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Inspection of the Canadian Consulate General in San Francisco Including the Consulate in Palo Alto

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December 3 - 10, 2009

Table of Contents

Inspection Scope and Objectives

The scope of the Inspection included a review of Mission Management and the Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs, International Business Development, Consular and Administration programs. The inspection objectives were to:

  • 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 Relations and Public Affairs (PERPA), International Business Development (IBD), Consular and Administration Programs was conducted in San Francisco and its satellite office in Palo Alto from December 3 to 10, 2009. The Consulate is a medium-sized mission with six Canada-based staff (CBS) and 19 Locally-engaged staff (LES).

The PERPA Program demonstrates strong management practices in planning, communications and performance management. There is, however, room for more development in providing officers with greater direction and clarification of roles and responsibilities. The missions in San Francisco and Los Angeles have an internal agreement that governs political access to the state capital in Sacramento. The lack of a single window of access has the potential for confusion on the part of interlocutors as to which mission has the lead on issues. This situation should be reviewed by Headquarters.

The IBD Program has an innovative, flexible and client focused approach, which benefits from strong planning. Innovations, such as the "bootcamps", the Canadian Technology Accelerator, and the C100 initiative assist clients in expanding their networks and business opportunities. The Program continuously seeks to improve the level of service provided, and makes use of online surveys to keep abreast of client needs. That said, there are human resource management issues that will require the attention of the Program Manager, including performance management, clarification of roles and responsibilities and ensuring that staff make proper use of TRIO.

The Consular Program benefits from a suite of up to date Contingency and Incident Response Plans, and the Management Consular Officer (MCO) is exercising *** control over the approval of passport applications. However, the Mission should identify a CBS backup to cover any extended absences.

The MCO will also need to ensure that the Program complies with policy surrounding Letters of Facilitation, as non-compliance issues were identified during the Inspection. The Mission should also ensure that inventories of seals are up to date, and that all assets and revenues are appropriately secured.

The Performance Management Program (PMP) has not been fully implemented at the Mission, with several staff in various programs not having received performance reviews in several years.

The Administration Program was faced with a number of challenges at the beginning of the MCO's tenure in July 2009. These included:

  • Preparation of the Chancery and the new Official Residence (OR) for the arrival of the new Head of Mission (HOM).
  • Incomplete handover notes from his predecessor.
  • A lack of asset control at the Chancery and OR.
  • Loss of the Mission's Locally Engaged Information Technology (IT) Professional position, which required the MCO to spend up to 30% of his time on IT issues.

From the time of his arrival, the MCO has worked *** within this environment as he organized the disposal of assets of the previous OR, and arranged for the fit up of the new residence that had been acquired in March 2009.

The MCO demonstrates a *** knowledge of the Integrated Management System (IMS), running his own reports, and reviews documentation prior to authorizing payments.

The Mission will have to address the lack of up to date local policies and service standards, as well as improve its adherence to policy on official languages by ensuring adequate signage in a bilingual format is posted within the Chancery and its public areas.

A total of 80 recommendations are raised in the report; 77 are addressed to the Mission and three 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 80 recommendations, management has stated that 53 have been implemented. For the remaining 27 recommendations, management has indicated the initiatives in progress or the intended future action. This Inspection Report was finalized on May 12, 2010.

Mission Management

1.1 Overview

1.1.1 The Consulate General in San Francisco with a satellite office in Palo Alto, is a small Mission with six Canada-based staff (CBS) and 19 Locally-engaged staff (LES). The Mission is responsible for program delivery primarily in Northern California, Nevada, Hawaii and Territory of Guam, and is led by an *** EX-05 Head of Mission (HOM) in an EX-02 position.

1.1.2 Weekly Committee on Mission Management (CMM) meetings are held by the Mission. The Housing Committee and Contract Review Board are convened as necessary. The LES Committee met irregularly, and they had never met with the HOM. Members of the Committee now sit on the LES Management Consultation Board (LESMCB).

1.1.3 The first meeting of the LESMCB is scheduled to take place in mid-December 2009. The LES are well represented by all programs on this committee, however management is only represented by the Management Consular Officer (MCO). The Mission should ensure that another program manager, along with the MCO, are designated as members of this committee, and that the HOM acts as, or designates the MCO as chair.

1.1.4 The Mission has recently formed an Occupational Health and Safety Committee. Guidelines and terms of reference were provided to Committee members in November 2009. The MCO is aware of reporting requirements and has planned to have the Committee meet every month to discuss relevant issues.

1.1.5 Several staff members mentioned that they were not given Values and Ethics information although the MCO advised that all staff were provided with the Intranet link to the guidelines. The Mission should ensure that all employees have read and understand the contents of this document. The HOM should meet with all staff to discuss/update this issue on an annual basis. The Values and Ethics Division (ZVE) can be consulted regarding the message to be delivered.

1.1.6 Save for the Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs (PERPA) Program, the Mission has not been consistent in the completion of the Performance Management Program (PMP).

1.1.7 The Mission does not have a Mission-wide training plan in place. As such, training requirements for all staff cannot be coordinated with a view to take advantage of any possibilities of economies of scale. A plan should be developed and tabled at the CMM for approval and funding on an annual basis.

1.1.8 In both the Administration and International Business Development (IBD) Programs, a lack of handover notes from the predecessors *** significantly hampered their ability to be effective early on in their tenure at the Mission.

1.1.9 While morale has improved *** there is a perceived "us-them" divide between LES and CBS which was particularly noted in the IBD Program, where it was felt that there was preferential treatment and attitude towards CBS.

1.1.10 A review of hospitality files revealed a need for more oversight at the Mission to ensure that expenditures are clearly linked to strategic objectives and are properly documented.

1.1.11 Little signage within the Chancery is provided in a bilingual format. There is also an electronic information kiosk located in the main reception area that provides clients with information in English only. The Consular booth is ill-equipped to provide clients with bilingual messages and instructions. The Receptionist can provide appropriate services in both official languages and the Consular Program has similar proficiency. At present, no officer has been appointed as Official Languages Coordinator.

1.2 Recommendations

Recommendations to the Mission

1.2.1 The Mission should ensure that Management is appropriately represented on the LESMCB.

1.2.2 The Mission should ensure that Values and Ethics information is given to all employees and that an opportunity to discuss relevant issues is provided on an annual basis.

1.2.3 The Mission should develop a Mission-wide training plan for all staff. The plan should be tabled at the CMM on an annual basis for approval and funding.

1.2.4 The Mission should ensure that all Program Managers have completed the PMP process for their staff, within established time lines.

1.2.5 The Mission should ensure that all Program Managers complete handover notes prior to departing the Mission, and consider making this a deliverable in their PMPs.

1.2.6 Mission Management should consult with the LESMCB to identify and address issues affecting morale at the Mission.

1.2.7 The Mission should ensure that all signage in the Public and Operational areas is posted in both official languages.

1.2.8 The Mission should ensure that oversight is in place to verify that hospitality expenditures are clearly linked to strategic objectives and are properly documented.

1.2.9 The HOM should appoint a member of the CBS to act as Official Languages Coordinator.

Mission Action and Timeframes

1.2.1 Implemented November 2009. Management is now represented at the LESMCB, with the HOM chairing one meeting per year, and the MCO and Senior Trade Commissioner attending quarterly meetings.

1.2.2 Implemented October 2009. The Mission distributed the Values and Ethics Code to staff in October 2009, and requested written confirmation of reading and comprehension of the Code. These have been retained on file. The Mission will undertake reinforcement of this through an annual e-mail to all staff providing a link to Values and Ethics on the Intranet, and ensure that program managers incorporate Values and Ethics periodically at staff meetings.

1.2.3 Implemented February 2010. The Mission has developed a Mission-wide training plan, which was approved by the CMM in February 2010.

1.2.4 In Progress. The Mission is ensuring that all PMPs are completed by September 2010, and have incorporated this activity into a newly-developed work plan.

1.2.5 In Progress. The Mission is examining the possibility of incorporating delivery of handover notes as an objective in PMs' PMPs. PMs have been instructed to begin developing hand over notes for their successors. The MCO has also created detailed welcome manuals and checklists for incoming and outgoing CBS and LES.

1.2.6 Implemented March 2010. Morale at the Mission, as identified by the Inspection report, is good, however Mission will consult with the LESMCB at the upcoming quarterly meeting to address any issues. Mission held a successful all-staff retreat last fiscal year (FY).

1.2.7 Implemented January 2010. The Mission has ensured that all signage is now in both official languages.

1.2.8 Implemented April 2010. Hospitality policy was reviewed at the CMM following the Inspection visit. The MCO has organized hospitality workshops for each section to review the new hospitality form, review procedures, etc. The MCO, in consultation with Financial Policy, Control and Community Development (SMO), implemented a new tracking system on all hospitality/travel advances.

