September 14 - 18, 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 were 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, reviews 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.
An inspection of the Political Economic (PE), International Business Development (IBD), Consular and Administration Programs was conducted in Bucharest from September 14 to 18, 2009. The Mission was last audited in October 2002. The Embassy in Bucharest is a medium sized mission with 11 Canada based staff (CBS) and 46 Locally engaged staff (LES).
The Head of Mission (HOM) arrived in Bucharest just prior to the Inspection visit, and staff’s initial impressions are positive. The Mission’s responsibility for the PE and IBD programs for Cyprus will be transferred to the mission in Athens shortly, which will relieve some of the workload pressures. The current preoccupation for the Mission is to find a replacement for the Honorary Consul (HonCon) in Bulgaria. Staff commented on the challenges related to covering three countries (Romania, the Republic of Bulgaria and the Republic of Moldova) with significantly reduced budgets. The Mission is concerned that the multiple requests coming from Headquarters (HQ) have an impact on productivity. As there is no single window at HQ for tasking missions, there can be duplication of requests for the same information and multiple requests with similar deadlines.
In the recent past, the PE Program has been active in supporting whole of Mission activities and, consequently, ***. With the arrival of the new HOM, the Program should review the Country Strategy and Reporting Agreement ***. The number of activities carried out with the Post Initiative Fund should be rationalized.
The IBD Program has been operating reactively over the past year, because its attention has been diverted by high profile issues and events. It should develop a proactive plan in order to prioritize networking and trade promotion. Activities should be captured appropriately in TRIO (International Trade Canada’s data repository) to ensure that management can assess how well clients are supported and market intelligence is gathered.
Within the Consular Program, the reporting relationships should be restructured to give the Deputy Management Consular Officer (DMCO) day to day responsibility for the management of the Program. As happens in many missions, the Consular staff experiences an additional workload because they receive telephone enquiries from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) clients who wish to discuss their cases but cannot reach CIC staff.
Clients indicated that the Administration Program is client service oriented. The Management Consular Officer (MCO) is proactive and self-identified a number of procedural improvements needed, which he and his team have been working on since his arrival. The Mission will have to work with Mission Client Services and Innovation (ASD) to receive compensation for the $140,000 increase in the Official Residence’s annual rent. Though the Chancery was built in 2006, there are still some deficiencies that need to be addressed. The Mission uses an electronic database (MS Access) to compile and track assets, which is seen as a best practice and could be considered for use at other missions. The Mission should consult with Financial Operations International (SMFF) to determine if the Integrated Management System (IMS) can be connected to the banking system in order to eliminate duplication of work.
A total of 77 inspection recommendations are raised in the report; 74 are addressed to the Mission and three are addressed to HQ. Management has responded to each recommendation indicating action already taken or decisions made, as well as future action. Of the 77 recommendations, management has stated that 44 recommendations have been implemented. For each of the remaining 33 recommendations, management has indicated the initiatives in progress or the intended future action.
1.1.1 The Embassy in Bucharest is a medium sized mission with 11 Canada based staff (CBS) and 46 Locally engaged staff (LES). The partner department at the Mission is Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).
1.1.2 The Mission is responsible for Romania, the Republic of Bulgaria and the Republic of Moldova. At the time of the Inspection visit, it also had accreditation to Cyprus for the International Business Development (IBD) and Political Economic (PE) programs. Once the Order in Council is completed, the responsibilities for Cyprus will be transferred from the Mission in Bucharest to the mission in Athens, and the Consular accreditation from the mission in Damascus will also become the responsibility of the mission in Athens.
1.1.3 The EX-02 Head of Mission (HOM) arrived at the Mission three weeks prior to the Inspection visit. His staff includes an AS-02 Administrative Assistant who was due to arrive shortly (a temporary duty Administrative Assistant was providing back-up following the departure of the former incumbent), an LE-05 HOM Assistant, a HOM Driver, an Official Residence (OR) Butler, an OR Cook and OR Housekeeper. Staff indicated that their initial impression of the new HOM was positive, and they appreciated his plan to meet each staff member individually.
1.1.4 The Mission has been busy for the last few years with the Chancery move, two summits (the Francophonie and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)) and a number of high level visits. The staff pointed out that there was good cooperation between members of the Mission. Many of the recommendations raised in this report had already been identified by the Mission. The HOM, while continuing the outreach work undertaken by his predecessor, has started to establish his vision for the Mission and clarify objectives for the programs.
1.1.5 There is a Committee on Mission Management (CMM) which meets weekly, and the practice of preparing minutes has recently been reinstated. The CMM is occasionally expanded to include other staff, when warranted. Other active committees include: Housing, LES, Contract Review Board (CRB), Occupational Health and Safety (OHS), Personnel Review Board, Web, Moosehead Club, and Transformation. The Mission has also appointed Training and Official Languages coordinators. The previous HOM was holding all-staff town-hall meetings quarterly, or more often as needed, and this best practice should continue.
1.1.6 The Deputy Management Consular Officer (DMCO) is the Training Coordinator, and the Mission identified the need to develop a Mission-wide training plan. An *** initiative on the part of the Mission was the creation of a “New LES Training Roadmap” which was developed under Transformation by the DMCO and the Transformation Champion (the Management Consular Officer (MCO)). Staff/management expressed interest in the following training:
1.1.7 The Mission has the capacity to provide services to clients in both official languages as well as in Romanian. When needed, the guards refer French-speaking clients to other staff for assistance. In order for all LES to be aware of the Government’s approach to values and ethics (V&E), the V&E booklet was translated into Romanian and is on the shared drive. There are a couple of staff members with Bulgarian language capacity, but unfortunately no one within the Consular Program, which must rely on the Honorary Consul’s staff in Sofia. There is some signage in the CIC Section that needs to be translated into French.
