September 28 - October 1, 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.
An inspection of the Political Economic (PE), International Business Development (IBD), Consular and Administration Programs was conducted in Dublin from September 28 to October 1, 2009. The Mission was last audited in 2002. The Embassy in Dublin is a small mission with four Canada based staff (CBS) and 14 Locally engaged staff (LES). By the fall of 2010, there will only be three CBS remaining and, at that time, HQ may wish to consider reviewing the categorization of the Mission (currently a Category 2 mission).
The Mission should review the Country Strategy given the change in the economy and environment. The Mission’s activities need to demonstrate stronger linkages to departmental and Government priorities. The focus of the PE Program may have to be re-examined as its emphasis is now on the promotion of the Department’s objectives through cultural opportunities. This would also allow for an integrated plan to be developed for the Program as a whole. ***.
The MCO has established an Administration-Consular-Security workplan which includes the need to formally establish a transition plan for the recruitment and training of a new MAO. The Mission has noted that Consular demand is increasing but has only recently been consistently completing the monthly COMIP statistical tracking application. A mechanism to inform CBS employees of their potential corporate responsibilities, such as Mission Security Officer (MSO), Deputy MSO, passport approver and others, should be developed. This would allow employees to obtain the appropriate training prior to arriving at a mission.
The mission in London currently provides Finance services for Dublin under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This MOU on Finance is being updated but, with the pending departure of the MCO, other services should be considered for inclusion and formalization: Information Management Information Technology (IM IT), Security, Human Resources (HR) and Consular/passport.
A total of 52 inspection recommendations are raised in the report; 46 are addressed to the Mission and six are addressed to Headquarters. Management has responded to each recommendation indicating action already taken or decisions made, as well as future action. Of the 52 recommendations, Management has stated that 27 recommendations have been implemented. For each of the remaining 25 recommendations, management has indicated the initiatives in progress or the intended future action.
1.1.1 The Embassy in Dublin is a small mission with four Canada based staff (CBS) and 14 Locally engaged staff (LES). There are no partner departments represented at the Mission. The Mission is responsible for the Republic of Ireland.
1.1.2 The Head of Mission (HOM) (an EX-03 position) *** arrived at the Mission in the fall of 2007 without the benefit of the pre-departure training normally provided to HOMs. He was only able to participate in the course in the spring of 2008. His immediate staff includes an LE-06 Administrative Assistant, a Chauffeur/Signet Support Assistant, a Senior Servant/Chef, a Gardener, a 0.6 full-time equivalent (FTE) Housekeeper/Laundress (currently vacant) and a 0.4 FTE House Assistant.
1.1.3 The HOM is active and has a broad range of contacts throughout Ireland. Staff indicated that he has an informal management style and is approachable. He holds regular town-hall meetings with staff. With the reduction of staff over the last few years (see paragraph 1.1.4), there is a need for the Mission to re-examine its approach and have activities more clearly linked to promoting departmental and Government priorities (see paragraph 2.3.1). By the fall of 2010, there will only be three CBS remaining and, at that time, HQ may wish to consider reviewing the categorization of the Mission (currently a Category 2 mission).
1.1.4 Over the past few years, the Mission has seen a number of changes:
1.1.5 ***. The MCO position was created and filled in 2008 ***. The mandate for the incumbent was to tighten processes, establish policies and recruit and train the new MAO.
1.1.6 As there is no longer a CBS PE Program Manager (PM) nor a CBS HOM Assistant, duties involving the Consular Program, Mission Security Officer (MSO), COMSEC (secure communications) Custodian, etc., will likely then devolve to the International Business Development (IBD) CBS. Currently, the Trade Commissioner, who has completed the passport examination course, acts as the back-up passport approver for the MCO and is the Deputy MSO (DMSO). The Senior Trade Commissioner (STC) who arrived at the Mission one week prior to the Inspection visit, had not been aware that she would be involved in the Consular/passport function until just prior to her arrival and, therefore did not have the opportunity to take the passport course. IBD divisions will need to modify their expectations of the performance of the IBD Program in Dublin, given the additional services that the CBS staff will have to deliver (see recommendation 3.5.5).
1.1.7 The mission in London currently provides Finance services for Dublin under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This MOU on Finance is being updated but, with the departure of the MCO, other services currently provided on an informal basis should be considered for inclusion, with roles and authorities clearly defined: Information Management-Information Technology (IM-IT), Security, Human Resources (HR) and Consular/passport. Mission Client Services (ASM), in conjunction with other HQ bureaux as required, should work with the missions to structure this MOU, so that, once the Regional Service Centre (RSC) in the Thames Valley is established, there is a smooth transition of responsibilities from London to the RSC. London’s resources will need to be reviewed if other support is to be provided.
1.1.8 As this is a small mission, the Committee on Mission Management (CMM) is the primary committee. It is comprised of the HOM, the PMs and the HOM Administrative Assistant who takes minutes and then places them on the shared-drive for all staff to view. The CMM meets monthly, and short-term committees are created as needed. While there is good informal communication, it would be useful to have formalized meetings on a more frequent basis (i.e. weekly), with a set agenda to discuss planning, the events calendar, budget updates, policy/procedures and to make decisions on those items when necessary. The Mission could still have the CMM monthly and institute operational meetings for the other weeks.
1.1.9 The MCO has been designated the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Representative, the Official Languages Coordinator and the Mission Training Coordinator. With the upcoming departure of the MCO and given the number of senior LES available within the Mission, others outside the Administration Section can be assigned some of these roles. This would allow the MCO to focus on providing guidance to her staff and her colleagues for the next year and would also bring Mission-wide perspectives rather than just an Administration perspective.
