March 1 - 12, 2010
The scope of the Inspection included a review of Mission Management and the Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs, International Business Development, Consular and Administration programs. The inspection objectives were to:
The focus and extent of on-site work was based on an assessment of materiality and related risk. This was done through communication with Headquarters (HQ) bureaux, including briefings by line management and the functional bureaux, review of relevant HQ and Mission documentation, past audit findings, and an analysis of recurring trends and systemic issues.
During the Inspection, inspection issues and lines of enquiry were further refined from information gathered through interviews with the Head of Mission and program managers, a meeting with the Locally-engaged staff Committee, individual interviews with staff, and results of other documentation reviewed. The level of inspection work was therefore based on issues and information identified and gathered at all levels, HQ, Mission management and Mission operations.
An Inspection of Mission Management, the Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs (PERPA), International Business Development (IBD), Consular and Common Services programs was conducted in Beijing from March 1 to 12, 2010. A previous audit of these programs took place in 2002. The Mission in Beijing exercises oversight responsibilities for the missions in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing. The mainland China Network encompasses 406 staff (97 Canada based and 309 locally engaged), six partner department and agency programs, as well as representatives from the provinces of Ontario, Quebec and Alberta. British Columbia is present in China, but is not co-located within the missions. The network has also recently expanded to include six Canadian Commercial Corporation offices.
The future of the bilateral relationship between Canada and China has been reinforced by the release of the Canada-China Joint Statement, agreed to by Prime Minister Harper and Premier Wen Jiabao. It provides guidance to the development of the relationship and acknowledges the importance of frequent exchanges to promote the development of the Canada-China relationship, enhancing cooperation on trade and investment and fostering educational, cultural, business and people-to- people links. The expanding relationship creates challenges for all mission programs, whether it be a growth in PERPA, IBD and Consular activity, or the International Platform's ability to serve, support and house an increasing number of clients.
While the mainland China missions have always sought to collaborate at different levels and on various activities, there is a desire to bring increased structure to the network and better define the ways in which program effectiveness can be improved and potential efficiencies leveraged. At the time of the Inspection, the network was largely conceptual, with the exception of the IBD Program which has established mechanisms to facilitate collaboration, including common planning and performance measurement methodologies, virtual sector teams and a greater-China InfoCentre. Challenges to the implementation of the network approach exist in the concentration of PERPA resources in Beijing and the lack of consistent and documented common service policies, procedures and service standards.
The network also faces human resource management challenges driven largely by the nature of the labour environment. Issues with regards to locally-engaged staff (LES) compensation and benefits and the ability of our international platform to adapt and expand are of immediate importance. The presence of five different groups of LES in Beijing, distinct and different labour environments for each mission, and the requirement to deal with separate provincial diplomatic service bureaux rather than one federal organization, make the situation unique and complicated. For these reasons, and others described in this report and those related to Shanghai and Guangzhou, there may be a need for closer involvement of International Platform Branch Human Resources Services Bureau (ALD) in the Total Compensation Review process. These complexities are not unique to Canada's missions, however, and the process would also benefit from consultations with like- minded missions.
From a property perspective, there is a need for a long-term property strategy for China. Each of the chanceries is at capacity and, in the case of Beijing, the addition of 36 full time equivalents since 2002 has been accommodated by short- term solutions that have negatively impacted IBD Program staff's work environment and a client's image of Canada. The existing size of the network, presence of partner departments, agencies and provinces, and the potential for program growth necessitates a strategic plan to ensure that the Department and the International Platform Branch can support an expanding network. Senior level support will be required as, in addition to funding requirements, such a plan will require high-level engagement with our partners.
The issue of ***should also be reviewed with regards to the ***. The relative priority of China, the Mission's area of accreditation and its impact on key economic and immigration activities may warrant ***, enabling it to leverage a broader range of tools to advance Canadian interests.
The Mission in Beijing is *** managed, with a generally effective committee and communication structure in place. Minor improvements are required in terms of resuming the full activities of both the security and information management and information technology committees. Mission Management controls are in place and operating effectively, although hospitality diaries should better demonstrate clear linkages to key strategic objectives and provide more fulsome evaluations of events that demonstrate if and how those objectives were advanced.
The PERPA Program is working to increase Canada's presence and influence with the Chinese leadership, managing a consistent flow of high level visits and providing quality analysis for the Government. There remains, however, room for improvement with respect to the integration of the three sections within the Program in pursuit of common objectives. Additionally, while the resources in other China missions are leveraged on an ad-hoc basis for initiatives and activities, there is a need to formalize the network approach with other China missions. The Program will have to work closely with the Head of Mission (HOM) to ensure that the vision for the PERPA network approach is translated into concrete objectives, priorities and activities.
The IBD Program has benefited from the structure, *** that the new Senior Trade Commissioner (STC) ***. A country-wide system of key performance indicators (KPIs) has further clarified objectives for staff and served as an excellent mechanism for engagement, recognizing their contributions and successes. Beijing's leadership with regards to the China IBD InfoCentre and virtual sector teams have also helped ensure a continuous approach to achieving efficiencies, improving client service, and sharing of expertise and good practices. Work is required, however, to ensure that the KPI system does not deter staff and the STC from maintaining and building networks with local officials, an important aspect of leveraging commercial opportunities in China. Efforts to improve the effectiveness of the dialogue between the Global Business Opportunities Bureau and missions should continue in order to produce clear sector orientations and priorities.
The Consular Program is providing a good level of service to clients and is *** managed. Improvements are required in terms of Canada-based Staff (CBS) involvement in the passport entitlement process and the inclusion of a second officer in inventory procedures. Arrest and detention cases constitute a large amount of work for the Consular Program as Chinese regulations stipulate that detainees can only be communicated with in person by a diplomat. The current approach to accreditations for CBS Consular staff limits the network's ability to effectively maintain its service standard of one visit per quarter, as only those staff in Beijing are accredited to all provinces in China. This results in Beijing carrying out visits that could be more efficiently handled by another mission. Consideration should be given to revisiting ***.
The Common Services Program is functioning *** and providing a *** level of service, although room for improvement exists with regards to alignment with broader mission strategic objectives, improved client orientation and the definition of service standards. To this end,*** them into the decision-making process and achieve buy-in to the strategic vision of Mission Management. There is also a need to improve approaches to operational planning, in particular the acquisition of assets such as furniture and appliances to ensure that funds are used in line with known short-term requirements.
The mandate of the Mission in Chongqing is primarily IBD, however, it is also responsible for PERPA, Consular and Administrative activities working in close cooperation with Beijing and, to a lesser extent, the other China missions. The Mission is *** managed, the performance management process is up-to-date for all staff and training needs have been identified. The key challenge is maintaining the integrity of resources devoted to IBD activities, while responding to demands across all programs. The two CBS devote approximately 40 to 50 % of their time to IBD activities with the remainder devoted to the PERPA, Consular and Common Services programs. Additionally, Consular and Common Service duties require the time of approximately 1.5 LES full-time equivalents. While additional support would better facilitate operations, a decision to supply incremental resources would necessitate a restructuring of the Mission's configuration in terms of program delivery and management, administrative support and office space.
A total of 100 inspection recommendations are raised in the report; 95 are addressed to the Mission and five are addressed to Headquarters. Management has responded to each recommendation indicating action already taken or decisions made, as well as future action. Of the 100 recommendations, management has stated that 44 have been implemented. For each of the remaining 56 recommendations, management has indicated the initiatives in progress or the intended future action.
1.1.1 The Embassy in Beijing is a large mission with 73 Canada-based Staff (CBS) and 226 Locally-engaged Staff (LES). It is responsible for departmental program delivery in mainland China and provides some support functions to the mission in Mongolia. As such, the missions in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing, report to the Mission in Beijing. The Mission's breadth of programming speaks to the importance of the bilateral relationship, and includes representation from five partner departments or agencies (Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, National Defence, *** and the Canadian International Development Agency), as well as the provinces of Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. The Province of British Columbia is also present in Beijing, but is not co-located within the Mission. Departmental programs also benefit from the presence of partner department officers, including the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Agriculture and Agri-food Canada (AAFC), Finance Canada, Natural Resources Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). The network has also recently expanded to include six Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) offices.
1.1.2 The Mission oversees operating and capital budgets of $9.5 million and $470 thousand dollars respectively, and is responsible for the management of 15 Crown-owned and 53 Crown-leased properties. Through the provision of Consular and immigration services, the Mission collects between *** in revenue on an annual basis.
1.1.3 The Mission in Beijing is playing an increasingly important leadership role in the coordination of activities across our China missions. This has received new impetus under the current HOM and is accomplished through an annual country-wide consultative process with Headquarters (HQ) and partners to define an overall China strategy. The strategic objectives outlined have been recently energized by the release of the Joint Statement by Prime Minister Harper and Premier Wen Jiabao, including the importance of frequent exchanges to promote the development of the Canada-China relationship, enhancing cooperation on trade and investment and fostering educational, cultural, business and people-to- people links. From an international platform perspective, the "China Network" of missions is also working to identify areas where efficiencies could be gained through a regional approach to the delivery of common services.
1.1.4 The implementation of these priorities and strategies across missions is facilitated through weekly all-China operational meetings and conference calls, and further reinforced through key messages and China-wide head of mission (HOM) and program manager (PM) retreats. While the network objectives have been articulated at the strategic level, there remains a need to define objectives in operational terms to facilitate delegation and follow-up on key deliverables.
1.1.5 The day-to-day operations of the mainland China network approach is complicated by a number of key factors outlined below.
1.1.6 A review of other network missions also revealed that some existing good and best practices had not yet been shared with other missions, including key mission*** In implementing a truly networked approach, it will be important that all parties define more precisely what the network is, identify existing good practices already in place, assess any existing gaps to be overcome and assign responsibilities, resources and timelines to their completion.
|Key Mission Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|The Mission's strategic objectives are consistent with Government and DFAIT priorities and guide staff performance measurement objectives.||X|
|DFAIT programs have developed operational plans based on the objectives outlined in the country strategy and advice/guidance from HQ.||X|
|The Committee on Mission Management (CMM) is an effective forum to review and make decisions on mission and administrative policies.||X|
|Mission Management maintains an active and productive dialogue with the LES Management Consultative Board.||X|
|Mission Management ensures that employees remain informed of key priorities and administrative policy decisions.||X|
|Minutes of committee meetings, particularly CMM, are made available to all staff, as appropriate.||X|
|The Official Languages Policy is respected and promoted by Mission Management.||X|
|Canadian Public Service values and ethics are promoted and reinforced, and employees are aware of available support resources (Values and ethics, staff relations).||X|
1.2.1 Overall, Mission Management was effective, with clear and consistent communication and a concerted effort to improve operations. In particular,*** has brought a new focus to activities and a desire to implement a more networked approach. In some cases, however, more attention may be required to achieve internal buy-in to new priorities and objectives, and to bridge the gap between the vision for the bilateral relationship and the operational activities of the China network.
