicated the initiatives in progress or the intended future action.
1.1.1 The Embassy in Santiago is a medium sized Mission with ten Canada-based Staff (CBS) and 31 Locally-engaged Staff (LES). While most Programs are considered to be well managed, there is insufficient communication of policies and procedures within the Embassy.
1.1.2 The methodology regarding LES salary and benefits surveys is not clear to staff as it has not been adequately communicated to the LES. ***. The Mission should request the Locally Engaged Staff Services Bureau (HLD) to provide a clear explanation regarding the process and forward this on to the LES community.
1.1.3 There is an active LES Committee in place. Morale is considered to be good. However,*** , the Inspection Team was advised that communication of policies and procedures is lacking. In particular, changes or updates in policies are not provided and staff are subsequently not aware of proper procedures - i.e. use of drivers, overtime (O/T), etc. ***. Many of the issues which fuel these concerns involve a lack of communication within the Mission, particularly from the Administration Program.
1.1.4 The Mission should request HLD to provide a clear and detailed explanation regarding the process for salary and benefits surveys and forward this on to the LES community.
1.1.5 Once the Committee on Mission Management (CMM) has approved changes to existing policies or has approved new policies and procedures, these should be communicated to all staff through general staff messages.
1.1.4 The 2008 Salary and Benefits Survey was completed in September 2008. The LES Committee was consulted on how to communicate the results to the LES. The LES were informed of the methodology in a clear and detailed message dated September 3, 2008. Implemented.
1.1.5 All staff will be informed of all policy and procedures changes through Administrative notices. Implemented.
1.1.6 The Mission has an appropriate committee structure in place that consists of the following: CMM, Contract Review Board (CRB), Classification, Housing, Occupational Health and Safety, LES (noted above), and Partner Committee (GR and IBD).
1.1.7 The Housing Committee is not seen to be transparent when allocating staff quarters (SQs). Rationale for decisions being recommended to the Head of Mission (HOM) for approval should be clear and should be shared with affected employees - in particular when employees are requested to relocate during their assignment.
1.1.8 Mission contracting procedures need to be reviewed in order to enhance controls and processes. Specific recommendations are made in section 5.3 of this report.
1.1.9 The Mission should ensure that decisions involving Housing Committee recommendations are clearly articulated, transparent, and communicated to all affected staff.
1.1.9 The Housing Committee has been meeting regularly to discuss housing issues and make recommendations to the HOM. Minutes of meetings were written and are kept on our information management (IM) software (InfoBank). All recommendations to the HOM were done in writing and articulated the rationale for recommendations made by the Committee. These are also kept on InfoBank. In all decisions, the officer concerned was consulted and kept informed of the Committee's work and decisions. The Mission will continue to do so. The Mission will strive to be as transparent as possible in our dealings, making sure that the interests of the officers and those of the Government of Canada are taken into consideration. Implemented
2.1.1 The Program is managed by an FS-04 (in an EX-01 position) and is supported by a Canada-based FS-01 and two LES. The Program relies on administrative support through a local internship program (one intern every three months) and emergency contracts. The Program mandate is closely linked to the objectives of the Country Strategy, particularly with regards to the strengthening of the bilateral relationship and the increased cooperation in higher education.
2.1.2 The Program Manager provides leadership for the Section. Expectations are clear and each member of the Section has a formal definition of roles and responsibilities. Each project is well defined and clearly shows its links with the Country Strategy objectives. There is *** communication between supervisor and staff, and good working relations among the Section staff. There is also good cooperation with other sections of the Mission, and with other missions in the region for certain specific public diplomacy (PD) projects.
2.1.3 The Program Manager holds regular Section meetings to relay information from the CMM and to discuss upcoming events. However, there are no records of these meetings.
2.1.4 Minutes of Section meetings should be kept on file for future reference to ensure follow up on decisions and allow reference to previous agenda items.
2.1.4 When the GR Section has an Assistant (contract for now, eventually permanent) minutes will be taken and filed for future reference. Implemented.
2.2.1 The Section is very active in the preparation of reports. The Program Manager works closely with the Political Officer to discuss, review and approve all the political/economic reports generated by the Section. More than 80 reports were prepared by the Embassy in the last year, in line with the reporting agreement submitted to HQ. In order to raise the profile of the activities of the Mission, the Program Manager prepares Departmental Intranet news messages regularly throughout the year.
2.3.1 The Public Affairs Officer (PAO) has adapted *** to the recent change in the mandate of the Section. Originally hired as a cultural officer,*** is now a Public Affairs Officer whose role is to advance Canadian interests in the areas defined in the Country Strategy. In addition, the PAO has provided media support to other programs at the Embassy, especially on the occasion of high-level visits (these included a visit by the Prime Minister), three ministerial delegations and other senior government officials for a total of 43 visits in the last year.
2.3.2 A lack of advanced notice of events and visits has affected the ability of the PAO to provide *** assistance to the Mission. Mission-wide coordination and advanced planning of events would help her provide *** service to other programs at the Mission regarding media issues.
2.3.3 The CMM should develop a communications plan, based upon country strategy objectives, that will integrate all Mission program needs and can be updated throughout the year.
2.3.3 The GR Program has a public affairs plan, which includes Mission-wide communications elements but the Public Affairs Officer will now attend the IBD Section staff meetings in order to maximize the exchange of information and to be able to collaborate on the preparation of communication tools when appropriate. All program managers will inform CMM of their upcoming events in advance so that communications, when appropriate, can be discussed. Implemented.
2.4.1 A budget of $30,000 is managed by the GR Section and is often supplemented by other sources of funding. This budget had been allocated last year to 12 projects which aimed at branding Canada in Chile and the region. Projects included activities on Francophonie and Aboriginal issues, the promotion of education in Canada, and the encouragement of cooperation in the areas of justice and defence. The projects are well documented with clear descriptions and results measurements. They are also closely aligned with the objectives of the Country Strategy and the Americas Strategy.
