Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

international.gc.ca

Inspection of the Canadian Embassy Khartoum

PDF Version (250 KB) *

May 25 - 28, 2009

Table of Contents

Inspection Scope and Objectives

The scope of the Inspection included a review of Mission Management and the Political Economic, 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 (HQ) bureaux, including briefings by line management and the functional bureaux, review of relevant HQ and Mission documentation, past audit findings, and an analysis of recurring trends and systemic issues.

During the Inspection, inspection issues and lines of enquiry were further refined from information gathered through interviews with the Head of Mission and program managers, a meeting with the Locally-engaged staff Committee, individual interviews with staff, and results of other documentation reviewed. The level of inspection work was therefore based on issues and information identified and gathered at all levels, HQ, Mission Management and Mission operations.

Executive Summary

An inspection of Mission Management, the Political Economic (PE), Consular and Administration Programs was conducted in Khartoum from May 25 to 28, 2009. The Mission, opened in 2000, does not have an International Business Development Program, and had not been inspected previously.

The Embassy in Khartoum is a small mission with five Canada based staff (CBS) and 11 Locally engaged staff (LES). The Mission will be growing in the course of the coming year with the addition of two Canadian International Development Agency officers, two LES to support them, and an LES Political Economic Program Analyst.

The Head of Mission (HOM) is *** and, despite the *** challenges it has faced, morale is good. The Administrative Program provides a good level of support and services, and the LES at the Mission are ***.

Mission plans were in-line with Government of Canada and Departmental objectives and priorities. Not all programs had fully developed operational plans nor documented procedures. Departmental tools and initiatives, such as the New Way Forward, are used, however the Performance Management Program (PMP) was not being done in a timely fashion.

While the Mission is delivering upon its mandate, the lack of operational plans and formalized procedures could have a detrimental effect on operations as the Mission expands. More meetings with agenda and records of decisions were recommended between ***. It was also recommended that there be greater involvement ***. The Inspection identified a need for greater monitoring by the *** through systems such as the Integrated Management System (IMS), as well as review of files, such as those for contracting, in order to ensure that basic information is present on the files.

A total of 20 recommendations addressed to the Mission are raised in the report. Management has responded to each recommendation indicating action already taken or decisions made, as well as future action. Of the 20 recommendations, management has stated that 6 have been implemented. For each of the remaining 14 recommendations, management has indicated the initiatives in progress or the intended future action.

Mission Management

1.1.1 The Embassy in Khartoum is a small mission with five Canada-based Staff (CBS) and 11 Locally-engaged Staff (LES). The Mission is responsible for program delivery in the Sudan. The Mission was operating effectively and efficiently. A Country Strategy outlining the main goals and objectives has been created, however unexpected events have had a significant impact on the Mission’s activities.

1.1.2 Canada pursues activities such as United Nations (UN) peacekeeping, diplomacy and humanitarian assistance in the Sudan as it has been identified as one of the countries of priority in Africa. The Mission has also experienced a number high profile consular cases in the last year. Two Canadian aid workers had been kidnapped and released within one month of each other and, at the time of the Inspection, ***.

1.1.3 The Mission is quite active and engaged in multilateral diplomacy, ***. It is essential that both the Mission and Headquarters are aligned in the nature of bilateral diplomatic efforts necessary to address current and future advocacy and primary source reporting objectives.

1.1.4 The Head of Mission has daily meetings with the CIDA Program Manager and the Management and Consular Officer (MCO), who is responsible for the Consular and Administration Programs. Meetings of the Committee on Mission Management (CMM) are held on a weekly basis. Regular meetings, however, were not in place for the Political Economic (PE) Program, nor were there regular all staff meetings, ***.

1.1.5 While the Mission is delivering on its mandate, not all programs had fully developed operational plans or documented procedures. In a small Mission, these may not be viewed as a necessity, however as the Mission in Khartoum expands, more formal governance frameworks are necessary, and processes such as the reviews for the Performance Management Program (PMP) will need to be completed in a timely fashion.

1.1.6 The two Political Officers and the Chargé d’affaires will be leaving the post at the same time. There will, therefore, be a lack of continuity in the Political Economic Program in the Sudan.

1.1.7 The Mission has signage and information material in public areas in both official languages, however the capacity of the local staff to provide services in both official languages is limited. Should there be circumstances when clients wished to be served in the language of their choice, the Receptionist or Consular Officer could rely on the MCO or other CBS to offer the services.

