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Inspection of the Canadian Consulate General Ho Chi Minh City

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April 2009

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

An Inspection of the Political Economic Program (PE), International Business Development (IBD), Consular and Administration Programs was conducted in Ho Chi Minh City from November 17 to 21, 2008. The Mission was last audited in June,1999. The Embassy in Ho Chi Minh City is a small sized mission with six Canadian-based staff (CBS) and 19 Locally-engaged staff (LES).

As Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is the industrial/business centre of Vietnam, the Mission’s focus is on Canadian export and investment interests. The Head of Mission (HOM) is *** supportive of and engaged in the IBD Program while at the same time profiling Canada through high level visits and events. Internal management issues have at times been neglected due to emphasis on program objectives and past performance issues in Administration. The new Management and Consular Officer (MCO) has been *** in rectifying this situation and will have management support to address the issues raised in this report.

The Mission has recently acquired additional space in the building it occupies adjacent to existing space. ***.

There is *** coordination and cooperation between HCMC and Hanoi regarding PE activities and initiatives, with Hanoi taking the lead on the Country Strategy and reporting. ***.

Vietnam is an emerging economy with a high annual growth rate. The nature of the political system requires coordination between HCMC and the capital, Hanoi. The IBD Program in HCMC has demonstrated solid management practices and communication within its own program and good cooperation and integration of its activities with Hanoi. The Program has developed a guide for Canadian direct investors, which can be considered a best practice. Improvement is required in ongoing monitoring of activities and results.

The Consular Program is operating effectively with a work plan in place and objectives established for staff. Consular assets are *** controlled and accounted for. With increasing workloads and responsibilities, the classification levels of the three local staff need to be reviewed. Regular section meetings with the MCO should be held, and controls over revenues received need to be improved.

In order to strengthen the Administration Program, the MCO has developed a work plan which includes establishing service standards, and updating policies and procedures. The MCO provides *** communication and is accessible to staff. He has established a *** of teamwork which greatly contributed to improve morale. Long standing issues, many highlighted in this report, are being addressed. Some of these include updating the Mission Report; holding regular staff meetings; developing mission3 wide training plans; establishing and communicating procedures for property maintenance requests; preparing a long range capital acquisition plan; and ensuring that the MCO is the main contact with the bank.

A total of 49 recommendations are raised in the report; 48 are addressed to the Mission and one is addressed to Headquarters (HQ). Management has responded to each recommendation indicating action already taken or decisions made, as well as future action. Of the 49 recommendations, management has stated that 25 have been implemented. For each of the remaining 24 recommendations, management has indicated the initiatives in progress or the intended future action.

Mission Management

1.1 Overview

1.1.1 The Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City is a small size mission with six Canada-based staff (CBS) and 19 Locally-engaged staff (LES). Partner Departments at the Mission include Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and the Canadian Border Security Agency (CBSA).

1.1.2 The Mission is well managed with particular focus on trade and investment objectives as well as strategic engagement on public diplomacy initiatives. The administration function has stabilized after several MCO turnovers. An annual planning process is well established. In December the Mission provides input for the Country Strategy which is drafted by Hanoi. In January the Mission holds a staff retreat where current and key commitments are reviewed, and new fiscal year priorities and initiatives are identified. In February and March, draft Performance Management Agreements (PMAs) for the Ambassador and Consul General are reviewed by program managers to develop program plans and PMAs/Performance Management Programs (PMPs) for staff.

1.1.3 The Mission has a well-established committee structure in place. There is an all CBS Committee on Mission Management held every two weeks with minutes recorded. A Contract Review Board (CRB) is in place as well as Classification, Occupational Health and Safety, Housing, Security and LES committees. All-staff meetings are held once a month to communicate important information and raise issues of concern.

1.1.4 The LES Committee has only recently been re-established. To ensure both management and staff remain current on issues and concerns, regular meetings with the MCO and with the HOM need to be scheduled with minutes recorded and distributed to staff. The Committee does not represent all programs. The Mission, working with the Committee, should encourage participation from the Consular and Immigration Programs.

1.1.5 The Inspection Team met with the LES Committee. The Benefits Handbook which is currently under review by the Locally Engaged Staff Services Bureau (HLD) is due to be completed by the end of 2008. There was confusion regarding pension and severance provisions. These need to be clarified by HLD. See Section 5.2 for further explanation.

1.1.6 As most front line staff have limited ability to provide service in both official languages, the Mission needs to ensure that a CBS is available as a back-up. Signage in public areas was in both official languages whereas many signs and documents within the Mission were in English only. Appointing an Official Languages Officer would help ensure compliance to the Official Languages Policy.

