February 25 to March 5, 2009
The scope of the Inspection included a review of Mission Management and the Political Economic, International Business Development, Consular and Administration programs. The inspection objectives were to:
The focus and extent of on-site work was based on an assessment of materiality and related risk. This was done through communication with Headquarters (HQ) bureaux, including briefings by line management and the functional bureaux, review of relevant HQ and Mission documentation, past audit findings, and an analysis of recurring trends and systemic issues.
During the Inspection, inspection issues and lines of enquiry were further refined from information gathered through interviews with the Head of Mission and program managers, a meeting with the Locally-engaged staff Committee, individual interviews with staff, and results of other documentation reviewed. The level of inspection work was therefore based on issues and information identified and gathered at all levels, HQ, Mission Management and Mission operations.
Report finalized on June 17, 2009
An inspection of Mission Management, the Political Economic (PE), International Business Development (IBD), Consular and Administration Programs was conducted in Bogota from February 25 to March 5, 2009. The previous audit of these programs took place in 1996. None of the significant findings from the 1996 report currently were in evidence at the Mission.
The Embassy in Bogota is a medium sized mission with 20 Canada-based staff (CBS) and 56 Locally-engaged staff (LES). While the security situation in Colombia is improving, random and targeted acts by organized political factions or street criminals continue to be a factor in the day to day operations of the Mission and affect the lives of the CBS and LES.
Increased focus on Colombia has put more pressure on the Mission in terms of managing more visits (many of which were related to Free Trade negotiations), and increased interest in human rights and security issues. The dedicated and professional LES and CBS of the Mission have demonstrated an ability to achieve results despite the increase in pressure.
Mission plans were in-line with Government of Canada and departmental objectives and priorities. Departmental tools and initiatives, such as TRIO and the New Way Forward, are not fully implemented or fully used.
During the Inspection it was noted that the Mission perceived a lack of responsiveness from Headquarters (HQ) on certain issues of concern, and expressed a desire for greater communication and guidance on issues that have an impact on programs.
While communications at the higher levels are robust and information flows downward effectively, more formal communications within the programs would reduce the risk that issues or activities might be misunderstood or missed entirely. Greater communication between management and the LES Committee would be beneficial.
A total of 78 recommendations are raised in the report; 76 are addressed to the Mission and two are addressed to HQ. Management has responded to each recommendation indicating action already taken or decisions made, as well as future action. Of the 78 recommendations, management has stated that 40 have been implemented. For each of the remaining 38 recommendations, management has indicated the initiatives in progress or the intended future action.
1.1.1 The Embassy in Bogota is a medium sized mission with 20 Canada-based staff (CBS), 56 Locally-engaged staff (LES) and is responsible for Program delivery in Colombia. The Chancery is located in the Usaquén district of Bogota, where there is a relatively stable security situation and low level street of crime relative to other areas in Bogota. The Mission, however, continues to need to take into account both random and targeted acts of violence by armed groups from either extreme of the political spectrum.
1.1.2 The security situation in Colombia has been improving and, as a result, greater interest in trade and political relations have been placing increasing pressure on the Mission. It is anticipated that with the ratification of a Free Trade Agreement, there will be a greater volume of trade activities.
1.1.3 The Mission has a strong management team and is supported by CBS and LES who are well educated, competent and dedicated to their work. Of particular note are the plans of the Political Economic (PE) and International Business Development (IBD) Programs. Both Programs have sound processes that ensure that their plans are aligned with government and Headquarters (HQ) priorities.
1.1.4 It should be noted that the IBD plan has not only incorporated results based management practices, but also real or near real time monitoring of resource utilization, and should be considered as a model to be emulated.
1.1.5 Program managers (PMs) often were not involved in the budgeting process. The budget process has been an exercise conducted by the Management Consular Officer (MCO) and Accountant, based upon data generated from prior years.
1.1.6 Communication is key when putting plans into an operational context, however, regular and formal communications were not occurring in some of the programs. While this has not had a detrimental impact upon the delivery of the programs’ objectives, there is the risk that with a change in personnel at the Mission, communications will not be as effective at the program level without a structured process.
1.1.7 The Mission’s committee structure is appropriate for the size of the Mission and, for the most part, the frequency of meetings and modes of communicating outcomes are effective.
1.1.8 There was not, however, an Information Technology (IT) Committee in place at the Mission, such that Management could be informed of IT issues that the programs face. Such a Committee would also provide input into IT operations plans as well as Business Continuity planning and testing.
1.1.9 The LES Committee meets infrequently. The Committee held the opinion that the LES are not kept as informed about changes or decisions at the Mission as they would have wished. An issue raised was the perception that changes to security safeguards at the Chancery, and the rationale for which they were done, had not been sufficiently explained to the LES.
1.1.10 The Security Committee had not met since the fall of 2008, and was not providing input into areas such as operational plans for security, or associated security documents.
1.1.11 The Mission ensures compliance with the Official Languages Policy. In functional areas such as reception, consular and immigration, clients could be served in both official languages. Key documents and signage were available and displayed in both languages. The Mission’s general internal communications are conducted in both official languages for messages to CBS, and in both official languages and Spanish for general communications to CBS and LES.
2.1.1 The Program is well managed with defined and balanced roles and responsibilities assigned between the FS-04 Program Manager, a FS-02 junior Officer and a LE-08 Public Affairs Officer, and a LE-04 Assistant. The Program is also responsible for the two emergency LE-09 Global Peace and Security Fund (GPSF) positions, and the $5 million in associated project funding.
2.1.2 There is good team work, communication and morale within the Program. The PM has an open and accessible approach providing professional direction and support to staff. Regular monthly meetings are held to share information, review current and future activities, events and projects. Hospitality funding is being used in accordance with Program objectives, mostly through lunches. However, 50% of the $5,300 allocation was not used and was returned for allocation within the Mission budget (used by the HOM for events that support overall PE Program objectives). The travel budget of $12,000 is sufficient to address program needs.
|Post Initiative Fund||$20,000|
2.1.3 There is a sound planning process in place with goals and objectives clearly linked to the Country Strategy (CS) and Reporting Agreement (RA). There is good cooperation with other programs particularly the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The RA is comprehensive and detailed, identifying input and responsibilities across Mission programs. The Program has provided consistent and quality reporting. Post Initiative Fund (PIF) plans identify projects, their timelines and outputs and are aligned with CS objectives. Projects are monitored and results are reported to HQ.
