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Inspection of the Canadian Embassy Rome

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February 2009

Table of Contents

Inspection Scope and Objectives

The scope of the Inspection included a review of Mission management and the Political Economic, International Business Development, Consular and Administration programs. The Inspection also included a review of the programs of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Agencies.

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 the Political Economic (PE), International Business Development (IBD), United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organizations, Consular and Administration Programs was conducted in Rome from October 1 to 10, 2008. The previous audit of these programs took place in 2001. The Embassy in Rome is a medium-sized mission with 25 Canada-based staff (CBS) and 57 Locally-engaged staff (LES). Overall the Mission was found to be operating effectively with strong leadership and engagement from Mission Management. A variety of practices, such as consistent communication, annual staff retreats and a focus on a “one mission” concept, have helped to mitigate the challenges associated with operating out of two locations. The planned relocation of the Annex to the grounds of the Chancery, reinvigoration of the LES Committee and continued focus on cross-program collaboration will provide the Mission with an improved base upon which to deliver against its objectives. The problematic layout of the Chancery building, however, will remain a hindrance to operations. During the course of the Inspection, the Mission cited a need for three resources, a Canada-based Political Economic officer, a Locally-engaged Information Technology Professional (LEITP) and a LES Human Resources (HR)-Finance Assistant. In the case of the PE and HR-Finance resource, the Inspection Team found that there were opportunities for restructuring and reallocation that should be addressed prior to requesting additional resources. With regards to the LEITP, there is an immediate need for temporary assistance to address backlog issues from the move to the new Chancery and for the 2009 Italian G8 summit. The two CBS ITPs present at the Mission are not able to provide effective client support while at the same time addressing the backlog. Upon completion of the Chancery relocation project, consideration should be given to converting one of the CBS positions to LES as it could provide for a more effective and efficient division of duties. The 2009 Italian G8 summit will be a major point of focus for the Mission over the coming year. The Mission will need to develop a plan to facilitate the Canadian delegation’s participation in the event and identify any temporary resource requirements. This need will be more pronounced as the Mission in Rome does not benefit from the same resource base as our other G8 missions. The closure of the mission in Milan has increased operational requirements in Rome. While the additional resources provided have largely compensated for these added responsibilities, programs are experiencing challenges in regional client service delivery. As a result, the Mission has highlighted the need for two new Honorary Consuls, one in the north (IBD and Consular) and one in the south (Consular). These Honorary Consuls could improve outreach and client service and this need should be examined by Headquarters.

Overall Mission programs were found to be well managed ***. A number of items were noted during the Inspection that, either in their current state or after further refinement, could be considered to be best practices. They included the following:

  • A continually reinforced emphasis on Mission-wide communication and collaboration;
  • The devolution of administrative overhead budgets to program managers;
  • An IBD Info-Centre that provides support to trade commissioners and facilitates the Senior Trade Commissioner’s performance monitoring by providing monthly TRIO reports;
  • A read-only access to individual learning plans in PMP (Performance Management Program) should be provided to the Training Coordinator to facilitate the future development of Mission-wide training plan;
  • A Client Service Centre (CSC) that provides a one-stop shop for administrative service requests;
  • The use of life expectancy tables for planning capital asset acquisitions, providing management with clear information for decision making purposes;
  • A leasing checklist that facilitates the identification and evaluation of new staff quarters; and,
  • The use of an electronic database program to catalogue and inventory assets.

While a number of good practices were identified, Mission operations could be improved by addressing the following items:

  • Ensuring that the incoming PE Program Manager is fully engaged in the day-to-day operations of the Program;
  • Implementing the New Way Forward, PE Renewal, and integrating it into operations;
  • Bringing a clearer focus to mission advocacy through the integration of public affairs, cultural and academic responsibilities;
  • Drawing upon best practices of other missions to improve the recording of foreign direct investment activities in TRIO;
  • Providing a unique SIGNET identity to the UN Agencies Program and better defining the work relationship of the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada resource shared with the IBD Program;
  • Ensuring that passports are approved by CBS officers only and that the Management and Consular Officer (MCO) and Deputy MCO Consular complete the new passport training and obtain their approval certifications;
  • Continuing to evolve the CSC and further align roles and responsibilities to allow functional staff to focus on primary activities; and,
  • Clarifying and communicating administrative service standards to clients.

A total of 95 recommendations are raised in the report; 89 are addressed to the Mission and six are addressed to Headquarters (HQ). Management has responded to each recommendation indicating action already taken or decisions made, as well as future action. Of the 95 recommendations, management has stated that 24 have been implemented. For each of the remaining 71 recommendations, management has indicated the initiatives in progress or the intended future action.

Mission Management

1.1 Overview

1.1.1 The Embassy in Rome, including the programs of the United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Agencies located in Italy, is staffed by 25 Canada-based staff (CBS) and 57 Locally-engaged staff (LES). Partner departments at the Mission include Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), Department of National Defence (DND), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and Public Safety Canada.

1.1.2 The Mission's areas of accreditation include Italy, Albania, Malta and the Republic of San Marino. Services are provided to the Canadian Mission to the Holy See, governed by a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). In the last Country Strategy, the Mission highlighted the need for two new Honorary Consuls, one in the north to provide support for the International Business Development (IBD) and Consular programs and one in the south for consular assistance.

1.1.3 Overall the Mission is operating effectively. Program planning reflects Country Strategy objectives and is integrated with the management team's Performance Management Agreements (PMAs) and staff's Performance Management Programs (PMPs). The Administration/Personnel Assistant (the de-facto Training Co-ordinator) has recently been provided with access to the training portion of staff's PMPs, which will allow for the roll up of training requirements so that a Mission-wide training plan and budget can be developed and approved.

1.1.4 Rome's committee structure includes the Committee on Mission Management (CMM), Internal Communications, Task Force on Client Service Improvement Initiative, Consular Emergency Task Force and Environmental Committee. It shares the following committees with the Mission to the Holy See: Housing, Classification, Contract Review Board (CRB), Occupational Health and Safety, Website, LES and the Beaver Club.

1.1.5 The Mission's CMM, composed of all CBS section heads, meets weekly. It functions more as an operational committee for sharing information, discussing upcoming events and visits and other operational issues rather than a decision-making body. The Mission should examine creating a smaller committee, composed of the Head of Mission (HOM) and program managers, to address Mission-wide issues and administrative policy decisions on a regular basis. This would allow for more targeted discussions and increased transparency regarding Mission policies and procedures.

1.1.6 A priority for the HOM has been to overcome the challenges presented by the physical separation of the Mission in two locations, the Chancery and the Annex. Significant progress has been made through emphasis on a "one mission" concept and on regular communication. Mission management has instituted a number of practices to support this, including alternating the CMM meetings between locations, distributing the minutes to all staff and holding town-hall meetings and all-staff retreats. The refurbishment of the Annex workspace to address health and safety concerns has also improved the working environment for staff.

1.1.7 Both staff and the management team recognize the need to reinvigorate the LES Committee, which has held infrequent meetings with the LES community and management in recent years. The Committee did meet with management in February 2008 to present a new Terms of Reference (TOR), but had not yet received the feedback requested. In the TOR the Committee proposed to hold elections rather than assign sectional representatives as is currently the case. When the Inspection Team met with the Committee, concerns raised included: out-of-date job descriptions and the out-of-date LES Handbook.

1.1.8 During the meeting with the LES Committee, the following best practices were proposed:

  • The Committee be comprised of LES only, representative of all Mission programs and position levels;
  • LES with personnel responsibilities be limited to observer status to avoid any real or perceived conflict of interest;
  • Regular meetings be scheduled with mission management (MCO quarterly and the HOM semi-annually); and,
  • While it is encouraged to request input from the LES Committee, management decisions, such as parking assignments, should be made by Mission management.

1.1.9 In order to improve efficiency and client service in the Property, Maintenance and Materiel Services Section, the Mission is implementing a Client Service Centre (CSC). Given this new system, as well as the elimination of the second CBS position at the Mission to the Holy See, the Administration Program has identified the need to up-date the MOU once the implementation is complete.

1.1.10 The next few years will be busy for the Mission with the up-coming G8 meeting to be held in Italy in the summer of 2009 and the Chancery re-configuration project which is scheduled to be completed in 2010. The Mission will need to determine what (if any) temporary support for the G8 meeting will be needed so requests can be forwarded to HQ as early as possible.

1.1.11 The HOM has been using actual expenses (which have been less than the established unit costs) when hosting events at the Official Residence and as a result has been able to save hospitality funds. The Mission should review its per head at home entertaining rate and determine if it should be adjusted. A review of the Mission's hospitality diaries was conducted and while overall the files are complete the following should be consistently applied:

  • The purpose statement should indicate the linkage of the event to the Country Strategy objective(s);
  • The evaluation of the event should demonstrate value-for-money, including the usefulness of the event, what key objectives were furthered and any follow-up action that is required; and,
  • Individuals must not exercise Section 33 or 34 on their own claims (for example the HOM's claim should have the MCO sign under Section 34 and the DMCO under Section 33).

1.1.12 The Mission does not have a coordinated Business Continuity Plan (BCP) that would allow for the continuation of operations in the event of a disruption. Each program should participate in the development of such plans and ensure staff are informed of their responsibilities and roles. Following the development of the plan and installation of infrastructure, the Mission will need to undertake regular tests to ensure it continues to meet their business continuity needs. The Mission may wish to consult with the newly created Emergency Management Bureau (CED) to solicit guidance and best practices.

1.1.13 The Inspection Team also met with a group of CBS spouses who indicated that pre-posting expectations could be managed more effectively. They felt that the initial perception of living in Rome is romantic, but the reality is much different. The need for Italian language training for dependents (which the Mission now provides in the first year) was highlighted as a key tool for successful integration, as there is limited English or French spoken in Italy. It was also noted that while the current Mission Report and pre-posting kit did highlight some of the challenges of living in Rome, these tools need to be more explicit regarding the impact of the noise, traffic, bureaucracy, etc., to more thoroughly prepare newcomers The Mission should look to involve interested spouses in order to obtain their insights when up-dating these information packages.

1.1.4 The Mission self-funds a Community Co-ordinator position for which Italian language skills were deemed a requirement. As spouses will not always qualify, the Mission is unable to access HQ funding. The spouses indicated that the Community Co-ordinator had been *** helpful in the orientation period this year. Some also suggested that they would be willing to be contracted to assist during busy years or the Mission could establish a "buddy" system to assist newcomers with tips regarding shopping, transportation, etc. In order to ensure dependents understand relevant processes and systems, the Mission could develop an introductory session which highlights Mission specific procedures.

1.1.5 Under the current organization chart the MCO reports to the Political-Economic PM (formerly the Deputy HOM). Given the removal of the DHOM title, that the MCO position is an EX-01, the workload in the PE Program as well as the upcoming G8 meetings, the MCO should formally report directly to the HOM (as has been the actual practice this past year).

1.1.6 The group that organizes Mission social activities, the Beaver Club, recently developed a constitution. It should ensure that an annual inventory count is conducted and a financial statement is presented to Mission management.

1.2 Recommendations

Recommendations to the Mission

1.2.1 A Mission-wide training plan should be developed in order to consolidate and prioritize training requirements.

1.2.2 The Mission should consider creating a smaller CMM to deal with Mission-wide policy issues which include administrative matters.

1.2.3 The Mission should work with the LES Committee to ensure that:

  1. The Committees TORs are finalized and define what items are to be addressed in that forum;
  2. Committee members are elected and representative of the entire LES community;
  3. Members with personnel related responsibilities are limited to observer functions only; and,
  4. Regular meetings occur with the MCO and the HOM.

1.2.4 The Mission will need to develop a plan regarding temporary or contract staff that will be needed to support the G8 meeting and communicate it to HQ.