1.1.10 The LES Committee was created a few weeks prior to the Inspection visit, but the Committee had not yet met with LES community nor Mission Management. During the meeting with the Inspection Team, the following issues were discussed:
1.1.11 The Mission has the capacity to provide services to clients in both official languages, as well as in Gaelic if required (see paragraph 1.1.9 regarding the recommendation for the Official Languages Coordinator).
1.1.12 The Mission should institute regular operations meetings to complement the monthly CMM meeting.
1.1.13 The Mission should designate an alternate:
1.1.14 The LES Committee should meet quarterly with the HOM.
1.1.15 The LES Committee or Mission Management should ensure the Official Residence (OR) staff are provided with minutes of meetings, given the opportunity to input into agendas and be included in the next election of members.
1.1.16 The HOM will need to assist in the resolution of the personnel issue.
1.1.12 Implemented November 2009. Full PM meetings are being held and minutes being recorded.
1.1.13 Implemented November 2009.
1.1.14 In progress, the HOM has offered to meet with the LES Committee and a date is being determined.
1.1.15 Implemented November 2009. The Mission concurs and will ensure action is taken.
1.1.16 In progress, the HOM is discussing the personnel issue. A communication workshop is planned for early 2010 with special time allotted to personnel issues.
1.1.17 The MOU between the missions in Dublin and London should be revisited to examine what other service provisions, besides Finance, should be included (ie Security, COMSEC, Consular/passport, IM/IT, HR assistance such as classification, etc.).
1.1.17 ASM is working with the Regional Service Centre (RSC) to ensure that the duties of the LES MAO position are well defined and that proper support arrangements are made with the mission in London and RSC for Common Services, which includes Finance, Human Resources, Information Management/Information Technology. Security/COMSEC duties are the purview of the Security Branch while Consular/passport fall under the Emergency Management and Consular Branch, so further consultations will take place to ensure that they are comfortable with the arrangements in place in Dublin.
1.1.18 GLD in conjunction with the other Geographic Group-ADM Offices and the Assignment and Pool Management Division (HFP), needs to find a mechanism to ensure staff are made aware that they will be taking on roles such as MSO, DMSO, COMSEC Custodian, Consular, passport approver, etc., so that they are able to have the appropriate training prior to arriving at a mission.
1.1.18 GLD is currently working with the Assignment and Pool Management Division (HFP) to ensure that, prior to the next posting cycle, staff being posted abroad are directly advised at the time of their posting confirmation that 1) they should contact incumbent at Mission to determine what security/Consular/other administrative functions they may be required to undertake over and above their substantive responsibilities and 2) to include appropriate briefings and training in pre posting period. GLD will also publish on GeoConcerto a message advising employees leaving for a posting to take steps above.
2.1.1 The Political Economic Relations (PE) Program in Dublin is managed by an LE-09 Program Manager (PM). The PM is supported by an LE-06 Program Assistant.
2.1.2 At the start of Fiscal Year 2009-2010, financial reference levels for the Program were (though, there have been subsequent department mandated reductions to travel and hospitality allocations):
2.2.1 The PM has been with the Mission, in the current position, since early 2008. Given the recent arrival, the PM has had the opportunity to receive the latest Departmental training for the stream. As such, the PM has a high level of awareness regarding Departmental priorities, the New Way Forward/Political Economic Renewal objectives and Headquarters (HQ) expectations.
2.2.2 The Program Assistant was not available for interviews during the Inspection. As such, the Inspection Team makes its observations regarding the Program without having had the benefit of discussing it with this employee.
2.2.3 The Program setup has the new PM dealing almost exclusively with Political, Economic and Public Affairs, while the Assistant deals with Academic/Cultural files. The Assistant has been in her position for about *** and has dealt with these files for most of that period. As a result, there was not a natural alignment of objectives and activities when the PM came on board which has created some division within the Program. ***.
2.2.5 Currently, there are no formal Program meetings (with agendas, records of decision), though informal meetings are held weekly. In addition, there is no shared official work-plan. The PM and the Assistant work mostly autonomously on their respective files (usually in conjunction with the HOM).
2.2.6 It is important that the PM re-calibrate her Section to allow for effective management. The PM should be provided with the flexibility to manage her program and her assistant, under the general direction of the HOM. ***.
2.3.1 Both the Country Strategy and Reporting Agreement are outdated and are not reflective of either the current environment in Ireland nor the current emphasis for the Department with respect to European Union (EU) member countries. This can be explained by the fact that there has been a high turnover at the Ireland desk officer level at HQ and that there was no requirement to update Country Strategies for 2009-2010 unless there were significant changes in the operating environment. While changes in the operating environment were perhaps not significant enough to warrant a change for the current fiscal year, an update will be required for 2010-2011.
2.3.2 High level plans are developed at the beginning of the year which identify projects and initiatives that are known at the time. As the Program has the lead for most visits, and given that the Mission does not have full control over incoming visits, a significant amount of flexibility must be maintained. As such, planning tends to focus on areas of individual’s interest, though linked to Country Strategy objectives. Planning for the Political and Economic relations and the Public Affairs components occurs in parallel.
2.3.3 It was noted that there were a large number of planned events that would fall into the Cultural event category. Going forward, the Program, in consultation with the EU Member States Bilateral Relations Division (GUB) and the HOM, will have to endeavour to create an appropriate balance of its activities. While there is room for a partial focus on Cultural and Academic Affairs, the current direction from HQ, as articulated in the New Way Forward/PE renewal core messages, is moving towards activities that directly support the implementation of the Country Strategy or key Advocacy messages.
2.4.1 The Program has been active in recent years, both on the Political/Economic Relations and the Cultural/Public Affairs fronts. A number of successful initiatives were undertaken that have increased Canada’s profile. A good example was the visit of the HMCS Toronto in the summer of 2008. All Mission programs were able to use the ship visit to further their objectives. The PE Section was a key organizer for this event.
