An Inspection of the Political Economic (PE), International Business Development (IBD), Consular and Administration Programs was conducted in Hanoi from November 24 to 28, 2008. The Mission was last audited in June, 1999. The Mission in Hanoi is a small mission with nine Canada-based staff (CBS) and 27 Locally-engaged staff (LES).
Past management practices and decisions had *** impacted the operation of the Mission in terms of compliance, performance and morale. One noticeable impact was the cost and location of the new Official Residence (OR) which is far from ideal in terms of location and size. This situation has improved *** with the arrival of the new Head of Mission (HOM) who is supported by a *** management team, has demonstrated *** leadership and established a transparent, accountable and results oriented environment.
The Political Economic Program is well managed. Plans are well established and include initiatives and activities for both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC). The Program is stretched in its efforts to provide support to other programs and HCMC while maintaining effective bilateral relations and involvement in regional initiatives. It will need to be more strategic by establishing and focussing on priorities in the short term and making a case for increased resources in the long term. The New Way Forward has to be *** firmly entrenched through increased training and exposure of staff on this new initiative to ensure compliance and consistency of approach.
Vietnam is an emerging market with high annual growth. Major commercial activity in Vietnam is centered around HCMC while government regulatory oversight and economic decision making are centralized in Hanoi. The IBD Program in Hanoi is effectively integrated with HCMC through a whole of Vietnam approach. As such, Hanoi is responsible for the Info Trade Center which provides service to both missions. Planning and communications within the Program are effective. More attention is needed regarding the updating of WIN (soon to be TRIO) information and the monitoring of activities and results achieved.
The Consular Program is effectively providing service to Canadian clients. Controls over passport entitlements and inventories are *** overseen by CBS. Improved local language capability would make service more efficient, and more timely entry of CAMANT case notes would ensure information is current.
The Administration Program has improved *** over the past year with the introduction of required controls, procedures and leadership by the Management and Consular Officer (MCO). This has resulted in both improved communication and morale within the Program and overall effectiveness of the management of the mission. A long-term strategy needs to be developed regarding both the Chancery which is at capacity, and the Official Residence which is not functional. The lack of a designated back-up to the MCO, combined with the *** overtime being incurred, would suggest the creation of a deputy MCO position. An analysis of workload also supports the addition of a local property position ***.
A total of 60 recommendations are raised in the report; 58 are addressed to the Mission and 2 are addressed to Headquarters (HQ). Management has responded to each recommendation indicating action already taken or decisions made, as well as future action. Of the 60 recommendations, management has stated that 38 have been implemented. For each of the remaining 22 recommendations, management has indicated the initiatives in progress or the intended future action.
1.1.1 The Embassy in Hanoi is a small mission with nine CBS and 27 LES. The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is the only partner department at the Mission.
1.1.2 The Mission is *** managed with a solid management team in place guided by a new HOM (September, 2008) whose collegial, transparent and focussed style has been welcomed by staff. The HOM provides support to the Mission’s programs and is *** engaged in program initiatives and issues. As a consequence, morale at the Mission is good.
1.1.3 The Mission has a well-established committee structure in place. The Committee on Mission management (CMM) meets weekly to discuss general issues related to all mission programs. A Contract Review Board (CRB) is in place as well as Housing, Occupation Health and Safety, Avian Flu, Classification, Spousal Contract Review and LES Committees. The Mission has also identified Official Language and Training Coordinators.
1.1.4 The LES Committee is selected by the LES membership and meets with the MCO and/or the HOM several times per year. No minutes are kept, issues are dealt with via email to the MCO or HOM. It is suggested that regular meetings be scheduled and that formal minutes be recorded.
1.1.5 The Inspection Team met with the LES Committee where the predominant issue was the completion of the Handbook by the Locally-Engaged Staff Services Bureau (HLD). Particular interest was expressed regarding severance and pension provisions, and whether or not the benefits will be retroactive. ***. This resulted in reduction of net pay due to tax liabilities for several employees. For more details see section 5.2.15.
1.1.6 The Mission has sufficient first line capacity to provide services in both official languages and back-up capability for most eventualities. All DFAIT CBS can communicate in both languages and employees can use either language with their supervisor. Training is offered to employees who show interest, commitment and continued improvement. Signage, posters and hand-outs are in both languages except for Fire Orders and the Intranet. A Français/ English sign is displayed on the reception window. A similar sign should be in the consular booth. The Mission has an official Language Champion, however there was no formal transfer of responsibility in the form of briefings, handover notes or work plans.
1.1.7 The HOM should meet regularly with the LES Committee and minutes of these meetings should be recorded and distributed to staff.
1.1.8 The Mission should ensure that fire orders, the Intranet and signage in the Consular booth are in both official languages.
1.1.9 The Mission should consult with HLD to address LES issues relating to the Handbook and salary reporting.
1.1.7 HOM has had one meeting with the LES committee, and a schedule for upcoming meetings has been arranged. Minutes will be distributed to staff. Implemented.
1.1.8 Fire orders have been sent for translation. Completion expected by end of March 09. With respect to the Intranet, we have established an IT committee which will be reviewing what needs to be included on the Intranet site. This issue was also discussed at CMM and the consensus was leaning in the direction of using the Intranet to facilitate easy access to policies and procedures. Whatever is decided will be consistent with government policy on official languages. The consular booth translation will be completed by March 31, 2009.
