An audit of the Commercial, Political and Economic, Public Affairs, Consular and Administration Programs was conducted in Japan from November 26 to December 7, 2007. The previous audit of these programs took place in November 2003. The Embassy in Tokyo is a large mission with 42 Canada-based staff (CBS) and 108 Locally-engaged staff (LES). The Head of Mission is *** engaged and provides *** support to all Mission programs. The planning, communication and management framework in place is effectively leveraged by an *** management cadre. The Committee on Mission Management (CMM), however, should be convened regularly to address administrative issues and areas of inter-program coordination.
The Commercial Program is *** managed and has been recognized as a source of many best practices. The development of the 2008-2013 Japan Market Plan will provide further guidance upon which to realign resources with priorities and improve the integration of trade activities across Japan. The Program's extensive use of the client relationship management system (TRIO) is encouraging, but has raised some concerns that will require the attention of Headquarters to improve consistency across missions and develop more comprehensive methods to measure performance.
The Political and Economic Program's work is guided by an effective planning process and sustained through good, open communications and information sharing across all Mission programs. The officers and staff are *** producing results in line with Program objectives. The main challenge for the Political Section is the lack of an approved reporting agreement to provide increased focus to reporting activities. Within the Economic and Finance Section, upcoming departures provide a valuable opportunity for the Mission and Headquarters to revisit its mandate and resource level in line with departmental priorities.
The Public Affairs Program supports all Mission programs by providing a variety of services guided by a Mission Advocacy Strategy. While funding has decreased significantly, the Program has been able to manage by prioritizing events and securing funding from the Mission budget and external partners.
The Consular Program is overseen by the Management and Consular Officer (MCO) and has benefited from the recent assignment of a full-time Deputy (DMCO). The Program conducts a high number of prison visits and is actively addressing several child abduction and custody cases. A proactive approach has been taken with emergency planning with the development of an earthquake contingency plan which is tested on an annual basis. Efforts are required to develop a consular workplan, hold regular staff meetings, complete mandatory passport training and ensure that a CBS officer exercises the passport entitlement function.
The Administration Program is *** managed by the MCO who provides an appropriate level of support and guidance to each section head. Controls over revenues and assets were found to be sound, with minor improvements required in the areas of inventory management. The devolution of program budgets is a good practice and gives greater responsibility to program managers. Spending should be monitored by the CMM to ensure effective budget management across all Mission programs. The Program should also utilize the CMM as a forum to involve all programs in administrative policy decisions and communicate the results to staff.
The Mission is functioning *** largely as a result of its ability to attract *** managers. It also benefits from being well resourced. In a time of resource realignment, however, there are a number of areas which could be reviewed. These areas include:
Longer-term, and perhaps more substantial, savings could be realized through two items related to the Department's property interests. First, the Master Agreement which governs the relationship between the Government of Canada and the Developer of the Chancery site has provided the Mission with a valuable and relatively inexpensive platform to conduct business. However, there is currently a large amount of unused space in the Chancery and a potential liability owed to the Developer at the end of the Agreement in 2021. The Department should revisit the Master Agreement with the Developer to maximize the use of space and minimize any future liability of the Department.
Secondly, a recent proposal with regards to the development of a new staff quarter (SQ) site next to the Chancery grounds could provide savings and enhance our SQ portfolio over the long-term through the profits from the sale of three off-site compounds and the residence of the Deputy Head of Mission. Such a project could inject much needed capital back into the Department to help deal with a variety of pressing property issues at other missions. It would also allow for maintenance efficiencies as it would minimize travel time between sites and reduce the requirement to maintain three separate plants.
A total of 56 audit recommendations are raised in the report; 45 are addressed to the Mission and 11 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 56 recommendations, management has stated that 32 have been implemented. For each of the remaining 24 recommendations, management has indicated the initiatives in progress or the intended future action.
1.1.1 The Embassy in Japan is a large mission with 42 Canada-based staff (CBS) and 108 Locally-engaged staff (LES). The Mission oversees separate Trade Offices and Honorary Consuls in Hiroshima and Sapporo and a Consulate in Nagoya. The Mission was also responsible for the Consulate General in Osaka and the Consulate in Fukuoka, prior their closure in March 2007.
1.1.2 Overall, the Mission is functioning *** under the direction of an *** management cadre. The Head of Mission (HOM) is engaged and provides effective support to all Mission programs in protecting and furthering Canada's interests in Japan. The size of the Mission and the importance of our relationship with the world's second largest economic power are factors that contribute to attracting ***managers. The Mission is well resourced with an impressive Chancery facility and a large complement of *** CBS and LES.
1.1.3 An effective planning and performance monitoring process is in place and consolidated within the Country Strategy. Based on the Country Strategy objectives, specific plans have been developed for each Program, communicated to staff and used to monitor and adjust on-going operations. These are in turn used to set individual performance goals and objectives reflected in Performance Management Agreements (PMAs) and Performance Management Plans (PMP)s. Planning is also underway for the upcoming G-8 meetings in Hokkaido, which will include approximately eight ministerial visits and 35 meetings.
1.1.4 Communications are effectively managed within and amongst Mission programs. Town Hall meetings and walkabouts by the HOM, staff retreats, weekly operations meetings, program staff meetings and circulation of minutes from the Committee on Mission Management (CMM) all contribute to the sharing of information and ideas.
1.1.5 The Mission has a comprehensive committee structure in place. The Greater Japan Meeting (held every Monday morning) allows all managers to share information on major upcoming events and activities with their colleagues. Following these meetings, managers will often transmit key developments to their staff in weekly sectional staff meetings. Throughout the year, on-going policy adjustments are made through the meetings of the CMM, which is chaired by the Deputy HOM (DHOM) and provides recommendations on operational policy issues to the HOM for approval. However, the CMM only met five times in the 18 months preceding the audit. This committee should be more consistently and effectively leveraged through regular meetings (at least every two weeks) and by focussing on Mission-wide issues and areas of inter-program cooperation. Other committees include Housing, Occupational Health and Safety and Environment, Contract Review Board, Classification, Security and Contingency Planning, and the LES Committee.
1.1.6 The DHOM is responsible for the Public Affairs, Consular and Administration programs. Both program managers reporting to the DHOM are senior level officers who require little day-to-day assistance or oversight. The Deputy also coordinates certain mission-wide initiatives, such as the Country Strategy, CMM, Mission Advocacy and values and ethics. During HOM absences and on a day-to-day basis, the DHOM serves as a backup to support the representational and operational demands of a large mission. The DHOM's role in country-wide coordination activities, however, were greatly reduced last year with the closure of the Osaka and Fukuoka offices.
1.1.7 Overall, morale is positive but a number of factors are impacting staff. The recent mission closures were a shock particularly to LES who are now more anxious about their employment and the prospect of future cuts. CBS are more concerned about the reduced political commitment to the bilateral relationship and, therefore, the meaningfulness of their work and prospect of future assignments in Japan. LES have raised the chronic issue of the benefits package which has not been updated for many years, upward job mobility and inequalities in position levels. For CBS the falling post index, perceived inequalities in the Foreign Service Directives (FSDs) and language training requirements are all cited as negative factors to recruitment.
1.1.8 There are in effect two LES representative bodies at the Mission; the LES Committee and the LES Association. The Association has been in place for many years at the initiative of LES and serves primarily as a social group with voluntary membership. During the Audit Team's meeting with the Association, however, the issues discussed were policy oriented in nature. Such discussions duplicate the purpose of an LES Committee and should not occur with management when membership in the group is voluntary. The LES Committee represents all LES and was established more recently as a matter of departmental procedure to serve as the formal mechanism for communication between management and the LES. However, both groups are chaired by the same individual and neither have formalized mandate or terms of reference. As a result, confusion remains as to the roles of these two groups, both among LES and Mission management. It would greatly benefit all concerned to recognize only one body as the formal mechanism for communication between management and the LES.
1.1.9 The CMM should meet on a regular and more frequent basis to deal with mission-wide administrative issues and areas of inter-program coordination.
1.1.10 The mandates of the LES representative bodies should be reviewed and formalized in a terms of reference. The mandate for formal communication between LES and Mission management should be given to the body whose membership includes all LES automatically.
1.1.9 Mission agrees with the recommendation which is now being implemented. CMM will meet every three weeks, effective February 2008.
1.1.10 Mission is following recommendations and will henceforth channel formal communication with the appropriate LES representative body. Effective March 2008.
2.1.1 The Commercial Program in Japan is delivered by an EX-02 Senior Trade Commissioner (STC), responsible for the oversight of three sections; the Agri-food, Building and Consumer Products Section, the High-Tech Section, and the Investment and Science and Technology Section. Each section is headed by an EX-01 and staffed by a combination of CBS and LES Trade Commissioners (TC) and LES Trade Commissioner Assistants (TCA). The Program also oversees the operations of the Consulate in Nagoya and Trade Offices in Hiroshima and Sapporo. The Program's positions are outlined in the table below.
|Section/Office||CBS TCs||LES TCs||LES TCAs|
|Total Program Staff||12||20||12|
|1 Two Ontario government positions report through the STC and one Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) position reports through the manager of the Agri-food, Building and Consumer Products section.|
|2 One TCA position is funded by Agriculture and Agri-food Canada (AAFC)|
|3 Two TC positions are funded by AAFC|
|STC's Office 1||1||-||2|
|Agri-Food, Building, etc.||2||6||3 2|
|Hiroshima Trade Office||-||2 3||1|
|Sapporo Trade Office||-||1||1|
|Investment and S T||4||4||2|
2.1.2 Japan's economy is the world's second largest, one of the largest sources of international investment and a leader in the development and commercialization of advanced technologies. Japan is an important trade and investment partner for Canada in strategic sectors and was Canada's third largest country export market in 2006 and the largest in Asia. Two-way trade in merchandise was valued at $22.4 Billion with Canadian exports totalling $10.5 Billion, representing an increase of 1.3% over 2005. In the same year Canada exported $1.6 Billion in services to Japan against Japanese exports of $3.2 Billion. In 2006, Japanese foreign direct investment (FDI) in Canada was in the order of several billion dollars and growing, constituting 1.5% of Japan's FDI, while Japan accounted for 2.1% of Canadian direct investment abroad (CDIA).
2.1.3 The Canada-Japan Economic Framework launched in November 2005 has been an effective instrument to address market access issues and provide a new way to manage our commercial relationship. The Framework has also examined the potential benefits of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and a reinvigorated science and technology relationship. This is a highly competitive market where sustained efforts are required to ensure that Canada can take full advantage of what Japan has to offer.
2.2.1 The Commercial Program is *** managed by the STC and the respective section heads, addressing challenges on a proactive basis. Morale within the Program is generally positive, however, the closure of missions in Japan earlier in the year did impact morale and perceptions of job security among some LES.
