Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
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Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

Inspection of the Canadian Embassy Stockholm

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April 27 - May 1, 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 objectives were to:

  • Assess management controls and systems, procedures and activities that make up the programs;
  • Determine the extent of compliance with legislation, regulations and operating policies;
  • Assess the reliability and adequacy of information available for decision-making and accountability purposes;
  • Ensure resources are judiciously used and that the Department is receiving value-for-money; and,
  • Make recommendations, where warranted, to improve the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of programs.

The focus and extent of on-site work was based on an assessment of materiality and related risk. This was done through communication with Headquarters (HQ) bureaux, including briefings by line management and the functional bureaux, review of relevant HQ and Mission documentation, past audit findings, and an analysis of recurring trends and systemic issues.

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

Executive Summary

An inspection of Mission Management, the Political Economic Reporting and Public Affairs (PERPA), International Business Development (IBD), Consular and Administration programs was conducted in Stockholm from April 27 to May 1, 2009. The previous audit of these programs took place in 2002. The Embassy is a small mission with six Canada based staff (CBS) and 21 Locally engaged staff (LES).

Overall, the Mission is well managed and DFAIT program planning documents reflect departmental and Government of Canada (GoC) priorities. Objectives effectively cascade down from Mission plans and have been incorporated into staff performance management plans (PMPs). Internal communication supports program delivery, and efforts are being made to promote the Transformation Agenda as well as identify linkages between programs to facilitate cooperation and collaboration.

The PERPA and IBD programs are delivering results and working to implement objectives in their areas of accreditation. The IBD Program would benefit from a reduced number of priority sectors and further refinement of its Business Plan. While the Department does not yet have a PERPA planning process in place, the Head of Mission (HOM) has worked with the Program to develop its own results-based planning framework. While seen as a positive step, the failure to properly involve staff in the setting of objectives, deliverables and expected results has led to challenges in obtaining the full support of all staff.

The Administration and Consular programs are well managed, but are experiencing challenges related to organizational structure, workloads and the provision of support to the three Baltic missions. The Program's organizational structure has to be adjusted to reduce the number of staff reporting directly to the Management Consular Officer (MCO). Changes will also be required to allow staff to take on additional duties, as well as serving as back-ups for their colleagues. Even with these changes, it will remain difficult for the Mission, specifically the MCO, to continue providing effective services to the Baltic missions. There is also a need to rationalize the support structure for the Baltic missions, which are currently provided with support from three different missions: Stockholm (Consular, human resources, physical resources), Berlin (finance) and Moscow (information technology and information management). These support functions should be transferred to one mission with sufficient resources and program infrastructure. This situation should be addressed in the short term, as three major property projects are scheduled to occur in the next year and will significantly impact Mission operations.

A total of 65 recommendations are raised in the report; 59 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 65 recommendations, management has stated that 28 have been implemented. For each of the remaining 37 recommendations, management has indicated the initiatives in progress or the intended future action.

Mission Management

1.1 Overview

1.1.1 The Mission in Stockholm is a small mission with six Canada-based staff (CBS) and 21 Locally-engaged staff (LES). It is responsible for departmental program delivery in Sweden. The Mission also provides some administrative support to the Baltic missions (Riga, Tallinn and Vilnius) and information technology support to Oslo and Helsinki. An LES representative of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is present in the Mission and reports to the CBS representative in London.

1.1.2 Overall, Mission and program planning documents are well developed and reflect departmental and Government of Canada (GoC) priorities. Objectives cascade down from Mission plans and have been incorporated into staff performance management plans (PMPs). The Head of Mission (HOM) has also worked with the Political Economic Reporting and Public Affairs (PERPA) Program to implement results based planning. While International Business Development (IBD) programs have benefited from a planning and reporting template for several years, no such guidance exists for PERPA. The Department is, however, currently working to develop a PERPA planning template in conjunction with its review of the Country Strategy planning process. Emphasis has also been placed on the Department's Transformation Agenda through discussions at the Committee on Mission Management (CMM) and by working with programs to identify projects that could be undertaken at the Mission.

1.1.3 The Mission's governance structure includes the CMM and Committees on Occupational Health and Safety, Housing, Classification, LES and the Information Management Improvement Program. The Mission also has a club for social activities. The Mission will need to implement a Contract Review Board (CRB) to improve oversight and consider establishing a Website Committee. Recommendations to this effect are made in the Finance and PERPA sections of this report.

1.1.4 Communication within the Mission effectively supports program delivery. The CMM meets regularly and serves as a forum for decision making and identifying opportunities for cross-program collaboration. CMM minutes are distributed to all staff. Program staff meetings occur regularly allowing for discussion of topics from the CMM as well as revisiting program activities and objectives. There are effective linkages made between programs, and the Mission has established a sectoral meetings where staff from a variety of programs get together to discuss how to approach issues from a collaborative perspective (climate change, migration, Vancouver 2010). This serves to identify synergies, educate other programs on objectives and activities and build mutual understanding and respect for each others' work. Discussions with staff indicated, however, that this is still a work in process.

1.1.5 An LES Committee is in place and meets with the HOM and the Management Consular Officer (MCO) on an ad hoc basis. Concerns related to the upcoming Chancery relocation have resulted in more frequent meetings over the last few months. As a best practice, the LES Committee should meet quarterly with the MCO and semi-annually with the HOM to ensure LES have an opportunity to raise any items of concern.

1.1.6 Performance management plans (PMPs) are in place for Mission staff. Job descriptions, however, were generally out-of-date with the exception of the PERPA Program. Job descriptions should be reviewed regularly, preferably annually as a part of the PMP exercise. Upon completion of PMPs for fiscal year (FY) 2008-2009, staff will need to initiate new preparations for the 2009-2010 FY. By initiating the new preparation, managers and staff can revisit and amend current year objectives and performance indicators as priorities change.

1.1.7 Employee learning and development needs have been incorporated into PMPs, and managers discuss opportunities with the MCO on an ad hoc basis. A Mission-wide training plan, however, has not been developed. A training coordinator should be nominated and tasked with collating all staff training requirements. The Mission should consult with Headquarters (HQ) to determine if access to employee learning requirements in PMPs can be granted to the training coordinator. Following this, management can review the training required, identify common and priority needs, and discuss budget allocations at the CMM.

1.1.8 Overall, hospitality claims were in-line with program objectives and compliant with departmental policy. The MCO has instituted a good practice by having employees formally acknowledge that they have read the hospitality directives on an annual basis.

1.2 Recommendations to the Mission

1.2.1 Mission Management should ensure that regular meetings with the LES Committee take place. As a best practice, these meetings should occur quarterly with the MCO and semi-annually with the HOM.

1.2.2 Job descriptions should be updated regularly, preferably on an annual basis, in line with the performance management process.

1.2.3 Mission Management should ensure that, following the completion of the 2008-2009 PMP process and for future cycles, staff immediately carry forward their objectives into new PMP preparations.

1.2.4 A training coordinator should be appointed and a Mission wide training plan should be developed, discussed at the CMM and assigned a budget.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

1.2.1 In-progress for September 2009. At present, meetings take place as required. A schedule of quarterly meetings for the remainder of FY 2009- 2010 will be developed in collaboration with the LES Committee.

1.2.2 In-progress for March 2010. Program managers will review all job descriptions for their staff, that have not been reviewed recently, and a copy signed by the manager and incumbent will be put in the human resources file.