2.5.1 Education is a very active file in Santiago as education is high on the agenda of the Chilean government. It was recently announced that one thousand new education grants for Chilean students who want to study abroad would be provided. The LES Research Assistant offers regular monthly information sessions called "understanding Canada" for potential students who may receive grants to study in Canada. She is also busy providing information to individual Chilean students contemplating studies in Canada as well as information on tourism.
2.5.2 The Mission could optimize its use of the website as a tool for information. A section on "frequently asked questions" in the area of education could be included on the site to reduce the workload of the LES Research Assistant in this regard.
2.5.3 The education file is shared between the GR Program for education support and the IBD Program for education marketing. There is *** cooperation between the programs; this was demonstrated in the Canadian participation in" Exposition Inglese" to attract Chilean students to Canada. However, there could be more clarification of roles and responsibilities between the two programs.
2.5.4 The responsibility for a new Youth Mobility Program has just been assigned to the Mission without accompanying guidelines or additional resources. The Public Diplomacy Bureau (PCD) has since provided initial resources to start the program, but there is still a need for guidelines on the implementation of the program.
2.5.5 The Mission should, with support from the Webmaster in HQ, further develop its website as a tool to provide information about education opportunities in Canada.
2.5.6 The Mission should clarify each program's role and accountabilities as well as the level of cooperation expected between education support and education marketing.
2.5.7 The Mission should consult with HQ to clarify the roles and responsibilities for the Youth Mobility Program between the GR and CIC Programs, and request guidelines for implementation.
2.5.5 Since the inspectors visit, the Program has developed and proposed to HQ a new section dealing with the Youth Mobility Program. The information now appears on our web page as well as further information on scholarships and success stories from Chilean students in Canada. The Program will continue to work with HQ in enhancing education-related material on the Mission website, including frequently-asked questions. In progress for November 2008.
2.5.6 The GR and IBD sections have already agreed to meet and redefine each program's role on this issue after the new IBD officer responsible for education marketing has arrived at post and settled. Some meetings with IBD have already taken place. Implemented. Reclassification (and new job description) of the GR Education employee has also been reviewed and approved by the Mission Classification Committee. Decision is pending at HQ.
2.5.7 The Mission has consulted HQ and CIC at post to clarify roles and responsibilities for the Youth Mobility Program. Basic information was provided and, as this program is the first one in the Americas, we have worked to develop the guidelines and put in place a procedure. Implemented.
The Mission will continue to work closely with HQ and CIC at post in order to process the applications and to answer the challenges that a new program presents, particularly as the lessons learned may be useful during the roll-out of similar youth mobility programs in other countries in the region. DFAIT and CIC in Ottawa should undertake discussions to see if the program should eventually be managed entirely by CIC.
2.6.1 The Canada Fund for Local Initiative (CFLI) is *** managed. For fiscal year 2007/2008, 33 project proposals were submitted, and seven were chosen by a committee composed of representatives of the three main programs: GR, IBD and Consular. The projects were chosen to reflect Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) priority areas. They focus on governance, children/education and health/nutrition. The supporting documentation includes criteria of selection, descriptions of projects selected, and detailed budget for each project. An annual report was prepared for fiscal year 2006-2007 and the fiscal year 2007-2008 report should be completed in early August 2008.
2.7.1 All members of the Program have an extensive network of contacts, however, contact lists are not kept up to date, nor are they entered with the appropriate amount of information. There is a need for continuity in the administrative support area in order to keep files and contact lists updated, answer routine requests, provide logistical support to the Program, provide administrative help to the Military Assistance Training Program (MTAP) and the CFLI. ***, the Mission needs the appropriate level of resources to be able to fulfill its mandate.
2.7.2 The Mission should re-submit the business case for additional permanent administrative resources to HQ for the GR Program.
2.7.2 On August 29, 2008, the Mission resent a request referring to past requests and rationales regarding this position and highlighting the urgent need for the designation of a permanent GR assistant position. Implemented.
The Mission is waiting for the process to take its course in HQ. Meanwhile, the Mission is filling the gap using contractors or emergency employment when possible. However, funding remains a problem and continuity must be ensured while we wait for a permanent position in order for the Program to operate efficiently. It is unknown when a final decision will be taken.
3.1.1 The IBD Program is effectively managed, with planning based upon environmental scans and HQ priorities. The Program is managed by an EX-01 Senior Trade Commissioner (STC), and comprises an FS-02 Trade Commissioner (TC), an FS-01 TC, four LE-09 TCs, and three LE-05 Trade Commissioner Assistants (TCA).
3.2.1 The STC tracks the internal allocation of resource utilization with a spreadsheet that is updated with projects, events and travel. The IBD Program performs quarterly reviews of the IBD plan to assess the path it is following and whether or not revision and reallocation of resources is required.
3.2.2 Through weekly staff meetings and consultation, clear lines of communication and a transparent work environment have been established within the IBD Program.
3.2.3 Hospitality diaries were not consistently completed with sufficient information to link back to the IBD priorities, and assess the value of the activity or the contact. Diaries should to have an explicit link back to the individual work plans and the priorities, and should provide indicators such as number of key contacts or specific results, so that others may use the diaries to gauge the results of trade/investment related hospitality events and make well informed decisions as to the utility of future initiatives.
3.2.4 It was noted that the Client Services Fund (CSF) of $35,000 is complemented with significant financial contributions from other government departments (OGDs), provinces, regional offices and companies, which often increases total annual trade-related budgets three fold. What was seen to be significant is that the Program does not need to spend a significant amount of effort "fund raising" as partners readily see the value of joint activities and contribute.
3.2.5 The Program has an annual travel budget of $10,000 for use by ten staff members. This appears insufficient to meet their needs. Use of leveraged funds and the CSF has allowed the Program to undertake more travel than the funds earmarked in the budget would permit. However, these funds have specific restrictions which may not allow for outreach within the region, or in Canada. The limited level of funding for travel often does not allow staff to use business class travel for trips longer than nine hours which Treasury Board guidelines would permit.