1.2.5 The Mission should review its per head at home entertaining rate.

1.2.6 The Mission should ensure that hospitality diaries clearly demonstrate:

  1. A linkage to program and Mission objectives;
  2. Value-for-money; and,
  3. Proper exercising of Section 33 or 34 authorities.

1.2.7 The Mission should develop a BCP and test it regularly.

1.2.8 The Mission should consider utilizing spouses in updating pre-posting and arrival information packages and/or assisting when newcomers arrive.

1.2.9 The Mission should consider developing an introductory session to introduce CBS dependents to Mission processes and procedures.

1.2.10 The Mission should realign the organization chart so that the MCO reports directly to the HOM.

1.2.11 The Beaver Club should conduct an annual inventory count and present its financial statement to Mission management.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

1.2.1 Recommendation accepted: report has been compiled from PMP on-line; needs analysis to be conducted and requirements finalized. In progress, January 2009.

1.2.2 Recommendation noted: a new Mission Operations Committee has been formed, chaired by the Minister-Counsellor (PE) with the MCO, to coordinate action on Mission-wide projects, administrative and service delivery matters. The current CMM composition promotes inclusive discussion and decision-making. Implemented November 2008.

Mission comment: CMM is not only an information-operational forum, but it is also the forum where all major policies and plans are discussed and agreed upon (a review of the CMM minutes would reveal this). While the Mission accepts that it may be more efficient to separate and share functions between two committees, we continue to believe that the larger more inclusive committees (particularly CMM) help to overcome some of the barriers to communications in the current mission arrangements.

1.2.3 Recommendation accepted: Operations Committee is currently consulting on determining most effective approach to re-establish a vibrant committee. Operations Committee will be the focus for the re-establishment of the LES Committee. In progress, February 2009.

1.2.4 Recommendation accepted: Resourcing/Staffing Plan has been developed and sent to HQ; will be updated as new information and/or requirements emerge, by the G8 core committee (Minister-Counsellor and MCO lead). In progress, February 2009.

1.2.5 Current hospitality rates are several years old and food prices have increased significantly in Italy and it is likely that the per capita charge will increase (we have compared our rates with a neighbouring mission). We are using the far less costly real cost approach which encourages seasonal shopping as well as the purchase of bulk specials that can be stored for longer term. This approach would not be reflected in a “per capita” arrangement.

1.2.6 Recommendation implemented. These issues were discussed and managers reminded of these points both at CMM and the Operations Committee. On a regular basis, the Mission Financial Officer (MFO) sends reminders to Program Managers. Incomplete forms are returned to managers.

1.2.7 Recommendation accepted: in progress, February 2010. The Mission is currently updating several plans. A working group will be established to review/harmonize information in various Mission plans and develop a BCP.

1.2.8 Recommendation accepted: in progress, January 2009. Starting during the 2009 turnover season, spouses and dependants will be solicited to assist the Community Coordinator (CLO) in the preparation of packages for incoming CBS.

1.2.9 Recommendation accepted: in progress, January 2009. Revision of Mission-focussed information is currently underway. For the 2009 turnover, CBS and dependants will be invited to information sessions once they have settled in. CBS and families are currently being introduced to programs and services immediately upon arrival and we recognize that this leads to information overload and less effective orientation.

1.2.10 Recommendation accepted. In progress, April 2009.

1.2.11 Recommendation implemented: financial statements were presented to the Operations Committee on December 12, 2008

Political Economic Program

2.1 Overview

2.1.1 The Political Economic (PE) Program is managed by an EX-02 Program Manager and consists of two sections; Political and Public Affairs, and Cultural and Academic. At the time of the Inspection, the EX-02 Head of Program position was vacant, with the new incumbent arriving shortly after the Team’s departure. The Program’s human resources have been allocated as follows:

Table 1: The Political Economic (PE) Program
The Political Economic (PE) Program
Head of ProgramEX-02
AssistantLE-06
AssistantPoliticalPublic AffairsCultural and Academic
OfficersFS-03FS-03
LE-07LE40-09LE-09, LE-08
Assistant-LE-06LE-05

2.1.2 Relative to our other G8 missions, the resources allocated to the PE Program in Rome are low. In particular, the political and economic reporting function is handled by an FS-03, who also does public affairs, and an LE-07. While there is potential for realignment, discussed in section 2.4, this does present a significant challenge for the Mission in terms of normal operations and G8 summit preparation. Rome does not benefit from the same resource base, nor quality of local infrastructure, as those of other G8 missions like Tokyo, London and Berlin. If these missions required temporary support for G8 summits, the need in Rome will be all the more pronounced.

2.1.3 In addition to operational budgets allocated by Mission Management, the Program’s financial resources for 2008/09 have been allocated as per the table below.

Table 2: The Political Economic Program financial budget
 Program TotalProgram TotalPolitical and Public AffairsCultural and Academic
Travel$35,000-$15,000$20,000
Travel$17,500$3,000$6,000$8,500
Post Initiative Fund$35,000-$11,200$23,800
LES Overtime$12,000-$4,000$8,000
Total$99,500

2.2 Political Economic Renewal

2.2.1 The New Way Forward (NWF), Political Economic Renewal, is an integral component of the Transformation Agenda. The initiative focuses on the implementation of core services for the PE Program and their alignment with departmental and Government of Canada priorities. The definition of these core services is designed to provide PE officers with the foundation to focus on priority and value-added activities, while referring other lower priority requests to Additional Service Providers (ASPs) where possible. With the official launch of the NWF on February 26, 2008, the Office of the Inspector General and the Office of the Chief Political Economic Officer announced a formal collaboration to ensure that NWF principles are a core part of the inspection methodology.

2.2.2 The Inspection revealed that PE staff in Rome were unfamiliar with PE renewal and, as a result, the notion of ASPs and the definition of the new core services were not well understood. A NWF representative, who participated as a member of the Inspection Team, provided a detailed briefing to the CBS officers. A training session was also held for all PE staff. Follow-up training and guidance sessions were also provided on request. To ensure the initiative is fully implemented, the NWF Secretariat will follow-up with the newly arrived Program Manager, who has agreed to take on the role of PE renewal envoy in Rome. This will be further facilitated by a new on-line training course, launched in the fall of 2008.

2.3 Program Management

2.3.1 Prior to 2006, the EX-02 position had been a Deputy Head of Mission (DHOM) position to compensate for the HOMs responsibilities as the Prime Minister’s Personal Representative for Africa. Following this, the position reverted back to the Head of Political Economic. While this was the case officially, ***. Organizational charts were not updated to reflect the revision and continue to refer to the position as DHOM.

2.3.2 The results of the Inspection indicate that the incoming Head of Program needs to be more directly involved in the day-to-day operations of the two sections. Meetings of the three CBS officers were instituted over the course of the last year, but the Program’s staff rarely met as a group. Ideally, the notion of two separate sections would be erased and the group would operate as one PE Program.

2.3.3 There is also room for improvement with regards to communication within each of the two sections. The Political and Public Affairs group benefits from a good level of informal communication. This is, however, not sufficiently supported by formal communication to revisit strategic objectives, discuss results to-date and focus on forthcoming priorities. The ability of the Section to meet as a group was ***, the Cultural and Academic Section benefits from a good level of formal communication, but lacks sufficient informal communication. A contributing factor is the physical environment where the Section works. While attractive, the space is open concept and suffers from poor acoustics. As a result, sounds are echoed and amplified, distracting staff and making simple conversations disruptive. Attempts have been made to improve the facilities, but a successful solution has not yet been found. The challenges of physical space and informal communication will not be easily overcome, but the consistency of formal communication and strategy implementation can be improved under the leadership of the new Head of Program.

2.4 Alignment to Priorities

2.4.1 For the 2008-09 fiscal year, both sections developed strategy documents to outline their political and public affairs, and cultural and academic objectives. While these strategy documents represent positive steps to further develop the objectives laid out in the country strategy, they did not form an operational plan. When combined with the communication issues identified above, a risk remains that activities will not be properly aligned. In fact, some officers noted a lack of clarity on direction, despite the presence of these strategic documents and *** communication from the HOM.

2.4.2 The organizational split between the two groups has impeded the natural transition of resources and responsibilities as priorities evolve. The Cultural and Academic Section has, however, begun the transition from traditional activities towards mainstream public diplomacy in an effort to better support broader Mission objectives. The renewed focus has been driven largely by Mission management and the Section is gradually shifting its activities to align with the new objectives. The physical and organizational split from Public Affairs, however, has prevented this from occurring more effectively. There is a need for the Program to integrate the two groups and actively reach out to all programs within the Mission to determine who their clients are and how best they can support their objectives. A formal mechanism to do so, such as an advocacy working group or committee, would supplement the direction received from Mission Management and allow staff to initiate and input into forward planning.

2.4.3 Following the lead of other missions, such as London and New York, the Mission should explore the opportunity to implement an integrated model under the umbrella of Advocacy, which would include Public Affairs, Cultural and Academic. Discussions to this effect have already taken place and the Mission is encouraged to move forward with this process. To ensure that flexibility to adapt to changing priorities is in place, consideration should be given to constructing the new roles as Advocacy officers, rather than along the previous lines of cultural and academic specialists. Planning activities would build upon the Government’s key objectives and priorities, rather than specific cultural and academic items.

2.4.4 From a political perspective, the Program’s alignment to priorities is reactive and driven largely by departmental and partner department requests. As a result, the Program is not always in a position to proactively research, analyse and report on developments. In addition to the need to better define the proactive activities to be undertaken to reach objectives, the potential for resource reallocation should be explored to help manage the heavy workload.

2.4.5 When one revisits the allocation of human resources, of the eight officer and assistant positions, only two (FS-03 and LE-07) are dedicated to political activities. The remaining six positions work on public affairs, cultural and academic relations. Given that Italy is a member of the G8, the allocation of resources to political activities is low. In particular, the lack of a LE-09 level political officer does not provide the appropriate level of support to the FS-03 political officer. There is, however, room within existing Program resources to reallocate roles and responsibilities to provide greater support to political activities. This need is all the more pronounced with Italy taking over the presidency of the G8 for 2009 and the added demands that will be placed on the Program as a result.

2.4.6 To improve the flexibility of the Program to adapt to changing priorities, consideration should be given to consolidating certain Program budgets. At present, the separation of budgets between the two sections inhibits the natural adjustments that would normally be made within a program as realities change and different needs emerge. While some notional allocations will still be required, management of the budget should occur at the PE Program level. Further development of the strategies into operational workplans should provide the Head of Program a better basis upon which to make these notional resource allocations. As a best practice, hospitality and travel funds could be notionally allocated to officers based on their objectives and the quality of their workplans. These workplans should identify how objectives will be met, include outreach and hospitality activities and identify where Head of Program or HOM support is desired.

2.4.7 With the exception of two positions, job descriptions within the Program were found to be out-of-date and not reflective of current responsibilities. While there is a need to update these job descriptions in the near future, it would be prudent to wait until determinations are made on resource reallocation. As a best practice, job descriptions should be reviewed annually as a part of the PMP process. In addition to facilitating input into the PMP, it provides the opportunity to make minor adjustments and avoid the more dramatic overhauls that occur when they are only reviewed once every several years.

2.5 MultiCanada Newsletter

2.5.1 The Program produces a bi-weekly public affairs electronic newsletter called MultiCanada. The newsletter is issued in Italian only and focusses on key Government priorities and issues of importance to Canada-Italy relations. At present, each issue costs 300 Euros to publish and the *** invests approximately 40% of *** time in the production of content. The financial support is provided via the Post Initiative Fund (PIF).