1.1.9 LES Handbook has been completed and distributed to all staff. Mission MCO travelled to HCMC for session with HCMC staff. HOM attended session in Hanoi led by MCO. The Mission is raising a few key issues including ***, with HLD. Implemented.
2.1.1 The Political Economic Program in Hanoi is headed by an FS-03 Counsellor who is supported by three local staff; a LE-08 Political Officer/Interpreter/Translator; a LE-08 Public Affairs (PA) Officer; and a LE-05 Assistant. The three staff are new ***. The Political Officer position will be staffed in the new year through a competition.
2.1.2 The Program Manager (PM) is an *** political officer who is *** managing the PE Program. Documented plans are in place with program objectives also reflected in individual staff performance goals. There is *** communication within the Program and *** reporting to HQ. The PM dealt effectively and fairly in resolving a performance issue with staff member.
2.1.3 The PM is open and accessible to staff. There are weekly program meetings where the PM briefs staff on the CMM and other events. Staff share information, discuss activities and raise issues. The Program Manager provides *** direction and support to staff. Performance management plans are in place for all staff and are used to monitor performance and provide feedback.
2.2.1 The Program Manager takes the lead for the Country Strategy for Vietnam with input provided by other programs and the mission in HCMC. Much of the Country Strategy is based on key bilateral issues pertaining to governance, rule of law and human rights, and international issues linked to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and United Nations (UN) initiatives, peace and security and health. The PM attends the HCMC annual mission retreat and consults *** with the HCMC HOM and PA Officer to develop the Program’s annual plans. Post Initiative Fund (PIF) of $8,000 for Hanoi and $3,000 for HCMC are used to support projects related to Program objectives.
2.2.2 Political reporting is based on a reporting agreement with HQ that includes both missions. Hanoi is primarily responsible for reporting with input requested from HCMC as appropriate. HCMC also provides ad hoc reporting on local developments. Reporting, however, is challenging *** and requires interpreters. ***.
2.2.3 Through its Public Affairs activities, the PE Program provides support to other Mission programs. It produces a quarterly Embassy/Consulate newsletter “Canada in Vietnam” distributed to 1600 subscribers, highlighting the achievements of each program. The program supports special events through press releases, coordination of media participation and direct involvement in organizing and promotion. A daily media summary is prepared by the Program for both Hanoi and HCMC and translation services are provided to all programs.
2.3.1 The PE Program is being impacted by the increasing demands from other programs. There is only one CBS for both missions who also has managerial responsibility for the Program. The PM is incurring *** official overtime. Several factors have contributed to this situation; the growth of other programs in both missions which require support from the Program (mainly for public affairs and interpretation/translation); increased emphasis on education marketing; and the ongoing and new commitments identified in the Country Strategy; the program work plans and his Performance Management Plan (PMP). Staff turnover has also impacted the Program requiring more involvement of the PM in providing guidance and direction.
2.3.2 The recent addition of a LE-05 Assistant has helped *** the situation. However, the PM needs to assess planned activities to identify the resource costs in relation to the benefits/results to be achieved. Then in consultation with the HOM and Headquarters a *** work plan can be developed reflecting existing resource levels and priorities. The work plan can then be reviewed and revised with changing circumstances throughout the year. Through this process, justification of increased resources can be demonstrated where workload priorities exceed resource levels.
2.3.3 The PE Program needs to develop a work plan that more precisely aligns achievable results with available resources.
2.3.3 Coordinated work plan reflecting priorities and results to be completed by March 09. PM has already realigned promotional work with country strategy, including transfer of annual Terry Fox coordination to local partners, refocusing education promotion work, eliminating most cultural programming, applying NWF Visit Guidelines to inquiries, and refinement of Embassy Newsletter to more strategic on-line production schedule.
2.4.1 The PM has *** knowledge of the New Way Forward (NWF) having been exposed to the subject at a PE Regional meeting where the Secretariat for the Political Economic Renewal Initiative (NGMX) gave a presentation and having received the introductory NWF package from HQ. NWF knowledge has not been transferred to staff due to recent turnover and workload constraints.
2.4.2 Per existing work plans, performance indicators have tended to be output based rather than results based as required by the NWF. While outputs are useful information, they have to be further assessed to determine associated results, and how these correspond to objectives. The Program needs to develop appropriate measurement criteria.
2.4.3 The PM intends to organize a joint workshop for his staff and HCMC on the NWF. This will be followed up with computer based training using the NWF on-line course.
2.4.4 The Mission should provide training and development for PE staff on the NWF.
2.4.5 Measurement criteria in line with the NWF results criteria should be developed for Program activities.
2.4.4 NWF *** and will be included in HANOI-HOCHI PERPA retreat in spring 2009. PM presented NWF principles at Hanoi retreat in February.
2.4.5 NWF results criteria will be developed for all activities to ensure effective utilisation of limited resources. 2009-2010 PMPs will focus on effectiveness of results. In progress.
3.1 The IBD Program comprises a FS-03 Senior Trade Commissioner (STC), a LE-09 Trade Commissioner (TC) and a LE-05 Trade Commissioner Assistant (TCA). The Program demonstrates solid management practices in areas of planning and communications not only within Hanoi, but within the context of the “whole of Vietnam”. Monitoring of activities and results, however, are not as effective and require improvement.