3.2.6 Priority sectors are well defined with each officer handling one priority sector. It was also noted that a significant number of visits from Canada, such as trade missions and ministerial visits, impact the IBD Program ***. While they can be a challenge to the Program, they have been integrated to the extent possible in program objectives.
3.2.7 The IBD Program makes use of a pool system of TCAs to provide support to the TCs, according to the availability of the assistants. While this allows for maximal usage of resources, it also reduces the ability of the trade assistants to gain sector specific expertise and develop contacts. The Program's InfoCentre works well and is able to respond to and track client inquiries.
3.2.8 The IBD Program was not making effective use of the Mission's media relations resources, due to a reluctance to engage media in promotion of trade for risk of running afoul of media relations guidelines. ***, the Public Affairs Officer had ceased to be invited to the IBD Program's weekly management meeting, and therefore was not able to provide advice and support to the IBD Program in a timely and effective manner. It was noted, however, that in light of numerous high level visits from Canada, the IBD Program was getting its fair share of media exposure.
3.2.9 The STC indicated that the Public Affairs Officer is now invited to the weekly meetings, so that the individual can become aware of the events that may require their expertise.
3.2.10 The IBD Program should ensure that diaries provide sufficient information to assess the usefulness of such hospitality events.
3.2.11 The Mission should re-evaluate the distribution of funds within the Mission budget, and where necessary and possible re-allocate funds within the budget to improve outreach.
3.2.12 The IBD Program should assess whether the method of allocation of TCAs continues to meet the needs of the Program, or if a sector based allocation is suitable.
3.2.10 All officers have revised their hospitality diaries for the last quarter and have included more detailed information on the use of hospitality funds. Implemented.
3.2.11 The IBD Section's travel budget will be increased by 50% to $15,000. Implemented.
This significant increase will unlikely address the issue of providing business class travel in accordance with Treasury Board guidelines (a Santiago-Toronto business class ticket is at least $5,000).
3.2.12 The IBD team has addressed this issue as a group and felt that going to a sector approach would reduce the flexibility of assigning tasks to TCAs. It had been structured that way before and was changed to a non-sector approach which seems more efficient and more balanced. Nevertheless, each assistant does have some degree of sector specialization from their experience in the Mission and the previous model. Implemented.
3.3.1 For the first time, an EDC Country Program has been staffed with an LES employee instead of a CBS employee. This EDC Officer functionally reports to the EDC Regional Vice President co-located at the Canadian Consulate General in Sao Paulo, and administratively to the Santiago STC. EDC's in-country business development complements the trade promotion activities of the IBD Program.
3.3.2 Business Mission Agreements (BMA) are not in use with OGDs, provinces, partners and industry associations when planning events. The IBD Program makes use of letters of agreement which are developed in the spirit of the BMA templates. The IBD Program attempts to ensure that exposure to risk is minimized by basing letters on ones previously used. However this practice could result in exposure due to errors or omissions in letters being replicated in future agreements.
3.3.3 The IBD Program should make use of the BMA when planning initiatives.
3.3.3 The Program believes that the BMA, while it is a good guide to organizing events, in practice it is too cumbersome to use and it sometimes irritates our clients when it is proposed to them. Most of the time, it is the partners who put up most of the resources (funds) in the initiatives and our tasking them with the BMA is seen as bureaucratic. The Program will continue to use the first part of the BMA as a guide and, when the client is the main contributor, continue to use a more simple yet less cumbersome exchange of letter.
3.4.1 The STC has ensured that all TCs have the mobility tools necessary for them to operate efficiently. The issuance of mobile devices to the TCs not only allows them to maintain contact with the office and respond to client requests in a timely manner, but also serves as an advertisement of Canadian strength in Science and Technology (S T), which the Santiago IBD Program has indicated is an emerging priority.
3.4.2 The IBD Program makes use of all Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) promotional tools such as InfoExport, Virtual Trade Commissioner, CanadExport, and International Business Opportunities Centre (IBOC). The Program however, prefers to use existing networks of contacts in Canada (such as OGDs, regional offices, provincial governments and industry) as a way to identify potential Canadian suppliers and partners, promptly and accurately. Other TCS information management tools such as the Post Support Unit are also being used.
3.4.3 The TRIO application was implemented in Santiago in November of 2007, and has been a challenge to the Program, as the data import was difficult, requiring additional work, and resulted in a delay between training and use of the system, reducing the staff's familiarity with it. Officers have been working on identifying best practices for efficiency with the system. However, it was noted that some TCs have indicated that they have delegated some TRIO input to the assistants. While this does free up the TC to undertake more promotional activities, it does not allow them to increase their familiarity with the system.
3.4.4 Officers have identified a lack of bandwidth as an issue affecting TRIO performance in that queries are made against a central database, located outside of the region, via the Internet. The Foreign Service Informatics Technology Professional (FSITP) located in Buenos Aires has indicated that while bandwidth has not been raised as an issue to him, an optimization system is being put in place at the Mission which will allow the Mission to account for bandwidth usage.
3.4.5 The creation of a contact in TRIO is considered to be cumbersome, and thus their creation is not considered a priority, resulting in backlogs of data that must be entered into the system. The use of business card optical scanners, as used by the IBD program in Buenos Aires, could improve the efficiency of the input of contact information.
3.4.6 The IBD Program makes ***use of *** IM software (Inforbank) to do activity tracking and annual reporting of program delivery through the use of keyword filters. These filters are applied according to an established naming convention in order to address perceived shortcomings in the TRIO application.
3.4.7 The Program is currently running Infobank and TRIO in parallel with no plans to eliminate the duplication, as the *** that TRIO does not provide sufficient reporting capabilities.
3.4.8 The IBD staff are well trained in the core skills required for their duties, all having received the Global Learning Initiative (GLI) training. A number of the LES have received training in Canada, and all have received training on the TRIO system.
3.4.9 The Program should consider using optical card scanners to input contact information, and liaise with other regional counterparts to share best practices.