1.1.8 In the past year, the LES Committee met three times with Mission Management when particular issues had to be discussed. The current HOM plans to institute regularly scheduled meetings, as other missions have seen positive results when the LES Committee meets twice per year with the MCO and twice with the HOM. During one of the meetings the previous year, the LES Committee had raised the issue of cultural insensitivity displayed by some CBS. The former HOM met with all CBS to discuss this concern, and the LES stated that the situation improved. The OR staff however, did not feel that the LES Committee was in sufficient contact with them.
1.1.9 The Inspection Team met with the LES Committee which made the following comments:
1.1.10 The turnover of all program managers during the posting cycle of 2008 placed *** of strain on staff. It affected particularly the LES who needed to provide more context and corporate memory than normal, and the adaptation period was more difficult for the new arrivals. Headquarters (HQ) and the Mission should monitor the posting cycle in the future to prevent this situation from recurring. The DMCO arrived at same time as the Management Consular Officer (MCO), ***.
1.1.11 The major preoccupation of the Mission is the unexpected departure of the Honorary Consul (HonCon) in Bulgaria. The office consisted of the HonCon plus his three employees who provided not only Consular services but also support for CIC as well as occasional assistance to the IBD and PE programs. At approximately $150,000 per year, the office was a cost-effective way to provide services in Bulgaria. Should there be a delay in finding a new HonCon, it would be a challenge for the Mission in the short-term to provide services in Bulgaria.
Consular Policy and Initiatives (CLP) comment:
While $150,000 per year may seem cost effective compared to the cost of running a regular mission, but it is quite high in cost relative to many other HonCons. In the future, the geographic may need to evaluate the cost of the HonCon against the priority of this country for Canada. The Order in Council for the new HonCon was signed in January 2010, and it is expected that the Consulate will reopen by April 2010.
1.1.12 The HOM should have quarterly all-staff town-hall meetings.
1.1.13 The Mission should ensure that signage in the CIC Section are in both official languages.
1.1.14 The Mission should develop a Mission-wide training plan.
1.1.15 The LES Committee should schedule regular meetings with Mission Management, including the HOM.
1.1.16 The LES Committee and/or Mission Management should ensure that the OR staff are provided with the LES Committee meeting minutes.
1.1.12 Planned previous to the Inspection and implemented in November 2009.
1.1.13 Noted and implemented in January 2010.
1.1.14 Noted and implemented in October 2009.
1.1.15 Planned previous to the inspection and implemented in January 2010.
1.1.16 Noted and implemented in January 2010.
1.1.17 When CLP reminds missions of HonCon renewals, consequences of delayed renewals should be clearly outlined.
1.1.18 CLP should develop HonCon closing procedures for missions to refer to.
1.1.17 Consequences of delayed renewals were communicated in a recent Broadcast Message. CLP will look at clarifying further in reminder messages to supervising missions.
1.1.18 Procedures are available in the Manual of Consular Instructions 7.10.
1.1.19 The following procedural recommendations are noted for action:
1.1.20 Incomplete Performance Management Plans (PMPs) (including non office staff) for the fiscal year 2008-2009 should be completed.
1.1.21 Fiscal year (FY) 2009-2010 objectives should be entered/rolled over into all employees’ PMPs.
1.1.20 Survey of missing PMP completed. All supervisors at Mission have completed PMPs. Previous supervisors have been contacted to insure timely completion.
1.1.21 Noted. FY 200920/10 PMPs were completed following the HOM’s Performance Management Agreement (PMA).
2.1.1 The Political Economic (PE) Program in Bucharest is managed by an FS-03 Program Manager (PM) who is supported by an LE-08 Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs (PERPA) Officer and an LE-05 Public Affairs Assistant.
2.1.2 The Program is responsible for covering Romania, as well as Bulgaria, Moldova and Cyprus. The responsibility for Cyprus is being transferred to the mission in Athens imminently.
2.1.2 The Program’s financial resources for 2009-2010 have been allocated as per the table below. The figures presented are initial allocations. Since these allocations were made, there was a 50% cut to the Post Initiative Fund (PIF) and similar reductions to the travel and hospitality allocations. The staff mentioned that it will be increasingly difficult for the Program to effectively cover Bulgaria and Moldova with a reduced budget.
|Post Initiative Fund||$8,000|
2.1.3 The Program’s main areas of focus are political reporting, public affairs, visit support and academic relations.
2.2.1 The Program is *** managed under the direction of the FS-03 PM who has been at the Mission for just over one year. ***. The LE-08 *** with three years in her current position. The LE-05 has been in her position for about one year. The Program also works closely with the HOM’s office, specifically the HOM’s LE-05 Assistant.
2.2.2 Given the recent arrival of the HOM, the management climate at the Mission was in a state of transition at the time of the Inspection. The Program had previously been playing a supportive role for whole-of-Mission activities that included visits and outreach in the form of “Canada-Days” throughout Romania.
2.2.3 The need to support Mission-wide activities reduced the time available for the PM to pursue specific PE objectives. Many activities undertaken outside of Mission-wide activities were in the Academic Relations area.
2.3.1 The Mission’s Country Strategy and Reporting Agreement seemed too general to help the Mission develop a detailed operational plan. Working in conjunction with the Geographic Division at HQ, the next iteration of both the Country Strategy and Reporting Agreement should include more precision ***.The Country Strategy and Reporting Agreement should describe how these relations can provide added value to Canada’s global agenda, and what activities (calls, conferences, visits) should be undertaken to maximize benefits for Canada.
2.3.1 The Program is active, despite its limited human and financial resources. It may have to reassess its priorities, as a considerable effort (20-25% of staff time) is presently given to Academic Relations. ***. The principles of the New Way Forward/PE renewal efforts would be a good starting place for a re-examination to ensure the Program achieves maximum impact.
2.3.3 Many small projects had been done in the past using the PIF resources. It would be worthwhile for the Program to pursue a more limited number of initiatives and ensure that they have high impact, rather than trying to spread the budget to include as many activities as possible without clear links to priorities.