1.1.8 Recommendations on the above observations are made in the pertinent sections of this report.

Political Economic Program

2.1.1 The Political Economic (PE) Program in Khartoum is managed by the HOM and is comprised of an FS-02 PE Officer, and an *** Officer, with support from a LE-04 Assistant/Translator. 2.1.2 There is no separate budget for travel, hospitality, or overtime, however $6,000 has been allocated to the Post Initiative Fund (PIF). 2.1.3 While there is a country strategy, reporting agreement and mandate letter, the strategic objectives have not been put into an operational context. There is a further complication in the area *** as the reporting objectives established by the Mission for the *** officer are not aligned with those of the ***. 2.1.4 The Section has no regular formal communication mechanisms. The meetings between the PE Officer and *** Officer are ad hoc in nature, and the meetings between these officers and the HOM, who acts as the Program Manager, do not occur on a regular basis. 2.1.5 Both Program officers demonstrate significant awareness of the New Way Forward, and make use of it, particularly in relation to visits management. 2.1.6 Significant emphasis has been put on reporting, developing, and maintaining contacts in the multilateral realm. However, in the absence of concrete plans and performance indicators, it was difficult for the Inspection Team to assess how much activity there has been in the areas of public diplomacy and bilateral relationship building with the host country.

Recommendations for the Mission

2.1.7 There is a need to establish operational work plans defining objectives, the manner in which the objectives will be reached, the resources associated with the work and the individuals responsible.

2.1.8 The Mission should ensure regular dialogue with the *** to ensure that the Mission’s reporting objectives for the *** Officer are aligned with those of ***.

2.1.9 The Mission should establish a schedule of regular meetings of all PE Program staff, including the HOM Assistant, with the HOM, with the outcomes of these meetings recorded and circulated to the PE team.

2.1.10 In coordination with the Sudan Task Force (FSDN), the Mission should establish, to the extent possible, a plan that maintains and further develops the effective engagement with the Sudanese both in the short and long term while respecting Canada's policy vis a vis Sudan.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

2.1.7 To be developed by the new HOM, PERPA and *** following their arrival in September 2009.

2.1.8 Dependent on receipt of instructions from ***.

2.1.9 Daily meetings of HOM, PERPA, *** and GR Assistant have been instituted. Minutes are circulated and kept on the shared network drive.

2.1.10 Any plan will depend on the policy adopted and the resources available.

Consular Program

3.1.1 The Consular Program is managed by the AS-05 MCO with support from a Consular Assistant (LE-06) and involvement of the HOM, as is appropriate. Passport processing is performed in Addis Ababa for Khartoum. The Assistant has received training in Passport Management Program processing and checks passport applications received for completeness before they are forwarded to Addis Ababa with a copy retained on file. At times, processing delays in Addis Ababa result in passports being issued beyond the established standard.

3.1.2 The Program records activities and services provided to clients in the CAMANT case management module of the consular software package (COSMOS) . Consular cases are a major component for the Program as there have been *** kidnappings along with other complex cases. There is a warden system in place with eight wardens and eight deputy wardens. Contact information has recently been updated. Contingency plans have been updated and approved by the HOM as well as a Duty Officer Manual which has been sent to Headquarters (HQ). Consular Statistics Report (COMIP) numbers, input in March 2009, are current.

3.1.3 The petty cash is properly secured and was reconciled. An emergency cash parcel of *** was also verified. Emergency passports ***and emergency travel documents are controlled and safeguarded. All stock on hand was reconciled against Passport Management Program records ***. The Mission should consult with Passport Canada to determine the appropriate action.

Recommendation for the Mission

3.1.4 ***.

Mission Action and Timeframe

3.1.4 Mission is in communications with Passport Canada and the Canadian mission in Addis Ababa

Administration Program

4.1.1 The Administration Program in Khartoum is*** managed by an *** MCO. Khartoum is a category three, hardship five mini-mission operating in a difficult environment. The Program is providing effective and timely service to the Mission.

4.1.2 There is a *** team of LES who work *** together, including a Materiel and Administrative Assistant (LE-05), an Accountant/Human resources (HR) Assistant (LE-05), a Receptionist (LE-04), three Drivers, one of whom is a term, a Gardener and a Cleaner. Communications are good with weekly meetings held between the MCO and office staff. As well, staff have informal on-going access to the MCO. As the size of the Mission grows, consideration should be given to periodic meetings with non-office staff and their supervisors. Within the Program, there is appropriate delegation of duties and back-up provisions are in place.