1.2.2 The Mission's strategic objectives are consistent with those of the Government of Canada (GoC) and in line with the recent direction provided by the Canada-China Joint Statement. Each of the departmental programs have articulated plans to address the implementation of these strategic objectives, however, they vary in level of detail and strategic initiatives to be undertaken. As such, room for improvement remains with regards to defining key activities or initiatives at the section or officer level as well as performance indicators and expected results. Specific findings and recommendations to this effect can be found in the respective sections of this report.
1.2.3 The CMM is an effective forum for decision making and has been used extensively by the HOM to address specific mission management issues. Committee minutes are made available on InfoBank for staff reference as needed. Following the budget cuts enacted during the summer of 2009, the Mission instituted a Budget Committee to oversee the management of mission funds in alignment with priorities and essential activities. As a result, the Mission was able to fund its essential requirements by reducing external Program activities.
1.2.4 Mission signage and information posters in public areas are available in both official languages and processes are in place to ensure that services can be provided to clients in both official languages. One of the two *** positions is identified as French imperative and is being provided with advanced French training. Due to budgetary constraints, however, her training has been decreased to four hours per week.
|Key Management Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|The Mission's committee structure meets minimum requirements based on size (Health and Safety, Security, Contract Review, etc.).||X|
|Mission committees are meeting regularly and effectively discharging their governance responsibilities.||X|
|Program managers are provided regular financial/budget updates to facilitate effective management and decision making.||X|
|Security policies and regulations are respected and promoted under the leadership of mission management.||X|
|The appropriate authority participates in the quarterly reconciliation of passport inventory and signs for the assets on hand.||X|
|The appropriate authority reviews and signs-off on the mission's bank reconciliations on a monthly basis.||X|
|The Mission has a plan to ensure the continuity of operations in the event of a major disruption or catastrophic event (i.e. Business Continuity Plan).||X|
|Mission Hospitality guidelines are reviewed and updated annually by CMM.||X|
|Hospitality diaries are properly supported, demonstrate value-for-money and are used in alignment with Mission objectives.||X|
|All employees have performance objectives set, annual appraisals occur, and a coordinated approach is taken to training and development.||X|
1.3.1 Overall, mission management controls were operating effectively, with minor improvements required regarding updated hospitality ceilings and the timeliness of the completion of ***.
1.3.2 The Mission has an extensive committee structure in place, with room for improvement in regards to ***. It should be noted, however, that the CMM has been used extensively by Mission Management to address weaknesses ***identified by the new HOM on arrival. However, other items requiring update and normally falling under the purview of a security committee, *** have not been addressed. The IM-IT Committee, while established, has not met since September 2009. Issues were raised with regards to the need for greater buy-in to information management practices by certain PMs and improved governance over the file structure.
1.3.3 A review of bank reconciliations showed that, while procedures are followed, the Mission's submission to HQ is 45 days late, on average. Specific details on the process can be found in Section 5.4 of this report.
1.3.4 The Mission has a Personal Safety/Natural Disaster/Major Event Contingency Plan to address the requirement to provide essential services in the event of major disruption. The document should be finalized, *** should be identified, equipped and regularly tested.
1.3.5 The Mission's established hospitality ceilings date from 2008 and have not been reviewed and updated on an annual basis by the CMM. A review of hospitality diaries found that programs were not always completing the form in a manner that clearly linked objectives and results to key priorities. In a few cases Canadian officials were the only guests, whereas the intent of hospitality should be to establish, expand and leverage local contact networks. The Inspection did note, however, that standard rates for hospitality at the Official Residence (OR) have been reduced to better reflect current costs and conditions. In addition, the number of events at the OR have increased, and commercial hospitality has decreased to further address budget restraints.
1.4.1 The Mission is confronted with several difficult issues concerning *** and dealing with five different types of LES; three Diplomatic Service Bureau (DSB) groups and two LES-expatriate groups. The LES-expatriate groups have handbooks that were last reviewed in 2002, while the DSB groups follow their labour contract, the Mission's contract with the DSB and parts of the expatriate handbook. As a result, different LES groups do not have the same compensation and benefits packages.
1.4.2 Compensation and benefits issues expand beyond the Mission in Beijing and were raised as major points of concern by mission management and LES groups in Shanghai and Guangzhou as well. Issues centred on the adequacy of compensation, clarity of benefits provided and comparability amongst missions in China with regards to cost of living. As the four missions are located in different labour environments, they would benefit from a closer review as a part of the Total Compensation Review (TCR) process scheduled for the 2010-2011 fiscal year. An additional complicating factor is that the DSBs operate independently on a provincial level and each mission has a separate contract with the local authority. The DSB contract with LES who work at the missions also varies from one city to another, further impacting the comparability of compensation.
1.4.3 The particular nature of the LES groups, labour contracts with the DSB and changing labour environment, necessitate a closer review by HQ prior to the completion of the TCR for China. Other like-minded missions in China have already taken steps to address the situation and should be consulted as a part of the TCR process.
1.5.1 The Mission in Beijing has experienced a dramatic period of growth coinciding with the increased activity in the bilateral relationship. From 2002 to 2010, 36 full time equivalents (FTEs) have been added to its staff complement. Additional space was made available with the construction of an Immigration Annex and the conversion of a staff quarter (SQ) apartment complex into office space to house the International Business Development (IBD) Program. Space is, however, at a premium with only limited room available in the main Chancery and Common Services Annex, with both the Immigration and IBD annexes at capacity. Although the IBD Annex was created as an interim measure to support a growing program, it accommodates far more people than can be properly supported by a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system that was designed to service a small number of families.
1.5.2 According to the Mission's Property Management Plan (MPMP), *** (net of deletions) are on the Committee on Representation Abroad (CORA) list awaiting confirmation and funding for future fiscal years. This known and anticipated growth requires that the Department take a ***. A team from the Physical Resources Bureau (ARD) is expected to visit the Mission in spring 2010 to more closely assess the situation and identify potential courses of action. The implementation of such a plan, however, must largely be driven by Senior Management as it will be both costly and require coherence on the expected growth of all departmental and partner programs over the next five to ten years.
1.5.3 Attention must also be given to the changing roles of all mainland China missions as well as the mission in Hong Kong ***. With regards to key partner programs, senior level engagement will be required to ensure resource allocation within China is affected with a view to providing service to clients in the most effective and cost efficient manner possible.
1.5.4 The issue of ***may also have to be reviewed with regards to the ***. The relative priority of China, the Mission's area of accreditation and its impact on key economic and immigration activities may warrant its ***, enabling it to leverage a broader range of tools to advance Canadian interests. Other like-minded missions have recently increased their presence in *** in recognition of its growing importance, particularly in terms of commerce, consular and immigration workloads. *** in particular, have fully shifted their *** operations to the mainland.
1.6.1 Mission Management should resume the activities of ***, as sub-committees of the CMM, to address current issues and ongoing responsibilities.
1.6.2 French language training should be provided to the *** on a priority basis, over those staff who do not deal with the public.
1.6.3 The Mission should establish standard time frames for the preparation and approval stages of the bank reconciliation process, including a standing monthly meeting with the HOM to review the final submission.
1.6.4 The Personal Safety/Natural Disaster/Major Event Contingency Plan should be finalized and include *** and required equipment and testing schedules.
1.6.5 Mission hospitality guidelines and ceilings should be reviewed and updated on an annual basis, and approved by the CMM.
1.6.6 Mission management should ensure that hospitality diaries clearly demonstrate value-for- money through direct linkages to strategic objectives and more fulsome evaluations of events that indicate how an objective was advanced and what follow-up activity is to occur.
1.6.1 A newly formed Security Committee has met on July 21, 2010 to establish terms of reference and review the updated Local Standing Security Orders which will be distributed to *Beijing with a read receipt at the end of July. The Beijing InfoBank Super User Group has been re-activated as a forum for working through information management issues. The IT function continues to be governed by the CMM with the Human Resources Manager acting as the IM champion. Implemented.
1.6.2 The *** in question has been promoted to *** section and has been replaced by ***. In the future, both *** will be staffed with tri-lingual staff. Implemented.
1.6.3 New reduced time frames have been established to ensure the preparation of the bank reconciliation package, and the review times by the Financial Officer and MCO so that the monthly meeting time with the HOM is regularized and final submission to HQ is within acceptable time frames. Implemented.
1.6.4 The mission Emergency Task Force has met in July and adjustments are being made to mission contingency plans, including lessons learned from an evacuation drill held on July 22, 2010 and renewal and testing of equipment and updating of ACP options for August 31, 2010. Implemented.
1.6.5 As part of a networked approach to common service delivery, the China missions have drafted new All-China Official Hospitality Guidelines and ceilings which are being concurrently launched with each mission's CMM. Beijing's CMM approved the guidelines and ceilings on June 22, 2010. An annual review of the hospitality ceilings by the CMM will be undertaken. Implemented.
1.6.6 The new All-China Official Hospitality Guidelines which were distributed to *Beijing on June 30, 2010 remind all officers of the need to demonstrate to the satisfaction of their Program Manager that proposed hospitality activities achieved program objectives, and that the EXT2043 record the rationale, linkages to objectives and priorities and evaluation and costs for each event. Managers and Accounts section staff will also reinforce the requirement for claims to provide this information prior to processing. Implemented.
1.6.7 ALD should consult with the mainland China missions to ensure that the TCR process properly addresses management concerns regarding the varied complexities of each labour market and the overall need for greater comparability among missions.
1.6.8 The Asia and Africa Geographic Branch (GPM) and the International Platform Branch (ACM) should work with senior departmental management to develop a long-term property strategy for China to ensure that the physical platform is developed inline with anticipated departmental and partner program growth.