2.3.4 The reports examined by the Inspection Team were of high quality. Considering *** the Country Strategy and Reporting Agreement, reporting was nonetheless linked to departmental priorities. There was, however, a tendency to rely mostly on open sources of information. The PE Section should increase its reporting focussing on Canadian interests based on primary sources. It will be important for the Program to maintain an ongoing dialogue with HQ on the topics addressed through reporting and the level of detail included. Reporting on events *** was more limited given that the PM has not been able to travel to these countries on a regular basis.
2.3.5 The Mission’s political contacts had been maintained ***. The small hospitality budget would be best used if it targeted key political contacts.
2.3.6 The arrival of a new HOM provides an opportunity for the PE Program to build on its assets (qualified staff, strong management and team spirit), reassess its priorities, expand its political network and increase/focus its reporting. The new HOM’s PMA should be a basis for this exercise.
2.4.1 In conjunction with the European Union Member States Bilateral Relations Division (GUB), the Program should update its Reporting Agreement.
2.4.2 The Country Strategy should be updated for the 2010-2011 cycle.
2.4.3 The Program, in conjunction with the HOM, should reassess its areas of focus with a view to increasing political and economic analysis and reducing Public Affairs/Academic Relations activities.
2.4.4 The number of projects pursued with the Post Initiative Fund should be rationalized.
2.4.5 A plan to broaden the number and diversity of Program contacts should be developed and enacted in conjunction with the HOM.
2.4.1 Informal discussions have already taken place. Awaiting instructions to all missions from HQ (Geographic Group) as regards to the new format for Country Strategy and Reporting Agreements.
2.4.2 Informal discussions have already taken place. Awaiting instructions to all missions from HQ (Geographic Group) as regards the new format for Country Strategy and Reporting Agreements.
2.4.3 Regularly scheduled meetings between HOM and PE Program Manager to review program activities and forward planning are held.
2.4.4 PIF planning for fiscal year 2010-2011 will focus on a smaller number of higher profile projects to be implemented with local partners.
2.4.5 Consultations between HOM, HOM’s assistants, and the PE Program regarding identification of new contacts was undertaken in December 2009.
3.1.1 The International Business Development (IBD) Program in Bucharest is managed by an FS-03 Senior Trade Commissioner (STC) and supported by an LE-09 Trade Commissioner (TC) and an LE-05 Trade Commissioner Assistant (TCA). The current STC has been at the Mission since the summer of 2008. Program priority sectors include aerospace and defence, environmental industries, information and communication technologies (ICT) and oil and gas. The Program’s financial resources are as follows:
|Program Funds Fiscal Year 2009-2010|
|Client Service Fund (proposed)||$20,000|
3.1.2 The economic climate in Romania continues to be in a state of transition. While recent growth had been promising, the current economic downturn is having a dramatic effect here. Estimates of a seven to eight percent contraction in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2009 are the general consensus. This erratic growth environment is coupled with a regulatory climate that is in a state of transition. Underlying the above is a market that has significant current and future potential as it continues to modernize and move towards the implementation and achievement of European Union (EU) economic standards.
3.1.3 Romanian merchandise imports to Canada totalled $153.4 million in 2008 (down five percent from 2007). Canadian merchandise exports to Romania totalled $238.5 million in 2008 (up 67.7 percent from 2007). Cumulative Canadian Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Romania is estimated at $248 million.
3.2.1 Over the past year, the IBD Program has been operating in a mainly reactive capacity, largely diverted from core IBD objectives. A number of high profile issues and events have monopolized the attention of the Program over this period.
3.2.2 As a result of these activities often not directly related to IBD, the Program has not established a proactive plan for ***. This is reflected in hospitality diaries and in reporting to Headquarters.
3.2.3 The *** STC *** and all Program staff were positive about their work. There is a good level of communication within the team.
3.3.1 Business planning documents for 2009-2010 were reviewed. While they had an appropriate focus on the main sectors, a significant number of activities were related to the ongoing maintenance of market access issues and the longer-term expansion of the*** nuclear power facility.
3.3.2 In the last year, the Program has been diverted from its main objectives by peripheral activities such as high profile market access files, visits and whole of Mission projects, including "Canada Days" outside of Bucharest. The Client Service Fund (CSF) financially supported the trade portion of the "Canada Days" events. The members of the team also devoted time and effort on other non IBD events and activities.
3.3.3 The Program has been reactive up to now, *** moving towards results-based management. A focus on clients, beyond the big-issue players, would help the Program accomplish its core mandate and objectives.
3.3.4 Performance statistics provided to the Inspection Team were contradictory, and it was difficult to reconcile the very high level of activity reported to the Inspection Division (ZIV) before the visit (18-20 Market Potential Assessments and 22-24 Qualified Contact Searches per month) and the low number of activities recorded in TRIO (two Market Potential Assessments and 18 Qualified Contact Searches for the whole of fiscal year 2008-2009). The level of client support activity as recorded in TRIO has seen a marked decline over the past four years. For example, the number of clients who were provided with a service dropped from 80 in 2006-2007 to 40 in 2008-2009.
3.3.5 When presented with these figures, the STC believed that data had been lost or mis-coded within the TRIO environment. She informed the Inspection Team that a number of exchanges had occurred on this subject with the TRIO support unit in HQ and the regional TRIO support officer in Paris. However, a review of the documentation provided by the STC on this subject referred to the loss of data in another regional post.
3.3.6 ***. It is therefore not surprising that the local staff are not keen on reporting their activities in TRIO,***.
3.3.7 As noted above, the use of hospitality and CSF by the Program has been limited to the big events/issues in which the Program has been involved recently. Since the arrival of the current STC, hospitality funds were used to meet with regional STCs, long-established contacts and a former colleague. Hospitality funds to host Canadian colleagues is not included under the Hospitality Policy guidelines. Going forward, the use of CSF and hospitality funds should be specifically targeted towards client support and market intelligence gathering.