3.2 The Program has undertaken a coordinating role in the planning process with the IBD Program in HCMC such that there is a” whole of Vietnam” approach. The current priorities for Hanoi are the agri-food sector and market access. The STC is also responsible for the Info Trade Centre (ITC) and several non-priority sectors. The Program has a $30,000 Client Services Fund (CFS) budget which it shares with HCMC, as well as $5,000 in hospitality and $10,000 in travel.
3.3 Vietnam, an emerging economy that is ruled by a single party government, has averaged 8% Gross Domestic Product (GDP) annual growth from 1986 to 2006, and is the third fastest growing Canadian export market in the ASEAN zone. This growth has attracted Canadian companies to take advantage of business opportunities through direct investment and, as a result, Canada represents the fifth most important investor in Vietnam.
3.4 The nature of the political system results in many decisions impacting Canadian commercial interests being taken in the capital and has required coordination between the missions in HCMC and Hanoi. *** the presence of interpreters from the Mission is often required.
3.5 Although Vietnam is part of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Canada has been so far unsuccessful in concluding a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) with Vietnam, which adds to the representational efforts.
3.6 The Program keeps a record of testimonials of satisfied clients and, in general, tries to enter information related to the provision of services into WIN on a quarterly basis, as the system is viewed as being too slow for regular use.
3.7 The lack of current information from WIN will need to be addressed with the introduction of TRIO. There is, however, concern that the bandwidth available to our missions in Vietnam might not be sufficient to provide a speedy interface which could be detrimental to the deployment of TRIO and continue to force the Program to not regularly record activities.
3.8 There is no monitoring of the service requests received through the Info Trade Centre and, as a result, the Program could not ascertain whether or not the requests were actioned within service standards. Further, the Program could not assess its financial state due to a lack of financial reports being generated from the Finance section of the Mission.
3.9 The Program should frequently and consistently report in TRIO all services provided and enquiries received.
3.9 TRIO was deployed in December 2008. Reporting of services is now consistent. A new tracking system to ensure timely enquiry response rate has also been introduced. Implemented.
3.10 Communication within the Program is effective, with weekly meetings for the Hanoi team, a bi-weekly conference call with HCMC, and monthly conference calls with missions in the region. While the ***, there is however a need to improve the official language capacity within the Program such that the ITC can respond directly to enquiries in both official languages.
3.11 Communications between the Program and the geographic sector at HQ are not as effective as one would anticipate in an emerging market. The STC in Hanoi learned of the organisation of a joint meeting for regional Political Economic and IBD managers via a PE colleague.
3.12 The Program should ensure that there is improved capacity to provide services and respond to enquiries in either official language.
3.13 There is a need for more frequent communication from the geographic group responsible for the IBD Program at HQ with the missions in Vietnam.
3.12 *** in order to improve capacity to provide services and respond to inquiries in either official language. Implemented.
3.13 Communication with geographic group at HQ has been improved through more frequent information exchanges including e-mail correspondence and conference calls. Desk officer visited HANOI February 2009. Implemented.
3.14 Hospitality diaries are not always completed with sufficient detail as to the results of an event. While the events may tie into the plan, there is inadequate evaluation of the effectiveness of the event.
3.15 Hospitality diaries should be completed with sufficient detail as to allow management and others to determine the success of the event in relation to the objectives.
3.15 Hospitality diaries are now completed with expanded detail in the evaluation section. Implemented.
4.1.1 The Consular Program is overseen by the MCO while the day-to-day operations of the Program are managed by the LES Consular Officer (LE-07 expatriate). The Consular Officer devotes approximately 60% of her time to Consular, Passport and Citizenship issues. An additional 30% of her time is spent providing support to the Administration Program and supervision of four non-office staff, while the remaining 10% of her time is devoted to Immigration visa work involving visa application processing for Vietnamese government officials and liaison with the Consulate General in HCMC. While the current workload of the Consular Officer allows her to provide assistance to the Administrative Program, the Consular workload is likely to increase as tourism within the country flourishes, so workload should be monitored. The Receptionist acts as back up during absences of the Consular Officer ***.
4.1.2 Although the Consular Officer is fluent in both official languages ***. When the Mission translator is not available for this purpose, the Administrative Assistant is requested to assist, further increasing the workload burden on the Administration Program. ***.
4.1.3 The Consular Officer, MCO, and the Assistant to the HOM have all *** passed the passport management training course. The Receptionist and the Administrative Assistant are scheduled to take this training in December 2008.
4.1.4 Either the MCO or the Assistant to the HOM are reviewing original documentation and authorizing all passport issuances. The passport inventory and supplies were verified during the Inspection visit.
4.1.5 The MCO meets twice annually with Wardens to exchange information and to update them on Consular and security issues. Contingency planning is also discussed. The last Warden seminar was held by the Mission in July 2008 and was attended by six of the seven Wardens providing assistance. The northern half of Vietnam is prone to natural disasters, and Wardens have been ***helpful when called upon to provide assistance. The Consular Contingency Plan and the Duty Officer manual are both up to date.
4.1.6 Client feedback forms are available to all clients and, although they are located in the main lobby, very few clients are completing the form. The HOM has requested to meet all new Canadian clients who visit to the Mission seeking Consular or passport services. While interacting with Canadian citizens, the HOM may wish to take this opportunity to encourage them personally to complete the client feedback form.
4.1.7 Consular revenues are deposited with the Finance Section on a monthly basis. At times, the amount of funds deposited is in excess of $2,000. The Financial Administration Act (FAA) requires that all revenues received be deposited at a minimum weekly or when exceeding $500.