Recommendations for the Mission

1.1.7 The Mission should appoint an Official languages Officer.

1.1.8 Signs and official notices within the Mission should be bilingual.

Mission Responses and Timeframes

1.1.7 An official languages coordinator has been appointed. Implemented February 2009.

1.1.8 All signs and posters visible to the public have always been reviewed to ensure they are in both official languages. Internal signs will be reviewed by the official languages coordinator by February 2009.

Political Economic Program

2.1 Overview

2.1.1 The Political Economic Program (PE) at the Mission is headed by the HOM with support by a Public Affairs Officer (LE-08). The program works closely with Hanoi coordinating activities and providing and receiving support when needed. 2.1.2 The Program inputs into the planning process for which Hanoi takes the lead. A PE plan for both missions has been developed based on the Country Strategy. This plan has three main objectives from which specific strategies and activities are derived. These activities are supported in HCMC by a Post Initiative fund (PIF) of $3,000.

2.1.3 Hanoi is responsible for most of the reporting to HQ reflected in the Reporting Agreement. The Program in HCMC is responsible for local content and responds on an ad hoc basis to local events and situations as they arise.

2.1.4 The Public Affairs (PA) Officer has been in the position for just over one year. ***. His main responsibilities (over 50%) involve promotion of the Education Marketing Program dealing with local schools and individual students. He provides support to trade initiatives from a public affairs perspective, as required; handles media relations for the Mission; organizes and supports the HOM’s outreach activities; and acts as an interpreter.

2.1.5.1 The PA Officer is new to his position and is therefore developing the skills and experience required for this important function. ***

Recommendation for the Mission

2.1.6 The PA officer should be provided ***.

Mission Response and Timeframe

2.1.6 The mission is waiting for CFSS to announce a ***.

International Business Development Program

3.1 Overview

3.1.1 The IBD Program comprises an FS-03 Senior Trade Commissioner (STC), two LE-09 Trade Commissioners (TC) and one LE-05 Trade Commissioner Assistant (TCA). In late 2008 a new LE-09 Trade Commissioner will join the Program in order to cover the Global Value Chain (GVC) in Vietnam and surrounding countries. This may increase the workload on the lone TCA in the Section. Recognizing this, the Program is seeking to obtain an extra resource to provide additional support. 3.1.2 ***, many decisions impacting Canadian commercial interests are taken in the capital. This has required close coordination between the missions in HCMC and Hanoi.

3.1.3 Vietnam, an emerging economy ruled by a single party government, has averaged 8% 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. 3.1.4 The Program demonstrates solid management practices in areas of planning and communications, not only within HCMC, but within the context of the “whole of Vietnam”. The monitoring of activities and results, however, is not as effective and requires improvement.

3.1.5 The Program has developed a guide for Canadian direct investors, which is an overview of the commercial conditions facing the potential investors. This guide should be considered as a best practice. 3.1.6 The Program has developed a planning process in coordination with the IBD Program in Hanoi to ensure that there is a” whole of Vietnam” approach. The current priority sectors for HCMC are the agri-food, forestry and educational sectors. In addition to these priority sectors, the Program will have a mandate to cover the GVC for Vietnam and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region.

3.1.7 These priority sectors correspond to areas that have already been generating a high level of service requests from clients in traditional sectors in the case of agri-food and forestry products. Given the fast paced evolution of the market, the Mission should also actively look into other possible sectors to respond to fresh new interest in the business community. Infrastructure and services industries would appear to warrant such an examination.

3.1.8 ***

Recommendation for the Mission

3.1.9 The Program should analyze emerging market development and validate results with HQ and other partners.

Mission Response and Timeframe

3.1.9 Agreed.
By way of background, we have established our priority sectors based on: (1) opportunities; (2) level of client (and partner) interest and commitment; and (3) capacity for Canadian firms to compete and succeed. Based on these criteria, we have established two priority sectors for HOCHI: education and wood building products. These two sectors far and away exceed any others in meeting our above criteria and all sectors are showing solid results from our efforts.

We have also highlighted four additional sectors of importance where we are seeing modest client interest and increasing opportunity, including in ICT, Oil Gas, Advanced Manufacturing Technologies, and Services and Capital Projects (including infrastructure projects).

We work with HQ, ROs, clients, and partners in all sectors and are ready to re-allocate resources as necessary to ensure we remain nimble and well-positioned to serve our clients effectively.

3.1.10 While the Program Manager has introduced key performance indicators to his team, the Program has not been consistently reporting on performance in the WIN system and, as such, numbers presently reported in WIN indicate an underperforming program.