3.3.8 It is imperative that the Program reassesses its priorities and focus on objectives beyond the big issue players. A proactive plan for outcalls, client acquisition and the entry of performance data into TRIO is required. Using the new HOM’s PMA as a starting point, the 2010-2011 IBD Strategy and Action Plan should be developed and used as a management tool to regularly monitor activities and performance.
3.4.1 In conjunction with the HOM, the IBD Program should reexamine its objectives, activities and performance measures for the short (remainder of this fiscal year) and medium terms (next fiscal year).
3.4.3 The use of Program funds (specifically hospitality and the CSF) should be clearly and directly linked to the furthering of IBD Strategy and Action Plan objectives and targets.
3.4.1 Noted. The IBD Program objectives, activities and performance measures were assessed in October 2009 following discussions with the HOM. Trimestrial revision is ongoing in conjunction with the HOM.
3.4.2 ***. Organised training at the Mission will take place on January 21 and 22, 2010.
3.4.3 Targeted networking is already underway and implemented in conjunction/consultation with the HOM.
4.1.1 The Consular Program’s areas of accreditation are Romania, the Republic of Bulgaria and the Republic of Moldova. There is an HonCon in Bulgaria (see paragraph 1.1.10) and, in Moldova, friendly embassies provide temporary assistance until the Mission can take over. Overall, the Program is running well.
4.1.2 The AS-06 MCO supervises the LE-07 Consular Officer and manages complex cases. The AS-04 DMCO supervises the LE-06 Consular Assistant and manages the day-to-day work of the Program. The Receptionist no longer acts as a consular assistant, and the revised position description is with the Committee on Representation Abroad (CORA) for reclassification to LE-04 from LE-05. The current Receptionist was hired based on the LE-04 job description. Given that the DMCO has been at the Mission for one year, ***, she should be given day to day responsibility for the management of the full program (including complex cases). The MCO would remain the overall Program Manager, but focus on providing guidance and direction rather than acting as a case manager and supervisor.
4.1.3 While there are good informal communications among Program staff, regularly scheduled meetings would provide opportunities to discuss Program management/administrative issues, such as reinstituting the yearly meeting with local Consular contacts. The Consular Assistant has been registered for the Consular Specialist training course in February 2010, and the Program plans to have the Consular Officer participate in mid-career training once it has been established.
4.1.4 The 50 percent budget cut experienced this year is a concern, given the unpredictability of client demand. The Program highlighted the need to monitor its service delivery. *** and the Consular staff may have to rely on other forms of contact such as telephone or mail.
4.1.5 At the time of the Inspection, the Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) showed 400 out of an estimated 1,500. There are currently 14 wardens in 21 districts, and the Mission holds an annual wardens’ luncheon. The number of Canadians who have self-registered in the updated ROCA system is much lower than in the original system, despite the Program’s promotional efforts. Some clients have told the Mission that they have concerns with the requirement to have a valid passport in order to register (many are dual nationals),***.
4.1.6 Last year, the Mission provided 517 passport services, 398 notarial services and handled 89 citizenship applications. Staff mentioned that there are more dual nationals returning or visiting Romania and Bulgaria, and therefore consular demand is increasing.
4.1.7 As observed at many missions, the Program experiences additional workload due to telephone enquiries from CIC clients. Workload and processing requirements within CIC prevent their staff from taking calls, and they encourage the use of the department’s website. Given that not all clients have access to the Internet, or cannot find the information required, they try to speak with an individual. As other countries have integrated consular and immigration services, CIC clients often assume that the same is true in Canadian missions, and they try to contact the Consular Section for assistance.
4.1.8 In the past, the Mission had been providing client feedback forms when delivering passports, or other consular services. Staff indicated that there was limited interest in giving feedback as it is not culturally common to remark on the provision of services in the countries of accreditation. The forms and a box to deposit the forms are available at the Consular booth. Despite the lack of success with obtaining feedback by distributing the form when service is provided, this process should be reinstated to encourage it as much input as possible.
4.1.9 The Contingency Plans (ConPlans) for Romania, Bulgaria and Moldova were scheduled for updating in June and July 2009, and the Duty Officer Manual (DOM) in September 2009. Rather than updating these documents early in the posting cycle and revising them later on, the Mission plans to finalize them when all the new CBS have arrived. The yearly review would follow a fall cycle to streamline the exercise.
4.1.10 Passport assets were appropriately accounted for and secured, and the DMCO and/or MCO are undertaking the approval function. The Program has assumed the remote approval role for the mission in Budapest, when needed.
4.1.11 The Mission should ensure that, when a new HonCon is appointed in Bulgaria, yearly tasking instructions are provided and assessments are completed on an annual basis.
4.1.12 The DMCO should be given day-to-day responsibility for the management of the Consular Program.
4.1.13 The Mission should review the organization chart to ensure reporting relationships are accurately reflected.
4.1.14 The Program should establish regular meetings which include all Program staff.
4.1.15 The Program should distribute feedback forms to clients when services are provided.
4.1.16 The Mission should ensure the three ConPlans and the DOM are updated following the arrival of the last CBS at post.
4.1.11 Noted. Candidature for a new HonCon was presented to HQ in November 2009 and has just been approved in Canada. Approval by Bulgarian authorities is now being sought. Tasking instructions are being prepared and will be given with the appointment letter.
4.1.12 Noted. The DMCO is scheduled to rotate summer 2010. As this position was not advertized as a consular position, situation will be assessed to best fit with the profile of new incumbent.
4.1.13 Current organization chart has been updated and signed by HOM.
4.1.14 Noted. The Mission has implemented formal regular Consular meetings.
4.1.15 The process was reinstituted in October 2009.
4.1.16 Updated following last CBS arrival in October 2009.
4.1.17 The following procedural recommendations are noted for action:
4.1.18 The Program should post service standards and the fee schedule in both official languages in the Consular booth. It is also a best practice to post a copy of the receipt that clients should receive when paying for a service.
4.1.19 The Mission should create ***.
4.1.20 As a best practice, the Program should consider creating a Consular emergency kit to allow for rapid deployment.
4.1.21 When a Canadian Citizenship Card (CCC) is picked up by a client, the Program should have the client sign a photocopy of the card, to show acceptance of receipt.