2.2.2 Highlighted during pre-audit briefings and confirmed during the Audit, a number of good practices have been implemented in Tokyo. These included:
2.2.3 The large size of the Program, with its structure of three sections and three offices outside of Tokyo, requires a strong and proactive communication framework. The framework currently in place is adequate and functioning well. The STC uses periodic e-mail communications, referred to as “STC-grams”, to keep staff up to date on the overall direction of the Program. Weekly management meetings are convened by the STC and provide an opportunity to discuss key issues. While Program-wide meetings are held on an ad-hoc basis, section meetings occur weekly and provide a forum to discuss activities and communicate key items from Operations Committee to all staff. The STC has also undertaken to hold one-on-one meetings with staff on an annual basis, an effective practice.
2.2.4 The STC also convenes a weekly “Section Heads” meeting that include representatives from the Mission's offices in Japan, provincial offices in Tokyo, and the Political and Economic, and Public Affairs programs. This meeting provides a good forum for all parties to keep abreast of activities underway in Japan.
2.2.5 A high degree of emphasis has been placed on improving teamwork and moving towards the "One Team Concept" recommended in the 2003 Audit Report. Vehicles such as virtual teams and participation in other section meetings on a rotational basis have been implemented to promote exchange of information between sections. The structural division, however, presents an ongoing challenge for management that must be bridged by these and other collaborative mechanisms.
2.2.6 Overall, job descriptions and performance management documents are in place and up-to-date. Recent resource realignments within the Agri-food, Building and Consumer Products were not, however, represented on the organizational charts signed by the HOM in October 2007. In addition, a position moved to Tokyo following the closure of the mission in Osaka has yet to be given a formal role and the correlating job description has not been updated.
2.2.7 The Program should ensure that organizational charts are updated to reflect changes to reporting relationships and sector responsibilities.
2.2.8 The Program should ensure that the role of the TCA transferred to Tokyo from Osaka is defined and reflected in the job description.
2.2.7 The organizational charts submitted to Audit Team were not up to date because the Commercial Program had not been consulted prior to their approval. Up to date charts reflecting new hires in January 2008 were submitted to Administration on February 1, 2008.
2.2.8 The TCA position transferred from Osaka to Tokyo is a position wholly funded by AAFC. After mission consolidation in 2007, there was a misunderstanding on the level of the position and the section manager worked through the autumn of 2007 to resolve the issue. Agreement between the two departments was reached on November 22, 2007 and an updated position description has been prepared with a planned effective date of April 1, 2008. The manager is working with the transferred employee to ensure an appropriate work package based on level and role.
2.3.1 The division of the Program into three distinct sections headed by EX-01s creates challenges for the STC in implementing an integrated trade approach. In order to facilitate this integration, the Program will need to develop a sector-based business plan where strategic goals and supporting activities are clearly identified in terms of trade promotion, CDIA support, FDI promotion and innovation. This will help stimulate active dialogue amongst management and staff, reinforcing existing collaborative mechanisms and promoting new synergies.
2.3.2 The integrated approach should also identify a clearer sectoral role for the Consulate in Nagoya and Trade Offices in Sapporo and Hiroshima. For example, Nagoya could conduct investment outcalls and be leveraged to support an automobile sector strategy by systematically reporting on the innovative eco-system, given the proximity of ***'s research and development centre. By appropriately specifying the proactive strategic work to be done by the offices outside of Tokyo, the STC can reduce the risk of excess time being spent on reactive, non-priority activities.
2.3.3 Interviews with TCs identified a strong relationship with Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) partners in Canada and Japan. This relationship, however, was not always present at the planning stages. To further enhance the effectiveness of the business planning process, the Program should leverage the partner consultation process as an opportunity to validate and adapt strategic priorities. Officers should be encouraged to systematically consult with HQ, Other Government Departments (OGDs), sectoral associations and provinces to validate proposed action plans and Canadian capacity and interests. This process would then provide management with the appropriate basis upon which to validate priority sectors and determine the optimum use of resources.
2.3.4 In order to address challenges in FDI promotion and further align the Program with the integrated trade approach, investment promotion activities need to be considered a responsibility of all TCs. In order to achieve this, management will need to ensure that activities are properly planned, reported in TRIO and that ongoing monitoring takes place. ***a new impetus towards a greater collaboration amongst the different groups within the Program. To capitalize on this shift, the Program will need to move beyond the current methods of enabling cross-section communication to those that will lead to effective collaboration in all aspects of the business cycle; planning, implementation, reporting and control. Such a mechanism has already been established for the automotive sector and the Program should look to implement similar approaches to other priority sectors.
2.3.5 TCs will require training on conducting investment outcalls and on how to use TRIO to report on investment. This training will be essential to the successful implementation of an integrated approach to investment promotion. There were also indications from the Mission that there is a need for updated and more targeted investment promotion tools from HQ. This is particularly important in the context of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), as the existence of the Mexico-Japan FTA requires a more tailored approach to the development of value propositions for potential Japanese investors.
2.3.6 The Mission currently holds an annual retreat, usually in the fall. This serves as an opportunity to revisit objectives and upcoming activities. The Program may be better served by a retreat that more closely coincides with the development of the new International Business Development Plan as well as the Country Strategy. This could also provide an opportunity for internal validation of strategies and action plans, with TCs making presentations to the management team and defending their selection of sub-sectors and activities. This gathering could also be an opportunity to provide training to officers on certain subjects, such as how to conduct investment outcalls or as a forum to discuss and identify best practices.
2.3.7 The Program's business planning process should be augmented to ensure that:
2.3.8 Trade Commissioners, in cooperation with the Investment and S T Section, should be encouraged to conduct investment outcalls when appropriate and subsequently report them in TRIO.
2.3.9 Trade Commissioners should be provided with training on how to conduct and report on investment outcalls.
2.3.7 The Commercial Program engages HQ in a dialogue on the annual business plan with an expectation that HQ shares the content with OGDs. However, because of long standing synergies in the agri-food and forest products sectors, during planning phases for these sectors the Program is in direct contact with AAFC, Natural Resources Canada (NRCAN) and CFIA. In 2007 all regional offices in Canada received the draft Japan business plan for comment but no responses were forthcoming. HQ divisions did comment in detail on the draft plan which resulted in improvements to final content. All four resident provinces in Japan are consulted on the business plan and are all invited to the annual Embassy retreat and meet each week with program management. It was also decided that a separate Nagoya business plan would be eliminated in 2008/09 in order to create a single Japan business plan. In January 2008 it was decided that the Nagoya Consulate would be given the lead on FDI outcalls in both the Tokai and Kansai regions, working closely with the investment team in Tokyo. The two trade offices are not resourced to perform FDI outcalls but due to a recent increase in requested domestic travel funds, senior management is visiting these regions more frequently in 2007-2008 in order to carry out such outcalls.
In addition to the annual draft business plan consultations already undertaken through HQ, the Program will continue to encourage TCs to engage with key partners during the early stages of their planning activities. The grouping activities together by priority sector began in 2007 and will incorporate all aspects of integrated trade for the next planning cycle. As planned, the offices outside Tokyo will be incorporated in terms of their role in implementing the Japan-wide business plan. To be implemented by March 31, 2008.
2.3.8 Since 2005, all TCs have been tasked to be vigilant about investment leads and opportunities when interacting with Japanese contacts. They are under instructions to pass such information to the Investment and Science and Technology Section for specialized follow-up action. In 2006 all TC job descriptions were amended to include FDI work of this kind. Since 2006, staff have been encouraged through “STCgram” communications, the annual staff conference and at section staff meetings to when possible (e.g. for general, cold calls) join together in cross-functional teams when calling on a Japanese business contact.
2.3.9 Investment outcall training by a visiting HQ team is scheduled for Tokyo from 22-24 April 2008. We have requested that 12 of our staff participate but the course participation is limited because the training will be regional in nature. We therefore may have to designate some staff as observers and adopt a strategy of "training the trainer" and completing such in house training before 30 June 2008.
2.3.10 IIP should revisit current FDI marketing material, including Think Canada, with a view to adapting to the new reality of a strong currency in the NAFTA context.
2.3.10 The Think Canada deck is updated on a monthly schedule, and incorporates the latest economic, monetary and fiscal data. In addition, a specific fact sheet has been prepared by IIP and sent to missions to address the value of the dollar and present the positive aspects for potential investors.
New marketing material has been produced, including six value propositions (aerospace, biotech, machinery manufacturing, wireless and multimedia, environmental technology, business services), a flagship report and other material (Cost-plus Study) will be available during 2008-09 Fiscal Year.
2.4.1 While the recent closures of offices in Japan have impacted the coverage of the broader market, the development of the 2008-2013 Japan Market Plan represents an important opportunity to revisit the Commercial Program's footprint and allocation of resources. To ensure the Mission is positioned to provide the most value-added service to Canadian companies, the Program must reassess its allocation of resources against its strategic objectives in terms of attracting FDI, encouraging new clients in innovative sectors and identifying new commercialization opportunities.
2.4.2 For example, a closer examination of the value added and opportunity costs related to DFAIT's provision of 11 FTEs (full-time equivalents) in the Agri-Food Resource, Building and Consumer Products sectors should be undertaken vis-a-vis more innovative and strategic sectors. It should be noted that provincial offices, sector associations and Japanese trading houses are all very active in this area, further indicating that a review of how to better leverage the Mission's involvement is required.
2.4.3 The Mission is systematically addressing a number of challenges in the area of investment. Due to a lack of resources, however, the Investment and S T Section has not fully implemented the FDI prospecting process, including the development of a proper list of pre-qualified outcalls, retention calls and after care activities. The Section Head is currently in the process of developing a structured program of outcalls that will facilitate the identification of pre-qualified companies. To compensate, the Program recently transferred a CBS position from resources to investment. It should be noted, however, that the position in question has been assigned responsibility for investment in natural resources, a sector that is not considered a priority by the Investor Services Division (IMS).
2.4.4 The Mission, in consultation with Global Operations (WMM), Investment and Innovation and Sectors (IIT), and other partners where necessary, should review the current allocation of resources to the Agri-food, Building and Consumer Products sectors.
2.4.4 Following the closure of two posts in Japan, resulting in the elimination of seven positions, the STC reviewed Tokyo staffing levels in the summer of 2007 at which time the STC decided to shift one FS position from the Agri-food, Resources, Consumer and Building Products Section to the Investment, Science and Technology Section. The diminished Section no longer works on resource sectors such as metals and minerals and is now called the Agri-food, Building and Consumer Products Section. It is made up of three federal organizations DFAIT, AAFC (three positions) and CFIA (one and soon two positions) . Most of the resources are dedicated to agri-food as this sector comprises the largest number of Canadian clients (mainly Small and Medium Enterprises) and industry associations, involves more market access work than the two other sections and because to cut further DFAIT resources would undermine the incremental principle enshrined in the DFAIT-AAFC Memorandum of Understanding on this issue. Furthermore, this sector is the most geographically dispersed market in terms of entry points. Indeed, in 2007 a DFAIT decision to eliminate the FS-03 position doing Agri-food in this section was cancelled after Deputy Ministers from the two departments consulted and decided not to proceed with the position deletion. Japan is the world's largest net food importer and Agri-food is one of two leading product groups in our exports to Japan where our key competitors typically have as many or more resources dedicated to this sector. Nevertheless, during the current Japan Market Plan preparatory period the post will work with HQ to review again the allocation of resources in this Section. To be completed by April 2009.