1.2.3 Implemented June 2009.

1.2.4 In-progress for September 2009. Acquisition of knowledge and skills is often best done on the job or through special assignments, not through costed courses. Some learning objectives are completed through travel (accounted for outside a training budget.) These learning plans are done by program managers as a part of the PMP process. Given that this is small mission, training is discussed at the CMM. It is agreed, however, that a more rigorous discussion can take place at the CMM, and monies for training monitored.

Political economic reporting and public affairs

2.1 Overview

2.1.1 The Political Economic Reporting and Public Affairs (PERPA) Program in Stockholm is led by an FS-03 Program Manager (PM) and supported by an LE-09 Political Affairs and Public Diplomacy Officer, an LE-07 Cultural Affairs and Media Officer and an LE-06 Translation/Program Assistant (0.6 full-time equivalent). The PM was not at the Mission during the Inspection, but was interviewed as a part of the process. The LE-06 Assistant was not available due to unforeseen circumstances. The Program's financial resources for 2008-2009 have been allocated as per the table below.

Table 1: The Political Economic Reporting and Public Affairs (PERPA) Program
Program Funds 2008-2009
Post Initiative Fund (PIF)$7,600
Northern Initiative Fund (NIF)$12,000

2.1.2 As defined in the PERPA Plan, the Program's key objectives relate to Canada's arctic agenda, climate change, global issues and defence cooperation. The upcoming Swedish Presidency of the European Union (EU) will also be a key area of focus over the coming year. Due to past challenges, organizational effectiveness has been set as an overarching objective. The Program works to support other Mission objectives by cooperating with the International Business Development (IBD) Program in the promotion of education marketing and events related to the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver.

2.2 Planning and Program Management

2.2.1 The Mission has initiated a PERPA planning process that focusses on better articulating its goals and the types of activities it will undertake to achieve them. This planning process is based on the Country Strategy, the Reporting Agreement and the requirements for PIF and NIF. Objectives have cascaded down into employees' PMPs, and the Program has started developing three month rolling workplans. The Program also maintains a calendar that outlines the activities it intends to undertake during the year.

2.2.2 Despite this planning architecture, there remains some uncertainty amongst Program staff as to their exact roles and responsibilities within the team. While these do need to be clear, it is also important that staff fully comprehend how their collective efforts relate to results at the Program and Mission level. Discussions with staff indicated a limited involvement in the development of the PERPA Plan. It is important to ensure greater involvement of staff in objective setting and an ongoing dialogue during the implementation of the Plan. Formal, mid-point performance reviews should also be instituted with staff.

2.2.3 There is a need for more timely decision making ***. Some Mission staff and an external interlocutor raised concerns with regards to the timeliness of decision making ***. From their perspectives, this has been a challenge to effective collaboration in the pursuit of common objectives.

2.2.4 Staff meetings are held weekly with an agenda prepared in advance. Minutes of these meetings have not generally been kept, and a desire was expressed among staff to make those that are distributed, more results oriented. Program meetings should serve as forums to discuss objectives, assign responsibilities and conduct follow-up on previous decisions. The Program should revisit its approach to such mechanisms to provide a better balance between informal and formal communications. For example, staff meetings could be held bi-weekly, with one-on-one meetings with staff occurring in the interim to discuss and address issues particular to their projects. To assist with follow-up, records of decision should be taken and issued to Program staff, the HOM and other PMs after each meeting.

2.2.5 Staff learning needs have been identified in their PMPs. The LE-09 Officer has been provided with in-Canada PERPA training and the LE-07 will be receiving the same training shortly. Program staff were all aware of the New Way Forward (NWF), Political Economic Renewal initiative. Staff had an awareness of the potential changes related to this initiative and, with the exception of one individual, had completed the on-line tutorial. While not mandatory, the individual who had yet to complete the training was identified as the LES Renewal Envoy. Discussions with this individual indicated that he was unaware of his responsibility for this role. It is important that all Program staff complete the on-line training module and discuss ways to incorporate elements of the NWF into plans and operations.

2.3 Implementation

2.3.1 The HOM is *** provide a structured and results-based approach to Program delivery. The emphasis on results, however, is new for PERPA staff, and they will need some time to adapt.

2.3.2 A review of activities and reports related to the use of PIF and NIF found close alignment with the Country Strategy. The Mission's cultural activities were also well aligned and used as opportunities to further broader Mission objectives. Challenges experienced in collaboration between officers, however, has hampered the implementation of these activities. The Program and Mission Management should continue efforts to instill a team approach to PERPA objectives. It will be important that results are articulated in terms of the overall Program, rather than just in specific elements such as NIF or PIF reports prepared for HQ. These HQ based reports serve to individualize objectives and should be completed after the Program has assembled its own results achieved document.

2.3.3 During the 2008-2009 FY, the Program produced 30 reports;***. This is in addition to responding to information requests from headquarters and HOM reporting activities. With Sweden assuming the EU presidency in the coming year, the volume of reporting is expected to increase significantly. The reports completed by *** leave room for improvement in volume and in the identification of impacts for Canada. There is also room to improve the focus of other reporting activities and to better highlight the impact for Canada and any follow-up activities that will or should result.

2.3.4 The PERPA Program is the lead group on maintaining the Mission's website, and the PM serves as the primary decision-making point. While this is generally a PERPA role, the website is a Mission-wide responsibility and decisions should be exercised through a website committee.

2.3.5 A review of hospitality diaries indicated that activities undertaken were in-line with Mission and Program objectives. None of the Program staff, however, have taken hospitality advances, and instead they claim for reimbursement on an event-by-event basis. As a good practice, the Mission should consider allocating hospitality budgets to all officers, based on priorities and expected activities. Officers should be expected to plan their use of hospitality and be held accountable for its strategic use.

2.4 Performance Measurement

2.4.1 The Program informally discusses event results which are then generally included in event reports. There remains, however, a need for a more consistent and structured approach to evaluating the effectiveness of all activities and events. These should result in a report that outlines the audience reached, what objectives were achieved/furthered, what follow-up activity should result and whether or not the activity should be undertaken again in the future.

2.5 Recommendations to the Mission

2.5.1 PERPA planning processes should fully incorporate all staff into the development of the PERPA Plan.

2.5.2 The communication framework for Program activities should be reviewed to provide a better balance between formal and informal communications.

2.5.3 Records of decision from staff meetings should be maintained and distributed to Program staff, other PMs and the HOM.

2.5.4 The NWF Renewal Envoy should complete the NWF on-line training and liaise with the Office of the Chief Political Economic Officer (GEMX) regarding this role.

2.5.5 The Program's reports should be concise, effectively summarized and clearly demonstrate the impact for Canada, as well as any follow-up activities that should result.

2.5.6 A Website Committee should be established.

2.5.7 Hospitality advances should be provided to Officers based on their workplans, intended activities and expected results. Effective use of these resources should be incorporated into any performance review discussions.

2.5.8 The Program should document results achieved after each individual event or activity and use this as the basis for an end of year report, as well as the completion of any HQ based reporting templates.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

2.5.1 Implemented June 2009.

2.5.2 In-progress for September 2009. Options for such a framework will be discussed with PERPA staff and reviewed by the HOM following summer absences.

2.5.3 In-progress for September 2009. This should be true of all sections and will be implemented with resumption of meetings following summer absences.