2.1.5 Workload pressures are on the rise due to increased focus on Colombia in terms of more visits, (many related to the Free Trade Agreement), human rights and security issues and GPSF management responsibilities. In order to rationalize these demands, the Program needs to clearly document both, what is being accomplished with existing resources and what is not being addressed or could be addressed and the resources that would be required. This can then be used as a basis to support requests for additional resources and/or establish priorities between competing demands internally at the Mission and with HQ.
2.1.6 The New Way Forward (NWF) has been discussed with staff and related material has been distributed. A list of service providers has been developed, however, no formal training has yet occurred. At a minimum, time should be set aside for staff to take the online courses that are offered. In accordance with NWF criteria, more emphasis needs to be placed on defining results in addition to activities and outputs and incorporating these into future planning.
2.1.7 The PM has devised a developmental plan ***. While this is working well, it should be documented and cover the two year period. This will help ensure that the plan is adhered to and will provide a basis for discussion regarding progress, issues and future needs.
2.1.8 The strategic framework developed by HQ with input from the Mission is comprehensive and detailed. There are ten projects approved and in place with two more that have been identified and planned for. These projects are managed by two LES emergency employees with oversight and support provided by the PM and involvement by the junior Officer as required. The total amount of program funding allocated to Colombia is $5 million.
2.1.9 The emergency employees are devoted almost exclusively to the GPSF initiative and projects with occasional interface with other Program activities, with overlapping initiatives, contacts and items of interest.
2.1.10 Both are currently employed on an emergency basis which is limited to 125 days. This limit has been knowingly exceeded. This has been an on-going issue which the Mission and HQ have been trying to solve. A solution is being sought to ensure Program continuity and fair treatment of the employees. One term position has been approved as well as contract authority for the other. A contract situation, however, will be in clear violation of employer/employee regulations. Without a similar position created for the second resource, the Mission will have to release the incumbent and hire another resource under the casual employment regulations or find other means of managing the projects.
2.1.11 Project administration has been impacted by prolonged decision making by the project authority in HQ. Program implementation by the Mission could be improved with more streamlined communications from HQ.
2.1.13 The PE Program should document and analyse internal and external workload demands to establish priorities and support resource requests.
2.1.14 The Program should undertake NWF training and incorporate results measurement in future plans.
2.1.12 In progress for September 2009. The Mission is consulting ALD, and will do so throughout the process, which is expected to be completed by the end of summer 2009.
2.1.13 In progress for December 2009. The PE Program already has established clear priorities in line with the Country Strategy and Reporting Agreement. The Program will develop a methodology for analyzing workload demands with a view to developing a justification for additional resources by the end of 2009 (through the Committee On Representation Abroad (CORA) process).
2.1.14 In progress for December 2009. NWF on-line training for two PE staff is underway. Results measurement, in line with the reporting template for progress towards achieving the results set out in the Country Strategy will be included in future plans. The new Country Planning system will allow for the PE Program to focus on defining results in addition to activity outputs.
2.1.15 In progress for June 2009. Documentation is underway, to be completed by June 30, 2009.
3.1.1 The International Business Development Program is delivered by a FS-04 Senior Trade Commissioner (STC), a FS-02 Trade Commissioner (TC), two Locally-engaged LE-09 TCs, a Locally-engaged LE-07 TC, a Locally-engaged LE-07 Research Officer/InfoCentre Manager, and two Locally-engaged LE-05 Trade Commissioner Assistants (TCA). The Program’s financial resources are as follows:
|Client Service Fund (CSF)||$21,000|
3.1.2 The IBD program in Bogota can be considered a model to be emulated, with a robust and flexible planning framework that is complemented by resource monitoring and a system that fosters continuous improvement through lessons learned training and development.
3.1.3 The Program had a business plan for 2008/2009, and a new plan for the coming fiscal year is in the process of being established. All members of the IBD team participate in the planning activities. The Program researches both the Canadian and local economy and the markets to identify trends and opportunities for the Program to focus upon.
3.1.4 The Program aligns its priority sectors with the priorities of the Government and the Department, and consults not only with Headquarters, but also with trade offices in the region, provincial governments, and industry associations in order to validate the selection.
3.1.5 Based upon the priorities, the Program develops a set of initiatives, and an action plan. The IBD team will then allocate resources and track their expenditures. The plan has clearly articulated performance targets with both activity and results based criteria. In addition to the action plan, TCs develops a work plan for their priority and niche sectors.
3.1.6 The plan is flexible and responsive to address any unforseen changes in the market, with the TCs implementing quarterly market prospect plans in order to identify new potential sectors and to re-orient the IBD plan.
3.1.7 The STC indicates that the travel budget provided to the Program is insufficient for the needs of the Program, and has approached Headquarters on this issue. As a result of the ongoing security situation in Colombia outside of the capital, travel to other regions can only safely be performed via air travel. The current travel budget of the IBD Program has resulted in it only being able to perform outreach in three of the seven regions of the country. The discussion and decision on the budget for the program should also be taking place at the CMM, with business plans and resource needs presented.
3.1.8 All members of the IBD team have performance plans derived from the objectives of the IBD plan, and have entered into discussions with the STC with regard to their individual objectives and development needs. The STC makes use of the departmental Performance Management Program tools and guidance to provide regular feedback to his staff.
3.1.9 The STC has ensured that each member of the IBD team has a formal training plan and works with the team to make sure that their development needs are met. A key component of the training program for the TCs in Bogota is the attainment of the Forum for International Trade Training’s CITP professional designation (Certified International Trade Professional).
3.1.10 The Program has frequent meetings although they are not scheduled, and no minutes or record of decisions are taken and distributed amongst staff. Each member takes their own notes based upon their individual needs. The STC does communicate Committee on Mission Management (CMM) and Operational Committee information to the Program staff.
3.1.11 While this approach works for the individuals in the IBD Program at this point in time, this is largely a result of the individuals and not the process itself. Regardless, there continues to be a risk, that crucial information could be missed in round-table discussions. The institution of formalized practices will also serve the development needs of the CBS TC through the exposure to a practice that will be essential at future posts.