3.4.10 The Program should examine how best to eliminate duplicate input and work toward increasing the level of tracking through TRIO.
3.4.9 The Program spoke to Buenos Aires about this issue and the IBD Section has purchased an optical card scanner. Implemented.
3.4.10 To clarify the Section's use of Infobank, it is a tool to manage and file documents while TRIO is a client management system. There is a duplication in the sense that when staff delivers a written service to a client, the message is saved in both Infobank and TRIO. This requires very little time and does not affect our workload and performance. The Section will then continue to double save. Implemented.
4.1.1 The Consular Section's day-to-day operations are overseen by the Deputy Management Consular Officer (DMCO), with the MCO and HOM involved in higher profile cases as required.
4.1.2 The Section benefits from having two *** Consular Officers. Workload is delegated in a reasonable and effective manner. ***.
4.2.1 Given the propensity for natural disasters and the recent experience of a tour ship accident, the Section has established a best practice of having an emergency kit, contained in a suitcase, that has all the tools required to react and deploy immediately should a situation materialize.
4.2.2 The DMCO's hospitality activities are limited to attending local Consular Corps meetings. ***.
4.2.3 There are two Honorary Consuls (HonCons) in place in Chile, one in Antofagasta and one in Conception. There is a steady amount of consular work in these areas, though no emergency passports have been issued by the HonCons in some time. They are more involved in varying degrees in IBD activities than Consular work. Both the HonCons and the Consular Section are pleased with the nature and level of interaction between themselves. Mission staff have regularly visited the HonCons, who are seen to be *** engaged in their activities.
4.2.4 The Consular Section has weekly meetings for which a brief agenda is circulated by email although no minutes are kept (as a means by which decisions are recorded and can be referenced in the future).
4.2.5 The Mission's two dry seals ***.
4.2.6 There was conflicting information as to whether Consular revenues were being given regularly to the Finance Section weekly. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, this procedure should be followed. With the institution of quiet hours in the Finance Section,***.
4.2.7 The MCO should formally allocate a portion of the Program's hospitality budget to the DMCO to allow for Consular contact building and maintenance.
4.2.8 An agenda and minutes should be developed for the weekly Consular Section meetings.
4.2.7 A portion of the MCO hospitality has been allocated to the DMCO. Implemented.
4.2.8 Weekly meetings will carry an agenda and minutes. Implemented.
4.2.9 ***. Implemented.
4.2.10 ***. Implemented.
4.3.1 An issue with respect to the COSMOS Consular Case Management Database statistics was noted by HQ. There were 301 arrest cases entered in the database. The DMCO indicated that this was likely due to the number of hours being entered into the frequency field instead of actual case numbers.
4.3.2 COSMOS statistics regarding case management should be reviewed and corrected.
4.3.2 Correction has been made. Implemented.
4.4.2 The passport inventory was examined and reconciled against *** information. While the inventory was all accounted for, ***.
4.4.3 The Mission, at the time of inspection, had an ***. It is recommended that the working stock being provided to the Consular Officers be re-evaluated to ensure that there is an appropriate amount ***.
4.4.5 An in-house system for the ***.
4.4.6 *** of the Embassy should be re-evaluated for appropriateness.
4.4.5 An in-house application has been instituted ***.
4.4.6 The new in-house application will allow us to *** required for the daily operations.
4.5.1 ***. This is an issue that has been raised by other missions with seasoned Consular staff. The number and complexity of cases being managed by Consular staff has been increasing in recent years. Therefore, HQ should provide regional refresher training for Consular staff who have not received training recently.
4.5.2 CND should develop a plan of action to deal with the need for refresher training.
4.5.2 The development of refresher training for consular staff is part of our action plan for fiscal year 2009/2010. CBS as well as LES who have been working in the field for many years need to update their knowledge/skills. Starting January 2009, a consultant will develop a plan "Consular Services and Emergency Management Training Initiative" that will include specific refresher training. We will be collecting suggestions/recommendations from a variety of staff from Emergency Response Centre Division (CEC), Case Management (CNO), Consular Informatics Division (CLC), Consular Client Services Division (CLS), Policy and Contingency Planning Division (CEP), and more. Several workshops such as, Dealing with Post Trauma situations, CAMANT note writing, etc. will be developed. They will be similar to the current Torture Awareness Workshop.
5.1.1 The Administration Program is managed by the MCO (AS-06) who is assisted by the DMCO (AS-04) and eight LES. The MCO and DMCO act as the Mission Security Officer (MSO) and Deputy MSO (DMSO) respectively.
5.1.2 Regular Administration Program meetings are not held, nor are there regularly scheduled meetings between the MCO and DMCO. ***
5.1.3 Communication within the Program would also increase accordingly, allowing staff to participate in decisions and be more aware of operational issues.
5.1.4 The Mission has developed arrival and departure checklists for CBS employees and families. While this is a good practice, it was noted, however, that the MCO and the Property Manager had been absent from the office at the same time during the relocation season, without suitable replacements having been identified.
5.1.5 An LE-07 Consular Officer is presently responsible for the sorting and verification of the monthly telephone invoices for the Chancery, Official Residence (OR), and cellular/mobility device charges. This activity is not a typical duty for a Consular Officer (which often takes two days per month to complete) and results in an average reimbursement of $10. As this activity is considered to be more administrative in nature, it should be undertaken by a member of the Administration staff (Receptionist or Assistant Accountant). The Mission should also consider the value in continuing with the full verification process, particularly the requirement to verify local telephone charges.
5.1.6 During the Inspection, it was found that LES were not consistently aware of policy requirements surrounding O/T, nor,*** when payment for meals is authorized when working through meal hours. It was also noted that the transportation allowance *** did not reflect the new location of the Official Residence.
5.1.7 It was noted that drivers were paying out of pocket for incidental expenses such as on-street parking fees where no receipt is available (this is local custom and provides some security protection for the vehicle), car washes, and dry cleaning for official clothing.