2.4.2 The Program is adaptable in that it is able to react to changes in the operating environment and identify ways to continue to promote Canada and Canadian interests. An example of this was the shift in focus to the Canadian banking sector following the toxic asset crisis of 2008. The Program was able to collaborate with a local journalist to profile the Canadian banking sector, including travel to Canada to conduct investigations and first-hand interviews. The result of that collaboration was a number of high-profile articles on Canada’s banking sector and a continued interest on the part of the journalist to profile developments in the Canadian economy.
2.4.3 The number of cultural events hosted or attended by the Program, and the HOM are high in comparison to other missions. Examples include book launches, book/poetry readings and the sponsorship of a cultural festival. The use of culture in promoting or advancing interests was construed to be an important tool in Ireland. When these types of activities are pursued, it is imperative that they be clearly linked to the Mission's Country Strategy and the overall Government and Departmental priorities. In the current fiscal environment, the use of hospitality funds for cultural events demands that such linkages be clear and evident.
2.4.4 There have been efforts to develop a Mission-wide contact repository. The HOM has been particularly active in the identification and nurturing of an expanded contact base for the Mission. The other programs at the Mission have also been successful in this regard. A Mission-wide repository would allow each program to view the suite of potential contacts available to it. Such a system will need to have an agreed to nomenclature, structure and the proviso that the contact owner would be approached for concurrence before another Mission employee sought to communicate with one of those contacts.
2.5.1 The focus of the Program should be re-examined in consultation with GUB and the HOM with a view to reducing the amount of time, resources and effort spent on cultural events. Where cultural opportunities are identified, there should always be a direct link with the Country Strategy and Departmental priorities.
2.5.2 The Reporting Agreement and Country Strategy should be reviewed and updated to reflect the current environment in Ireland in conjunction with Departmental objectives.
2.5.3 The development of a Mission-wide contact repository should proceed. The development of this repository should coincide with a protocol around the storing and sharing of contact information.
2.5.4 The Program should convene regular formal meetings.
2.5.1 Implemented and is underway. A workplan for the Section was developed and approved by both the HOM and GUB in November 2009. This now forms the basis to re focus time, resources and effort away from cultural activities, unless there is a direct link both with the Country Strategy and Departmental objectives.
2.5.2 This is underway and in progress. The Reporting Agreement will be updated by the end of January 2010 and the Country Strategy will be updated for the coming Fiscal Year 2010/2011. The Mission is aware that the template for the Country Strategy is changing to an online form and hope it is available as soon as possible to enable work to begin on the content.
2.5.3 In progress. The Mission currently has a spreadsheet in place which tracks details of Mission contacts for major events. This spreadsheet will be adapted to include a column which will assign an “owner” to each contact. Each section takes ownership of updating the details for their contacts until such a time as the Department establishes a system-wide contact database.
2.5.4 Implemented. Formal weekly meetings are now being convened (replacing weekly informal meetings) and an official record is being kept of the discussions, including actions required.
3.1.1 The International Business Development (IBD) Program in Dublin is managed by an FS-04 Senior Trade Commissioner (STC). The STC is supported by an FS-02 Trade Commissioner (TC), an LE-09 Trade Commissioner, an LE-08 Trade Commissioner and an LE-05 Assistant (TCA). The STC had arrived at Mission approximately one week before the Inspection.
3.1.2 The Program’s financial resources allocated at the beginning of fiscal year (FY) 2009-2010 are as follows (there have been subsequent department mandated reductions to travel and hospitality allocations):
|Operations (incl. travel)||60,000|
|Client Service Fund (CSF)||32,000|
3.1.3 The Program has identified the following priority sectors:
3.2.1 The IBD Program in Dublin is active and achieving results, notwithstanding some fairly significant diversions from its core mandate in recent years to deal with Mission Management, Consular and Security requirements. It is recognized that program CBS staff had to assume these ancillary functions in the absence of a CBS MCO (until 2008) and following the deletion of the CBS PE PM and HOM Assistant positions. It is also recognized that these diversions will become more frequent once the MCO departs in *** and is replaced by a locally-engaged MAO.
3.2.2 As the current STC had only been at the Mission for just over a week, it was not possible to assess her leadership in the management of the Program. That said, the Program she has inherited is focussed and results oriented. The challenge for the incumbent will be to sustain that momentum and encourage creativity in the current economic climate. Early indications are positive, as the STC had already met with each employee and has demonstrated engagement in current activities.
3.2.3 The LE-08 TC would appear to be fulfilling the role of a typical LE-09 Trade Commissioner. ***.
3.3.1 During the years of the “Celtic Tiger”, a period of unprecedented economic growth in Ireland, business opportunities and potential for Canadian companies were numerous and diverse. There are no doubt untapped opportunities that exist today, but opportunities are less significant, obvious, diverse and numerous. A strategy to monitor developments in priority sectors and perhaps, more importantly, non-priority sectors is necessary. That said, the Program has already demonstrated an ability to shift focus in light of the economic realities. This is evidenced by the shift from focussing on the construction sector globally to the Green Buildings sector.
3.3.2 The Program should monitor developments, trends and opportunities in this market very closely over the next 2-3 months. The team can then use the intelligence gathered to conduct a thorough review of all sectors as well as investment and Science and Technology potential prior to the development of the 2010-2011 IBD Plan. The Agri-food sector in particular would seem to be one that has considerable limitations given the genetically modified organism (GMO) regulations in place in Ireland and the European Union.
3.4.1 Program staff were knowledgeable in their sectors and were able to clearly describe what they hoped to accomplish in the short and medium term.
