October 13 - 20, 2009
The scope of the Inspection included a review of Mission Management and the Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs, International Business Development, Consular and Administration programs. The inspection objectives were to:
The focus and extent of on-site work was based on an assessment of materiality and related risk. This was done through communication with Headquarters (HQ) bureaux, including briefings by line management and the functional bureaux, review of relevant HQ and Mission documentation, past audit findings, and an analysis of recurring trends and systemic issues.
During the Inspection, inspection issues and lines of enquiry were further refined from information gathered through interviews with the Head of Mission and program managers, a meeting with the Locally-engaged staff Committee, individual interviews with staff, and results of other documentation reviewed. The level of inspection work was therefore based on issues and information identified and gathered at all levels: HQ, Mission management and Mission operations.
An Inspection of Mission Management, the Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs (PERPA), International Business Development (IBD), Consular and Administration Programs was conducted in Pretoria from October 13 to 20, 2009. A previous audit of these programs took place in 2002.
Pretoria is a large Mission with several countries of accreditation. The Mission supports the activities of several partner departments including Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA) personnel in Durban, and an IBD Program operating out of Johannesburg. The Head of Mission (HOM) is newly arrived along with the PERPA and IBD program managers. The HOM *** emphasizing a whole-of-government approach. With a new management team, an opportunity exists for the Mission to review its strategic objectives with input from partner departments as a basis for program planning.
The security environment in South Africa predominates local media and is a primary focus of Mission staff. The Mission in Pretoria is seen as a leader for Canada’s African missions in the area of personal security, setting the benchmark upon which others measure themselves. The Mission will be facing increased security concerns due to the proximity to the Chancery of a proposed commuter train terminal. The Chancery is at threshold and solutions are being considered to address short term space requirements, while longer term options will be identified ***.
Internal communications and morale could be improved through more frequent and broader communication forums and through instituting team building initiatives to break down inter and intra-program barriers. Mission cohesion and morale are impacted by an Administration Program that requires improved leadership as well as support and direction from the Committee on Mission Management (CMM) and the HOM. There is a need to improve administrative policies, procedures, service standards and the organization of administration resources. Addressing these and then communicating them to staff and clients will improve effectiveness of services and therefore client satisfaction. The CMM will have to be more involved in reviewing and approving policy decisions.
The PERPA Program has had its workload augmented by the recent closure of the Capetown mission and the newly assigned responsibility for Madagascar. The Program Manager (PM) will need to develop an operational plan, based on the existing Country Strategy as well as these new responsibilities, taking into account New Way Forward (NWF) objectives and criteria. Through input from the HOM and in consultation with Headquarters, such a plan will allow priorities to be established and matched to the resources available. NWF principles and objectives should be reviewed to ensure alignment with Program objectives and the NWF. Any excess capacity could be redirected towards political research and analysis.
The IBD Program operates out of a separate office in Johannesburg and is the largest and most important in Africa. It exercises direct responsibility for South Africa, Madagascar, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mauritius and Namibia, and hub responsibility for spokes in Harare, Zimbabwe and Maputo, Mozambique. The Program is well managed, evidenced by effective planning, communications and teamwork. The office is situated in Johannesburg which is the country’s major commercial centre. This however, does create a disconnect with the other programs in Pretoria. There is a need to minimize administrative activities by coordinating and formalizing the services provided by Pretoria. The IBD Program should also update and document its roles and responsibilities regarding its hub and spokes (Harare and Maputo) and to a lesser extent for Honorary Consuls (HonCons) and other countries of accreditation.
The Consular Program is managed with a focus on client service. Responsibilities are clearly defined and back-up procedures are in place. Canada Based Staff (CBS) were exercising proper review and approval authority for passport processing. The closure of Capetown and the addition of Madagascar have impacted the Program’s ability to provide consular services. In consultation with other foreign missions in Pretoria, a plan is under development to deal with the FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) World Cup event next summer. While workload was identified as a challenge, it was clear that changes to workflow should be made to allow staff to work more efficiently and better prioritize tasks. Internal controls and revenue handling were also identified as areas requiring improvement.
Overall, there is a need for the Administration Program to modernize its management and administrative practices, better define procedures and service standards and adopt a proactive, strategic approach to the delivery of client services. Regular involvement by the HOM in Administration Program activities will be required to ensure that the Management Consular Officer (MCO) is provided with the right level of direction and support to implement the changes required.
In particular, the Inspection identified the following areas related to Administration that require attention in the short-term.
A total of 88 inspection recommendations are raised in the report; 82 are addressed to the Mission and six are addressed to Headquarters. Management has responded to each recommendation indicating action already taken or decisions made, as well as future action. Of the 88 recommendations, management has stated that 34 recommendations have been implemented. For each of the remaining 54 recommendations, management has indicated the initiatives in progress or the intended future action.
1.1.1 The High Commission in Pretoria is a category two mission with an International Business Development (IBD) Program operating out of Johannesburg and two Canadian Border Safety Agency (CBSA) Officers assigned to Durban. A total of 25 CBS and 51.5 Locally engaged Staff (LES) are employed in South Africa, including six partner departments: the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA); Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC); the Department of National Defence (DND); the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP); Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada (PSEPC) and CBSA. The Mission is also accredited to Lesotho, Mauritius, Namibia and Madagascar and oversees five Honorary Consulates in: Maseru, Lesotho; Windhoek, Namibia; Port Louis, Mauritius; and Durban, South Africa. A new Honorary Consul (HonCon) for Antananarivo, Madagascar, has been identified and the Mission will begin the appointment process shortly.
1.1.2 The HOM arrived only a few weeks before the Inspection and has made a *** first impression, demonstrating an *** management style that encourages constructive engagement.
1.1.3 Planning in the past has centred primarily around the Country Strategy process, with input for the most part from the four DFAIT programs. The HOM has already undertaken efforts that highlight and reinforce a whole-of-government approach. These efforts have been noted and appreciated by partner departments. Given that the HOM, the PERPA and IBD program managers are new, it would be timely for Mission Management to review key objectives and related activities and expected results in consultation with partner departments. It would also be useful to involve all staff in the process either through program based retreats or an all staff session.
1.1.4 The mix of six partner departments and four DFAIT programs and the additional complexity of IBD located in Johannesburg, has made communications concerning Mission-wide issues and administrative matters challenging. This has been compounded by an Administration Program that needs to better define and communicate policies and procedures and to better organize staff roles and responsibilities. An important example is the absence of a dedicated Human Resources position where related functions and systems could be consolidated.
1.1.5 This situation can be improved through greater support and direction from the Committee on Mission Management (CMM). In the past, the CMM was meeting infrequently. As well, the communication of decisions and policies often fell to the Administration Program and was not always clear or sufficiently detailed. As a result, infrequent and, at times, ambiguous and contradictory messaging has contributed to both real and perceived gaps between service delivery and client expectations. More frequent CMMs are required with decisions documented and clearly communicated to staff. Communications can also be improved through more frequent all-staff meetings to reinforce messaging, and to receive feedback and suggestions.
1.1.6 Morale amongst CBS is positive with good cooperation and teamwork between programs with the exception of administrative irritants. LES morale is more problematic with a perceived divide between CBS and LES, a general resistance to change on their part and unclear and ambiguous policies and direction. More frequent and clear communication along with team building efforts can help to motivate staff and improve morale.
1.1.7 The Mission governance structure includes a CMM and an Operations Committee. The Operations Committee meets weekly to share information, discuss program operations and whole of government issues. The CMM, as discussed above, deals with Mission-wide administrative issues and should meet more frequently to be more effective. The Mission also has an effective Contract Review Board (CRB), Classification and Occupational Health and Safety Committees. A Security Committee was recently constituted to oversee and manage security issues. Although an LES Committee is in place, meetings with Management only occur if there are issues to be raised. The Mission, in consultation with the LES Committee, will need to implement the new LES Management Consultation Board (LESMCB) structure (see recommendation 5.2.30). Given the size of the Mission and the number of partner departments, the implementation of an Information Management-Information Technology (IM-IT) Committee would be useful to improve the management of information and provide feedback and direction for IM-IT services and support (see recommendation 5.5.10).
1.2.1 The Mission, in consultation with all programs, should review mission goals and objectives in order to establish short and long term priorities.
1.2.2 The Mission should hold regular CMMs to monitor and review Mission-wide issues and policies, in order to provide direction and support to the Administration Program.
1.2.3 The Mission should hold regular all-staff meetings and undertake periodic team building initiatives.
1.2.4 The Mission should consider instituting an IM-IT Committee to facilitate improved information management and overall governance of the IM-IT function.