4.1.8 On occasion, the Consular Officer has disbursed money from the Distressed Canadian Fund to clients without having the client sign the undertaking to repay form. This should be completed upon every transaction.
4.1.9 Case notes should be entered without delay in COSMOS to report all activities including calls, messages left and unsuccessful attempts to bring the file forward. This will serve to provide HQ staff with a complete picture of all actions being undertaken by the Mission.
4.1.10 The Mission should ensure that ***.
4.1.11 The Mission should investigate the possibility of ***.
4.1.12 Consular staff should ensure that all clients are requested to complete a copy of the feedback form when they are receiving services. A lockable drop box should be placed in the Consular waiting room for this purpose.
4.1.13 The Mission should ensure that cash deposits are made weekly to the Finance Section, or more frequently when amounts on hand exceed $500.
4.1.14 The Mission should ensure that the Undertaking to Repay form is completed and signed by the Consular client at the time funds are disbursed.
4.1.15 The Consular Officer should ensure that case notes are entered into CAMANT as quickly as possible so that all staff involved in the case have access to the most current information.
4.1.10 *** Fall of 2009.
4.1.11 Mission has recommended that the position be***. Implemented.
4.1.12 Completed as of January 31st 2009.
4.1.13 Consular Officer has been instructed to make deposits once a week *** or when amounts on hand exceed $500. MCO monitors compliance. Implemented.
4.1.14 Compliance monitored by MCO. Implemented.
4.1.15 Guidance on the issue has been provided to the Consular Officer and monitored by MCO. Implemented.
5.1.1 The Administration Program is managed by the MCO and is supported by a LE-07 Accountant, a LE-05 Assistant Accountant, a LE-06 Administrative Assistant, a LE-04 Receptionist, two Handymen, two Drivers, and two Cleaners. The Program also employs a ½ time Gardener. Morale within the Program is considered to be good. The MCO organizes regular informal lunches that all staff within the Program are encouraged to attend.
5.1.2 The current MCO is *** liked and respected by all members of the Mission. He is open to new ideas, and his management style has contributed to the overall effectiveness of the management of the Mission. LES in particular are *** pleased with his approach to their issues and concerns, especially his involvement with the update of the LES Handbook. He meets regularly with all staff within the Administrative Program. He is proactive in establishing and maintaining business contacts.
5.1.3 The Mission maintains a number of policies, regulations, and procedures for the Administration Program on its local Intranet site. This is seen as a best practice as staff are able to access these documents without having to refer to program staff. However, there are instances where policies and procedures have not been updated in several years (i.e. hospitality guidelines), and staff are thus reluctant to use this site to obtain relevant information.
5.1.4 Given the Program’s size, all staff are multi-tasked. Although the Mission has plans in place to provide backup replacements for staff who are absent, this places an increased burden on the overall operations within Administration and limits the Program’s ability to provide timely and quality service to their clients. In effect, the Mission is simply moving resources from one busy area to cover off for another. This is particularly evident in the Finance and Property Sections where service to clients could be improved.
5.1.5 The MCO is working *** of overtime. In fiscal year 2007/08 he logged a total of***. To date, in fiscal year 2008/09, he has logged a total of ***. There is no formal back up designated if he is absent from the Mission for periods shorter than five weeks. A temporary duty officer is provided when the MCO is absent for five weeks or more. The Mission would be better supported if a Deputy MCO position were created to balance workload with resources available.
5.1.6 The Mission has recently received and staffed a second accountant position which should alleviate some of the workload burden in this Section. The Mission has prepared an analysis of proposed additional staffing requirements which include rationale for a LES Property Assistant and a CBS DMCO. The Inspection Team supports both of these requirements.
5.1.7 Meanwhile, the Assistant to the HOM (AS-01 acting in an AS-02 position) indicated that he is available to assist the Administration and Consular Programs as his workload and schedule permits. He has successfully completed the passport management training course and is able to authorize the issuance of passports as required. The MCO should identify projects which could be undertaken by the Assistant to the HOM as a temporary measure to help with the workload.
5.1.8 The Assistant to the HOM arrived at post on September 15, 2008. He has yet to receive ***. This concern has been raised in other missions as well. ***.
5.1.9 The Mission maintains an inventory of wines for official use, however the use of these wines is not formally tracked on the hospitality diary forms. These wines are used at various events as part of the official hospitality provided to contacts.
5.1.10 The Mission operates a social committee whereby all staff contribute to events/functions on a monthly basis. The Receptionist is responsible for collecting these funds. ***.
5.1.11 The Mission should ensure that the Intranet site containing policies and procedures is updated on a regular basis.
5.1.12 The Mission should submit proposed staffing requirements for CBS and LES resources to the International Platform Branch (ASD).
5.1.13 The MCO should identify Administrative or Consular duties which could be undertaken by the Assistant to the HOM.
5.1.14 The Mission should ensure that an updated copy of the official wine inventory is placed on each hospitality diary when the wines are used. An annual reconciliation of the inventory should be performed by the MCO and verified by the HOM.
5.1.15 The Mission should provide the Receptionist with *** an annual reconciliation of these funds should be conducted by the MCO.
5.1.11 CMM has reviewed the site and set criteria for content to ensure information will be current and ensure that it is updated as required. Implemented.