3.4.2 TRIO (International Trade Canada’s data repository) is being used by the Program to enter service requests and contacts. However, there were indications that entries were not occurring in a timely manner. As TRIO derived statistics are frequently used to assess program activity and performance (through the IBD Dashboard), it is important that entries be made as soon as possible. Dashboard statistics currently indicate a program with an average level of activity when examined against posts in comparable markets.
3.4.3 The Assistant position was recently staffed on a temporary basis to replace a long-serving staff member. The departure of the previous TCA provides the Program with an opportunity to re-evaluate its workflow and determine whether efficiencies can be gained by having the TCA enter a substantial portion of the information in TRIO. The STC, in consultation with her staff, is encouraged to take an in-depth look at the current setup with this in mind. The revitalization of an IBD InfoCentre in Dublin could be another element of the TCA’s responsibilities.
3.4.4 The Program has historically contributed resources to other programs. There needs to be a formal recognition of these other functions and subsequently, an understanding that HQ cannot assess IBD Program performance based on having a full five FTEs.
3.4.5 The Program has a good network of contacts, in business, the Department and Irish governmental organizations. Relationships with the Irish Embassy in Ottawa, Enterprise Ireland and the Sector Groups (Multi-Country Sector Teams and Sector Practice Groups in Ottawa) are key to the Program’s success.
3.4.6 Examples of inter-program cooperation are evident, the largest of which would be the visit of the HMCS Toronto. However, there is room for further collaborative events or initiatives that involve the IBD Program, PE staff, the HOM and potentially the Consular Section. In today's fiscal environment, it is imperative that missions leverage all events to the extent possible to further whole-of-Mission and individual program objectives.
3.5.2 The Program should undertake a detailed analysis of the Irish economy in conjunction with the activity in current priority sectors prior to the development of the 2010-2011 IBD Plan.
3.5.3 TRIO entries by Program staff should occur once the data is ready for input.
3.5.4 The Program should re-evaluate and restructure the role of the Assistant.
3.5.2 In progress for February 2010. The Mission concurs and an analysis will be undertaken in preparation for the 2010–2011 IBD Plan.
3.5.3 Implemented. The STC has already been encouraging better use of TRIO since her arrival at the Mission. However, it must be recognized that TRIO input is time consuming (with a slow system response), and that given officers' schedules, it is not always possible to enter data immediately. (This is especially true with regard to CBS who also take on extra Consular, Security and Administration duties.) However, the STC is making this one of the priority responsibilities and integral to the Performance Management Program (PMP) evaluations of staff. She has asked each officer to begin setting aside a couple of hours each week (day of their choice) to ensure TRIO is updated at least on a weekly basis. This will be monitored and reviewed by STC. Additionally, the new Assistant is being trained on TRIO so that she will be able to assist officers with contact input and input of basic TRIO information.
3.5.4 Implemented. The Mission concurs. A review of the job description has already taken place. A new Assistant has been hired and her responsibilities have been expanded to include more of a traditional trade assistant role including research and information management, assisting trade commissioners with appointments and logistics and TRIO input.
3.5.5 Responsibilities related to other programs should be defined and quantified and formally recognized for CBS IBD positions and used in the assignment process for selection and training.
3.5.5 While GUD recognizes the need for defining and quantifying the ancillary functions of Mission Management, Consular and Security undertaken by CBS IBD positions following the deletion of the CBS PE PM and HOM Assistant positions, as well as the need for CBS IBD personnel to be properly selected and trained to perform such functions, the long term viability of formally recognising such an undertaking would significantly jeopardize the effectiveness of the Mission's International Business Development Program.
When consulted, the Mission confirmed that nearly a third to three quarters of the CBS IBD officers' time is devoted to consular and passport back up when the MCO is absent. When the MCO is present but busy, CBS IBD staff still devote 5 10% of their time in supporting the MCO. When doing MCO work, CBS IBD spend the majority of the time (approximately 75%) on the review and approval of passports. Another estimated 15% is spent in retrieving secured documents.
Any changes to job descriptions and training requirements for the trade commissioner resources in Dublin must be done through a consultative process involving the HOM and various groups at Headquarters including the Chief Trade Commissioner, the International Platform Branch, the Trade Commissioner Service Operations Bureau, Consular Services and the Emergency Management Branch, among others.
4.1.1 For the past year, the Program has been managed by the MCO (substantive AS-06) with the support of an LE-07 Consular Officer position. This position is job-shared by two *** employees (in a 60-40 ratio). The LE-04 Receptionist/Administrative Assistant had recently been assigned certain responsibilities such as administration of the Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) database and updating the Duty Officer Manual (DOM). An emergency employee has been assisting the Program on a part-time basis over the past few months to help during the peak summer period, update the Contingency Plan and allow for some back-log clean-up.
4.1.2 The Mission has noted that Consular demand is increasing but has only recently been consistently completing the monthly COMIP statistical tracking application. The Receptionist/Administrative Assistant’s time is not yet being captured. In order to build a business case for additional resources, the COMIP statistics are a key tool in this exercise, and all Consular work should be recorded.
4.1.3 The job description of the PE Assistant indicates that the position is to provide support to the Consular Program. However, this has not been done in the past. The job description should be reviewed to outline the role of the Assistant in the Program, and the incumbent should be provided with the training required to be able to assume fully the required duties. This added support should allow the Program to remain current on its reporting requirements which at times are delayed due to casework.
4.1.4 The staff expressed appreciation in having an MCO as PM as she brings experience and knowledge to the Program. The MCO has been streamlining some processes, such as delivering passports to clients only following the 15 day standard and not earlier.
The MCO has continued streamlining some processes, such as encouraging clients to consult on line, recording COMIP statistics on the same day, etc.