1.2.1 In progress. To be completed by the CMM by June 2010 once the new template is received from HQ for Mission Strategic Plans.
1.2.2 Implemented in November 2009. The CMM now meets monthly or more frequently if required (eg, two meetings in January 2010).
1.2.3 In progress. An all-staff meeting was planned for the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs’ (USS) visit, which was postponed; meeting to be rescheduled for May 2010. A team-building initiative is scheduled for September 2010 once new CBS staff have arrived.
1.2.4 Agree and in progress. An IM-IT Committee will be created by April 2010.
2.1.1 The PERPA Program is headed by a newly arrived EX-01 Program Manager (PM) *** The Program is comprised of an FS-01 Political Officer, an LE-09 Public Affairs Officer and an AS-02 Program Assistant. Program resources include $4,875 for travel, $3,750 for hospitality and $31,000 in post initiative funding (PIF).
2.1.2 The main PERPA activities involve reporting on political and economic activities involving the Program’s countries of accreditation, demarches and advocacy on human rights and governance. Public Affairs is performed by the LES officer reporting to the PM. Responsibilities include management of the PIF; media monitoring (daily electronic clippings); responding to general enquiries; media relations; and cultural events. The Program has recently been assigned responsibility for Madagascar and, with the closure of the Capetown office, now provides coverage for Parliamentary and other events, without additional resources. The Program had over 20 visits/missions and 60 reporting outputs in the past year.
2.1.3 The Program has generally been reactive in nature, driven by local requests, events and headquarters (HQ) tasking. The new PERPA PM is ***, but will have to prioritize activities against *** deliverables. There is a need for a formal Program Plan to be developed and used to provide direction and feedback to staff. This plan should be tied to the Country Strategy, acknowledge on-going and reactive work and identify initiatives that would further advance Mission and Program objectives. This would also allow for non-essential and low value activities and demands to be identified and undertaken only if resources are available.
2.1.4 An updated and focussed Reporting Agreement is required that will support the Country Strategy and Program Plan in terms of establishing realistic expectations, ensuring end-user needs are met and reporting is relevant.
2.1.5 Integration of the New Way Forward (NWF) principles into the Program’s planning and day-to-day operations would further help ensure that activities, and therefore resources are aligned with departmental objectives and priorities. On-line training for all PERPA staff *** would ensure common understanding and approach regarding NWF concepts, objectives and principles.
2.1.6 The Program should ensure that Public Affairs activities are in line with NWF objectives. Existing workload for the Public Affairs Officer is heavily weighted towards traditional cultural activities. Over time, greater alignment with core Mission objectives is required. Additionally, based on Program priorities, political analysis and research responsibilities could be assigned to this position.
2.1.7 The PERPA Assistant is also newly arrived, and her role and related responsibilities need to be clarified and defined and then communicated to all staff. This would include issues of tasking and work to be performed directly for staff members other than the PM.
2.2.1 The PERPA Program should develop a Program Plan for all Program activities and resources.
2.2.2 The Mission should ensure that the Reporting Agreement is updated.
2.2.3 All PERPA staff,*** should complete the NWF online training.
2.2.4 Public Affairs activities should be reviewed to ensure alignment with NWF criteria.
2.2.5 The Program should clarify the roles and responsibilities of the Program Assistant.
2.2.1 In progress. To be completed by June 2010 and implemented in conjunction with budget allocations for FY 2010/2011 once received from HQ.
2.2.2 In progress. The Reporting Agreement was reviewed and is in discussion with HQ to be finalized by end of FY.
2.2.3 In progress. Current PERPA staff to complete by April 2010 and incoming staff to complete by September 2010. Please note that the Mission was a pilot mission for the development of NWF.
2.2.4 In progress. To be completed and implemented by June 2010 in conjunction with 2.2.1 and 2.2.2.
2.2.5 In progress. To be completed by March 2010 in conjunction with the Performance Management Program (PMP).
3.1.1 The IBD Program which operates out of Johannesburg is managed by a newly arrived Senior Trade Commissioner (STC), supported by an FS-02 Trade Commissioner (TC), three LES Trade Commissioners, two Trade Commissioner Assistants (TCA), an Events Coordinator/Office Manager, a Driver and a half-time Cleaner. In addition to South Africa, the Program covers Madagascar, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mauritius and Namibia and has responsibility as an IBD hub for Harare, Zimbabwe and Maputo, Mozambique. Program resources include $25,500 for hospitality, $35,500 for travel and $57,000 for client services funding.
3.1.2 The IBD Program is well managed with motivated staff, well-defined roles and responsibilities, sound management and operational practices and a collegial work environment. The office is functional, centrally located and easily accessible to clients. ***.
3.1.3 There is a well documented IBD Plan based on sectoral responsibilities. The Plan is developed through discussion with each staff member and in consultation with key stakeholders. The TCs then prepare their own action plan outlining results to date and anticipated activities and events for the upcoming year. These are subsequently reviewed and approved by the PM and incorporated into the overall IBD Plan. Client Service Fund (CSF) planning ties in with IBD objectives and initiatives and it identifies alternative projects to replace delayed or cancelled ones. Each action plan forms the individual work plan for the officers from which PMP objectives and expected results are derived.
3.1.4 Weekly staff meetings are used as a forum for sharing information and providing updates on the current status of work and future initiatives. These meetings include participation by the TCs from Harare and Maputo via conference call. The STC is accessible and provides direction to staff as well as mentoring and coaching.
3.1.5 An Info Centre is in place and managed by a TCA. All enquiries are received and entered into TRIO then forwarded to the responsible officer. They are also put on an action file which is circulated to all staff for information purposes. An email folder of general information is also circulated. Weekly TRIO reports are produced for the STC.
3.1.6 The separate office location in Johannesburg allows more focus and team cohesion and a more flexible approach to working hours, back-up, etc. However, the Program is somewhat disconnected from Pretoria due to an “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” dynamic. It is difficult to liaise with other programs, and there are administrative challenges relating to personnel, property, parking, and mobility tools.
3.1.7 The amount of resources devoted to administration is excessive. The Event Coordinator/Office Manager spends 70% of her time on administration activities versus 30% on trade events and logistics. Administrative responsibilities include maintaining leave and attendance records; coordinating and following-up on administrative requests such as property, IT, finance, personnel and security; purchasing supplies and equipment; maintaining and operating a petty cash fund; and recording and forwarding supplier invoices to Pretoria. To a large extent, the systems and procedures in place duplicate or overlap with the Administration Program in Pretoria. Furthermore Pretoria is responsible for providing these services which should require a minimal amount of liaison and coordination on the part of Johannesburg. At most 20% to 25% of the Office Manager’s time should be devoted to administration. This would free up roughly one half of a full-time equivalent (FTE) position which can be used for higher value activities, either in support of the IBD Program or devoted to common services.
3.1.8 The hub and spoke management system for the South Africa IBD Program was confirmed through the allocation of a dedicated budget in November 2008. Effectively, this meant the addition of 1.5 FTEs, i.e. one LE-07 in Harare dedicated principally to Botswana and with a secondary priority in Zimbabwe, and .5 FTE of an LE-09 in Mozambique. The STC in Johannesburg is responsible for providing guidance and support to these spokes including input and review of the IBD plans and the provision of performance assessments regarding trade activities. The TC in Harare and the TC in Maputo are considered part of the Johannesburg trade team and participate in the weekly staff meeting via teleconference. This contact and the related advice and support received is highly valued by the two TCs. It is important that the responsibilities and accountabilities regarding the Hub and Spoke arrangements are documented and agreed to by the relevant parties. There is currently no agreement in place for Harare, and the one for Maputo needs to be updated. This would include defining the level of support such as number of visits, participation in events, reporting requirements and input into formal performance assessments.
3.1.9 The petty cash fund was properly administered and secured. A reconciliation of the petty cash verified that all funds are accounted for. It was noted however, that the required monthly reconciliation is carried out by the Events Coordinator/Office Manager who is the custodian, rather than a CBS.
3.2.1 The IBD Program should review administrative activities in consultation with Pretoria in an effort to eliminate duplication and ensure that appropriate service levels are maintained.
3.2.2 The IBD Program should document and formalize roles and responsibilities regarding hub and spoke (Harare and Maputo) relationships and to a lesser extent for HonCons and other countries of accreditation.