4.1.22 The Program should consider installing a cash register in the Consular booth.
4.1.23 The MCO or DMCO should review and sign off on the EXT119 revenue reconciliation form. These forms should also be numbered for control purposes.
4.1.24 The Program should review the amount of working stock provided to the Consular staff, for example Emergency Travel Documents.
4.1.25 As was done with the last receipt of passport stock, the monthly passport count should be carried out by two staff members (when possible two CBS).
4.1.26 The Program should cease contacting clients when the passport arrives at the Mission, but have them return for pickup up on the scheduled service standard time of 15 days.
4.1.18 Implemented in October 2009.
4.1.19 *** completed and accessible in InfoBank.
4.1.20 Integrated in the Consular work plan for fourth quarter FY 2009/2010.
4.1.21 Signed copies are kept in a file in the Consular Section.
4.1.22 Noted. The Mission is following the transformation initiatives related to reconciliation and report of Consular revenues directly in COSMOS. The Mission has recommended that COSMOS be upgraded to be able to produce receipts and daily reconciliation of Consular revenues.
4.1.23 Implemented, the Mission is using form EXT119 as per the recommendation.
4.1.24 Reviewed and adapted.
4.1.25 As mentioned this practice was already in place at the time of Inspection. The Mission will continue monitor receipt of supplies as required.
4.1.26 The Mission will follow Passport Canada’s guidelines of 15 days.
5.1.1 The Administration Program is managed by the MCO, who is responsible for the day-to-day operations in Property, Finance, Information Management-Information Technology, and who also assumes the role of the Mission Security Officer (MSO). The MCO is on his first posting as an MCO, having been a DMCO previously. The DMCO, who is on her first posting, oversees the day-to-day Security functions as Deputy MSO (DMSO), Human Resources, and the Drivers and Receptionist. The DMCO identified, in her PMP, the need for more exposure to the Finance function, including her participation in monthly FINSTAT reviews.
5.1.2 There are 18 LES (including eight non office staff and four guards) in addition to the CS-02 Foreign Service Information Technology Professional (FSITP), who support the Program. Clients indicated that the Program is client service oriented. The Administration staff consider that ***. The MCO has self-identified a number of procedural improvements which are needed at the Mission. The MCO’s workplan identifies projects for each function as well as for the Consular and Security programs. These are discussed with Program staff in general and rolled down to the responsible individuals.
5.1.3 Staff pointed out that there are *** informal communications within the team. The Program meets together every two months, though no minutes/records of decisions are kept. Functional meetings are held regularly. Management mentioned that there is no single point of tasking missions at HQ, resulting in duplication of requests for the same information and multiple requests with similar deadlines. Service standards and policies/procedures exist but should be reviewed, updated and re-posted on the shared-drive for access by all staff.
5.1.4 The storeroom containing the stock of wine and the Moosehead Club room should be appropriately secured to prevent access by unauthorized staff.
5.1.5 The DMCO should develop a workplan from her PMP objectives and the MCO’s workplan for her areas of responsibility.
5.1.6 The Program should have more frequent formal meetings with section heads and keep records of decisions.
5.1.7 The MCO should hold quarterly meetings with non office staff.
5.1.8 The Program should review, update and re-post service standards and policies/procedures.
5.1.9 The storeroom containing the stock of wine and the Moosehead Club room should be locked.
5.1.5 The workplan for the DMCO is integrated in the unit’s activity list.
5.1.6 Noted. The Administration Section has been holding bi weekly meetings with section heads. An agenda is recorded in the calendar and action items are distributed.
5.1.7 Implemented and meetings will be scheduled for February-May-August-November.
5.1.8 This initiative is part of the Programs workplan for fourth quarter FY 2009/2010
5.1.9 The room where the stock of wine is located is locked. The key is controlled by the HOM Assistant who is responsible for the inventory and quarterly reconciliation. Access by CBS is on an as needed basis. A lock was installed on the front door of the Moosehead.
5.2.1 The day-to-day management of the HR function is the responsibility of the DMCO with the assistance of the LE-05 Administration Assistant. The Administration Assistant has not yet received HR training provided by HQ. The Mission also has a mini clinic with a doctor and takes advantage of the six-month contract for a Community Coordinator. The Senior Accountant is responsible for payroll and social security (including keeping up-to-date on the local labour regulations). Local labour law requirements are a challenge, given frequent changes and bureaucratic requirements, such as completing new documents for each change of pay for each employee and completing monthly labour books to provide to the local authorities.
5.2.2 As noted in paragraph 1.1.6, staff expressed a strong interest in training on many different subjects. According to many employees, one particular topic that seemed to be important is inter-cultural effectiveness.
5.2.3 Over the past year, the Section has been working on reorganising the HR filing system to ensure completeness. There has been a separation of employee and position files, a focus on maintaining complete competition files to demonstrate transparency, and work on having up-to-date job descriptions signed by both the employee and supervisor. The Section has created a number of checklists to improve service and filing, including incoming and outgoing checklists, and welcome/relocation kits. The Section has been duplicating some work by keeping the EXT208s on the position file as well as in the employee file, where it is most relevant.
5.2.4 The LES Handbook was last updated in May 2004, and the Mission’s new LES Terms and Conditions are part of Phase I of the worldwide review and scheduled to be finalized this fiscal year. As one of the first missions to be part of this new process, there is some trepidation among the LES, see paragraph 1.1.10. The HOM is discussing hours of work with the OR staff and will ensure they are able to have their lunch break.
5.2.5 While cognizant of the need for competitive staffing processes, the Mission tries to promote and communicate employment opportunities for spouses when possible. There is a Reciprocal Employment Agreement (REA) with Romania, but finding employment outside the Mission is difficult without having Romanian language capacity. *** are able to tele-work from Bucharest in their current positions. The Department is starting to encourage these kind of arrangements in order to keep experienced Foreign Service Officers and their families with the Department. The Mission recently sent the updated Mission Report to HQ for posting on the Intranet site.