4.1.5 The Program delivered 867 passports, 110 citizenship cards plus notarial services in 2008. The ROCA database indicates 100 registrants out of an estimated 8,000 Canadians in the country. Ireland is a popular tourist destination for Canadians. There are 24 warden districts established in the country. The PE PM has been updating the Pandemic Contingency Plan.
4.1.6 The MCO is the primary passport approver with the CBS TC acting as her back-up. Passport assets were appropriately secured. The Mission is examining if installing a cash register, instead of using official receipts, would improve efficiencies.
The Mission is investigating with the mission in London the installation of a program linked to COSMOS to generate receipts, assist reconciliations, etc.
4.1.7 *** the major change for the Program will be ***and the IBD Program assuming responsibility for the Consular Program. The STC, as well as the new CBS TC due to arrive in the summer of 2010, will need to undertake Consular and passport training prior to that time. In the past, the mission in London has facilitated remote passport approval, and as part of the MOU review, any future Consular support should be included.
As of December 2009, the IBD Program cannot assume responsibility for the Consular Program. The Mission confirms that the new MAO will manage and supervise the Consular Program but not approve passport applications which is hopefully going to be done by the mission in London. Passport Canada approval is awaited. Therefore the IBD Program is not expected to assume responsibility.
4.1.8 The Program should ensure that those involved in Consular work register their time in COMIP.
4.1.9 The PE Assistant’s job description should be updated to reflect the Consular duties, and the incumbent should be provided with training and participate more actively in the Program.
4.1.10 The STC should be scheduled for Consular and passport training so that she can assume the PM role in the summer of 2010.
4.1.8 Implemented October 2009.
4.1.9 In progress. The PE Assistant job description was updated and Consular duties were removed following consultation with the HOM and MCO due to PE demand. This decision was taken as Consular assistance was never provided by this position, despite inclusion in the job description. Recommendation will be discussed by PE PM, the EU Member States Bilateral Relations Division (GUB) and the HOM.
4.1.10 Implemented. The STC is currently doing the Passport training in order to act as back up in case of emergencies and during different statutory holidays between London and Dublin.
4.1.11 The CBS TC scheduled to arrive in the summer of 2010 should have Consular and passport training prior to his/her arrival (along with any other training such as Security, COMSEC, etc. that will be needed).
4.1.11 Any changes to job descriptions and training requirements for the CBS trade commissioner resources in Dublin must be done through a consultative process involving the HOM and various groups at HQ including the Chief Trade Commissioner, the International Platform Branch, the TCS Operations Bureau, Consular Services and the Emergency Management Branch, among others.
4.1.12 Overall, the Program is functioning well, however these procedural recommendations are noted for action:
4.1.13 The Mission should re-establish the ***.
4.1.14 When items such as passport stock and official receipts are provided to staff, those receiving them should sign-off to show receipt of the items.
4.1.15 As per section 23.13.3 of the Financial Management Manual, the Mission should discourage the use of personal cheques for Consular payments as cash, certified cheques, postal money orders or bank drafts are preferred methods.
4.1.13 Implemented December 2009. ***. It is located on the ***and with the Receptionist/Administrative Assistant position and included in the MCO handover notes. The Receptionist will ensure that it is reconciled annually. Consular Policy and Initiatives (CLP) has been alerted to the need of having such an inventory at all missions.
4.1.14 Implemented October 2009. When items such as passport stock and official receipts are provided to staff, those receiving them are signing off to show receipt of the items.
4.1.15 In progress, started in October 2009. As per section 23.13.3 of the Financial Management Manual, the Mission will attempt to discourage the use of personal cheques for Consular payments but it should be noted that the Mission never encountered any problems with cheque payments. Cheques are still widely used in Ireland and prevent the handling of cash. What would be extremely effective for the Mission would be to be able to accept debit and credit cards rather than dealing with cash, etc.
5.1.1 The Administration Program is managed by the MCO with the support of an LE-07 Property/Services Officer, an LE-05 Finance/Human Resources Assistant and an LE-04 Receptionist/Administrative Assistant. Since her arrival in the summer of 2008, the MCO has worked on improving file structures, developing policies and streamlining processes. Clients indicated that the Program is providing good services. The Administration Guide that has been developed is a useful tool for the Program staff and clients.
5.1.2 The MCO has established an Administration-Consular-Security workplan which includes the need to formally establish a transition plan for the recruitment of a new MAO. She will need the CMM to input into and approve policies, procedures and processes so that they are explicit and solidified for the MAO’s arrival and training.
5.1.3 As the team is small, communications are generally of an informal nature. In order to assist with forward planning, priority setting, monitoring progress, etc., regular formal meetings with records of decision should be established.
5.1.4 There is currently no formal system for covering the Receptionist/Administrative Assistant’s breaks. In many missions a roster is created with non-officer staff having a scheduled period of duty.
5.1.5 The stock of wine is currently stored in the hallway of the High Security Zone (HSZ). However, it is not locked up nor is there an inventory sheet provided for sign-out. There is also no yearly reconciliation conducted and no carry forward hospitality diary being completed.
5.1.6 The Program should hold regular meetings (ie weekly/bi-weekly) with records of decisions.
5.1.7 The Mission should establish a roster for staff to cover for the Receptionist/Administrative Assistant’s breaks.
5.1.8 The Mission should lock the stock of wine in a cabinet and attach an inventory sheet so it can be signed out as it is used for hospitality events. The Mission should also perform a quarterly reconciliation of the inventory, and any inventory carried forward to the next fiscal year should be recorded on the hospitality diary of the HOM.
5.1.6 Implemented October 2009. The Program is now holding regular meetings and minutes are kept and circulated.
5.1.7 Implemented December 2009. A roster has been approved at the CMM.
5.1.8 Implemented October 2009. The stock of wine inventory has been tasked to the HOM’s Administrative Assistant. The stock is locked in the High Secure Zone. Inventory is posted and quarterly reconciliations will now take place.