5.1.8 The MCO should institute regular sectional meetings.
5.1.9 The Mission should ensure that key staff are available to deal with the needs of incoming and outgoing CBS.
5.1.10 It is recommended that telephone invoice verification for local calls be reassessed in light of its low value-added and that the overall review be performed by an administrative staff member.
5.1.11 The Mission should establish clear policies and guidelines concerning the application of O/T, meal and transportation allowances for LES.
5.1.12 The Mission should establish guidelines for the drivers where petty cash expenditures are an issue.
5.1.8 A policy of regular meetings with all administration staff has been instituted. Implemented.
5.1.9 *** due to the Prime Minister's visit. As a result both the Property Manager and MCO were absent for a limited period of time. This was an exceptional situation. The recommendation is noted.
5.1.10 Local calls invoices will be reviewed by the Receptionist. Implemented.
5.1.11 Program managers have been asked to develop their own program related overtime policy which will be in line with departmental regulations. Administration through the CMM is in the process of developing a policy reference meals and transportation allowance for all LES. In progress for December 31, 2008.
5.1.12 The Mission is in process of developing requested guidelines. In progress for December 31, 2008.
5.2.1 The Human Resources (HR) portfolio of the Mission is managed by the DMCO. He is partially supported by other Administrative staff on an ad hoc basis when the need exists.
5.2.2 The Mission does not have an active HR plan in place which would deal with issues such as recruitment strategies or training. There are no service standards in place for HR issues which would provide clients (programs) with a clear understanding of services and timeframes which the HR Section can provide.
5.2.3 Although the DMCO is responsible for the day to day operations of the HR Section, he is not regularly included in meetings with the LES Committee. The DMCO should be active in this regard.
5.2.4 Job descriptions should be updated for all employees and reviewed regularly or as substantial changes occur. The Mission has recently undertaken this review and most job description are now updated. The remaining job descriptions should be updated to complete the process.
5.2.5 While EXT208 forms (Employment and Pay Certificates for LES) are prepared as required, there is no formal review of these forms taking place by either the MCO or DMCO. Either the MCO or DMCO should be reviewing these forms for accuracy and approval.
5.2.6 Attendance and Leave reports for LES are maintained by the Administration Assistant. She utilizes an electronic database to record leave requests and provides employees with an annual update of leave balances. These records are well maintained.
5.2.7 Individual training plans for staff are listed in their respective Performance Management Program (PMP), although the Mission has not established a formal Mission-wide training plan. Program managers should arrange to provide the DMCO with their employees plans and a Mission plan be developed, costed, and tabled at the CMM for budget approval.
5.2.8 Competition files were reviewed. Two files were found to be well documented and complete while a third was lacking the statement of qualifications, advertisement, and procedures outlining the process. The Mission should ensure that procedures governing competitions are clear and transparent and that complete files are maintained.
5.2.9 The Mission is in the process of separating LES personnel file information and position number file information. The Mission has separated personnel files into subject matter for ease of reference and information retrieval (evaluations, letters of offer, security documents, etc.). However, several position number files reviewed were incomplete (i.e. did not have EXT145 classification action form, job description, etc.). Appropriate attention should be taken to ensure that documentation is properly filed.
5.2.10 Official Residence (OR) staff were interviewed separately***. *** Mission organizational chart indicates that three staff are to report to the Butler position. ***
5.2.11 The Mission should develop and implement an HR strategy.
5.2.12 The Mission should develop HR related service standards.
5.2.13 The DMCO should be included in regular meetings with the LES Committee.
5.2.14 Either the MCO or DMCO should be reviewing the EXT208 forms for accuracy and approval.
5.2.15 Program managers should provide the DMCO with their employees' training plans and a Mission plan should be developed, costed, and tabled at the CMM for budget approval.
5.2.16 The Mission should ensure that procedures governing competitions are clear and transparent and that complete files are maintained.
5.2.17 The Mission should ensure that documentation is properly filed on LES employment and position number files.
5.2.11 A short to medium term detailed strategy has been developed and implemented.
5.2.12 Administration, in conjunction with the CMM, is in process of developing service standards. In progress for December 31, 2008.
5.2.13 The DMCO will be included in regular meetings. Implemented.
5.2.14 All EXT 208 will be reviewed by the MCO or DMCO. Implemented.
5.2.15 A comprehensive Mission training plan has been developed. Implemented.
5.2.16 The process will be clear and transparent and files maintained. Implemented.
5.2.17 Both personnel and position number files are being reviewed to ensure that all appropriate documentation is properly filed.
5.3.1 The Property Maintenance and Materiel Services Section of the Mission is managed by the MCO who is assisted by the LE-07 Property Manager and a Handyman. The Section manages the Crown-owned Chancery (12th floor of a multi-tenant building) in addition to managing a portion of the 14th floor which accommodates the Crown-leased offices of the CIC Program, the Crown-owned OR, and nine Staff Quarters (SQs), four of which are Crown-owned and five of which are Crown-leased.
5.3.2 The Chancery has been located in these premises for the past 14 years. While still functional, the Team noted that the property will be due for some internal refurbishing and is near threshold.
5.3.3 There are currently several very large scale commercial office buildings being built in close proximity to the Chancery, including a 700,000 m2 complex directly across the street which will house two hotels, a convention centre and shopping mall. These new properties, when completed, will make an already congested area even more problematic.
5.3.4 The Mission Property Management Plan (MPMP), PRIME data input, and the Mission Maintenance Work Plan (MMWP) are all current and have been recently updated. In the next MPMP update, due for 2009, the Mission, in consultation with the Physical Resources Bureau (ARD), should highlight the issue of the possible disposal of one of the three smaller Crown-owned apartments as these apartments (six room SQs) do not afford the Mission the flexibility required due to there size. A larger seven room SQ should be considered for purchase to replace one of these apartments.
5.3.5 Annual formal inspections of the OR and all SQs have not been conducted. These inspections could assist Administration in properly planning and budgeting for repairs and maintenance issues.