2.5.1 The development of the 2008-2013 Japan Market Plan represents an opportunity to revisit the Program's organizational structure, and the balance and level of CBS and LES resources.
2.5.2 The current CBS position structure presents challenges for both HQ and the Mission in recruiting candidates and providing officers with the appropriate environment for development. The perception among young CBS officers is that a two year commitment to Japanese language training provides limited career opportunities when compared to other wider-spread languages. At present, the Program includes five FS-02s, two FS-03s (Agri-food and Innovation), three EX-01s and one EX-02. Within the current structure, a new officer considering an FS-02 position in Tokyo may see little potential to progress as only two FS-03 positions are presently available. The three EX-01 positions also provide an opportunity for a future posting in Japan but over a much longer timeframe. Given this situation, the Department will likely continue to face recruitment difficulties, potentially undermining the performance of the Commercial Program and reducing the value of Tokyo as a training ground for first-positing officers.
2.5.3 In addition to the structural issue of CBS positions, value could be derived from reassessing the balance between CBS and LES within the Program. The flattening exercise that took place in 2003 improved the motivation of senior LES, but has left junior CBS without the support needed on a first posting. When combined with the limited language capability acquired from the present two year language training program, according to the CBS interviewed, it can be difficult to make progress in complex sectors.
2.5.4 Furthermore, the flat structure does not allow junior officers to obtain the management experience required to qualify for FS-03 competitions. The Program has attempted to accommodate these management requirements by rotating responsibility for the Infocentre on a yearly basis. However, the Infocentre Assistant is a part time role for one of the assistants and the actual managerial experience gained by the junior CBS is limited. If these FS-02 positions are to be considered development positions, the Department should revisit the merit of allocating five developmental positions to Japan, given the language difficulties, the complex realities of a mature market relationship and the challenges presented by the current organizational structure.
2.5.5 The flat structure also presents challenges from a management perspective as each of the section heads have a high number of direct reports. As a result, time is diverted from more strategic activities to mentor junior CBS.
2.5.6 There are positions that may provide more value if staffed by LES rather than CBS. In particular, the longer business cycles related to investment and the knowledge and contacts required for specialized fields such as medical and environmental technologies. These constraints have been identified by management and the Program is considering converting CBS positions to LES. At present the Program has 12 CBS and 32 LES positions.
2.5.7 Career progression within the Program was also raised as a concern by some junior LES. The STC has attempted to addressed this by creating LE-08 positions as a progression point for LE-06 positions. There is, however, only one LE-06 in Tokyo and a lack of clarity as to what differentiates an LE-08 from the LE-09 positions. As an alternative to LE-08s, the STC could consider LE-07 positions as a development position for new TCs. The LE-07s, while having certain sectoral responsibilities, would be better positioned to work on teams with senior officers, enhancing the retention of corporate memory as experienced officers leave the Mission.
2.5.8 Tokyo has been used as a model by several posts in the development and implementation of infocentres. The Infocentre serves as the primary point of contact for incoming enquiries and is effectively used to manage the VTC and generate interest on the part of clients to take advantage of the Japanese market. In comparison to other missions, however, the role of the Infocentre was limited and could represent missed opportunities for further integration and more effective use of resources. The Infocentre is presently decentralized and made up of four TCAs on a part-time basis. One TCA receives inquiries and filters them to a designated assistant in each section depending on the nature of the request. The individual section TCAs then forward the request on to the responsible TC for action. To improve some aspects of service delivery and remove the duplication of efforts among assistants in different sections, the Program should expand and centralize the role of the Infocentre. For example, the Infocentre could exercise a broader triage and general response function. It could also be a common point of service for such items as logistics, event preparation, simple research and tracking of promotional material. Following the model employed in other posts, the Infocentre could be comprised of an LE-06 manager and a LE-04 assistant.
2.5.9 In response to this situation, the Program has established a Taskforce made up of the assistants to address the issue. This is seen as a positive initiative that provides the assistants with the opportunity to input into the future directions of the Infocentre and the provision of common services for the Commercial Program. The Taskforce has indicated an intention to meet on an ongoing basis to continue to improve efficiencies within the Program and could serve as a key agent of change and collaboration in the future.
2.5.10 HFD, in consultation with the Mission and the World Markets - Asia and Americas Bureau (WMA), should review the allocation of CBS positions to the Commercial Program giving consideration to the sustainability of the structure and potential benefits of converting some CBS positions to LES.
2.5.10 A review of the current mix of CBS and LES within the Tokyo Commercial Program suggests that it is about right in view of current realities, and in light of the closure of Osaka and Fukuoka.
LE-09s, which are the norm for LES commercial officers, come at a significant cost. Replacing CBS with more LES does not, therefore, reduce substantially the cost to the Crown of the Commercial Program. In addition, reducing the number of CBS slots in Tokyo also deprives officers of entry (and possibly management) level positions, further diminishing the attractiveness of committing two years' of a career to the study of the Japanese language.
2.5.11 The Program should centralize and expand the role of the Infocentre to increase its triage and general response activities, and include the provision of common services, such as logistics, event preparation, basic research and tracking of promotional material.
2.5.11 The Japan InfoCentre is a light, decentralized, TRIO and Results-Based Management oriented model in which triage is shared with each of three section administrative staff who also track promotional material. To increase research support and build on the successful Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) daily news scan, as of 1 January 2008 the InfoCentre now prepares a daily Nikkei Scan to inform the management team and HQ division of relevant business news to support market research. In the spirit of this recommendation, the InfoCentre will also approach Public Affairs Section by March 31, 2008 to seek to share with Public Affairs the uploading of business-related material on the Embassy Japanese website.
Tokyo is a large post with the capacity to shift most of the supportive tasks which have been recommended to the post's public facilities and core services unit. This has been done. In addition, the Public Affairs media, translation and library functions already undertake some of these recommended tasks.
2.6.1 Since its implementation in the summer of 2006, Tokyo has become known as a departmental leader in the use of TRIO. The Program's expertise is acknowledged by HQ and has been shared to help other missions implement TRIO, as was the case in Jakarta. The Mission has encouraged the use of TRIO by tying it to objectives in PMAs and PMPs and by preparing regular reports for review by management. These reports are based on performance indicators selected by the Program and extracted from the TRIO database.
2.6.2 The extensive use of TRIO, however, is not without its problems that if not corrected could undermine the reliability of the database. Interviews indicated a wide-spread concern among staff regarding the quality and consistency of the data in TRIO. This was due to both over and under-reporting. For certain officers, TRIO was seen as a means to protect their job, given the recent office closures in Japan. Some suggested that service requests, interactions and face-to-face briefings were being created based on unrelated activities, such as a brief contact at a trade show. Others questioned the real involvement of an officer in a recorded success story, given the marginal role they may have played in the file. Some officers are maintaining offline contact lists, stating that there were too many unimportant and out-of-date contacts in TRIO. There is a need for HQ to consult with key missions to develop clear and consistent guidelines, and identify best practices for properly recording activities in TRIO.
2.6.3 In other sectors, officers indicated that it was not adequately adapted to their work in investment and innovation. As such, those officers placed less importance on entering information in TRIO, admitting to being too busy to properly enter their activities. There is a need for HQ to consult with posts and IIT to define how TRIO can facilitate reporting on these activities. Subsequently, training and guidance will need to be provided to posts.
2.6.4 In addition to helping officers better manage their client relationships, the recent development of a “Dashboard” based on TRIO data will be an important instrument for HQ and mission management to monitor activities. However, any attempt to utilize TRIO data to generate performance indicators must be approached with care. The Department has recognized this and is actively developing a methodology to better measure a program's impact on the business success of its clients. It will also be important for HQ to provide missions with a consistent approach to prevent the widespread development and use of stand-alone systems.
2.6.5 It should be noted that quantity and quality of services provided are two different things. While certain sectors tend to generate a high number of repeat service requests, this does not necessarily demonstrate the optimum use of resources. There is no question that the STC has deployed considerable efforts to use the TRIO database strategically and these practices should be shared with other posts. There are also valuable lessons in terms of some of the challenges involved in the implementation of TRIO in Japan that need to be more closely examined by the STC and HQ. Tokyo, in many respects, is ahead of the curve and these lessons learned could help improve the implementation and use of TRIO at posts around the world.
2.6.6 WSE, in consultation with Strategic Trade Planning and Performance Management Division (PDC), should review the implementation and operation of TRIO in Japan to identify best practices as well as those factors that may impact the integrity of the database. Such lessons learned should then be shared with all missions and incorporated into training material.
2.6.7 WSE should develop guidelines and best practices on how to properly input activities in TRIO to ensure the consistency and reliability of the database.
2.6.6 The eServices Group of the Department (WSE) will review in April 2008 the content of the TRIO database for Japan and will liaise with Tokyo to review the usage and operation of TRIO. The subsequent course of action will depend on the findings of the review.
2.6.7 The eServices Group has developed guidelines and best practices on how to properly input activities in TRIO. These guidelines and best practices have been integrated in the global TRIO training curriculum as of March 2008. WSE will also publish these guidelines and best practices on Horizons in early Spring 2008.
2.6.8 PDC should develop a series of performance measurement indicators based on TRIO and other sources, such as client surveys, to more accurately demonstrate the impact of TCS activities.
2.6.8 PDC has led a departmental Performance Measurement Working Group comprised of representatives from WMM, IIT and Trade Policy and Negotiations (TPC) since fall 2007. A major thrust of its work has been the refinement and validation of performance measurement frameworks for the three principal business lines that constitute the international trade component of the department: export/CDIA, foreign direct investment and innovation. These frameworks, complete with the most relevant key performance indicators for the work undertaken by missions and regional offices, are virtually complete. It is intended to put these frameworks into effect early in the new fiscal year. A draft of the export/CDIA framework was shared with Tokyo (and other Asian-mission colleagues) at the STC Symposium held in Tokyo in January 2008 and garnered broad acceptance. The main source of data will be TRIO and we are currently engaged with WSE to ensure that TRIO can reliably deliver the input we need to put the frameworks into effect. Every indication is that our agreed indicators will be fully trackable and reportable, including through the International Business Development Dashboard.
With respect to client surveys, PDC successfully piloted an online client survey in early 2007 with the full support and personal engagement of WMM. This survey will be automatically sent to TRIO clients 90 days after a service request has been closed in TRIO and will generate information on both the business results achieved by clients and the quality and degree of impact of TCS services on clients' success. The instrument is currently under review by the same IBM consulting group currently engaged by WSE to upgrade and modify TRIO. We have already shared our draft online client survey with Tokyo (who have been doing similar, but more limited client surveying subsequent to mission-sponsored events) and they expressed support and enthusiasm for our initiative. We anticipate launching the online client survey in spring 2008. In fact, the commitment to do so was contained in the Minister's Message in the 2007 Departmental Performance Report (DPR).