5.2.1 The MCO is responsible for the HR function with the assistance of the Finance/HR Assistant. The Finance/HR Assistant had been at the Mission for only three weeks prior to the Inspection Team’s visit. She had a few days for a handover from the previous incumbent prior to her retirement. She is currently tracking leave and the payroll processes. The Finance/HR Assistant has been initially concentrating on her Finance duties, but the MCO plans to involve her in HR activities in the future.
5.2.2 Over the past year, much work has been done to reorganize the HR filing system, such as separating employee and position files, up-dating job descriptions, etc. Recent competition and classification files were complete and demonstrated transparency. When staff are hired, the Oath or Solemn Affirmation form should be signed by the employee and included in the personnel file. As well, for unsuccessful classification requests and unsuccessful staffing actions, employees should be notified in writing and advised of the right to grieve clause.
5.2.3 Training requirements are noted in staff’s PMPs, but the Mission has not taken this information to develop a Mission-wide training plan. This would be useful particularly in this period of budget restraint to assist with priority setting. While the majority of PMPs have been completed, there are still a few outstanding to be finalized and new objectives set for fiscal year (FY) 2009-2010.
5.2.4 The LES Handbook was last updated in 1993, and the Mission’s new LES Terms and Conditions are part of Phase I of the worldwide review and are scheduled to be finalized this FY. The current LES Handbook is available to staff.
5.2.5 The Mission Report on the Intranet site is dated 2007 and should be reviewed and updated. There is a Reciprocal Employment Arrangement (REA) with Ireland although, ***.
5.2.6 When staff are hired, form GC29 (Oath or Solemn Affirmation) should be completed, signed and included in the personnel file.
5.2.7 ` For unsuccessful internal candidates in staffing actions, the candidate should be informed in writing of the result and advised of the right to grieve clause in the notification.
5.2.8 For unsuccessful classification requests, the employee should be informed in writing and advised of the right to grieve clause in the notification.
5.2.9 The Mission should develop a Mission-wide training plan.
5.2.10 Incomplete PMPs for FY 2008-2009 should be completed.
5.2.11 FY 2009-2010 objectives should be entered/rolled over into employee’s PMP.
5.2.12 The Mission Report should be reviewed and updated.
5.2.6 Implemented October 2009. All staff have now signed form GC29 (Oath or Solemn Affirmation) which is filed in respective personnel files.
5.2.7 Implemented. Since the arrival of the MCO in 2008, every staffing action (excluding emergency employment) the unsuccessful candidates were provided in writing the results of competition but there were no internal candidates. If there are internal candidates, they will be informed as indicated in the letters that were done for the redundancies at the Official Residence.
5.2.8 In progress. Two job descriptions have been forwarded to the mission in London in September 2009 but no official reply yet received. As soon as the results are received in Dublin, the employees concerned will be kept informed in writing of the right to grieve, as applicable.
5.2.9 In progress for April 2010. A Mission wide training repository is kept at the Mission since last fiscal year. A plan is being developed by the Finance/HR Assistant.
5.2.10 In progress. All PMPs for FY 2008 2009 are being done and will be completed for March 31, 2010.
5.2.11 Implemented October 2009. FY 2009 2010 objectives are now entered into employees' PMP and mid year discussions are taking place.
5.2.12 In progress for March 2010. The Mission Report is currently being reviewed and updated by the Receptionist for the MCO/CMM final review. The Mission Report should be available for the incoming TC at beginning of the new FY.
5.3.1 The Property, Maintenance and Materiel Services Section is managed by the MCO. A Property Manager (LE 07) provides the program with sound support. The Section maintains a Crown leased Chancery, a Crown owned Official Residence (OR), as well as three Crown leased staff quarters (SQs).
5.3.2 The Chancery is in a new building and space has been leased by the Mission for 25 years. Although the Chancery is new, there have been problems with the climate control in the Data Communications Closet (DCC) and the Intrusion Detection Access Control System (IDACS) rooms, which are currently being addressed. There have also been problems with the central climate control system, however these have been resolved. There is a shortage of storage at the Chancery. As a result, furniture is stored at the OR and the MCO's SQ.
5.3.3 The Inspection Team visited the three SQs as well as the OR. All SQs were in good condition and well maintained. The Mission currently has two apartments and one townhouse in its housing portfolio. The OR is a heritage property that has been restored and is well maintained.
5.3.4 The Inspection Team noted several issues with the OR during its inspection. There are no handicap facilities or access to the OR. The Physical Resources Bureau (ARD) is currently addressing this problem with architects, and the Mission is awaiting their decision. In addition, there is no basement and therefore little storage within the house. As well, due to the building's age, there are no built in closets, and armoires are difficult to fit into bedrooms. ***.
5.3.5 Planning for the Property function is undertaken 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). Several maintenance contracts for the properties are scheduled, and contracts are awarded on an annual basis. The Mission plans its capital expenditures, but only one year in advance. In order to assist in its capital acquisition planning, the Mission needs to ensure that yearly inspections of the SQs and OR are performed.
5.3.6 No service standards have been established, although the Mission has developed an information booklet for newly arriving staff which includes information on processes. Although there are not many requests for maintenance or services, the Mission should consider implementing an electronic service order request system instead of having the maintenance requests sent to the Property Manager by telephone or email. This will help the Mission track maintenance, ensure they are meeting service standards, and will create a formal record of requests and work performed. There are numerous off-the-shelf products available, including the one which is recommended by Headquarters.
5.3.7 The Mission operates two official vehicles which are well maintained. Operational logs are completed for vehicle usage, although there is no monthly verification and reconciliation conducted. Specific policies regarding the use of official vehicles need to be established and distributed to all staff.