1.2.9 Implemented March 2010. The HOM has appointed the Trade Commissioner as Official Languages Coordinator.

Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs Program

2.1 Overview

2.1.1 The PERPA program is managed by an FS-03 PM who is supported by two LE-09 and one LE-08 PERPA Officers, and an LE-05 PERPA Assistant.

2.1.2 The Program has a strong planning framework that enables individual work plans to be developed and fed into the PMP system, such that the PMP process is completed in a timely fashion.

2.1.3 The Program has been managing for results, but has not fully employed metrics in this process. However, some metrics have been used in individual work plans, and a level of monitoring of activities has been done with the tools available (such as Outlook calendars). While not foolproof, this does provide the Program with a degree of monitoring necessary for good management, and should continue until a purpose built tool is developed for the Program.

2.1.4 Clear definition of roles and responsibilities has, on occasion, been an issue for the Program, as officers' areas of responsibility overlap, especially in sectors such as academia and environmental or energy, or academia and defense and security. Officers indicated that, ***, they had to manage their inter-relationships to define lead officers in these areas.

2.1.5 Similarly, it was noted by some staff that there are occasionally questions as to which mission has the lead on issues covered by an internal agreement between San Francisco and Los Angeles, known as the Sacramento Protocol. There is also potential for confusion on the part of interlocutors. A single window of access would reduce the risk, and therefore the Protocol should be reviewed by Headquarters (HQ) in order to identify clearly which mission has responsibility for relations with the state of California.

2.1.6 The Palo Alto based PERPA Officer has established greater integration with the IBD Program than has been achieved with the San Francisco PERPA Section. This is partly due to the small size of the team based in Palo Alto, but also due to the nature of his work in academic relations, where alumni contacts are leveraged to further IBD priorities.

2.1.7 The PERPA Section not only holds weekly meetings, with written records of key decisions, but also holds weekly bilateral meetings between individual staff and the Program Manager. ***.

2.1.8 The PM has recognized that, while the PERPA Officer in Palo Alto participates in the meetings either by teleconference and occasionally in person, there is a need for the team to meet in Palo Alto from time to time. While there do not seem to be any issues regarding the Palo Alto officer's separation from the rest of the PERPA team, it could reduce the likelihood of perceptions of isolation or inequity.

2.1.9 There has been discussion of training during the PMP process, however, declining budgets have made it difficult to realize individual training plans. The Program had received New Way Forward (NWF) training from the New Way Forward - Political Economic Renewal Initiative (GEMX), and staff had completed the online training. Officers demonstrated a strong understanding of the NWF concepts and, for the most part, were applying it in their work.

2.1.10 A review of hospitality diaries for the Program shows inconsistencies in their completion. Officers need to ensure that evaluations do not just reflect the potential value of contacts to whom hospitality was extended, but the actual results of the activity. Officers should also ensure that there are clear links to Program objectives.

2.2 Recommendations

Recommendations to the Mission

2.2.1 The Program should identify both quantitative and qualitative results in Program and individual plans.

2.2.2 The PM should ensure clear roles and responsibilities are established for PERPA Officers.

2.2.3 The PM should ensure that evaluations for hospitality reflect the actual results of the activity and that there are clear links to program objectives.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

2.2.1 In Progress for May 2010. The Program will work with HQ on the development of PERPA metrics to better reflect the qualitative and quantitative results of program activities. Program staff will be asked to clearly identify these metrics in the targets and results of their individual work plans and reports, and the PM will ensure the program's year-end report adequately reflects both the quantitative and qualitative results of program activities.

2.2.2 In Progress for May 2010. The PM will meet regularly with PERPA Officers – both in one-on-one and all-staff meetings – to discuss work plans and projects and to clarify roles and responsibilities where the area of responsibility may overlap between officers. As Government priorities evolve and change over time, the PM will review officers' areas of responsibilities and adjust as required.

2.2.3 In Progress for April 2010. The PM will ensure that all PERPA staff receive training on the new hospitality policy and reporting mechanisms. The PM will also play an oversight role to ensure that all future hospitality claims/reports for the PERPA Program clearly reflect the results of the activity and the link to program objectives.

Recommendation to North America General Relations Bureau (GGD)

2.2.4 GGD should examine the agreement governing political access to the state capital. This could include the approaches taken in other locations where there are two full missions in one geographic entity, and those of other like minded missions.

GGD Action and Timeframe

2.2.4 In Progress. GNM (the North America management team) will address the access to the capital question as part of the State Portofolio's brooder footprint review exercise and New Business Model. A decision is expected by the end of spring 2010.

International Business Development Program

3.1 Environmental Context

3.1.1 What happens in the Californian economy matters for Canada both in terms of commercial opportunities for Canadian companies and key regulatory frameworks. These frameworks affect the orientation of several key industries.

3.1.2 With its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $1.8 trillion USD, California is the 8th largest economy in the world and the largest in the United States (US). The Port of Los Angeles (LA) is the largest in the United States by container volume. California is an important market for Canadian goods (automotive, information and communication technology (ICT) (including multi media), energy, green building technologies, agri-food, and life sciences), all of which generate innovation niches. This is in addition to the film industry in Southern California which is of significance for Canada from a technological and cultural perspective. Two-way merchandise trade in 2008 totaled $35.4 billion USD, with Canadian exports to California that significantly exceeded exports to all BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China).

3.1.3 California is a technology and innovation leader and has a world class network of universities and research centres. These realities make it a trend setter with many innovative clusters. These clusters represent an opportunity for Canada's own research centres and provide commercialisation possibilities. Canada has a unique channel of collaboration with the State via the Canada-California Strategic Innovation Partnership (CCSIP).

3.1.4 Our missions in California are thus in the middle of a strategic and challenging market for Canada. Canada is competing with other countries that are pursuing similar opportunities and have several comparative advantages. In addition, California faces a major recession with economic and fiscal problems and a system of government which is not always conducive to predictability (mostly due to the large influence of citizen driven referenda). However, the State has benefited from the federal stimulus package which will offer opportunities for Canadian companies in the areas of infrastructure, clean technologies, green buildings, and life sciences.

3.2 Overview

3.2.1 Our missions in the region have developed an ambitious program to take advantage of what this market has to offer. They are also looking to focus on an integrated approach between the IBD and PERPA programs. This is being done in recognition of the fact that the state government is developing regulations that will represent potential business opportunities but also requires close attention as to the potential impact on Canadian competitiveness.

3.2.2 The IBD Program in San Francisco and Palo Alto is managed by an FS-04 Senior Trade Commissioner (STC) resident in San Francisco. There are two teams, one in San Francisco, the other in Palo Alto.

Table 1: San Francisco Trade Commissioner
Senior Trade Commissioner (FS-04)
San FranciscoPalo Alto
FS-03 Trade Commissioner (Innovation)FS-03 Trade Commissioner (Investment)
2 x LE-09 Trade Commissioner2 x LE-09 Trade Commissioner
2 x LE-05 Trade Commissioner Assistant1 x LE-05 Trade Commissioner Assistant

3.2.3 The Program's approach to the market is a reflection of the business climate: innovative, flexible, client focussed and results-driven.

3.2.4 The suite of services offered to clients in the ICT sector are unique as smaller companies are given extensive assistance and support in expanding their networks and business opportunities. This is manifested most prominently through initiatives such as the "bootcamps", the Canadian Technology Accelerator (an incubator for startups) and the C100 initiative (these initiatives are explained below).

3.2.5 Under the leadership of the IBD team, the "bootcamps" are a process through which Regional Offices (ROs) are involved in identifying and soliciting involvement from start ups in the ICT sector with growth potential that could benefit from a presence in the Silicon Valley. Companies selected to participate in the "bootcamp" work with a panel of experts to refine their business strategy and develop a business case for a three-month installation at the Canadian Technology Accelerator in the Silicon Valley. Successful firms are provided with three months of space, paid for by the Program using Client Service Fund (CSF) and North American Partnership Platform (NAPP) funds, at the Centre. Currently only San Francisco is involved in this market access initiative. A plan is currently in development that would add the Boston and New York IBD programs to the process, thereby providing a similar suite of offerings for Canadian clients in these regions and creating stronger linkages between missions.

3.2.6 The C100 initiative seeks to further support Canadian firms that are attempting to branch out globally, or into the Silicon Valley as a starting point. The C100 is to be a group of executive-level persons employed in the technology sector in Silicon Valley. These individuals are typically Canadian, or have strong ties to Canada and wish to give back through acting as mentors for smaller companies with a growth agenda. One expected result is a group of more agile companies connected to the innovative cluster in Silicon Valley.