5.1.12 In January Mission formally submitted staffing proposals with respect to a DMCO and a Material Management Assistant at the LE-05 level. Implemented.
5.1.13 Assistant to the HOM has been assigned supervisory duties over general maintenance. Has received Passport training and will receive Special Consular Training at the end of February. Implemented.
5.1.14 Wine inventory will be required with all hospitality claims and an annual reconciliation will take place each March by MCO and verified by HOM. Implemented.
5.1.15 *** are now retained in ***. Implemented.
5.1.16 ASD should review its Foreign Service allowance payment process so that CBS receive payments shortly after arrival at post.
5.1.16 For CBS allowance payments to begin in a timely fashion, the MCO must send written notification of the date of occupancy of the SQ as soon as it occurs. AED has a window of ten working days at the beginning of each month in which to enter data. As an example, if the employee occupies his or her accommodation as of Sept 10, and we are advised immediately, s/he would be paid as of October 30th.
AED is hiring more staff and training still others in preparation for the summer surge of postings. We had an increase of more than 17 % in relocations last summer, hence the delays. Furthermore, computer programs are being updated to further minimize the number of errors possible with manual entries. Implemented.
5.2.1 Day to day HR functions are managed by the MCO with ad hoc support provided by the Administrative Assistant, the Senior Accountant and the Consular Officer.
5.2.2 The Mission is liaising with HLD regarding the completion of the LES Handbook. HLD advised that they are expecting that this will be completed and sent to the Mission for release to staff by the end of December 2008. The MCO indicated that he has been requested by HLD to send documents for this review that have already been provided to them on more than one occasion. ***.
5.2.3 PMPs are in place for most staff although some programs have yet to initiate them in the system. Training requirements roll up from the PMP and are sent to the Training Coordinator (Assistant to HOM) and a Mission wide training program has been established and approved by the CMM.
5.2.4 Service delivery standards for HR are not current, however the MCO advises that he is working on updating them and will circulate to all staff once completed.
5.2.5 Most job descriptions have been reviewed and updated within the last five years. However a few CIDA position job descriptions are more than five years old. The Mission should ensure that all job descriptions are reviewed and updated periodically.
5.2.6 A cross section of LES personnel files were reviewed and are in good order. They are separated into position files, employee files, and leave and attendance files. Oath or solemn affirmation forms have been signed off by all LES. Security vetting documents are maintained on the employee file. EXT 208's (employee pay certificates) are prepared by the Senior Accountant and sent to HLD. The MCO signs off on the copy which is retained at Mission. While the HOM is signing all letters of employment for term and indeterminate employees, the MCO has been signing letters of offer for emergency employment.
5.2.7 All personal service contracts for spouses are vetted through the CRB. This is seen as a best practice
5.2.8 CBS and dependant absences from the Mission which are over 25 working days are monitored by the MCO and appropriate reports are sent to the FSD Service Centre (AES) to facilitate allowance adjustments.
5.2.9 There is an active Occupational Health and Safety Committee. First Aid training is provided to all interested staff on an annual basis.
5.2.10 The Mission does not have a check list which would assist newly hired staff transition during their first few weeks at the Mission. This checklist would assist both management and the staff member in ensuring all procedures are met and information provided.
5.2.11 Overtime budgets for LES have not been devolved to programs. This should be done once program and common service budgets have been finalized.
5.2.12 While values and ethics books are provided to all staff upon first hiring, none of the staff have signed a form to acknowledge receipt. The HOM should provide a reminder to all staff regarding values and ethics on an annual basis.
5.2.13 The Mission has not employed a Community Coordinator as there was no interest displayed by spouses. If there is no interest amongst Mission spouses to accept this role, the Mission may wish to consider searching within the expatriate community for the next contract period. This contract would serve the Mission well to assist with incoming families during the summer 2009 relocation season.
5.2.14 Staff at the Official Residence advised that there were many occasions in the past when they were not properly compensated for overtime worked. This practice occurred during the time of the previous HOM.
5.2.15 The Inspection team met with members of the LES Committee. There were several issues raised by the Committee. The Committee is anxiously awaiting completion of the LES Handbook and they are very much interested in the severance and pension provisions of this review and whether or not the benefits will be retroactive. ***. Following the decision to cease this practice, to which our LES did not in anyway object, the impact was that several employees saw their net take-home pay reduced by 1% to 5% due to the increase in taxes paid. The annual salary increase they received in April 2008 was insufficient to close the gap. The LES view this as though they have been penalized as a result of a practice to which the Mission was a party. The Inspection Team suggested that the HOM review the background to this file and work with HLD to determine how staff concerns can be appropriately addressed. ***.
5.2.16 The Mission should consult with HLD in order to resolve any outstanding issues concerning the completion of the LES Handbook.
5.2.17 The Mission should ensure that all LES have a current PMP in place.
5.2.18 The Mission should ensure that service delivery standards for HR are established and circulated to all staff once completed.
5.2.19 The Mission should ensure that all job descriptions are reviewed and updated periodically.
5.2.20 A copy of the EXT 208 form should be maintained on the employee file.
5.2.21 The Mission should ensure that the HOM signs all letters of offer for LES.
5.2.22 The Mission should prepare a check list to assist newly hired staff transition during their first few weeks at the Mission.
5.2.23 The Mission should ensure that all staff have signed a form acknowledging that they have been provided with a copy of the values and ethics book. The HOM should provide an annual update for values and ethics to all staff.