2.5.2 While the PE Program perceives the newsletter as having great value added for the Mission, little effort has been expended to measure its effectiveness. During the Inspection visit, the Program requested statistical reports from the company that publishes the newsletter online. The last time such information was requested was in 2006. While the statistics provided do not present a complete picture, they do indicate that certain assumptions made by the Program need to be revisited. In particular, the number of subscribers receiving the newsletter, and the number accessing it online are much smaller than expected. The table below summarizes the information provided by the third party publisher of the newsletter.

Table 3: Number of subscribers receiving the newsletter
 # of Contacts1# Accessing Newsletter Online1Comments
1 The statistics provided above are based on information provided for the months of October 2006 and September-October 2008.
20061,826180Note: The total number of contacts in the database was 2,159, however, 333 were identified as no longer being in service.
20083,585148Note: The total number of contacts in the database was 4,677, however, 1092 were identified as no longer being in service.

2.5.3 Given the Program’s substantial investment and the low level of readership, there is a need for the Mission to revisit the newsletter as a priority tool for advocacy. If the decision is made to retain the newsletter, there will be a need to redefine its objectives, target audience, content and frequency.

2.6 Special Cultural Fund

2.6.1 The Mission maintains a special purpose account used to record funds received from the Italian Government under the Civilian Relief Agreement of 1950 and the Cultural Agreement of 1954. As part of these agreements Italy provided Canada with approximately $500,000 in return for Canada’s contribution to relief efforts after the Second World War. Since 1966 these funds have been used by the Mission in Rome to fund cultural events and activities. The account has not been used recently as the Mission is attempting to increase the balance with interest earned.

2.6.2 There was a lack of clarity regarding the conditions under which the resources could be used. It is essential that when the Mission recommences use of the fund, that it be governed by terms and conditions. Discussions at HQ indicated that a Treasury Board Submission had been made at some point regarding the use of these funds. The European Union Bureau (GUD) should liaise with Corporate Financial Systems and Business Processes (SMS) and Treasury Board to obtain the document and identify the terms and conditions for the fund’s use. The Finance section of the report has addressed findings and recommendations related to the financial administration of the account.

2.7 Recommendations

Recommendations for the Mission

2.7.1 Organizational charts should be updated to reflect the appropriate title of the Head of Political Economic.

2.7.2 The incoming EX-02 Minister Counsellor should be ***as the Head of Political Economic.

2.7.3 The Program should institute regular all-staff meetings to review strategic objectives, discuss results of previous activities and focus on expected future results.

2.7.4 The Program should further develop the annual planning process for public affairs, cultural and academic activities to include consultations with internal clients. The process should be facilitated and revisited periodically during the year through a formal mechanism, such as a Public Affairs or Advocacy Committee.

2.7.5 The Mission should explore the potential for realignment of resources to:

  1. Integrate Public Affairs, Cultural and Academic responsibilities; and,
  2. Allocate a senior level LES Officer to political and economic reporting.

2.7.6 After addressing recommendation 2.7.5, job descriptions should be reviewed and updated.

2.7.7 The Program should further develop its strategic documents into operational workplans. Budget allocations of hospitality and travel funds could then be made based on relative priority.

2.7.8 In cooperation and consultation with all Mission programs, re-examine the merits, objectives, target audience, content and frequency of the MultiCanada newsletter.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

2.7.1 Recommendation accepted: there will be both a fully-integrated organization chart for all personnel reporting to the Minister-Counsellor (now being finalized), but we will also have separate organization charts reflecting the sub-structures that report to each Manager below the Minister-Counsellor, ie. the Counsellor for Political/Economic and the Counsellor for the new Public Platform (Public Affairs, Culture, Academic). The Minister-Counsellor's title should reflect this, ie. as Minister-Counsellor (Political/Economic/Public Affairs). In progress towards date of re-organization April 2009.

2.7.2 Recommendation accepted: the Minister-Counsellor demonstrates engagement by leading regular section meetings; by working with PMs to establish and implement objectives; by consulting with and providing guidance to all staff; by providing political/economic analysis and reporting, in collaboration with team members; and by being accountable for the results of the section as a whole. Implemented October 2008.

2.7.3 Recommendation accepted: all staff meetings were instituted in November 2008, to take place every four weeks with both sections. Minister-Counsellor meets regularly with LES Political Officer now (several times a week). Implemented November 2008 - but regular schedule must be maintained.

2.7.4 Recommendation accepted: this concept will be absorbed into the new ‘Public Platform' section that will comprise PA, Culture and Academic affairs; consultation with clients will take place both through ad hoc or event-specific measures and through the Operations Committee, which vets all Mission event proposals. In progress, April 2009 (but events review started December 2008).

2.7.5 Recommendation accepted: the Mission is proceeding with a re-organization of the two sections, with the new structure to take effect in April 2009. Personnel changes will be undertaken on a longer-term basis, with initial measures in spring 2009, and a further re-alignment as long-term staff take retirement in the coming 1-2 years. The Mission is also exploring both temporary and long-term options to supplement the CBS contingent in the Political/Economic Section. Planning in progress, April 2009.

2.7.6 Recommendation accepted: all job descriptions are being reviewed by Minister-Counsellor, and new descriptions will be prepared by September 2009 (allowing time, given G8 pressures in first half of year). Pending.

2.7.7 Recommendation accepted: updated strategic planning will be undertaken post-G8 Summit, and finalized in September/October 2009. Pending.

2.7.8 Recommendation accepted: a review of MultiCanada was started in November 2008; further assessment will occur during winter 2008/2009, and a decision on the future of the product will be incorporated into the April 2009 re-organization. In progress.

Recommendations to GUD

2.7.9 GUD should revisit the allocation of PE resources to the Mission in Rome in light of its ongoing responsibilities as a G8 mission.

2.7.10 GUD should access and review the Treasury Board submission governing the use of the special cultural fund, in order to identify terms and conditions and develop a long-term strategy for its use.

GUD Actions and Timeframes

2.7.9 Two initiatives have been undertaken. Firstly, the position of Minister-Counsellor will no longer serve as an unofficial Deputy Head of Mission. Instead, the role of the Minister-Counsellor has been reinforced by having *** the Political and Economic Section as well as the Public Affairs Section. Secondly, GUD has obtained preliminary approval for a new FS-01 position for the PE Section which would significantly alleviate the current overload. Because Italy has now assumed the Presidency of the G8 for 2009, GUD has arranged for a series of temporary measures to assist the Mission during the lead up to the G8 Summit (July 8-10, 2009). Firstly, we are reviewing the expected costs for G8 activities with Diplomatic Corps Services (XDC) and Policy Planning Division (POL) on an on-going basis. Secondly, we have arranged for the new Head of the Political Economic Section to arrive at post in advance of the annual posting cycle. Thirdly, the current Head of the Public Affairs Section will remain in position until the end of June 2009. This will enable *** successor, who currently heads the PE Section, to take on a portion of G8 related duties. Fourthly, we are hoping to obtain approval for a temporary duty position as soon as possible to cover the pre-Summit period during which numerous senior level visits are being scheduled. To help keep costs to a minimum, we plan to use a *** for the temporary duty. In addition to the above actions, we will explore a variety of measures intended to reduce G8 related expenses.

2.7.10 In 1954, Canada and Italy signed a Cultural Agreement under which Italy provided Canada with the sum of $500,000 in return for Canada's contribution to relief efforts after WWII. The intention was to use the funds for cultural events and activities. The previous audit noted that the Mission was endeavouring to keep $300,000 of the principal while using the revenue for cultural purposes. The audit further noted that the fund was not entered in the IMS and suggested that Headquarters (Corporate Finance, Planning and Systems Bureau (SMD) and the Geographic Division) co-manage the account. During the lead up to the 2008 inspection, ZIV asked EU Institutions Southern EU Relations (GUA) to follow up with SMD. This was done but SMD had no information to offer. Following the inspection, ZIV asked GUA to ascertain whether a submission had been made to Treasury Board around 1954 which might indicate how the Fund is to be managed. GUA has been researching this through the National Archives. To date, they have provided an Order-in-Council authorising the then Ambassador in Italy to enter into a cultural agreement. The National Archives has agreed to continue to search for a possible Treasury Board submission. It has indicated that due to a backlog, this may take some time to conclude. Once we have the document, we will share it with ZIV, SMD and the Mission. If the guidelines for the Special Cultural Fund's use are insufficient, we will work with ZIV, SMD and the Mission to draw up suitable guidelines and obtain appropriate approvals. We expect to be able to complete this before the end of February 2009.

International Business Development Program

3.1 Overview

3.1.1 Italy, with a population of approximately 60 million, represents the third largest economy in the Eurozone. Its diversified economy is stratified between the industrial and financial heartland in the northern regions and the more agricultural areas in the south. Per capita incomes in the northern regions are among the highest in Europe.

3.1.2 Italy represents Canada’s seventh largest trading partner. In 2007, Canada imported approximately $504.6 million from and exported $491.5 million to Italy. Total Italian direct investment in Canada rose from $277 million in 1994 to around $982 million in 2005. Total Canadian direct investment (CDIA) in Italy now stands at about $1.4 billion.

3.1.3 The International Business Development (IBD) Section of the Rome Mission has a staff complement of 9.5 full-time equivalents (FTE). The half resource, added in September 2008 from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), notionally splits time evenly between the Rome-based United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Agencies and the IBD Section. In addition to Italy, the Program covers Albania, Malta and San Marino.

Table 4: Business Development Section of the Rome Mission
Rome Mission Staff
Head of ProgramEX-02
AssistantLE-05
Trade Commissioners (TC)FS-02, CO-03 (1/2 time), LE-09 (x4)
Info CentreLE-08, LE-06

3.1.4 The IBD Program’s activities are supported by a $100,000 Client Service Fund (CSF) budget, a $57,000 travel budget and a $17,000 hospitality budget.

3.1.5 According to the most recent IBD Plan provided by the Mission, the Program allocates 25% of its resource complement to trade promotion (including CDIA), 40% to foreign direct investment (FDI) promotion, 25% to Innovation/Science and Technology (ST) and 10% to market access issues.

3.1.6 Priority sectors for fiscal year 2008-2009 include:

  • Aerospace and defence (AD);
  • Pharmaceuticals;
  • Information and communication technology (ICT);
  • Automotive;
  • Environmental technologies; and,
  • Agri-food.

Agri-food was recently given priority status as a result of high levels of activity in that sector (17% of service requests are generated in this sector) and the recent addition of the part-time dedicated resource. Specific resources are deployed to each of these sectors in line with the Integrative Trade Approach (ITA) and in the context of the European Market Plan. In addition two officers have primary functional responsibility for foreign direct investment (FDI) and innovation respectively.

3.1.7 The Program is a member of the newly established Aerospace and Defence and Environmental Technologies multi-market sector teams in Europe.

3.1.8 The closure of the Milan Consulate in March 2007 saw the loss of seven IBD resources in Italy. As a result, the Program’s travel budget has doubled (to the current $57,000) in order to continue to provide effective coverage of the north. It has also conducted strategic planning exercises to redeploy remaining resources more effectively across the country.

3.2 Management of the Program

3.2.1 The IBD Program is considered a *** functioning operation. The organization and deployment of Program resources is*** structured. The Program benefits from *** leadership and a HOM who *** contributes to the activities of the Program. Program staff is committed to the work that they are doing in support of Program and broader Departmental objectives.

3.2.2 The Program is focussed on results and has a good understanding of its market and the opportunities that are available. The STC has a *** knowledge and understanding on how to implement the Global Commerce Strategy (GCS), and the ITA in Italy. Program objectives and priorities are the result of reflection, research and the active involvement of all stakeholders and are clear and focussed.

3.2.3 While the Inspection visit occurred during a time of transition, it is believed that the current strategy is well suited to the operating environment. As a number of new initiatives begin to mature and coalesce, their specific effectiveness will be further ascertained and could potentially be cited as best practices.