1.6.7 The China TCR process has been launched and all mission management have been and will continue to be a major stakeholder of the Review until it's completion. One of the major goals of this Review, as agreed to by both mission management and ALD, is to ensure a consistent overall approach for the country while remaining competitive and mindful of the complexities within each of the provinces. This will hopefully ensure a more comparable overall result for China while allowing each of the missions to remain competitive within their own local labour markets. In progress.
1.6.8 ACM and GPM agree that a property strategy is needed for China missions and discussions have been initiated to begin its development. In progress.
2.1.1 The economic rise of China and its emergence as a political power are major events of the early 21st century. ***.
2.1.2 Canada has engaged in a strategic dialogue with China which has been invigorated by the visit of Prime Minister Harper in December 2009. Four priorities have been identified for that dialogue: trade and investment; environment and energy; health and governance. The PERPA Program helps to coordinate that effort by monitoring Chinese political, economic and social developments, providing analysis to the Canadian government and other stakeholders, *** developing relationships with Chinese leaders, advocating Canadian positions and promoting the Canadian image. It manages an important flow of visits from senior Canadian government officials. The Program also supports other programs of the Mission, notably the IBD Program, by facilitating access to senior Chinese government officials and by organizing promotional activities.
2.1.3 The Program intends to leverage two major events in 2010 in order to further its objectives: the 40th anniversary of Canada-China diplomatic relations and the significant Canadian participation at EXPO 2010 in Shanghai.
|Key PERPA Program Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|PERPA plans are aligned with the priorities and objectives outlined in the Country Strategy and informed by departmental and Geographic Bureau guidance and objectives.||X|
|PERPA Plans outline intended outcomes and results are measurable.||X|
|Officer roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and have been communicated to all staff.||X|
|Internal communications within the Program effectively support program delivery.||X|
2.2.1 The PERPA Program is led by an EX-03 PM who is also the Deputy Head of Mission (DHOM). Previously, the DHOM directly supervised the MCO and exercised oversight responsibilities for other programs, with the exception of the CIC and IBD programs. The DHOM role has, however, been refocused on the PERPA Program and ensuring broader collaboration and coherence across all mission programs.
2.2.2 The Program is comprised of 12 CBS and 12 LES divided between three sections, Political, Public Affairs and Finance/Economic, each led by a senior manager as demonstrated below. The Program's budget encompasses $78,000 for operations, $62,000 for travel and $18,000 for hospitality.
2.2.3 There is *** communication between the sections, and the PERPA PM holds weekly CBS meetings and monthly all-staff meetings. These meetings are used mainly to communicate information from Mission Management. The PM *** within the Program. Some staff, however, highlighted a need for ***. The Performance Management Plan (PMP) process is managed well, with clear objectives and performance indicators. There is also *** communication between the PM, the heads of sections and their staff which provides for ongoing informal feedback on performance.
2.2.4 The sections are not, however, integrated as one single program with most of the planning, operations and management carried out separately. While this can be attributed to the distinct mandates and responsibilities of each section, there should be greater integration within the Beijing PERPA Program and among all PERPA programs in China to reinforce the network approach.
2.2.5 The Political Section Manager is appreciated ***, the Section members are motivated, understand their responsibilities, objectives and priorities, and perform their duties autonomously. Staff mentioned that they would appreciate more direct involvement in the planning and organization of major events,***.
2.2.6 The Public Affairs staff highlighted the work of their Section Manager in ***. The expectations of the current HOM concerning the Public Affairs Section, ***. With the support of the PERPA PM, the Section Manager intends to consult the HOM on his section's work.
2.2.7 The Political and Public Affairs section managers use various documents as a basis for their planning: the Country Strategy, the Canada-China Joint Statement, the PMP process, the Reporting Agreement and the Post Initiative Fund (PIF) reporting process. Weekly staff meetings are also used to review ongoing activities. In addition, the Public Affairs Section has instituted a networking plan for all officers, which is an excellent practice. A written, ongoing working plan for each section and for each individual would consolidate the planning process and facilitate follow- up and evaluation. Besides being a tool that facilitates communication of plans, expectations and feedback to staff, it is an excellent mechanism to engage the PERPA PM and the HOM in discussions on planned activities and achieve buy-in to section plans.
2.2.8 The Finance/Economic Section is *** managed and staff are*** motivated. Notwithstanding efforts to consult and share their analysis widely, the Section works ***. It has also been challenging to ensure a fair division of labour with regards to an ***. It is hoped that this issue will be resolved ***.
2.2.9 The Finance/Economic Section has a *** planning process. Apart from using the various Mission-wide planning tools, the Section Manager produces a bi-annual work plan which is distributed to major stakeholders (including DFAIT, the Department of Finance and the Bank of Canada), seeking their input and feedback. This is an excellent practice that promotes transparency and increases the alignment of the Section's activities with the needs of its clients. The Section Manager also distributes a weekly work plan to other sections of the Mission and to the other Canadian missions in China.
2.2.10 With the exception of one LE-05 assistant, the LES in the PERPA Program are classified at the LE-06 assistant or LE-07 officer level. Most of the staff perform officer-level duties including developing their own contacts, conducting research and analysis, and drafting reports. While further review is required, some position levels may not be aligned with standard benchmarks and with similar positions in other Canadian missions.
|Key PERPA Implementation Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Strategic objectives and plans have been translated into individual or team workplans.||X|
|Activities and initiatives are aligned with the Mission's key priorities and with the principles of the New Way Forward PERPA Renewal initiative.||X|
|Relations with other mission programs facilitate program delivery (i.e. public affairs).||X|
|The program develops and maintains a contact base that meets programs needs and objectives.||X|
|Program reporting is in-line with Mission and government objectives, timely and relevant.||X|
|The Program is meeting the three categories of public diplomacy; communication of events, reinforcement of an image of Canada over the medium term; and building a longer term understanding and relationship with the country.||X|
|The program facilitates a mission-wide coordinated approach to advocacy and common messaging.||X|
2.3.1 The HOM has proposed an ambitious vision for a network approach which is supported by the PERPA staff. It is felt at times, however, that the initiative has created process-related work (creation of committees, drafting of papers) and has not fully recognized efforts (past and present) to improve communication, networking and team work. The result is a perceived gap between the vision behind the network approach and its translation into concrete and realistic objectives, priorities and activities for the PERPA Program. ***.
2.3.2 The Political Section has been*** busy with advocacy, reporting and supporting a program of high- level visits. While these activities are well aligned with strategic GoC objectives and those of the Mission, the Section operates in a largely reactive mode, due to the high volume of demands for demarches, reporting and the organization of visits and events. The Section would benefit from setting aside time to develop and implement a plan regarding outreach and networking with Chinese government officials and civil society, incorporating the use of hospitality funding.
2.3.3 An FS-02 on *** has taken the initiative of creating a working group among like-minded missions dealing with environment and climate change. This reflects a high degree of commitment and initiative.
2.3.4 With the support of the HOM, the Public Affairs Section plans to increase the public profile of the Mission, an area where restrictions have existed in the past. It has also made efforts to align with the Country Strategy and the Joint Statement by:
***, however, work on a responsive basis with no clear strategic objectives. Moreover, the Section has to respond to ad-hoc requests that, while legitimate and important, are not always closely aligned with strategic priorities.
2.3.5 A committee has been created to oversee the program of activities related to the 40th anniversary of Canada-China diplomatic relations. At the time of the Inspection, however, the Committee had not yet provided any guidance to the Public Affairs Section which is expected to play a large role in its implementation. There is a similar lack of clarity with regards to its role in supporting the mission in Shanghai concerning the leveraging of Canada's participation at EXPO 2010.
2.3.6 The Finance/Economic Section produces a large number of in-depth and high-quality analyses on the Chinese economy. It organizes an important flow of visits by the Bank of Canada and the Department of Finance (including the Minister of Finance and the Governor of the Bank). It also makes a contribution to the promotion of Canada's economic interests through outreach activities, demonstrating Canadian economic strengths to influential Chinese economic agents and explaining the Chinese economy to Canadian clients. While the Section consults widely with stakeholders on their needs and on the usefulness of reporting, feedback is relatively scarce. There is also only limited interaction with the IBD Program, which could be a key partner for the Finance/Economic Section.
2.3.7 All DFAIT CBS are well aware of the New Way Forward (NWF) renewal initiative, which they use as a tool for the establishment of priorities and the provision of services to clients. The LES, however, do not have a clear understanding of the approach.
|Key PERPA Performance Measurement Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|The PERPA Program has an established performance measurement system in place to monitor activities towards the achievement of outputs and objectives.||X|
|The PERPA Program assesses performance against their strategy / objectives and plans.||X|
|Hospitality diaries are maintained in a fashion that demonstrates value-for-money and alignment with priorities.||X|
2.4.1 The Program uses the individual performance management process to establish and articulate specific objectives and results. This process is, however, largely centred around individual performance management and cannot be widely shared at the program, mission or departmental level. The recommended approach is to first document objectives, performance indicators and expected results at the program level, and subsequently ensure they cascade down into PMAs/PMPs. The documentation of these objectives, indicators and results in a program level document will facilitate consultation and help ensure a balanced perspective between program and personal objectives.
2.4.2 Most of the hospitality funds have been used by the PM to support high-level Canadian visitors. For some of the functions, no local contacts were invited. The other members of the PERPA team make limited use of hospitality funds, with the exception of the Public Affairs Section Manager who has used hospitality to develop a network of contacts with media, academics, institutes and think tanks.
2.5.1 Under the leadership of the HOM and the PERPA PM, the vision for the PERPA network should be translated into concrete and realistic objectives, priorities and activities.
2.5.2 The PERPA Program should consider establishing workplans for its sections and staff to ensure high level strategic objectives are translated into actionable items with expected results.
2.5.3 The Mission should clarify the respective roles of the Public Affairs Section relative to:
2.5.4 The Mission should review ***.
2.5.5 All PERPA staff, including the HOM, HOM Assistant, should take the revised NWF on-line training course and the Program should identify areas where NWF principles could be incorporated into their work.
2.5.6 The Political Section should involve officers more directly in the planning process and the organization of major events, with management's time increasingly devoted to coordination and the provision of strategic guidance and feedback to staff.
2.5.8 The Public Affairs Section should engage in consultations with the HOM to develop a plan to support the HOM's public affairs priorities.
2.5.9 The Public Affairs Section should establish strategic objectives for the cultural program and review current activities.