3.1.12 Program staff were familiar with the Global Commerce Strategy and implications on the Program and on their work. Furthermore, all TCs were familiar with the concept of integrative trade. In all cases, the staff identified communications with the STC as a significant factor in their knowledge of these areas.
3.1.14 The IBD Program makes use of the TRIO tool as a part of its monitoring regime. While use of the tool varies within the Program, the STC is committed to its use, and the entire team recognizes the value it has both in terms of performance management and reporting. The Program’s self assessment identified significant variances between the outreach and outcalls tracked in TRIO, and those recorded in the officers’ agendas.
3.1.15 A key issue regarding full use of the tool has been the slow speed at which it operates. The Mission has a 512kbs connection to the network, which could be a factor in the speed of the application. Staff of the Program noted that the application would also freeze and, on occasion, require their desktop systems to be re-booted. It is expected that with an improvement in network connectivity for the Mission, there would be greater use of the tool, and as a result a corresponding perceived increase in the efficiency of the use of the tool.
3.1.16 Bandwidth and latency have been issues raised by other missions that have implemented TRIO, and it is recommended that the relevant divisions review the minimum bandwidth requirements to run TRIO in conjunction with the other Internet based applications found at missions.
3.1.17 In addition to the use of TRIO, the Program monitors the expenditure of resources in real, or near real time. The activity plan for the Program tracks actual expenditures, committed expenditures that have not yet been paid and, as appropriate, resources that will not be expended due to cancellation of activities or reorientation of the plans. All members of the IBD Program have access to this information, and thus are able to better manage their activities. Such resource tracking against action plans should be considered as a best practice.
3.1.18 The IBD Program has an InfoCentre staffed by the two TCAs and managed by the Research Officer. While only 64% of enquiries are being entered into TRIO at this point in time, according to the Program’s self assessment, the InfoCentre is operating both efficiently and effectively, disseminating enquiries to the appropriate officers, responding to general enquiries and undertaking research as needed.
3.1.19 The IBD Program has made limited use of the International Business Opportunities Centre (IBOC) and the Post Support Unit (PSU), as they feel that the service has not provided them with sufficiently refined responses. In the previous year, the Program had sent only eight requests to PSU, and nine to IBOC. During the same period they matched 491 trade leads directly with Canadian companies.
3.1.20 For the most part, hospitality diaries are being completed correctly. In some cases the explanation of results achieved were not sufficient to accurately gauge the utility of the event.
3.1.21 The STC should enter into discussions with Mission Management with regards to the level of the travel budget for the IBD Program.
3.1.22 The STC should put in place a more formalized process of communications with regularly scheduled meetings and minutes or records of decisions.
3.1.23 Both the Mission and relevant HQ divisions should engage in a dialogue with regard to network connectivity and required resources for running network applications.
3.1.24 The STC should ensure that hospitality diaries are completed with results achieved linked to program objectives.
3.1.21 Implemented April 2009. HQ has provided the appropriate funding to the Mission to accommodate IBD Program requirement. Discussion with Mission Management has occurred and the Mission is waiting for the Treasury Board recently imposed travel expenditure cap limitation.
3.1.22 Implemented May 2009. Written formal minutes have been instituted for each staff meeting that will take place every two weeks or as appropriate for policy and operational reasons.
3.1.23 In progress for September 2009. This is a problem not unique to Bogota and one which needs to be addressed by Latin America and Caribbean (GCD) and the Information Technology (IT) sections at HQ.
3.1.24 Implemented April 2009. An instruction has been passed to the IBD team during regular section staff meeting. More attention will be given to linking results achieved to program objectives.
4.1.1 The Consular Program is being well managed by the MCO with day-to-day operations and passport issuance being performed by the Deputy MCO (DMCO). The team includes a LE-09 Consular Officer (reclassification to LE-08 has been submitted to HQ) and a LE-05 Consular Assistant (reclassification to LE-06 has been submitted to HQ). The Program also oversees an Honorary Consul (HonCon) in Cartegena.
4.1.2 The Consular Officer has only been in the position for six weeks. Prior to that, she worked as the Consular Assistant for nine years. Currently the Consular Assistant position is filled by an emergency employee, however a staffing action was underway to fill the position on an indeterminate basis. Both LES are able to provide services in both official languages as well as in Spanish. The number of full time equivalents (FTEs) in the Section is considered adequate to cover the workload.
4.1.3 Once the Consular Assistant position is filled, the incumbent will provide back-up for the Consular Officer, however a back-up for the Assistant will also have to be identified. This will provide an opportunity to cross-train an existing LES which will not only increase capacity in the Mission but also provide the opportunity to expand staff’s understanding of the Consular function.
4.2.1 The Consular Officer participated in the Consular Specialist course in 2001 when first employed as the Consular Assistant. ***.
4.2.2 If the upward reclassification of the Assistant position is approved the Mission will need to ensure that the distribution of tasks and responsibilities are in line with the higher classification (the request is currently with the Committee on Representation Abroad (CORA)).
4.2.3 A hospitality budget has been assigned to the Consular Section and should be used to a greater extent in order to foster and maintain contact with local authorities and Consular counterparts in other embassies.
4.2.4 HQ noted that the Mission appeared to be under-reporting in COMIP (Consular statistics tracking system). The Mission should ensure that all staff are entering their time accurately and that HonCon statistics are also entered correctly. The Consular Contingency Plan and the Duty Officer Manual are both up-to-date.
4.2.5 In fiscal year 2007/2008, the Mission managed a sensitive case which was concluded in December 2008. Given the unique nature of the case, the Mission experienced several challenges in bringing about its resolution. Mission staff felt that they had not been appropriately trained or provided with the right tools to manage the nature and sensitivity of the case. Challenges regarding coordination with HQ at times placed the Mission in a position to make decisions that, perhaps, should have been made centrally. The Mission noted that for future cases there is a need to improve coordination and communication between all interested parties (i.e. partner departments, HQ bureaux and the mission) to ensure the provision of clear and timely direction.