3.3 Planning

3.3.1 The closure of Milan coincided with the arrival of the ***. This allowed for a timely strategic review of priorities and resource allocations. A Program retreat and the hiring of a consultant to identify new FDI and Innovation/ST opportunities were key components of the strategic review process.

3.3.2 With *** involvement from the HOM and under the leadership of the STC, the Program re-engineered its priorities and sector allocations. The timing of this exercise was closely aligned to the promulgation of the ITA and was developed in the context of the European Market Plan (EMP) and, as such the re-engineering allowed for these key elements to be incorporated into Program’s revised strategy. All officers interviewed demonstrated a high level of awareness of the ITA and EMP and how they were to be implemented in Italy.

3.3.3 The Program undertakes HQ consultations at the planning stage, including sector specialists. It was noted, however, that not all officers continued to seek information from the sector specialists within the Global Business Opportunities Bureau (BBD). Systematic and ongoing consultation with BBD early in planning activities is encouraged as it enables officers to better complete the triangulation analysis (Canadian capability and interest versus market opportunities) and better understand the dynamic of the value chain specific to their sector.

3.3.4 The Program makes extensive use of the FDI promotional tools provided by the Invest in Canada Bureau (BID) (e.g. sectoral brochures and value propositions). The Program has been provided with performance-ranked list of potential FDI target companies provided by the BID, but felt that it was of limited use in their environment given that the list was comprised of large, publicly traded firms. Due to the composition of the Italian market, namely medium to small size privately-held firms, the Program felt it necessary to expand the list of potential targets to include these firms. This was accomplished, with financial support from HQ, by securing the services of a consultant to supplement the BID list and more fully identify a broader suite of potential target companies with detailed intelligence on each.

3.3.5 The inclusion of Innovation/ST activities is an integral component of the Program’s plans as the Italian government has identified Canada as a priority partner for Innovation/ST. A number of significant memorandums of understanding have been signed recently between leading research institutions in both countries. A recent analysis of innovation priority partners for inclusion in the International ST Partnership Program (ISTPP) by the Global Business Opportunities Bureau (BBD) resulted in Italy’s placement in the second tier of priority partner countries for Canada. The Program believes that there is immense potential for innovative partnerships between Italy and Canada and hopes to be able to demonstrate this to BBT and move Italy into the first tier. An upcoming visit by the Assistant Deputy Minister in charge of ISTPP will represent an opportunity to continue the active dialogue on this issue.

3.3.6 A review of the Program’s IBD Plan, TC Action Plans (with the exception of the 0.5 FTE AAFC resource) and TRIO usage indicated a sharp focus on the revised strategy. Action plans were well developed, realistic and support the achievement of Program objectives. Additionally, all Program staff have seen the PMA for the STC and all have current PMP agreements that reflect articulated priorities and flow from broader sectional objectives.

3.4 Implementation

3.4.1 In addition to well developed action plans for the TCs, the Program benefits from an organized and well-defined division of responsibilities. There are functional specialists for Investment and Innovation/ST who not only pursue specific activities in these sectors, but provide expertise and support to other TCs on outcalls.

3.4.2 The Info Centre has specific responsibilities that allow it to effectively support the Program’s work. Their set-up has been considered a best practice for the Department in the past and continues to be. They provide a key support role for the TCs through conducting background research, preparing meeting materials, doing initial contacts with companies, inputting certain TRIO data and responding to non-priority sector or general inquiries. In addition to this, they maintain the Program library, subscriptions and website and act as TRIO champions, providing updates and training on new releases and consolidating TRIO information and performance data for all officers and the STC.

3.4.3 There is consistent use of TRIO in the Program, although some under reporting was noted on innovation files. Improvement opportunities are being sought in how the Program uses TRIO to track activities in this area. Concerning the use of TRIO for FDI promotion activities, the Program would like to emulate certain best practices that have been developed in the region (namely at the mission in Berlin). Arrangements have been made for a TC from Berlin to visit the Mission to demonstrate a specialized solution developed by that mission.

3.4.4 The Program collaborates on initiatives with other sections within the Mission. They also collaborate and/or seek assistance from other missions in Europe to improve efficiency and operations. As an example, the TC in charge of the auto sector conducted outcalls in northern Italy in conjunction with the Senior Investment Officer from Berlin.

3.4.5 An ongoing issue for the Program is the redeployment of resources from Rome to cover the remainder of the country, particularly the north. An increased travel budget, the establishment of the Ambassador’s Regional Economic Advisory Council (a recently convened council comprised mainly of companies based in the north), the presence of a TC tele-working from Milan and other initiatives have served to mitigate the closure of the Milan consulate. Notwithstanding the above, coverage of the Italian industrial heartland in the north remains a challenge. If an HonCon is established in the region, as requested in the 2008-2009 Italy Country Strategy, consideration should be given to include a commercial mandate.

3.4.6 The *** has been working out of *** home which does not always provide an effective venue for meetings, file storage and other office amenities.

3.4.7 Currently, the hospitality and travel budgets for the Program are managed by the STC. Officers go to *** with specific requests for hospitality events. If officers were provided with their own hospitality budget, it would reduce the need for on-going approvals and provide some autonomy for officers in the planning phase and in pursuit of their objectives. CSF funding has been allocated by officer in their action plans.

3.4.8 While the Program should benefit from the addition of the part-time resource dedicated to Agriculture/Agri-food, an action plan has not yet been developed for this officer. For the first three months of *** tenure*** is largely focussed on *** responsibilities related to the Rome-based UN Food and Agriculture Agencies, given the heavy agenda. No formal work plan or allocation had been agreed to by the two program managers at the time of the Inspection. The nature of both functions (one policy focussed requiring extensive reporting activities, the other requiring timely responses to clients and proactive work outside Rome) are not necessarily complementary. It is also noted that ***.

3.5 Performance Measurement

3.5.1 Program performance is closely monitored by the STC. He regularly reviews performance data from TRIO (through weekly meetings with the Info Centre manager and quarterly performance reports), monitors CSF, travel and hospitality budgets and has regular interaction with all Program staff. All-staff meetings are held weekly following the CMM. The STC places a strong emphasis on adherence to service standards.

3.5.2 Based on performance measurement statistics available through TRIO, there has clearly been an increase in activity per officer since the Milan closure. This can largely be attributed to the refocusing exercise and a commitment by staff to the strategies and involvement of the current HOM and STC. As the Program further consolidates its processes and structure based on this new vision, it is expected that productivity, specifically the targeted number of outcalls (including those with HOM involvement) will further increase.

3.5.3 As stated previously, the Program is a member of two multi-market teams. Fiscal year 2008-2009 was the first operational year for these teams. The Program has seen tangible benefits from their involvement in these teams, namely networking and information sharing with other missions, but also through exploiting further market opportunities in Italy. The Program hopes to further identify specific market opportunities as the multi-market teams move into their second full year of operation. The Program noted that the first year for these teams required a lot of work on process and structure, however, they are hopeful that the teams will move from more introspective activities to the identification of specific business opportunities in the region for Canadian interests.

3.6 Recommendations

Recommendations to the Mission

3.6.1 Newly arrived officers in the Program should receive TRIO and GLI training as soon as possible.

3.6.2 The Mission should seek assistance from Berlin in sharing best practices in terms of TRIO usage for activities related to FDI promotion.

3.6.3 The STC should determine a realistic action plan for the agri-food sector in consultation with the Program Manager for the UN Food and Agriculture Section and in AAFC. The Mission should review the situation in six months and see how feasible the proposed arrangement of sharing the FTE on a 50% basis is. The results of this review should be sent to GUC (European Union Commercial Relations).

3.6.4 The Mission, in consultation with GUC, should continue to explore ways to make our presence in the north, particularly the Milan area, as effective as possible.

3.6.5 The STC should allocate a notional hospitality budget for each of *** Trade Commissioners.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

3.6.1 Recommendation accepted: two of the three newly arrived staff (summer 2008), have taken both GLI and TRIO training. We are consulting with Trade Commissioner Service Renewal (WTR) and eServices (WSE) and the outstanding team member will take first available sessions either in Ottawa or Europe. In progress, March 2009.

3.6.2 The Program Manager has spoken with counterpart in Berlin and they have agreed: 1) to discuss best practices during latter's visit to Rome in February 2009; and 2) that the investment officer in Berlin will come to Rome to participate in a session on FDI promotion and TRIO usage as part of a training session being organized with the Centre for Learning Advisory Services, eLearning and Administration (CFSA). In progress, March 2009.

3.6.3 The Program Manager has discussed with his counterpart at UN/FAO and with the employee. Strategic options in the agriculture sector were the subject of discussions at a recent IBD team retreat. It was agreed that the employee, in consultation with colleagues and Program Manager, will develop an action plan with clear objectives and results. This has been discussed with GUC and will be reviewed jointly in six months. In progress, June 2009.

3.6.4 The Program Manager has consulted with MCO and HOM and will explore options, including shared space with provinces, with a view to establishing a work pod in Milan which, in addition to enhancing the efficiency of our tele-worker, will facilitate the visits of IBD and other Mission officials. In progress, September 2009.

3.6.5 The Program Manager will include the strategic use of hospitality in discussions with officers on individual work plans. Notional budgets for each officer will flow from these discussions. In progress, June 2009.

Recommendation to the Invest in Canada Bureau (IIP)

3.6.6 IIP should engage in an active dialogue with Rome and other missions in Europe (where private companies dominate the market) to explore ways to provide FDI intelligence more suited to the nature of these markets.

IIP Action and Timeframe

3.6.6 Invest in Canada Bureau will discuss with all European missions at a meeting of STC/Investment Managers on February 3-4, 2009 different ways of getting FDI intelligence according to specificity of the market. IIP (BID) has already funded pilot projects of that type in the past.

Recommendation to the Global Business Opportunities Bureau (BBD)

3.6.7 BBD should continue an active dialogue with the mission to determine the status of Italy in the context of the ISTPP.

BBD Action and Timeframe

3.6.7 Our department has developed a list of priority countries with which to focus our ST and Innovation efforts in order to be able to manage our limited resources. The list was developed using a suite of 32 quantifiable Research and Development (RD) and economic criteria to identify those countries whose RD capabilities complement our own, which demonstrate strong market potential, and which offer positive investment environments. These countries include: ***. This list is also being used to identify those countries for which funding would be allocated should additional funding became available as well as broad-based ST and innovation engagement with these countries in a number of scientific fields. Nevertheless, it is acknowledged that there does exist, in non-priority countries such as Italy, world-class expertise in one or two areas. BBD will continue an active dialogue with the Mission to identify these specific areas in order to promote collaboration with Canada.

Recommendation to the European Union Geographic Bureau (GUD)

3.6.8 GUD should seek inputs from Rome and other participating missions on how to best generate added value for clients in the context of this second year of implementation of the European multi-market teams.

GUD Action and Timeframe

3.6.8 At the time the Inspection took place, the European multi-market teams were still in the planning stages. Since then, they have entered into the implementation phase of their recently-developed action plans. A number of concrete activities targeting specific areas of opportunity have been organised, such as a successful life sciences mission to the ***. As part of the 2009-2010 business planning cycle and through direct involvement in the work of these teams, GUD will seek input from participating missions, including Rome, to ensure that plans continue to translate into concrete actions that generate value-added and market intelligence for clients.