3.1.1 The Political and Economic Program is under the direction of an EX-02 Minister-Counsellor, reporting to the HOM. The Minister-Counsellor is responsible for the Economic Section with a focus on Japan-Canada economic and trade policy, economic reporting and serving Mission, departmental and other government department clients. An EX-01 Counsellor heads the Political Section, reporting to the Minister-Counsellor, with responsibility for DIET (Japanese Parliament) relations, peace and security, Japanese foreign policy and domestic politics. The sections are comprised of the following personnel:
|Reports to||EX-02 Minister Counsellor|
|Program Manager||EX-01 Counsellor|
|CBS Officers||FS-03, FS-02 (2)||FS-03, FS-02 (2)|
3.2.1 Overall, the Political Section has a good planning process in place. The Country Strategy objectives cascade down to the Counsellor's PMA and staff PMPs. Moreover, planning documents are linked to the overarching objectives and guidelines in place at the Mission. Section plans would benefit, however, from the inclusion of more outreach as part of their work planning activities.
3.2.2 One issue that requires HQ attention is the lack of an approved reporting agreement with HQ. The current agreement is in draft form and should be formally approved to ensure that the Mission produces reports that are in line with expectations. From April 1 to November 1, 2007 the Section produced 108 reports on a variety of topics. A finalized reporting agreement and regular feedback from HQ recipients will help ensure that these reports are providing relevant and value-added information.
3.2.3 The Section is managed by an experienced EX-01 Counsellor and has three first posting Canada-based officers each responsible for specific files. This situation presents some challenges as the Counsellor must dedicate time coaching and mentoring junior CBS. The three junior officers are *** from the guidance of their Manager.
3.2.4 A retreat earlier this year reviewed roles, responsibilities, performance and set a course to achieve the Section's objectives for the remainder of the fiscal-year. As a result, the workload and work planning has been logically divided and each staff member knows their roles and responsibilities and how their work feeds into to overall achievement of objectives.
3.2.5 In addition to the retreat, meetings are held weekly to discuss issues and share information. The Manager also meets regularly with staff to review performance, provide feedback on individual assignments and track performance against planned objectives.
3.2.6 The Minister-Counsellor provides high-level guidance and administrative and back-up support as required. At the same time, the HOM is directly involved in the work of the Section and is the source of most of the direct tasking generated at the Mission.
3.2.7 While the Section has a good planning process in place, the heavy demands placed on it, in terms of demarches and departmental and OGD enquiries, makes workload planning essential. In this environment the Section may be more reactive than proactive, however, it is fulfilling its current mandate.
3.2.8 The Section felt the impact of having one of its Canada-based officers away on temporary duty from February to August, 2007. This situation was managed well by re-allocating files, however, it did increase the amount of overtime worked by the two remaining CBS officers.
3.2.9 The Section produced 108 reports from April 1 to November 1, 2007. The Counsellor authored 25% of these reports and one officer produced 40% of the reports. The DIET relations unit produced 18% of the reports overall. There is an opportunity to further review roles and responsibilities to ensure that the workload is more evenly distributed with the return of the Officer that was away on temporary duty for most of 2007.
3.2.10 The reporting agreement should be formally approved to provide assurance that the Mission is reporting on issues that meet decision-maker demands in Ottawa.
3.2.10 RPD agrees with this recommendation. The 2007-2008 reporting agreement was finalized during a conference call between RPE and the Mission on March 4, 2008, and the agreed final version was circulated the following day. For the next reporting period, the agreement will be finalized according to time lines established for the global process and will be subject to a mid-year review and revision if necessary.
3.2.11 The Section Manager should further refine roles and responsibilities within the Section as part of the 2008-2009 Country Strategy process to ensure that the workload is evenly distributed.
3.2.11 Following the Section retreat in May 2007, roles and responsibilities were adjusted to align them with newly articulated Government of Canada priorities and ongoing commitments. This was done with an eye to more evenly distributing the workload associated with all the services provided by the Section including reporting, analysis, briefings, advocacy, access, embassy events, visits coordination, etc. With the return of the Officer who was away on Temporary Duty from February-August 2007, the Manager once again re-allocated responsibilities to ensure an equitable distribution within the Section. With the start of Japan's G8 Presidency in January 2008 (a central feature of the 2008-09 Country Strategy), the Manager continues to monitor closely alignment to government priorities, the distribution of workload, and also the overall workload. Since the start of 2008, there has been a marked upswing in HQ interest in analysis and reporting, and also in the requirement for planning, coordination and support of Canadian participation in numerous G8 officials and ministerial meetings leading up to the Summit in July 2008.
3.3.1 At the time of the last audit in 2003, the Economic and Finance Section was under the Mission's Commercial Minister and was identified as heavily resourced. As a result of a major re-organization in 2004, the Section was transferred and placed under the Political and Economic Program, with the staff complement remaining relatively the same - the only changes being the loss of a full-time dedicated CBS Assistant and the increased workload as a result of the elimination of the Mission registry clerk, whose duties were divided amongst the HOM Assistant and Political/Economic Assistant.
3.3.2 The Section serves three main clients - HQ (50%) OGDs (30%) and the HOM (20%). It does this by providing economic and trade policy reports, information and analysis that informs broader Canada-Japan economic relations policy decisions. The Section has been *** over the course of the past two years producing the Canada-Japan Economic Framework (CJEF) and Joint Study that will form the basis of Canada's commercial, economic and political relations with Japan over the coming years.
3.3.4 A good planning process is in place and facilitates management of the workload demands of its three main sets of clients. The Section's planning is in line with the Country Strategy objectives and performance agreements and plans cascade down from overall Mission objectives. This is reflected in the work that the Section takes on and in the distribution of work amongst officers.
3.3.5 The placement of the Section within the Political and Economic Program is based on a sound rationale given its mandate and the close links that exist between economics and politics in Japan. The Section's work is well coordinated with the Political Section with support and collaboration with other sections of the Mission, including the Commercial and Public Affairs programs.
3.3.6 The Section is managed by an EX-02 Minister-Counsellor, entering his fifth year at the Mission, and includes three first posting CBS officers. This is a common theme in the Political and Economic Program and the Minister-Counsellor recognizes that it requires more direct supervision, guidance and coaching.
3.3.7 The roles and responsibilities of each officer are clear and the workload is distributed based on assigned sectors. The Minister-Counsellor facilitates good communication through weekly meetings to share information and by regularly meeting with staff to review individual performance and provide feedback.
3.3.9 The Section's three main clients often present competing demands and the Minister-Counsellor is able to assess priorities and take on work as appropriate. That said, there is an increasing amount of reactive work being done through demarches and specific requests from clients that must be managed closely. However, the Section is proactive in working with their commercial and political colleagues. Staff attend Commercial Program meetings and work with their political colleagues on joint reports, such as an upcoming energy study.
3.3.10 Overall, the Section produced 79 reports from April 1 to November 1, 2007. The Minister-Counsellor wrote or co-wrote 40% of these reports and one other officer produced 40%. With the completion of the Joint Study and CJEF, there is an opportunity to delegate more reporting requirements to junior CBS officers as well as re-assess the overall roles and responsibilities to ensure that the workload is evenly distributed amongst officers.
3.3.11 The current size of the Economic Section is large when compared to economic functions at other Canadian G-8 missions. For example, London has two CBS officers conducting economic reporting and Berlin has one CBS and three LES. While the Mission in Washington may have more personnel in their Economic and Finance section, there are representatives from OGDs that report on specific issues such as softwood lumber and environmental matters. Another factor to consider is the fact that one of the positions in the Section used to be partially funded by Finance Canada, however, they have not provided funding for this position in over five years.
3.3.12 The high number of reports already produced this fiscal year and the balance of work between officers, noted in 3.3.10, also raises questions with regards to the scope and mandate of the Section. During pre-audit briefings, it was noted that the Economic Section in Tokyo represented Canada's economic policy capacity for Japan. One of the benefits of having a large and dedicated economic reporting function at the Mission, is that it allows for a more detailed analysis on the economic situation in Japan. The intention of the Department to maintain such a large presence for this purpose should, however, be reconfirmed by senior management.
3.3.13 The upcoming departure of the EX-02 Minister-Counsellor and the retirement of the LE-09 Officer present HQ and the Mission with an opportunity to revisit the mandate, scope and resourcing of the economic reporting function in Japan. HQ, in consultation with the Mission, should assess the overall structure and roles and responsibilities of the Political and Economic Program to ensure that its mandate is still relevant.
3.3.14 RPD, in consultation with the Mission, should review the mandate, scope and resourcing of the economic reporting function in Japan to ensure that it is in line with departmental priorities.
3.3.15 While RPD agrees with the need to ensure that the economic reporting function is in line with priorities, much of the work of the section relates to DFAIT economic divisions as well as OGD partners, and these will also need to be involved in the review. In light of this, as well as the additional resource pressures on the section (and the Mission as a whole) during Japan's 2008 G8 year, we will expect to have the review completed by the time of the 2008 summer rotation.
4.1.1 The Public Affairs Program is comprised of a diverse collection of functions that serve the Mission as a whole, including culture, media, translation, library, education marketing, academic affairs, web master and the Working Holiday Program. The Program is managed by an EX-01 Counsellor and is comprised of the following personnel:
|Reports to:||Deputy Head of Mission|
|Program Manager||EX-01 Counsellor|
|LES Officers||LE-09 |
|LES Assistants||LE-04 (3)|
4.2.1 The Counsellor has developed detailed public diplomacy plans that guides the overall work of the Section. The Program consults annually with all program managers to solicit input for developing the Public Affairs Strategy.
4.2.2 The Counsellor, in conjunction with the HOM, DHOM and Political Counsellor, led the development of a Mission Advocacy Strategy that identified key messages that each of the programs should deliver in line with Government of Canada priorities as well as who should deliver the message and who the target audience should be. The development of the strategy included a half-day retreat and a communication strategy. This is a *** inclusive initiative.
4.3.1 The DHOM performs a supportive and reactive role in the overall management and operation of the Section by providing guidance as required as well as representation support when asked, for example to attend higher level meetings outside the Mission. The Counsellor meets with the DHOM on a weekly basis to discuss and review operational and administrative issues. The HOM is very involved in the Program and is responsible for most of the Mission driven tasking directly to the Program Manager.
4.3.2 Human resource issues within the Section have complicated an already large workload for the Counsellor. Currently there are two Canada-based officers in the Section - the EX-01 Counsellor and a Foreign Service Development Program (FSDP) officer in a FS-02 position. The first posting FSDP Officer is managing five personnel in the translation and library units, in addition to day-to-day responsibilities related to academic affairs. The gap between the EX-01 and FSDP Officer in the Section does not allow for the necessary support to the Program compared to a higher level, experienced deputy position to take on more responsibility and a leadership role. This situation places a significant burden on the Program Manager to manage the workload of the Section.
4.3.3 Currently, there are many outstanding classification requests within the Section that were highlighted in the Country Strategy. Staff are concerned about the outcome of these requests. The classification requests should be resolved before the new fiscal year to ensure that roles and responsibilities are in line with their classifications.