4.1.3 Given the small size of the Mission and the context in which it is operating, program delivery tends to be reactive with tasks based on short-term priorities. It would be useful for the Program to develop a more formal approach, with a documented workplan that includes long-term priorities and identifies projects often overlooked in a reactive environment. A Program workplan should identify the resources and time frames for activities and projects. The workplan can then be used to establish specific workplans for each staff member.

4.1.4 In conjunction with workplans, each section or function should document procedures that describe how services are accessed, carried out and delivered. This would include development of service standards in terms of quality and timeliness.

Recommendations for the Mission

4.1.5 Workplans for the Administration Program should be developed and used to manage Program activities and for specific staff responsibilities.

4.1.6 Procedures for each of the functions should be documented and communicated to staff and clients.

4.1.7 Service standards in terms of quality and timeliness should be documented and communicated to staff and clients.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

4.1.5 Workplans for the Administration Program will be developed and used to manage Program activities and for specific staff responsibilities.

4.1.6 Procedures for each of the functions will be documented and communicated to staff and clients.

4.1.7 Service standards in terms of quality and timeliness will be documented and communicated to staff and clients.

4.2 Human Resources

4.2.1 Human Resources is managed by the MCO with the support of the Accountant/HR Assistant. PMP reviews for staff are overdue and need to be completed. In conjunction with this process, training needs for staff members should to be identified and incorporated into a Mission Training Plan.

4.2.2 The LES Committee meets only with the MCO with no established agenda or minutes kept. As all LES report to the MCO except for the PE Assistant, consideration should be given to having another Program Manager as the primary liaison. In addition, *** with an agenda set in advance and minutes taken to record decisions and actions.

4.2.3 A review of recent staffing actions indicated that, for the most part, procedures were properly followed and documented to ensure a fair and transparent process was in place. In reviewing the renewal of term positions, it was noted that the original offers for two of the term positions did not identify the positions as term. This in effect made the offers indeterminate. These original offers were made prior to the current MCO’s posting. A recent term position was staffed with the proper wording in the offer.

Recommendations for the Mission

4.2.4 The Mission should ensure that PMPs are completed on a timely basis for all staff.

4.2.5 A Mission Training Plan should be developed that includes specific training needs for each staff member.

4.2.6 The LES Committee should meet on a regular basis *** with an agenda set in advance and minutes kept of issues and decisions.

4.2.7 The Mission should consult with the Locally Engaged Staff Services Bureau (ALD) regarding the legal aspects of the offers made for the two term positions and determine the corrective action required.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

4.2.4 The Mission will ensure that PMPs are completed on a timely basis for all staff.

4.2.5 A Mission Training Plan will be developed that includes specific training needs for each staff member.

4.2.6 The LES Committee is now meeting on a regular basis *** with an agenda set in advance and minutes kept of issues and decisions.

4.2.7 The Mission is in consultation with the Locally Engaged Staff Services Bureau (ALD) regarding the legal aspects of the offers made for the two term positions and determine the corrective action required.

4.3 Physical Resources

4.3.1 Property is well managed by the MCO with the support of the Administration/Property Assistant. The Assistant,*** is responsible for managing the leases, maintaining the staff quarters and the Chancery and for purchasing office supplies. Significant contracts are sent out to tender while resources for smaller jobs are obtained through call-ups with known suppliers. The Assistant also manages and sets the schedules for the Drivers, the Gardeners and the Cleaner.

4.3.2 The Chancery has been well maintained but its functionality is limited. This has been recognized by HQ, and plans are in place to build an Annex both to accommodate current and future staff increases and to address other issues such as the need for a Consular booth, and the expansion of the guard house to accommodate mail processing and x-ray equipment. The Annex project is a high priority for the Physical Resources Bureau (ARD), with design plans having been signed and approved. The project, which will effectively double useable space and provide enhancements to security, is scheduled to be completed by April 1, 2010.

4.3.3 Staff quarters (SQs) are of good quality and meet departmental housing guidelines. Canadian standard housing is hard to find in Khartoum and demand by the international community is high. Consequently rents and maintenance are costly. Two apartments are located on a busy thoroughfare adjacent to the airport. Excessive noise and congestion have justified Accommodation Deficiency Adjustments for both SQs. These units will be vacated at the end of their lease this summer and new SQs will be acquired.

4.3.4 Procedures and controls, while not documented, were in place and

functioning properly. Distribution accounts are current and signed off by occupants. The petty cash is properly secured, used appropriately and was reconciled. The departmental electronic work order system (Crow Canyon) is being considered and will aid in tracking and facilitating maintenance work as the Mission continues to grow.