United Nation Food and Agriculture Agenciesm

4.1 Overview

4.1.1 The Rome-based UN Food and Agriculture Agency Multilateral Program is an active unit within the Mission. The Program coordinates the Government of Canada's representation on the boards and various sub-committees of the Rome-based UN Food and Agriculture Agencies. These agencies include the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The Program is comprised of the Ambassador to Italy who also acts as the Permanent Representative to the Rome-based UN Food and Agriculture Agencies, the Deputy Permanent Representative (who acts as Program Manager (PM)), the Alternate Permanent Representative, a half-time Agricultural Sector Representative and a support staff complement of 1.5 FTE.

4.1.2 Lead roles have been assigned to each of the officers on key files. The assignment has been such that each officer remains current on specific issues. All officers are expected to maintain an overview of the activities of each organization so as to be able to serve as replacements for one another should the need arise.

4.1.3 It is noted that it is not the usual set-up to co-locate the UN Food and Agriculture Agencies Representatives Offices with an embassy, as most other G8 and European countries have permanent and separate missions to these organizations and locate these missions close to the headquarters of these three organizations. This situation has created certain operational challenges for the Program.

4.1.4 Canada assumes key positions on the management committees of these three organizations (e.g. Program Committee for FAO and Executive Board for the WFP). As of October 2008, Canada was the third largest financial contributor to the WFP during the year. Due to these factors, and the advanced state of Canada's technological expertise in food production, security and safety matters, the Program is *** active in the ongoing sessions and meetings related to the functions of these Organizations. This was especially true during the time of the Inspection as the FAO and its member countries were in the midst of negotiating an action plan to address proposed reforms that were articulated through a comprehensive external evaluation. Canada is taking an active role in negotiating the implementation of the proposed reforms.

4.2 Management of the Program

4.2.1 The Program is well managed and served by a*** team. The Program expressed appreciation for the HOMs engagement on these files. Perhaps most importantly*** is able to facilitate access to key contacts and interlocutors both within the UN Food and Agriculture Agency mission community and within Canada.

4.2.2 Given the constant activity, it is often difficult for the Program to communicate face-to-face and devote the time necessary to formal meetings and information sharing. The Program has been making the best of this situation by employing remote tools, such as using personal digital assistants (PDA) cell phones to organize activities and remain in contact.

4.2.3 The 1.5 FTE support staff plays a key role by organizing the schedules and briefing materials for the permanent representatives and delegates. Their contribution enables the officers to focus on program issues and remain out of the office for extended periods.

4.2.4 Consolidation of the Program into the broader Mission has created some issues in terms of visibility both within DFAIT and the UN Food and Agriculture Agency missions community. The lack of a distinct title and the corresponding identity that comes along with that can hinder operations. At times information is sent to the general Mission email or mail address and, as such, it can take some time to reach the Program.

4.3 Implementation

4.3.1 In addition to having a leading position in management structures and being actively involved in the reform agenda at the FAO, the ongoing work of these three organizations necessitates a regular Canadian presence at the program and oversight committees. With two and a half resources dedicated to these functions, the Program must constantly prioritize their work and schedules, as it is not possible to attend each and every session or meeting. This is due to resource and other limitations which will be further elaborated and discussed in this section.

4.3.2 A significant hindrance to more fulsome participation at sessions and meetings is the location of the Embassy Annex, where the Section office is situated, and the headquarters of the three organizations. The FAO complex is approximately 6km from the Annex while the WFP and IFAD complexes are about 15km through congested areas. One employee moved Staff Quarters to a location closer to the headquarters to facilitate participation in meetings. Given the situation mentioned above, specifically the distance between the Annex and the UN Food and Agriculture Agency headquarters, the Section makes extensive use of Mission drivers and taxis. The cost-effectiveness of the use of taxis versus having a dedicated section driver has not been assessed.

4.3.3 Most other countries situate their missions to the UN Food and Agriculture Agencies in close proximity to the FAO building, which is closer to the other two UN Food and Agriculture Agency headquarters than the Annex. This situation also compromises the ability of Program staff to meet and liaise directly with ambassadors and delegates from other UN Food and Agriculture Agency missions.

4.3.4 The recent addition of the half time AAFC resource (shared with the IBD Section) should help to alleviate some of the operational pressures on the unit. Given the high level of activity generated by both of these roles, whose nature does not lend itself to economies of scale, management of plans, priorities and overall expectations for this employee should be carefully considered. (See paragraphs 3.4.8 and 3.6.3)

4.3.5 The other staff have PMPs and learning plans. A concern of the Inspection Team is the time available for and, as a consequence of that, the priority given to training needs. While it is inherently difficult for Section staff to be away from their offices given the lack of redundancy in roles, career development, especially for primary office skills and knowledge of official languages, should be a priority. This is especially true given the size of the Section and key role of each staff member.

4.4 Recommendations

Recommendations to the Mission

4.4.1 The UN Section and Administration should analyze travel costs for the Section.

4.4.2 Approved PMP/learning plans should be implemented.

4.4.3 The Program Manager should hold bi-weekly section meetings to allow for information sharing among section staff. Brief minutes should be kept and circulated to record key information received and decisions taken.

4.4.4 The Section should liaise with HQ groups to evaluate the possibility of establishing a more distinct identity for the Section within the broader Mission. This would include establishing a SIGNET group account.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

4.4.1 Recommendation accepted: an analysis for travel costs will be undertaken in the first quarter of FY 2009/2010, as this is when sufficient data will be available based on the recently increased staffing profile of the Program (RPERM). This analysis will include options for different office locations or a dedicated RPERM driver. In progress, April 2009.

4.4.2 Recommendation accepted: once conclusions have been reached regarding Mission wide approaches to informatics and official language training, RPERM LES training plans will be implemented immediately. In progress, February 2009.

4.4.3 Recommendation accepted: weekly Section meetings were initiated upon arrival of the AAFC seconded officer to RPERM in November 2008. A record of decision and follow-up actions will be kept, starting in January 2009.

4.4.4 Implemented: a distinct SIGNET designation for RPERM was established as of December 5, 2008.

Consular Program

5.1 Management of the Program

5.1.1 The Consular Program is overseen by the MCO with day-to-day management exercised by the DMCO. The team also includes a Consular Officer (LE-08), who manages consular cases, a Consular Officer (LE-07), who provides legal/notarial services, and a Consular Receptionist (LE-05). Passport services are provided by a Passport Officer (LE-08) and three assistants (LE-05). The staff is knowledgeable and client service oriented and the Program maintains good links with like-minded missions. The Program also oversees Honorary Consuls (HonCons) in Naples and Padova (Italy), Tirana (Albania) and Valletta (Malta).

5.1.2 The staff feel that the Program is adequately resourced and the workload is manageable, as long as backup is provided to cover for holidays and other long term absences. Currently backup is being provided from within the Section or by use of term employees, and this seems to be working well. The closure of the mission in Milan in 2007 has added to the consular workload in Rome, as the number of passport services grew by 25% in 2007 compared with 2006. However, the addition of a new position has been sufficient to deal with the increased workload.

5.1.3 The new DMCO/Consular spent *** first three years at the Mission as the DMCO responsible for the Property function. After only a short time in the Consular position*** has initiated many *** changes focussing on people (staff, partners and clients) with the goal of enhancing service delivery and ***. A Consular workplan through summer 2009, with input solicited from all staff, has been developed and a portion of the budget has been allocated for staff development. Weekly meetings are held and the minutes are posted on the I:drive. Service standards and fees have been displayed in the Consular reception area.

5.2 Internal Controls

5.2.1 Currently, two of the LES Consular Officers are approving passport applications. In accordance with Passport Canada regulations, only certified Canada-based Staff (CBS) or LES holding a secret clearance should verify original documents and approve passport applications prior to passport issuance. ***.

5.2.2 The passport inventory is reconciled monthly by the DMCO and quarterly with the HOM. However, the Mission should ensure that both the monthly reconciliation as well as the receipt of stock are completed in the presence of a second CBS and that both are signing the forms. The Mission recently created an official seals inventory and this should be reconciled yearly.

5.2.3 In order to strengthen revenue control procedures, the Program should change the process for the transfer and safekeeping of funds received from clients as well as internal transfers between staff ***.

5.2.4 The cash register currently in use in the Consular Section does not have a void function. As a result, should a void be required the Consular Receptionist must alter the register tape by hand and adjust her totals manually when reconciling the day’s transactions.***.

5.2.5 The Program has three petty cash funds,*** which are held by the***. The Mission should reassess this requirement as each petty cash is used only a few times a year.

5.2.6 Absences during the summer peak period and an ongoing maternity leave, have been filled by term employees or by LES in acting appointments. ***.

5.2.7 ***.

5.3 Client Service

5.3.1 Annually, the Mission provides an average of 3,000 passport services, processes approximately 400 citizenship applications and provides over 700 legal/notarial services. The Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) system indicates that there are 447 Canadians registered in the Mission’s areas of accreditation, however, the Mission estimates that the actual number of Canadians resident is 50,000 in Italy. There are two wardens in Albania, but as in other western European countries, the warden network is not used. The Duty Officer Manual has recently been updated and the Mission is reviewing its internet content. The Consular Contingency Plan (ConPlan) for areas of accreditation needs to be updated.

5.3.2 The Program is meeting service standards for passport issuance. Feedback forms are made available to clients, however, feedback to date has been limited. Only 15 forms were received for the period of July-September 2008, and the results and forms have been sent to HQ. The Mission should examine ways to increase the number of responses, such as including feedback forms when returning passports and citizenship cards to clients by mail and in person. HonCons should also be encouraged to find ways to make the forms more accessible to clients.

5.3.3 Recent renovations to the Consular Section have not only created a more functional workspace and a better area to receive clients, but have also greatly contributed to improved staff morale.

5.3.4 Service/collaboration provided by the HonCons was judged by the Mission to be *** good. The Mission is currently working on developing workplans and identifying objectives for them which could result in a more proactive approach to their work. ***.

5.4 Recommendations

Recommendations to the Mission

5.4.1 The passport approval function should be exercised by a certified CBS officer.

5.4.2 ***

5.4.3 The Mission should ensure that two CBS participate in the monthly reconciliation of passports and the receipt of new passport stock and ensure they both sign the forms.

5.4.4 The official seals inventory should be reconciled yearly.

5.4.5 An official receipt should be issued to the client as soon as payment is made.

5.4.6 The Program should review funds safekeeping ***.

5.4.7 When it is necessary to void a transaction, the DMCO should sign the cash register internal tape to verify the void.

5.4.8 ***

5.4.9 Consular staff should use official receipts when transferring funds internally within the Section and have two people count money every time it changes hands.

5.4.10 The Section should assess if three petty cash funds are necessary.

5.4.11 ***

5.4.12 ***

5.4.13 The Mission should ensure that the Conplan is updated yearly.

5.4.14 The Mission and HonCons should promote the completion of client feedback forms in order to obtain more information on the quality of services provided.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.4.1 Recommendation accepted: a new process for passport applications will be implemented and certified CBS officers will exclusively exercise the passport approval function. In progress, January 2009.

5.4.2 Recommendation accepted: ***

5.4.3 Implemented December 2008: two CBS now participate in the monthly reconciliation of passports and the receipt of new passport stock; both sign the forms.

5.4.4 Implemented November 2008: official seals inventory reconciled.

5.4.5 Recommendation accepted: the Mission is in the process of procuring a new cash register that will print receipts in triplicate and enable one copy to be issued to clients immediately. In progress, February 2009.

5.4.6 Recommendation accepted: ***

5.4.7 Implemented December 2008: the DMCO now voids transactions when required.

5.4.8 Recommendation accepted: ***

5.4.9 Recommendation accepted: ***

5.4.10 Implemented November 2008: funds were reviewed and reduced to one petty cash of ***

5.4.11 Recommendation accepted: ***

5.4.12 Implemented November 2008: ***

5.4.13 Recommendation accepted: Conplan has been updated and is in the finalization/approval phase. In progress, January 2009.