2.5.4 In-progress for September 2009.

2.5.5 Implemented June 2009. Both the PERPA PM and the HOM are working actively to improve report writing by PERPA staff.

2.5.6 In-progress for September 2009. This will be implemented once the new Foreign Service Information Technology Professional (FSITP) is in place and officers return from summer absences.

2.5.7 Given the small size of the hospitality budget, in order to make best use of resources rather than providing hospitality advances, the Mission prefers to have each program (and within programs, each officer) discuss priorities and plans for the use of hospitality funds on a quarterly basis. In this way there is a possibility to look at synergies between programs as well as ways of stretching budgets. It is agreed that use of resources should be a part of PMP discussions.

2.5.8 Implemented June 2009. This has been done for some individual events, but will be the practice for all events in the future.

International Business Development Program

3.1 Overview

3.1.1 The IBD Program in Stockholm is managed by an FS-04 Senior Trade Commissioner (STC) and supported by four LE-09 Trade Commissioners (TCs) and two LE-05 Trade Commissioner Assistants (TCAs). The Program's priority sectors include aerospace and defence, agri-food and beverages, automotive, education, environmental industries, fish and seafood products, forest industries, health and life science, information and communication technologies (ICT), metals, minerals and related equipment, services and technologies. The Program's financial resources are as follows:

Table 2: The IBD Program in Stockholm
Program Funds 2008-2009
Client Service Fund (CSF)$55,000

3.1.2 Sweden is an important trade partner for Canada and is our 9th largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI). Sweden spends nearly 4% of its gross domestic product (GDP) on research and development (RD), more than any other country in the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Unlike Canada, however, most of Sweden's RD is performed by the private sector and not the public sector. This makes it an important partner for Canada's innovation agenda, and talks have been initiated regarding a science and technology (ST) agreement to boost the existing strong cooperation.

3.1.3 Since the submission of the 2009-2010 IBD Plan, the economic situation in Sweden has deteriorated, and the GDP is expected to contract by 5.3%, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. In addition, it is expected that the Swedish Krona (SEK) will continue to weaken against the Canadian and US dollars in 2009, making Canadian exports less competitive, but also enabling opportunities to buy Swedish equipment and machinery.

3.2 Management of the Program

3.2.1 The IBD Program is *** managed. The STC holds weekly staff meetings and has created a *** atmosphere *** within his team. Program budgets are closely monitored and are generally sufficient to implement the Business Plan. The Program is currently awaiting confirmation of an additional $43,000 from the competitive CSF, which would be matched by a contribution from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and provincial governments for a Defence sector promotional initiative.

3.2.2 There are two *** Honorary Consuls in Sweden (Malmö and Gothenburg) whom the IBD Program uses to help prepare regional outcalls and identify business opportunities.

3.2.3 Hospitality diaries are properly supported and demonstrate alignment with Program priorities through good objective statements and evaluations of events. The STC is the only staff member who has been allocated a hospitality budget and advance, with staff accessing it when necessary. To facilitate planning and allocation of budgets to priorities, the Program should allocate notional hospitality budgets to each officer based on their priority sector and the types of events or outreach that they intend to conduct. Effective use of these funds should be incorporated as a part of any performance review discussions.

3.2.4 PMPs for FY 2008-2009 are in the process of being completed, and a new set of objectives are being developed for the 2009-2010 FY. All TCs and TCAs have a learning plan and have taken the Global Learning Initiative (GLI), TRIO and Infobank training. Additionally, all were current on the Global Commerce Strategy and the integrated trade approach.

3.2.5 The IBD Program website is clear and makes use of a universal e-mail address for all team members. The Inspection Team noted, however, that several market reports were approximately two years old. As the reports are archived after two years, the Mission will have to decide which ones to update. It would also be important to update the website to provide information that supports the objectives of the education marketing sector.

3.3 Planning

3.3.1 The IBD Plan was developed following a planning retreat that took place in February 2009 and reflects the integrated trade approach. The STC has placed an emphasis on results with his team, rather than focus on activities. There remains a need, however, to limit the Program's priority sectors. While remaining nimble and opportunistic, the IBD Program should concentrate on fewer priority sectors, treating those with a .2 full time equivalent (FTE) allocation as reactive.

3.3.2 The IBD Program should more actively pursue new opportunities and clients. The 2008 Canadian Commercial Interest List (CCIL) ranked Sweden as the 16th most attractive market, while registered Canadian clients ranked it 25th. In addition, only 17 service requests (SRs) were received from the Virtual Trade Commissioner (VTC) website in FY 2007-2008 and 2008-2009. This indicates that the market may have reached a certain degree of maturity, and efforts are required to refine priority sectors and subsequently update their client base in those areas. An exception is the environmental industries sector where, according to VTC statistics, 40 Canadian companies are active in Sweden.

3.3.3 In the preparation of the Business Plan, IBD staff only conduct minimum consultation with HQ, regional offices (ROs), industry associations and provinces, etc. The exception is the Life Sciences Sector where the HQ based Structured Practice engages in these consultations and provides directions to missions. The STC should encourage his team to engage in greater consultations and validate the Canadian capacity and interest for their chosen priority sectors. These activities could also increase the Program's profile with its Canadian constituency, helping it acquire new clients.

3.4 Implementation

3.4.1 The HOM is*** of the IBD Program, taking part in *** outcalls per year and promoting the use of the Official Residence for events. The Program also works closely with the PERPA Program on several files, including reporting on environmental policies, the Swedish EU Presidency and the Vancouver Olympics. The promotion of the Vancouver Olympics and the related A2010 Ways to Do Business in Canada campaign, however, is complicated due to restrictions on the use of official promotional material and the 2010 Winter Olympics Logo. For instance, the Mission requested permission to use the Logo and distribute promotional material at a Swedish Olympic Committee event where the HOM was invited as a keynote speaker. The event was strictly governmental (non-commercial), but approval was received over one month late. If the process cannot be streamlined, missions are likely to experience difficulties in using these initiatives for the purpose of promoting Canada.

3.4.2 An InfoCentre is in place and facilitates Program delivery by conducting triage on SRs, managing the organizational email inbox, distributing magazines and specialized publications, preparing outcall briefs and performing basic research in the centre. Some of the material maintained was outdated and should be removed. Where possible, the Program should adopt an electronic approach to the management of information, and InfoBank should be used to manage sector and company profiles. One of the TCAs is responsible for monitoring budgets and acts as the TRIO Champion. While comfortable with her role, the TCA remarked that more training is required so that she can fully exercise the role of TRIO Champion within the team.

3.4.3 The use of TRIO was inconsistent within the Program. Some officers use it regularly and consider it to be a good client relationship management tool. Others find it difficult to use and do not record all of their activities, choosing to file reports in InfoBank. This undermines Program reporting by not demonstrating its performance to HQ and by not providing complete information to the STC for program management and decision making purposes. The STC was provided with an example of a quarterly TRIO report, a best practice observed in Rome, to demonstrate the potential of the tool for management purposes.

3.4.4 The Mission has a long tradition of working efficiently with other Canadian missions, first in the context of the Nordic countries and more recently as part of Multi-Country Sector Teams (MCST) in Europe. In fact, Sweden is the Team Captain for the MCST for Life Sciences and also a member of the Renewable Energies and ICT teams.