5.2.6 Along with the Receptionist’s position noted in paragraph 4.1.2, there are two other classification requests with CORA: the reclassification of the PE Officer from LE-08 to LE-09 and the regularization of the CIC Cost Recovery Clerk at LE-05.
5.2.7 The Mission should enrol the Administration Assistant in the HQ HR training course.
5.2.8 The Mission should examine the possibility of providing cultural sensitivity/awareness training to all staff.
5.2.7 The Mission training coordinator has communicated with Canadian Foreign Service Institute (CFSI) to verify availability of this training.
5.2.8 For new LES, this has been integrated into the training roadmap. The Mission continues to strongly recommend to new CBS that they follow the pre-posting training related to this subject. On going discussions are part of the agenda of the LES Committee including a proposal to create an Inter-cultural Champion at the Mission.
5.2.9 The following procedural recommendations are noted for action:
5.2.10 For unsuccessful internal candidates in a staffing process, the candidate should be informed, in writing, of the result, and the right to grieve clause should be included in the notification.
5.2.11 For unsuccessful classification requests the employee should be informed in writing, and the right to grieve clause should be included in the notification.
5.2.12 In the absence of the HOM, letters of offer (including for emergency employment) signed by the Charge d’affaires should clearly indicate their acting status.
5.2.13 The *** should obtain a bracelet to attach her mobile drawer cabinet key ***.
5.2.13 *** is kept locked and secured at all times.
5.3.1 The Property, Maintenance and Materiel Services Section is managed by the MCO. A Property Manager (LE-07) and a Materiel Assistant (LE-05) provide the function with sound support. Non office staff include four Maintenance/Handymen positions and two Cleaner positions. The Section maintains a Crown-owned Chancery, a Crown-leased Official Residence, as well as ten Crown-leased Staff Quarters (SQs).
5.3.2 The Chancery is recently constructed and was completed in 2006. The facade of the building is unsightly in places, due to problems encountered with oxidization of portions of the copper covering. Water may also be infiltrating behind the copper covering and causing damage to the concrete base. This issue was highlighted in the Building Condition Report which was completed in June 2008. The Mission should raise these concerns with the Physical Resources Bureau (ARD) as there is no project contemplated to address further renovations of the facade. The Mission considers the window lamination project for the Chancery to be of high priority and is awaiting funding from ARD prior to moving forward. ***.
5.3.3 Other areas of concern with the Chancery identified during the Inspection include:
5.3.4 There is currently excess space available within the Chancery. There are a total of nine offices (either open area or enclosed) as well as common area space which is under-utilized. The Mission Client Services and Innovation Bureau (ASD) and ARD should be consulted by the Mission on how to best make use of this space.
5.3.5 The Inspection Team visited four Staff Quarters as well as the Official Residence. All SQs are Crown-leased and are in good condition and well maintained. The Mission currently has eight apartments and two houses on its housing inventory. The OR, which is also leased, is an old building which is maintained by the Property Section to the best of their ability. *** any major renovations to the structure or to the mechanical and electrical systems. Should the monthly lease amount continue to increase, a decision to remain in this location will have to be made by ARD.
5.3.6 The monthly lease amount for the OR was recently increased from $6,500 US to 11,600 Euros. This represents an annual increase of approximately $140,000 CAD. The Mission advises that this increase has not been highlighted in the budget update provided by Mission Client Services and Innovation (ASD). This needs to be done to ensure that they are properly compensated for this inflationary cost on a reference level basis.
5.3.7 It should be mentioned that the Property Section was proactive in negotiating more favourable lease rates for some SQs when they were either being renewed or replaced. The Section has also renegotiated a flat rate long distance telephone package which has resulted in savings of approximately $25,000 per year.
5.3.8 Planning is done through the annual update of the Mission Property Management Plan (MPMP), input into the PRIME database, and through the development of an annual Mission Maintenance Work Plan (MMWP). Maintenance contracts for the building systems are properly scheduled and contracts are awarded on an annual basis. The Mission should develop a long range (multi-year) capital acquisition plan for the replacement and refurbishment of Chancery, OR and SQ furnishings and equipment as, in previous years, capital funds were spent on what could be considered to be low priority items. The capital acquisition plan should be updated annually and tabled for approval at the CMM.
5.3.9 Property and maintenance staff meet on a daily basis to discuss the scheduling of work and upcoming projects. There is good cooperation between the staff and their supervisors.
5.3.10 The Mission is in the process of implementing an electronic service order request system which should be operational within a few months. The Mission is encouraged to contact other missions in the region, which have in-depth experience with this system, to obtain assistance as required. Currently, a simple e-mail request system is used, although this system does not provide the Mission with the ability to track and categorize service requests. The introduction of the automated system will enhance service delivery for the Section.
5.3.11 The Mission operates a fleet of five official vehicles which are well maintained. Operational logs are completed for usage of the vehicles although there is no monthly verification and reconciliation conducted. The DMCO or the MCO should verify usage and fuel purchase costs as required using EXT 159 (Vehicle Operating and Maintenance Report).
5.3.12 OR and SQ inventories of furnishings and equipment are current and well documented. The Mission uses an electronic database (MS Access) to compile and track assets. The database is seen as a best practice and should be considered for use at other missions. However, the database does not include the condition of assets along with location and quantities. The Mission may wish to consider adding a column for this purpose.
5.3.13 Once OR and SQ inventories have been signed, changes to inventories are listed in the database, and a hand written copy of the change is noted on a sheet which is filed with the original inventory. This is a good practice, but the distribution account holder is not required to sign for these changes. The Mission should consider utilizing the EXT 182 form (Materiel Transfer Voucher) for this purpose.
5.3.14 Disposal of surplus assets is conducted through a sealed bid auction process. Like-minded foreign missions and Mission staff are invited to bid. The process is successful and properly addresses the Mission’s needs. The Mission should ensure that two members of the staff are present when the sealed bids are opened and reviewed.