5.4.14 Recommendation accepted: Mission feedback processes revised to strengthen anonymity at the Mission, broaden the scope of clients from whom we get feedback (e.g. by mail), and encourage more and freer feedback. HonCons will be given an objective of increasing client feedback in the new year. In progress, March 2009.

Administration Program

6.1 Overview

6.1.1 The Administration Program is managed by an EX-01 MCO (currently filled by an EX-02) assisted by an AS-04 DMCO and 21 LES. There are also two Foreign Service Information Technology Professionals (FSITPs) and two term Chancery Annex project staff within the Program. Overall procedures, practices and policies are in place. The MCO, as well as being responsible for this Program and Consular, is also the Mission Security Officer (MSO) with the DMCO providing assistance as the Deputy MSO.

6.1.2 The Program supports the Mission (in its two locations) as well as the mission at the Holy See. It also provides some administrative assistance to Canadians assigned to the North American Treaty Organization (NATO) Defence College.

6.1.3 The MCO has identified a number of areas that have the potential to improve efficiency and effectiveness, such as:

  • Transferring procedures, etc. from the shared drive to the Mission’s new Intranet site;
  • Outsourcing the payroll function; and,
  • Using more term staffing rather than contractors or emergency employment.

6.1.4 The Program recently created a Client Service Centre (CSC) to provide clients with a one-stop shop for the submission of service requests as well as to provide advice and guidance on policies, practices and procedures. The Program has also been working on the refurbishment of the Via Zara Annex and the preparation for the Chancery configuration project. The amount of change that has occurred in the past year has been a challenge. Section staff and Mission staff have had to adapt to the re-configuration of roles and responsibilities, and it will be an ongoing challenge to ensure further changes do not occur too swiftly.

6.1.5 The Program *** supports the HOM’s vision of improving client service throughout the Mission. A good start has been made in providing training and the creation of the CSC processes. The next step will be to continue to encourage staff to find a *** balance between control and client focus. Changing staff approach as well as client expectations will not happen overnight and will need continual monitoring, communications and reinforcement.

6.1.6 As these new processes solidify, the Mission will need to review and update its Service Standards (last done in 2004 when the generic standards were issued) so that both staff and clients have a clear understanding of time-lines and responsibilities. Service standards should be reviewed for consistency (i.e. it is not clear if it is five days for a travel advance or ten days as both are listed as the standard in various documents).

6.1.7 Communications within the Program include a monthly all-Section meeting and semi-monthly bilateral and section head meetings, which are mirrored in the various functional areas.

6.1.8 With intra-Program communications now established it is time for the Program to expand its engagement with clients. This has started with the Program providing information sessions on the new work order system, and IMS training for program assistants. While many are now using these tools, there are staff that still need more outreach and training to adapt and accept these new systems. This could be accomplished by the continued training of front line staff and clients, using the new Intranet site as a communications vehicle and obtaining regular feedback from clients.

6.1.9 The level of responsibility of the DMCO/Property position has evolved and the Mission presented a business case to HQ to increase its level. However, a current freeze on MCO reclassifications has meant that this change has not yet been able to take place.

Recommendations to the Mission

6.1.10 The Mission should review and update Service Standards.

6.1.11 The Program should develop a communications plan to achieve buy-in from clients regarding the new processes and structures.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

6.1.10 Recommendation accepted: following full implementation of the Client Service Centre, the Service Standards will be reviewed and realigned to reflect the current realities. Once approved by Mission Management, they will be formal communicated to all clients. In progress, July 2009.

6.1.11 Recommendation accepted: communications tools to be developed in collaboration with an outside consultant. In progress, March 2009.

6.2 Human Resources (HR)

6.2.1 Human Resource management at the Mission is the responsibility of the MCO ***, assisted by the Personnel Specialist Officer. Other staff in the Program also assist with HR duties such as CBS relocations and LES payroll. The LE-05 Accountant is responsible for the LES payroll function.

6.2.2 The recent creation of the International Platform Branch has consolidated a number of functional bureaux which provide common services including physical resources, information management and technology, and foreign service directives. Teething pains were affecting client service as it was noted that there were limited communications from client service advisors, voice boxes that were full so messages could not be left, staff shortages that affected payments, etc.

6.2.3 The Mission indicated that, given its size, there is a need for another half FTE for the HR function to consolidate duties and a half FTE to assist in the Finance Section. Prior to submitting a business case for a new position, work among current administration staff should be reallocated to allow functional staff to concentrate on their main duties and client service. For example:

  • Drivers could assist in the delivery and receipt of air freight bags;
  • The Main Receptionist could undertake leave and attendance data entry; and
  • The Registry Clerk could assume filing duties in the Finance Section one day per week.

Once this analysis is complete and service standards have been reviewed, the Mission should be in a better position to determine what, if any, positions are needed.

6.2.4 As noted above, the Mission has concerns with the workload of the Finance Section. The Senior Accountant currently supervises the three receptionist positions. As the Visits/Protocol Officer, will no longer oversee the Dispatcher/Drivers, the Mission may consider this position, or another, to assume that responsibility so that the Senior Accountant can focus on Finance duties only. A roster to back-up receptionist duties should also be developed so that they may attend the monthly Administration staff meetings.

6.2.5 The Program will be reevaluating the CSC staff job descriptions due to changes to their roles and responsibilities. Following this, a planned review of the assistant positions within the Mission is to be undertaken. The Program also indicated that, once the Chancery consolidation project is complete, the Mission will need to re-assess its staff complement. Some staff indicated that their job descriptions were out-of-date, therefore the Program should provide staff with the appropriate steps to follow regarding how job descriptions should be reviewed, updated and approved.

6.2.6 Designated staff within the Mission have the capacity to provide services in both official languages as well as in Italian. In other areas, procedures have been developed for employees who have limited capacity in either official language. The Mission is currently developing an Intranet site and is in the process of having all documents translated before posting.

6.2.7 The Section is exploring ways to automate processing by:

  • Out-sourcing the LES payroll function if feasible or further automating the current system;
  • Modifying the leave/attendance program to allow for electronic entry and approval; and,
  • Obtaining a bar code reader for lunch coupon data entry.

In order to reduce the number of competitions, the Mission is creating eligibility lists so Programs will have access to pre-screened staff when needed. This will serve to reduce the number of personal service contracts, emergency employment and ultimately time spent on competition requirements.

6.2.8 Concerns were raised regarding certain competition processes conducted by previous management, as there was a perception that different processes were being used for different sections. As well, the implementation of procedures under the new Public Services Employment Act (PSEA)and the Public Service Modernization Act (PSMA) *** has caused some confusion. The Program should consult with Locally Engaged Staff Services Bureau (HLD) regarding the policy of using these processes for LES and communicate the results to all staff to ensure transparency and clarity.

6.2.9 ***.

6.2.10 While there is oversight by the Official Liaison Assistant (LE-05) regarding the Official Residence (OR) staff work requirements, they have limited connection with the Chancery regarding policy and procedural changes. The Mission should establish a mechanism to ensure that the OR staff are provided with regular updates.

6.2.11 Overall the filing structure was comprehensive. The Mission was maintaining EXT208s by position while they should be filed in the employee file. The MCO should review and sign all EXT208s. It would be beneficial if the Section kept template documents (for example job advertisements) on the shared-drive for ease of access during unanticipated HR staff absences.

Recommendations to the Mission

6.2.12 The Mission should clarify the roles and responsibilities of HR, Finance and Administration staff prior to requesting a new resource.

6.2.13 The Program should recirculate the process for up-dating job descriptions.

6.2.14 The Mission should review the Senior Accountant’s responsibility for supervision of the receptionists or have this role deployed elsewhere.

6.2.15 The Mission should develop a roster for back-up receptionist coverage to allow receptionists to attend administrative meetings.

6.2.16 The Program should consult HLD regarding the policy of using PSEA-PSMA processes for LES competitions.

6.2.17 The Program should communicate competition practices and procedures to all staff.

6.2.18 ***

6.2.19 The Mission should ensure that OR staff are provided with updates on Mission processes and policies.

6.2.20 The Section should keep EXT208s in the employee file and the MCO should review and approve as appropriate.

6.2.21 The Section should keep standard templates on the shared-drive or within another common filing system.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

6.2.12 Recommendation accepted: roles and responsibilities will be reviewed accordingly. In progress, April 2009.

6.2.13 Recommendation accepted: check list to be developed and circulated to all staff. In progress, April 2009.

6.2.14 Recommendation noted: throughout the past several years supervision of the receptionists has been shifted several times and more change in that area would create undue pressure and stress. The completion of a recent selection process has brought increased stability to the unit. In addition, the current reporting relationship has improved the efficiency and effectiveness for this pool. Following consolidation of the Mission on one site, the role of the receptionists will be reevaluated.

6.2.15 Recommendation accepted: rotational back up roster to be established. In progress, February 2009.

6.2.16 Recommendation accepted: the Mission is not using PSEA processes for LES competitions. Instead, the Mission is incorporating the spirit of the PSMA into the HR management processes. The Mission appoints top ranking (best fit) candidate to positions based on pre-established requirements for positions and establishes eligibility lists (qualified pools) where applicable. We have been using the more 'modern' terminology that reflects the principles of PSMA and the new PSEA. We *** await the revised LES Regulations that is currently under review by HLD and the Public Service Commission (PSC).

6.2.17 Recommendation accepted: competition practices will be communicated to all staff. In progress, April 2009.

6.2.18 Recommendation accepted: a reminder will be sent to all CBS. In progress, February 2009.

6.2.10 Recommendation accepted: in recent weeks issues have been resolved around internet connectivity. In addition, the OR staff have been incorporated into this Mission wide event to help facilitate this process. With the advent of the intranet site, which will be operational in the new year, all OR staff will have access to Mission documents. In progress, April 2009.

6.2.20 Recommendation accepted: EXT 208s will be moved to the employee files. In progress, April 2009.

6.2.21 Recommendation accepted: templates will be put on the shared drive. In progress, February 2009.

6.3 Physical Resources

6.3.1 The Property, Maintenance and Materiel Services (PMMS) Section is managed by the DMCO - Property. *** is assisted by an LE-07 Maintenance Manager, an LE-07 Materiel Manager, an LE-06 Building Superintendent (main chancery), two LE-05 Materiel and Maintenance Assistants, and two Handymen. The Program maintains a Crown-owned Chancery, two leased chancery properties (Holy See and Via Zara Annex), two Crown-owned Official Residences (OR), as well as 26 Crown-leased staff quarters (SQs). All properties viewed by the Inspection Team are deemed to be in good condition.

6.3.2 The Section is functioning well. Control of materiel assets and procedures governing maintenance operations are sound with effective planning in place (Mission Property Management Program/PRIME database/Mission Maintenance Work Plan). With the number of organizational changes, new initiatives, and the implementation of new tools recently introduced by the Mission, the Section is positioning itself to provide a high level of client service. The Section is adequately resourced to deliver its key services. While staff are knowledgeable, there are three key areas that should be addressed in order for program delivery to be successful:

  • Client expectations should be discussed and program deliverables developed. Both the capacity of program delivery and reasonable client requirements should ultimately be met;
  • Service delivery standards must be updated and clearly communicated to clients and staff; and,
  • Staff should be provided with an appropriate level of client service training, and expectations of supervisors must be regularly communicated to staff and reinforced.

Best Practices

6.3.3 As part of the Mission Client Service Centre initiative introduced in July 2008, the Program rolled out an electronic service order request system. This allows the Section to track and action a wide variety of service, maintenance and materiel requests. It also provides clients with the ability to provide feedback regarding the quality of services received and to acknowledge that work has been completed in a satisfactory manner.