4.3.4 The Mission should make a business case to classify the junior CBS position to higher level.
4.3.5 The Mission should finalize the classification issues with respect to a number of LES positions in the Section.
4.3.4 This action had been discussed with HQ in 2006/07, however, due to the uncertainty of continued funding for Public Affairs programs (under review by the Government), we were advised against making a submission until results of the reviews were published. In discussions for future staffing of the junior CBS, the Program Manager has requested that consideration be given for a more experienced officer. We will seek support from RPE and Human Resources after which, a business case will be prepared. To be completed in March 2008.
4.3.5 All job descriptions for both new (WHP) and revised positions have been submitted to HR for classification, effective January 2008. The total submitted includes 2 new for Working Holiday Program (LE 5 and LE 4) and 3 revised for upgrades (LE-08, LE-07, and LE-05) which are before the Mission's Classification Committee.
4.4.1 The Program's public diplomacy budget decreased from $186,000 in 2004-2005 to $65,000 in 2007-2008. The loss of these funds ($130,000) this fiscal year has been managed by focussing and prioritizing the events that support Canada's foreign policy objectives, with a view to streamlining our programs to ensure longer term sustainability. In addition, it has led to the creative development of funding sources from partners. While this has been managed well thus far, the extent to which external sources of funding will be sustainable over the longer term is not certain.
4.4.2 Overall, academic affairs is working well and is coordinating efforts with the seven Canadian studies centres. There is a strong link between the Mission and the Association of Canadian Studies in Japan, which has a membership of about 350. The academic affairs and education marketing roles are split between two officers, an FS-02 Officer and an LE-07 officer respectively. The two officers are supported by three assistants.
4.4.3 Education marketing is an important aspect of the Public Affairs Program. The Section is proactive in engaging Japanese nationals in marketing educational opportunities in Canada through education fairs and seminars for potential students. This is done with the assistance of one of the LES assistants in the library.
4.4.4 The use of the Library has steadily increased since 2005-2006. This is due in large part to staff's proactive work on the part of the library in establishing children's reading, speakers series and a variety of information seminars on Canada. The Library is managed by an LE-06 and supported by an LE-04 assistant. The LE-06 takes care of maintenance and development of library resources, while the LE-04 spends about 15% of her time dedicated to managing the circulation desk. The rest of her time is dedicated to handling public enquires, holding information sessions and other Public Affairs duties.
4.4.5 The current Counsellor has made the Library a priority and is focussed on further developing the use of this resource. The Library has a number of specific reference material dedicated to various programs including immigration visa applications, study opportunities in Canada and Canadian public diplomacy priorities, such as Afghanistan.
4.4.6 The Culture Unit employs three LES officers, each responsible for their own sectors - film and publications, visual and performing arts and music. The officers ***, with limited funding, are leveraging the promotion of Canadian culture in the interests of the public diplomacy objectives set out in the Mission Advocacy Strategy. They are also promoting Canadian cultural products from a trade development perspective, working closely with the Commercial Program.
4.4.7 The Section has also taken on responsibilities for the Working Holiday Program with one dedicated LES and an emergency employee performing these functions. This year participants were required to pay a processing fee. With 5,000 applicants the fee collected by the Mission was Yen 80,000,000. While this is a DFAIT led program, the objective is for Japanese nationals between 18 and 35 to visit Canada and work to pay for their travel expenses. Activities include receiving applications to determine the applicant's eligibility for the program and assessing whether applicants have paid the relevant application processing fees.
5.1.1 The Consular Program falls under the direction of the EX-02 Management Consular Officer (MCO), with day-to-day management by an AS-05 Deputy MCO (DMCO). The Section also includes a Consular Officer (LE-08), three consular assistants (LE-06) and two program assistants (LE-05). The Program oversees the delivery of consular services at the Consulate in Nagoya and honorary consuls in Hiroshima and Sapporo. The Mission maintains good communications with the Consulate in Nagoya which provides notarial services and limited consular services. The recent mission closures in Osaka and Fukuoka have increased the work pressures on the Consular Program, estimated at about 25%. Based on our review, the increase has been well managed and has not impacted service standards.
5.1.2 Annually, the Mission processes an average of 1,960 passport requests, 310 citizenship applications and 1,680 notarial requests. The Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) system has 3,052 registered Canadians assigned to the 45 wardens in the country's warden network. The Japanese Immigration Bureau indicates that the actual number of registered Canadian residents to be 11,893 and recorded 162,143 Canadian visitors to Japan last year.
5.1.3 The layout of the Consular Section does not include a suitable fire escape route for clients nor does it include private interview booths. Due to the lack of interview booths, the Section ***. Mission Management has developed a plan to address both the safety and security issues and will be approaching HQ to discuss. In the interim, the Program has made arrangements with the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) Program to make use of their interview booths.
5.2.1 The Consular Section is active with 38 arrest and detention cases underway, accounting for approximately one-third of the Program's workload and a 29% increase over last year. Prison conditions in Japan are considered to be difficult and given the restrictions on phone calls and letters, prisoners must be met in person on a quarterly basis to adhere to service standards, equating to approximately 152 visits each year. Since only individuals with consular designations may exercise consular authority, including prison visits, the DMCO must conduct all such activities. An information package is provided to new detainees and the Program maintains comprehensive files on each individual. Japan is also in the top five missions in terms of active Child Abduction and Child Custody cases, 29 in total which is up by 26% over last year. These cases are demanding on staff and difficult to resolve.
5.2.2 The current DMCO has only recently taken on consular and passport related duties. Over the last three months, the Mission's reporting to HQ has not been timely and there is no formal back-up system in place for consular staff. The new team is currently reviewing their functional areas with the goal of establishing a workplan and ensuring that the Mission reports to HQ on a timely basis. The workplan should, at a minimum, include:
5.2.3 The DMCO has identified the completion of mandatory passport entitlement training by March 2008 as a key objective for staff. A plan has been put in place to ensure that staff complete the training and the DMCO will need to adjust workload priorities to ensure that staff have the appropriate time.
5.2.4 Given the high level of activity in this Section, the DMCO's accessibility to staff has been limited. While the DMCO intends to have weekly Section meetings, these meetings have not always taken place due to workload requirements. The availability of the DMCO could be improved by establishing set times for signatures and approvals and Program meetings.
5.2.5 A Consular workplan should be developed by the DMCO and approved by the MCO.
5.2.6 Both the DMCO and the MCO should monitor staff progression in the completion of the required passport training program.
5.2.7 Set times should be established for sectional meetings and for consular staff to meet with the Program Manager.
5.2.5 The Program has plans for all major activities as required by the Consular Operations Bureau (CND). The DMCO is in the process of reviewing program needs and is preparing to develop a workplan for the Consular Section integrating the new staff member (who started mid-November 2007). Workplan will be reviewed with MCO and put into effect in conjunction with the start of Fiscal Year 2008/2009. This timeline is due to two major Consular-focussed events in February and March 2008: the Warden Conference and a symposium on the topic of Child Abductions and the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abductions.
5.2.6 Passport Canada has designated April 1, 2008 as the deadline for training completion. February 5, 2008 has been designated the sectional evaluation day for the Performance Management Program (PMP) training program. It is anticipated that all key staff involved in ppt application review and approval will be successful on this evaluation, but in the event that re-testing is necessary, the planned schedule allows for an additional month prior to deadline for unsuccessful staff to attempt the evaluation again.
5.2.7 The Program Manager endeavours to respect scheduled meeting times (Tuesday 4:15pm - 5:00pm) but often finds it unfeasible given Consular program head CBS responsibilities (HQ-mandated quarterly Prison visits of all 40 prisoners all over country and related case reports; review and approval of all passport applications; program work distribution review; three times weekly, fully-(sometimes double-) booked notary responsibilities; and Warden Conference preparation). One-to-one meetings were held on ad hoc, as-needed basis. In meantime, staff are aware of open-door policy and that Program Manager is ready and willing to discuss any topic of concern.
5.3.1 At the time of the Audit, the annual update of the Mission's contingency plan was overdue. Subsequent to the Audit, the plan was completed, submitted to HQ and included in COSMOS. COMIP reports are up-to-date and reflect the workload of the Section.
5.3.2 An earthquake contingency plan has also been developed and is continuously being revised by the Mission given the frequency of earthquakes in Japan. The plan is guided by a Mission-wide committee, chaired by the DHOM. The plan is tested on an annual basis and the Audit Team considers the Mission's approach to be a best practice. However, the plan does not fully incorporate the warden system or the Consulate in Nagoya. Furthermore, the plan and/or the testing of the plan should take into account that an earthquake may occur outside of normal business hours. The Mission is taking these issues into consideration and will be updating the plan accordingly.
5.4.1 In conjunction with the DMCO, the *** has been designated to approve passport applications. In accordance with the instructions from Passport Canada, a CBS must exercise the entitlement function based on a verification of original application forms and citizenship documents. Prior to the audit visit, however, the entitlement process was being conducted primarily by ***. The Audit Team also found that records of guarantor verifications or references were not maintained. As a result, the Audit Team was not able to substantiate whether such verifications were being conducted.
5.4.2 Overall, controls are in place and assets are adequately safeguarded. Monthly passport inventory reconciliations are conducted by the DMCO. A reconciliation of passports was conducted by the Audit Team and all assets were accounted for. Prior to September 2007, the HOM had not participated or signed-off on the quarterly reconciliation. As a best practice, the Mission should ensure that two CBS conduct all monthly passport inventory reconciliations as well as verify the receipt of new passport inventory. Passport and consular revenues are adequately secured and transferred to the Finance Section ***. The Mission has been storing passport application files for a period of two years, at which point they are destroyed. In accordance with instructions from Passport Canada, all passport application files should be destroyed after 90 days.
5.4.3 The passport entitlement function should be exercised by a designated CBS officer based on their review of the client's original citizenship documentation.
5.4.4 Verification of guarantors and references should be tracked by consular staff and monitored by the DMCO.
5.4.5 Two CBS should participate in, and sign for, the monthly reconciliation and receipt of new passport inventory.
5.4.6 The HOM should participate in the quarterly reconciliation of the passport inventory and sign the applicable form.
5.4.7 Passport application files should be destroyed after 90 days.
5.4.3 As of audit visit, November to December 2007, the CBS Program Manager has assumed all passport entitlement functions, ***. The CBS Program Manager always sees the original birth certificate or citizenship card.
5.4.4 We will increase the frequency of verification of guarantors and references. In process.
5.4.5 CBS and LES will do the monthly verification and will implement this best practice. Effective February 2008.
5.4.6 HOM will henceforth verify and sign reconciliation reports on a quarterly basis.
5.4.7 The Mission will observe 90-day destruction cycle. Effective January 2008.
5.5.1 Honorary Consuls (HonCons) have been appointed in Hiroshima and Sapporo. These HonCons are primarily trade representatives and, therefore, are only marginally involved in consular activities. The Mission examined the possibility of appointing honorary vice-consuls to manage consular duties. This was not accepted by the Japanese authorities. Given the increasing number of Canadians living and working in Japan, it is important that the advantages of using HonCons in a consular role be maximized. The Mission is currently examining their options of having HonCons in the Kansai and Kyuushuu regions.
5.5.2 Mission management should examine the responsibilities of the Honorary Councils (Hon Cons) with a view to expanding their role in delivering consular services.