2.5.1-2 The suite of planning documents currently in use (2009-10 Country Strategy with objectives and results, 2009-10 GR reporting agreement, current PMPs with team and individual objectives and results) is being translated into an expanded and more clearly linked suite of plans and reports. This is being done using the new Mission Planning and Results tool for 2010-11 as a base, linking to specific team and individual PMP/PMA objectives via a new all-PERPA, all- China strategic framework and semi-annual work plans with specific all-China results and indicators for MPR outcomes involving the PERPA programs. In progress, August 2010.
2.5.3 Following consultation across the mission network led by the PERPA PM, all-of-China PA program objectives related to both Expo and 40th anniversary are being integrated into the 2010-11 MPR and work planning documents. In progress, August 2010.
2.5.4 PERPA managers have prepared reference material ***. Mission review to be completed by September 30, 2010. In progress.
2.5.5 This will be completed by all staff. In progress, August 2010.
2.5.6 Our approach is to assign management responsibility for high-level visits and events based on individual strengths, experience and team-building skills. Other officers are being coached as supporting members of these teams. This has served us well through an exceptionally busy season of visits. Implemented.
2.5.8 With regard to a PA plan to support Mission public-affairs priorities, discussions took place in March, 2010 (after the inspection visit) and plans for proactive media outreach developed. These are by definition supportive of our strategic objectives for Canada in China. The new Public Affairs head will follow up on the implementation of these plans on arrival in August. In progress, August 2010.
2.5.9 Strategic objectives for the cultural program are included in the 2010-11 Public Affairs Team objectives and the cultural officers' Performance Management Plans (PMPs). New objectives will be included in the new MPR and work plans. In progress, August 2010.
3.1.1 China is the world's third largest economy and has experienced an average yearly gross domestic product (GDP) growth of approximately ten percent since 1980. While it has not been immune to the recent global financial crisis, the Chinese economy is expected to rebound quickly and growth was forecasted to remain at seven to eight percent for 2009.
3.1.2 As an important manufacturing centre for both Asian and global supply chains, China imports large amounts of machinery, oil, chemicals, vehicles and raw materials to feed its rapidly expanding industries. The need for infrastructure has generated tremendous opportunities for Canadian companies in engineering, transportation and environmental technologies. China has also become an increasingly important source of investment capital with sharply rising outward investment flows that reached $16.1 billion USD in 2006. With a population of 1.3 billion, rising income levels, and a growing middle class, China's potential as a consumer market is phenomenal.
|Key IBD Program Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Program objectives reflect departmental plans and priorities, including partner departments where applicable.||X|
|Performance targets are defined, clear and measurable.||X|
|Officer roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and have been communicated to all staff.||X|
|Internal program communication effectively supports program delivery.||X|
3.2.1 The IBD Program in Beijing is comprised of 16 CBS and 21 LES and is divided into four sections, as demonstrated in the organizational chart below. The STC exercises direct oversight for the IBD Program operating out of the Consulate in Chongqing. In addition, the STC exercises leadership and management responsibilities related to the STCs in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Guangzhou, as well as the co-located provincial (Alberta, Ontario and Quebec) and Export Development Canada (EDC) representatives. Though the primary liaison functions with the newly established CCC offices is exercised by different missions, the Mission in Beijing plays a key management role.
3.2.2 *** has brought a unique and simplified approach to performance measurement and results via a system of key performance indicators (KPIs). This simplified approach was reflected in the Program's IBD Plan submission for the 2010-2011 fiscal year. While quantitative targets had been set, at the time of the Inspection, detailed planning processes had not yet begun, with officers and section managers at varying stages of preparation for the new fiscal year. The reason for this delay was, in part, attributed to the high level of support required for the Prime Minister and Strategic Working Group visits. The limited planning activity is not, however, in keeping with the expectations of HQ. This being said, the STC stated that more detailed planning processes would be initiated in the near future, with an expectation that officers will update their plans on a quarterly basis.
3.2.3 At the time of the Inspection, the Program had decided not to apply for any Integrative Trade Sector (ITS) Client Service Funds (CSF) due to concerns regarding the complexity of the process, timeliness of decision making and rigidities surrounding its use. As a result, the Program and the Department will not be able to leverage these resources to identify business opportunities for clients.
3.2.4 There also needs to be a more effective dialogue between the China missions, the Geographic Bureau and the Global Business Opportunities Bureau (BBD) with regards to the definition of priorities to address different views related to areas such as transportation, automotive and information and communication technologies (ICT). Given China's inclusion as a priority market in the context of the Global Commerce Strategy (GCS),***. The virtual teams already in place in greater-China could serve as the primary interface for an active dialogue at the planning stage.
3.2.5 The STC has also brought *** direction and purpose to the team ***. Since his arrival, the STC has invested *** effort into effective communications and improving the skills and knowledge of his staff. In particular, regular staff meetings and China STC conference calls are effectively used to communicate with staff, follow-up on the implementation of activities and periodically review performance. The virtual sector teams for greater China are a best practice that further facilitate communication, coherence and collaboration within and across sectors. It also provides trade commissioners (TCs) with an opportunity to discuss challenges and successes in an informal forum, sharing expertise and best practices. With regards to training, the STC has sought to expand upon the HQ-based training (i.e. Global Learning Initiative, webinars, etc.) and guide his staff through a series of hypothetical interactions with clients in a course on "the Art of a Trade Commissioner" to better communicate the role of the TC and how the Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) helps Canadian companies.
3.2.6 Staff did note, however, that "stove pipes" do exist in certain function areas, ***. While a certain aspect is organizational, the phenomenon is reinforced by the awkward layout of the IBD Annex that was originally designed as a staff quarter complex. Managers will need to make a concerted effort to better define horizontal roles in terms of investment and innovation and encourage more interactions between functional and sectoral officers. Such linkages can be made at the planning stage through internal consultations and then be reinforced during the implementation and performance monitoring stages through the use of functional working groups. The Program may also benefit from basic terms of engagement to ensure a common understanding of client ownership and how investment/innovation officers are expected to interact with their sectoral counterparts. This is particularly important in the context of the Integrated Trade Model (ITM).
3.2.7 From an organizational perspective, the Program would gain from a review of its structure and the level of management responsibilities assigned to officers and individual section managers. For example, in the Industrial and Client Services Section, the EX-01 manager has only two direct reports. Those officers, in turn, exercise direct management responsibilities for three to four employees each and, in one case, a regional office. In particular, the FS-02 Officer is responsible for three TCs, one trade commissioner assistant (TCA) and the CCC regional office in Shenyang. In the Natural Resources Section, a lack of an organizational/management structure had led to blurred lines of leadership responsibility between agricultural policy and trade promotion activities. As a result, the *** for trade promotion staff. ***. The Investment, Innovation, Energy and Environment Section would also profit from *** strategic involvement ***. With these events now in the past and the Mission moving towards implementing the Joint Statement, ***.
|Key IBD Implementation Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Business plan objectives and those outlined in management's PMAs (Performance Management Agreement) /PMPs (Performance Management Program) appropriately cascade down into officer PMPs.||X|
|The program utilizes TRIO to facilitate client relationship management.||X|
|Staff use of TRIO is monitored to ensure activities are reported appropriately and accurately reflect the work undertaken.||X|
|The InfoCentre function has defined objectives and responsibilities.||Best Practice|
3.3.1 The Program is actively supporting the needs of Canadian clients and is working effectively with its local and regional partners as a leadership and coordination point for the China missions.
3.3.2 The Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) function at the Mission places a great deal of emphasis on the extracting sectors, reflecting a primary interest of China. The overall FDI strategy, however, was unclear and there is a need for the FDI functional team to have a more clearly defined role vis-a-vis the rest of the Program. Given that FDI attraction is a relatively new focus for Beijing, the Program's officers would benefit from increased training on conducting investment outcalls. This should be done in collaboration with the Invest in Canada Bureau (BID) and an investment specialist with a view to expanding FDI attraction activities across sectors and improving communication and collaboration. Recent initiatives in this area by BID, particularly instructional videos, should help in this regard.
3.3.3 Despite *** the usage of TRIO within the Program is inconsistent and there is a need to ensure that all staff use it to record their activities in a timely manner. In particular, the new KPI approach will require a greater focus on TRIO input and this should be incorporated into the performance expectations of staff. Additionally, the Program does not generally enter information regarding outcalls, only those that lead to a specific KPI. While meeting the needs of the Program, this does not facilitate the information needs of HQ and provides the Department with limited corporate memory on those specific interactions. This field has recently been added to the IBD Dashboard and the related activities should be reported. It should be noted that the TRIO server for Beijing (based in Hong Kong) has been out-of-service since December 2009, slowing the response time of the application and frustrating users.
3.3.4 The InfoCentre in Beijing is a model function that provides support to all China missions and should be viewed as a best practice. The Program has also taken the initiative to develop an InfoCentre Wiki to facilitate the sharing of tools and best practices with the broader community. In particular, it provides the following key services:
|Key IBD Performance Measurement Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Tools and mechanisms are in place to measure and monitor performance of the program.||Best Practice|
|Program employees are involved in the performance measurement process.||X|
|Hospitality diaries are maintained in a fashion that demonstrates value-for-money and alignment with priorities.||X|
3.4.1 Overall, the Program has an effective performance measurement framework in place, which has been clearly communicated to staff and used regularly to assess performance and recognize the efforts of staff.
3.4.2 As a best practice, Program, sector and officer performance is rigorously tracked and reported through a system of KPIs utilizing data from TRIO and the VTC website. The KPIs include new clients, services delivered, business leads, information downloads and commercial successes. Many of the officers stated that the KPIs have changed the way they work and improved their focus on results. As another best practice, the STC regularly monitors inputs into TRIO from a quality control perspective and to ensure that KPIs reported are real.
3.4.3 The focus on KPIs does, however, introduce the risk that the Program and its officers will favour those activities which yield immediate results and not focus sufficient effort on those activities which could provide greater successes over the long term. One particular area of concern is relationship building with government officials. The importance of these relationships in gaining market access and resolving trade irritants was highlighted by all levels of staff within the Mission and by external stakeholders. The challenge remains that relationship building with Chinese officials does not generally lead directly to an immediate result or KPI (except for reactive issues related to troubleshooting). It does, however, set the basis for future commercial successes and facilitates the resolution of market access issues. Some room should to be left within the KPI framework to ensure that the STC and his team ***.