4.3.1 Consular fees and service standards are not posted in the Consular booths. As a best practice a copy of an Official Receipt should also be posted, with a notice advising clients that they should ensure that a receipt is issued when paying fees.
4.3.2 Client feedback has been limited to date despite the fact that staff are already giving feedback forms to clients with their passports in person and by mail. The Mission should continue to encourage clients to fill out the forms and should consider placing forms in the Consular booth and the reception area. There is a locked “suggestion box” in the Consular booth where clients should be directed to deposit their forms. The key should be kept by the DMCO who would be responsible for retrieving forms from this box.
4.3.3 Consular staff consider the services provided to the Mission by Passport Canada to be a challenge, as the responsible officer changes frequently and there is an inconsistent application of regulations. Staff also cited slow response to some email queries.
4.4.1 The DMCO is approving all passports per regulation and, in his absence, the MCO fulfills this function. The Consular Officer and Consular Assistant (though not the emergency employee) sign legalizations.
4.4.2 Basic controls are in place and assets are appropriately safeguarded. Passport stock is reconciled monthly by the DMCO and quarterly by the HOM. However, receipt of new passport stock and the monthly reconciliation should be conducted by two persons. Passport stock in the possession of the HonCon should be verified whenever Mission staff visit Cartegena.
4.4.3 A register for passport stock should be created to control the movement of stock from the vault and between staff members. Staff should be signing the register whenever they take possession of any assets.
4.4.4 Cash handling and use of Official Receipts is appropriate but Consular fees are only transferred to the Finance Section once per week. The Program should transfer funds to the Finance Section as soon as the dollar limit, per section 5.11.4 of the Manual of Consular Instructions, is surpassed. Convenient times to do this will have to be arranged with the Finance Section.
4.4.5 The office of the Consular Assistant is currently located in an open area in a hallway which is a high traffic area also housing a common printer and photocopier. Plans are in place for the Assistant to share space within the Consular Officer’s office, which should alleviate concerns regarding privacy and security. The Mission should ensure that cabinets left in public areas containing personal information are locked, as currently there is no locking mechanism.
4.5.1 The Mission should identify a back-up for the Consular Assistant position.
4.5.3 If the upward reclassification of the Consular Assistant position is approved, the Mission will need to review the job description to ensure that actual tasks and responsibilities are at the correct level.
4.5.4 Hospitality should be used to a greater extent.
4.5.5 All Consular staff including HonCons should ensure their time is entered into COMIP consistently.
4.5.6 Consular fees, service standards and a copy of an Official Receipt should be displayed in the Consular booth.
4.5.7 Feedback forms should be placed in the Consular booth and reception area, and Consular staff should encourage clients to fill out the forms and use the locked suggestion box to deposit them.
4.5.8 Receipt of new passport stock and the monthly reconciliation should be conducted by two staff.
4.5.9 Passport stock in the possession of the HonCon should be verified whenever Mission staff visit.
4.5.10 A register for passport stock should be created to control the movement of stock from the vault and between staff members.
4.5.11 Consular revenues should be transferred to the Finance Section when the dollar limit is reached.
4.5.12 The Mission should ensure that personal information is adequately safeguarded.
4.5.1 Implemented May 2009. A back-up (the Property Clerk) has been identified.
4.5.2 In progress. The Mission applied in February 2009 but was denied as candidate participated in 2001. The Mission was told that a refresher course was being developed for use in the future.
4.5.3 In progress. New proposed job descriptions have been developed to support the reclassification initiative (April 2009). Increased complexity of Consular work and more active participation in case management justify it (awaiting funding). Job descriptions will be reviewed.
4.5.4 Implemented April 2009. Outreach activities were conducted in January 2009 and more will be done in 2010. An outreach plan has been developed.
4.5.5 Implemented April 2009. Consular staff have been informed of the importance of COMIP data to track use of Consular Mission resources.
4.5.6 Actioned and completed March 2009.
4.5.7 Implemented March 2009. Feedback forms are provided to all Consular clients, even mail-in passport applications. Clients are encouraged to fill them out. The DMCO has the key to the lockbox.
4.5.8 Implemented April 2009. Actioned, two staff members have completed monthly reconciliation for April 2009 and will continue to do so.
4.5.9 Implemented. Consular staff have done this and the Mission will ensure other staff check when visiting.
4.5.10 Created and implemented May 2009.
4.5.11 In progress April 2009. Consular staff are making a concerted effort, although occasionally still exceed dollar limit.
4.5.12 Locks installed on all cabinets containing personal information (May 2009). DFAIT approved cabinet to be ordered to coincide with office reconfiguration planned for summer 2009.
4.5.13 CNO should review the type and amount of guidance they provide to missions dealing with high profile and/or sensitive cases to ensure that they are adequately supported.
4.5.13 In consultation with International Crime and Terrorism Division (ICT), CNO is conducting lessons learned exercises on high profile kidnapping cases to better guide a coordinated Government of Canada response in future cases
4.5.14 Passport Canada should be more consistent in their application of policy and communication with missions.
4.5.14 Canadian missions abroad are responsible for applying Passport Canada Policy consistently in the delivery of the passport program and issuance of Canadian travel documents. The Passport Policy Manual and other reference materials such as the Training Manual provide guidance in this regard and should be consulted regularly. Further clarification may be sought from Passport Canada Case Management Officers. Case specific guidance may vary depending on the circumstances and complexity of the case at hand. A risk-based portion of mission files is audited daily to ensure completeness and adherence to policy.
5.1.1 The Administration Program is well managed and is providing a good level of service to all programs within the Mission. The MCO and DMCO ensure that weekly meetings are held between members of the supervisory staff. Supervisors are also conducting meetings on a regular basis with non-office staff although there are no periodic meetings held between the MCO and non-office staff. These meetings would provide non-office staff with an opportunity to discuss issues which they may be reluctant to raise with their immediate supervisors.
5.1.2 Although the MCO and DMCO work closely together on all areas, a more formal training plan for the DMCO should be developed to ensure that the DMCO is exposed to/and becomes proficient in all areas under MCO responsibility.
5.1.3 As part of the training plan for the Administration Program, consideration should be given to providing client service training to all staff who are dealing with clients within and outside the Mission.