3.4.5 As the Team Captain, Sweden is the liaison with the HQ-based Structured Practice for Life Science (SPLS). The Structured Practice provides an additional tool to better define priorities and activities. While challenges were experienced early on in the process, roles and responsibilities have been clarified, and a better dialogue is now taking place. This should bring about greater synergy between the missions in Europe and the Structured Practice so that each side can incorporate their respective added value to the process. However, there remains operational issues that have to be clarified, such as the use of venture capital to attract FDI, or the types of Canadian Direct Investment Abroad (CDIA) activities they should be involved in. The Mission indicated its commitment to working with HQ to improve the MCST model and has adopted it as one of its transformation projects.

3.4.6 There is a need to revisit the targets identified for the Life Sciences Sector in Sweden. In some cases, the action plan states results and targets that apply to the whole MCST rather than to Sweden. The Business Plan should instead identify the objectives and results for which the Mission is directly accountable. Other mechanisms should be developed to report on the results achieved for the whole MCSTs. There remained some confusion at the Mission as to how the results were going to be recorded and HQ should define the process more clearly.

3.4.7 The introduction of the Structured Practices approach is affecting the way IBD programs work and may profoundly affect the role that they will play in the future determination of their priorities and activities. This change to the Trade Commissioner Service business model will have to be monitored closely by HQ to ensure that any clarifications or adjustments to mandates are made in a timely manner. Debriefs conducted with relevant HQ groups indicated that a discussion on this issue would be timely, and the topic could be raised at the International Commerce Coordinating Board (ICCB).

3.5 Recommendations to the Mission

3.5.1 Notional hospitality allocations should be provided to officers based on their priorities, as well as the number and type of events they intend to undertake.

3.5.2 The Program should revisit the 2009-2010 IBD Business Plan to reduce priority sectors, and to enhance its focus on results and client acquisition. As a part of this process, consultation efforts should be expanded to validate Canadian interest and capacity in the chosen priority sectors.

3.5.3 The use of TRIO should be incorporated into the PMPs of all IBD Program Staff and the TRIO Champion should receive additional training to fully exercise her role.

3.5.4 The InfoCentre should provide quarterly and annual TRIO performance monitoring reports for the STC and the HOM.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

3.5.1 See response to 2.5.7.

3.5.2 Implemented July 2009. Priority sectors in the Plan have been reduced to four plus three secondary sectors. There is also an enhanced focus in the Plan on results and client acquisition. Canadian interest and capacity in priority sectors have been validated through the Mission's participation in the Structured Sector Practices. Officers will continue to confirm validation of Canadian interest and capacity in the chosen priority sectors.

3.5.3 In-progress for November 2009. First part done. The use of TRIO has been incorporated in PMPs; additional training will be provided this fall for staff and the TRIO Champion

3.5.4 In-progress for September 2009. The IBD Dashboard reports will be provided to the STC and HOM at the end of this current quarter.

Recommendation to the European Union Bureau (GUD)

3.5.5 GUD should clarify the process for reporting results attributed to MCST and the linkages with existing reporting templates in the IBD business plan.

GUD Action and Timeframe

3.5.5 GUC has been in contact with the STC to discuss and formulate a plan of action. Continued dialogue between GUC and the Mission, as well as between the STC and officers at post, to decide on how best to modify their reporting will ensure there are proper linkages between reporting results and MCST.

In-progress for August 2009.

Recommendation to the Global Business Opportunities Bureau (BBD)

3.5.6 BBD should provide a situation report on the Life Science Structured Practice.

BBD Action and Timeframe

3.5.6 The Life Sciences Practice is an initiative which has been in place for only 21 months. As the model evolves, an number of reports will help to smooth the transition for the teams abroad to operationalize the approach. This includes an evaluation which is currently in progress and a report by a contractor who has been hired to address the ability for trade teams to interface on the integrative trade model approach with the practices.

Recommendation to the Invest in Canada Bureau (BID)

3.5.7 BID should work with missions and the Vancouver Olympic Committee in an effort to streamline approval processes for the usage of promotional material, particularly in the context of the A2010 Reasons to do Business in Canada.

BID Action and Timeframe

3.5.7 BID/BIW (2010 Winter Games Coordinating Group) works on an ongoing basis with the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) to ensure that approvals for events using the 2010 Winter Games marks are approved as quickly as possible.

The approvals are required most often in conjunction with promoting the 2010 Reasons to Do Business in Canada strategy, which seeks to attract and retain foreign direct investment and bolster Canada=s image as a modern, innovative business partner of choice. BID/BIW is unable to control approval timelines as this is under the perview of VANOC, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the National Olympic Committees (NOCs).

In an effort to both manage expectations at post and streamline the approval process, BID/BIW has:

  • organized a series of conference calls with priority missions regarding the process,
  • developed "dos and don'ts" and FAQs (frequently asked questions) specific to the use of the 2010 look, marks and branded products all available on the DFAIT 2010 Intranet,
  • developed a simple form for missions which helps expedite the approval process, and
  • aligned its ressources to address the increasing demand.

As well as advising posts of the ideal event configurations for the use of Games marks, BID/BIW regularly advocates post approvals and streamlined processes with VANOC, via both scheduled and ad hoc meetings, and will continue to do so until the conclusion of the 2010 Winter Games.

Consular Program

4.1 Overview

4.1.1 The Consular Program is functioning well under the direction of the MCO (AS-05) who is supported by an LE-09 Consular Officer. The Receptionist’s job description indicates that 50% of her time should be devoted to the Consular Program. She is not, however, performing any Consular duties and thus, is not in a position to provide back-up support. The Program provides support to the Baltic missions in Riga, Vilnius and Tallinn and maintains regular contact with its Honorary Consuls (HonCons) in Gothenburg and Malmö, Sweden.

4.1.2 The Consular Officer position is currently shared between two part-time staff. One of the two staff is the position’s incumbent who is *** , but under Swedish law is able to return to work part-time. She will return to full-time status in June 2009. The system is working well as the two staff communicate daily, keep each other updated and replace each other during absences. If neither officer is available, the MCO assumes associated duties.

4.1.3 Due to concerns over functionality,***. Such practices put staff at risk, do not protect the privacy of clients and should cease.

4.1.4 The Program has limited contact with like-minded missions and local officials as staff feel that assistance received from Swedish authorities is always timely and of a high standard. A recent visit from representatives from the Emergency Response Bureau (CED) did, however, provide the MCO with the opportunity to expand his contacts, including those at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in the Prime Minister’s Office.

4.1.5 Support received from CED, the Case Management Division (CNO) and the COSMOS support group is effective. Consular staff and one of the HonCons did note the need for refresher training, with a focus on passports, given changes and the number of new directives issued recently. A recommendation to this effect has been made to the Consular and Advocacy Bureau (CLD) in previous Inspection Reports.

4.2 Client Service

4.2.1 The Mission provides approximately 600 passport services and processes approximately 100 citizenship applications and 40 notarial requests yearly. There are 231 Canadian citizens in the Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) database. Information from Statistics Sweden for 2007 indicate that there are around 1,500 Canadian citizens living in Sweden. This does not, however, include dual citizens, so the actual number of residents is unknown.

4.2.2 Service standards are being met, but they are not posted in the reception area, nor is the fee schedule. A copy of an official receipt to be issued to clients should also be posted. Both officers are able to provide services in English and French, however, not all of the posters or documents in the reception area were in both official languages.