3.1.11 WIN was viewed by the Program to be too slow and prone to disconnect whilst data was being entered. The Program therefore developed an alternate tracking system. Review of the alternate system demonstrated that the Program was performing at a higher level than sections of HQ had indicated ***.

Recommendation for the South, Southeast Asia Oceania Bureau (GSD)

3.1.12 The geographic desk should monitor the performance of the Program and engage in an active dialogue with the Mission when questionable data is received.

Bureau Response and Timeframe

3.1.12 GSC Deputy Director has applied for and received an account for Dashboard, received Dashboard training on February 20th 2009, and is now ready to commence regular monitoring of mission performance indicators as reported through WINExports/TRIO, CCIL, HRMS and CSF Budget/Expenditures. Any irregularities will be followed-up on a monthly basis.

Recommendation for the Mission

3.1.13 As the Mission will be receiving TRIO in the near future, it is recommended that trade data be systematically entered into the system.

Mission Action and Timeframe

3.1.13 We received TRIO on December 1. Appropriate trade data is now being input into the system. In the first two and a half months of use, we logged 56 service requests and added 60 new local contacts into the system (as of Feb 17). In addition, we discuss challenges and review TRIO best practices during our weekly team meetings.

Consular

4.1 Program Management

4.1.1 The Consular Program is overseen by the MCO while the day-to-day operation of the Program is managed by the LE-06 Senior Consular Assistant. The Program is also supported by an LE-04 Consular Receptionist/Assistant and an LE-04 Consular Assistant. The Program is very active with passport, citizenship, notarial and case management files. The Program processes approximately 160 citizenship applications and over 600 passports and related services on an annual basis. Although there are three LES who support the Program, two of these staff are recent hires who are currently working on term assignments. Formal competitions to fill these positions are expected to take place in the new year.

4.1.2 The MCO has developed a Consular work plan which outlines work to be performed until the end of the fiscal year. Staff have been consulted and the plan has been formalized in individual PMPs.

4.1.3 The current classification level of the Senior Consular Assistant and the two junior consular assistants should be reviewed to ensure they are at the appropriate levels. The Senior Consular Assistant is undertaking more substantive work *** .As this position is required to provide notarial services to clients, the incumbent should receive the appropriate designated authority to do so.

4.1.4 The MCO does not conduct regular meetings with Consular staff in which planning, process, and procedural information could be exchanged.

4.1.5 The Duty Officer Manual was last updated in December 2007 and is due for review in December 2008. As a best practise, this manual is shared with all CBS employees and their dependants to allow them to refer to it in case of emergency. COMIP statistics and entry are current. This is controlled and filed by the MCO on a monthly basis.

4.1.6 The Program does not have current client service standards in place. The MCO indicated that he is taking steps to have standards drafted and implemented.

4.1.7 The layout and location of the Consular Section is not ideal. Access to the office facilities is available to anyone passing by within the operational zone of the Chancery. *** . The inner staircase leading from the 10th to the 9th floor is situated very close to the Consular area and creates a noisy environment when used, which causes distraction for the Consular staff. This issue should be discussed with the Physical Resources Bureau (ARD) and taken into consideration when the reconfiguration of office space is undertaken.

4.1.8 Although a supply of client feedback forms is placed in the Consular reception area, they are not being presented to clients when services are provided. Staff are encouraged to provide forms to clients when passports, citizenship cards, and notarial documents are processed and services provided.

4.1.9 The Program is retaining completed passport applications past the 90 day period as set out in passport regulations. ***.

4.1.10 ***

4.1.11 An inventory check of passport supplies was undertaken as part of the Inspection. All material was verified and is appropriately controlled.

Recommendations for the Mission

4.1.12 The Mission, in consultation with HLD, should conduct a review of all Consular Program positions to ensure they are at the appropriate levels.

4.1.13 The MCO should conduct regular meetings with Consular staff.

4.1.14 The MCO should develop and implement client service standards.

4.1.15 The Mission, in consultation with ARD, should review the Consular office layout and location as part of the Chancery expansion project.

4.1.16 The MCO should instruct Consular staff to be proactive in providing client feedback forms as services are being provided.

4.1.17 Staff should ensure that passport files are destroyed 90 days after the passport has been issued. ***.

4.1.18 The Mission should ensure that cash receipts are secured at the end of each day ***.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

4.1.12 A review was completed well before the audit and a case put forward to the Consular branch. The case has subsequently been approved and reclassifications have been completed.