5.1.4 The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Mission and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) office which is co-located within the Mission was last reviewed in 2000. There have been several office movements and changes which have occurred within the Mission making several areas of the MOU outdated. AFP officers advised that the security section of the MOU is of specific concern to them.
5.1.5 The MCO should ensure that non-office staff have access to him whereby meetings could be held on a periodic basis (once every two months) to discuss issues of concern.
5.1.6 A formal training plan for the DMCO should be developed.
5.1.7 Client service training should be provided to all Administration staff who are dealing with clients on a regular basis.
5.1.8 The MOU between the Mission and the AFP offices should be reviewed and updated as required.
5.1.5 In progress for May 2009, Drivers have been advised that meetings will occur every two months. Technicians are coming off holidays and will be advised. OR staff will be advised.
5.1.6 In progress for June 2009. DMCO’s training plan will be based on the document for MCOs on their first assignment.
5.1.7 In progress for September 2009. A Mission-wide training plan is in development and will include client service training.
5.1.8 The Administration Program and the AFP have discussed the MOU as required. MOU negotiations are between HQs, and the Mission has provided input.
5.2.1 Day to day Human Resources (HR) activities are managed by the MCO with support from the LE-06 Personnel Assistant. Over the past year the HR Section has been very active as several LES retired from the Mission in the fall of 2008. During this period, over 60 staffing actions to fill vacant positions and to address emergency employment requirements of the Immigration Program were required which consumed a great deal of the Personnel Assistant’s time. While the Mission has outlined a number of work projects and routine issues to be addressed over the short term, the development of service standards and a longer range HR plan would assist the Section in dealing with their workload.
5.2.2 Performance Management Plans have been completed for all Administration staff. Position descriptions for all LES were updated as recently as January 2009, however several of the position descriptions have not yet been signed by the employee or the supervisor.
5.2.3 Although the Mission has created a training guide (last updated January 2009), there is no Mission-wide training plan in place at the Mission. This should be developed, costed, reviewed and approved by the CMM on an annual basis.
5.2.4 The HOM is signing for all letters of offer for indeterminate and term employment, however, program managers have been signing letters of offer for emergency employment. With the increased number of emergency employment requirements from various programs, the Mission should ensure compliance with section 10.1.8 of the HR Management Manual, and section 2.7.1 of the LES Handbook Part 1 - 2007.
5.2.5 EXT 208 (pay certificates) are prepared by the Personnel Assistant and sent to ALD. The MCO signs off on the copy, but it is not maintained on the employee file. LES leave and attendance reports are provided to all program managers on a monthly basis and all LES receive an annual reconciliation of their leave files.
5.2.6 A cross section of LES files were reviewed. Data contained on these files was well organized and segregated between the position file, the employee file, and leave files. Classification action files were well documented and EXT145 forms were appropriately completed and HOM signature obtained.
5.2.7 A number of competition files were reviewed. In most cases, the files did not contain necessary information such as:
5.2.8 The Inspection Team met with a group of CBS spouses. Communications with Administration and Property staff on issues such as the maintenance of Staff Quarters, furnishings, a lack of service standards (and communications to spouses of these standards), and spousal employment were discussed.
5.2.9 The Inspection Team also met with members of the LES Committee. The current Committee was elected in November 2008 and represents a broad cross section of Mission program staff. The LES Committee indicated a perception that their issues are not important to Management and that their concerns are not being addressed. The Committee indicated that there could be better internal communications between Management and staff, particularly where security issues are concerned and feel that some information provided to CBS is not being passed to them, and that they were not consulted on the implementation of some security measures.
5.2.11 The Mission is in the process of reviewing the job description of *** to reflect more active duties within the Administration Program of the Mission and reduced duties associated with the OR. This position will still be required to undertake specific duties at the OR as required.
5.2.12 *** .
5.2.14 The OR staff advised that they have little or no contact with the LES Committee. The only time they were contacted by the Committee was when there was a vote for a new executive Committee. Communications between OR staff and the Mission is by telephone and as such policies, procedures, and all-staff notices are not consistently provided to these staff members.
5.2.15 The Mission should develop a long term HR strategy and prepare service standards which will serve to guide programs accordingly.
5.2.16 Recently updated position descriptions should be reviewed and signed by supervisors and staff.
5.2.17 A Mission-wide training plan should be developed and presented to the CMM on an annual basis.
5.2.18 The Mission should ensure that the HOM signs all letters of employment.
5.2.19 The Mission should ensure awareness and compliance with the HR Management Manual, and LES Handbook Part 1 - 2007 for casual and emergency employment.
5.2.20 The Mission should ensure that EXT 208 pay certificates are maintained on the employee file.
5.2.21 The Mission should ensure all competition files include basic information to ensure transparency and accountability in the process.
5.2.22 The Mission should ensure that service standards are communicated to all employees as well as CBS spouses when and where applicable.
5.2.23 The Mission should develop a clear policy regarding the acceptance and inclusion of resumes for competitions from interested spouses who have yet to arrive at the Mission.
5.2.24 The Mission should make every effort to consider spouses for employment within the Mission.
5.2.25 The MCO and HOM should arrange to meet regularly with the LES Committee in order to ensure good communications between the Committee and Mission Management.
5.2.27 The Mission should ensure that annual performance reviews are conducted for all staff working at the OR.
5.2.28 The Mission should ensure that OR staff are kept informed of issues involving LES, and examine the need to install a computer with Internet facility so that they may have contact with other Mission staff (such as personnel and maintenance staff).
5.2.15 In progress for September 2009. An HR plan will be implemented based on ALDT’`s (Services to Locally Engaged Staff / National Project) message of April 11, 2008.
5.2.16 Implemented May 2009. Job descriptions were distributed to all programs to be signed and returned. As of May 18, 2009 there are less than ten outstanding out of approximately 60.
5.2.17 In progress for June 2009. A request for proposal (RFP) was sent to spouses in April 2009 to create a training plan. ***
5.2.18 Actioned and implemented March 2009.
5.2.19 Implemented May 2009. A message was sent to all program managers. Compliance will be monitored.
5.2.20 Implemented. They are occasionally kept in a separate file until there are several, and filed all at once.
5.2.21 Implemented March 2009. The Mission is ensuring files contain all information identified in Inspection Report. Program managers have been briefed on this requirement.