3.3 Planning

3.3.1 The IBD Program in San Francisco and Palo Alto applies a rigorous planning framework to validate the strategic direction chosen. This planning process is based on: consultations with HQ divisions and ROs; a review of the previous year's performance; the Global Commerce Strategy (GCS) and Integrative Trade Model; and a commercial focus on what the San Francisco Bay Area (including Oakland, San Jose, Palo Alto, etc.) has to offer.

3.3.2 This focus on what the San Francisco Bay Area has to offer provides a solid and steady flow of new and qualified clients. It also provides a clear role for ROs in delivering results for Canadian clients, also a key objective of the GCS.

3.3.3 There is a functional Investment Officer located in Palo Alto who has a *** knowledge of the investment climate and who provides advice to the rest of the IBD team. He has a good network at HQ to support the targeting of priority Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) companies. The only concern is the fairly low level of investment outcalls identified for each officer within their priority sector (approximately four to five). A more aggressive program of outcalls should be developed for all sectors and special attention should be given to creating a program for the HOM ***.

3.4 Implementation/Performance Management

3.4.1 The Program is very engaged with its clients and is continuously seeking to improve the level of support provided. An illustration of this is the use of online surveys after events. The results of this survey indicate a clear added value to the client and subsequently the Program's ability to serve them in this environment. This should be considered as a best practice.

3.4.2 The challenge is to export this innovative platform to other missions and other advanced sectors, most notably life sciences. The life science sector does however, already enjoy a unique collaborative mechanism with the CCSIP. The CCSIP brings together research and entrepreneurial leaders to capitalize on the complementary strengths of Canada and California. This framework is already producing collaborative arrangements in stem cell and regenerative medicine and in clean energies. The Program is already working in other related areas, such as the personalized health management, which could generate commercialization opportunities. The generation of such opportunities has been a challenge to date for the CCSIP which remains largely limited to an engagement between universities.

3.4.3 Even in the more traditional sectors of agri-food/seafood, the Program is very active and is served by an *** Trade Commissioner (TC). The TC responsible for this sector is looking ahead and integrating novel areas such as bio-fuel. The Mission has praised the active support from the North America Commercial Relations Division (GNC) in this area and notes that this should likely produce enhanced results.

3.4.4 There is concern with respect to the consistent use of TRIO. Officers are neither using the tool properly nor consistently. This is reflected in the significant time period variations of inputs over the fiscal year and the fact that Trade Commissioner Assistants (TCAs) are being tasked with entering all information into the system. TCAs cannot be expected to be able to perform this task adequately as they have not participated in the outcalls, service requests and other client interactions and therefore cannot be expected to be able to accurately reflect the nature of the engagement or status of the client.

3.4.5 It is noted that as of November 1, 2009 there were 83 open transactions in TRIO, negatively impacting performance information emanating from the Program as only closed transactions are counted by the IBD Scorecards, also known as the Dashboard. The Program Manager should monitor TRIO entries more closely and regularly review reports produced by the TRIO Champion. Strict adherence to the proper use of TRIO should be an element in officers' PMPs. There is a need for most staff to receive additional TRIO training. Based on a review of correspondence, support from the Regional E-Services Manager responsible for TRIO in the Americas (based in Atlanta) ***.

3.4.6 A related issue is the lack of an IBD InfoCentre, which would perform basic research, manage subscriptions and general Program information, as well as monitor TRIO performance (reporting to the STC and HOM at fixed intervals). The current set-up also does not have a backup system for officers to provide interim support to clients while officers are on extended absences.

3.4.7 Some new officers did not have a good grasp of such concepts as the Integrated Trade Model or the GCS. This is not surprising, considering the fact that six officers have yet to take the central IBD training course (the Global Learning Initiative) due to the cancellation of the course by HQ in the context of budget cuts. The STC should compensate by providing a series of information sessions to his new staff on basic concepts underpinning the Trade Commissioner Service (TCS). A walkthrough with the new staff on what is available on Horizons would also be useful.

3.5 Management

3.5.1 The Program's ability to be innovative and adapt to its environment has been a key contributor to the successes achieved. However, these Program delivery successes have come at a cost, specifically a lesser degree of attention paid *** to internal Program management issues.

3.5.2 Several observations were made that have been affecting the morale of some staff and, if not addressed, could potentially compromise team cohesion and ultimately impact significantly on the Program's performance.

3.5.3 The STC holds weekly staff meetings, alternating between San Francisco and Palo Alto which is a good start at achieving an appropriate level of communication within the Program. Despite these meetings, some members of the Program felt the need for more dialogue and clarity of direction, as well as a greater definition of roles and responsibilities, in particular for the TCAs.

3.5.4 While the STC has been *** attentive to the management of innovative IBD approaches,***. In addition to the lack of clarity of roles and responsibilities, it was noted that the role of *** was assigned to an employee who, due to a lack of training, is not sufficiently knowledgeable to be able to perform the role effectively.

3.5.5 The STC will need to further develop performance management within the Program. *** quality and regularity of reporting in TRIO will effect his ability to review the performance of Program staff. There has been insufficient performance feedback and discussion within the Program, evidenced by the fact that PMPs had not been completed. ***.

3.5.6 There are signs, however, that the *** in these issues. For instance, the ***. Although this is a good first step, this difficult case will require the continued attention of the part of the STC and HOM in the coming months to bring this to a resolution.

3.5.7 It will be important for the STC to work with the team on key management issues *** in the following areas: conclusion of PMPs for the current year and preparation for the next FY, *** and regular monitoring of TRIO usage. These are a few of the key necessary steps that the STC has to take *** in the whole of the Program.

3.6 Recommendations

Recommendations to the Mission

3.6.1 In order to *** in the whole of the Program, the STC should:

  • Conclude PMPs for the current year and begin preparation for the next FY.
  • ***.
  • ***.
  • Regularly monitor TRIO usage.

3.6.2 An expanded program of FDI outcalls should be developed by the Program including a program for the HOM.

3.6.3 The STC should require staff to use TRIO in a more systematic and appropriate way. The following should be implemented to achieve this:

  • Regular production of reports to review inputs and activities and follow-up where required.
  • Secure supplementary TRIO training for Program staff who require it.
  • Have the TRIO Champion monitor responses to Service Requests (SRs).
  • Incorporate the requirement to use TRIO into staff PMPs.

3.6.4 Until such time that GLI training becomes available, the STC should use staff meetings and other fora to ensure all staff understand the role of the Trade Commissioner Service, the GCS and the Integrative Trade Model.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

3.6.1 In Progress.

  • All remaining PMPs for 2008-2009 and most for 2009-2010 have been concluded. All remaining PMPs for 2009-2010 review period will be concluded by May 30, 2010 as per PMP guidelines.
  • Although significant two-way communication was already taking place between the STC and all TCs, further attention is being given to the matter by ways of more regular one-on-ones (at least once a week when individual TCs are in the office).

3.6.2 In Progress. For 2010-2011, the Investment officer will shift top priority from Venture Capital to more traditional multinational enterprise (MNE) corporate calls - participation of HOM in calls is central to the plan. A goal of at least two corporate calls per month with the HOM has been set for 2010-2011. Overall, program target for the same period is 45 corporate calls. A two-day Investment 101 course was delivered in January 2010 to all members of the team in San Francisco by the Departmental Investment training lead.

3.6.3 Implemented March 2010.

  • A new monthly report template has been created for the STC to monitor key TRIO usage indicators (outcalls, SRs, leads). The report is being distributed, reviewed and discussed every month at IBD staff meetings.
  • The STC, with support of the TRIO Champion/TCA, will benefit also from new IBD Dashboard 2.0 reports, and will use it as an additional source of performance and usage data; STC and ATC received on-line training as to how to use IBD Dashboard.
  • An InfoCentre (and related processes) is being implemented with a manual has been developed, decribing role and responsibilities, flow process for each type of transaction, and providing plain language definitions. All the IBD Section met for a dedicated session on implementation of InfoCentre action plan. Status of outstanding/opened Service Request is now being reviewed at each weekly IBD staff meetings. Two new employees (including designated TRIO Champion) were sent to GLI2 training for a full week in late March 2010. The whole IBD team attended a two-day TRIO training session delivered by the departmental TRIO manager (March 2010).
  • A standard close to comply with TRIO requirement, has been included in TCs 2009-2010 PMPs.