3.4.4 A significant discrepancy was noted in the performance information used at HQ as a result of inaccurate data pertaining to the human resources within the Program. The number of staff reported on the IBD Dashboard (23.5) was significantly lower than the actual number of staff in the Program, leading to inflated results on a per officer basis and inaccurate comparisons between missions. The numbers in the IBD Dashboard originate from the Business Line Utilization (BLU) field of Peoplesoft. Discussions with the Strategic Trade Planning and Performance Management Division (PDC) indicated that this issue has been identified in other missions and is likely affecting data comparability at a general level. When such discrepancies are identified, PDC works with other HQ stakeholders to address the issue.
3.5.1 The IBD Program should further articulate its objectives in its priority sectors and develop initiatives, action plans and expected results.
3.5.2 The IBD Program should revisit its organizational structure with a view to improving the balance of management responsibility and clarity of leadership responsibilities, including, but not limited to:
3.5.3 The IBD Program should identify methods to reinforce the implementation of the ITM and the effectiveness of the investment and innovation functional roles within the program with a consideration to:
3.5.4 The Program should develop an FDI outcall program at the beginning of the fiscal year based on HQ inputs, local knowledge and consultations with sector officers and include strategic opportunities for the engagement of the STC and the HOM.
3.5.5 The IBD Program should revisit its definition of performance indicators in Program Plans and PMPs and expand beyond immediate results to include key qualitative targets to ensure that officers, managers and the STC focus an appropriate amount of time on activities which could provide the basis for greater successes over the long term (i.e. Government Relations).
3.5.6 The IBD Program should ensure that outcalls are tracked and reported on in TRIO.
3.5.7 The IBD Program should monitor the IBD Dashboard, used by HQ to monitor activities and help assess performance, to ensure that the information being provided to Senior Management is accurate and comparable (i.e. number of staff in the Program).
3.5.1 All Trade Commissioners within the program have individual action plans with expected results tightly aligned with the Department's Program Activity Architecture. These plans are available to all Embassy staff on InfoBank, are coordinated with colleagues on the Virtual Sector Teams and are available on request to partners and HQ.
Trade Commissioners themselves are empowered to plan to the extent they believe required to maximize their results in commercial outcomes for clients.
The online corporate planning tool for IBD programs at post has not been completed by Beijing as of 30 September 2010.
The Commercial Economic Program (CEP) planning and reporting tool was designed to:
PDD therefore reconfirms its request that the mission completes the CEP planning and reporting process to permit HQ to effectively and collectively report on all posts' plans and results to senior management and to Parliament.
3.5.2 The observations of the inspection team about organizational structure were timely and helpful. These recommendations have been implemented.
3.5.3 Ensuring constructive and effective integration across industry sector and business function remains an ongoing challenge.
It is too early to judge whether the current solution being implemented is viable, but the model is to make each Trade Commissioner a fully functioning embodiment of the full spectrum of international trade with their client and contact base. Non-sectoral officers are a 'back-office', providing advice and support to sectoral officers until a case develops to a size and complexity that it makes sense to hand it off to an investment or innovation specialist.
In principle, this will sensitize sectoral officers to the innovation, FDI, CDIA and other bands of the integrative trade spectrum as it sensitizes FDI and innovation specialist officers with the rest of the integrative trade spectrum.
Training on planning, preparing, executing and following up on outcalls is underway. This training attempts to capture all aspects of the integrative trade spectrum, including FDI. In progress and ongoing.
3.5.4 The IBD program does have an active outcall program with senior Chinese corporate leaders that involves the Ambassador, Commercial Program Manager and Senior Trade Commissioners.
Further, unlike most missions, we are able to take advantage of numerous high level visits from Canada to extend our scope and reach to a broad range of senior corporate and government leaders. Implemented.
3.5.5 As recommended, we have revisited the definition and scope of our performance indicators.
The success of a performance indicator system depends on it being clear, simple and directly connected to desired results. At present, we have five performance indicators. This is already at the boundary of being too complex to incent officer behaviour.
Our performance indicators focus on four key outputs derived directly from the Department's Performance Activity Architecture:
As the inspection reports indicates, 'government relations' are very important to achieving results in China. Officers, managers and senior Embassy officials who aim to achieve the four results outlined above find it a 'best practice' to cultivate effective government relations. Implemented.
3.5.6 All IBD staff have been informed of the inspection recommendation and are free to copy emails reporting on outcalls into TRIO if they believe it helpful. That they freely send outcall emails absent management enforcement while not entering them into TRIO suggests officers do not believe there is sufficient utility in TRIO to justify the effort. Implemented.
3.5.7 Commercial Programs the size of Beijing press the limits of the IBD Dashboard. For example, embedded within the Commercial program we have eight fully funded OGD positions, over 20% of our strength. Six of these positions record their activities in TRIO, exactly as DFAIT-funded positions. This results in their activities being included in the Dashboard. Accounting for these differences is a challenge for the Dashboard.
We have provided the Dashboard team with an organization chart and explanation of which positions are OGD funded and which generate TRIO performance pulled by the Dashboard. Implemented.
3.5.8 BBD should continue to review its consultation practices to ensure an effective dialogue with Missions that produces both clear sector orientations and priorities for the Department, and incorporates Mission perspectives into the decision making process.
3.5.8 In response to recent lessons learned, BBD has decided that in this year's second round of global strategies drafting, greater efforts are being made to structure market region inputs to updated global sector strategies. Geographic bureaux have been asked to designate sector leads in each of the several regions (including North Asia) to collect, analyze, integrate and propose inputs to the sector practices. Furthermore, several online "communities of practice" for priority sectors have since been established to improve interactive communications between HQ, regional offices and posts such as Beijing to ensure a more effective dialogue.
As part of the management response to the Life Sciences Practice Evaluation, a meeting of geographic and functional/policy managers was held in September 2010 to reach a clearer understanding on better communications with and support to posts abroad, including with Beijing. Finally, the International Science & Technology Partnerships Program (ISTPP) Evaluation is resulting in a commitment by BBD to better inform HOMs, STCs and teams at relevant posts on the activities of ISTPCanada and how they related to bilateral joint S&T committee meetings, such as the meeting held in Shanghai this June. All these intensified efforts at dialogue are already underway with a view to demonstrate progress by March 31, 2011.
4.1.1 Beijing is the tenth busiest mission passport operation in the world and is responsible for the provision of Consular services in 17 of the 27 provinces in China and Mongolia. The Consular Program is managed by an AS-06 Deputy Management Consular Officer (DMCO) with oversight provided by the MCO. The DMCO is supported by two LE-07 Consular Officers and one LE-06 Passport Examiner. There is also an LE-EXP-04 Assistant position that is designated as 0.5 Consular and 0.5 HR, although the incumbent *** is currently occupied full-time with Consular duties. As well, due to client demand, the Program has hired an individual on a contract basis ***.
4.1.2 Consular staff in Beijing are accredited to all provinces in China, while staff in other China missions are only accredited to specific provinces within their territories. Beijing staff, at times, have to travel long distances to visit prisoners or deal with Consular cases that could be more efficiently handled by another mission. This limits the Consular network's capacity to make adjustments to meet service standards in the most effective manner possible. Exploring the possibility *** could provide the Department with a more effective platform on which to provide Consular services.
4.1.3 The Mission provides approximately 2,600 passport services, processes approximately 620 citizenship applications and 1,500 to 2,000 notarial requests on an annual basis. There are only 784 Canadian citizens registered in the Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) database, which represents approximately one percent of the estimated 60,000 to 75,000 Canadians residing in the Mission's Consular jurisdiction.
|Key Consular Program Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|The Mission Consular Contingency Plan is up-to-date.||X|
|The Mission has ongoing dialogue with key local authorities to facilitate Program delivery.||X|
|The Duty Officer Manual is up-to-date and contains a list of hospitals, doctors, lawyers, dentists, etc., to whom clients can be referred.||X|
|Regular staff meetings are held to communicate new directives, set priorities, plan program and operational direction, and to ensure staff are aware of case management issues.||X|
4.2.1 The Program is managed *** and the DMCO *** by his staff, particularly for his willingness to assist with difficult clients and during periods of high workload. The DMCO communicates *** with his staff in the form of regular staff meetings and keeps them informed of issues that could affect their work. The PM also participates in regular Consular conference calls with other missions in China.
4.2.2 The two Consular officers alternate job packages on a quarterly basis in
dealing with Consular case management and passport services. This system works well as it keeps them up-to-date and informed of any changes occurring within the Program. The PM has also implemented standard practices to identify who is responsible for delivering specific services, how many points of service should be opened when a certain number of clients are in the waiting area, etc. These practices are good, but have not yet been documented for staff and future PMs.
4.2.3 The Consular Contingency Plan was updated in February 2010, but still needs to be approved by the MCO and submitted to HQ for final approval.
4.2.4 The Program has ongoing dialogue with local authorities, but communication is generally conducted by telephone. The Program feels that its travel and hospitality budgets do not allow for initiating more formal in-person contacts. In the Chinese environment, face-to-face meetings have a greater impact ***.
4.2.5 The Program has employed two Consular assistants in the last year *** but has not yet been able to provide them with formal training opportunities. Many missions experience similar challenges bridging the gap between the hiring of new staff and the availability of Consular training opportunities. The Inspection Team was, however, informed by the Consular Policy and Advocacy Bureau (CLD) that a new e-learning initiative aimed at providing training for new Consular staff will be available soon.
|Key Consular Client Service Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Service standards are made available to clients in both official languages.||X|
|The Program monitors adherence to Service Standards and makes adjustments where necessary.||X|
|The Program has the capacity to provide services to Canadians in the official language of their choice.||X|
|The Mission promotes client feedback mechanisms and takes corrective action, when warranted.||X|
4.3.1 Arrest and detention cases consume a lot of time for the Consular Program as Chinese regulations on Consular contact stipulate that detainees can only be met in person by a diplomat and cannot be contacted by phone or mail. At the time of the Inspection, Beijing had 26 detainees located in ten different prisons. ***, an LES Consular Officer accompanies him on these visits. The Mission has, however, been able to meet its service standards of one visit per quarter.
4.3.2 When receiving payment for passport applications, the client's official receipt is stamped with the pick-up date, corresponding to the 15-day service standard. This is a good practice that has led to a reduction in the number of clients contacting the Mission enquiring if their passport has arrived.