4.2.3 Client feedback has been excellent and feedback forms are enclosed with mailed out passports, although forms were not available in the reception area for walk-in clients. Consular staff should ensure all clients have access to feedback forms and are encouraged to fill them out. To facilitate receipt, a drop box should be installed in the reception area and controlled by the MCO.

4.2.4 Consular staff visit the HonCons once a year and the HonCons indicated that services provided by the Mission are considered to be effective. ***. The *** , and the Mission will be monitoring the situation.

4.2.5 The Mission is proactive in its dealings with the Baltic missions, and the services provided by Stockholm are considered to be effective. Consular staff visit each mission yearly, and the MCO participates in the yearly retreat in Riga. The retreat is attended by staff from the three missions and is used to present Consular Program updates. Consular staff from the Baltic missions were also invited to Stockholm last year for training.

4.3 Internal Controls

4.3.1 LES Consular staff, the MCO and the HOM Assistant (CBS) have passed the passport certification course. The authentication of citizenship and passport entitlement (i.e. passport approval role in the Passport Management Program) is conducted by either the MCO or the HOM Assistant, in line with passport requirements.

4.3.2 Passport stock sent from Headquarters is appropriately received and verified by two CBS. Inventory reconciliations are conducted monthly by the MCO per passport directives, but only yearly by the HOM. Passport directives indicate that two staff (minimum of one CBS) should perform all reconciliations and that the HOM is responsible for verifying the inventory quarterly. The Inspection Team verified the passport inventory on hand and the petty cash of 3,000 Swedish Kronor (SEK).

4.3.3 *** is used to store all working stock, Consular revenues, stamps and seals. ***.

4.3.4 Five Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) have been given to each HonCon and each of the Baltic missions. When the new ETDs were first handed out, the Mission developed a checklist of procedures and instructions to guide the use of the documents. A Statement of Procedures (SOPs) document has since been released by Passport Canada, and the Mission should ensure that its checklist is reviewed and updated, where necessary.

4.3.5 The majority of revenues are deposited directly into the Mission’s bank account by clients who mail-in their passport applications. Walk-in clients make cash payments at the Mission in CAD or SEK, and cash revenues are transferred to the ***. In accordance with the Manual of Consular Instructions, revenues should be transferred when fees collected reach the equivalent of $500 or at the end of each week, whichever comes first.

4.4 Recommendations to the Mission

4.4.1 The Receptionist should be involved in day-to-day Consular operations and provided with the necessary training.

4.4.2 Consular staff should use the Consular interview booth when dealing with clients.

4.4.3 Consular service standards, a fee schedule and a copy of an official receipt should be displayed in the reception area.

4.4.4 All Consular posters and documents displayed in the reception area should be in both official languages.

4.4.5 Feedback forms should be placed in the reception area, and a locked drop box should be installed where forms can be deposited.

4.4.6 Monthly passport inventory reconciliations should be undertaken by two staff, one of whom must be a CBS.

4.4.7 The HOM should verify the passport inventory quarterly.

4.4.8 ***.

4.4.9 The inventory of ETDs held at the HonCons and Baltic missions should be verified each time a Mission staff member visits.

4.4.10 The Mission checklist for ETDs should be reviewed against the SOPs and updated, where necessary.

4.4.11 Revenues should be transferred to the Finance Section whenever fees collected reach the equivalent of $500 or at the end of each week, whichever comes first.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

4.4.1 Implemented June 2009. The receptionist has already started the required refresher training.

4.4.2 In-progress for April 2010. Given the poor condition of the current booth and the non functional voice exchange system, the Mission will address this recommendation when the move to the new Chancery occurs in April 2010.

4.4.3 Implemented June 2009.

4.4.4 Implemented July 2009. This will be done as soon as HQ sends more than one copy of the double sided posters (one side English, one side French).

4.4.5 Implemented July 2009. Forms are already given individually to clients. Extra forms are now in the reception area and a locked drop box is on order.

4.4.6 Implemented July 2009. This will be implemented with the next monthly reconciliation.

4.4.7 Implemented July 2009. This will be implemented with the next quarterly reconciliation.

4.4.8 In-progress for August 2009. ***.

4.4.9 Implemented. This shall be done during future visits.

4.4.10 Implemented May 209.

4.4.11 Implemented July 2009.

Administration Program

5.1 Overview

5.1.1 The Administration Program is *** managed by the MCO and is providing a *** level of service to all programs within the Mission. The Mission also provides administrative support to three missions in the Baltics. Staff meetings are held regularly, and there is a *** level of communication within the Program.

5.1.2 The MCO is ***. It should be noted, however, that the flat organizational structure within the Administration Program, ***.These factors affect the Program and do not provide the MCO with the necessary time to plan and deliver specific Program functions. For instance, the Property function is in a reactive mode, as long range planning for purchases and maintenance is not undertaken. These issues are dealt with on an ad hoc basis, which could lead to financial and human resource shortfalls.

5.1.3 The flat organizational structure also creates significant challenges relating to the delegation of certain responsibilities. The MCO is heavily involved in all aspects of the Program and assumes back-up responsibilities during absences. A restructuring plan is needed to adjust reporting relationships and increase the capacity of Program staff to assume additional, as well as back-up, responsibilities.

5.1.4 PMPs are in process for 2008-2009 and are expected to be completed by June 2009. As a part of this process, the MCO met with all staff at the beginning of the fiscal year to set objectives and performance indicators. The MCO arranged follow-up meetings with specific staff members throughout the year to provide timely feedback on performance and areas for improvement. All Program staff, however, should be provided with the opportunity to discuss performance and expectations during the course of the year.

Support to the Baltic Missions

5.1.5 The Baltic missions are currently supported by three different missions. Stockholm provides human resources, property and consular support; Moscow provides information management and technology support; and Berlin provides financial support. While the Inspection Team did not review these support relationships, it can be surmised that the provision of support from three different missions is complicated for all involved.

5.1.6 There is no Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in place for the services that Stockholm provides to the Baltic missions. This could result in confusion and overlap of responsibilities between the three missions providing support. While the support provided by Stockholm was characterized as excellent ***, it is done at the expense of the well being *** who is working in excess of 50 hours per week on a regular basis. Two major property projects in Stockholm, a Chancery move and an Official Residence move or renovation, scheduled to take place within the next year, will further exacerbate the situation. Additionally, a project to renovate the Chancery in Tallinn is scheduled to commence in summer 2009. Given these major projects and the constraints outlined above with regard to the internal structure of the Administration Program, an alternative support arrangement should be put in place. HQ should consider the consolidation of administrative and consular support services for the Baltic missions. Attention will be required to ensure that the mission chosen is sufficiently resourced to assume these support duties.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.1.7 The Mission should revisit the organizational structure of the Administration and Consular programs to refine reporting relationships and ***.

5.1.8 The HOM should ensure that supervisors provide all staff with the opportunity to discuss performance and expectations during the course of the year.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.1.7 Implemented July 2009. A new organizational structure has been proposed by the MCO and approved by HOM for implementation once staff return from summer absences.

5.1.8 Implemented for this fiscal year.

Recommendation to the Mission Client Services and Innovation Bureau (ASD)

5.1.9 Stockholm’s support responsibilities for the Baltic missions should be reviewed and, if required, reallocated to another mission with the appropriate resources.

ASD Action and Timeframe

5.1.9 ASD is in the process of implementing the Regional Service Centre (RSC) for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The International Platform Branch (IPB) is reviewing how services are currently provided in Europe, especially at hub and spoke missions, and will be making changes to ensure better efficiency and economies of scales are provided by the RSC to the missions in the region. This will include support to the Baltic missions. The RSC is scheduled to open in the fall of 2009 and services will be gradually introduced to the region.