3.2.3 The IBD Program should ensure that petty cash monthly reconciliations are performed and signed off by a CBS.
3.2.1 Agree and in progress. The Office/Events Coordinator has completed IMS training to improve efficiency. Further consultation with the Finance Section at the mission in Pretoria is to be completed in April 2010.
3.2.2 Agree and in progress. The Mission is in consultation with HQ to ensure consistency across Africa. The Africa Commercial Relations (GFC) template is to be used for specific agreements with each HOM, to be completed by April 2010.
3.2.3 Agree and in progress. CBS to be trained to take over responsibility by April 2010.
4.1.1 The Consular Program is managed by the Deputy Management Consular Officer (DMCO) (AS-04) with day-to-day operations handled by the Consular Officer (LE-08) who is assisted by a Passport/Consular Assistant (LE-06) and a Consular Assistant/Webmaster (LE-05). Although the LE-05 position is designated as 50% Common Services, the incumbent spends 90% of his time on Consular matters. The team is client service oriented, responsibilities are clearly defined and back-up procedures are in place. While workload was identified as a challenge, work-flows could be made more efficient through more effective prioritization of tasks. Internal controls and revenue handling were also identified as areas requiring improvement.
4.1.2 The Program is responsible for eight countries, providing consular and passport services to: South Africa, Madagascar, Lesotho, Namibia and Mauritius and providing only passport services to Mozambique, Malawi and Swaziland.
4.1.3 The Mission oversees four Honorary Consulates in: Maseru, Lesotho; Windhoek, Namibia; Port Louis, Mauritius; and Durban, in South Africa. A new Honorary Consul for Antananarivo, Madagascar, has been identified and the Mission will begin the appointment process shortly. The Mission has also begun to consider candidates to ***. The Mission maintains effective contact with the Honorary Consuls and is satisfied with the work performed.
4.1.4 The FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) World Cup will be held in South Africa in June/July 2010, and approximately 11,000 tickets had been sold in Canada at the time of the Inspection. The Mission will have to develop a plan in consultation with HQ, to facilitate the provision of consular services in the nine host cities and identify any temporary resource requirements. This is now more pronounced due to the lack of a Canadian presence in Cape Town ***.
4.1.5 Ordinarily, bi-monthly meetings are held with counterparts in like-minded missions. However, due to the upcoming World Cup, monthly meetings are held by the “FIFA working group”, which was created on the initiative of the Mission consular staff. The group includes 15 like-minded missions and includes a representative from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to keep missions informed of developments. The meetings are an excellent opportunity to share information, and it is hoped that some efficiencies can be gained by sharing resources during the World Cup.
4.2.1 Morale is excellent within the Program and staff appreciate the DMCO’s *** management style. Staff work independently with little supervision, but would benefit from ***. Although staff communicate daily with one another, staff meetings with the DMCO are only held on an ad-hoc basis. The Consular Program is open to clients for routine services every morning from 09:00 to 12:00, which leaves the afternoons free for staff to concentrate on their processing work.
4.2.2 While job descriptions and the division of duties have recently been reviewed with input from all staff, efficiencies could be gained by a redistribution of duties and better prioritization of tasks. In particular, client service practices, adherence to service standards and work space orientation could be improved.
4.2.3 At present, all three staff provide services according to their areas of responsibility and perform each function from start to finish. Additionally, consular offices *** are located on the second floor, whereas the consular booth is on the first floor. This disrupts activities as staff frequently transition between floors to meet clients ***. Generally speaking, the distribution of tasks should be aligned to the level of the position and the complexity of the service requested, while ensuring adequate segregation of duties. More specifically, workflow improvements could be gained by:
4.2.4 Closer adherence to service standards, rather than providing immediate turnaround of client requests would allow staff more time to focus on other activities. For example, the Consular Officer provides immediate notarial services to clients, exceed the two day Consular Service Standard. These services are not urgent, and should be delivered in-line with the two day standard.
4.2.5 The implementation of the above mentioned items should allow the Consular Officer to focus on other proactive activities, as well as monitoring and supervising the work of the two assistants. Only when a service request exceeds normal requirements, should a more senior staff member become involved.
4.2.6 The Consular Program receives many general inquiries every day by telephone and email (more than 50 per day) which are responded to directly by the Consular Officer and the Consular Assistant/Webmaster. Although the staff utilize standard email responses, and there is a plan to introduce use of the Octel scripts, they should also be referring clients to the Mission website and updating the Consular Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to reduce the time spent on general enquiries.
4.3.1 The Mission provides approximately 1,250 passport services and processes approximately 180 citizenship applications yearly. According to the Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) database, there are approximately 300 Canadians registered in South Africa, however, with the recent upgrade to the ROCA system which required all Canadians to re-register, the actual number is estimated to be three to five times higher.
4.3.2 The recent addition of responsibility for Madagascar and Malawi, coupled with the closure of the Cape Town office, has increased workload. Most Canadian visitors to South Africa go to Cape Town and, as there is no longer a presence there, Canadian citizens must contact the Mission in Pretoria with inquiries. Recent budget cuts have limited travel and affected the delivery of consular services to areas outside of Pretoria. It has also restricted HonCon site visits to liaise with local authorities, train staff and verify inventory.
4.3.3 The Program is meeting the service standards set by the Department and Passport Canada. However, service standards, fee schedules and a copy of the cash register receipt are not posted in the waiting area. Although most communication with clients is conducted in English, there is one Consular staff member who can serve the public in French. In the event that she is absent, the Mission has French speaking staff in other programs who can assist.
4.3.4 The Program has received positive feedback from clients, although the response rate has been low. Feedback forms are available online and in the reception area, and should also be included with mailed out citizenship cards and passports. As some clients may be uncomfortable providing feedback forms directly to staff, a locked box could be installed in the reception area for clients to deposit forms. The box should be controlled by the DMCO and feedback shared with Consular staff, the Management Consular Officer (MCO), HOM and HQ.
4.4.1 The MCO, DMCO and all Consular LES have passed the passport certification course. The authentication of citizenship and passport entitlement is conducted mainly by the DMCO with back-up provided by the MCO, in-line with Passport Canada requirements.
4.4.2 The monthly passport reconciliation is performed by the DMCO and the Passport Assistant, with the HOM participating quarterly. Passport stock sent from HQ is received and verified by the DMCO. Per Passport directives, two CBS should verify new stock received at the Mission. The passport inventory was verified by the Inspection Team while on-site. The Passport Assistant is provided with passport stock on an as-needed basis ***. Although the Passport Assistant has her own log book to keep track of any stock transferred to her,***.
4.4.3 ***. All Consular staff who work with cash, passport assets or documents containing personal information should lock their office doors when they are away from the office and adequately safeguard all assets in secure containers when they are not working on them.
4.4.4 Overall, there is a need to improve revenue handling processes, particularly *** revenue reconciliation and revenue transfers to the Finance Section. The Consular Program uses a cash register to record and store all Consular revenues. All three staff members access the cash register and receive payments from clients. Control can be improved by having ***.
4.4.5 The Passport Assistant is responsible for completing the reconciliation and submitting it along with related revenues ***. Revenues are transferred ***, however, it was noted that revenues ***. In accordance with the Manual of Consular Instructions, revenues should be transferred ***.
4.5.1 The Mission, in consultation with HQ, should develop a plan to facilitate the provision of consular services during the FIFA World Cup and identify any temporary resources that may be required.
4.5.2 The DMCO should institute weekly meetings with Consular Program staff.
4.5.3 Work-flows should be examined to identify efficiencies and improvements with consideration given to:
4.5.4 Notarial services should be provided according to the two day service standard, rather than earlier, "on demand" service.
4.5.5 Clients making general inquiries should routinely be referred to the Mission website, and the consular FAQs should be regularly updated based on client inquiries, rather than being handled directly by staff.
4.5.6 Client feedback forms should be included with mailed out citizenship cards and passports.
4.5.7 A locked drop-box should be installed in the waiting room for client feedback forms and be controlled by the MCO. Feedback should be shared with Consular staff, the HOM and HQ.
4.5.8 Consular service standards, fee schedules and a copy of an official receipt should be displayed in the reception area and the consular booth.
4.5.9 Access to the cash register should be restricted***. The DMCO, or another CBS, should *** signing the internal register tape.
4.5.11 Passport stock sent from HQ should be opened and verified by two CBS employees, per Passport Canada directives.
4.5.12 Consular safes, cabinets and office doors should be locked when staff are not present.
4.5.13 The Consular Officer should verify the revenue reconciliation before it is transferred to the Finance Section.
4.5.14 Revenues should be transferred to the Finance Section ***.
4.5.1 In progress. The DMCO has established and participates in the FIFA Working Group with 30 local missions; contingency plan and training needs are actively being addressed with intended completion by March 2010.