5.2.22 In progress for September 2009. The Administration Program will be developing Mission-specific service standards for all functional areas.
5.2.23 In progress for June 2009. The Mission will create a policy in this regard which ensures interested spouses are included in all competitions, balancing the Mission's needs to staff positions in a timely manner.
5.2.24 Implemented. In the past year, nine of 13 spouses have been employed in some capacity at the Mission, four of them full time.
5.2.25 Implemented May 2009. The MCO to meet quarterly with the LES Committee, and the HOM semi-annually, and as required to address specific issues raised by the LES Committee.
5.2.26 In progress for June 2009. The MCO will liaise with ALD on this issue and the HR Assistant will review past employment files.
5.2.27 In progress for July 2009. An appraisal will be completed for the remaining OR staff for fiscal year 2008-2009 by July 30, 2009 (please note that two other staff members have retired).
5.2.28 In progress for June 2009. The Administration Assistant will ensure the HOM Driver receives and distributes all messages that affect all staff or OR staff.
5.3.1 The day to day property activities are managed by the DMCO (Property), who is assisted by a LE-07 Property/Materiel Assistant, a LE-05 Materiel Clerk, two Handymen and two Cleaners. The DMCO plays an active role in this function.
5.3.2 The main Chancery is housed in a multi-tenant building and occupies space on the 6th, 14th, and 15th floors. Currently, space available to most programs is at threshold and is particularly acute within the Immigration area. Plans are underway to either lease additional space in another building or to purchase additional space within the building which houses the Chancery.
5.3.3 The Property Section currently relies on HQ service standards as well as the generic service standards which were developed in 2004. Neither of these documents are Mission specific guidance for clients and property staff.
5.3.4 Requests for goods, services and maintenance issues are presently handled through the use of e-mails sent to the Administration Program. The Mission has purchased the Departmentally approved service order request system and is anticipating to introduce it to all Mission programs as soon as Mission specific information is loaded into the program.
5.3.5 An annual inspection of all Staff Quarters (SQ’s) is conducted by the DMCO and the Property/Materiel Assistant, which provides the Section with valuable information for purchase and maintenance planning purposes. The Section, however, has not developed a capital acquisition plan for the cyclical replacement of equipment and furnishings. The inventory tracking system purchased by the Mission, should assist in preparation of a multi-year purchase plan. The two Handymen should also be included in the annual inspections, to provide technical expertise on preventative maintenance issues. The Handymen should be provided with all tools and equipment deemed necessary for them to perform the variety of tasks requested of them.
5.3.6 A petty cash account *** held by the *** was reviewed and reconciled. The Materiel Clerk also uses a local credit card to facilitate minor purchases for the Section. Purchases are verified and expenditures approved by the DMCO (Property) on a monthly basis.
5.3.7 The Inspection Team visited the Official Residence (OR) properties and five SQs. The long term temporary OR is currently being fit up and is expected to be occupied by the HOM prior to the end of March 2009. There will be a requirement for the Mission to closely monitor all assets including the works of art inventory during the relocation from one OR to the other. All SQs visited were considered to be well maintained and offered a good standard of living for the occupants except for ***. This SQ has problems relating to reliable water and electricity supplies as the building does not have a back up generator. In addition, the layout of the apartment is not very functional.
5.3.8 Occupancy agreements and inventory files were reviewed. While occupancy agreements have been signed by all occupants, many inventories of SQ assets have not been signed. An inventory of Chancery assets was last conducted and reviewed in 2001.
5.3.9 The Mission maintains warehouse storage space for furniture at a commercial facility. Many of the goods stored at this facility consist of new furnishing groupings which have yet to be placed into the SQs for which they were originally ordered. The formulation of a multi-year capital acquisition plan should reduce the requirement to store new furniture groupings.
5.3.10 Crown assets disposal records are well maintained. Sale of surplus materiel is handled through a commercial auction house which charges a 5% commission fee for all sales. Items are sold in lots and not individually to ensure that all items are disposed of in a timely manner.
5.3.11 Official vehicle logs are maintained for all vehicles. Daily vehicle usage logs are maintained and are verified by the DMCO (Property) on a monthly basis.
5.3.12 The Mission should develop and circulate Mission specific materiel and maintenance service standards to all clients.
5.3.13 The Mission should ensure that appropriate training sessions involving the service order request system are provided to all affected staff and clients prior to the launch of this program.
5.3.14 A multi-year capital acquisition plan should be developed and tabled at the CMM on an annual basis in order to seek approval for capital expenditures at the beginning of each fiscal year.
5.3.15 The Mission should involve the Handymen in annual inspections of all properties.
5.3.16 The Handymen should be provided with all necessary tools and equipment which will enable them to properly undertake all duties assigned to them. An inventory of these assets should be prepared and signed for by the Handymen.
5.3.17 The Mission should ensure that all assets (works of art, silverware, crystal, and furnishings) presently located at the previous OR and the short term temporary OR are appropriately tracked and inventoried during the move to the long term temporary OR.
5.3.18 The Mission should consider terminating *** and relocate the occupant to another SQ within its current inventory or lease a more suitable replacement.
5.3.19 The Mission should ensure that inventories and occupancy agreements are completed and signed by the occupants within two weeks of SQ occupancy.
5.3.20 The Mission should update the inventory of Chancery furnishings and equipment and have office occupants sign off for items within their control.
5.3.21 The Mission should assign new furniture groupings to SQs to replace older groupings, in order to reduce the requirement for off-site storage.
5.3.12 In progress for September 2009. The Administration Program will develop Mission-specific service standards for all functional areas in Administration.
5.3.13 In progress for July 2009. The Mission has nearly completed the setup of the forms for Bogota. This will be rolled out in three phases (users, Administration, clients).
5.3.14 In progress for September 2009. The Mission has purchased Wise-Track asset tracking software which will assist in this regard. The Mission has prepared this year's plan to be approved at the May 2009 CMM.
5.3.15 Implemented May 2009. Handymen participated in this year's SQ inspections.
5.3.16 Implemented May 2009. Handymen have identified required tools and the purchase order has been issued for their purchase. An inventory will be prepared once tools received for the Handymen to sign off.