5.2 Human Resources

5.2.1 The MCO is responsible for the HR function at the Mission and for providing services to the three Baltic missions. The Stockholm LES Handbook was updated in December 2008 due, in great part, to the time and effort invested by the MCO. A CBS welcome kit is currently being developed to facilitate staff integration and is expected to be completed prior to the next posting cycle.

5.2.2 The Mission developed an Official Languages Policy in fiscal year 2008-2009, but has not yet appointed an official language coordinator. The Mission’s Official Languages Policy allows LES to take advantage of one hour conversational French sessions per week during working hours, as well as individual French or English training outside of working hours, to a maximum of 5,000 SEK per person per year.

5.2.3 As discussed in Mission Management, the Mission should appoint a Training Coordinator and develop a Mission-wide Training Plan to facilitate budgeting and the prioritization of needs.

5.2.4 The MCO works closely with PMs on staffing actions, however there are no standard procedures in place. This could lead to inconsistency in the process applied by different managers and in the documents maintained on file. As well, a review of files also revealed that a formal process was not in place to consistently advise CBS spouses and dependants of job opportunities.

5.2.5 A review of staffing files indicated that these were incomplete. While the MCO was able to provide electronic copies, efforts should be made to assemble a permanent file with all key documents. A review of personnel files was conducted and revealed that, until recently, letters of offer were not signed by the HOM. Instead, the MCO was signing on behalf of the Mission. This practice has now ceased and the HOM is to sign all future letters of offer.

5.2.6 The Mission would benefit from an LES personnel checklist that provides instructions for new or departing employees. HR staff would also benefit from this checklist as it would ensure that procedures are carried out in a consistent manner by all employees and would avoid steps being missed.

5.2.7 While no classification exercises have occurred recently, a review of files indicated that earlier exercises were completed properly with appropriate rationale on file.

5.2.8 In addition, many job descriptions were out-of-date and, in some cases, more than nine years old since the last review. As discussed in the Mission Management section, job descriptions should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis, preferably annually as a part of the PMP process.

5.2.9 During the course of the Inspection, it was noted that CBS and/or dependants were, at times, absent from the Mission for more than 25 days. Per the Foreign Service Directives (FSDs), it is the responsibility of each CBS to notify the MCO and their FSD Advisor if they, or their dependants, have been absent from the Mission for more than 25 days. Allowances will then be adjusted in these cases.

5.2.10 The Occupational Health and Safety Committee began meeting recently. Minutes are taken at each meeting and are circulated to all staff.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.2.11 An official language coordinator should be appointed by the HOM.

5.2.12 Staffing procedure guidelines should be developed and communicated to all staff, and should include provisions related to CBS spouses and dependants.

5.2.13 An LES personnel checklist should be created.

5.2.14 The Mission should remind each CBS to notify the MCO and their FSD Advisor, if they or their dependants are absent from the Mission for more than 25 days.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.2.11 In-progress for September 2009. This will be done after the summer relocation period and the arrival of new staff at post.

5.2.12 In-progress for December 2009. Well developed staffing procedures exist at the Mission; they now need to be communicated formally in writing to all staff, CBS spouses and dependants.

5.2.13 In-progress for December 2009.

5.2.14 Implemented April 2009. This has already been done for 2009, but a reminder will be sent to all CBS in April of each year.

5.3 Physical Resources

5.3.1 The Property Section is managed by the MCO with the assistance of a Property and Materiel Clerk (LE-05). There is no back-up for the Clerk, and the MCO assumes these duties during absences. The Mission’s property portfolio includes a Crown leased Chancery, a Crown-owned Official Residence (OR), one Crown-owned Staff Quarter (SQ) and four Crown-leased SQs. The Property Section also provides support to the Baltic missions, and the MCO visits these missions yearly at minimum.

5.3.2 With the upcoming major Stockholm projects, the Mission will not have sufficient resources to address the existing workload and effectively support the Baltic missions. Major projects in Stockholm, specifically the Chancery move and the purchase of a new OR (or renovation of the current OR), will fully occupy staff. There is also a project to renovate the Chancery in Tallinn to commence this summer (2009). Given the workload faced by the Mission and the organizational challenges noted in Section 5.1 of this report, it will be necessary for the Physical Resources Bureau (ARD) to provide greater assistance with these projects.

5.3.3 The Mission Housing Committee (MHC) has not been active due to the low turnover of staff and lack of major SQ issues. With the relocation season approaching, the Committee should ensure that updated Terms of Reference (TOR) are communicated to and reviewed by each Committee member.


5.3.4 The Chancery occupies one floor of a multi-storey office building. The landlord plans to undertake a complete refurbishment of the building between 2011 and 2014 which will result in a forced permanent move. A new chancery site has been identified, and the Mission is expected to relocate there in early 2010.

5.3.5 The floor plan for the new chancery was reviewed and it was noted that offices for the Consular Officer and the Assistant Accountant will not be enclosed. The open office concept for these two functions raises concerns about security (cash and passport handling) and privacy/confidentiality (documents and conversations).

Official Residence

5.3.6 The OR is in need of major renovations to address issues that have been postponed for several years due to uncertainty regarding the future of the property. It has been agreed with ARD that, if a new residence cannot be found by October 2009, then renovation work will proceed on the current OR. If the Department is to pursue the purchase option, it will be necessary to allocate additional resources to the project as Mission resources are not adequate to address this additional workload.

5.3.7 Should the OR renovation plan be implemented, a temporary OR will have to be found (for approximately one year) due to the nature and extent of the renovations that will need to be undertaken. It will also be necessary to consider how to best utilize the OR staff given that the temporary accommodation may be a much smaller property.

5.3.8 The gardening contract at the OR was recently cancelled due to concerns over value-for-money, and the associated duties were transferred to the three OR staff. Gardening duties are not part of their job descriptions and they are not trained to undertake these tasks. The Mission should examine hiring a professional landscaping company to ensure that the grounds are properly maintained. This will be especially important should the decision be made to sell the property.

5.3.9 Although the HOM is paying for her share of cleaning supplies and other consumables, it is not recorded by the Mission and the methodology used is not clear. In order to ensure transparency, reimbursement should be made through the Mission. Mission Administration should establish a cost sharing formula with the HOM for consumable goods. In determining an appropriate share, the frequency of official hospitality events should be taken into consideration, as well as the size of the representational areas versus personal living space.


5.3.10 Currently, there is no workplan or associated budget established for the maintenance function. There is also no multi-year capital acquisition plan. This creates the risk that maintenance projects or materiel acquisition needs could be overlooked or unfunded. The Section should be more proactive and consult PMs regarding their program needs and CBS regarding SQ needs in order to develop plans. The plans and associated budgets should then be presented at the CMM for discussion and approval.

5.3.11 The Inspection Team visited three SQs that are well maintained and offer a good standard to occupants. Although both the HOM and MCO have visited all SQs, no annual inspection of SQs or the OR is performed. Annual inspections of properties, with input from the Property and Materiel Clerk, would provide valuable information to feed into the maintenance and capital acquisition plans.

5.3.12 The Mission is using email and paper forms for service requests. The implementation of the HQ supported electronic service request system would improve controls, as well as assist with analysis and reporting.