4.1.13 The MCO regularly holds meetings with consular staff.

4.1.14 The consular section tracks service against the published standards of the Consular Affairs Branch. Clients are informed of the standards for the service when they apply for the service. A new point of sale and service tracking system is being developed which will provide detailed metrics for mission-specific service standards. This system will be implemented following a comprehensive redesign of consular processes to ensure consistent service.

4.1.15 The layout was reviewed with the ARD architect on January 29 and should be addressed by ARD.

4.1.16 The process for handing out client feedback forms will be formalized as part of the redesign of consular processes mentioned above.

4.1.17 Previous files have been destroyed. File storage was addressed during the security inspection in January 2009.

4.1.18 Cash is now stored in a secure shell during quiet hours.

Administration

5.1 Overview

5.1.1 The Administration Program is managed by the MCO who is supported by an LE-07 Accountant, an LE-05 Administrative Assistant, two Drivers, and one Cleaner. All staff within the Program are multi-tasked and are providing a good level of service to their clients. Morale within the Program is good and, ***.

5.1.2 The MCO has developed a work plan which outlines specific work to be addressed within the Property and Finance Sections. The plan focuses on non-routine work which needs to be undertaken in order to improve the Program’s service delivery capabilities. Developing service standards and updating policies and procedures are key elements of this plan.

5.1.3 The Mission Report was last updated in 2005. In order to assist with the postings of new staff, the Mission should arrange to update this report in time for the summer 2009 relocation season. This could be contracted out if necessary.

5.1.4 The MCO does not schedule weekly meetings with the Administration Team. Although he maintains contact with staff on a one-on-one basis, it is considered a best practice to hold regular staff meetings. This would allow for the sharing of information and the promotion of inter-office communication.

5.1.5 There is no formal back up system in place should the MCO be absent from the office for a lengthy period of time. The Mission should ensure back up procedures are in place when the MCO takes his holidays.

5.1.6 The Mission entered into a contract for a Community Coordinator for the first time in May 2008. The contract is funded through the Foreign Service Directive Services Centre (AES). The Community Coordinator indicated that more direction is required concerning duties to be performed as there is some uncertainty as to what is expected of the Community Coordinator.

Recommendations for the Mission

5.1.7 The Mission Report should be updated in time for the summer 2009 relocation season.

5.1.8 The MCO should conduct regular staff meetings.

5.1.9 The Mission should ensure that a formal back up is appointed who could assume the duties of the MCO while on leave.

5.1.10 The MCO should play a more proactive role with the Community Coordinator contractor in the future and set clear deliverables.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.1.7 Mission has contracted with a spouse to complete the report.

5.1.8 The MCO meets daily with each member of the admin team and has scheduled bi-weekly staff meetings.

5.1.9 A backup is now nominated during the MCO’s absence, despite the fact that no qualified backup exists in the mission.

5.1.10 Future community coordinator contracts will be more clearly defined and monitored by the MCO. The MCO is working with the previous community coordinator

5.2 Human Resources (HR)

5.2.1 Human Resources management at the Mission is the responsibility of the MCO. He is assisted by the Accountant and the Administrative Assistant as required, and as workloads permit. The Mission has contracted the services of two recruitment firms to provide recruiting and vetting services for the Mission. ***.

5.2.2 The LES Employment and Pay Certificates (EXT208) are prepared by the Accountant and sent to HLD electronically. The MCO should be reviewing these files prior to sending them to HQ.

5.2.3 *** however there are several questions regarding possible severance payments which have yet to be resolved with HLD.

5.2.4 Performance management reviews for several staff are either not current or have yet to be initiated in the PMP system. Each program manager should ensure that all LES have current PMPs prepared as soon as possible.

5.2.5 While individual training and development plans are captured in employee PMPs, a Mission-wide training plan has not been developed and tabled at the Committee on Mission Management (CMM) for discussion and budgeting.

5.2.6 The Mission has recently taken steps to separate LES employee files into position/personal/security files. Many files are lacking basic information such as EXT145 classification action form and current job descriptions of the incumbent. Of ten files which were reviewed, none contained an oath or solemn affirmation form which should be signed off by all LES. The MCO has taken steps recently to organize these files *** as they have been *** managed over the past several years.

Recommendations for the Mission

5.2.7 The MCO should ensure that a signed copy of the EXT 208 pay certificates be retained at the Mission for future reference.

5.2.8 *** .

5.2.9 The Mission should ensure that PMPs for all staff are initiated and completed.

5.2.10 The Mission should develop Mission-wide training plans and present them to the Committee on Management (CMM) for budget approval. 5.2.11 The Mission should ensure that all LES have signed an oath or solemn affirmation form and the form is placed on the employee file.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.2.7 This recommendation is no longer relevant as ALD recently introduced forms with electronic approval built in. All EXT208 forms have always been kept on file at the mission.