5.3.17 Implemented March 2009. OR inventories and fine art inventory have been verified following move.
5.3.18 Implemented April 2009. Replacement SQ identified and approved by Housing Committee. Possession to be taken June 8, 2009. Existing SQ to be used as swing space and lease terminated in fall 2009.
5.3.19 Implemented April 2009. This item is identified specifically in our new relocation checklist to ensure this takes place.
5.3.20 In progress for September 2009. Wise-Track asset tracking will also assist the Mission in this. An asset control form will be made to be signed by office occupant upon receiving items.
5.3.21 Implemented May 2009. The Mission has only one extra SQ of furniture that will be used when three new CBS positions arrive this summer. The Mission will replace furniture when required as per asset replacement plan, to be approved at CMM at the end of May 2009.
5.4.1 The Finance Section is managed by the MCO who is assisted by a LE-07 Accountant and a LE-05 Assistant Accountant. The HOM has recently arrived at the Mission and is monitoring financial matters appropriately. Weekly meetings are held for the Administration Program which the Accountant attends.
5.4.2 The Accountant has been hired on a one year term, and has only been in the position for two months (since December 15, 2008). *** .
5.4.3 Budgeting and preparation of monthly FINSTAT reports are undertaken by the MCO through informal discussions. However, the DMCO and the Accountant should be more involved and input should also be solicited from the other program managers. The yearly budget should be submitted to the CMM for approval. A budget for maintenance should also be created as the DMCO (Property) has not developed a plan but requests funds for purchases on an as needed basis. Overtime budgets have been devolved to programs however, it should be noted that the Immigration Program exhausted their allocation during the first quarter.
5.4.5 Financial expenditure reports are currently only being given to PMs upon their request. These should be provided more frequently. The Mission should consider training the administrative assistants from the different programs on how to use IMS. Read-only access would enable them to more closely monitor their budgets. 5.4.6 Finance service standards need to be updated and communicated to all staff as those currently in use are the generic standards created in 2004. The Accountants attempt to adhere to a five day standard, however it is unclear how this is communicated to clients.
5.4.7 The Finance Section does not have quiet hours although staff are asked to pick up payments only in the afternoons. Currently a spouse on contract outside of the finance function makes use of a workstation located in the Finance Section. Access to the office should be limited to the two Accountants who need to concentrate to do their work and who must deal with cash and work with sensitive documents. The contractor and spare workstation should be relocated to another area.
5.4.8 A sample of the Mission monthly accounts was reviewed, the findings indicated that further attention should be paid to:
5.4.9 The quality of hospitality reporting was not consistent. The Mission should ensure that results of the event can easily be evaluated and clearly linked to Mission and program objectives.
5.4.10 Although the Mission has a Contract Review Board (CRB) in place, contract files were incomplete and the Mission did not maintain a contract register. As a result, the Inspection Team was unable to assess processes and validate adherence to procedures. Areas for improvement are:
5.4.11 The contract *** was last signed in 2006 for a five year period, however, the original signed contract could not be found. It is unclear what, if any, approval process was followed. As the value of the contract is in excess of $1.8M it should have been approved by the Departmental CRB. The Mission should contact Contracting Policy, Monitoring Operations (SPP) for advice and have the contract reviewed. 5.4.12 The monthly bank statement is currently received by the Accountant. The statement should be delivered to, opened and reviewed by the MCO, and then passed to the Accountant to complete the reconciliation process. 5.4.13 LES payroll is the only payment currently performed by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) method. The Mission should consider using this method for other payments in order to improve efficiency, rather than printing cheques.
5.4.14 Review of credit card reconciliation found that section 34 was not signed. The authorization process for using Mission credit cards should be formalized to ensure all purchases are authorized ahead of time, to protect all parties involved. Currently only verbal notification and authorization is used. Two petty cash accounts were verified, and all paperwork and cash were in order.
5.4.16 Immigration fees are transferred to the Finance Section ***, as direct deposit is used for local currency. While cheque deposits are individually recorded in IMS, currently only the total amount of local currency deposited in the bank account is being entered into the system versus the amount paid for services rendered per POS+. Reporting requirements should also be discussed with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) Cost Recovery Officer to ensure needs are being met
5.4.17 Once the Immigration refund initiative is launched, workload pressures on the Finance Section could increase if extensive refunds are required to be processed for clients who have erroneously overpaid. It is estimated by the Mission that there could be more than 100 such cases per month. The Mission should monitor the situation and assess effects on resources.
5.4.19 The DMCO and the Accountant should be more involved in the budget process and input should be solicited from the other PMs.
5.4.20 The CMM should review and approve the budget.
5.4.21 A budget for maintenance work should be put in place.
5.4.23 Monthly reports should be provided to PMs.
5.4.24 The Mission should consider giving administrative assistants from the different programs read-only access to IMS.
5.4.25 Service standards need to be updated and communicated to all staff.
5.4.26 Access to the Finance Section should be restricted to the two accountants. The contractor and spare workstation should be relocated to another area.
5.4.27 The Mission should ensure that:
5.4.28 Hospitality forms should be filled out so that effectiveness of the event can be easily evaluated.
5.4.29 Contracting controls and documentation should be strengthened by:
5.4.30 Advice/guidance should be sought from SPP regarding the *** contract
5.4.31 The monthly bank statement should be sent directly to the MCO.
5.4.32 EFTs should be considered as more efficient alternate form of payment.
5.4.33 Credit card usage should be authorized formally before any purchases are made.
5.4.36 The methodology in which Immigration revenues are recorded in IMS should be reviewed.
5.4.37 Reporting requirements should be discussed with CIC Cost Recovery Officer.
5.4.38 The workload in the Finance Section should be monitored in the event numerous overpayment refunds need to be paid to Immigration clients.
5.4.19 In April 2009, the Accountant, DMCO and MCO revised and analysed this fiscal year’s reference levels together, and will invite input from PMs. In progress.
5.4.20 Implemented May 2009. The budget will be presented for CMM approval at May 2009's CMM.
5.4.21 Implemented May 2009. A maintenance budget has been earmarked for CMM approval.
5.4.23 Implemented May 2009. Monthly reports were always given to Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), National Defence (DND), and CIC. Other programs upon request. Now all PMs will receive monthly reports.