Internal Controls

5.3.13 SQ inventories and occupancy agreements have all been signed, however, most of the SQ inventories were signed many months after the occupants’ arrival. According to the Property Manual section 7.3.3, SQ inventories should be signed within 30 days of occupancy. Furthermore, changes to inventories are made to the original signed document rather than using the Material Transfer Voucher which should also be signed by the occupant.

5.3.14 Although the HOM arrived in 2007, the OR inventory was only completed recently. The inventory is currently awaiting HOM verification and signature.

5.3.15 Inventories of supplies and Chancery assets should be updated and each staff member should sign for items in their offices. With the upcoming Chancery move, it is important that all inventories are up-to-date to ensure all assets are accounted for.

5.3.16 The disposal of Crown assets is generally conducted through public auctions. The Mission has, however, had difficulties finding interested parties in the local market. Files reviewed were incomplete, and therefore it was difficult to assess the Mission’s compliance with policies and procedures. It was also noted that ***.

5.3.17 The Property and Materiel Clerk is undertaking all steps in the procurement process, ie. ordering, verifying the invoice, receipt and distribution of goods. The Mission should ensure an adequate segregation of duties is in place and that purchases are verified by a second staff member.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.3.18 The Mission should identify and train a back-up for the Property and Materiel Clerk, who can assume his duties during absences.

5.3.19 TOR for the MHC should be updated and circulated to Committee members.

5.3.20 The Mission should consider hiring a professional landscaping company to maintain the grounds at the OR.

5.3.21 The HOM should reimburse the Mission for consumables for personal use based on a cost sharing formula agreed to with the Administration Program.

5.3.22 Annual inspections of the OR and SQs should be performed with assistance from the Property and Materiel Clerk.

5.3.23 Maintenance and multi-year capital acquisition plans should be developed in consultation with PMs and CBS. These should be presented to CMM, along with an associated budget, for approval.

5.3.24 The Mission should implement the departmentally supported electronic service request system.

5.3.25 The Mission should ensure that, per the Property Manual section 7.3.3, SQ inventories are signed within 30 days of the occupant’s arrival.

5.3.26 The Mission should use the Materiel Transfer Voucher to track changes to the SQ inventories.

5.3.27 Inventories for all Chancery assets, supplies and contents of storage rooms should be updated.

5.3.28 The HOM, or appropriate HQ group, should approve all disposals, in line with the Materiel Management Manual, Annex A: Authorities for the Disposal of Crown Assets at Missions.

5.3.29 The Mission should ensure that there is an adequate segregation of duties with respect to the procurement process.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.3.18 In-progress for March 2010. The Mission will identify the person to be the Property and Material Clerk back up and will prepare a training/learning plan for the current FY.

5.3.19 In-progress for April 2010. TOR for MHC will be ready prior to the next posting season.

5.3.20 Experience has shown that such contracts in Sweden do not provide the results and value for money the Canadian Crown would expect. A contract is in place with a trained gardener to provide periodic services and to train OR staff who have the time for, and enjoy, the outside duties. Should a decision be taken to sell the house, or following major renovations, a contract will be signed to undertake major work to the grounds.

5.3.21 Implemented June 2009. The informal sharing of household expenses has been replaced by a formal cost sharing formula agreed upon with the Administration Program.

5.3.22 In-progress for October 2009. The next inspection will take place following the arrival of new staff at the Mission.

5.3.23 In-progress for December 2009. These are in the process of being developed. New staff will be given an opportunity to give their input before the plan is finalized.

5.3.24 In-progress for September 2009.

5.3.25 In-progress for October 2009. This will be done following this summer's relocation season.

5.3.26 Implemented July 2009.

5.3.27 In-progress for March 2010. The Mission shall address this recommendation prior to the move to the new Chancery.

5.3.28 Implemented May 2009.

5.3.29 Implemented July 2009. A separate employee is now verifying purchases made by the Property and Material Clerk.

Recommendations to ARD

5.3.30 ARD should consult with the Mission regarding the three upcoming property projects (two in Stockholm and one in Tallinn) to identify additional resource requirements.

5.3.31 ARD should initiate consultations with Security, Finance, Consular and Passport groups to ensure that the application of new space guidelines respects the Department’s responsibilities for the safeguarding of assets and information abroad.

ARD Actions and Timeframes

5.3.30 The Project Manager has contracted a certified firm to assist in overseeing the turnkey project, so as to help minimize the workload of the MCO. For the Stockholm OR search, a local broker will assist with the groundwork of identifying replacement options. Concerning Tallinn, resources will be identified.

5.3.31 ARD has consulted extensively with Stockholm staff in arriving at solutions (e.g. visiting the new Stockholm Chancery with the mission to review the new space guidelines and security requirements). Some adjustments are being made to the floor plan to address concerns raised by the Mission, while respecting the new space guidelines. All of the relevant and key players will be consulted accordingly and ARD will ensure that anything undertaken will respect the Department's responsibilities for the safeguarding of assets and information abroad.

5.4 Finance

5.4.1 The Finance Section is managed by the MCO and consists of an Accountant (LE-07) and an Administration/Accounts Assistant (LE-05). Both positions have been filled by term employees as the incumbents are on maternity leave. During the course of the Inspection, the term employee occupying the LE-07 position did not return from vacation and subsequently resigned. As a result, the term Administration/Accounts Assistant was required to act in her place. The term Accountant had not, however, involved the term Assistant in many of the Mission’s financial procedures and processes. As a temporary measure, arrangements were made to use the Mission in Warsaw for advice and guidance. As time permits, the Mission should ensure that the incumbent is appropriately trained on departmental financial procedures.

5.4.2 The MCO is *** monitoring Mission budget performance and regularly tables updates at the CMM. The Mission is also making good use of acquisition cards for small purchases that are pre-approved by the MCO. This results in a reduced number of entries in the Integrated Management System (IMS).

5.4.3 There are currently no documented financial procedures in place for routine processes, such as travel and hospitality claims. Such a document could be used to guide both staff and clients in the appropriate steps to follow. These, along with service standards, should be developed and communicated to clients.

5.4.4 A process is in place to ensure staff reimburse for the personal use of Mission cellular telephones. However, there is no formal process in place to ensure staff reimburse for personal long distance calls made using Chancery telephone lines.

5.4.5 The Mission maintains a contract register but does not have a Contract Review Board (CRB) or the related Terms of Reference (TOR). A review of files found that the Mission has issued several low value, sole source contracts without the appropriate rationale on file. A CRB should be in place to provide oversight and ensure that proper contracting procedures are being followed.

5.4.6 Due to resource constraints, the Mission has not been entering any service contracts into the Materiel Management (MM) Module of IMS. This has, however, been a requirement for all missions since April 1, 2008. Recognizing the challenges experienced in many small missions, the Contracting Policy, Monitoring and Operations Division (SPP) has initiated a pilot project, where HQ undertakes the MM entries, to facilitate the process. The Mission in Stockholm would be a good candidate for this pilot project.

5.4.7 A review of financial processes identified areas where controls could be improved. They are listed below.

  • The monthly bank statement is sent directly to the Finance Section rather than to the MCO.
  • The Mission’s supply of official receipt books are stored in the Finance Section rather than in the high secure zone (HSZ).
  • The Mission’s supply of cheques are stored in the Accountant’s office rather than in the HSZ, and
  • ***

5.4.8 As the Finance Section is currently open to all Mission staff throughout the day, staff are routinely interrupted by clients seeking assistance. A review of the December 2008 Mission accounts indicated several minor errors, which could be related to frequent interruptions and the resulting lack of focus. In other missions, the implementation of quiet hours for the Finance Section has improved the ability of staff to focus on activities and minimize input errors.