4.5.2 Implemented. The MCO/DMCO now hold meetings every two weeks with minutes kept and circulated; ad hoc meetings take place as required.
4.5.4 Implemented. The two day service standard is being applied. Completed in December 2009.
4.5.5 Implemented in January 2010. Clients are now referred to the website for general enquiries.
4.5.6 Implemented. Feedback forms are now included as of January 2010.
4.5.7 Agree and in progress. Installation of drop-box has been scheduled for March 2010.
4.5.8 Agree and in progress. These documents will be posted by April 2010.
4.5.9 In progress. The Program is considering this procedure ***. Agree with second part of the recommendation. The MCO/DMCO *** as of March 2010.
4.5.10 In progress ***, we will comply. To be implemented by February 2010.
4.5.11 Implemented in February 2010.
4.5.12 Implemented in February 2010.
4.5.13 Implemented in February 2010.
4.5.14 Implemented in February 2010.
5.1.1 The Administration Program is managed by an AS-06 MCO who is supported by an AS-04 DMCO, a CS-02 Foreign Service Information Technology Professional (FSITP) and a team of 17 office and non-office LES.
5.1.2 The MCO *** , having previously served abroad in a Physical Resources capacity. Staff have noted and appreciated the MCO’s *** management style. Discussions with Mission staff highlighted a varying level of client service, from prompt and client oriented, to slow and unresponsive. While previous MCOs may have *** managers, the Program lacked and continues to lack the necessary administrative systems and management frameworks to facilitate operations. It is difficult for an MCO *** to operate in such an environment. Given that this situation is not unique, serious consideration should be given by HQ to establishing a mentoring program ***.
5.1.3 Overall, there is a need for the Administration Program to modernize its management and administrative practices, better define procedures and service standards and adopt a proactive, strategic approach to the delivery of client services. Regular involvement by the HOM in Administration Program activities will be required to ensure that the MCO is provided with the right level of direction and support to implement the necessary changes. Mission Management should also play a larger role in Administrative Policy via the CMM, a forum which was convened infrequently under the previous HOM and only two times in her last year at the Mission.
5.1.4 In particular, the Inspection identified the following as areas that warrant attention in the short-term.
5.1.5 The Administration Program has limited formal planning and communication mechanisms. While some HQ required plans (Mission Property Management Plan (MPMP), Mission Maintenance Work Plan (MMWP)) are being completed, the MCO should take a more systematic approach to planning for all aspects of operations, identifying overarching objectives with regards to adherence to procedures, improvement of client services, and implementing efficiencies and economies of scale.
5.1.6 *** there was still room for improvement on formal internal communication. A lack of communication has led to inconsistent application of policies and procedures ***. While staff meetings have been implemented for some functions, they have not been instituted for all sections or held on a regular basis. Such meetings are an integral part of effective communication of plans, priorities and delegation of tasks. They also provide managers with the opportunity to formally hold staff accountable for their contribution to the improvement of operations. Such a structure will be a key success factor in the Mission’s ability to address the recommendations contained in this report and improve the management framework in Administration (policies, procedures and controls).
5.1.7 As a best practice, section meetings could occur weekly or bi-weekly, with a monthly section heads meeting, followed by a quarterly all-program staff meeting. Section head meetings should include the Events Coordinator/Office Manager in Johannesburg and focus on major issues, progress made on an Administration workplan, items that affect multiple sections and client service. It should also be used to raise items that could/should be taken to CMM for discussion and decision. Additionally, periodic meetings should be held by the MCO/DMCO with non-office staff to ensure they have the opportunity to raise and discuss issues without their supervisors present.
5.1.8 The MCO and DMCO have expended a great deal of effort addressing organizational challenges and attempting to bring into force Mission and departmental policies and procedures that had not been followed in the past. Due to a limited number of CMMs held under the previous HOM, mission management issues have not received the appropriate level of attention. The lack of consultation with program managers on local application of departmental policies has, however, created significant challenges to achieving consensus and therefore improving Mission Management.
5.1.9 A more consistent and effective use of CMM to discuss the application of policies, within the Mission’s authority to interpret, would both ensure the buy-in and support of all program managers in the implementation of CMM decisions. It would also remove the time that is currently lost engaging in ad-hoc explanations and debates surrounding individual policies or practices.
5.1.10 The Inspection Team found that the principles of the Common Service - Program budget split and allocation of expenditures are not well understood. The Mission had begun to charge partner department programs for services, but had not yet instituted the same practice for DFAIT programs, continuing to fund them from the Common Service budget. As a result, the Administration Program was resisting the provision of more mobility tools to DFAIT program staff due to budget concerns, and DFAIT managers were requesting more as there was no impact on their own operational budget. Additionally, partner departments raised concerns with regards to fair and equitable treatment. All programs, whether DFAIT (PERPA, IBD, Consular) or partner department, are responsible for the same costs under the MOU.
5.1.11 In all of the Missions visited during this inspection tour (Pretoria, Harare, Maputo, Addis Ababa, Bamako), there was an inconsistent understanding and implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Common Services Abroad. The understanding of how to implement various aspects of the MOU varied from MCO to MCO, and from program manager to program manager.
5.1.12 As the MOU is a general document and no standard mission policies exist for common services, MCOs and mission management teams have been left to interpret the document on their own and implement policies based on those interpretations. As a result, inconsistencies were noted in interpretation and implementation of policies and cost recovery services (i.e. transportation after hours, driver overtime, cellular telephones and blackberries).
5.1.13 HQ should develop a suite of standardized mission policies to define common services in specific areas. In addition, HQ should provide guidance on local application of these policies and how additional services can be provided on a cost recovery basis. Such policies could be structured in two parts; one which provides a global interpretation of the MOU for a particular subject (i.e. transportation), with part 2 detailing the local application agreed to at CMM. This would facilitate implementation and improve the consistency of services provided by missions. It would also clearly delineate what authority CMM has to interpret and apply policies.
5.1.14 Discussions with Program staff often indicated a high level of workload, despite the fact that the Program has been allocated adequate resources. A review of administrative functions indicated, however, that there are opportunities for workflow improvements and realignment of responsibilities to ensure duties are commensurate with the position’s level. Workflow improvements are detailed in the respective sections of this report, whereas the potential for realignment is summarized below.
5.1.15 A review of operations identified opportunities for improved allocation of resources within the Administration Program.
5.1.16 The above factors have led to a situation where there is a lot of overlap and sharing of duties and workloads. The blurred lines of responsibility and accountability increase the risk of mistakes and make it challenging to hold people accountable. It is also confusing for clients as contact points are not always clear. Rectifying the above situations should benefit the Program and its staff and facilitate better internal controls and client services.
5.1.17 The Program should hold a planning retreat to discuss overall objectives, including adherence to procedures, improvement of client services and implementation of efficiencies.
5.1.18 A formal Administration Plan should be developed, which includes the identification and delegation of responsibilities to staff.
5.1.19 A framework should be instituted to improve formal communications and provide the MCO and DMCO with a means to reinforce priorities and follow-up progress against the Administration Plan. The Events Coordinator/Office Manager in Johannesburg should be included, where appropriate.
5.1.20 The Program should review the allocation of responsibilities to ensure they are commensurate with position levels.
5.1.21 The Mission should consult with the Mission Client Services and Innovation Bureau (ASD) for advice on its current practices with regards to the Common Service MOU and Program Budget Split.
5.1.17 Agree and in progress. Upcoming official visits, FIFA World Cup and staff rotations dictate a September 2010 date for a retreat.
5.1.18 In progress for completion June 2010. Work on a plan is underway and will be submitted for CMM approval by June.
5.1.19 Implemented November 2009. Administration/Consular section head meetings are held weekly with minutes kept and circulated. The Office Manager in Johannesburg is included.
5.1.20 Agree and in progress. Some anomalies were identified as result of the CSM and the Mission is awaiting direction from HQ.
5.1.21 Agree and in progress for April 2010. The Mission will contact ASD.
5.1.23 Mentoring programs should be established for first time MCOs, including those with previous DMCO assignments, factoring in previous experience and the difficulty of the mission environment.
5.1.24 ASD should provide clearer direction to missions on the application of the Common Service MOU, supported by the development of standard policies and procedures.
5.1.23 MCO Renewal Team Office (CFMX) administers a mentorship program for first tour MCOs assigned abroad. *** . CFMX will follow up ***.