5.5.2 Mission agrees that the responsibilities of the Hon Cons should be examined with a view to expanding their role in delivering consular services. In process, to be completed during the 2008-09 fiscal year.
HonCon functions, however, will continue to be limited due to passport entitlement restrictions and Japanese MFA regulations dictating that only diplomats with appropriate consular designations be permitted to conduct prison visits; these unfortunately are two of the most labour intensive and time consuming aspects for the staff.
6.1.1 The Administration Program is headed by an MCO, an EX-01 in an EX-02 position, who reports to the Minister and Deputy Head of Mission. The MCO spends the majority of his time on administration and 5% managing the Consular Program. The Administration Program has introduced significant changes since the last audit, contributing to improved operations.
6.1.2 The MCO communicates regularly with all DMCOs and is providing *** of monitoring and coaching to each section head. A weekly manager's meeting is held where each functional area discusses current activities and future plans. These meetings are critical as most Mission projects, visits and activities involve more than just one administrative function, requiring consultation and coordination. The MCO has responsibility for budget decisions and allocations. Budget variance reports are provided to section heads on a periodic basis. An appropriate control structure is in place that ensures the accuracy and reliability of the information being presented. ***.
6.1.3 The Audit Team found the Program's practices to be in accordance with departmental guidelines and modern business practices. Administrative service standards are in place ***. Administration should, however, take a more proactive and inclusive approach to the decision making process ***. The CMM should be more actively involved in administrative policy decisions and their communication to staff.
6.1.4 The Administration Program in Tokyo has remained largely intact despite the closure of satellite missions in Japan. The Program has lost three support positions (a receptionists, a driver, and a dispatch clerk) in the last two years, however, this has not appeared to have impacted service delivery and the meeting of standards. The Program also lost a LE-07 Regional Office Manager position that served as the lead for the satellite missions prior to their closure. Although other program's have experienced some growth during this period, it is the opinion of the Audit Team that the Administration Program remains well resourced.
6.1.5 Following the conversion of the DMCO Consular/Human Resources to DMCO Consular only, an AS-01 registry position was converted to a DMCO HR. While the Audit Team supports the assignment of a full-time DMCO for the Consular Program, comparative analysis with other missions, such as India and London, indicates that the volume of staffing actions (i.e. indeterminate, term and emergency) may not warrant a full-time DMCO HR.
6.1.6 The role of the CBS Mission Financial Officer (MFO) will also need to be reviewed. As discussed in Section 6.4.5, the MFO provides primarily an oversight role in the Finance Section. With a low financial risk rating, *** staff and the availability of qualified local accountants, the value-added of maintaining this position in Tokyo should be re-examined. As a part of the implementation of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) model, the Corporate Finance, Planning and Systems Bureau (SMD) is reviewing the allocation of CBS financial management positions abroad, including the potential to exercise a broader regional function. Should SMD determine that a CBS MFO would be more valuable in another mission, HQ should consider alternative arrangements, such as a joint HR-Finance DMCO.
6.1.7 The Administration Program should ensure that significant operational and administrative issues and new policies and procedures are discussed and approved by the CMM and communicated to staff.
6.1.7 All significant Mission policies are brought through CMM and the changes are announced on TOKYO Broadcast and CMM minutes. However, there have only been a few changes over the last couple of years such as transportation, recreational facilities, hospitality rates, generic service standards, etc.
6.2.1 The organizational chart indicates that the HR function is to be managed by a DMCO at the AS-4 level, also responsible for general services. However, at the time of the Audit, the position was vacant and being managed jointly by the MCO and the Consular DMCO. The HR DMCO was scheduled to arrive at the Mission in January 2008. Previously, the HR function had been the responsibility of the Consular DMCO. As noted in Section 6.1.4, the requirement for a full-time HR DMCO is questionable.
6.2.2 To help manage a large staff of 115 LES and a salary budget of $8.2 Million, the Mission has implemented a customized human resource management system. This system was designed to integrate payroll administration, leave and overtime monitoring and HR information. The system provides a HR database and has improved the forecasting and tracking capabilities of the Mission. The system has been working well and is considered to be a best practice, with HQ considering implementing the system corporately.
6.2.3 Files were generally found to be well maintained, but some emergency staffing files did not adequately justify the selection of candidates. The process and controls related to indeterminate staffing actions was found to be complete and well documented.
6.2.4 Ensure that the staffing of emergency employees is appropriately justified and documented.
6.2.4 Mission agrees with the recommendation and will ensure proper documentation of emergency employment actions.
6.2.5 ***. Communications in general were deemed to be good, however, the Mission needs to ensure that policies and decisions are communicated to staff in a more consistent manner.
6.2.6 LES job descriptions are up-to-date and adequately reflect staff responsibilities. All staff have received annual appraisals and have objectives recorded in PMP for the current review period. ***. Both the part-time Learning Coordinator and the Mission's Learning Committee have promoted a dynamic learning program. Each employee has a learning plan that is updated annually incorporating training from five categories: language, information technology, administration, developmental skills and job specific skills. ***.
6.2.7 Program managers should incorporate their staff's learning plans into their program plans and ensure that staff are afforded the necessary time to achieve their development goals.
6.2.7 Agree. The Mission is already considered a leader in learning and training and its learning plans are seen as a best practice in the Department. To strengthen this vision, the Mission will hold an information session for its managers and employees explaining the Performance Management Program and how learning plans can be incorporated. To be implemented next planning cycle.
6.2.8 Five members of the Official Residence (OR) staff are presently housed on the Chancery compound in Crown-owned accommodation (within the OR as well as in vacant staff quarters). No accommodation fees are paid by these staff members although an informal system is in place whereby the first 25 hours of overtime earned in a month are deducted from the employee's leave credits before any credits are formally submitted to the Human Resources Section for accrual. If an employee does not earn the required 25 hours of credits in a month, no further action is taken. This issue should be raised during the next update of the LES Handbook to determine what local practice is and whether accommodation charges and overtime accrual issues should be separated. The practices of foreign embassies in Tokyo should be determined and taken into consideration when applying a formal set of rules.
6.2.9 The Mission should canvass other foreign embassies to determine what standard benefits packages are provided to OR staff.
6.2.9 Mission has canvassed other Foreign Embassies twice over the last 2.5 years and has the information on file. Mission had the understanding that the benefit survey conducted in 2004 was addressing this issue and were awaiting confirmation. If the Locally Engaged Staff Services Bureau (HLD) wishes Mission to address this matter separately before the completion of the awaited benefit survey, Mission will action.
6.2.10 The OR staff accommodation issue should be reviewed during the next update of the LES Handbook to determine if a benefit exists and, if so, formal guidelines should be put in place in order to administer the benefit.
6.2.10 The OR accommodation issue is being reviewed in accordance with local law and HLD will provide guidelines to the Mission for potential implementation as soon as possible, target date April 2008.
6.3.1 The Property, Maintenance and Materiel Services Section is functioning *** under the direction of a DMCO (AS-6) and delivers a *** of service to its clients. Preventative maintenance plans and schedules are in place for the Chancery, OR, and all Staff Quarters (SQs). Annual inspections are conducted prior to submission of maintenance and work plans to HQ. Service standards are posted on the Mission's common hard drive and can be accessed by all staff.
6.3.2 An electronic work order system is in place and all requests are submitted to the Property Assistant via e-mail. The Property DMCO authorizes all work. Approximately 2,200 work orders are submitted annually although 25% of these pertain to non-maintenance issues such as moving furniture, supervision of contractors, and the delivery of supplies and furnishings. The Mission should separate non-maintenance issues from their annual statistics in order to properly identify resources required to undertake actual maintenance works.
6.3.3 The MCO and Property DMCO are both non-voting members of the Housing Committee, which meets virtually when issues arise. When major decisions are to made, such as SQ allocations, the Committee meets in full. Members review properties as required prior to establishing recommendations for the HOM. A review of Housing Committee minutes indicate that recommendations made to the HOM regarding SQ allocation are clear and transparent.
6.3.4 The summer 2008 relocation season could see as many as 18 CBS moves, and fit-up and materiel purchase costs to prepare SQs are estimated at $30,000 per unit. In addition, the majority of appliances in Canada Court SQs have not been replaced for 15 years. Based on these factors, the current capital budget of $155,000 will not be sufficient and the Mission has had to request supplementary funds from HQ. The Mission should establish a long-term replacement plan for furnishings and equipment to ensure a proper balance is maintained between budget availability and in-year requirements relating to the upcoming turnover of CBS.
6.3.5 The Mission currently has 44 Standing Offer Agreements (SOAs) in place to facilitate procurement. A recent purchase of appliances, however, was made from a supplier that was not on the list of SOA suppliers which resulted in a cost savings of approximately $25,000. This indicates that the SOAs should be reviewed on a more regular basis to ensure value-for-money is being obtained.
6.3.6 The official vehicle inventory consists of 12 vehicles including three motor cycles, three sedans, a 22 seat bus, a delivery truck, and four vans. Driver logs and gas/repairs and maintenance logs are well maintained. Monthly gas consumption is monitored to ensure that vehicles are in good operating order. The Mission has purchased three hybrid vehicles over the past few years in support of environmental awareness.
6.3.7 The Mission should separate non-maintenance issues from their annual statistics in order to properly identify resources required to undertake actual maintenance work.
6.3.8 The Mission should establish a long term replacement plan for furnishings and equipment to ensure a proper balance is maintained between budget availability and in-year requirements.
6.3.9 The Mission should review SOA's on a regular basis to ensure best value for money is being obtained.
6.3.7 The Mission will implement this recommendation starting February 17, 2008.
6.3.8 The Mission has already pointed out this issue and is correcting part of the problem this fiscal year. Mission will have a full cycling plan implemented in April 2008.
6.3.9 The Section began a review of SOAs earlier this year and will ensure that such reviews occur on an annual basis.
6.3.10 The Chancery offers plenty of space and is well maintained. A Master Agreement (Agreement) between the developer of the Chancery (and compound) and the Government of Canada (GoC) governs the operational and maintenance requirements of the building. Under the terms of the Agreement, the Mission occupies 52.5% of the total usable space within the Chancery facility, while the remaining 47.5% of the space is occupied by the developer and leased to third party organizations. It should be noted that a significant portion of the Mission's 52.5% of usable space appears to be surplus to current requirements. The Mission and the Physical Resources Bureau (SRD) are currently conducting a space study analysis to determine how much surplus space is available.
6.3.11 As agreed by both parties, a subcontractor has been engaged to manage the operational and maintenance requirements of the building. The Chancery is now 16 years old and significant maintenance of the installed infrastructure systems (heating, air conditioning, escalators, elevators, etc) may be required. These maintenance costs are the responsibility of the developer.
6.3.12 The Agreement with the developer expires in 2021 and ownership of the property reverts to the GoC. While the developer is responsible to turn over a fully functional property, the GoC will be responsible for its share of the mid-life retrofit of building systems. Although the exact amount of the retro-fit costs are unknown, the Mission estimates it to be fairly substantial, approximately $50-55 million, of which 52.5% would be the responsibility of the GoC. The subcontractor responsible for maintenance is currently identifying these requirements and will present its findings to the Mission in the near future.