5.2.8 The mission has consulted with ALD and is awaiting the publication of the LES handbook.

5.2.9 The MCO provides reports on the completion of PMPs to CMM on a regular basis. All staff will have a PMP by the end of the current review cycle.

5.2.10 CMM has reviewed the learning and development report from the PMP system on several occasions. This is the department wide tool for learning plans and is sufficient for mission planning needs. It will be reviewed again during the next PMP cycle. Furthermore, all programs have been allocated a budget specifically for training by CMM. Program managers are fully accountable for the results achieved with this training budget.

5.2.11 All staff will make the oath or affirmation during the retreat scheduled for March 2009. For future staff, this requirement has been added to the mission’s personnel file checklist.

LES Committee

5.2.12 As stated in paragraph 1.1.4, the LES Committee has recently been reestablished however, according to staff interviewed, the Committee has not been very active. The MCO has not met with the LES Committee. Regular meetings with the MCO should be scheduled (quarterly) and with the HOM (semi-annually). The Inspection Team met with the LES Committee during the Inspection visit. The following are issues which were raised by the Committee:

  • Not all Mission programs are represented on the Committee as both CIC and Consular staff have refused to participate. This is a result of perceived previous inaction by LES Committees in the past. The LES Committee was encouraged to continue to approach these sections and to solicit their involvement in Committee matters.
  • The LES have been advised that annual medical check ups are not part of the benefits package. As the medical insurance plan does not provide for annual check ups, they have requested that this be included in their benefits package.
  • Access to the private medical insurance plan does not cover spouses or dependants of LES. The Committee was advised to verify marker practice and ask the medical insurance plan provider if dependants could be included if additional contributions are made by the employee.
  • There was confusion regarding pension and severance provisions. The LES were advised to consult with the MCO who in turn would forward their concerns to HLD for clarification. There are two employees who wish to retire soon, however they would like to be provided with an overview of what pension and severance payments they would be entitled to.
  • The Committee questioned whether the Mission should have a separate salary scale than the mission in Hanoi as is the practice with other marker organizations *** in order to take into consideration the different markets in which they work.

Recommendations for the Mission

5.2.13 The Mission should encourage participation in the LES Committee by all programs.

5.2.14 The Mission, in consultation with HLD, should investigate the requirement for a separate salary scale to be implemented.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.2.13 The mission has encouraged participation in the LES committee by all programs. In February 2009 a number of staffing changes have been made. CMM will actively recruit committee members from these programs.

5.2.14 The mission will consult with ALD and investigate a separate salary scale prior to the salary review that is normally effective on April 1.

Competition Files

5.2.15 A review of competition files was conducted as part of the inspection of the Human Resources Section of the Mission. The following are observations and recommendations resulting from this review:

  • Of the seven files reviewed, there was a lack of consistency between what is contained on the files. These files should have a structured file format that identifies and facilitates the access to each essential element of the process (advertisement, requirements, applications, results, etc.)
  • Aside from one exception, there is no correspondence on the files informing the candidates who have been screened out of the competition process following the interview stage. This should be done systematically to convey a positive image of the employer and to be able answer questions that could arise in the future.
  • It was not clear how the language ability of the candidates was evaluated. While one may assume that it is done throughout the interview and the quality of writing on the written exam, a generic rating guide should be used that links to the position requirements and the assessment. Templates exist in HQ for CBS that could easily be shared and used for the purpose of LES competition files.
  • Competition board members should always be clearly identified as they are accountable for the evaluation and the eventual recommendation to the HOM. In a certain case on file, there is a formal recommendation by the Board members to the HOM. This practice should be implemented systematically as it would serve the purpose of having the Board members sign and therefore identify themselves.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.2.16 In order to address the issue of inconsistency in the maintenance of competition files, the Mission should develop a check list that would standardize the documentation required and would also serve to provide guidance to the board members.

5.2.17 The Mission should implement a generic rating guide that links to the position requirements and the assessment.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.2.16 The mission agrees that additional tools should be developed to assist in running competitions however, the mission firmly believes that ALD should take the lead in developing department-wide materials for use in recruiting LES. In the interim, the Mission will develop a checklist prior to holding further competitions.

5.2.17 English and French language skills are requirements at all Canadian missions. The mission believes that ALD is best placed to develop a language scale for use in recruiting LES.

In the interim, mission management is providing the Canadian Language Benchmarks, for the use of hiring program managers.

Classification Files

5.2.18 The classification process and committee structure is well established with a chair and good participation by the program managers and MCO. They are asked to individually evaluate the files before they meet in a committee format which is a best practice in the classification process.