5.1.24 The implementation of the Common Service Model, the Interdepartmental MOU and changes to service delivery and management procedures at missions have been well communicated to missions since the formation of the International Platform Branch in April 2008. Through broadcast messaging, town hall meetings, regular teleconferences and MCO Workshops, MCOs abroad have been engaged in the changes associated with the implementation of the CSM and the Interdepartmental MOU. Specifically, missions in Africa, including Pretoria, participated in an MCO workshop in 2008 to introduce mission managers to the concepts and changes associated with the CSM implementation. Client service managers are in regular contact, in many cases on a daily basis, with MCOs at missions to ensure that all questions related to service delivery under the Common Services approach are being addressed. With the implementation of the Regional Services Centre (Europe, Middle East and Africa) in April 2010 further support will be provided to missions in managing an integrated common service approach to mission service delivery.
5.2.1 The HR functions at the Mission are the responsibility of the MCO who is assisted by the LE-07 Management Officer. In addition to HR, the Management Officer is also responsible for a variety of other administrative tasks. The Passport/Consular Assistant, who is the head of the LES Committee, plays an unofficial HR role by providing information and advice to LES ***. Staff highlighted the need for a clear contact point on HR matters, and a review of practices pointed out a general lack of coordination and compliance with policies. In a mission of this size, there is a need for a dedicated HR resource to consolidate activities and accountability.
5.2.2 The Management Officer has not received any formal HR training although she participated in training for PM Assistants ***. In order to fulfill her HR role, she has been learning on the job and conducting intranet research ***.
5.2.3 A Mission-developed database is used to track leave, and reports are sent to PMs and staff quarterly. Job descriptions are not up-to-date, and PMPs have not yet been reviewed for this year.
5.2.4 The Mission does not have an HR plan, and PMs bring their staffing requirements to the MCO when needed. The development of an HR plan that includes known and anticipated client needs would facilitate workload planning and budgeting.
5.2.5 Although the DMCO has been designated as the Mission Training Coordinator, a mission-wide training plan is not in place. Currently, staff submit their training requests to the DMCO who decides on a case-by-case basis if the training will be provided or not. A Mission-wide training plan using PMP information, should be developed to facilitate budgeting and the prioritization of needs. The CMM should review the plan and receive periodic updates on its implementation.
5.2.6 While the official version of the LES Handbook is dated 2006, the version provided by the Mission is dated September 2009. The reason for the difference is that the Management Officer has been reviewing the Handbook periodically and making her own updates. No changes to the Handbook should be made without the approval of the Locally Engaged Staff Bureau (ALD).
5.2.7 A review of LES payroll for September 2009, revealed that Section 34 of the FAA was signed by the Immigration Program Manager, rather than by the MCO or DMCO. The Finance Section is now aware of the requirement to have a CBS with delegated financial signing authority for Common Service funds sign for items such as LES payroll.
5.2.8 The payroll review also revealed that the Chancery Gardener, Cleaners and OR Gardener are not included on the ALD salary scale. These staff are currently paid at the ***, although their hours of work are *** hours per week worked by other non-office staff. It is unclear how the hours of work and pay level of these employees was decided, ***.
5.2.9 There are no standard processes in place for staffing actions and, as a result, the MCO and Management Officer must continually explain the process to PMs. This leads to inconsistency in the process and in the documents maintained on file. Developing a standard process including time-lines and the person responsible for each step, would give PMs clearer guidelines and ensure greater consistency in the staffing process.
5.2.10 A review of competition and classification files revealed many incomplete files. As a result, the Inspection Team was unable to fully assess the Mission's compliance with policies and procedures. The following staffing/classification deficiencies were noted:
5.2.11 There were instances where staff started work or received Signet accounts in advance of the completion of required approvals (i.e. security checks, signed contracts and letters of offer). The Mission should create an LES arrival/departure checklist. This would provide instructions for employees, and other staff involved in this process, on who to contact and what is required. It will be important that key program areas, such as security and information management and technology, be consulted on the content.
5.2.12 The Mission makes good use of pre-screened candidates for emergency employment. When a competition is held, the second and third ranked candidates are also screened to obtain their Reliability Status so they can readily be called for temporary work should a position requiring similar skills become available.
5.2.13 The Mission has initiated the process of separating the position and personal employee files. However, the type of information contained on the personal files was inconsistent in the files reviewed. Some had recent PMP reports and original letters of offer, others were missing personal history forms or only contained information for the last few years, lacking information from the time of hiring.
5.2.14 Although an LES Committee is in place, meetings with Management only occur if there are issues to be raised. Current items of concern which were discussed were:
5.2.15 Although minutes of Committee meetings are taken and are placed on the common drive, not all LES were aware of the role and membership of the LES Committee.
5.2.16 The introduction of the new LES Management Consultative Board (LESMCB) will be a good opportunity to clarify the role of the LES Committee in the new structure. A meeting with all LES to discuss the changes and explain the purpose of the new Board should be held.
5.2.17 The Inspection Team met with a group of CBS spouses as a part of the inspection process. The issues identified were with regards to the relocation process and spousal employment. It was unclear, however, where the breakdowns had occurred as the Mission employs a Community Coordinator to assist newcomers, and the LE-07 Management Officer sends an Arrival Guide to new CBS two months before arrival. In particular, spouses felt there was a need for:
5.2.18 The Mission should designate one staff member to coordinate and deliver the HR function. Titles and job descriptions should be updated accordingly.
5.2.19 The designated HR Officer should be provided with training for HR specialists.
5.2.20 Job descriptions should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis, as a best practice annually as a part of the PMP process.
5.2.21 The Mission should implement an HR planning process and include Mission-wide training needs and an associated budget. The CMM should review the plan and its implementation.
5.2.22 The Mission should consult with ALD to ensure that the LES Handbook in use at the Mission is the official version.
5.2.23 Only those CBS with appropriate delegated signing authority should be authorizing Section 34 for Common Service expenditures.
5.2.24 The Mission should confirm with ALD the correct salary and hours or work for the Chancery gardeners, Chancery cleaners and the OR gardener and ensure that they are indicated appropriately on the salary scale.
5.2.25 The Mission should develop and document staffing procedures and include provisions related to CBS spouses and dependants.
5.2.26 The Mission should create an LES arrival/departure checklist in consultation with key program areas.
5.2.27 The Mission should ensure that competition and classification files are complete and clearly demonstrate compliance with policies and procedures.
5.2.28 The Classification Committee should be comprised of CBS only.
5.2.29 The Mission should ensure that position and employee personnel files contain the required documents.
5.2.30 Mission Management, in consultation with the LES, should implement the new LESMCB structure.
5.2.31 The Mission should hold an information session for new arrivals and their families to review the Welcome Kit and to discuss general administrative procedures.
5.2.18 Agree and in progress. This is included as part of the CSM exercise and the Mission is waiting for decision from HQ.
5.2.19 Agree and in progress. Once CSM has been implemented, the Mission will seek training opportunities.
5.2.20 Agree and in progress for April 2010. The Mission is currently updating work descriptions including those of IBD staff in Johannesburg.
5.2.21 In process for April 2010. An HR Plan was prepared and sent to HQ. The DMCO is currently the training coordinator.
5.2.22 Implemented. Last update for LES Handbook completed in 2006 in consultation with ALD. This is the version in use.
5.2.23 Implemented September 2009. The Mission now ensures signing under Section 34 is exercised by officers with appropriate signing authority.
5.2.24 Agree and in progress for March 2010. The Mission will consult ALD.
5.2.25 Implemented January 2010. All spouses and dependents are considered for any contracted positions. The new ALD Staffing Toolkit has been distributed to the Office Manager.
5.2.26 Agree and in progress for April 2010.
5.2.27 Implemented January 2010.
5.2.28 In progress for April 2010. The Committee structure will be amended.
5.2.29 Implemented February 2010. Files have been updated.
5.2.30 Implemented January 2010. LESMCB is now in place.
5.2.31 Agree and in progress for September 2010. To be held after the summer rotation.
5.2.32 To improve transparency and control over the versions used at mission, ALD should publish all official LES Handbooks on their intranet site.