4.3.3 Although client feedback forms are made available in the waiting area, no forms were received in 2009. The Program should actively encourage clients to complete feedback forms by providing them to clients at the time of service. The Mission should also provide ROCA information with the delivery of citizenship cards and passports to encourage registration using the self-service system.
4.3.4 When applying for a passport, clients are provided with the option of having the passport mailed to their home. Those clients requesting a mail service, receive their passport by local courier with the associated costs paid by the Mission. As a result, the Mission incurs a cost of 20 Chinese Yuan (approximately $3) for each passport mailed to a client. Since the fee for passport services outside of Canada does not include a mail option, the additional cost should be borne by the client, or the mail service should not be provided. Elimination of this service would result in an annual savings to the Mission of approximately $8,000.
4.3.5 Many passport clients do not speak or read English or French. Although the Mission provides a set of instructions that have been translated into Mandarin to assist clients in the completion of their passport applications, staff are frequently asked to provide additional assistance. This consumes a minimum of five hours per week, increasing the workload. As well, staff could be unknowingly entering inaccurate information.
|Key Consular Internal Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|A trained CBS with substantial control of the passport program is assigned overall responsibility to oversee regulatory compliance with Passport Canada's policies and procedures.||X|
|A certified CBS signs-off on all passports, except in extenuating circumstances requiring the function to be conducted by an LES with the approval role in PMP.||X|
|Completed passport application forms and related documentation are held for 60 business days following the end of the month that they were submitted and then securely destroyed.||X|
|Upon receipt of new passport stock, 2 CBS verify the receipt of all assets, sign and return the transmittal note. (Form PPT 300 - Passport Receipt Form - to Foreign Operations (PPSP).||X|
|The primary inventory of passport blanks (temporary and emergency), ID labels, OBS labels, stamps, and seals are stored in according to official guidelines.||X|
|Movement of assets is recorded on an inventory log and initialled by the CBS custodian and the employee receiving the asset.||X|
|LES are allocated an appropriate working inventory that is controlled by a daily log (passport #s issued, spoiled, returned to safe storage) and unused inventory is stored securely at the end of each day.||X|
|Inventory is physically counted, reconciled and signed-off at the end of each month by two staff, one of whom must be a CBS.||X|
|The appropriate authority participates in and signs-off on quarterly passport inventory reconciliations.||X|
|There are adequate segregation of duties for staff handling revenues.||X|
|Client documents and personal information are properly stored, secured, and disposed.||X|
|Official receipts are issued to Consular clients and revenue is recorded on the EXT 119 (Record of Fees Received for Passport Consular Services).||X|
|Revenues are transferred to the accounts section once $500 is reached (once a week if less than $500), a reconciliation is completed in the presence of the transferring employee and an official receipt is issued.||X|
|Official seals and stamps are properly inventoried, secured and access provided to designated staff only.||X|
4.4.1 Passport and Consular controls are generally in place, however, there is room for improvement with regards to CBS passport approvals and the inclusion of a second staff member in the inventory control process.
4.4.2 At the time of the Inspection, LES officers were exercising the passport approval function on approximately 80% of applications. Government Security Policy and Passport Canada Regulations state that only certified CBS should be verifying and approving passport applications. With four passport-certified CBS at the Mission, there should be no need for LES to approve passports. There have also been occasions where ***.
4.4.3 Controls are in place regarding passport assets, although monthly inventory counts and receipt of new stock are only verified and signed-off by one CBS. Passport assets are, however, being properly reconciled by the DMCO and the HOM on a quarterly basis. While a log is in place to record the distribution of stock from the DMCO to the staff, ***.
4.4.4 Passport applications and all personal documents are properly destroyed 60 days after the end of the month in which the application was received. However, ***.
4.4.5 Official receipts are provided to clients upon receipt of revenues. However,***. A copy of the official receipt is not posted in the Consular booth that would advise clients that this is the only acceptable proof of payment they should receive for services rendered.
4.4.6 The Consular Program uses a locally developed electronic document similar to the Record of Fees Received - Passport/Consular Services form (EXT-119) to record revenues. This document does not include all the information available on the EXT-119, but does conveniently calculate and code the different types of revenues automatically, thus reducing the risk of errors.
4.4.7 ***, and staff are given access when needed. A detailed inventory of passport hardware (i.e. scanners, label printer, etc.) is in place, ***.
4.5.1 The DMCO should document standard Consular practices currently in place and formally communicate them to staff.
4.5.2 The Consular Contingency Plan should be approved by the Mission and submitted to HQ.
4.5.3 The Program should conduct more face-to-face outreach with key contacts.
4.5.4 The Program should identify and implement methods to improve client's use of ROCA and encourage clients to provide feedback by distributing forms at the time of service.
4.5.5 The Mission should offer passport mailing services on a cost recovery basis only.
4.5.6 The Program should minimize the assistance provided to clients in the completion of passport applications, referring them to materials available in the waiting area or departmental internet sites.
4.5.7 The Program should enhance the integrity of its passport processes by ensuring that:
4.5.8 The Program should enhance existing Consular and passport inventory practices to ensure that:
4.5. The Program should ensure that *** until they can be properly destroyed.
4.5.1 The Program should modify their revenue tracking sheet to include all information available on the EXT-119 form and assign a number for future tracking.
4.5.1 DMCO reiterated the practices in a staff meeting on July 12, 2010. They are included in meeting notes in Infobank, and are filed as well in the program management folder for the Consular program in Infobank. Implemented.
4.5.2 The Consular Contingency Plan is being revised and will be sent for approval before the end of July, 2010. In progress, July 2010.
4.5.3 Outreach is only done during prison visits as there is a great paucity of travel funds as a result of the severely retrenched program budget (60% funding level) which does not provide for any discretionary travel beyond the required prison visits in accordance with DFAIT service standards. During every prison visit contact is made with prison authorities, judges and others. We will also meet with our local contacts in Beijing. Our Consular group which includes counterparts from like-minded missions, meet on a regular basis. Through them we are creating a network of contacts. We will also be contacting all contacts from our Duty Officer Manual in the coming months to renew our contact lists and at the same time, we will ask for meetings. Implemented.
4.5.4 We have ordered the new info cards prepared by CLS. Clients are given feedback forms (we have received 36 to date in July), we are handing out book markers reminding clients to register on line. Implemented.
4.5.5 Conference call is being organised for July 22 to all China missions, with the objective of agreeing to start cost recovering mailing services as of August 1, 2010. In progress, August 2010.
4.5.6 Clients are being actively referred to information available on line and within the waiting area. It is difficult sometimes as clients are often aged grandparents who cannot read or write English and French. Implemented.
4.5.7 Only CBS approve passports. Only authorised personnel have access to PMP. Implemented.
4.5.8 All future stocks wiil be received, opened and verified by two CBS. All reconciliations are being conducted by two CBS. Inventory completed on July 23, 2010 and will be reconciled annually. All working stock ***. Log system has been implemented. Implemented.
4.5.9 *** were received on July 14 ***. Implemented.
4.5.10 Revenue tracking sheet cover all and more information available on EXT 119. Sheets are being numbered. Implemented.
4.5.1 CLD should explore opportunities for providing broader ***.
4.5.12 CLD should remind missions that passport fees for services outside of Canada do not include a mail option and, as such, the additional cost should be borne by the client, or the mail service not provided.
4.5.11 CLD has conducted a preliminary exploration of the possibility of accrediting all consular staff in China to Beijing including consultations with XDC. Such an initiative would require the agreement and collaboration of a number of stakeholders beyond CLD (GPA, XDC, JLA, etc). ***.
4.5.12 A message from CLD to "All Consular Staff" will be sent as soon as the posting season is be over. In progress.
5.1.1 The Common Services Program is managed by an EX-01 MCO, in an EX-02 position, who is supported by a team of seven CBS and 80 LES. The Program is responsible for providing common services to nine programs, encompassing approximately 300 employees. Staff are accommodated in four separate buildings located on two compounds. In addition, the Program provides administrative support to the mission located in Chongqing as well as IM-IT and security support for the mission located in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The following table summarizes the resources available to the Program.
|Key Common Services Program Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|The Common Services Program has developed an operational plan that incorporates key mission and international platform objectives, along with measurable expected results.||X|
|The Common Services Program actively seeks to implement best practices, improve efficiencies and reduce operating costs.||X|
|There are regular staff meetings in the Common Services Program to review priorities for the period and to follow up the implementation of plans.||X|
5.1.2 An overall Common Services Plan has been established for the 2010-2011 fiscal year to outline key priorities and activities which are designed to support the overall effectiveness of Administrative program delivery and client service. Section managers should use this plan to establish operational workplans that provide a more detailed list of actions and responsibilities (daily, weekly, quarterly requirements, special projects, etc). This will also provide Mission Management with a better idea of the workload that each section is facing.
5.1.3 Section managers are *** in their respective areas and, as such, the PM allows them to manage the day-to-day operations and only becomes involved when required. This has worked generally well from an operational point of view, ***. A more effective approach to communication is required by all in order to ensure that section managers are aware and fully supportive of overall program objectives. ***. Section managers have *** in strategic planning and seeking advice and providing input ***.
5.1.4 Individual sections appear to have *** in their respective section managers. Overall *** across the Common Services Program, ***.
5.1.5 The Mission has a Facilities Assistant position located within the Events Logistics Unit (ELU) ***. This resource provides technical support for events and may be better utilized as a part of the IM-IT Section. This could also provide the Mission with a more coordinated approach to all IM-IT issues.
|Key Common Services Client Service Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Service standards have been established and communicated to clients.||X|
|Service standards reflect fair and equitable allocation and access to common services for all mission programs.||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Any hub and spoke relationships are governed by an MOU, outlining the roles and responsibilities of each mission.||X|
|A mechanism is in place to solicit and receive client feedback and corrective action is taken when warranted.||X|
5.1.6 All sections within the Common Services Program are generally providing *** client service, however, they should be more proactive and client focussed. The Program would benefit from undertaking a client satisfaction survey and using this data to establish specific client service standards.
5.1.7 At the time of the Inspection visit, the Mission had recently drafted service standards using the 2004 generic model. While this is seen as a good step, the Mission should ensure that more fulsome and comprehensive standards are developed for all sections. Once developed and approved by the CMM, these standards should be communicated to all stakeholders in order to inform clients and better manage client needs and expectations.
5.1.8 An administrative briefing for all new arrivals would ensure that clients know who to contact and understand administrative processes and service standards. A town hall meeting for all new arrivals was suggested by the DMCO and will be implemented for the upcoming relocation season.