3.6.4 Implemented March 2010. The STC will continue to share and explain during staff meetings, staff retreats and, with HOM, during Mission staff meetings, the broader context into which the IBD Program operates, i.e., Departmental priorities, the GCS priorities, concept of the International Trade Centre (ITC), transformation, and more specifically the role of the Trade Commissioner Service (TCS).

Consular Program

4.1 Overview

4.1.1 The Consular Program is managed by the AS-05 Management Consular Officer. The MCO is supported by an LE-08 Consular Officer who is currently on *** and two LE-06 Consular Assistants. The Consular Program is responsible for the provision of Consular services in Northern California, Nevada (except for Las Vegas), Hawaii, Guam and the Marshall Islands. The Australian Consulate General in Honolulu provides Consular services on our behalf in Hawaii.

4.1.2 Over the course of 2009, the Program processed 28 regular passports, 90 temporary passports, three emergency passports and 303 Letters of Facilitation. On an annual basis, the Program also processes approximately 65 notary services and 400 citizenship applications. The Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) indicates that there are no Canadians registered in the Mission's areas of accreditation. The Mission estimates the actual number of Canadian residents to be around 300,000 to 400,000. The Mission should provide ROCA information with citizenship cards and passports to encourage registration using the self-service system.

4.2 Management of the Program

4.2.1 The Consular Contingency Plan for San Francisco was updated in August 2009 by the mission in Los Angeles and was waiting approval from the HOM at the time of the Inspection. Contingency plans for Guam, Hawaii and Nevada are up-to-date. The Duty Officer Manual is up-to-date and available to Consular staff on the shared drive. Clients requiring Consular assistance after hours are redirected to the Headquarters Watch Office.

4.2.2 The Mission has a good Incident Response Plan that was updated in August 2009, although it has not yet been tested. The Mission should consider a full test of the plan or, at a minimum, conduct a table-top exercise.

4.2.3 The Consular Section has regular formal staff meetings to discuss cases and workload, but no records of decisions are kept.

4.2.4 As the Consular Officer is away on ***, the MCO has provided the opportunity to both Consular Assistants to act in the LE-08 position on a rotating basis until her return. Both have accepted and are each doing a three month assignment as the Consular Officer. To compensate for the smaller team, the Progam does not process any Citizenship applications during the week. The MCO and Consular Assistants work one Saturday per month to process the applications. This approach works well as it has not created a backlog.

4.3 Internal Controls

4.3.1 The MCO is the only employee exercising the passport approval function. All original documents and applications are verified before the approval is done in the Passport Management Program (PMP). No back-up has been identified for passport approval at the Mission. If the MCO is absent for an extended period of time, approval is done either by the MCO remotely or applications are sent to Los Angeles for approval. At least one other CBS should be designated and trained to undertake the passport approval function.

4.3.2 Passport documents were counted and reconciled, and there were no discrepancies. Monthly and quarterly reconciliations are completed in a regular and timely basis. The Mission should ensure that two staff members (at least one CBS) participate in the reconciliations and that they both sign off.

4.3.3 Approximately 40% of passport working stock for the Mission was kept ***. Passport stock should be kept to a minimum in this zone. A working stock of one or two days should be kept in the Consular Section and the balance in the secure area. A log for transfer of passport stock should be created to monitor stock movement from the Secure zone to the Consular Section.

4.3.4 No inventory of dry or wet seals was in place and seals were not always appropriately secured. To improve the security of assets, the Mission should complete a detailed inventory of dry and wet seals, including who it is assigned to and where it is located. This inventory should be reconciled and updated on an annual basis. Seals should be *** after hours of operation.

4.3.5 The passport work area, where the two assistants operate, is an enclosed office ***. This could allow personal information to be compromised. *** or a Dutch-door should be installed to restrict access to authorized personnel only. The Consular Officer is not housed in the work area, and her office ***.

4.3.6 Passport applications are kept in a *** cabinet. Some applications in the cabinet were up to six months old. Applications should be kept in a secure cabinet and destroyed 60 days after the month they were received.

4.3.7 Consular revenues and official receipts are kept in *** that is kept in a ***. Revenues are only given to the Accountant *** as they are small amounts. All revenues and official receipts should be stored in a secure cabinet when not in use.

4.4 Client Service Delivery

4.4.1 The Mission accepts money orders, cashiers checks and cash in US dollars only. Staff should be informed that payments in CAD currency cannot be refused if the client has no other form of payment. Canadian currency revenues should be sent to HQ using the Request for Deposit of Funds at Headquarters form (EXT 1278). When registering Consular revenues, the Record of Fees Received - Passport Consular Services (EXT119) should be numbered for tracking purposes. Revenue and official receipts need to be secured.

4.4.2 Letters of facilitation (LOF) are used on a frequent basis. The Mission is not always adhering to the LOF policy. For San Francisco and Nevada, letters are given directly to clients instead of providing them to the airline and/or agent. For Hawaii, clients go to the Australian Consulate, the request is sent to San Francisco, and once approved the letter is printed and given to the client. As with passport approvals, LOF should be approved by a CBS.

4.4.4 Client feedback forms are made available in the waiting area and Consular booth, however only 19 forms were submitted in 2009. The Program should encourage clients to fill-out feedback forms, and one method is to provide them to clients with passports and citizenship cards.

4.4.5 Service standards, fee schedules and a copy of the official receipt were not posted in the waiting area and Consular booth in both official languages. Services, however, are available in both official languages, service standards are met for temporary passports, and clients are directed to the Passport Canada website when applying for a regular passport.

4.4.7 It was brought to the attention of the Inspection Team that *** was asking clients if *** could share information with the Senior Trade Commissioner for trade purposes. In order to avoid any conflict of interest, *** should refrain from soliciting client information for purposes other than Consular services, unless specifically requested.

4.5 Recommendations

Recommendations to the Mission

4.5.1 Client feedback forms and ROCA information should be provided to clients with passports and citizenship cards.

4.5.2 The Mission should test the Incident Response Plan.

4.5.3 The Mission should designate and train another CBS for passport approval.

4.5.4 The Mission should ensure that two staff members (at least one CBS) participate in the passport stock reconciliations.

4.5.5 The Mission should ensure that only a working stock of one or two days is kept in the Operational area.

4.5.6 The Mission should implement a log for tracking passport stock transfers from the Secure area to the Consular Section.

4.5.7 An inventory of dry and wet seals should be created and reconciled on a yearly basis.

4.5.8 The Mission should ensure that ***, restricting access to authorized personnel only. A Dutch-door could be installed for the passport room.

4.5.9 Passport applications should be locked in a secure cabinet and destroyed 60 days after the month they were received.

4.5.10 Consular revenues and official receipts should be locked in a secure cabinet.

4.5.11 Staff should be informed that payments in CAD currency cannot be refused if the client has no other form of payment.

4.5.12 The Mission should ensure that they consistently apply the policy on Letters of Facilitations.

4.5.13 The decision to use a passport or a LOF should be made by a CBS.

4.5.14 Service standards, fee schedules and a copy of the official receipt should be posted in the waiting area and Consular booth in both official languages.

4.5.15 Staff should refrain from soliciting client information for purposes other than Consular services.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

4.5.1 Implemented December 2009. The Consular Program now ensures that feedback forms and ROCA information is provided to clients with passports and citizenship cards.

4.5.2 In Progress. The Mission has tested the plan for Hawaii (February 2010), and is awaiting final draft of the Mission's new earthquake/tsunami Contingency Plan (ConPlan) (due April 2010) along with feedback by local officials. An earthquake consultant was hired October 2009 by the MCO to develop a ConPlan specific to earthquakes/tsunamis to be tested in May 2010. Date has been set for the third week of May 2010 for all staff. Case Management (CNO), local contacts, and neighbouring Consulates will be informed/may be requested to take part in the drill.

4.5.3 In Progress. The Mission has identified a Trade Commissioner as back-up to the MCO, and is awaiting her completion of the passport course.

4.5.4 Implemented August 2009. The MCO and one consular assistant reconcile passport inventory.

4.5.5 Implemented December 2009. The Mission now maintains only a working stock of a couple of days ***.

4.5.6 Implemented December 2009. The MCO has created and maintains a log for tracking passport stock transfers.

4.5.7 Implemented December 2009. The MCO has created an inventory of all seals (wet and dry), and established a process for annual reconciliation.

4.5.8 Implemented December 2009. The Mission has reinforced the need for ***, and to restrict access only to authorized personnel. Funding pressures, however, do not permit the installation of a Dutch-door.

4.5.9 In Progress. The Mission is awaiting an order of new secure cabinets. Applications are being destroyed after 60 days

4.5.10 In Progress. See response 4.5.9

4.5.11 Implemented December 2009. The MCO has informed staff that Canadian currency may not be refused as a method of payment.