5.3.6 Inventories for the OR, SQs, and items being stored in an off-site warehouse facility are current, however, there is no inventory of assets for the Chancery. This should be completed and signed off by the MCO. Inventories and occupancy agreements for SQs should be completed and signed shortly after the arrival of the CBS member.
5.3.7 While service standards and procedures for maintenance and service requests have been developed, they should be circulated to all staff as well as to CBS spouses. Changes or updates to these standards should be communicated to those affected as they occur.
5.3.8 A silent auction method is used to dispose of Crown assets as required. During the recent sale of surplus assets, employees who play a direct role in the purchase of new assets and the identification of surplus assets and their sale *** participated and purchased some of these assets. This could be deemed to be a conflict of interest. The Mission has been reminded that Canadian government employees who wish to purchase surplus materiel must observe the requirements of the Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment Code for the Public Service and should follow the guidelines provided in the Materiel Management Manual.
5.3.9 The Mission has donated computer and other equipment to various organizations in the past, however, neither ARD nor the Informatics Technologies Bureau (AID) were consulted. Materiel Management policy indicates that the HOM has authority to donate surplus assets up to a value of $200, beyond this threshold, HQ must be consulted and prior approval obtained.
5.3.10 A petty cash account *** is maintained by the Administration Assistant. A verification and reconciliation of this account was undertaken during the inspection visit. Records were found to be *** maintained.
5.3.11 The Mission provides parking spaces for CBS within the building where the Chancery is located. This is done on an ad hoc basis with no written guidelines. The Mission should prepare a clear and transparent policy regarding the allocation and usage of these parking spaces.
5.3.12 The reception booth main window reflects light such that the resulting glare makes it difficult for the Receptionist to *** and can also cause a strain on vision. The Mission should explore the options available to reduce the glare which would make this work area more functional (ie. anti-glare coating).
5.3.13 The Handyman is currently receiving tasking instructions from the Property Manager as well as directly from employees within the Chancery. This practice causes confusion and conflict and has resulted in some mis-communication. As a result, delays in service has occurred. The Mission should ensure that there are clear procedures established and communicated to all staff regarding submission of service requests.
5.3.14 The Mission, in consultation with ARD, should highlight in the annual MPMP the issue of the possible disposal of one of the three smaller six room Crown-owned apartments which could be replaced with the purchase of a larger seven room apartment.
5.3.15 Annual formal inspections of the OR and all SQs should be conducted by Administration.
5.3.16 The Mission should arrange to complete the inventory of assets for the Chancery and have it signed off by the MCO.
5.3.1 Inventories and occupancy agreements for SQs should be completed and signed shortly after the arrival of the CBS member.
5.3.18 The Mission should ensure that service standards and procedures for maintenance and service requests have been developed and circulated to all staff as well as to CBS spouses. Changes or updates to these standards should be communicated to those affected as they occur.
5.3.19 The Mission should ensure that any assets being donated which are valued above $200 are reported to ARD or AID (for any computer equipment) for prior approval.
5.3.20 The Mission should prepare a clear and transparent policy regarding the allocation and usage of Chancery parking spaces.
5.3.21 The Mission should explore the options available to reduce the glare in the Receptionist's booth.
5.3.22 The Mission should ensure that there are clear procedures established for the submission of service requests and that they are communicated to all staff.
5.3.14 The Mission has one Crown-owned six room apartment and one Crown-leased six room apartment. The MPMP will be amended to include the recommendation to dispose of the Crown-leased six room apartment.
5.3.15 Between April 28 and May 2, 2008 the Property Maintenance and Operations Section (ARAF) conducted a maintenance inspection of the Chancery, Official Residence and Crown-owned Staff Quarters. ARAF also provided a detailed report. Recommendations have been and/or are being addressed at the present time. In future formal annual inspections will be conducted for all Crown-owned SQ's.
5.3.16 The Mission has completed an inventory of assets for all Chancery offices and storage areas. Implemented.
5.3.17 Inventories and occupancy agreements will be completed shortly after arrival. The inventory and occupation agreement has been signed for the 2008 new arrivals. Implemented.
5.3.18 The property service standards including maintenance and service requests have been circulated to all CBS including their spouses. Implemented.
5.3.19 Assets over $200 will go to ARD or AID for approval.
5.3.20 A policy regarding the allocation and usage of Chancery parking spaces has been approved by the CMM and has been circulated to all CBS. Implemented.
5.3.21 The issue is being discussed with ARAF, and the Regional Maintenance Officer confirms that this issue is common in other missions and will contact the manufacturer to provide a solution. In progress for December 31, 2008.
5.3.22 An administrative notice has been sent out to all staff including spouses. The Mission has acquired *** software and is awaiting HQ's approval before implementing it. In the meantime, all staff will continue to submit their requests via e-mail to the Property Manager. All requests will be acknowledged as per our service delivery standards. Implemented.
5.3.23 ARD should take the opportunity during the next visit to the region to examine whether they should be entertaining the possibility of relocating to a more favourable location and newer building.
5.3.23 ARD has noted the need for a relocation assessment on its list for the upcoming fiscal year. We will place the Santiago chancery relocation assessment on the list of priorities for ranking by the Mission Operations Board.
5.3.24 A review of the Mission contracting files indicated that many goods and services being purchased are not being rendered through contractual engagement, and the lack of use of contracting templates was evident. As well, the Mission should ensure that decisions taken when awarding contracts to dependants of members of the Contract Review Board (CRB) are documented, transparent and that affected CRB members should not be involved.
5.3.25 The CRB has neither established minimum ceilings for contracts to be reviewed and approved by the board nor do they have a Terms of Reference to guide board members. The CRB should establish clear Terms of Reference and set a minimum ceiling for contracts that should be sent to the board for review and approval.
5.3.26 Some contracts were not competed when the value was over $25,000 and other contracts had expired although the supplier was still providing the services to the Mission. There were cases where changes had been made to contracts, however, these were entered by hand instead of using a contract amendment.
5.3.27 Contracts were not organized and filed properly. Files should contain documentation for all contracts including CRB amendments, all contractors bids, and clear rationale by CRB members outlining decisions. ***.