5.3.8 In general, inventories were not complete. The OR and SQ inventories of furnishings and equipment do not include a condition report and are not all signed. According to the Property Manual section 7.3.3, SQ inventories should be signed within 30 days of occupancy. It was also noted that occupancy agreements were not all signed. There is no inventory of the furnishings and equipment at the Chancery nor an inventory of surplus assets which are housed at the Chancery, SQs and the OR.
5.3.9 There was only one disposal file made available to the Inspection Team, dating back to June 2009, when a disposal sale was held. The sale was open only to Chancery staff, and only a small amount of furniture or equipment was sold. Donations in excess of $1,000 were also made, however, there is no record of Headquarters approval on file. The file was not complete, as a Disposal Report (EXT 369), which is to be signed by the HOM, was not included.
5.3.10 A system is being proposed for the reimbursement of consumables which are purchased for the OR (an 80/20 split) either by the Mission or by the HOM.
5.3.11 The Housing Committee has not met recently and should be re-established. 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. The MCO, or another member of the Administration Section, should sit on the Committee as a non voting member acting in an advisory capacity only. The Committee should determine which SQs to rent and should recommend allocations to the HOM. The HOM should then allocate SQs to incoming CBS based on their needs and the recommendation of the Housing Committee.
5.3.12 The Mission has a Contract Review Board (CRB) in place which has a mandate to review all contracts of $5,000 or greater, although it only meets virtually (through email). There are no terms of reference to guide the CRB, and there is no file. During the Inspection, it was noted that several contracts, which were in excess of $5,000 annually, did not have CRB approval, and that some contracts were signed after their start date.
5.3.14 A multi year capital acquisition plan should be developed to aid in the replacement and refurbishment of the Chancery, OR and SQ furnishings and equipment. The capital acquisition plan should be tabled and approved on an annual basis by the CMM.
5.3.15 The Mission should develop and implement Property service standards.
5.3.16 The Mission should consider the implementation of an electronic service order request system.
5.3.17 The Property Manager should verify usage and fuel purchase costs as required using EXT 159 (Vehicle Operating and Maintenance Report).
5.3.18 Specific regulations regarding the personal use of official vehicles should be established (updated annually) and distributed to all staff.
5.3.19 The Property Section should ensure that an annual inspection of the OR and all SQs is conducted, and that the inspection results are included into the annual maintenance and capital acquisition plans.
5.3.20 In order to improve asset control, the Mission should:
A. Implement an inventory tracking system, including an inventory of furnishings and equipment at the Chancery and surplus assets.
B. The OR and SQ inventories should be finalized and signed. In the future, the Property Section should ensure that all SQ inventories, including a condition report, are completed and signed, along with the occupancy agreement.
C. After the inventories have been finalized and signed, the Property Section should use the Material Transfer Voucher (EXT 182) to track the movement of assets.
5.3.21 The Mission should arrange to include a wider audience for its disposal sales or search for an auction house or commission shop to take surplus materials in the future.
5.3.22 The Mission should ensure that authority from ARD is obtained when considering donations of surplus furnishings and equipment which is originally valued at more than $1,000. The Information Management and Technology Bureau (AID) should be consulted regarding the sale or donation of any computer equipment.
5.3.23 Whenever there is a disposal of assets, through sale, scrap or donation, a Disposal Report (EXT 369) should be completed and signed by the HOM.
5.3.24 A Housing Committee should be re established.
5.3.25 The MCO, or another member of Administration, should sit on the Housing Committee in an advisory capacity as a non voting member.
5.3.26 In order to ensure that the CRB functions properly, the Mission should:
A. Appoint a new member to the CRB to replace the former STC.
B. Establish terms and conditions to guide the Board and ensure it views and approves all contracts above the threshold.
C. The CRB should meet periodically as a group to discuss process, trends, etc., and a CRB file should be created.
D. Contracts should always be on the Departmentally approved contract form, where allowed by law. As a minimum, Departmentally approved clauses must be present in the contract. The Mission should also ensure that all contracts are signed and approved prior to the start date indicated in the contract.
5.3.13 In progress. The recommendation has been added to the Property Maintenance and Operations Section’s (ARAF) Mission Maintenance Workplan for fiscal year 2010 2011.
5.3.14 In progress for April 2010. A multi year capital acquisition plan is being developed by the Property Manager for the Chancery, OR and SQs for a five year period with an approximate annual budget of $25,000 27,000. The coming year should see the purchase of a new HOM vehicle. The plan is to be submitted for approval at the CMM.
5.3.15 In progress for January 2010. The MCO is confirming service standards.
5.3.16 In progress for April 2010. The Property Manager is looking into the acquisition of the Departmental electronic service order request system.
5.3.17 Implemented November 2009. The verification of vehicle usage and fuel costs is now in place.
5.3.18 Implemented October 2009. Regulations on the personal use of official vehicles have been circulated to all staff. A reminder and update to be circulated yearly.
5.3.19 The Property Section visits the OR and all SQs on a regular basis and results are included in the annual maintenance. Results will also be incorporated in the capital acquisition plan when developed.
A) In progress for March 2010. The Mission is completing an inventory of furnishings and equipment at the Chancery and surplus assets.
B) In progress. The OR and SQ inventories are being finalised (SQs for January 31, 2010 and OR for March 31, 2010) and will be signed, with a condition report. Occupancy agreements are signed and filed.
C) Implemented October 2009. The Mission is now using the Material Transfer Voucher (EXT 182) to track the movement of assets.
5.3.21 In progress for April 2010. The Property Manager is attempting to identify a wider audience for disposal sales.
5.3.22 Implemented October 2009. The Mission will ensure that appropriate authority is obtained when considering donations of surplus furnishings and equipment which is originally valued at more than $1,000. AID will be consulted regarding the sale or donation of computer equipment.