5.1.9 Some key policies and procedures governing areas such as hospitality, staff quarter (SQ) utility cost recovery, transportation, cellular telephones, etc. are outdated. This has caused some problems for both clients and the program staff providing services.
5.1.10 The Program should work to better incorporate *** to ensure that *** to the strategic objectives of the Mission is obtained.
5.1.11 The Program should ensure that section workplans are developed for each aspect of Common Services to help ensure that both strategic objectives and day-to-day responsibilities are met.
5.1.12 The Program should analyse the responsibilities of the Facilities Assistant and determine where the resource would be best located to support operations.
5.1.13 The Program should undertake a client satisfaction survey to be used in the development of service standards.
5.1.14 The Program should develop service standards for approval by the CMM, communicate them to clients and subsequently monitor program performance.
5.1.15 All Mission policies should be reviewed and updated on an annual basis, approved by the CMM and communicated to clients.
5.1.10 Building upon previous efforts to have section managers participate in the articulation of how the mission's overall strategic objectives, as embodied in the bilateral Joint Statement, would be operationalized for common service delivery, mission will continue to ensure greater understanding and *** to strategic objectives through the annual International Platform Branch business planning exercise, the upcoming mission-wide retreat in the fall, and ongoing participation in planning to realize China-mission network strategic objectives for common service delivery such as regional learning, consolidated procurement and regional contracting as established in March 2010 by China MCOs in SHNGI. In progress, ongoing.
5.1.11 Further to the Management-Consular WorkPlan in place which articulates section priorities, desired outcomes, key milestones and performance indicators as captured in section managers' PMPs, operational work plans have been developed and/or reinforced, particularly for property maintenance and IT, to ensure day-to-day responsibilities are captured in work schedules and prioritization. Implemented.
5.1.12 Mission has implemented changes in reporting relationships for the Events and Logistics Units to recognize the significant increase in workload and accountability given the dramatic increase in number of high level visits and delegations which the mission has had to manage in recent months. The Facilities Assistant will remain an integral part of the ELU and will be responsible for supporting visits management as well as technical support for events and operations such as the weekly China network video-conference calls. The position will not be transferred to the IM-IT section. Implemented.
5.1.13 Mission is currently planning a client satisfaction survey for common service delivery in the fall which will provide important feedback to inform sections of priorities and areas for improvement. In progress, October 2010.
5.1.14 Mission Service Delivery Standards had not been drafted for Beijing since 2003. New draft SDS were presented to CMM in Feb 2010 and approved on May 4, 2010. APD has since provided mission with a new template format; the adapted SDS will be resent to CMM for approval and distribution to *Beijing in August. In progress, August 2010.
5.1.15 The China mission network has been collaborating extensively to develop an all-China administrative policy suite which will update and standardize common service policies which have been developed jointly and will be launched and implemented at the same time via each mission's CMM. The new All-China Mobility Tools Policy and All-China Official Hospitality Guidelines were launched in June 2010, and will be followed by other policies related to such areas as vehicle management, local travel and transportation, and other common service areas as the China mission MCOs continue this collaboration to standardize mission policies and administration across the China network. It will be useful for ASM to undertake to launch these comprehensive policies, which have been developed through close consultations and adopt the best practices found at other missions, across the entire network. 5.1.10. In progress, ongoing.
5.2.1 The HR functions at the Mission are the responsibility of an AS-06 DMCO who is assisted by an LE-07 HR Officer, two LE-05 HR Assistants and an LE-EXP-04 part-time position (0.5 FTE). It should be noted, however, that the incumbent is currently devoting all her time to the Consular Program. HR services are provided to nine programs and approximately 300 employees, with 31 staffing and seven classification actions conducted in the last year.
5.2.2 As discussed in Mission Management, the Mission is confronted with several difficult issues concerning *** and dealing with five different types of LES; three Diplomatic Service Bureau (DSB) groups and two LES- expatriate (LE-EX) groups. The LE-EX groups have handbooks that were last reviewed in 2002, while the DSB groups follow their labour contract, the Mission's contract with the DSB and parts of the expatriate handbook. As a result, different LES groups do not have the same compensation and benefits. A recommendation has been made in Mission Management regarding the Departments preparations for the TCR for China which is expected to be undertaken in 2010-2011.
|Key HR Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Responsibilities for the human resource activities have been clearly defined, delegated and communicated to all staff.||X|
|LES have been provided with the most recent version of the LES Handbook.||X|
|The LES MCB is representative of mission programs and levels and is utilized by both LES and Mission Management to facilitate communication.||X|
|An HR plan has been developed and submitted to HQ.||X|
|A Mission training coordinator has been appointed and budget established.||X|
|Mechanisms are in place to monitor completion of employee's performance evaluations, CBS and LES.||X|
|Personnel and position files are complete and maintained separately.||X|
|Job descriptions are up to date and signed by incumbent and supervisor.||X|
|The Mission records LES accrued leave, deductions and current balances.||X|
5.2.3 Overall, the HR function is *** managed *** supported by weekly meetings to discuss workloads and operational issues.
5.2.4 An LES Management Consultative Board (MCB) is in place and representative of staff from different programs and all five LES groups, but meets only when needed. Discussions with some LES also revealed that not all staff were aware of who was part of the LESMCB nor had they been advised in advance of meetings. As a result, these LES were not in the position to make their concerns known to the LESMCB. The LESMCB raised several issues with the Inspection Team, in particular a need for:
5.2.5 While most job descriptions have been reviewed and updated in the last few years, some are out-of- date and not reflective of current duties. As a best practice, some missions review the accuracy of job descriptions as a part of PMP discussions and make revisions where warranted.
5.2.6 A review of ten LES salary payments was conducted and found that four employees were not paid the amount indicated on the LES Employment and Pay Certificate (EXT-208). Further review showed that LES were being given their yearly increment without a new EXT-208 being approved.
5.2.7 Spousal employment was raised as an issue by staff and spouses, specifically a perceived lack of transparency, communication and fairness in the existing process. Not all CBS spouses were informed when a job opportunity became available as the Mission was reliant on CBS employees themselves to pass on the information. A potential solution to this issue could include a voluntary distribution list in which spouses with an interest in employment could participate.
|Key HR Processes and Internal Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|The Mission maintains written records of each staffing action in-line with the requirements established by ALD.||X|
|Letters of Offer are signed by the appropriate authority.||X|
|New LES and CBS employees are provided with an information package on the working conditions, benefits and regulations pertaining to employment at the Mission.||X|
|Classification action files demonstrate adherence to departmental procedures and contain the required documents and approvals.||X|
|Employees concerned are advised in writing of the Classification Committee's decision and of their rights to grieve.||X|
|Staff are aware of and comply with the Values and Ethics Code and have signed a document certifying that they have read and understood this code. Staff should be reminded on an annual basis.||X|
|Mission signage is provided in both English and French and a bilingual Official Languages Co-ordinator has been appointed.||X|
|The Mission has sufficient capacity to communicate with and provide services to the public, both orally and in writing, in both official languages.||X|
5.2.8 While overall HR processes are well defined and internal controls are in place, there is room for improvement in file maintenance. A review of seven competition files was completed and found that, although a checklist was on file, not all documentation was consistently retained, including:
5.2.09 All staff should be informed of the composition of the LESMCB and advised of the mechanisms through which concerns can be raised.
5.2.10 A regular series of LESMCB meetings should be established in-line with the standardized terms of reference.
5.2.11 The Mission should ensure that job descriptions are reviewed at least once every five years and when major changes occur.
5.2.12 The Mission should ensure that EXT-208 forms are completed and authorized before a change in pay is entered in the pay system.
5.2.13 The Mission should implement a standard process to facilitate improved spousal awareness of position openings and transparency regarding the selection process.
5.2.14 Staffing files should be reviewed for accuracy and consistency, and maintained in line with ALD checklists.
5.2.09 An introductory message will be sent by the LESMCB secretary in August to introduce the members of the MCB, to inform them that they can raise issues through any LESMCB member, and inform them that time is dedicated at each LESMCB meeting to address questions and issues raised by members. In progress, September 2010.
5.2.10 LESMCB meetings are scheduled quarterly, with more frequent meetings between management and specific LES communities being held to address issues as they're raised. Implemented.
5.2.11 Managers have always been free to revise job descriptions if the nature of the work changes significantly. The HR section currently ensures that the job description is reviewed prior to commencing a staffing action. All DSB LES job descriptions were reviewed in 2007 as part of the conversion to a new salary scale. InfoBank permissions will be changed to allow employees and managers to access job descriptions by September to allow them to be reviewed at any time. A list of positions will be updated with the date the job description was last reviewed. The calendar will be reviewed semi-annually and managers will be prompted to review any job descriptions not reviewed in the past five years. In progress, September 2010.
5.2.12 The HR section is part of a pilot project to enter LES employee information directly in HRMS and has ceased filling out the EXT-208. A new procedure has been established to ensure that changes in employee pay information are authorized by the HR Manager. Implemented.
5.2.13 A distribution list of spouses' email addresses was created in April. All position openings are sent to this list. In addition, the mission has widened the area of selection for all LES positions to include spouses of CBS. Implemented.
5.2.14 A new process for selection committees to make recommendations to the HOM has been instituted. Files are now reviewed for completeness prior to the Human Resources Manager signing the recommendation to the HOM. Implemented.
5.3.1 The Property Section is managed by a *** AS-06 Physical Resources Manager (Section manager) and supported by an EG-04 Works Superintendent seconded from the Department of National Defence and a team of 15 office and 34 non-office staff. Many of whom are long serving and experienced members of the Mission.
5.3.2 The Section is responsible for a physical plant which includes four office buildings located on two island sites. There are 64 SQs with ten located on the main Chancery compound and the remainder at three off-site locations. More than 2,700 work requests are processed annually using an electronic work order system. Given the scope, size and complexity of the physical infrastructure, it is important to ensure that the team complement continues to be staffed by individuals with strong technical knowledge.
5.3.3 The Section also provides assistance to the Mission in Chongqing in areas such as leasing, major project support, contracting, and the development of the MPMP and Mission Maintenance Work Plan (MMWP).