4.5.12 In Progress. The Mission will review the policy on LOF and ensure compliance.

4.5.13 Implemented December 2009. The MCO or his back-up now make the decision between LOF or passport.

4.5.14 Implemented March 2010. Service standards, fee schedules and a sample of an official receipt have now been posted in the Consular waiting area and booth, and are in both official languages.

4.5.15 Implemented March 2010. Staff have been instructed to refrain from soliciting information for purposes other than the provision of Consular services.

Administration Program

5.1 Overview

5.1.1 The Administration Program is managed by the MCO who is responsible for the day-to-day operations in Property, Finance and Information Management-Information Technology (IM/IT) and also assumes the role of Mission Security Officer (MSO). He is supported by an LE-07 Accountant, an LE-05 Administrative Assistant, an LE-04 Receptionist and an LE-04 Driver/Office Assistant.

5.1.2 Upon arrival at the Mission at the *** discovered that he had been left with incomplete handover notes (particularly related to the Official Residence (OR) move) and no contact list to guide him. The *** departed the Mission one week prior to his arrival. Given that the *** were new to the Mission this year, consideration should have been given to providing an overlap for the MCO. In the future, the outgoing *** should have "handover issues" form part of his/her PMP objectives to ensure appropriate details are available to the incoming ***.

5.1.3 The MCO has met to discuss responsibilities and objectives of staff relating to the preparation of their Performance Management Plans (PMP), but actual data has not yet been entered into the PMP system.

5.1.4 There is a general lack of up-to-date service standards to guide clients and staff. Service standards in the areas of Finance, procurement, and Human Resources (HR) are required.

5.1.5 The MCO has recently developed checklists for staff arrivals and departures. These will provide staff with guidance concerning a number of issues and will serve to assist newly arriving staff with the transition and settling-in process.

5.1.6 The Mission Report was last updated in 2007. This should be reviewed and updated prior to the 2010/2011 assignment season.

5.1.7 The official wine inventory is stored at both the OR and the Chancery, although usage and inventory control is not clearly documented. The Mission should ensure that proper reconciliation and control is maintained. For instance, a hospitality diary should indicate wines used for specific events, and this information then used to control stock. The Mission should contact the LA mission to discuss their procedure which is deemed to be a good practice. An annual verification of the wine on hand should be conducted at the end of the FY.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.1.8 The MCO should ensure that all employees have active PMPs in place for fiscal year 2009/2010.

5.1.9 The Mission should assign SIGNET Support Assistant (SSA) duties to a member of the staff who has specific competencies in the area of IM/IT and who can provide timely service to clients.

5.1.10 The Mission should develop and implement service standards in the areas of Finance, procurement, and HR.

5.1.11 The Mission should arrange to update the Mission Report in time for the 2010/2011 assignment season.

5.1.12 The Mission should ensure that there is proper reconciliation of the wine stock so that control is maintained. An annual verification of the wine on hand should be conducted at the end of the FY.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.1.8 Implemented January 2010. The MCO will ensure that all employees have active PMPs for the current FY.

5.1.9 Implemented February 2010. Due to resource limitations, the SSA role will remain with the Receptionist. The Mission has, however, designated the Assistants in both the IBD and PERPA sections as back-ups, and provided them with training. For all client service matters, staff are instructed to go through the HelpDesk at HQ.

5.1.10 In Progress. The Mission will be developing service standards based upon those provided by HQ (i.e. International Platform Branch Human Resources Services Bureau (ALD), SMO, etc).

5.1.11 In Progress. The Mission has hired a contractor to complete the new Report by June 2010.

5.1.12 Implemented September 2010. The MCO has ensured that a full inventory of all wines has been taken, and keeps all stock secured in a central location at Mission accessed by the MCO only. Clear procedures have been established for requesting wine and how these requests are to be documented in hospitality reports.

Recommendation to the Mission Client Services Division (ASM)

5.1.13 ASM should consider providing an overlap for outgoing and incoming MCO particularly when there is only one MCO at a mission.

ASM Action and Timeframe

5.1.13 Implemented. ASM has developed a policy on Temporary Duties and Overlaps which has been communicated to missions. In order to facilitate transition, all MCOs going on cross-postings may request up to three days (new for 2010) in Headquarters to prepare for their assignment through consultations, avoiding double banking situations at missions and addressing temporary accommodation issues. In addition, ASM is launching a comprehensive update to the MCO handover notes outline which will become an "evergreen" online "Mission Operations Manual" in the coming weeks. In the case of this Mission, the incumbent MCO did complete a five day temporary duty (TD) in Ottawa in accordance with this policy.

5.2 Human Resources

5.2.1 The Human Resources portfolio of the Mission is managed by the MCO who receives some assistance from the LE-05 Administrative Assistant. The Mission uses an electronic program (ABRA) to enter and track personnel information and to maintain leave and attendance records for staff.

5.2.2 LES personal files are held by the Administrative Assistant in a cabinet which is secured by *** . he key is stored on the *** and is not secured. Given that medical records, security vetting information and other personal information is maintained on these files, they should be held in a more secure cabinet and access controlled by the MCO.

File Review

5.2.3 Job descriptions for some staff are not current or have not been signed by the incumbent. The Mission should take the opportunity to update job descriptions as part of the Performance Management process.

5.2.4 Letters of Offer for employment have been signed by the previous MCO. The Mission should ensure that all Letters of Offer are signed by HOM. As well, in the absence of the HOM, any Letter of Offer signed by the Charge d'affaires should show this title.

5.2.5 In some cases, LES position files did not contain the approved classification action form (EXT 145) from the International Platform Branch - Human Resource Services Bureau (ALD), nor did they contain organizational charts indicating the position status within the Mission.

5.2.6 Competition files were reviewed and, in general, were well prepared and transparent, although unsuccessful internal candidates were not advised in writing of their placing in the competition, nor advised of their right to grieve. There were no messages on file addressed to the HOM concerning the Committees recommendations. In one competition, a CBS spouse was hired although another candidate had clearly scored better throughout the process. No clear indication as to why the spouse was hired was provided on that file.

LES Representation

5.2.7 The Inspection Team met with members of the LES Committee who indicated their pleasure at being included as members of the recently formed LESMCB.

5.2.8 The Committee indicated that they did not have any systemic issues to discuss. However, there were issues related to term Enhanced Representation Initiative (ERI) employees as automatic rollover of these positions to indeterminate status that were not undertaken. This caused a degree of uneasiness with affected staff members, and they felt that this issue could have been handled by Management in a better manner.

5.2.9 The Committee noted issues surrounding compensation for overtime. Staff are reimbursed with compensatory time, however the build up of leave balances is creating a problem, as staff can not always take leave when it is mutually convenient within the year that it is earned.

5.2.10 Taxation issues for Canadian LES were also raised. The Committee stated that employees should be provided with clear and concise information which may affect their taxation status upon first accepting employment with the Mission. It was apparent in interviews with staff that some LES had not received sufficient information surrounding taxation status.

CBS Spouses

5.2.11 The Inspection Team met individually with two spouses. It was indicated that a lack of familiarity with the local housing market had posed a challenge for CBS and spouses searching for private leased accommodation. In dealing with a teleworking arrangement, it was noted that there could have been greater clarification as to the level of support that the teleworker could expect.

5.2.12 The Inspection Team was also made aware of a need for greater clarity surrounding Foreign Service Directive (FSD) issues involving transportation of dependants to/from school, specifically where and when it could be used.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.2.13 LES personnel files should be stored in a more secure cabinet and access restricted as required.

5.2.14 The Mission should ensure that all letters of offer for employment are signed by the HOM.

5.2.15 The Mission should ensure that for competition files, all relevant documentation regarding the competition is maintained on a central file.

5.2.16 While the Mission should encourage and make every opportunity to promote spousal employment, the Mission should ensure that no preferential treatment be given to spouses or dependants when competing for positions within the Mission.

5.2.17 The Mission should ensure that LES overtime is either taken in time off in lieu or paid in cash prior to the end of each fiscal year. Program managers should be held accountable for decisions to allow staff to perform overtime (OT). The Mission should seek funding from HQ in order to relieve a back log of compensatory leave credits for two specific staff members.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.2.13 Implemented February 2010. The MCO has placed all files in secure cabinets in a locked room accessed by MCO, Administration Assistant, and Accountant only.

5.2.14 Implemented August 2009. All letters of offer since arrival of new MCO/HOM have been signed by the HOM.

5.2.15 Implemented. The Mission will ensure that all relevant documentation is maintained on a central file for the competition.

5.2.16 Implemented. The Mission respects Departmental policy on spousal employment, while at the same time ensuring the fairness and transparency of all staffing actions.