6.3.13 Under the terms of the Master Agreement, the Mission is responsible for its share of the utilities, minor maintenance and major capital repair costs. A clause in the Agreement also allows the developer to assume profit from its share of the building space plus recover their initial capital investment. If they do not achieve this profit level at the expiration of the agreement, the GoC will be liable to pay the developer the difference. Profit is among the first items to be paid out of the revenue stream. However, if the developer does not recover the initial capital investment at the expiration of the agreement, the GoC will be liable to pay the unrecovered amount of the initial capital investment plus those capital expenditures incurred in the last ten years of the agreement. SRD is in the process of contracting with an external auditor to audit the amounts claimed to date and identify the potential liability to the GoC. Although the amount of this liability is not known, the Mission estimates that it could be substantial. The developer has in the past approached the Mission to re-negotiate the Agreement as they were not currently achieving anticipated profit levels. The Mission should ensure that any such negotiations address the opportunity to revise the Mission's space requirements given the amount of excess space in the Chancery.
6.3.14 Although the facility is not due to revert to the GoC for another 13 years, based on the estimated costs associated with the major refits and capital item replacements pending, the Department should explore the opportunity to re-negotiate the Agreement with the objective of maximizing benefits to both parties and minimizing costs to the Crown.
6.3.15 Taxes are currently being paid on utility charges for Canada Court SQs and the Chancery. The Mission is not considered to be exempt from paying these taxes as invoicing for utility costs are in the name of the firm managing the Chancery building. The Property DMCO is pursuing this issue with the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Finance. Potential savings are estimated at $50,000 per year.
6.3.16 SRD, in consultation with the Mission, should evaluate the benefit of renegotiating the existing Master Agreement.
6.3.16 The first phase of work needed to make a decision on whether or not to renegotiate the Master Agreement was completed in September 2006. This was an evaluation by external contractors which developed various options including renegotiation. Based on this, SRD and the Mission agreed that further exploration of the renegotiation option was the preferred course, requiring the following preparation:
The Audit, to be carried out under a Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) Supply Arrangement (previously employed by ZIV), is expected to be completed by July 2008. The review of the building capital investment plan will be completed by May 2008. Completion of the space study will be dependent upon receiving the conclusions of the staffing review, but development of architectural options for altering how the building is subdivided between the Chancery and private sector offices will commence in early 2008/09 FY.
Therefore, a realistic target for opening of discussions *** concerning either an extension of the Master Agreement or its replacement by a new agreement is Fall 2008. This date could be affected by the length of the procurement process for retaining the business case and legal advisors that will be needed to support these negotiations.
6.3.17 All 47 of the SQs in Tokyo are Crown owned. Twenty-six are located on the Chancery compound while the remaining 21 (consisting of three off-site apartment developments and a stand-alone house) are located within relatively close proximity to the Mission. The Mission currently has four vacant SQs on inventory, of which two have been identified as surplus. The number of vacant SQs will be reduced to three following the arrival of the HR DMCO in January 2008.
6.3.18 The 26 SQs located on Canada Court are 15 years old and maintenance to the infrastructure and auxiliary equipment will need to be closely monitored in the coming years. The Mission has developed an ongoing maintenance plan that is spread over a five year timeframe as it pertains to the interior of these apartments.
6.3.19 Another 20 SQs are located in three separate compounds in the general vicinity of the Chancery. All three compounds were completed in 2001 using Canadian building standards and materials. No major maintenance projects are anticipated for these compounds in the near future.
6.3.20 The one stand-alone SQ, referred to as Qu'Appelle House, was constructed in 1971 and is occupied by the DHOM. A building condition report was prepared in 2002 and identified several major mid-life re-fit and maintenance issues. The anticipated cost of these refits is estimated at $600,000 over the next five years. A review of hospitality files indicated that this residence was used approximately once per month over the last three years. With annual maintenance costs equalling $100,000, not including electricity and water, the value-for-money received from this property is low.
6.3.21 The Mission has recently been approached by the City of Tokyo with an opportunity to purchase, at a reduced market rate of between 40 and 50%, a parcel of land located behind the Chancery compound. It is anticipated that this parcel of land could be developed into an apartment complex which could potentially accommodate all current off-site SQ's, including Qu'Appelle House, and allow the Mission to consolidate its property holdings. In addition to efficiencies gained through consolidation of properties, the proceeds from the sale of all off-site SQs is anticipated to be significant, estimated by the Mission at $150 million. This profit would likely cover more than the land purchase and construction costs for this new property development. While the Department's mandate does not include real estate speculation, the potential benefits of this transaction warrant consideration.
6.3.22 SRD should undertake a detailed study to determine the benefit of purchasing and developing the property next to Chancery to accommodate all off-site SQs.
6.3.22 SRD's evaluation of the feasibility of replacing the existing off-site housing compounds with a new residential apartment compound began with a site visit in November 2007. ***, who are interested in developing the parcel available behind the embassy compound for the Embassy's residential requirements, committed to further develop the details of a possible development for submission to DFAIT in early 2008. Consultation with Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) officials led to an understanding that they would provide an updated survey and valuation information on the site in March or April 2008. Meanwhile, updated Opinions of Value on the four off-site SQ properties have provided a value range of $94 to $110 million as of February 2008, which supports continuing with development of authoritative cost estimates for the new, replacement compound. Assuming the needed information is received from *** and TMG on a timely basis, a recommendation on whether to proceed to implementation should be ready by late summer, fall 2008.
6.3.23 A review of accommodation files indicates that occupancy agreements and asset inventories have been signed off for all properties except for the OR and the Chancery. Although the OR inventory has recently been verified, it has not yet been finalized. Once this is completed, the Mission should ensure that the HOM signs the distribution account inventory as well as the accompanying occupancy agreement. The Chancery inventory, last taken in 2006, is in the process of being updated. Once completed, occupants of individual offices should be requested to sign for assets within their control. The Property DMCO should sign off as custodian for all common areas.
6.3.24 The distribution account inventory and the occupancy agreement for the OR should be finalized and signed-off.
6.3.25 Once completed, the Chancery inventory of assets should be signed off by individual account holders and common areas signed off by the Property DMCO as custodian.
6.3.24 The inventory is being completed and will be provided to the HOM for review and signature. In progress, to be completed in February 2008.
6.3.25 The update of Chancery inventories have commenced and individuals will be required to sign for the inventory in their office. This will be a long process, taking several months, and emergency employment to complete. In progress, to be completed in February 2008.
6.3.26 Stationery and supplies storage is maintained on the 5th floor of the Chancery and a detailed inventory of purchases and distribution is maintained. The Mission submits semi-annual supply orders to Canada and supplements these with local purchases as required. The value on hand is approximately $100,000.
6.3.27 The Mission maintains several storage facilities in the Chancery for items such as new and used furnishings, major appliances and other electrical equipment (TVs/VCRs), pack-up kit supplies and linens/blankets/pillows. Detailed inventories are maintained, however, no one has been assigned custodial responsibility or signed-off for these assets. No dollar value is attached to these assets and, therefore, the Mission does not know the value of goods being stored. Although a bar code system is used to assign an inventory number to assets, a scanner is not being used to track the inventory. The bar code system recently malfunctioned and all items had to be re-entered into the system manually. The Mission is encouraged to obtain an electronic inventory control system which would be able to provide real-time information regarding location and value of assets on hand. This would then allow annual reconciliations of assets to be conducted.
6.3.28 Surplus Crown assets are regularly disposed of through sales to the public, with records and disposal reports well documented. The last disposal occurred in May 2007, accounting for 340 items and revenue of approximately $3,700. The Mission is examining other methods of disposal as the current method is both time consuming and not financially beneficial. The Mission should continue to pursue more cost effective ways in which to dispose of surplus assets, such as commission or bulk sales opportunities.
6.3.29 The DMCO or a designated LES officer should be assigned custodial responsibility for all assets located within storage facilities and sign for the inventory.
6.3.30 An annual reconciliation of assets should be undertaken and verified by the Property DMCO.
6.3.31 The Mission should implement an electronic inventory control system which would be able to provide real-time information regarding location and the value of assets.
6.3.32 The Mission should consider more cost effective ways in which to dispose of surplus assets.
6.3.29 The DMCO will designate appropriate LES as custodian of storage areas that they are responsible for. In progress, to be completed in February 2008.
6.3.30 This recommendation will be implemented in combination with recommendations 6.3.25 and 6.3.29 and may take several months and additional resources to complete. In progress, to be completed in April 2008.
6.3.31 The Mission will enquire about a new electronic inventory control system to replace the actual one. Given Mission priorities and ERC, perhaps it would be more cost effective if HQ would initiate a system that would be used at all missions instead of missions developing "homemade" versions. It would be value-added for all missions and a common platform. In progress, to be completed in April 2008.
6.3.32 Mission is actually considering different ways to organize the surplus sale while ensuring that we can comply with the Materiel Management Manual and security issues. Effective December 2007.
6.3.33 The Mission maintains several on-site representational and common service facilities within the Chancery. Over 450 events are held at the Chancery each year, half of these organized for external clients. External clients are charged an approximate $5.50 per head cost recovery fee which is used to offset direct costs incurred by the Mission as well as to hire contractors for set up, and for materiel and capital replacement. Excess funds are returned to HQ at the end of the fiscal year. The Audit Team found that the accounting and reporting of these funds were both appropriate and accurate. The Facilities Management Section also controls an inventory of wine, beer, liquor, and other beverages for use at official events (estimated at $50,000) and this inventory is co-maintained by the contract caterer and the Facilities Manager. The Facilities Manager conducts monthly inventory spot checks and reconciles the inventory on a semi-annual. The Property DMCO should also conduct spot checks and undertake the annual inventory reconciliation.
6.3.34 The Property DMCO should undertake periodic spot checks of the facilities management beverage inventory and conduct the annual inventory reconciliation.
6.3.34 The DMCO has already done a full inventory of the facilities management beverage storage and will conduct spot checks.
6.3.35 Due to the layout of the Chancery, the Consular Section's operational zone must be used as an emergency evacuation route for clients in the event of fire or natural disaster. A plan has been devised to address this issue, as well as the lack of interview booths discussed in Section 5.1.3, and a proposal will be made to SRD.
6.3.36 The emergency evacuation route for SQs in block "5" of Canada Court passes through an apartment located on the second floor. The escape route was tested for the first time by an auditor and the portable ladder that was recently installed was found to be flimsy and inadequate for use during an emergency. Furthermore, the platform where one must stand to gain access to the ladder is too small to accommodate the safe evacuation of residents. As a result, the evacuation route is considered to be a serious safety risk. A much easier, safer, and cost effective solution could be made available by using the pool roof deck as a point of egress and the installation of a sturdier escape ladder.
6.3.37 The consular waiting area should be re-configured to provide proper interview booths and meet safety and security standards.
6.3.38 The emergency evacuation route for block "5" in Canada Court should be reassessed and an easier and safer route developed.
6.3.37 The DMCO has already contacted HQ and has included this project in Mission Maintenance Workplan (MMW). Upon approval from HQ regarding availability of funds, Mission will proceed with a Request For Proposal and plan to perform the work in April/May 2008.