5.2.24 The Mission should attempt to hire a spouse to serve as Community Coordinator for the 2009 posting season. However, an expatriate should be considered to fill this role if there is no interest from a spouse.
5.2.25 The Mission should ensure that OR staff are properly compensated for any overtime worked.
5.2.26 The Mission, in consultation with HLD, should review the issue ***
5.2.16 Missions in Hanoi and HCMC have completed consultations with HLD and the LES handbook has been completed and distributed to all staff. Implemented.
5.2.17 HOM Assistant will monitor and ensure completion of all PMPs as required. In progress.
5.2.18 Completion expected by end of April 2009. In progress.
5.2.19 70% of all position descriptions are currently up to date. The rest will be completed by June 2009. In progress.
5.2.20 A copy of the EXT 208 is now retained on all Employee files. Implemented.
5.2.21 As of December 31st 2008 HOM signs all letters of offer for LES. Implemented.
5.2.22 Completion expected by end of April 2009. In progress.
5.2.23 Mission has ordered further copies of the Values and Ethics Books and will ensure signatures by end of May 2009. Mission will coordinate a values and ethics session once a year. In progress.
5.2.24 Mission has only one relocation in 2009 and would like to consider this recommendation for the 2010 relocation season when some five CBS will be relocating from mission.
5.2.25 Mission is reviewing hospitality records for the period prior to June 2008 to provide compensation. In progress.
5.2.26 Mission is reviewing ***. In progress.
5.3.1 The Property, Maintenance and Materiel Services Section is managed by the MCO. He is assisted by the Administrative Assistant and the Consular Officer. There are two Handymen and two Cleaners who provide maintenance and janitorial services for the Mission. The Section maintains a Crown-leased Chancery which includes an Annex building, a Crown-leased Official Residence, as well as eight Crown-leased staff quarters (SQs).
5.3.2 Several issues were noted regarding the Chancery. Space is at a premium as most programs are at threshold with little or no room for expansion. Office and common space is cluttered with little room for storage. There is no provision for handicap accessibility within the Chancery or the Annex building. There are no facilities in place to properly screen guests and visitors prior to entering the main building or the Annex.
5.3.3 The Inspection Team visited the OR and three SQ’s during the Inspection visit. While the OR property is well maintained and nicely appointed, its location is far from ideal. It is situated outside of the city centre, is the only OR in the immediate area, is difficult for visitors and guests to find, has inadequate parking for guests and is adjacent to a property which will become a major construction site over the next 18-24 months. All of these factors impact the ability to attract guests to attend functions. ***.
5.3.4 SQ apartments are well situated and are maintained in good condition by building management. Security for these SQ’s is also provided by building management. However, the two houses which are part of the current inventory are difficult to maintain *** regarding maintenance and repairs. The distance from the Chancery is considered excessive, and one CBS is receiving commuting assistance as a result. There are also issues regarding security. While guards are posted 12 hours per day (night time) these SQ’s are still subject to break-in and theft.
5.3.5 The Mission is searching for new apartments as potential replacements for the houses which are currently on the inventory. Apartments would offer better value for money, as houses tend to be very costly due both to landlord unwillingness to affect repairs and renovations and security requirements.
5.3.6 The MCO advised that property service standards were being reviewed and will be provided to clients as soon as possible. Maintenance requests and work orders are currently sent to Administration by e-mail and managed by the Consular Officer. The Mission is awaiting the roll-out of the new Departmental service request system.
5.3.7 A capital acquisition plan (furniture, equipment and vehicles) has not been developed in recent years. Preparation of an expenditure plan will better position the Mission to deal with longer range materiel purchase issues. The CMM should be given an opportunity to review such a plan periodically.
5.3.8 Crown asset disposals of surplus materiel are conducted through public auctions. The Mission leases space from a commercial storage company to house surplus materiel, however this requirement has been kept to a minimum following the latest sale of items. The Mission should ensure that authority from the Physical Resources Bureau (ARD) or the Information Management and Technology Bureau (AID) is obtained when considering donations of surplus equipment for which the original value is greater than $1,000.
5.3.9 Official vehicle and drivers logs are maintained for all vehicles, however no monthly verification or reconciliation of mileage driven and fuel purchases is conducted. Records maintained for use of the motorcycle are inadequate and should be properly instituted.
5.3.10 The HOM is paying a percentage of consumable items used at the OR. Monthly cable and internet fees are also paid by the HOM.
5.3.11 The fine arts inventory is up to date and has recently been signed by the HOM.
5.3.12 Occupancy agreements and inventory files were reviewed. Several of these files also contained inventory and shipping documents pertaining to the personal effects of the staff member. These files should be reviewed to ensure that only official records are maintained on them. There were some instances where an inventory either did not exist on file or it was not signed by the occupant.
5.3.13 The Gardener works three half days at the OR and works two half days at the Chancery. He advised that he has to use some of his own tools, such as grass clippers, scissors and trowels) in order to maintain both properties. The Mission should arrange to purchase two sets of tools for the Gardener’s use.
5.3.14 The Mission should investigate renting more apartment accommodations and terminating the leases for two house SQs as they come due for renewal.
5.3.15 The MCO should develop a multi year capital acquisition plan and table it at the CMM on an annual basis.
5.3.16 The Mission should ensure that authority from ARD or AID is obtained when considering donations of surplus equipment for which the original value is greater than $1,000.