5.3.28 The Mission should ensure that decisions taken when awarding contracts to dependants of CRB members are documented, transparent and that affected CRB members are not involved in the review process.
5.3.29 The Mission should ensure that clear Terms of Reference are established for the CRB.
5.3.30 The CRB should set a minimum ceiling for contracts that should be sent to them for review and approval.
5.3.31 The Mission should ensure that all contracts with a value over $25,000 be sent to the CRB for review and approval.
5.3.32 The Mission should ensure that any changes to contracts are made using an amendment form signed by both parties.
5.3.33 The Mission should ensure that contracting files contain documentation for all contracts including CRB amendments, all contractors bids, and a clear rationale documented by CRB members outlining decisions.
5.3.34 The Mission should ensure that departmentally approved contracting forms are used for all contracts in which the Mission engages.
5.3.28 CRB members noted the comments and will act accordingly, (document decisions and effected members will not be involved).
5.3.29 Terms of reference have been developed and are being implemented.
5.3.30 The CRB will continue to review all contracts involving CBS spouses regardless of amount. The CRB will review all contracts above $1,000. Implemented.
5.3.31 Contracts over $25,000 will be sent to CRB for approval.
5.3.32 Changes will be made with an amendment signed by both parties.
5.3.33 The CBR will ensure that all contract files are completed as listed.
5.3.34 Departmental approved contract forms will be used.
5.4.1 Financial operations at the Mission are overseen by the MCO. The Finance Section at the Mission is comprised of a Senior (LE-07) and Assistant Accountant (LE-05).
5.4.2 Other than for travel and hospitality, and for specific program funding (i.e. Post Initiative Fund (PIF)) the budget has not been delineated by program for other routine, semi-predictable, non-corporate costs. This results in a significant number of requests for spending being routed through the MCO. The budget should be delineated by program where possible at the beginning of the fiscal year, through the CMM (e.g. for training, translation, legal services, etc.).
5.4.3 Planned program budget allocations may create more work at the start of the fiscal year, but would reduce the amount of constant interaction with the MCO throughout the year for routine expenditure approval. It would also allow for more focused monitoring of budget status, and improve the Mission's ability, through the CMM, to reallocate funds as priorities change and the work unfolds.
5.4.4 A request for prioritization for capital requirements (both for SQs and the Chancery) is provided to staff at the start of the year, however this is a small component of the Mission's budget. This practice should be formalized and used as a model for forward operational budget planning and allocation through the CMM.
5.4.5 The Assistant Accountant prepares a summary of expenditures from previous years and uses this information to make commitments under cost centres for certain routine expenditures for the upcoming year. The MCO indicated that this is a means by which forward budgeting is shared with the CMM; however, this summary is not delineated by program, and thus its utility as a forward budgeting tool is limited to a general forecast of expenditures under specific types of cost centres.
5.4.6 Approximately $8,000 of the capital budget was returned to HQ in the previous fiscal year (2007/2008).***,and it was commented that, had the surplus monies been identified earlier in the fiscal year, they could have been used to support other Mission/program needs.
5.4.7 The Mission's CBS O/T budget is set at $8,000 per year. This amount is consistently exceeded although additional in-year funding is provided by HQ. There is no operational impact as there is no IMS control to prevent this fund from becoming negative. A message to the Mission's Accountants from HQ indicates that this is the case. The CBS O/T reference level budget for the Mission should be reviewed and increased if required. Controls should be placed on this fund by the Mission in order to properly monitor its usage.
5.4.8 While an open door policy is in effect, there are no regular Finance Section meetings. Meetings are called as issues arise. Regular, minimum monthly meetings, with an agenda and minutes should be held with the MCO and the accountants to plan and prioritize work and identify/discuss process improvement opportunities.
5.4.9 The Mission should institute a more detailed budget planning process, allocating portions of operational funding to programs. This budget should be monitored by the CMM on a regular basis throughout the year to allow for reallocation based on emerging or changing situations and priorities.
5.4.10 The CBS O/T reference level budget for the Mission should be reviewed and adjusted as necessary based on current requirements. The Area Management Advisors should be consulted as required.
5.4.1 The Mission should monitor the use of O/T funds.
5.4.12 The MCO should begin to hold regular meetings with the Finance Section.
5.4.9 As requested from Headquarters a Common Services budget and a separate Program budget have been instituted and will be submitted to the CMM on a regular basis. Implemented.
5.4.10 The CBS overtime budget has not been reviewed since 2004. A formal request for a reference budget increase has been made. Implemented.
5.4.11 An in-house program has been developed to better monitor the overtime funding. Implemented.
5.4.12 Regular meetings are being held. Implemented.
5.4.16 The Finance Section is currently open to all Mission staff all day. This reduces the accountants ability to focus on data entry and documentation activities as they are routinely disrupted by Mission staff seeking financial assistance. It is recommended that the MCO institute a quiet hours policy for the Finance Section. In many other missions the Finance Section is open for approximately 50-60% of the day, allowing accounting staff to focus on record keeping, data entry and document preparation while closed to other Mission staff.
5.4.1 An issue with respect to the clearing of the asset and liability accounts at the Mission was noted by SMFF. This mainly concerns the commitment and payment of Chilean Social Security deductions at the start of the month and subsequent collection of these amounts from employees.
5.4.18 As the exchange rate changes throughout the month, the Canadian dollar equivalent of what is committed/paid and what is collected differs. The Accountant thought that these amounts had to balance exactly at month's end and this resulted in some employees being over/under charged. These employees have paid back or have been paid back the difference. The difference in what was collected versus what was committed should have been charged to exchange rate (XR) gain/loss general ledger account.
5.4.19 The proper clearing of the asset and liability accounts will be done in the near future, in close consultation with SMFF. It is important that the MCO monitor the rectification of this situation. It was also noted that the Accountants now work together to ensure that the amounts collected from employees is correct through a peer review of the calculations. This practice should continue.