5.2.19 Another good practice is that the members of the committee not only review and evaluate the job, but also take the opportunity to update the job description as they move through the process. The Mission should continue to implement these procedures.

5.2.20 An important step in the classification process is that the results of the classification of the position be explained to the incumbent and include information on recourse rights and process to follow. Evidence of this type of communication was not present on the files.

5.3 Physical Resources

5.3.1 The Property, Maintenance and Materiel Services Section is managed by the MCO. He is presently assisted by the LE-05 Administrative Assistant. The Mission is awaiting approval from HQ to staff a newly created Property Management Assistant position (LE-06) which is expected to be staffed by early December 2008. The Program maintains a Crown-leased Chancery as well as six Crown-leased staff quarters (SQs), one of which serves as the residence for the Head of Mission.

5.3.2 The Mission has recently leased additional space located on the 10th floor of the Chancery facility. ARD is in the process of preparing office layout plans to accommodate expansion and reallocation of space to Mission programs. The Mission has advised ARD of a new building which is being constructed directly adjacent to the building in which the Consulate General is a tenant. ***.

5.3.3 The Inspection Team viewed four of the six Crown-leased SQ’s during the Inspection visit. Three of these SQ’s (including the HOM’s SQ) are considered to be in very good condition and are well maintained. However, one SQ (PR5350015) has not been well maintained over the past few years. The kitchen is in need of a total refurbishment, bathrooms are poorly appointed, and there have been several roof leaks during the rainy season, which have damaged walls and ceilings. As well, the interior perimeter wall of the property requires a chemical cleaning and repainting as it is unsightly and makes the property unappealing. The present occupants have had to deal with a rodent problem which does not seem to have been resolved as yet. The Mission should contact the landlord to request that renovations to the kitchen, bathrooms and the perimeter wall be undertaken immediately.

5.3.4 The Mission Property Management Plan (MPMP), PRIME data input, and the Mission Maintenance Work Plan (MMWP) are all current and have been recently updated.

5.3.5 Property and maintenance service standards have not been developed. As a result, clients are not aware of the Program’s capacity to deliver services nor are they aware of acceptable time frames for service delivery.

5.3.6 The Mission is not utilizing the Materiel Management (MM) Module in IMS for entry of Contracts and Purchase Orders. Now with the recent creation of an LE-06 Property Management Assistant position, the Mission should utilize the MM Module as part of their procurement procedures.

Recommendations for the Mission

5.3.7 The Mission, in consultation with ARD, should ensure that the locations of the Consular Section and the HSZ be taken into consideration when designing office layout plans as part of the Chancery expansion project.

5.3.8 If the landlord of SQ PR5350015 is unwilling to undertake necessary renovations and repairs, the Mission should consider terminating the lease and relocating the occupants to more suitable accommodation.

5.3.9 An Accommodation Deficiency Adjustment (ADA) should be examined if repairs and renovations to SQ PR5350015 cannot be facilitated within an acceptable time frame.

5.3.10 The Mission should ensure that repairs and renovation projects are brought to the landlord’s attention prior to extending existing leases or entering into new leases.

5.3.11 The Mission should ensure that service standards and procedures for maintenance and service requests are developed and circulated to all staff as well as to CBS spouses. Changes or updates to these standards should be communicated to those affected as they occur.

5.3.12 The Mission should ensure that the MM Module is used to enter contracts and purchase orders as per policy set by HQ.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.3.7 Mission has raised these issues with ARD and has been assured that they will be taken into account In the new layout

5.3.8 The rat and leak issues have been fixed. The need for a kitchen renovation and improvements to the bathrooms has been raised regularly with the landlord. The HOM has been *** proactive in attempting to persuade the landlord to make the necessary renovations. All advances have been rejected. The occupants have confirmed that they would prefer to remain in the SQ for the remainder of their posting instead of moving to a better maintained SQ. The lease on this property will not be renewed at the end of the occupant’s posting.

5.3.9 An ADA is not appropriate as the occupant has requested to stay in the SQ despite the offer to be relocated.

5.3.10 The mission will do so for all future leases.

5.3.11 The MCO has purchased the *** work order software. With a dedicated property assistant and adequate statistics, performance measures and service standards will be developed. The MCO is also formalizing a number of routine processes by mapping theprocesses, studying the mapped processes, and finding ways of operating more efficiently. Once standard procedures are in place, it will be possible to ensure consistent levels of service. The resulting service standards will be distributed to all staff.

5.3.12 The new Administration Assistant and Property Assistant will receive MM training as early as possible. Upon completion of training, the mission will use the MM module for all contracts.