5.3.17 Usage logs should be maintained for the Mission’s motorcycle and the MCO or designate should perform monthly verifications of all official vehicle logs.
5.3.18 The Mission should ensure that inventories and occupancy agreements are completed and signed by staff within two weeks of occupancy of the SQ.
5.3.19 The Mission should purchase two sets of tools for the Gardener’s use at the Chancery and the OR.
5.3.14 CMM and the Housing Committee will review when leases come up for renewal in 2010.
5.3.15 Mission will complete a review of capital acquisition by summer of 2009 in order to put in place a multi-year plan.
5.3.16 MCO will monitor compliance. Implemented.
5.3.17 MCO will monitor compliance. Implemented.
5.3.18 Mission has completed all SQ inventories as of January 31st and will ensure relocation check lists include time tables for agreements. Implemented.
5.3.19 Mission purchased tools as of December 31st 2008. Implemented.
5.3.20 ARD should assess the Mission property “footprint” in Hanoi by looking not only *** but the Mission’s long term Chancery requirements as well.
5.3.20 Owing to higher priorities and capital investment (fit-up) in the existing OR, ARD ***. Concerning the chancery, program requirements are under study noting that the mission is at threshold. A reorganization of office space to new space standards is under study to address the short, medium and long term needs of the mission. In progress.
5.4.1 The MCO manages the Finance function in the Mission while day to day duties are undertaken by the LE-07 Senior Accountant and a LE-05 Junior Accountant. The Junior Accountant was recently hired and, at the time of the Inspection visit, was undertaking in-office and on-line training. She did not yet have access to the Integrated Management System (IMS).
5.4.2 Overall, the quality of service from the Finance Section *** in many areas over the last several months. The number of errors occurring, the low number of transactions processed, the backlog of invoices and claims which are long overdue and ***. Suppliers have started refusing to undertake work unless previous invoices are settled; internal travel and hospitality claims are taking months to process. ***.
5.4.3 The Finance Section does not maintain a quiet hours policy. This hinders staff ability to focus on document entry and disrupts the general flow of work which they undertake.
5.4.4 *** to process all invoices/claims within acceptable time frames. As a result, there were approximately 50 transactions which were awaiting entry into IMS, some of them were over one month in arrears. Once the Junior Accountant is able to undertake document entry to IMS, this should alleviate the backlog of documents which require payment action.
5.4.5 While financial policies and procedures have been made available to staff (posted on the Intranet), some have not been updated in several years. For instance, the hospitality guidelines posted are four to five years out of date. The Finance Section should update these procedures/policies/instructions and communicate them to all staff once completed (See recommendation 5.1.11).
5.4.6 A petty cash account of Vietnamese Dong *** is maintained by the Administrative Assistant. While this account is replenished as required, ***. The Administrative Assistant indicated that *** when the replenishment process through the Finance Section was slow.
5.4.7 Bank statements are currently received by the Senior Accountant directly from the bank whereas they should be first seen by the MCO. Bank reconciliations are up to date. The HOM reviews the monthly reconciliation of accounts and signs off as required.
5.4.8 The Finance Section does not maintain separate files for hospitality diaries for all officers. While the original claim and diaries are kept with the monthly accounts, this makes it very difficult to perform reviews.
5.4.9 The Mission uses a local purchase order (LPO) form in order to obtain authorization for invoice payments. The form is used to provide a translation of invoices should they not be provided in English or French. In many instances, the LPO form is completed only after the invoice is received by the program initiating the expenditure in order to allow for translation of the invoice. This process is time consuming and in most cases unnecessary.
5.4.10 The Mission has an active Contract Review Board in place. The Board meets to discuss contracts of significant value (over $5,000). All spousal contracts, regardless of their value, are reviewed by the Board. The Finance Section maintains a register of all contracts. While most files reviewed contained CRB approvals, in some cases this review and authority document was missing.
5.4.11 During the review of CRB files ***.
5.4.13 The Mission should ensure that ***
5.4.14 The MCO should set clear objectives and monitor the progress of the Finance Section staff in order to ensure that the flow of invoice payments is better managed.
5.4.15 The MCO should establish specific hours of operation for the Finance Section and convey these hours to all staff within the Mission. The Finance Section door should remain closed during quiet hours.
5.4.16 The MCO should instruct *** petty cash expenses and to hold off payment until the fund has been replenished.
5.4.17 The MCO should conduct ***
5.4.18 The MCO should ensure that instructions are given to the bank to ensure that bank statements are received by him for first review.
5.4.19 The MCO should consider maintaining separate hospitality files for each officer as required. The original signed copy of the EXT 904 form can remain with monthly accounts and a photocopy can be made for the individual files.
5.4.20 The Finance Section should obtain a Financial Administration Act section 33/34 stamp to be used on all invoices in order to obtain necessary authorities for payment and limit the use of LPO’s for preauthorization to purchase only.
5.4.21 The Mission should ensure that the CRB review and approve contracts prior to goods and services being rendered.
5.4.13 ***. HLD has been consulted and is providing guidance as required. Implemented.
5.4.14 The financial section is reviewed monthly and work load data is evaluated. Backlog which existed in October of 2008 was cleared as of January 31st. 2009. Implemented.