5.4.9 The Mission is paying subscription costs for internet access at SQs and the OR. The 2002 Audit Report recommended that such practice cease, but it has been allowed to continue based on decisions of the CMM. The CMM does not, however, possess the authority to make this decision. As per Chapter 7 of the Property Management Manual, all employees, including HOMs, are responsible for personal cable, satellite TV services and internet services.

5.4.10 The CBS are undertaking bulk purchases of spirits and wines and charging these directly to their hospitality budgets. Instances were noted, however, where alcohol purchased for official purposes was instead used for personal consumption. There was an instance where a staff member reimbursed the Mission in January 2009 for over $600 of alcohol personally consumed during the last two FYs (2007-2008, 2008-2009). Official purchases of alcohol should be used for official purposes only. Those purchased for personal consumption should be paid for by the employee, as well as a proportionate share of shipping costs. In the event that personally purchased alcohol is used for an official event, it should be reimbursed through the hospitality diary process, in the relevant FY.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.4.11 The term Administration/Accounts Assistant should be provided with training on departmental financial procedures.

5.4.12 Financial procedures for key processes should be developed along with service standards, and these should be communicated to staff.

5.4.13 The Mission should establish a formalized process for the reimbursement of personal long distance telephone calls.

5.4.14 The Mission should establish a CRB along with its Terms of Reference.

5.4.15 The Mission should submit a request to SPP to take part in the pilot project for the entry of contracts in the MM module of IMS.

5.4.16 The Mission should discontinue the practice of paying for personal internet services at SQs and the OR.

5.4.17 The Mission should improve the control environment by ensuring that:

  • Monthly bank statements are delivered to, opened, and reviewed by the MCO;
  • Official receipt books are secured and controlled by a CBS member and only working stocks are provided to staff;
  • ***
  • The Finance Section door is locked when staff are away from their offices.

5.4.18 Quiet hours should be implemented for the Finance Section.

5.4.19 Personal portions of bulk alcohol purchases should be paid upfront by the employee. Mission funds should only be used for bulk purchases of alcohol that are for official use, and inventories should be reconciled annually in the presence of a Mission staff member.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.4.11 Implemented June 2009. The Regional Manager for Africa and Europe from the Foreign Operations and International Banking Division (SMFF) visited the Mission in June to train the term LES.

5.4.12 In-progress for December 2009. Financial procedures and service standards do exist at the Mission and will now be communicated formally in writing to all staff.

5.4.13 In-progress for September 2009. This has long been the practice for landlines in SQs and for Blackberry and other mobile accounts. It will now also be implemented for landlines within the Chancery.

5.4.14 In-progress for September 2009. This has been discussed, but will be implemented after summer period and the arrival of new staff at the Mission.

5.4.15 In-progress for October 2009. Discussions with SPP and SMFF have been initiated to phase-in the implementation of the pilot project.

5.4.16 Implemented May 2009. All CBS are now paying the full cost of internet services provided to SQs.

5.4.17 In-progress for September 2009. The first three points have already been implemented. ***

5.4.18 In-progress for September 2009. The Mission will evaluate the need for this recommendation, and will implement it if required.

5.4.19 Implemented June 2009.

5.5 Information Management - Information Technology (IM-IT)

5.5.1 The Mission’s IM-IT function is delivered by a CS-02 Foreign Service Information Technology Professional (FSITP) who reports to both the MCO and the Client Service Regional Manager (CSRM) in London, England. The FSITP was supporting a high level visit to Norway at the time of the Inspection, though was interviewed by telephone as a part of the process. The FSITP meets regularly with the MCO to discuss workloads and also provides the CSRM with a weekly report on issues. He also provides regular maintenance support to the missions in Oslo and Helsinki.

5.5.2 The Mission has been using InfoBank since 2007 and has an Information Management Improvement Program (IM-IP) Committee that meets bi-monthly and is chaired by the FSITP. An InfoBank quick reference guide has been issued to staff, reducing the number of questions being raised with the FSITP.

5.5.3 The FSITP would benefit from the development of a workplan which would assist in providing quality and timely services. This workplan should include regularly scheduled maintenance and back-up procedures, cyclical replacements, equipment disposals and regional visits. The workplan would also facilitate input into the budgeting process by identifying any operational and purchasing requirements over the coming year.

5.5.4 Service standards were circulated by the CSRM to all FSITPs in Europe in February 2009. The FSITP has not, however, circulated them to clients. The communication of these service standards would help manage client expectations and allow the FSITP to address priority activities.

5.5.5 There is presently a large inventory of old IT equipment that is awaiting disposal. The MCO and the FSITP should coordinate the disposal of IT equipment in the near future and ensure that the IT Asset Management System (ITAMS) is verified prior to the Chancery move.

5.5.6 Server back-up tapes are stored in a fire proof container on-site. As a best practice, back-up tapes should be stored at an off-site location.

5.5.7 The Business Continuity Plan (BCP) states that the OR is the alternate operations site. The alternate site, however, ***. Once the appropriate plan and equipment are in place, an emergency exercise should be conducted to ensure the infrastructure is adequate. Regular testing of equipment should also be completed.

5.5.8 Both the Mission Security Officer (MSO) and the Deputy MSO (DMSO) expressed interest in receiving refresher training on the use of the satellite phone. In addition to re-training staff, a >step-by-step’ instruction guide could be developed to facilitate its future use.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.5.9 The FSITP should develop a workplan that includes items such as regularly scheduled maintenance and back-up procedures, cyclical replacements, equipment disposals and regional visits.

5.5.10 The FSITP should communicate IM-IT service standards to all clients.

5.5.11 The disposal of IT equipment and verification of ITAMS information should be completed prior to the Chancery relocation.

5.5.12 Back-up tapes should be stored at an off-site location.

5.5.13 The Business Continuity Plan should define the IM-IT infrastructure needed at the alternate site, and once the IT infrastructure is in place, an emergency exercise should be conducted.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.5.9 In-progress for January 2010. As the FSITP is being replaced this summer, the workplan will be developed by the new incumbent in the months following his arrival at the Mission.

5.5.10 In-progress for October 2009. As the FSITP is being replaced this summer, this will be done shortly after his successor's arrival.

5.5.11 In-progress for January 2010. This will be done prior to Chancery relocation.

5.5.12 In-progress for November 2009. This will be worked out with the new FSITP and Property Manager this fall.

5.5.13 In-progress for January 2010. As the FSITP is being replaced this summer, the need assessment, procurement and testing will be done by the new incumbent in the months following his arrival at the Mission.

Appendix A: Inspection Scope and Objectives

Table 3: Inspection Scope and Objectives of Physical Resources
Physical Resources
AssetsCrown LeasedCrown Owned
Official Residences1-
Staff Quarters14

Table 4: Inspection Scope and Objectives of Financial Information
Program Funds 2008-2009
Operating Budget (N001)$1,413,390
Capital Budget (N005)$38,711
CBS Salaries Budget (N011)$527,800
LES Salaries Budget (N012)$1,513,804

Appendix B: Organization Chart

Organization Chart

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