6.3.38 The DMCO has already begun collecting information on different systems and has included it in the Mission MMW. Upon approval from HQ regarding availability of funds, the Mission will proceed with an RFP and plan to perform the work in April/May 2008.
6.4.1 The Finance Section consists of a Deputy Financial Management Officer (LE-08), a Senior Accountant (LE-06), two Accountants (LE-05s) and an Accounting Clerk (LE-04), working under the supervision of the CBS Financial Management Officer (FMO). The FMO is from the Financial Administrative Personnel (FI) group ***. Roles and responsibilities are well defined with a good segregation of duties, and backups for all key functions. Communications of both a formal and informal nature are effective, *** within the Section.
6.4.2 Management is clearly committed to sound financial administration and plays an active role in the Section with the HOM regularly reviewing bank reconciliations, OR expenses and the travel and program support accounts. The MCO is involved in developing and reviewing the monthly FINSTAT submissions, in addition to regular meetings with the FMO to discuss issues of concern.
6.4.3 Clear and well articulated service standards assist the Finance Section in providing effective and efficient client service. A ten day service standard has been established for the processing of all invoices, while more detailed standards exist for general enquiries.
6.4.4 Sound contracting procedures and policies are in place, with clear contracting thresholds and oversight by a Contract Review Board (CRB). Although contract review is undertaken virtually by e-mail, members meet quarterly to discuss other issues and to review the terms of reference. Supporting documentation and files are well maintained. A review of contracting files indicated that the Mission maintains detailed records of CRB decisions. A high volume of contracts are undertaken by the Mission, many of which are below $25,000. Where possible, the Mission should bundle contracts into standing offers to reduce the workload related to the Automated Contracting System's (ACS) full implementation in the new fiscal year.
6.4.5 The FMO shares Section 33 signing authority with the Deputy FMO (DFMO). Based on a review of files, Section 33 signing authority is generally exercised by the DFMO, while Section 34 is signed by the applicable program manager. The FMO subsequently reviews the documentation before the payments are finalized. This is an exceptional situation as this function is not normally delegated to an LES. Given the relatively low level of financial risk assigned to the Mission by Headquarters, ***, it is not considered an issue by the Mission. It is, however, against departmental policy as Section 33 must be exercise by a CBS. The usual practice would be for the DFMO to perform and sign the account verification certification with the FMO signing Section 33.
6.4.6 The Section is well resourced and the workload is manageable, however, there is periodic overtime due to reporting requirements and year-end payment processing. Last fiscal year was an exception, in that an unusually high volume of invoices were processed in the final month. The Finance Section is taking a number of proactive steps to ensure that this situation is not repeated in March 2008.
6.4.7 The Mission has taken an innovative approach to budgeting through the devolution of operational budgets to each program manager. As a result, programs play an active role in managing their own budgets. At the beginning of each fiscal year, travel, hospitality, overtime and program support budgets are established for all program areas. The program support budget represents each program's allocation of the operations budget.
6.4.8 In fiscal year 2006-2007, 30% of the Mission's operational budget was spent in the last month of the fiscal year. While some of the transactions were related to planned expenses, others could have been avoided by improved budget management. The Finance Section and MCO took a proactive role in addressing this situation and have further implemented a number of procedures to ensure that this is not repeated in 2008. The CMM should also play a larger role in budget management by periodically reviewing budget management by all programs throughout the year.
6.4.9 Effective budget reporting is facilitated by the Mission's Executive Information System (EIS). The EIS is a Microsoft Excel macro, which draws information from the Integrated Management System (IMS) and reports budget utilization in a user-friendly format for each program area. While the initial creation of the macro was labour intensive, the ongoing maintenance is minimal and is not having a significant impact on the Section's workload. Furthermore, data integrity is not an issue, given that the macro obtains its data from IMS. While the Mission should be encouraged to use corporate systems such as IMS and Business Intelligence (BI), the EIS is meeting a demand for Mission focussed reporting which corporate systems are not providing.
6.4.10 A review of the Mission's hospitality spending revealed a noticeable gap between the hospitality ceiling and the current allocation. At present, the ceiling is set at $606,075 while only $256,000 has been allocated to hospitality. In most missions the ceiling is equal to the allocation, however, in Tokyo the hospitality spending for the previous fiscal years has been well below the ceiling and in most cases less than half. This is due to a number of factors including the Mission's A-base review in 2004, which resulted in a permanent return of $400,000 in operational funding. However, at the time of the A-base review the hospitality ceiling was not adjusted. In addition, there have been currency gains over the years, which have also not been reflected in the hospitality ceiling. As a result the Mission's ceiling and spending are out of step. HQ, in collaboration with the Mission, should undertake a detailed review to bring the ceiling in line with the current realities.
6.4.11 There is extensive use of Special Purpose Accounts (SPA) due to the Working Holiday Program and the Facilities Management Unit. In the case of the Facilities Management Unit, a rather complex billing and reimbursement system is in place. A detailed review of the SPA procedures revealed that effective controls are in place and the FMO reviews and signs off on all journal vouchers (SA documents) related to the SPA.
6.4.12 A reconciliation of both Tokyo's and Nagoya's petty cash advances were undertaken and no exceptions were noted. The issue of re-establishing the petty cash advance that was previously removed from the Consular Section was examined. After reviewing the current situation, the Audit Team concurs with the Mission's approach to maintain only two petty cashes ***.
6.4.13 Procedures for the receipt and deposit of funds were examined and, while sound controls are in place, Citizenship and Immigration revenues are being entered into IMS on a biweekly basis. As previously advised by HQ, the Mission should record these entries weekly.
6.4.14 The previous audit report recommended that the commissary and the club operations, referred to as TGIF, establish appropriate financial controls, including the development of financial statements and an independent review by the MFO. While this has not been completed, a plan has been developed and work had begun on developing formal financial statements through the implementation of an electronic accounting program.
6.4.15 A review of hospitality files and bank arrangements revealed sound controls. Some minor procedural recommendations are outlined below.
6.4.16 SMD should review the delegation of Section 33 authority at the Mission in Tokyo to ensure that it is in line with departmental policy.
6.4.16 SMD is currently reviewing the departmental delegation document along with related policies and plans to request Ministerial approval of the new delegation of signing authorities in April 2008. The new delegation document will specifically address issues surrounding delegation of Section 33 as identified here and will ensure operational needs are addressed and incremental compensating controls, where required, are established in the delegation process.
In light of the new delegation document to be finalized, SMD will ensure the delegation of Section 33 authority at the Mission in Tokyo is reviewed and in line with departmental policy by April 2008.
6.4.17 The CMM should regularly review budget management by all programs.
6.4.18 The Mission should continue to explore opportunities to bundle contracts into standing offers.
6.4.19 The Mission should record Citizenship and Immigration revenues in IMS on a weekly basis.
6.4.20 Appropriate financial controls for the commissary and TGIF operations should be developed, including an annual review by the FMO.
6.4.21 Hospitality diaries should more clearly demonstrate a linkage to the Mission's overall program objectives as outlined in the Country Strategy.
6.4.22 The Mission bank statements should be received and opened by the FMO.
6.4.17 The Mission agrees and the number of visits of the FMO to CMM will increase. The FMO will henceforth provide overview of budget situation to CMM on a quarterly basis.
6.4.18 Given the changes currently taking place in contract management, appropriate staff have been trained on new contracting guidelines, including contract bundling into standing offers.
6.4.19 The Mission will implement, effective February 2008.
6.4.20 This has already been started and is being implemented by the Association. The Mission will conduct an annual review, but believe that it may more appropriately conducted by an outside organization. At many missions this would preempt a conflict of interest. We understand this would mean a policy change from HQ and are recommending one.
6.4.21 The Mission agrees and will address the issue with CMM.
6.4.22 Implemented, effective January 2008.
6.5.1 The IT Section is under the supervision of a CS-03 Foreign Service Information Technology Professional (FSITP) Team Leader. Support is provided by a CS-02 FSITP, in addition to three LE-07 Locally Engaged Information Technology Professionals (LEITPs), one of which is funded by the Mission. Despite four changes of the Team Leader within the last year, the Section is working ***.
6.5.2 The Team Leader, who only arrived at post in the summer of 2007, is viewed as taking a proactive role to IT management with the initiation of several projects to improve service such as the Virtual Private Network (VPN) tunnel to Nagoya. The VPN tunnel will have a significant impact for users in Nagoya by improving system reliability.
6.5.3 While the Section is managing with its current workload, they are nearing capacity. Staff indicated that with a focus on client service, it is challenging to address other requirements such as updating the IT inventory system (ITAMS). ITAMS often falls to the bottom of the agenda with critical user support taking precedence.
6.5.4 The Mission's non-standard systems (the IPL Human Resource Management System, the Bflets internet system, banking software, etc) are also having an impact on the Section's workload. On average support to these systems account for as much as 20-40% of an LEITPs time. Given that many of these systems are essential for Mission operations, denying support is not an option. However, there is presently no mechanism for recording these non-standard activities in the Remedy system. While Tokyo's IT Section may appear to be over-resourced, it is in fact fully utilized.
6.5.5 Clients are generally satisfied with the services provided by the Section. At present, however, the Section does not use a standardized approach for responding to service requests. Service standards were developed in 2006 based on the generic standards issued by HQ. These standards, however, could be improved by moving beyond urgent and non-urgent to specifying different levels of service for different types of requests. Developing standardized responses and more comprehensive service standards will assist in managing client expectations and allow for better tracking. This could be done with a simple e-mail system acknowledging requests for service with a time frame for completion based on the service standards.
6.5.6 To better inform clients and better manage expectations, the Program should develop more detailed service standards outlining the level of service to expect and the time frame for final service delivery. Once the standards are finalized they should be approved by the CMM and communicated to all staff.
6.5.7 A standardized client response system should be developed and implemented.
6.5.6 An update to Section 8 of the Service Standards is being drafted for presentation to the CMM. Anticipated for May or June 2008.
6.5.7 Mission concurs and FSITP Team Leader is currently working on a client response system. To be completed, March 2008.
The scope of the Audit included a review of Mission Management and the Commercial, Political and Economic, Public Affairs, Consular and Administration Programs.
The audit objectives were to:
The focus and extent of on-site work was based on an assessment of materiality and related risk. This was done through communication with HQ bureaux, including briefings by line management and the functional bureaux, review of relevant HQ and mission documentation, and past audit findings, and an analysis of recurring trends and systemic issues.
During the Audit, audit issues and lines of enquiry were further refined from information gathered through interviews with the HOM, DHOM, and Program Managers, a meeting with the LES Committee, individual interviews with staff, and results of other documentation reviewed. The level of audit work was therefore based on issues and information identified and gathered at all levels, HQ, Mission management and Mission operations.
|Assets||Crown Owned||Crown Leased|
|2007/08 Reference Levels|
|Operating Budget (N001)||$ 5,085,029|
|Capital Budget (N005)||$ 182,920|
|CBS Salary Budget (N011)||$ 3,040,000|
|LES Salary Budget (N012)||$ 8,245,053|