5.4.15 Completed as of December 15th 2008.
5.4.16 Completed as of December 1st 2008. MCO monitors compliance.
5.4.17 MCO is conducting***. Implemented.
5.4.18 Completed as of December 15th 2008.
5.4.19 Completed as of January 31st 2009.
5.4.20 Completed as of December 10th. 2008
5.4.21 CRB approves all contracts over 5K. Implemented.
5.4.22 HOM Assistant will monitor compliance. Implemented.
5.5.1 The Mission is served by a Locally Engaged Information Technology Professional (LEITP), who is an expatriate, resident in Hanoi under the direction of the Client Service Regional Manager (CSRM) in Singapore, the Foreign Service Information Technology Professional (FSITP) in Hong Kong, and the MCO in Hanoi. The FSITP will also provide service to the Mission as required.
5.5.2 In addition to providing support to Hanoi, regular trips are made to HCMC to deal with routine maintenance and upgrades to equipment and systems. When HCMC does experience problems outside this cycle, the LEITP will visit when a sufficient number of issues make the travel cost effective.
5.5.3 The LEITP has an informal work plan where major goals for the year are outlined. As most of the work is reactive to the client’s needs and there is no formal budget for IM/IT, the Mission uses funds reservations based upon the usage of the previous three years. Further, there is no IT Committee at the Mission. The LEITP does, however, sit in on management meetings in order to keep abreast of the requirements and to provide advice and counsel. There is the risk though that, without a more formal plan which identifies actions, time-lines and financial resources, activities may not be performed.
5.5.4 At the time of the inspection, the local Intranet was hosted locally and was built to Signet server standards. It was, however, not designed according to Common Look and Feel (CLF) standards, was unilingual and not up to date.
5.5.5 There is no formal Business Continuity Plan for the Mission. The MCO did identify an option, should there be an event that impairs IM/IT operations, however, it was un-tested, and the LEITP identified significant limitations with regard to their ability to successfully implement it.
5.5.7 For three weeks, no server back-ups had been performed at the Mission as the automated system was broken, and there was no manual system to allow back-ups to be performed. ***
5.5.8 The limited bandwidth supplied to the Mission has resulted in significant issues within programs both in Hanoi and HCMC. A 512MB optimized connection is shared with HCMC and the LEITP noted that certain Internet based applications, such as Remedy, run too slowly for efficient use.
5.5.9 The LEITP indicated that due to the slowness of Remedy, not all requests via telephone or e-mail are entered into the system. It is therefore not possible to track if the issues are being resolved within the service standards or be assured that all service requests have been actioned.
5.5.10 The MCO indicated that, ***
5.5.11 Both the MCO and LEITP identified a need for significant proficiency in Vietnamese, such that the LEITP could effectively function in the purchasing of IT hardware and services on the local market.
5.5.12 The LEITP in conjunction with the CSRM, FSITP and MCOs in both Hanoi and HCMC should develop a formal IM/IT plan and budget with activities, dates and resources required.
5.5.13 The Mission should establish an IT Committee.
5.5.14 The Mission should develop and regularly test a Business Continuity Plan with an IM/IT component.
5.5.15 The Mission should ***
5.5.16 The Mission should ensure that server back-ups can be performed regularly.
5.5.17 The Mission should ***
5.5.18 The Mission and Headquarters should increase the bandwidth available to both Missions, such that Internet based applications may be used efficiently.
5.5.19 The LEITP should enter all service requests into Remedy.
5.5.20 The Mission should ensure that an IM/IT security awareness program is in place.
5.5.21 The Mission should examine the options for improvement of capacity for Vietnamese in the IT support role, either through the engagement of a local LEITP or training of the incumbent.
5.5.12 Mission will prepare budgets for the 2009-10 fiscal year.
5.5.13 CMM will propose Terms of Reference and membership by April 2009. A web site committee exists but has been inactive. It will be reactivated.
5.5.14 Mission has assigned the Mission Consular Officer to coordinate formulation of a Business Continuity Plan as of May 30th 2009.
5.5.15 Mission will review various options in concert with the development of the Business Continuity Plan and updates of the various Mission Contingency Plans.***. Final implementation summer 2009
5.5.16 Mission back up is currently operational. Implemented.
5.5.17 Mission has agreed ***. Implemented.
5.5.18 Mission is preparing a proposal in consultation with HCMC. In progress.
5.5.19 LEITP is currently entering all requests into Remedy. Implemented.
5.5.20 Mission has tasked LEITP to prepare an IM/IT security awareness presentation which can be used with new staff and repeated on a yearly basis. In progress.
5.5.21 Mission is ***. Implemented.
The scope of the Inspection included a review of Mission Management and the General Relations, International Business Development, Consular and Administration programs.
The focus and extent of on-site work was based on an assessment of materiality and related risk. This was done through communication with HQ bureaus, including briefings by line management and the functional bureaus, review of relevant HQ and Mission documentation, past inspection findings, and an analysis of recurring trends and systemic issues.
During the Inspection, issues and lines of enquiry were further refined from information gathered through interviews with the HOM and program managers, a meeting with the LES Committee, individual interviews with staff, and results of other documentation reviewed. The level of inspection work was therefore based on issues and information identified and gathered at all levels, HQ, Mission Management and Mission operations.
|Chancery||1 + Annex||-|
|Financial Information 2008- 09 (CAD$)|
|Operating Budget (N001)||$966,000|
|Capital Budget (N005)||$49,000|
|CBS Salaries Budget (N011)||$432,000|
|LES Salaries Budget (N012)||$337,000|