Asset Management

5.3.13 Inventories for the SQs have been completed although the Mission should ensure that inventory and occupancy agreements are completed and signed off by occupants within two weeks of occupancy.

5.3.14 The Mission does not have a current inventory of Chancery assets. This should be undertaken once the Property Assistant is recruited.

5.3.15 The Mission does not have a long range capital acquisition plan in place for SQ furnishings and appliances and simply relies on in-year analysis of requirements. Establishing a long range plan in this regard would assist in better financial planning and would allow for minimum storage levels to be maintained.

5.3.16 The Mission recently disposed of surplus assets which were being stored at a commercial warehouse facility. As a result, the Mission is no longer paying for commercial storage. In future, the Mission plans to dispose of assets as they become surplus to avoid paying storage costs. Crown asset disposal files were reviewed and were in order.

5.3.17 Official vehicle logs and monthly operating forms are being completed for all official vehicles. However, there is no assessment of gasoline purchases and mileage driven being conducted or verified.

Recommendations for the Mission

5.3.18 SQ inventories of furnishings and equipment should be verified with the occupant and signed off within two weeks of occupancy.

5.3.19 The Mission should prepare an up to date inventory of Chancery furnishings and equipment.

5.3.20 The Mission should prepare a long range capital acquisition plan for the purchase of Chancery and SQ furnishings and equipment and submit it to the CMM for approval on an annual basis.

5.3.21 The Mission should ensure that an assessment of gasoline purchases and mileage driven be conducted for all official vehicles on a monthly basis.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.3.18 The mission has implemented a new inventory database that will make it possible to meet this standard. 5.3.19 A complete inventory will be conducted following the reconfiguration and expansion.

5.3.20 Once all data is entered into the new inventory database, longer range planning will be possible.

5.3.21 A draft vehicle policy has been submitted to CMM for discussion that specifies the vehicle log requirements. These revised logs will provide sufficient data to enable the ongoing analysis of gasoline consumption. The MCO will review a consumption report monthly.

5.4 Finance

5.4.1 The MCO manages the Finance function in the Mission with the assistance of an *** LE-07 Accountant. The Accountant displayed a good knowledge of the financial operations at the Mission and Departmental policies. Monthly budget reports are being provided to all programs. The MCO advised that there is a plan to increase the frequency of these reports to bi-weekly.

5.4.2 Service standards currently in use for this Section date back to 2004 when generic standards were first introduced. The Mission should arrange to review and update these standards and circulate them to all members of the Mission.

5.4.3 While a Contract Review Board had been formed, it is only recently that contracts have been formally reviewed. A review of files indicates that several years had elapsed since there was an active CRB. Setting a minimum ceiling for contract review would improve efficiency.

5.4.4 The Mission retains an emergency cash parcel *** .This cash parcel was reviewed and amounts verified during the Inspection visit. Prior to this count, quarterly verifications were not being conducted as required.

5.4.5 Contact with the Mission bank is presently undertaken by the LES Accountant. The monthly bank statement is also received by the Accountant directly. The bank statement should be delivered to the MCO and following review should be given to the Accountant to assist in the processing of the monthly bank reconciliation.

5.4.6 Bank runs for Consular and other Mission revenues are undertaken ***.

5.4.7 A review of the petty cash account being held by the Receptionist was conducted. It was discovered that there was an overage of approximately Vietnamese Dong ***.

5.4.8 The Accountant indicated that officers were at times requesting that hospitality expenses be paid directly to the supplier instead of the officer personally paying for these expenses utilizing a hospitality advance

5.4.9 The Mission is using a separate template which provides for Financial Administration Act (FAA) section 33 and 34 signatures and coding to be entered when paying invoices. The Mission may wish to consider using a stamp with the same information which could be placed on the front of the original invoice.

Recommendations for the Mission

5.4.10 The Mission should arrange to update service standards and circulate them to all members of the Mission.

5.4.11 The Mission should establish a minimum ceiling for contract review and ensure that all contracts above this ceiling are reviewed and approved by the CRB.

5.4.12 The Mission should ensure that quarterly verifications of the ECP are conducted.

5.4.13 The MCO should establish and maintain contacts with the Mission bank.

5.4.14 The MCO should ensure that the monthly bank statement is delivered to his office for initial review.

5.4.15 ***

5.4.16 Periodic spot checks of the petty cash account should be undertaken by the MCO.

5.4.17 The holder of the petty cash account should ensure that the petty cash reimbursement form is completed when the receipt is received and petty cash disbursed.