5.4.24 In progress for June 2009. The Mission will consult with SMFF (Financial Operations, International) on this and look into what training will need to be provided for new users.
5.4.25 In progress for November 2009. The Mission-specific service standards will be developed for all functional areas of Administration.
5.4.26 Implemented April 2009. Access is now restricted. Workstation left, as it is used to complete the Mission’s IVA claims and is the stand alone for EFTs. Additional workstations will be available once the annex is complete.
5.4.27 Implemented March 2009:
5.4.28 Implemented March 2009. The MCO raised this requirement with Mission managers, and care will be taken to ensure objective/results are clearly stated.
5.4.30 Implemented May 2009. SPP has been contacted and the Mission has provided them requested information on the contract.
5.4.31 Implemented. The bank is sending statements in the MCO’s name and the Finance Section brings statement to MCO unopened. The Mission will monitor the situation and adjust as necessary during the absences of either of the MCOs.
5.4.32 In progress for August 2009. The Mission still lacks confidence in current bank's electronic banking system and may need to change banks. Our IT professional met with bank representatives to see what options exist to integrate with IMS. SMFF has also been contacted.
5.4.33 In progress for July 2009. The Mission is concerned about operational impact and will consult other missions on best practices.
5.4.35 Implemented May 2009. A cash handover sheet has been developed to accompany envelopes of cash, cheques. It is signed each time it changes hands.
5.4.36 In progress for June 2009. Current procedure was agreed upon by previous MCO, CIC PM and HQ, and apparently is not uncommon. The Mission will re- confirm current procedure with stakeholders.
5.4.37 In progress for June 2009. The MCO will speak with CIC Cost Recovery Officer (CRO) on this matter.
5.4.38 Implemented March 2009. The Mission is monitoring impact of this policy on Finance personnel.
5.5.1 IM-IT at the Mission is administered under the direction of the MCO with support from a CS-02 Foreign Service Information Technology Professional (FSITP), who also supports the missions in Caracas (Venezuela) and Kingston (Jamaica), and a LE-08 Locally Engaged Information Technology Professional (LEITP).5.5.2 The Mission is well served by the IT team. The LEITP provides service with an emphasis on client service, and can provide support in the three languages in use at the Mission.
5.5.3 There is no IT operational work-plan at the Mission and therefore no IT operations budget has been established. At the time of Inspection, the Mission had no IT Committee to provide guidance to the IT function and ensure that the IT needs of the Mission are adequately addressed.
5.5.4 The MCO has not entered into discussion with the Client Support Regional Manager (CSRM) and the FSITP with regard to the schedule of visits that the FSITP will undertake during the year, the annual work plan for the FSITP, or issues of performance expectations for the FSITP. Meetings on IT issues tend to be informal between the FSITP and LEITP.
5.5.5 Interviews with both the MCO and FSITP indicate that the Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is out of date as the alternate site can no longer be used. The Mission needs to ensure that, as changes occur, the BCP is updated and regularly tested. Regular tests should be part of the annual IT work- plan.
5.5.6 Both the FSITP and LEITP have performance objectives, however the MCO felt that, as most tasking comes from the CSRM, the responsibility for the performance management program should reside with the CSRM. The position is, a Mission resource with a clear joint reporting line to the MCO and CSRM, and the MCO must be involved in the performance management of the resource.
5.5.7 The LEITP is developing user training requirements in order to feed into a Mission-wide IT training plan.
5.5.8 The IT team provides “IT tips of the day” to all staff via e-mail on issues such as IT security practices and how to avoid unsolicited e-mail advertising.
5.5.9 While long distance dialling capabilities are restricted at the Mission, there is no regular reconciliation of the private branch exchange (PBX) long distance dialling restrictions with an authorized long distance user control sheet. The Mission does, however, provide staff with long distance usage reports on a regular basis, with cost recovery for any personal calls.
5.5.10 Server backup tapes are stored onsite in a media safe in a room off the 6th floor board room. In the event of a catastrophic event, the tapes could be unusable or inaccessible. Tapes should be stored offsite in an appropriate container.
5.5.11 There are no formal Mission-wide information management practices. The Mission had tried to implement InfoBank, however, according to the MCO the first version installed at the Mission was inefficient and as a result, the Administration Section began an ad hoc process of using public folders.
5.5.12 The MCO noted that each section handles its own archiving and disposal of documents. There is, however no established Mission-wide policy in this area. It is noted that the MCO did not receive any Information Management hand-over documents when he first assumed the position.
5.5.13 An annual IT operations plan should be created in order to ensure that:
5.5.14 The MCO should enter into discussions with the FSITP and CSRM to determine the schedule of visits and performance targets.
5.5.15 The MCO should have regular meetings with the Mission’s IT staff to ensure that plans are being discharged as appropriate and that they are aware of Mission needs.
5.5.16 An IT Committee should be formed, and meet on a regular basis to discuss the needs of the Mission as well as have input into the IT operational plan.
5.5.17 The BCP should include a disaster recovery phase, a business continuity phase and a business resumption phase.
5.5.18 The Mission should periodically reconcile the PBX long distance dialing capabilities with a control list of PBX authorizations to make long distance calls.
5.5.19 The Mission should:
5.5.13 In progress for July 2009. A plan will be developed.
5.5.14 In progress for June 2009. The MCO will contact the CSRM.
5.5.15 Implemented. IT personnel participate in the weekly Administration meeting.
5.5.16 In progress for September 2009. An IT Committee will be formed when the new committees are formed following relocation season.
5.5.17 In progress for July 2009. The FSITP and LEITP are working on a BCP.
5.5.18 Implemented April 2009. The FSITP has made a control list and confirmed authorised employees with managers.
5.5.19 In progress for September 2009:
|Physical Resources (Bogota)|
|1 on 3 floors|
2 includes Australian Federal Police, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Department of National Defence, and head of Mission vehicles which can not be used for common services.
|Financial Information 2008-2009||Bogota|
|Operating Budget (N001)||$1,843,383|
|Capital Budget (N005)||$194,420|
|CBS Salary Budget (N011)||$582,543|
|LES Salary Budget (N012)||$1,963,413|