6.3.4 The Handymen meet every morning with the Maintenance/Materiel Assistants in order to discuss and schedule work, which facilitates *** interaction and feedback. As a result, the Handymen indicated that they consider that their work is valued by the organization.

6.3.5 A leasing check-list, which includes work breakdown schedule, has recently been developed by the PMMS. This checklist will provide a detailed listing of all aspects of the leasing process and procedures and will provide guidance (with related time lines) to all staff involved in the acquisition of new properties.

6.3.6 An acquisition card has been provided to one of the Handymen so that purchases of material for approved repairs and maintenance can be undertaken in a timely fashion, saving time and providing the handymen the flexibility needed to plan their activities.

6.3.7 Life expectancy tables are used for the planning of capital asset acquisitions which provides management with clear information upon which to base replacement decisions.

6.3.8 The Mission uses an electronic database program - Administration Integrated Systems - to catalogue and inventory all assets. This facilitates the tracking of these assets and assists in program/purchase planning.

Annex Renovation Project

6.3.9 A project involving the renovation and upgrade of the 4th and 5th floors at the Via Zara Annex is currently stalled due to configuration and space issues as well as problems involving the secondary egress routing. If the landlord is unwilling to agree to the secondary egress routing proposed by the Physical Resources Bureau (ARD), the Mission should seek authority from ARD to proceed with the floor renovation project and address the secondary egress as a separate project.

Record Keeping

6.3.10 Inventories and occupancy agreements for the OR and SQs are current and have been appropriately signed by occupants, with the exception of one. Although the CBS employee had been reminded several times over the past year by administration, no response has been received.

6.3.11 At present, CBS are provided with a copy of the completed inventory form and are requested to check the items listed and, when satisfied, sign and return the form to the PMMS. In future, a member of the PMMS should review the list of furnishings and equipment with the occupant at the SQ. The occupant should be provided a short period of time to review the inventory on their own and sign the form.

6.3.12 Inventories for the Chancery and the Via Zara Annex are currently being updated and individual office occupants will be required to sign for assets within their control. Common area assets should be signed off by the Materiel Manager or the DMCO/Property.

6.3.13 The Handymen and the Building Superintendent have been provided with a number of tools and assorted equipment which they use during the performance of their duties. Although these assets are catalogued within the inventory management system, staff have not been requested to sign and take responsibility for these assets.

6.3.14 Disposal records for the sale of surplus crown assets are well maintained. Through the use of the Administration’s Integrated System, the Program is able to track all assets under their control as well as items identified for disposal.

6.3.15 ***.

6.3.16 Vehicle logs for official vehicles are being maintained for most vehicles although the use of “calendar” print-outs should be discouraged to track usage as this tends to separate individual vehicle usage by vehicle operator and not by the individual vehicle itself. As well, monthly reconciliations are not consistently being undertaken nor being signed off by the supervisor. Handymen vehicle logs were incomplete. Administration should review standard practices with all involved staff and provide guidance to ensure compliance.

6.3.17 Contracts and contracting procedures are seen to be well managed, although a main contracting register should be used to file and track complete information regarding the contracting process, including the Contract Review Board (CRB) sign off and approval form. It is noted that the Mission is in the process of redrafting the Terms of Reference of the CRB following the visit of the Departmental Contracting Bureau (SPP). As the CRB meets virtually, this up-date should also outline the times it should physically meet as a group (i.e. to discuss trends, new procedures, large-value contracts, etc.).

6.3.18 The Mission has developed an annual capital acquisition plan which is presented to the CMM for priority setting and approval. This is an important feature in the PMMS displaying transparency in operations to all programs within the Mission. While this is seen as a best practice, the Mission is encouraged to develop a multi-year capital acquisition plan in order to better position itself to deal with longer range materiel purchase issues.

Staff Quarters

6.3.19 Currently, only members of the Housing Committee and PMMS staff are involved in the review of potential SQ acquisitions. Upon acquisition of a new lease for SQ use, one of the Military Security Guards (MSGs) should be invited to review the property to ensure that it meets basic security standards. The MSG’s have developed a security related checklist which would assist in this process.

6.3.20 ***.

6.3.21 All SQ occupants are responsible for personal telephone, cable/satellite, and internet fees. While the Mission maintains connection of telephone service to the SQ when the SQ is vacant due to relocations, cable and internet service is discontinued. Many CBS raised concerns regarding the length of time it takes often months to have cable and internet services connected once they have taken possession of their SQ. The Mission may wish to consider maintaining connection for these utilities during the relocation period if the incoming occupant agrees to assume the monthly fees once relocation takes place. This could save time and frustration for newly arriving staff, allow for immediate usage and facilitate the adjustment process.

Official Residence

6.3.22 The OR and its surrounding property are being well maintained by the OR staff with the support of the Mission Maintenance and Materiel Services Section. Several major projects (electrical, plumbing upgrades) are scheduled to take place after the departure of the current HOM ***. A plan should be developed by the Mission for temporary accommodation (which will be required to house either the outgoing or newly arriving HOM) while these major renovations are undertaken.

6.3.23 ***. The bedroom windows are situated directly facing a road, which results in significant noise as these windows are of old wooden frame/single paned construction.

6.3.24 The HOM is paying an appropriate share for consumable items, satellite/cable TV and telephone services used at the OR. An inventory of official wines and liquors is maintained at the OR by the Majordomo/Butler and the Chef. An annual reconciliation should be conducted and verified by the MCO or another designated staff member.

Service Request System

6.3.25 The service order request system is presently indicating a large backlog of service requests which are past their due date for completion. However, there are a number of the requests that should be removed or retired as no further action can be taken (ie. requests for material or services that should have been denied).

6.3.26 Since the implementation of the service order request system in July 2008, PMMS staff indicated they have questions regarding the application and functionality of the system. This program is not yet supported by the Mission’s Information Technology Section, (pending the system’s approval by HQ), however, the Mission should contact the commercial supplier of the software or one of several experienced users of the system located at one of our missions abroad (Guangzhou, Washington, Warsaw) in order to obtain necessary assistance.

Recommendations for the Mission

6.3.27 In consultation with ARD, the Mission should proceed with the 4th and 5th floor renovations project without delay. In the event that the secondary egress routing issue cannot be resolved, this project should be dealt with separately.

6.3.28 The Mission should take immediate and appropriate action to ensure all inventory and occupancy agreements are signed. These documents should be signed off within two weeks of the SQ occupant taking possession of the furnishings and equipment provided in the SQ.

6.3.29 A member of the PMMS as well as the SQ occupant should be present at the SQ when the inventory check is undertaken.

6.3.30 Once the Chancery and Via Zara Annex inventories have been updated, office occupants should be requested to sign for assets within their immediate work areas. Common area assets should be signed off by the Materiel Manager or the DMCO/Property.

6.3.31 Inventories of tools and equipment which have been provided to the Handymen and the Building Superintendent should be signed off by the respective employees.

6.3.32 ***

6.3.33 The Mission should ensure that vehicle logs are maintained for all official vehicles and that monthly reconciliations are undertaken.

6.3.34 The Mission should ensure that a main contract register is prepared which retains all relevant information necessary to track the contract tendering approval process.

6.3.35 The Mission should prepare multi-year capital acquisition plans and update and present them to the CMM for approval on an annual basis.

6.3.36 The Mission should ensure that a member of the MSG unit is invited to review any new SQ acquisitions so that appropriate security considerations can be addressed.

6.3.37 ***

6.3.38 The key sign-out register should be utilized once appropriate authorization for distribution has been received.

6.3.39 The Mission should plan for potential temporary accommodation for the HOM and family during planned major renovations at the OR ***

6.3.40 The Mission should arrange to upgrade the “cottage” facility windows ***.

6.3.41 The Mission should ensure that an annual reconciliation of official wines and liquors is undertaken.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

6.3.27 Recommendation accepted: after consultations with ARD, and a significant reduction in the project scope and budget, the project is proceeding as planned this fiscal year. The egress routing issue is being dealt with separately. In progress, April 2009.

6.3.28 Recommendation implemented December 2008.

6.3.29 Recommendation accepted: this practice will be implemented during the summer 2009 turnover.

6.3.30 Recommendation accepted: once the Annex renovation has been completed, the inventory work will be undertaken. In progress, June 2009.

6.6.31 Recommendation accepted: the necessary inventories will be signed off. In progress, February 2009.

6.3.32 ***

6.3.33 Recommendation accepted: vehicle logs and monthly reconciliations are in the process of being updated. In progress, February 2009.

6.3.34 Recommendation accepted: the Mission is the process of finalizing a new contracting procedure, which includes the maintenance of a new contracting registry. In progress, April 2009.

6.3.35 Recommendation accepted: the annual capital acquisition plan already includes a list of carry over purchases for future fiscal years. This will be used as the basis to develop a multi-year plan. In progress, April 2009.

6.3.36 Recommendation accepted and implemented: one of the MSGs will tour all potential SQ rentals prior to the signing of any new lease.

6.3.37 Recommendation accepted: ***

6.3.38 Recommendation accepted: ***

6.3.39 Recommendation accepted: discussions to be initiated. In progress, June 2009.

6.3.40 Recommendation accepted: two quotations for replacing the windows have been submitted. Once a third is obtained, the most competitive bidder will undertake the work. In progress, March 2009.

6.3.41 Oversight (such as opening and serving of the wine) and reconciliation of the official wine and liquor inventory is provided by the Butler and the Chef, and the Mission feels this annual oversight suffices without the need for a CBS to perform an annual reconciliation.

6.4 Finance

6.4.1 The MCO serves as the MFO with the assistance of an LE-08 Senior Accountant, an LE-05 Accountant (also responsible for the LES payroll function) and an LE-04 Assistant Accountant. One of the Receptionists also provides periodic support to the Section. The Section also processes the accounts for the mission to the Holy See. The Mission plans to investigate outsourcing the payroll function. The Mission should also consult with Mission Business Process Innovation and Best Practices (ASB) about potential departmental solutions currently being explored.

6.4.2 Finance staff displayed a good understanding of policies and procedures. Documentation was found to be well organized and complete. The Mission has devolved budgets for DFAIT programs beyond hospitality, travel and overtime which is a best practice. The Section also provides training to program assistants on reviewing IMS data. As some of these assistants do not use the system regularly, refresher training may be needed.

Client Service

6.4.3 While standards have been established, there is some confusion regarding certain services provided. Finance staff believe all internal client requests have a ten day service standard, but the Service Standard document indicates a five day service for travel advances, which clients may be expecting. The Section should review its service standards to ensure they are realistic for both the clients and the Section. Once finalized these should be submitted to the CMM for approval and circulated to all staff.

6.4.4 To assist with the development of realistic service standards and to ensure a controlled work environment, the Section should institute the following recommendations:

  • Date stamp all invoices/claims when the documents arrive in the Section. Should further clarification/information be required, the invoices should be re-stamped when returned to allow for proper tracking;
  • Establish quiet hours so that staff have a set period to do work requiring concentration; and
  • Ensure only authorized staff have access to the Finance work area.

Internal Controls

6.4.5 As noted in paragraph 2.6.2, the Mission has a special purpose account for cultural events in Italy and which currently has approximately $300,000 in the account. Currently, the Mission maintains manual records for this account. The Mission should consult with SMS regarding the appropriate procedures to follow so that these transactions are properly reported in the public accounts.

6.4.6 To enhance the processes for handling petty cash accounts, the Mission should:

  • Conduct periodic spot checks;
  • Have receipts approved for payment by the appropriate Section 34 signatory;
  • Ensure the recipient signs when the payment or reimbursement is made;
  • Count and sign over the petty cash when transferred to another staff member during absences;
  • Adjust the coding so that the Drivers’ standing advances are properly reflected as such; and,
  • Change the combination of the Administration Assistant’s filing cabinet so that other employees do not have access to the petty cash box.