5.4.20 The Accountants have been paying invoices early in the payment cycle. This is a good practice and should be continued as a Unidad de Formento (an inflation adjusted unit of account referred to as UF) system is in place in Chile which increases invoice amounts as inflation goes up. This results in the amount to be paid for an invoice increasing as long as the bill is outstanding.
5.4.21 Many instructions received by the Accountants are given verbally. To ensure that action is taken and that there are no misunderstandings, key instructions should be documented.
5.4.22 The MCO, in consultation with SMFF, should investigate facilitating the establishment of a regional network for Mission accounting staff. This would provide a means for communicating between missions.
5.4.23 Most program managers have requested that some of their hospitality budgets be allocated to their staff. The MCO has declined to implement this request. At most other missions this is the standard practice. It should also be implemented here to give staff the ability to pursue hospitality opportunities without always having to consult their program manager. The implementation of this practice will reduce the managerial workload of program managers.
5.4.24 ***. The timing should be staggered to improve security for the employees and funds involved.
5.4.25 Electronic banking is now being offered by the Mission's banking institution. Approval has been sought from HQ to arrange for this to be implemented. Given that other missions currently employ this tool, it is recommended that this request be considered and approved, unless there are strong and evident reasons not to. *** .
5.4.26 The Finance Section's filing and record keeping was noted to be in good, logical order. In order to ensure continuity and ease of access to important financial information in the future it would be useful to conduct and record a full inventory of files. There would also be an opportunity to remove/destroy certain outdated files.
5.4.27 In the short term, the incoming DMCO should assume responsibility for regular monitoring of IMS activity at the Mission.
5.4.28 A quiet hours policy should be developed and implemented for the Finance Section.
5.4.29 The Mission should ensure that the previously incorrectly coded transactions be adjusted to reflect proper procedures. Regular interaction with and feedback from SMFF should be sought as this process unfolds.
5.4.30 Any formal instruction or request being made to the Finance Section, particularly as it concerns financial commitments or outlays, should be given in writing.
5.4.31 Upon request by the program manager, the MCO and the Finance Section should allocate hospitality advances to individuals within programs.
5.4.33 An inventory of files should be developed for the Finance Section. Simultaneously, the disposal of files over seven years old should be undertaken.
5.4.27 The incoming DMCO has experience in HQ/Mission finances and will be able to monitor the Mission's IMS activities. In progress.
5.4.28 A quiet hour policy has been developed and implemented. Implemented.
5.4.29 The MCO will ensure that all incorrect coded transactions are rectified this fiscal year. In progress for March 31, 2009,
5.4.30 Requests and instruction will be given in writing.
5.4.31 At the request of program managers, hospitality budgets and advances have been allocated accordingly. Implemented.
5.4.32 ***. Implemented.
5.4.33 The inventory of the Finance files has been completed and the disposal of all financial files over seven years old has been completed. Implemented.
5.4.34 SMFF should consider establishing a formal regional network for Accountants. Communications media to facilitate interaction should be contemplated (e.g. a web-based bulletin board).
5.4.35 The Mission's request to have electronic banking should be assessed.
5.4.34 SMFF held a Latin America LES accountant workshop in Lima, Peru in February 2008. This was a good networking opportunity for all accountants to exchange with colleagues from other missions in Latin America. Financial best practices were discussed at that workshop. SMFF plans to visit the Mission in the next four to six months to review financial processes. We will be contacting the Mission to plan the visit and offer support and/or training to the new DMCO on IMS as well as monitor the financial situation at the Mission on an ad hoc basis.
5.4.35 SMFF contacted the Mission to obtain more information and additional details regarding the request to have electronic banking and to assess the situation. Once we have obtained the additional information, we will provide our recommendation to the Mission. The recommendation regarding their banking situation will be provided to the Mission no later than January 31, 2009.
5.5.1 The Mission's Information Technology (IT) requirements are overseen by an *** Locally-engaged Information Technology Professional (LEITP) and visits from the FSITP based in Buenos Aires. The majority of users reported being satisfied with their IT service.
5.5.2 There is no annual budget allocated for IT purchases or training. As assets are required, the LEITP, in conjunction with the program manager, seeks approval from the MCO.
5.5.3 There are no formal meetings between the MCO and the LEITP. Similarly there is no Mission IT Steering Committee (although one was in place in the past). The institution of these meetings would bring more structure to IT management and planning and would allow for earlier identification and prioritization of Mission IT acquisition and training requirements to feed into Mission-wide budget planning.
5.5.4 Requests for IT services from within the Mission are received in various ways (phone calls, e-mails and direct contact). Tickets are then logged in the Remedy system for tracking purposes. *** , however, thought should be given to instituting a clear and consistent system by which clients request IT services (unless exceptional circumstances require immediate intervention).
5.5.5 Service standards are not in place for the IT function. There were standards in the past but these were discontinued.
5.5.6 An annual IT acquisition and training budget should be developed for the Mission.
5.5.7 The Mission IT Steering Committee should be reinstated.
5.5.8 The Mission should introduce a formal service request system for IT related requests.
5.5.9 Service standards should be reinstated for the IT function at the Mission.
5.5.6 IT acquisition and training budgets are being developed and will be submitted to CMM. In progress for December 31, 2008.
5.5.7 The IT Steering Committee will be instituted. In progress for December 31, 2008.
5.5.8 Recommendation will be implemented when HQ approves the usage of the service request *** software that Mission already purchased. In progress for December 31, 2008.
5.5.9 IT Services Standards are being updated and will be circulated shortly. In progress for December 31, 2008.
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 HQ bureaux, including briefings by line management and the functional bureaux, review of relevant HQ and Mission documentation, past audit findings, and an analysis of recurring trends and systemic issues.
During the 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 Leased||Crown Owned|
|Financial Information 2007-2008|
|Operating Budget (N001)||$931,148|
|Capital Budget (N005)||$93,840|
|LES Salary Budget (N011)||$724,300|
|LES Salary Budget (N012)||$1,547,587|