5.2.32 Action already taken to address the recommendation:
5.3.1 The Property Section is overseen by the MCO, with day-to-day operations managed by the DMCO. They are assisted by an LE-07 Property and Materiel Manager, an LE-04 Property and Materiel Assistant and an LE-04 Maintenance Assistant. As highlighted in Section 5.1 of this report, the LE-04 Maintenance Assistant has been hired and tasked *** as a matter of priority. There are also four driver/messengers, two cleaners and a gardener. The Program is responsible for managing physical resource assets in Pretoria, Johannesburg and Durban as per the table below.
|Staff Quarters||10 (1 Johannesburg)||10 (1 Johannesburg, 2 Durban)|
|Vehicles||15 (1 Johannesburg)||-|
5.3.2 Overall, the Property Section was working in a reactive environment. Discussions with clients indicated an inconsistent level of service. Improvements could be made by introducing proactive planning mechanisms, standardizing procedures and instituting a work order management system that allows management to monitor service delivery and receive feedback regarding the quality and timeliness of work.
5.3.3 A key area of concern for the Mission is the construction of a commuter train station adjacent to the Chancery. Its presence is expected to negatively affect the area through increased vehicle and pedestrian traffic, ***. Redirected traffic flows and the introduction of one-way streets *** . Both the Physical Resources Bureau (ARD) and the Security Services Division (ISR) are aware of the situation and are working to identify interim and long-term solutions.
5.3.4 While periodic team meetings have been held, there is no regular meetings held between the MCO, DMCO and Property Section staff. Issues are addressed with the MCO/DMCO as they are raised by SQ occupants or Mission staff. This can be disruptive and forces the MCO/DMCO to make individual decisions on isolated issues. A weekly meeting should be instituted to review all work related requests and allow the MCO/DMCO to review progress on all outstanding work.
5.3.5 The Mission Housing Committee meets during the posting season to review properties and recommend allocations to the HOM. However, terms of reference (TOR) were not in place to guide the Committee in its responsibilities. As a best practice, the Committee’s TOR should be reviewed during the first meeting of the relocation season.
5.3.6 Five SQs were visited as a part of the Inspection process. Two of the five SQs had issues with suitability and were not comparable with the rest of the SQ portfolio. One of the two had been seriously neglected under the previous occupant and should be refurbished or disposed. The Program should ensure that the SQ portfolio is regularly reviewed and that SQ standards are maintained. Presentations should be made to the Housing Committee on required housing standards as well as cost-benefits analysis regarding proposed SQ acquisition, upgrade and disposal.
5.3.7 A sense of “program ownership” of staff quarters was observed, whereby a PM’s SQ would simply be allocated to his or her successor. The allocation of SQs needs to be more transparent, in-line with the established housing guidelines and practices. Last year,*** participated as a member of the Housing Committee. Whenever possible, spousal representation on housing committees should be drawn from outside of the Administration Program to avoid a conflict of interest.
5.3.8 The Mission has identified a list of planned capital purchases through a call for requirements to all staff in October 2009. Capital budgets should generally be utilized by the end of the 3rd quarter. While the call for requirements is a good first step, the Mission should institute a multi-year planning process, in consultation with CBS and program managers, for SQ and office needs respectively. To ensure that priorities are properly taken into consideration, requests for office needs should be channelled through PMs, who would formulate requirements on behalf of the program.
5.3.9 While major projects are discussed with ARD and accounted for in the MMWP, the Mission does not have a proactive maintenance plan for minor maintenance. As a result, issues are addressed reactively when raised by SQ occupants leading to short time-lines and unnecessary inconveniences for both staff and SQ occupants. While not all deficiencies can be prevented, regular inspections and preventative maintenance should eliminate a significant number of maintenance requests. Additionally, the Contracting Policy, Monitoring and Operations Division (SPP) can provide the Mission with advice on streamlining their contracting procedures to ensure that reactive work (electrical, plumbing and security) is addressed efficiently.
5.3.10 The Administration Program is *** the LE-04 Maintenance Assistant. This position was recently advertised and staffed ***. The current incumbent occupies a workshop in the basement and is supplied with a truck to facilitate visiting SQs to perform minor repairs. Such positions are considered to be at the non-office staff level (LE-00) and should be classified accordingly ***.
5.3.11 As highlighted above, interviews with staff cited a varying level of satisfaction with both the timeliness and quality of service provided. While many issues can be addressed through a more proactive approach to property management and the establishment of standard procedures, the Program needs to implement an automated work order management system. At present, all work orders are submitted by email. A list of work orders, completed and outstanding, is not readily available, and staff are not always asked to confirm that work has been completed to their satisfaction. While the mission has purchased the Departmentally approved work order system, it has not yet been implemented. The previous FSITP had cited concerns with the systems operation. However, it is certified for use on the network and has been successfully implemented at other missions.
5.3.12 The Section would also benefit from more communications with clients. Using annual inspections and the resulting planning documents, staff should regularly contact clients to advise them of upcoming projects and any delays that may occur. Pro-actively communicating this information to clients, and instituting the work order management system, should help reduce the number of client enquiries regarding scheduling of associated activities.
5.3.13 The Mission has not documented its procurement procedures and does not possess terms of reference for the Contract Review Board. While staff are knowledgeable, the lack of documented procedures can introduce inconsistencies into the process and increase risk during absences. Additionally, clients have no point of reference to facilitate or confirm their understanding of contracting requirements. An example of inconsistent contracting procedures was raised by SPP regarding a large ***. With the support of HQ, the situation is being resolved.
5.3.14 The Mission stores ***the Chancery ***. A review of assets held *** found *** made at year-end almost two years ago. Improved management of the capital budget could help decrease the amount ***. In addition, controls *** several staff having access ***.
5.3.15 In addition to the assets noted above, *** from the office in Cape Town which was closed ***, those related to other programs remain. As a priority, these files should be distributed to the respective program for review and proper file management.
5.3.16 The Mission has conducted its disposal of surplus assets using the services of local auctioneers. The auctioneers pick up items on request and provide a list to the Mission to confirm what was removed. The Mission should have, however, been able to provide the auctioneers with a list of the items to be disposed. Items are subsequently sold and proceeds, less the auctioneers commission, is paid to the Mission. A review of the files indicated that HOM approval was not provided and no disposal report completed.
5.3.17 The Mission maintains two official vehicles dedicated for recreational use. As Pretoria is a hardship three post, it must seek approval from the Foreign Service Directives Client Centre (AES) prior to providing CBS with access to recreational resources, as per the Personal Use of Official Vehicles for Recreational Purposes Policy. However, no such approval was found on file at the Mission or HQ. Further consultations with AES and other divisions in the International Platform Branch demonstrated that there is a lack of clarity regarding where responsibility for the Recreational Hardship Policy resides. There is a need for HQ to review the policy and to ensure responsibilities are clearly assigned and to advise the Mission regarding its vehicle fleet.
5.3.18 At present, recreational vehicles are loaned to staff following payment and the completion of a rental form. Instances were raised related to staff not taking responsibility for damage incurred while the vehicle was in their possession. Prior to assuming responsibility for the recreation vehicle, staff should be provided with explanations of their accountabilities and a walk-around should be conducted to document existing damage. Upon the vehicles return, a similar review should be conducted with the renter to ensure that new damage, if any, is recorded and follow-up action taken.
5.3.19 The Mission currently reimburses CBS for 75% of their SQ gardening costs. As per the Property Management Manual, CBS should only be reimbursed for the portion of their lot which exceeds 660m2.
5.3.20 Weekly Property Section meetings should be instituted by the MCO/DMCO to review new and outstanding work order requests.
5.3.21 Terms of reference should be developed for the Housing Committee and housing guidelines applied.
5.3.22 The Mission should ensure its SQ portfolio adheres to general standards of comparability. In instances where deficiencies are noted, a cost-benefit analysis should be conducted to determine whether to refurbish or release the SQ.
5.3.23 The Mission should develop a multi-year capital acquisition plan at the beginning of the fiscal year, in consultation with program managers and SQ occupants, and present it to CMM for discussion and approval.
5.3.24 The Mission should institute annual SQ inspections and utilize the results to develop a proactive maintenance plan and provide input into the capital acquisition plan.
5.3.26 The Mission should contact SPP for instructions on simplifying contracting procedures for regular maintenance and urgent service requirements.
5.3.27 The Mission should implement the work order management system.
5.3.28 The Mission should develop a terms of reference for the Contract Review Board.
5.3.29 The Mission’s procurement procedures should be documented to help guide staff and clients in the contracting process.
5.3.30 The Mission should maintain an inventory of all its assets and dispose of any surplus assets.
5.3.31 The Cape Town office files should be distributed to their respective programs for appropriate records management.
5.3.32 All disposals of Crown-assets must be approved by the HOM or the appropriate HQ authority, as per the Materiel Management Manual.