6.4.7 Financial Operations - International (SMFF) raised concerns regarding the seven staff assigned vendor account management roles in IMS. Ideally, SMFF prefers to have only one individual with the main responsibility and one back-up. The Mission feels that it needs one individual with the main responsibility and two back-ups to allow for absences, the two locations, etc. As the Chancery Receptionist is in the office for the majority of time, it is recommended that this position be designated as having the main responsibility with two others as backup.

6.4.8 While processes and procedures within the Section are appropriate, improvements could be made by:

  • Ensuring official receipts are always made out in a person’s name and not just their section when monies/revenues are brought to the Finance Section;
  • Ensuring the one-time vendor is only used for CIC refunds and not for other purposes such as consular refunds;
  • Reviewing authorities delegated in the new departmental financial signing authorities chart and ensure new specimen signature cards are completed and sent to HQ;
  • Adding the DMCO-Consular as one of the mandatory bank signatories, so that absences of the other MCOs do not delay the payment process; and,
  • Providing monthly reports to all partner departments PMs as the standard (as done currently for DFAIT PMs) rather than on an ad-hoc basis.

Recommendations to the Mission

6.4.9 The Section should develop refresher training for program assistants regarding read-only IMS capacity.

6.4.10 The Section should review its service standards, have them approved by the CMM and circulated to all staff.

6.4.11 The Section should date stamp all invoices/claims when the documents arrive in the Section as well as if/when they are returned following further work.

6.4.12 The Section should establish quiet hours.

6.4.13 The Mission should ensure only authorized staff have access to the Finance work area.

6.4.14 The Mission should consult with SMS for assistance in developing procedures to record the special purpose account.

6.4.15 For petty cash accounts the Mission should: a) Conduct periodic spot checks;
     b) Ensure that petty cash invoices are approved for payment by the appropriate Section 34 signatory;
c) Ensure that recipients sign when receiving petty cash payments;
d) Ensure that petty cash be counted and signed over whenever transferred; and,
e) Adjust the coding of the Drivers petty cash to reflect standing advances.

6.4.16 ***

6.4.17 The Mission should reassess the number of staff assigned with vendor account management, designate an individual with main responsibility for vendor changes and assign back-ups as appropriate.

6.4.18 The Section should only issue official receipts in a person’s name

6.4.19 The Section should ensure the one-time vendor is only used for CIC refunds.

6.4.20 The Section should review the new financial signing authorities chart and ensure new specimen signature cards are completed and sent to HQ.

6.4.21 The Section should add the DMCO-Consular as one of the mandatory bank signatures.

6.4.22 The Section should provide monthly reports to all partner department Program Managers.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

6.4.9 Recommendation accepted: IMS refresher training sessions to be offered in the new year. In progress, March 2009.

6.4.10 Recommendation accepted: standards are published on the Client Service “ring”. They will be reviewed, confirmed and communicated to clients. In progress, February 2009.

6.4.11 Recommendation accepted and implemented November 2008.

6.4.12 Recommendation accepted: quiet hours will be established once Annex renovations are complete. In progress, April 2009.

6.4.13 Access the finance work area is restricted to Finance Staff.

6.4.14 Recommendation accepted: historical documents were provided to HQ. We are awaiting follow-up instructions from SMFF and Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC), in progress.

6.4.15 Recommendation accepted: all observations noted will be implemented between January and April 2009.

6.4.16 Recommendation accepted: *** In progress, January 2009.

6.4.17 Recommendation accepted and implemented October 2008: vendor account management (VMR) access has been reduced to three staff.

6.4.18 Recommendation accepted and implemented October 2008.

6.4.19 SMFF has advised the Mission that the one-time-vendor is only way to issue Consular and Working Holiday refunds for us.

6.4.20 Recommendation accepted and implemented November 2008: authorities have been reviewed and forwarded to SMFF.

6.4.21 Recommendation accepted and implemented November 2008: DMCO has been added as one of the mandatory bank signatories

6.4.22 Recommendation accepted and implemented December 2008.

6.5 Information Management - Information Technology (IM-IT)

6.5.1 The IM-IT Program is overseen by the MCO and delivered by two Foreign Service Information Technology Professionals (FSITPs). Operationally, the CS-03 Team Leader and CS-02 also report to the Client Service Regional Manager (CSRM) in London. The Team delivers services at three main sites (Chancery, Annex and the Mission to the Holy See) as well as the two ORs. The distance between the three locations presents a challenge to program delivery and results in lost time transiting between sites. While both FSITPs are located at the Chancery, all three sites reported excellent client service.

6.5.2 The Section’s locally-engaged position was cut following the ***. While the loss of the third position has not greatly affected the delivery of services to clients, it has increased the workload for staff and prevented the Program from being proactive and correcting a number of outstanding issues. The current situation is not ideal and, at a minimum, more temporary support is needed to facilitate the resolution of outstanding issues prior to the commencement of G8 IM-IT planning.

6.5.3 Mission Management has provided a good level of support to the function and the new IM-IT Team has facilitated positive client relations through improved outreach and client service orientation. This was noted as a particularly important factor as the Mission had experienced problems in this area in the past. The CMM is perceived to be an effective mechanism to raise and address IM-IT issues and, thus, staff did not feel that a separate IM-IT committee was required at this time.

6.5.4 ***

6.5.5 Regarding business continuity (noted in paragraph 1.1.12), IT Team should identify IT requirements and ensure that the plan and any secondary operations sites have the infrastructure required. As a best practice, the Mission should store the server back-up tapes offsite to ensure they are accessible in the event of a major disruption. Following the development of the plan and installation of infrastructure, the Mission will need to undertake regular tests to ensure it continues to meet their business continuity needs.

Work Backlog

6.5.6 The IT Team has been working to resolve a number of outstanding issues and administrative requirements, many left over from the move to the new Chancery in 2006. While progress has been made, it is increasingly difficult to address these past issues while meeting the present needs of their clients. A temporary resource was provided for this in the past, but progress made was limited due to a Prime Ministerial visit.

6.5.7 While the resolution of outstanding items is a major point of focus, the Team has not yet developed a formal list or plan to address them. Some of the items requiring attention are recorded in Remedy or on paper, while others are not. In addition to serving as an internal tool to ensure client needs are balanced against resolution of the outstanding backlog, a plan would also serve as an important communication tool for discussions with the CSRM and HQ regarding temporary locally-engaged support. By allowing these items to remain outstanding, the risk for asset loss and non-completion increases. The forthcoming requirement to support the Canadian Delegation to the G8 Summit in Italy will further draw resources away from the resolution of these issues.

Resources and HQ Support

6.5.8 The resolution of outstanding issues has been cause for great concern within mission management; not only for client service but also for the well-being of the IT Team. While a valid concern, discussions with the Team indicated that once the backlog was cleared, a two CBS team should be able to handle the requirements of the three sites in Rome. Following the relocation of the Annex to the grounds of the Chancery, it is believed that the needs could possible be met by a team of one FSITP and one LEITP. In order for this to work effectively, the Mission highlighted two key factors:

  • The availability of resources in the region that could be shifted to a mission by the CSRM to address unforseen issues, illnesses and absences; and,
  • The presence of sufficient resources at the IM-IT Help Desk (944-HELP) to provide timely and responsive service to missions on a 24 hour basis.

6.5.9 The IT Team noted concerns, however, that limited resource levels may be restricting the ability of CSRMs to shift resources and of the Help Desk to respond to mission clients effectively. These perceptions indicate that as resource changes are made abroad, HQ should ensure that it monitors and evaluates the performance and ability of HQ based support mechanisms to adequately support mission clients and IT teams.

G8 Preparation and Support

6.5.10 As the Mission prepares for the 2009 G8 summit in Italy, the IT Team has concerns regarding the provision of support to the Canadian delegation. HQ has indicated that temporary support will be provided to facilitate operations during this period. To ensure that the appropriate temporary resources are allocated to the Mission, a plan will need to be put in place. By developing a general plan the Mission should be in a good position to enter into a dialogue with HQ to obtain the right level of support at the right time. Specific requirements will not be known for some time, but there are many aspects which can be mapped out ahead of time, including site review and evaluation visits, infrastructure analysis and the identification of local suppliers.

6.5.11 Following this year’s G8 meetings in Japan, the IT Team Leader developed a guide for future events. The IT Team in Rome should use this report as the basis for their early preparations. Any improvements made or identified in the G8 IT Guide should be documented and re-circulated to the community. The Team in Rome and the broader ITP community would benefit from such a document that could be maintained centrally and refined annually.

Information Management

6.5.12 The Mission uses a combination of Infobank and shared drives to manage electronic files. A hard copy filing system is in place in the registry, although no documents have been submitted for filing in the last year. The sharing of information on shared drives has been hampered by the fact that the Chancery and the Annex operate on separate servers. While it is possible to gain access to both from one location, it is complicated and the Mission is working to develop an intranet site for the storage and sharing of corporate documents.

6.5.13 Infobank may help resolve these issues, but the fact that partner departments are not using it complicates implementation. The Mission is currently in the process of developing an intranet site to facilitate this communication of information.

6.5.14 Information management is a growing area of concern and these challenges will need to be overcome. An Information Management Improvement Program (IMIP) has been initiated by HQ and will work closely with missions to improve tools and practices.

6.5.15 A key liaison, decision-making and implementing mechanism in the process is a mission IM-IT Committee. While IM-IT matters are currently being addressed adequately by the CMM, the Mission may benefit from a separate group focussed on these matters.

Recommendations to the Mission

6.5.16 ***

6.5.17 ***

6.5.18 The Mission should develop a plan to address the outstanding issues, including a list of the tasks and the type of resource (CBS vs. LES) best suited to complete the task.

6.5.19 The IT Team should develop a basic plan to meet the timelines required for the G8 Summit.

6.5.20 Following the completion of the Summit, the IT Team should incorporate improvements and lessons learned into the G8 IT guide.

6.5.21 The IT Team should consult with the designated Mission lead to define and implement IM-IT aspects of the BCP.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

6.5.16 Recommendation accepted: given the current workload and the upcoming G8, the development of a tool to track the IT asset inventory will be undertaken by a temporary resource. In progress October 2009.

6.5.17 Implemented November 2008: ***

6.5.18 Recommendation accepted: a preliminary list of tasks has been established, the resourcing component has yet to be determined. In progress, March 2009.

6.2.19 Recommendation accepted: the IT requirements are being incorporated into the comprehensive costing and resourcing needs already submitted to HQ. In progress, March 2009.

6.2.20 Recommendation accepted: in progress, October 2009.

6.2.21 Recommendation accepted. This activity will take place with the development of the BCP, please also see response 1.2.7. In progress, February 2010.

Recommendations to the Information Management and Technology Bureau (AID)

6.5.22 AID should, based on the plan developed by the Mission, provide sufficient temporary resources to the mission to remove the backlog prior to the commencement of G8 preparations.

AID Action and Timeframe

6.5.22 Upon review of the plan and recommendations prepared by the Mission, AID will allocate sufficient temporary resources to the Mission to remove the backlog prior to the commencement of G8 preparations.

Appendix A: Mission Resources Fact Sheet

Table 5: Mission Resources Fact Sheet
Physical Resources
AssetsCrown LeasedCrown Owned
Chancery-1
Chancery Annex1-
Official Residence-1
Staff Quarters26-
Vehicles-6

Table 6: Financial Information regarding the newsletter
Financial Information 2008-2009
Operating Budget (N001)$4,862,978
Capital Budget (N005)$148,354
LES Salary Budget (N011)$1,287,720
LES Salary Budget (N012)$3,395,568
Total$9,694,620

Appendix B: Organization Chart

Organization Chart


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Date Modified:
2012-11-16