5.3.23 Implemented October 2009. The Disposal Report (EXT 369) is completed and HOM is signing following sale, scrap or donation of assets.
5.3.24 Implemented December 2009. A Housing Committee has been re established.
5.3.25 Agreed and implemented December 2009.
A) Implemented December 2009. Three new members to CRB confirmed.
B) Implemented December 2009. Terms and conditions of CRB established .
C) Implemented December 2009. CRB file created. Meetings to be confirmed.
D) In progress. New contracts to be on DFAIT forms with all DFAIT approved clauses and signed and approved prior to the start date indicated on contract.
5.4.1 The Finance function is managed by the MCO (as the Mission Financial Officer) with the assistance of the Finance/HR Assistant. There is a hub and spoke relationship with the mission in London for finance support, and the MOU regarding these services is under review (see paragraph 1.1.7). One potential change would be for all transactional activities to flow through a London bank account. The Mission highlighted that overall the relationship is working well. The Mission is working with London to develop a training plan for the Finance/HR Assistant.
5.4.2 The Mission has “read only” IMS (Integrated Management System) access. The Mission executes Section 34, codes the invoice and enters the payment details into a spreadsheet which is sent weekly to the mission in London. London staff facilitate the IMS entry and have the cheques printed at the Mission where they are signed, mailed and Section 33 is exercised. The mission in London completes and signs the bank reconciliation.
5.4.3 London pays Dublin’s LES salaries by electronic fund transfer (EFT) payments via bespoke software. However, IMS has not been set up to allow EFTs to third party vendors. Dublin has read-only access except for the maintenance of vendors which are done at the Mission.
5.4.4 The Mission makes payments by electronic funds transfer (EFTs) and cheques (an average of 40 and 90 per month respectively). Consular revenue collected at the Mission averages *** per month. The use of acquisition cards was recently instituted at the Mission.
5.4.5 Financial Operations - International (SMFF) conducted a bank reconciliation review for the month of April 2009. From that exercise, processes noted by Dublin and London that will be reviewed during the MOU update include: ***.
5.4.6 As well the following items should be examined in light of the MOU update: ***.
5.4.7 The Mission budget is discussed at the CMM. As is the case at other posts, the recent budget reductions will require the Mission to review plans and re-establish priorities.
5.4.8 A review of one month’s accounts was conducted and the following procedural recommendations are noted for action:
5.4.9 When two types of currency are received, separate receipts for each currency should be issued.
5.4.10 When an employee personally pays for items such as airline tickets, proof of purchase should be included with the expense claim.
5.4.9 The Mission concurs, implemented December 2009.
5.4.10 Implemented December 2009. Employees have been informed of the need to provide a proof of purchase if paid. Use of the Mission’s Acquisition Card is now being encouraged for official purchases.
5.4.11 SMFF, in liaison with the missions, 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.
5.4.11 IMS can generate a file for downloading into the Mission’s banking system, but Corporate Financial Systems (SMSF) do not have resources available to create the file template at this time. The Financial Management Officer (FMO) in London is going to meet with the bank to find out if EFTs outside of IMS are feasible.
5.5.1 The IM-IT function is overseen by the MCO with the assistance of a recently arrived Foreign Service Information Technology Professional (FSITP) located in London. Support is provided by the on site Chauffeur/Signet Support Assistant (SSA). The Chauffeur/SSA is currently a term position for which a competition is expected to be held in April 2010. ***. Although IT services are provided by an FSITP in London, there is no MOU or service level agreement in place between the missions. This may have created misunderstandings in the past regarding how many yearly visits the FSITP will make to Dublin (see paragraph 1.1.7).
5.5.2 Current IT requests are processed through the Help Desk in Ottawa and Remedy tickets opened. London only becomes involved if the Remedy ticket cannot be solved by the Help Desk.
5.5.3 The Mission is currently using the shared drive to store information as InfoBank has not yet been installed. The structure of the shared drive is problematic, causing communication and filing problems within the Mission.
5.5.4 The Mission has not yet established a back up site should the Chancery not be accessible.
5.5.5 The Mission has a stand alone computer in the waiting area which is used by clients and guests for research purposes, confirmation of flights or payment, which has been useful to the Consular Program.
5.5.6 The Mission should establish an alternate service site in the event the Chancery is not accessible. This site should be properly equipped and tested on a regular basis.
5.5.6 In progress for December 2009. The MCO presented to the CMM the recommendation that the Mission should establish an alternate service site in the event the Chancery is not accessible. The OR was recommended and it will be properly equipped and there will be tests on a regular basis.
5.5.7 AIM should advise when Dublin is scheduled for InfoBank implementation.
5.5.7 Dublin is not scheduled for the Information Management Improvement Program (IMIP) process in the fiscal year 2009-2010. The IMIP plan for 2010-2011 will be completed around April 2010. AIMG (Information Management Global Support) will work with the Mission to help them develop a new folder structure for their shared drive, establish naming conventions for documents that are still in use and all new documents, and develop a clean-up strategy to move older dormant documents to an archive portion of the shared drive. This will rectify the communication and electronic filing problems within the Mission. Initial contact will be made with the Mission in mid-December 2009 and will begin working with the Mission early January 2010 with completion dependant on the Mission’s availability.
|Physical Resources (Dublin)|
|Assets||Crown Owned||Crown Leased|
|Financial Information 2009-2010|
|Program and Common Services|
|Operating Budget (N001)||1,444,044|
|Capital Budget (N005)||27,470|
|CBS Salaries Budget (N011)||381,000|
|LES Salaries Budget (N012)||934,300|