5.3.33 The Mission should ensure that CBS using recreation vehicles acknowledge their responsibilities and that a Mission staff member reviews the condition of the vehicle with the renter at time of issue and return.
5.3.34 SQ gardening fees should only be reimbursed for those portions of lots which exceed 660 m2.
5.3.20 Implemented September 2009. Weekly Property Section meetings have been instituted with minutes kept and circulated.
5.3.21 Implemented September 2009. Terms of reference for the Housing Committee are in place.
5.3.22 Agree and in progress. Two SQs in the current portfolio have been identified as deficient. The Mission is consulting with ARAK concerning the Crown-owned SQ.
5.3.23 Agree and in progress for April 2010.
5.3.24 Agree and in progress for April 2010. The HoM and the MCO inspected all SQs in December 2009. Plans are underway to start systematic inspections in the new FY.
5.3.25 In progress. *** and is awaiting finalization from HQ.
5.3.26 In progress. The Mission will contact SPP for advice in May 2010.
5.3.27 Agree and in progress for April 2010. The IT Section is working with the Property Section to resolve technical system problems.
5.3.28 Agree and in progress for April 2010.
5.3.29 Agree and in progress for May 2010. Checklist to be developed.
5.3.30 Agree and in progress for March 2010. The Mission is currently carrying out inventories of stockrooms. Surplus assets are regularly disposed by an auction service.
5.3.31 Implemented December 2009.
5.3.32 Implemented November 2009.
5.3.33 Implemented February 2010. The MCO has revised the Mission's transportation policy and CMM has approved.
5.3.34 In progress for April 2010. At the request of the CMM, the MCO is seeking clarification from HQ as to how to apply the formula.
5.3.36 AED, in consultation with its stakeholders, should review the Personal Use of Official Vehicles for Recreational Purposes Policy and assign responsibility for administration of the policy.
5.3.36 AED has reviewed the relevant policies and will consult with ARD in order to remove FSD Client Centre (AES) as the responsibility centre and have this reflected in the guidelines. Responsibility for authorizing the use of vehicles under the Personal Use of Official Vehicles for Recreational Purposes should be at the mission level.
ASD note: The Mission Business Process Innovation and Best Practices Division (ASB) is currently working with missions to develop a generic Mission Transportation policy that will provide comprehensive guidance to missions on the appropriate use of mission vehicles, including use of fleet vehicles for recreational purposes. Fleet vehicles which have been purchased using Common Service capital funding will be subject to the guidelines developed under this policy. There is currently no provision of capital funding for the purchase of dedicated recreation vehicles, and all vehicle purchases using common service funding must be for operational program service delivery. ASD has recommended that all dedicated recreational vehicles currently held on mission vehicle fleets be decommissioned and disposed of through normal crown asset disposal procedures.
5.3.37 ASD should review the Mission fleet size, including dedicated recreational vehicles, to ensure that it is appropriate for the Mission’s needs.
5.3.37 ASD is currently finalizing a comprehensive review of Vehicle Fleet holdings with the aim of aligning mission vehicle resources better to operational service delivery through a norms based approach to vehicle resourcing. Recommendations will be submitted to the International Platform Branch (ACM) by March 4, 2010 with the intention of announcing vehicle fleet reductions of approximately 9% for April 1,2010.
Pretoria/Johannesburg were included in the comprehensive fleet study, and recommendations regarding adjustments to the Mission's vehicle fleet (including elimination of two dedicated recreational vehicles through crown asset disposal) will be relayed to the mission in the near future.
5.4.1 The Finance Section is managed by the MCO and consists of a Senior Accountant (LE-07) and three Assistant Accountants (LE-05). Morale is good in the Section and staff work together closely. The MCO has worked *** in the last year, with input from all staff, to reorganize the Section and update job descriptions. She has implemented improvements such as; quiet hours, monthly budget reports to PMs, creation of a finance email address and office renovations. Additionally, she has reinforced the requirement for travel authorities to be in place for all official travel. Further improvements can still be made to areas such as work processes/workflow, internal controls, compliance and planning.
5.4.2 Although the Mission received approval for the third assistant accountant position last year, the Finance Section remained short staffed for many months with only two of four positions filled. The Section has only been fully staffed since August 2009 and the newest Assistant Accountant is to receive IMS training in November 2009. Adequate backups plans are now in place to deal with absences, and no overtime is necessary. With backlogs now cleared, four positions in the Finance Section are not required. As stated in Section 5.1 of this report, the position would be more effective as a support position for the MCO/DMCO, taking on the basic administrative duties exercised by the Office Manager.
5.4.3 While day-to-day communication takes place, the Finance Section has only formally met twice since the arrival of the MCO. Regular meetings with the MCO and Finance Section staff should be instituted. This will improve efficiencies by focussing efforts on priority items and ensuring that important issues are addressed.
5.4.4 Pretoria’s regional role creates challenges as CBS with signing authority travel frequently. Better communication and coordination regarding CBS absences from the office are needed to ensure that the Finance Section can plan their work and that required signatures can be obtained in a timely manner. All CBS with signing authority should be reminded of their responsibility regarding support to the Finance Section during absences of the regular signatories.
5.4.5 The MCO, with assistance from the Senior Accountant, is responsible for establishing and maintaining the Mission’s budget. However, PMs were not fully involved in the budget allocation process. To improve transparency, PMs should be consulted in the budget allocation process, and recommendations should be brought to the CMM for discussion and approval at the beginning of each fiscal year. Budgets should also be periodically monitored. The DMCO is not involved in the process unless the MCO is absent.
5.4.6 PMs have recently been provided with monthly reports on their travel and hospitality budgets. Other operational budgets for different DFAIT programs (Consular, IBD, PERPA, HOM) have not yet been established. These budgets will hold PMs accountable to plan and prioritize their operational expenditures. Budgets are also required for maintenance, Information Technology purchases or for LES overtime.
5.4.7 The Finance Section cited heavy workloads and regular reporting requirements (i.e. FINSTAT reports) as factors which prevented staff from taking leave during certain periods. The Inspection Team noted a number of areas that could be modified to allow staff to work more effectively by prioritizing activities, improving work-flows and better distributing tasks.
5.4.8 The Finance Section uses a service standard of 10 working days for all services. In reality, however, staff process transactions as they are received and work on a reactive basis. Service standards should provide for some variation in the length of time allowed to provide services of different types. This allows staff to better plan and prioritize their work and manage client expectations. The ability to focus on particular activities at a certain time and to group similar activities allows staff to work more efficiently and increases processing speed.
5.4.9 Work is generally distributed on an activity basis with each accountant being responsible for all aspects of an activity from start to finish. For example, the Senior Accountant is responsible for FINSTAT, LES payroll and PM budget reports. Instead, work should be allocated based on complexity and to also ensure adequate segregation of duties. The Assistant Accountants should perform different aspects of the process which the Senior Accountant would then review and finalize before forwarding to the MCO for signature. This will allow a greater measure of control and monitoring/managing of work.
5.4.10 An acquisition card should also be considered for low dollar value purchases, such as office supplies. At present, low dollar value transactions are processed individually in IMS, resulting in a high number of entries. Negotiating monthly billing practices and longer payment terms with frequently used vendors would further decrease the transactional workload.
5.4.11 The Mission has confirmed that *** Consular and Immigration revenue (cheques and cash)***. At the time of the Inspection, HQ had ***. There was also a *** the Immigration Program Manager (IPM) and *** communication regarding action taken. The Mission submitted a report regarding this incident to HQ following the Inspection.
5.4.12 As a result of this incident, changes to procedures in the Finance Section have been implemented to reduce the risk of future losses. ***. Restrictions on who can access the Finance Section have reduced this risk, however, two property staff continue to print MM module documents on the Finance Section printer.
5.4.13 A direct deposit system for Immigration revenues should be considered as has already been done at many missions. It lessens the risks related to handling cash and cheques, and would decrease some transactional workload. ***.
5.4.14 While there is regular contact between the bank and the Senior Accountant, the MCO only met the bank representative once at the beginning of her posting. The MCO should be well known to bank officials as the person responsible for Mission finances, and the bank statement should be delivered to, opened and reviewed by the MCO, and then passed to the Accountant to complete the reconciliation process.
5.4.15 Currently one of the assistant accountants is responsible for ordering and purchasing office supplies. In order to ensure adequate segregation of duties this responsibility should be performed by a staff member who does not have responsibilities for Finance.