5.4.18 The Mission should ensure that all officers are encouraged to take a quarterly hospitality advance and to personally assume responsibility for payment of all hospitality related expenses.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.4.10 Updating service standards is the last step in the administration sections’ re-design of business processes. Once standardized processes are in place, the section will have defined timelines for fulfilling various requests. These standards will be approved by CMM. Completion date is April, 2009.

5.4.11 A threshold of CAD 2,500 has been in effect since the formation of the committee. Any proposed contracts over this amount are reviewed by CRB. The accountant has been instructed not to pay any contracts over this amount without appropriate CRB documentation.

5.4.12 Quarterly verifications will be conducted. The next is scheduled for February 2009.

5.4.13 Contact with the bank was established in December 2008.

5.4.14 The bank statement is reviewed in detail as part of the monthly bank reconciliation process. Drivers and the receptionist have been instructed to provide bank correspondence to the MCO.

5.4.15 The mission agrees that this would be the best possible solution. ***

5.4.16 Random checks will be conducted at least quarterly by the MCO.

5.4.17 By July, 2009 petty cash payment process will be documented, simplified, and explained to all staff in a petty cash policy approved by CMM. This will ensure consistent execution of the procedures, including appropriate documentation.

5.4.18 The mission continues to encourage officers to take quarterly advances. Regardless of whether an advance is taken or not, payments are made only quarterly to reduce the number of transactions processed by accounts. There are some expenditures for which direct mission payment and coding back to the appropriate hospitality budget is more efficient.

5.5 Information Management Information Technology (IM/IT)

5.5.1 The Mission is serviced by the Locally Engaged Information Technology Professional (LEITP) resident in Hanoi and a Foreign Service Information Technology Professional (FSITP) resident in Hong Kong.

5.5.2 While regular trips are made to HCMC to deal with routine maintenance and upgrades to equipment and systems, the Mission does experience problems from time to time which occur outside this cycle. In these cases, should the need not be urgent, the LEITP will visit the Mission when a sufficient number of issues make the travel cost effective.

5.5.3 There is no formal Business Continuity Plan for the Mission. The MCO did identify a potential ad hoc approach, should there be an event that impairs IM/IT operations, however, without testing, it is unclear as to whether or not it would be effective.

Recommendation for the Mission

5.5.4 The Mission should develop and regularly test a Business Continuity plan including the IM/IT component.

Mission Response and Timeframe

5.5.4 The mission will develop a business continuity plan by August, 2009. The Head of Mission is taking the lead on this issue. 5.5.5 ***.

Recommendation for the Mission

5.5.6 ***.

Mission Response and Timeframe

5.5.6 ***.

5.5.7 The server rooms are in good order, with wiring harnesses clearly labelled and no trip hazards exist. The Mission has an uninterruptible power supply for the server and an automatic tape back-up system, ***.

Recommendation for the Mission

5.5.8 The Mission should store back-up tapes ***.

Mission Response and Timeframe

5.5.8 A secure shell has been ordered ***.

5.5.9 The MCO was aware of information management procedures and noted that the Mission was not making use of temporary information storage such as public folders. While Programs do archive and appropriately dispose of paper files, there is no central storage facility utilized for this purpose.

Recommendation for the Mission

5.5.10 The Mission should implement an electronic file management system, ***.

Mission Response and Timeframe

5.5.10 The mission does not require a central file registry. Each section is in charge of its own filing. The mission will slowly adopt the use of public folders, and potentially, the Infobank application.

Appendix A: Inspection Scope and Objectives

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:

  • Assess management controls and systems, procedures and activities that make up the programs;
  • Determine the extent of compliance with legislation, regulations and operating policies;
  • Assess the reliability and adequacy of information available for decision making and accountability purposes;
  • Ensure resources are judiciously used and that the Department is receiving value-for-money; and,
  • Make recommendations, where warranted, to improve the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of 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 Headquarters bureaus, including briefings by line management and the functional bureaus, review of relevant HQ and Mission documentation, past audit and 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 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, Headquarters, Mission Management and Mission operations

Appendix B: Mission Resources Fact Sheet

Table 1: Mission Resources Fact Sheet of Physical Resources
Physical Resources
AssetsCrown OwnedCrown Leased
Chancery1-
Official Residence--
Staff Quarters6-
Vehicles-2+1

Table 2: Financial Information Ho Chi Minh City
Financial Information 2008- 09 (CAD$)
Total$1, 435, 148
Operating Budget (N001)$826,988
Capital Budget (N005)$125,926
LES Salary Budget (N011)$276,600
LES Salary Budget (N012)$206,234

Appendix C: Organization Chart

Organization Chart


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Date Modified:
2012-11-06