4.4 Finance

4.4.1 The MCO is responsible for the financial function with the support of the Accountant/HR Assistant. ***. HQ is aware of the situation. Training has been provided twice at HQ and once in Lusaka. Recently, the International Financial Operations Division (SMFF) sent an Officer to the Mission to investigate the situation and provide support and advice to the Mission. Recommendations from the Officer’s report on the visit are being addressed by the Mission

4.4.2 One of the recommendations is to hire an Office Manager whose responsibilities could include finance. However, the overriding issue is the level and skill set of the Accountant/HR Assistant. The position requires an Accountant skill set rather than that of an Assistant Accountant. An Office Manager would, therefore, require the skill set of an Accountant which will be difficult to find for a generalist position. ***.

4.4.3 To ensure proper oversight of the finance function and the processing of financial transactions, the ***. As is the case in many missions,*** does not access IMS ***.

4.4.4 A review of maintenance contracts, indicated that basic information was not included in the payment or contract files, such as evidence of bids and rational for selection, estimates for call up requests and itemized invoices for work performed. To ensure that procedures are followed, and that the contracting process is transparent, contracts should be vetted by a Contract Review Board, and files should contain evidence of work to be performed, bids received and selection rationale. For payment processing, itemized invoices should be on file and shown to have been compared to contract terms and conditions.

4.4.5 It was also observed that payments processed did not always have sufficient supporting documentation on file to justify the payment.

Recommendations for the Mission

4.4.6 The Mission should develop a resourcing case for an Accountant position and request the funding and required position from HQ.

4.4.7 The Mission should ensure further training in IMS is provided *** to assist in the over-seeing of Mission finances.

4.4.8 A Contract Review Board should review and approve all significant contracts.

4.4.9 Contract files should be properly maintained and contain all relevant documentation in support of the selection and approval process.

4.4.10 All payments should be properly supported with detailed invoices and proof of work performed or services provided.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

4.4.6 In consultation with ASM, SMFF, and ALD, mission will look at options to best meet its requirements.

4.4.7 *** will commence on-line IMS training.

4.4.8 Contract Review Board will review and approve all significant contracts.

4.4.9 Contract files will be properly maintained and contain all relevant documentation in support of the selection and approval process.

4.4.10 All payments will be properly supported with detailed invoices and proof of work performed or services provided.

4.5 Information Management / Information Technology (IM/IT)

4.5.1 The IM/IT function at the Mission is managed by the MCO, and has the support of an Foreign Service Information Technology Professional (FSITP) in Cairo. There is no Mission IM/IT work-plan, however IT needs and a work-list are shared with the FSITP through frequent communications.

4.5.2 There is no IM/IT Committee at this point in time due to the size of the Mission. With growth, there will be increased pressure on the Administration Section and a Locally Engaged Information Technology Professional (LEITP) may be required, as well as a more formal governance structure, such as an IM/IT Committee.

4.5.3 The Mission has identified an alternate site, should disaster or circumstances render the Chancery unusable, however***.

4.5.4 The Mission has developed a file structure in order to facilitate information management. However, it does not have formal guidance on the creation, retention and disposition of records.

4.5.5 The review of asset control revealed that the disposal records were mistakenly destroyed. The MCO indicated that there was no HQ approval, nor written approval from the HOM, in those records.

Recommendations for the Mission

4.5.6 ***.

4.5.7 Formal guidance on creation, retention and disposal of information should be sought from HQ and implemented as local procedures.

4.5.8 The Mission should ensure that it has approvals per Materiel Management guidance for the disposal of assets.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

4.5.6 ***.

4.5.7 Formal guidance on creation, retention and disposal of information will be sought from HQ and implemented as local procedures.

4.5.8 The Mission will ensure that it has approvals per Materiel Management guidance for the disposal of assets.

Appendix A: Mission Resources Fact Sheet

Table 1: Mission Resources Fact Sheet of Physical Resources (Khartoum)
Physical Resources (Khartoum)
AssetsCrown OwnedCrown Leased
Chancery-1
Official Residence--
Staff Quarters-5
Vehicles-5

Table 2: Financial Information (Khartoum)
Financial Information 2008-2009 (Khartoum)
Total$1,614,095
Operating Budget (N001)$1,001,378
Capital Budget (N005)$183,336
CBS Salaries Budget (N011)$253,778
LES Salaries Budget (N012)$175,603

Appendix B: Organization Chart

Organization Chart


* If you require a plug-in or a third-party software to view this file, please visit the alternative formats section of our help page.

Footer

Date Modified:
2012-11-23