5.4.16 The January 2009 bank reconciliation review performed by SMFF highlighted areas where transactional processes could be improved. While most of the recommendations have been implemented, an ongoing dialogue with SMFF is needed to ensure IMS entries and processes continue to be done correctly. Mission accounts from May 2009 were reviewed as part of the Inspection process and the findings indicated that further attention should be paid to compliance and documentation. The items below were noted in particular.
5.4.17 The MCO should institute regular meetings with Finance Section staff.
5.4.18 Absences of CBS with signing authorities should be communicated and coordinated to allow Finance staff to plan their work.
5.4.19 Services standards should be updated and adjusted depending on the type of service provided.
5.4.20 The Mission should negotiate monthly billing and longer payment terms with frequently used vendors.
5.4.21 The Mission should reallocate work among Finance Section staff based on complexity, while ensuring adequate segregation of duties.
5.4.22 Use of acquisition cards should be considered for low dollar value purchases.
5.4.23 The CMM should review and approve the budget at the beginning of the fiscal year and monitor it periodically.
5.4.24 Input should be solicited from the PMs as well as the DMCO for budgeting purposes.
5.4.25 Operational budgets should be allocated for DFAIT programs, maintenance, IT purchases and LES overtime.
5.4.27 The Mission should designate another printer for printing IMS documents outside of the Finance Section.
5.4.28 The Mission should consider implementation of a direct deposit system for Immigration revenues.
5.4.29 The MCO should advise the bank that she is the contact point for all official communications, including the monthly bank statement.
5.4.30 Responsibility for ordering and purchasing office supplies should be transferred from the Assistant Accountant to a staff member outside of the Finance Section.
5.4.31 Hospitality ceilings should be reviewed annually by CMM, taking into consideration the new Hospitality Abroad Policy which will come into effect April 1, 2010.
5.4.32 Local meal rates should be established for use when staff work overtime.
5.4.33 All supporting documents should be included with travel claims, and correct per diem amounts should be used at all times.
5.4.17 Implemented November 2009. Bi-weekly meetings have been instituted with minutes prepared and circulated.
5.4.18 Implemented December 2010.
5.4.19 Agree and in progress for April 2010. The MCO and the Finance Section are working on updating service standards.
5.4.20 In progress. Agree in principle but financial practices here are different from Canada. This may not be possible.
5.4.21 Agree and in progress. Some duties have now been reallocated. The Mission is also in discussion with APD regarding this issue.
5.4.22 Implemented March 2010. Two cards are in use.
5.4.23 In progress. The CMM has reviewed next year's proposed budget which will be approved in April 2010.
5.4.24 Implemented January 2010. The CMM is presented with the budget and DMCO is consulted regularly.
5.4.25 Agree and in progress for April 2010. This will be implemented in the new FY budget exercise.
5.4.26 Implemented November 2009. ***.
5.4.27 Agree and in progress for March 2010. The Mission is consulting SMFF as there are difficulties in getting a printer set up.
5.4.28 The MCO and the Immigration Program Manager met with the bank, but this is not feasible at this time.
5.4.29 Implemented December 2009. The Mission met with the bank.
5.4.30 Implemented November 2009. The Officer Manager is now responsible for orders.
5.4.31 Agree in progress for April 2010. This will be reviewed at the last CMM meeting in March 2010.
5.4.32 In progress for April 2010. The CMM has approved local meal rates for overtime.
5.4.33 Agree and in progress for March 2010. A staff training package is being prepared.
5.4.34 SMD should follow-up with the Mission to ensure that missing funds are accounted for and that corrective measures are taken.
5.4.34 SMD sent a financial officer to Pretoria in December 2009 to assist the Mission and to ensure that appropriate internal controls are implemented and applied in a consistent and on-going manner. In February 2010, the missing Canadian money was discovered in a filing cabinet by one of the Mission employees.
5.5.1 The IM-IT function is provided by a CS-02 Foreign Service Information Technology Professional (FSITP) who is supported by an LE-07 Locally-engaged Information Technology Professional (LEITP). The FSITP reports to both the MCO and the Client Service Regional Manager (CSRM) located in Nairobi. The IM-IT Section is also responsible for providing service to Johannesburg, Maputo and Kinshasa under the direction of the CSRM. The regional support outside of South Africa is generally handled by the CBS. Given the relatively good quality of local infrastructure compared to the rest of Africa, the FSITP has historically been tasked by the CSRM to provide back-up support to other missions in the region.
5.5.2 The Team is provided with good direction and support from both the MCO and the CSRM. At present, the Mission does not have an IM-IT Committee and governs its IT support services through the MCO. With the prospect of a visit next year from the Information Management Improvement Program (IMIP) to facilitate the implementation of InfoBank, an IM-IT Committee would provide valuable support and ensure that all Mission programs have input into the development of file structures and naming standards. In addition, it could be used to ensure that programs have an opportunity to input into IM-IT planning, develop and propose policies to the CMM, and address issues related to quality of IM-IT services and support (see recommendation 1.2.4).
5.5.3 Overall, clients cited a high degree of satisfaction with the IM-IT service provided. Recent challenges were noted with regards to last minute account requests and delays related to C5 and Signet-D account transfers from HQ.
5.5.4 The regular need for the IT team to travel, sometimes at short notice, highlights the benefits a workplan would have in ensuring responsibilities are maintained and in identifying activities that can be deferred in the event of absences. This workplan could include regularly scheduled maintenance and back-up procedures, cyclical replacements, equipment disposals and regional visits. The workplan could also facilitate input into the budgeting process by identifying any expenditure requirements over the coming year. The IM-IT Section should also be consulted by the MCO regarding required purchases during the annual budgeting process.
5.5.5 The Mission does not have a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) in place to define essential services and the infrastructure required to provide them in the event of a major disruption. In conjunction with the development of the BCP, the IT team should ensure that the site identified as the alternate command post is equipped with the appropriate IT infrastructure. Once the appropriate plan and equipment are in place, an emergency exercise should be conducted to ensure the infrastructure is adequate. Regular testing of equipment should also be conducted.
5.5.6 The Section maintains its inventory in the Information Technology Asset Management System (ITAMS). At the time of the Inspection, the team was in the process of updating the inventory to remove some old assets. Staff are required to sign for assets distributed to them such as cellular telephones and personal digital assistants (PDAs). The Mission has encountered issues regarding when to replace lost or damaged items and in what circumstances staff should be expected to replace them. A Mission policy should be developed to define the circumstances under which such tools should be provided to staff and establish guidelines for replacements.
5.5.7 While staff are expected to sign-out for items as defined above, there is no such procedure in place for other assets, such as laptops. Staff do acknowledge sign-out by way of email, but it is preferred that a formal sign-out process is established. Recent Inspections have noted situations where staff and contractors were provided with assets and were not asked to sign and acknowledge their responsibilities. In one case, an individual upon leaving a mission claimed to have not received an asset and the mission was unable to prove otherwise.
5.5.8 ***. The subject was discussed and the HOM issued a decision reinforcing the need to restrict unauthorized dependent and spousal access to computers and introducing the loss of account privileges for offenders.
5.5.10 The Section should develop a workplan that includes items such as regularly scheduled maintenance and back-up procedures, cyclical replacements, equipment disposals and regional visits.
5.5.11 The Business Continuity Plan should define the IM-IT infrastructure needed at the alternate site and, once the IT infrastructure is in place, an emergency exercise should be conducted.
5.5.12 A policy on usage and employee responsibilities for mobility tools should be developed, approved at CMM and implemented.
5.5.13 The Mission should institute a sign-out process for IM-IT assets, such as laptops, so that staff acknowledge their responsibilities and the Mission can maintain the appropriate records.
5.5.10 Agree and in progress for April 2010. The MCO and DMCO are working with the Property Section to develop a plan for the new FY for review by the CMM.
5.5.11 Agree and the plan is in progress for May 2010.
5.5.12 Agree and in progress for May 2010. A policy being drafted for CMM approval.
5.5.13 Implemented November 2009. A system has been implemented for staff to sign out equipment.
5.5.14 Noted and in progress for April 2010. The Mission is looking at possible locations.
|Staff Quarters||12 (1 Johannesburg)||16 (1 Johannesburg, 2 Durban)|
|Vehicles||15 (1 Johannesburg)||-|
|Financial Information 2009-2010||Program Budget||Common Services Budget|
|Operating Budget (N001)||$194,792||$1,555,605|
|Capital Budget (N005)||-||$177,995|
|CBS Salaries Budget (N011)||$724,800||$209,795|
|LES Salaries Budget (N012)||$519,100||$1,169,481|