5.3.15 The Property Section should conduct annual inspections of the Chancery, OR and all SQs. The results of these inspections will be useful in the development of the annual maintenance and capital acquisition plans.
5.3.16 The MCO is in the process of establishing a percentage for the HOM to reimburse the Mission for personal use of cleaning supplies and other consumables purchased for the OR. As the HOM has only recently arrived, purchases and usage should be tracked over several months prior to setting a reimbursable percentage.
5.3.17 The Maintenance staff have been provided with a wide variety of tools and equipment. Although they are properly inventoried, these assets have not been signed for by the custodians. The inventory of these assets should be verified on an annual basis.
5.3.18 A petty cash account ***, which is securely stored, ***. This cash account was reviewed and was in good order. In an effort to reduce the number of required replenishments (currently done on a weekly basis), the Mission may wish to consider increasing the amount of this account or use acquisition cards for minor purchases during peak periods (see recommendation 5.4.17).
5.3.19 The DMCO had previously been appointed as Chairperson for the Housing Committee. The HOM should ensure that a senior manager within the Mission, other than from Administration, be appointed to chair this Committee for its next session. Either the MCO or the DMCO should sit on the Committee, but as a non-voting member who acts in an advisory capacity only.
5.3.20 The Mission has an active Contract Review Board in place, which
reviews all contracts with a value of $5,000 or greater. Opening of bids is conducted by the MCO and another program manager. From time to time the Board reviews lower valued contracts which may be considered sensitive. Board members use both the virtual (e-mail) and in-session methods to meet to review contracts. The Mission should arrange to consolidate all relevant documentation on one file (other than electronic) which would then be available for audit or referral purposes, as the contract register, original contracts and CRB approvals are not presently maintained collectively. A review of the contracting process highlighted the following local practices:
5.3.21 The Mission should ensure that ARD is informed of continued problems regarding the Chancery facade.
5.3.22 The Mission should liaise with ARD to ensure that high priority projects are approved and funded.
5.3.23 The Mission should document concerns regarding the Immigration entrance area, which are affecting client service as well as staff safety and health and forward to ARD.
5.3.24 The Mission should consult ASD and ARD regarding current excess space within the Chancery.
5.3.25 The Mission should liaise with ASD to ensure that they are compensated on a reference level basis for recent increases to the OR lease.
5.3.26 The Mission should develop a multi-year capital acquisition plan which should be updated, and tabled and approved by the CMM on an annual basis.
5.3.27 The Mission should consider the installation of an electronic service order request system as a high priority for the Property Section.
5.3.28 The MCO or DMCO should ensure that monthly reconciliations of official vehicle usage, maintenance costs and fuel purchases are conducted and verified.
5.3.29 Form EXT 182 should be used to track the movement of assets after an inventory has been signed.
5.3.30 The Mission should ensure that two members of the staff are present when sealed bids are opened and reviewed during crown asset disposal sales.
5.3.31 The Mission should ensure that an annual inspection of all properties is conducted and results used to formulate maintenance and capital purchasing plans.
5.3.32 The inventory of tools and equipment provided to the maintenance staff should be signed for and an annual verification conducted.
5.3.33 The Mission should consider the use of an acquisition card for minor purchases.
5.3.34 The HOM should ensure that a senior manager, other than the MCO or DMCO, is appointed to chair the Housing Committee.
5.3.35 The Mission should consolidate contracting information and decisions made by the CRB in one location.
5.3.21 The Mission is liaising with ARD to establish priority projects based on their analysis of the building report to be included in the MMWP update in January 2010.
5.3.22 Noted and to be done through the MMWP process.
5.3.23 The Mission identified this issue as a project in MMWP. The Mission has implemented instructions so that mobility reduced clients are served through the Consular booth on the main floor.
5.3.24 The Mission completed and highlighted this in the threshold review for Property Strategy Section (ARAK).
5.3.25 The Mission has addressed this issue as part of the FINSTAT process. Appropriate funding level are integrated in the Mission Client Services (ASM) budget planning exercise.
5.3.26 Completed and approved by CMM.
5.3.27 The Departmental system implementation completed. The Mission will make it mandatory in February 2010.
5.3.32 Inventory completed and will be reviewed on a bi-annual basis.
5.3.33 The Mission completed request forms. Cards should be received soon.
5.4.1 The MCO, as Mission Financial Officer (MFO), oversees the Finance function with the support of the LE-07 Accountant and the LE-05 Assistant Accountant. A contractor is hired quarterly to do value-added tax (VAT) processing.
5.4.2 The Mission produces approximately 100 electronic funds transfers (EFTs) per month, including an average of 30 CIC refunds. Currently, data entered into IMS cannot be transferred to the stand-alone banking system, and staff must re-enter data into the banking system, duplicating work.
5.4.3 ***. While the bank only makes biweekly transfers to the Mission’s account, the Mission is able to access transactions on-line so that refund requests can be verified for payment. The bank charges the client a fee for the service, and this shows on the receipt submitted to the Mission. Therefore, there is a difference between the receipt amount and what is registered in the CIC POS+ system, ***.
5.4.4 The MCO, who is familiar with the Integrated Management System (IMS), has included the following in the workplan for the Section:
5.4.5 The Mission plans to take advantage of the Materiel Management (MM) module pilot project, where HQ will enter/create contracts for smaller missions. This will help with the segregation of duties, as the Assistant Accountant currently creates the entry in the MM module as well as working in IMS. Having contracting experts share their observations on processes should prove to be a good learning experience for missions.
5.4.6 In the spring, the Mission’s bank ceased sending original bank statements, moving to an e-mail-based statement. Unfortunately the Mission, with assistance from HQ, has not yet been able to prevent the system’s firewall from blocking many of these e-mails. The Mission will be meeting with the bank to determine if sending original bank statements by mail can be reinstituted.