5.2.17 Implemented November 2009. HQ has approved cashing out leave for two employees due to a high level of accumulated leave. The MCO has instated monthly visits with Program Managers by ABRA Universal Initiator to review employee leaves specific to their respective sections to better manage staff leave, leave build up, note inaccuracies in data, etc. Managers will be held accountable to ensure their staff upload approval documentation before approving OT in ABRA. The MCO has also instated a calendar for staff to mark absences in order to reconcile ABRA leave requests and make it visually easier to view absences/overlaps.

5.3 Physical Resources

5.3.1 The Property, Maintenance and Materiel Services Section is managed by the MCO who receives limited support from the LE-04 Driver/Office Assistant. The Section manages a Crown-leased Chancery and a Crown-owned OR which has recently been purchased. Five CBS at the Mission (including Palo Alto office) are housed via private leasing arrangements.

5.3.2 The Mission Property Management Plan (MPMP) and the Mission Maintenance Work Plan (MMWP) are current, although these plans are scheduled to be updated in December 2009 and January 2010 respectively. The Physical Resources Information - Mission Environment (PRIME) database is not current as there are several areas where information has been wrongly entered, such as the size of properties and number of rooms. This database should be reviewed and corrected during the next scheduled update.

5.3.3 The Mission does not have a multi-year capital acquisition plan in place which would assist in properly planning Mission purchasing requirements on a multi-year basis. Such a plan should be considered for implementation for the next fiscal year.

5.3.4 The Mission has contracted for the rental of plants for all offices, as well as flowers for certain areas, within the Chancery. This is a substantial outlay of Mission financial resources, approximately $7,000 USD per year, which is difficult to justify in this time of fiscal restraint. The Mission should terminate this contract as soon as possible. The Mission may consider purchasing a few plants for common and representational areas such as the Canada Room, main reception and HOM's office.

5.3.5 Rent ceilings for private leases are reviewed every three years. They appear to be sufficient although the rental market in the San Francisco area can be quite unpredictable. The Mission should keep close watch on the market to ensure rent ceilings keep pace with any change. The Inspection Team viewed four private leased properties which were suitable and within the departmental space guidelines. Rental prices are higher for apartments within the downtown area of San Francisco compared to houses located in suburban areas. The Mission may wish to consult HQ regarding the possibility of adopting separate rental ceilings to reflect the differences in these market rates.

5.3.6 The Mission does not have a service order request system in place, relying on e-mail correspondence and verbal transactions. The Mission may wish to consider installation of the service order system which the Department has recently approved.

Chancery

5.3.7 The Chancery is accommodated in a modern high rise commercial building and is well situated within the downtown area of San Francisco. Additional contiguous office space is available for lease within the building. Due to limitations posed by the OR configuration, the Mission considers this additional space essential to its operations as it would allow them to host business and hospitality events that otherwise could not be undertaken unless commercial space was used. The Mission advises that this space, approximately 850 square feet, is available at a rate of $30 per square feet or approximately $25,000 per year. The Mission, after developing a business case, should pursue this issue with the Physical Resources Bureau (ARD) and the Mission Client Services and Innovation Bureau (ASD).

5.3.8 The Mission leases two small storage rooms located on the 17th and the 19th floors of the building which accommodates the Chancery. These rooms hold a various number of items such as official wine, pack up kits, IBD and PERPA promotional materials, files and surplus IT equipment. The rooms are cluttered and in disarray and should be cleaned up and organized in order to make optimal use of the space. An inventory of items should be developed and maintained for all items in storage.

Official Residence

5.3.9 The OR was recently purchased in March 2009. According to the MCO, this property remained vacant for approximately five months prior to any fit-up or set-up activities being undertaken. Most of this work fell upon the MCO who had recently arrived at the Mission, with the HOM arriving ten days later.

5.3.10 The OR is an environmentally friendly building and is equipped with solar panels which currently provide the majority of electricity required for general use. The approximate cost for additional electricity to operate the OR is only $20 monthly. Once the solar panels begin generating excess power beyond the OR requirements, the Mission will receive credit from the City of San Francisco for electricity that is generated and returned to the public grid.

5.3.11 While the OR has recently been renovated and is considered to be functional, overall layout and size limits the ability of the HOM to provide substantial hospitality. Leasing of additional contiguous office space available in the Chancery should be considered once a business case is made.

5.3.12 Internet and cable television connections have been installed at the OR. The Mission should ensure that a system has been put in place to recover personal use of these services. As well, a percentage for consumable goods purchased for the OR should be established to cover personal use by the HOM, family and guests.

Official Vehicles

5.3.13 The Mission maintains four official vehicles. Two of these vehicles are hybrid models. Three vehicles are located and used by the office in San Francisco and one is located and used by the Palo Alto office. Vehicle logs are maintained, however no monthly reconciliation or verification of gas purchase and mileage is performed. The MCO should review logs and fuel/maintenance costs monthly by completing and signing form EXT159 vehicle operating and maintenance report.

Inventories

5.3.14 There is no inventory of furnishings and equipment for the Chancery. The only records available on file consist of purchase orders for new furnishings when the Chancery was first opened in 2005. The Mission should develop an inventory record and have it signed appropriately and use form EXT182 materiel transfer voucher to track any movement or change to the inventory once completed.

5.3.15 There was no disposal record inventory record of furnishings and equipment which were used at the previous OR. Although some items were either sent to Buffalo, back to HQ, or made available to the new OR, the Mission had no way of tracking items which were eventually sent for disposal.

5.3.16 The inventory of furnishings and equipment for the new OR has not yet been developed as the Mission is still awaiting to procure the remaining furnishings. The HOM has not yet signed an occupancy agreement for the OR. One should be signed as soon as possible with a note advising that the annexed inventory will be added once completed.

5.3.17 Crown asset disposal records were reviewed and found to be well maintained. However, the Mission should be reminded of the policy regarding donations and seek the appropriate HQ authority prior to any donation taking place of an item with a value exceeding $1,000 of the original purchase price.

5.3.18 A sale of surplus assets from the previous OR was conducted in August 2009. The sale was open to all CBS and LES and their families. A sealed bid process was used. It was noted that *** submitted winning bids for approximately 60% of these items. While the Mission advises that prior authorization for the disposal process was approved by ARD, it was not on file.

5.3.19 The Inspection Team has concerns regarding the optics and appropriateness of this action. Chapter 7 of the Materiel Management Manual establishes the rules for disposal of assets within the Department. It notes that employees involved in the selection of items for disposal and those disposing of the items, for example administrative staff and former custodians of the assets (if they requested replacement of the item), can not participate in the bidding process.

5.3.20 The Manual further notes that those employees who purchase assets must observe the requirements of the Conflict of Interest and Post Employment Code. The participation *** in the auction may give rise to a perceived conflict of interest between private interests and the *** responsibility to the public interest and maintenance of public trust.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.3.23 The Mission should ensure that the PRIME database is reviewed and updated.

5.3.24 The Mission should develop a multi-year capital acquisition plan and table it at the CMM on an annual basis.

5.3.25 The Mission should terminate the plant and flower rental contract.

5.3.26 The Mission should ensure that rental ceilings are monitored and reflect current market values.

5.3.27 The Mission should consider implementation of a service order request system.

5.3.28 The Mission should develop a business case for the rental of additional space within the Chancery and submit it to ARD and ASD for funding consideration.

5.3.29 The storage rooms located on the 17th and 19th floors of the Chancery should be cleaned, organized, and inventoried.

5.3.30 The Mission should ensure that a system is put in place for the HOM to reimburse the Mission for personal use of cable and internet services, and a percentage for reimbursement established for usage of consumables purchased for the OR.

5.3.31 The MCO should ensure that vehicle logs, fuel purchase and vehicle maintenance costs are reviewed, verified and reconciled on a monthly basis.

5.3.32 The Mission should develop and maintain an inventory of furnishings and equipment for the Chancery (CH).

5.3.33 The HOM should sign an occupancy agreement.

5.3.34 The Mission should ensure that ARD authorize any donation of Crown assets with an original value of $1,000 or more.

5.3.35 The Mission should ensure that all disposal files contain appropriate documentation, including authorizations from Headquarters.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.3.23 In Progress. The MCO is updating the database, due in June 2010.

5.3.24 Implemented March 2010. The MCO has implemented a new work plan that includes all property activities, purchases, etc. specific to FY funding availability. Reviewed and approved by the CMM.

5.3.25 Implemented March 2010. The MCO has cancelled the contract that was set up prior to his arrival, and purchased some plants for representational areas only.

5.3.26 In Progress. The Mission will undertake an exercise in late spring 2011 to ensure that accurate market information is available to establish rental ceilings prior to the move season.

5.3.27 Due to a lack of resources, the Mission can not implement this recommendation.

5.3.28 In Progress. The HOM/MCO have been regularly following up with HQ since Fall 2009; the Mission lacks space in current Chancery and the down-sized OR for events larger than eight. All-staff meetings cannot be held in either conference room; standing-room only. Space is required. The Mission is expecting a visit from the Property Strategy Section (ARAK) May 19, 2010.

5.3.29 Implemented January 2010. The Mission has organized/cleaned the space and hired a contractor to take inventory (bar-code/scanner) of all items in storage and at the Chancery.

5.3.30 Implemented September 2009. The MCO and HOM have implemented reimbursement procedures since their arrival in fall 2009. The new HOM also pays for a percentage of all consumables for the OR.

5.3.31 Implemented January 2010. The MCO reviews vehicle logs and reconciles fuel purchases against vehicle use on a monthly basis.

5.3.32 In Progress. The MCO has purchased new bar code scanner/software for all items at the OR and CH. A contractor has been hired to take inventory which will begin shortly now that fit-up at the new OR is complete.

5.3.33 Implemented April 2010. An Occupancy Agreement and Distribution Account was instated by the MCO signed by HOM (for the new OR).

5.3.34 Implemented. Architecture and Interior Design Services (ARBC) has been informed of auctions.

5.3.35 Implemented. The Mission has taken steps to ensure that all disposal files are properly documented, and that ARBC has been informed of auctions.

Recommendation to the ARD

5.3.36 ARD should clarify the guidelines on mission personnel participating in disposal auctions.

ARD Action and Timeframe

5.3.36 In Progress. ARD will ensure a reminder is provided to all missions on the guidelines associated with materiel asset disposal (including policy on auctions) within the next quarter.

5.4 Finance

5.4.1 The Finance Section is managed by the MCO with day to day financial operation undertaken by of an LE-07 Accountant who has been at the Mission for four years. The Mission processes all financial transactions for it's own office and the satellite office in Palo Alto.

5.4.2 At the time of the Inspection, the Accountant had not been to HQ to take the LES Accountant course. The Accountant should take this course the next time it is available as this would really assist in running reports in the Integrated Management System (IMS).

5.4.3 The Accountant meets with the MCO on a weekly basis concerning budget issues but no record of decisions are kept. A record of decisions should be kept for future reference. Budget reports detailing hospitality and travel budgets are distributed to all Program Managers at the weekly CMM.

5.4.4 A thorough financial verification is done by the MCO. He has good knowledge of IMS and is able to run his own reports. The MCO is very active in the day-to-day financial operations and reviews documentation before authorizing payments.

5.4.5 The Mission was not able to provide the Inspection Team with a written agreement between the Mission and the bank. A written agreement including fees and personnel authorized to deal with the account should be on file. The Mission also indicated that all bank statements and written communication were sent directly to the Accountant. These should be received directly by the MCO and reviewed before they are forwarded to the Finance Section.

5.4.6 Revenues are reconciled and deposited *** by the Accountant. Revenues for Passport, Consular and Immigration are given to the Accountant in three separate envelopes and are all deposited in the same account. To reduce work, the revenues should be given to the Accountant in one envelope with a breakdown of the revenues as he is only doing one deposit at the bank.

5.4.7 Official receipts are used by the Finance Section when receiving revenues. A minimal running stock is kept in the Accountant's office in an unlocked cabinet, and the remainder is kept in a safe in the MCO's office. The running stock should be kept in a secure cabinet in the Accountant's office.

5.4.8 The Accountant's work area is an enclosed office ***. This could allow personal information or documents to be compromised. A Dutch-door should be installed to restrict access to authorized personnel only. The MCO should implement a quiet hour policy for the Finance Section. This would ensure that staff are not routinely interrupting the Accountant and would help him focus on work when needed and help minimise errors.

5.4.9 The Mission has not designated or trained a back-up for the Accountant. This has created a situation where the Accountant cannot take leave for an extended period of time and has resulted in an excess of vacation leave carry-over. As a long term solution, the Mission should designate and train a back-up for the Accountant. As a shorter term solution the Mission should contact HQ to inquire if they could send a replacement for three or four weeks so the Accountant could use some of his holidays.

5.4.10 Materiel Management (MM) module input for contracts is undertaken by the IBD Assistant, however no contracts have been entered by the Mission this fiscal year. A back-up should also be designated and trained. Recognising the challenges, the Contracting Policy, Monitoring and Operations Division (SPP) has proposed that the Mission send them the information for the data entry to be done at HQ. The Mission has been having problems getting companies to sign departmental contracts. As well, most companies want to get paid in full before starting the work.

5.4.11 The Mission is relying on facilitating individual payments for services (KR document entry) to process payments. The Mission has several recurring payments such as Chancery parking, temporary help, OR cleaning, OR interior design consultant, and OR Security monitoring. The Mission should enter into formal contracts with these vendors and have these contracts entered into the MM module.

5.4.12 While the Mission has established a Contract Review Board (CRB), no terms of reference exist to guide Committee members. Contracts are filed in separate sections within the Mission. The Mission should consolidate all contracts, and a clear and concise record of the CRB should be maintained. The Mission should also establish a contracting register, held in Administration, which could be used by all programs.

5.4.13 No process is in place to ensure staff reimburse for the personal use of the Mission's cellular telephones.

5.4.14 There are currently no service standards in place for the Finance Section. The implementation of such standards would help with client service as clients would have an idea when to expect the transactions to be completed. This would especially help with clients located in the satellite office in Palo Alto. Once developed and approved by the CMM, service standards should be communicated to clients and made available on the shared drive.

5.4.15 The Mission pays most invoices by cheque as many companies are not comfortable giving out their bank information which would facilitate Electronic Funds Transfers (EFT). The Mission is using EFTs whenever it is accepted by the company but is not promoting it's use. A full box of cheques was locked-up in *** in the Accountant's office. A running stock of only three to four weeks of cheques should be kept ***, and the balance stored ***. The current bank does not charge a fee per cheque processed, ***, they should promote EFTs as much as possible.

5.4.16 In order to reduce the amount of cheques that are printed the Mission is actively using acquisition cards. No pre-approval form is in place for credit card purchases, only a verbal approval is given to staff. All credit cards are kept in the MCO's office.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.4.17 The Mission should send the Accountant to HQ for the LES Accountant course at the first available opportunity.

5.4.18 When meeting, the Finance Section should keep a record of decisions, and these should be posted on the shared drive.

5.4.19 The Mission should contact the bank to obtain a copy of the agreement and, if none is available, one should be negotiated.

5.4.20 The Mission should ensure that bank statements and communication with the bank are addressed to the MCO before they are forwarded to the Finance Section.

5.4.21 The Mission should designate and train a back-up on the MM Module.

5.4.22 The Mission should attempt to formalize contracting arrangements with vendors and have these contracts entered into the MM module of IMS for tracking purposes.

5.4.23 A contract register should be established, and all contracts, authorizations and decisions should be maintained centrally within Administration.

5.4.24 The Mission should ensure that CRB members are made aware of the terms of reference for this Committee as well as basic contracting policies.

5.4.25 A formalized process should be established for employees to reimburse the Mission for personal use of the Mission's cellular telephones.

5.4.26 Service standards should be implemented, approved by the CMM and communicated to clients.

5.4.27 A Dutch-door should be installed for the Accountant's office, restricting access to authorized personnel only.

5.4.28 The Finance Section should implement quiet hours for the Accountant.

5.4.29 The Mission should actively encourage the use of EFT payments.

5.4.30 The Mission should develop a pre-approval form for acquisition card purchases.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.4.17 Implemented February 2010. The Accountant was recently offered the opportunity by the MCO, and declined.

5.4.18 Implemented September 2009. Since arrival of the MCO, both the MCO and Accountant meet weekly for budget/financial meetings. All activities are updated/posted in the work plan on the shared drive.

5.4.19 Implemented March 2010. The Mission has obtained a copy of the agreement with the bank.

5.4.20 Implemented January 2010. The MCO receives all bank statements.

5.4.21 Implemented February 2010. The HOM's Assistant has been identified and is currently receiving training on the MM module.

5.4.22 In Progress. Vendors in the region are not always willing to sign the Consulate's contracts, however, the Mission will attempt to implement the recommendation as best it can, and enter contracts into the MM module for IMS tracking purposes.