5.4.7 SMFF, in liaison with the Mission, should determine if IMS can generate a file for downloading into the Mission's banking system in order to improve the efficiency of the payment process.
5.4.7 IMS can generate a file for downloading into the Mission’s banking system, but Corporate Financial Systems (SMSF) do not have the resources available to create the file template at this time. Corporate Finance, Planning and Systems Bureau (SMD) is also looking at a global banking solution for all the missions in the next year.
5.4.8 The following procedural recommendations are noted for action:
5.4.9 Budget reports are currently provided to PMs when requested, these should be provided monthly as a standard practice.
5.4.10 Instead of signing a second Section 34 signature as the second approval for the EFT payment, the Program should obtain a stamp “2nd approval” to use on the document instead. This will prevent the dilution of the Section 34 acceptance of goods/services received, which has already been signed.
5.4.11 The Program should examine instituting quiet hours for the Finance Section, which is a best practice that allows time to concentrate on processing.
5.4.12 When revenues are transferred, the official receipt should show the person’s name, not just the section name.
5.4.13 The Mission should ensure that, when the bank emails the month-end statement to the Mission (as the original is no longer mailed), the MCO is copied. If the Mission is successful in getting the bank to return to sending original bank statements, it should be addressed to the MCO.
5.4.14 The SA report the Accountant prints off monthly should be reviewed and signed by the MCO.
5.4.15 The Mission should close the USD account, as Right of Landing Fee (ROLF) refunds from this account should be at an end.
5.4.16 The Program should ensure that those signing Section 33 and 34 do not do so for their own transaction payments.
5.4.17 The Program should examine the petty cash reimbursement volumes to determine if any of the petty cash accounts should be increased *** in order to reduce the number of reimbursements needed.
5.4.18 The Program should ***.
5.4.10 The Mission has now produced a stamp that is used when doing the banking transaction approval process. It should be noted that this recommendation came from the fact that there is a requirement to print a document from IMS for every entry in the bank automatic transfer system. This document printed from IMS has a line at the bottom for both Section 34 and 33 signatures and removing the Section 34 line could avoid any confusion in repeat signatures.
5.4.11 Noted and this practice is being reviewed as part of the update of the service standards.
5.4.13 The bank has agreed to send original paper bank statement which will be used for the month-end bank reconciliation.
5.4.15 This bank account was closed in December 2009.
5.4.16 All sections have been reminded.
5.4.17 The requirements for all petty cash accounts will be reviewed when the acquisition cards are received from HQ.
5.4.18 The Administration Section will increase ***.
5.5.1 The Mission is served by an *** Foreign Service Information Technology Professional (FSITP) who had only recently arrived at the Mission on assignment. Both the MCO and the DMCO act as on-site back-up for the FSITP during absences. The Section is functioning well and staff were properly served. No major issues were raised by Mission Management regarding IT Infrastructure.
5.5.2 Network Acceptable Use Policy (NAUP) issues raised during the Information Management and Technology Bureau (AID) briefing prior to the Inspection visit identified a few staff members who were possibly using the SIGNET work stations for personal use and, as a result, placing a burden on the bandwidth provided for official use. This topic was discussed with the relevant program managers. Both program managers should address these issues with employees concerned and seek further guidance from AID as required.
5.5.3 There is no IM/IT Committee in place. This Committee would serve to coordinate related issues and put forth budget requests to the CMM as part of the Missions multi-year capital acquisition plan. The Committee could also serve as a source for the Business Continuity Plan which has not yet been developed by the Mission.
5.5.4 ***. The FSITP plans to review IT assets required for the *** to be used as the emergency alternate location and will conduct a test of this location as soon as the equipment has been installed.
5.5.5 The previous FSITP was the InfoBank Champion. However, the new FSITP arrived at the Mission ***. He should receive InfoBank training and coaching as required so that he can respond to the Mission’s needs.
5.5.6 There should be more planning concerning IT issues at the Mission. The MCO should prepare an annual IT plan in consultation with the FSITP and table it at the CMM.
5.5.7 Disposal of surplus IT assets is undertaken during the Mission’s annual auction sale. Materiel remaining after the sale should be discarded through other means, if sale is not possible/feasible. The FSITP has upwards of 20 hard drives/monitors which cannot be used and are occupying his office/work area. These assets should be disposed of as soon as possible.
5.5.9 Currently, Remedy tickets are inputted into the system by the FSITP, however the Mission plans to have all users send their original requests through the Help Desk at Headquarters. This will result in Remedy tickets being entered by the Help Desk thus freeing time for the FSITP to take on other tasks. This change in process is supported by the Client Service Regional Manager (CSRM) in London.
5.5.10 The Mission should ensure that issues regarding improper use of the network are addressed and action taken to prevent abuse from occurring.
5.5.11 The Mission should create an IM/IT Committee and develop a Business Continuity Plan.
5.5.13 The *** should be equipped to be used as an alternate site in the event of an emergency.
5.5.14 The FSITP should receive InfoBank training.
5.5.15 The FSITP and the MCO should develop an annual IM-IT work plan.
5.5.16 Surplus IT assets should be disposed of in a timely fashion.
5.5.10 Employees have been advised and Mission-based verifications have been put in place to monitor.
5.5.11 An IM/IT Committee has been formed. Creation of a BCP will be an objective for next FY.
5.5.13 The Mission revised the Personal Safety Contingency Plan (PSCP). A list of equipment for emergency office deployment is being assembled.
5.5.14 The FSITP is coordinating with InfoBank operations. Additional training for all staff has been developed in order to reduce reliance on the FSITP.
5.5.15 Since the IM/IT Section consists of only one person, a workplan will be coordinated through the PMP process.
|Assets||Crown Owned||Crown Leased|
|Financial Information 2009-2010|
|Common Services and Program|
|Operating Budget (N001)||$1,700,000|
|Capital Budget (N005)||$62,000|
|CBS Salaries Budget (N011)||$612,000|
|LES Salaries Budget (N012)||$1.200,000|