5.4.23 Implemented December 2009. Contract register has been set up in a locked cabinet. All programs keep copies; all originals are kept in the registry

5.4.24 Implemented December 2009. The MCO has established a $10,000 minimum for CRB review of contracts. The CRB comprises Program Heads, and all are made aware of the Terms of Reference for the CRB, and basic contracting policies

5.4.25 Implemented March 2010. The MCO has implemented process where all cellular telephone users must sign forms when given their bills, confirming if any minutes are attributed to personal use, and reimburse the Mission.

5.4.26 In Progress. The Mission is adopting HQ Service Standards.

5.4.27 In Progress. The Mission will install a Dutch-door as finances for this project are available.

5.4.28 Implemented April 2010. The Mission is adopting quiet hours for the Accountant on an as-needed basis.

5.4.29 Implemented September 2009. The Mission will use EFTs where vendors do not refuse to provide banking information.

5.4.30 Implemented September 2009. The Mission has instated a preapproval form, and keeps the cards ***. Each time a card is required, the MCO must be informed/provide the card.

5.5 Information Management / Information Technology

5.5.1 Information Management / Information Technology (IM/IT) at the Mission is overseen by the MCO, with support from the Receptionist who is the SSA. The MCO indicated that, designating the Receptionist as SSA, impacts on her ability to deliver on her regular duties as the role necessitates her absence from the reception area.

5.5.2 Immediately prior to the arrival of the MCO, the Mission lost their Locally Engaged Information Technology Professional (LEITP) as their current level of staffing did not meet the thresholds established to qualify for this resource. From this point onward, the Mission has been struggling to maintain IM/IT services.

5.5.3 On his arrival, the MCO indicated that he was spending well over 30% of his time on IT support, and sensed that the Mission was in disarray on the IT front. In response to the challenge, he began to develop rough plans and an inventory of assets. Currently, the only inventory that the MCO was able to provide was for items in storage. He could not ascertain whether or not there was an Information Technology Asset Management System (ITAMS) inventory in Remedy.

5.5.4 The impact has not been just limited to the MCO and SSA, but also has been felt by administrative assistants. There is the potential for negative impact on programs in their delivery of objectives. During the period of transition between HOMs and MCOs, the HOM's Assistant indicated that the lack of an LEITP ***. She and the SSA had to handle the backup and transfer of files and mobility tools without sufficient training to handle these tasks.

5.5.5 The *** also indicated that once the LEITP had left, staff in her Section began to rely on her for support usually given by the LEITP (dealing with voicemail, website, password, phone issues). The *** also noted that *** is responsible for the Intranet site, has received no training on the maintenance of a web site, and has little time available to manage it. *** indicated that in general the loss of the LEITP has put increasing pressure on the program assistants.

5.5.6 The MCO had been informed that they would have Foreign Service Information Technology Professional (FSITP) maintenance visits every quarter. However the Mission, at the time of the Inspection, had not liaised with the Client Support Regional Manager (CSRM) to establish a schedule of visits. The MCO and others are satisfied with the remote support to the Mission provided by the FSITPs based in Ottawa.

5.5.7 The MCO has no access to Remedy, and was not aware of the MCO portal that would allow him to monitor the Remedy tickets. The MCO's perception of the level of service that the Mission was receiving was ***.

5.5.8 The Mission has no IM/IT Business Continuity Plan (BCP). While there is an ad hoc designation of an alternate command post, the Mission has not formalized its location in a BCP, nor have they established processes and protocols to address potential disasters and/or losses of service.

5.5.9 The SSA is responsible for the weekly back-up and also does back-up and transfer of files for departing CBS. Weekly back-ups are kept ***. Additional back-up tapes are stored ***. There is no designated back-up for the SSA. In the absence of the SSA, back-ups of the system would not be undertaken. In addition, of the two uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) in the Chancery, only one is functional: in the DCC.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.5.10 The Mission should identify an appropriate alternate resource to act as SSA.

5.5.11 The MCO should continue to develop the IM/IT plans, and ensure that they include FSITP visits, cyclical replacement, etc.

5.5.12 The Mission should ensure that the ITAMS inventory is up to date, ensuring that all IT asssets are recorded, along with their location, or individual to whom they have been assigned.

5.5.13 The MCO, as part of an annual planning process, should be coordinating scheduled FSITP visits with the CSRM.

5.5.14 The MCO should ensure that he obtains access to the Remedy system such that he can monitor service requests, and the ITAMS inventory.

5.5.15 The Mission should ensure that the IM/IT BCP is completed, regularly tested, and communicated to the appropriate staff at the Mission.

5.5.16 The Mission should ensure that backup tapes are stored securely off-site in a media rated fireproof safe, and that additional copies stored on-site are in a secure shell.

5.5.17 The Mission should designate a backup to the SSA.

5.5.18 The Mission should ensure that the non-functional UPS is repaired or replaced.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.5.10 Implemented March 2010. The MCO has trained an assistant in each section as back-ups to the SSA.

5.5.11 Implemented September 2009. The MCO has developed a work plan on the shared drive stating IT needs, purchases, time line of events, cyclical replacements, visits, etc., after having consulted IM/IT HQ.

5.5.12 Implemented November 2009. The Mission has tasked a resource with the compilation of a list/inventory of IT equipment, description, location, condition, and ITAMS number.

5.5.13 Implemented. The Mission has coordinated with the CSRM on the FSITP visits and incorporated them into the Mission work plan.

5.5.14 In Progress. The MCO has made request to IMIT; pending response.

5.5.15 In Progress. HQ has been contacted to assist the Mission in developing an IM/IT BCP.

5.5.16 Implemented December 2009. The Mission now keeps tapes offsite in a fire proof safe.

5.5.17 Implemented February 2010. Back-up SSAs are assistants from both the PERPA and IBD sections.

5.5.18 Implemented February 2010. The Mission informed IM/IT HQ when the UPS stopped working; was fixed during the recent FSITP visit.

Appendix A: Mission Resources Fact Sheet

San Francisco (including Palo Alto)

Table 2: Mission Resources Fact Sheet of Physical Resources
Physical Resources
AssetsCrown OwnedCrown LeasedPrivate Leases
Chancery010
Official Residence100
Staff Quarters005
Vehicles400

Table 3: Inspection Scope and Objectives of Physical Resources
Financial Information 2009-2010Program BudgetCommon Services Budget
Operating Budget (N001)$ 168,475$ 1,373,060
Capital Budget (N005)$ 0$ 3,870
CBS Salaries Budget (N011)$ 0$ 0
LES Salaries Budget (N012)$ 1,056,887$347,271
Total$1,225,362$1,724,201

Appendix B : Organization Chart

San Francisco Organizational Chart

Appendix C: Frequently Used Acronyms

BCP
– Business Continuity Plan
CBS
– Canada–based Staff
CMM
– Committee on Mission Management
COMIP
– Consular Management Information Program
CONPLAN
– Contingency Plan
CRB
– Contract Review Board
CSF
– Client Service Fund
EFT
– Electronic Funds Transfer
DMCO
– Deputy Management Consular Officer
FSITP
– Foreign Service Information Technology Professional
FTE
– Full Time Equivalent Position
FY
– Fiscal Year
GCS
– Global Commerce Strategy
GVC
– Global Value Chains
HOM
– Head of Mission
HONCON
– Honorary Consul
HQ
– Headquarters
HR
– Human Resources
HSZ
– High Security Zone
IBD
– International Business Development
ICT
– Information Communication Technologies
IM–IT
– Information Management – Information Technology
IMS
– Integrated Management System
LEITP
– Locally–engaged Information Technology Professional
LES
– Locally–engaged Staff
LESMCB
– LES Management Consultation Board
MCO
– Management Consular Officer
MFO
– Mission Financial Officer
MM
– Module Materiel Management Module
MMWP
– Mission Maintenance Work Plan
MOU
– Memorandum of Understanding
MSO
– Mission Security Officer
MPMP
– Mission Property Management Plan
NAAP
– North American Platform Program
OR
– Official Residence
OZ
– Operations Zone
PERPA
– Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs
PIF
– Post Initiative Fund
PM
– Program Manager
PMA
– Performance Management Agreement
PMP
– Performance Management Program Human Resources
PMP
– Passport Management Program Consular
PRIME
– Physical Resources Information – Mission Environment
ROCA
– Registration of Canadians Abroad
S&T
– Science and Technology
STC
– Senior Trade Commissioner
SQ
– Staff Quarter
SZ
– Security Zone
TC
– Trade Commissioner
TCA
– Trade Commissioner Assistant
TCS
– Trade Commissioner Service
TRIO
– The TCS’ Client Relationship Management System
ZID
– Office of the Inspector General
ZIV
– Inspection Division

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Date Modified:
2012-12-31