5.3.4 Pending the implementation of a China-wide Property Initiative, a short-term strategy needs to be developed to address current problems with Chancery facilities. For example, ventilation issues in the Trade Annex, a former SQ complex, are well known and have to be addressed in the short term. Given the high profile of the IBD Program in China, the building does not provide an appropriate image of Canada to clients which could affect its ability to deliver its mandate. Chancery space will also soon become an issue as the Mission establishment continues to grow.
|Key Physical Resources Program Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|The MPMP and MMWP are up-to-date and approved by the appropriate mission and HQ authorities.||X|
|The appropriate authority allocates SQs based on the recommendation of the Mission Housing Committee.||X|
|The Chancery is well maintained and a maintenance schedule is in place.||X|
|The OR is well maintained and a maintenance schedule is in place.||X|
|The mission has an efficient process in place for receiving, processing and monitoring work orders.||X|
|Annual inspections are conducted to assess the state of the SQ and input into maintenance and acquisition planning.||X|
|The Mission's multi-year Capital Acquisition Plan is approved by CMM annually.||X|
|Local procurement guidelines have been established and include direction on obtaining supplier discounts.||X|
5.3.5 Communication and team spirit are good within the Section, and roles and responsibilities are clearly understood. The DMCO holds weekly meetings with his direct reports while all technical staff attend a weekly 30 minute "safety talk" followed by a staff meeting. While internal operations are generally functioning well, there is room for *** in identifying opportunities for improvement, building upon the knowledge and experience ***.
5.3.6 The Mission maintenance team is experienced and knowledgeable and properties are well maintained. The Section would benefit, however, from a written maintenance plan for both the OR and Chancery facilities. Such a plan would enable managers to more effectively monitor work to be performed and proactively plan/schedule for future resource requirements. The lack of plans was also raised in the Property Maintenance and Operations Section (ARAF) report from June 2009.
5.3.7 Although SQs are inspected thoroughly as part of the relocation process, annual inspections of all SQs are not performed. While input into the two-year capital acquisition plan is solicited from staff in the Property Section, PMs and SQ occupants are not consulted. This creates the risk that maintenance projects or materiel requirements will be overlooked or go unfunded. Furniture and equipment replacement is currently decided based on historical data and life expectancy tables. As asset life expectancies are being extended due to the use of refinishing, re-upholstering and maintenance services, annual inspections are necessary to obtain an accurate assessment of replacement needs. Such inspections would also identify any preventative work requirements and any potential issues with the SQ or furnishings.
5.3.8 Eight SQs were visited as part of the Inspection, and all were in excellent condition. The recent leasing of some serviced SQs is seen as a best practice as it significantly lessens the burden on Common Services for maintenance and management of furniture and other assets. Comparability among SQs is a concern as those located in the TaiYuan compound are significantly larger than others within the inventory. In addition, a number of CBS are over-housed. The Mission would gain from greater involvement of the Housing Committee in SQ portfolio management to ensure CBS are housed in a suitable and comparable manner.
5.3.9 While local procurement guidelines are generally understood by the responsible staff members and all purchases are approved in advance by the DMCO, there are no written guidelines in place. This has led to inconsistency in the process applied and in the documents maintained on file. Developing a standard process document would provide staff with clearer guidelines and ensure greater transparency in the procurement process.
5.3.10 *** that a review of job descriptions and position levels should be performed to ensure duties assigned are commensurate with position levels. *** that positions with similar duties within the Property Section were not being compensated at the same level and that similar positions in other sections were classified at a higher level.
5.3.11 Client perceptions of the Property Section and client relations in general have been negatively affected by the approach taken with a few sensitive issues, which were seen to be *** not client service oriented. There is also a sense that the Section is too rigid in its adherence to policy and not focussed on finding solutions. The Section will have to work to change this negative perception.
5.3.12 Service standards are not in place as indicated in Section 5.1 of this report. Although most service requests are actioned within one day, the lack of service standards for the Property Section makes it difficult to manage client expectations. While the Section distributes a Property Handbook, discussions with clients indicated a lack of understanding with regards to policies and the services that are provided. In addition, the lack of a formal feedback mechanism hampers the Section's ability to monitor the level of client satisfaction.
|Key Physical Resources Process and Internal Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|An inspection is conducted by new SQ occupants and a mission representative within 30 days of occupancy, after which occupancy agreements and distribution accounts signed.||X|
|A percentage of the costs for OR supplies has been established and regular reimbursements are made.||X|
|Costs of damages resulting from occupant negligence are recovered.||X|
|Records of assets in storage are maintained on an ongoing basis and verified annually. The Mission maintains a dollar value of stored assets.||X|
|Chancery, OR, and SQ assets are appropriately safeguarded, inventoried, and controlled.||X|
|Disposals are appropriately authorized and follow Departmental guidelines.||X|
|Vehicles logs are appropriately completed, demonstrating that use was for official purposes.||X|
|Vehicle logs and mileage are verified monthly by a CBS to reconcile usage to gas purchases as well as monitor vehicle performance.||X|
5.3.13 Recent in-year moves have resulted in successful cost recovery for minor damages over and above standard wear and tear. During last year's relocation season, however, there was an instance where reimbursement for damages was not requested from a departing CBS.
5.3.14 The Mission stores *** materiel assets ***, and maintains stationery and general supply stores. A review of these assets raised concerns over the quantity of items in stock, in part as many items can now be purchased locally. The continuation of these practices is, therefore, no longer necessary. Improved management of the capital budget would help decrease the amount of assets on hand and make it easier to effectively maintain and control inventories. It should be noted that, prior to the departure of the Inspection Team, the HOM had already entered into discussions regarding a strategy to address this issue.
5.3.15 Yearly physical counts are performed of items held in the stores *** facilities by the LES staff in charge of their day-to-day management. Given the scale of the assets maintained in the inventory, *** involvement is required.
5.3.16 The Mission maintains good inventory records for most Mission assets assigned to offices and SQs and staff members have signed for items under their responsibility. No such records exist, however, for maintenance staff tools and equipment and asset values are not always listed.
5.3.17 The Mission has reduced shipping costs through use of local suppliers. Goods are generally ordered by the Materiel Management Supervisor or the individual working in the stores and the goods receipt process is conducted by the same staff. In order to ensure adequate verification and control mechanisms are in place, and segregation of duties are respected, the same staff should not be performing both purchasing and receipt functions.
5.3.18 Official vehicle logs are maintained by the drivers and mileage is verified by the Dispatcher who reviews the logs regularly. However, no monthly reconciliation of fuel purchased to mileage driven is conducted. Additionally, the Vehicle Operating and Maintenance Report (EXT-159) is not being verified and signed by a CBS, as it is not clear who is responsible for this task. In addition, passengers are not asked to sign vehicle logs, making it very difficult to substantiate driver overtime claims.
5.3.19 The Mission should work with ARD to develop a plan to address concerns with the Trade Annex.
5.3.20 The Section should develop a consolidated written maintenance plan for both the OR and Chancery facilities.
5.3.21 A system should be put in place to ensure that any damages beyond normal wear and tear are referred to Mission Management for resolution.
5.3.22 Processes surrounding the development of the multi-year capital acquisition plan should be augmented to include annual inspections of SQ's and input from PMs and SQ occupants.
5.3.23 A long-term SQ portfolio strategy should be developed in consultation with the Housing Committee to address concerns related to comparability and over-housing.
5.3.24 Local procurement guidelines should be developed and include guidance on seeking supplier discounts.
5.3.25 Job descriptions in the Property Section should be reviewed to ensure assigned responsibilities and complexity of tasks are commensurate with position levels.
5.3.26 The Property Section should implement a feedback mechanism to monitor client satisfaction.
5.3.27 The Mission should make a thorough assessment of asset requirements and reduce stock levels accordingly.
5.3.28 Improved oversight for inventory verifications by CBS and LES supervisors should be implemented.
5.3.29 Inventory records should include dollar values and major maintenance tools should also be recorded.
5.3.30 The Section should ensure adequate segregation of duties with regards to the purchase and receipt of goods.
5.3.31 A CBS member should be designated with the responsibility to verify mileage driven against fuel purchased for official vehicles on a monthly basis.
5.3.19 Mission is currently co-ordinating with ARAF to configure a project to resolve the indoor air quality issues in the Trade annex. A Canadian consultant will be contracted to complete a full design for a modified HVAC system that will rectify the temperature and air quality issues in that building. In progress, March 2011.
5.3.20 The existing maintenance plans as contained in binders will be consolidated and reinforced in a new format which will provide improved documentation of routine maintenance requirements for the OR and chancery compounds. In progress, August 2010.
5.3.21 Officers have been paying for the repairs beyond normal wear and tear, with the option to pay directly to the contractor if the CBS so chooses. Since July 2009 four employees have paid for repairs to furniture, fixtures or appliances. The materiel manager inspects all materiel in the SQ during the closing inventory check and damage is identified and the CBS contacted for cost recovery. Implemented.
5.3.22 Mission has implemented an annual SQ inspection cycle, with 32 SQ inspections completed in April and the remainder to be undertaken in October. Examination of materiel requirements identified from these inspections, as well as a call out for maintenance, repair and materiel requests from all SQ occupants in May, have informed the multi-year procurement plan for the mission, which has been consolidated into an All-China Procurement Plan launched to and approved by CMM in July. In progress, October 2010.
5.3.23 The Housing Committee has been fully engaged in the spring to identify opportunities for enhancing the mission property portfolio to realize better value for money and address issues related to security comparability and size. New units have been leased in the newer Liangmaqiao compound which provide right-sized furnished accommodation, while problematic leases have been terminated and replaced with improved and better valued units, realizing significant cost savings. Longer term strategies are being developed. In addition, the HOM and MCO have called on landlords to engage on discussions with respect to next year's requirements. In progress, ongoing.
5.3.24 Guidelines including roles, accountabilities and approvals process have been developed and circulated to all Property section staff undertaking procurement activities. Implemented.
5.3.25 All job descriptions for Property Section including maintenance and materiel sections have been reviewed and updated. Implemented.
5.3.26 In March 2010 an automatic reply function has been implemented in the *** Service Request system advising of service standards upon initial submission, as well as requesting client feedback prior to closure of the tickets. Mission is also planning a client satisfaction survey in September for common service functions. Implemented.
5.3.27 Mission has undertaken a thorough review of materiel requirements, taking into account feedback received from occupants through the call message in May for materiel requests. As per the attached schedule for the deployment of furniture groupings in storage, the value of warehoused assets will be dramatically reduced by the 2011 relocation cycle. Overstocked items such as humidifiers, air purifiers and stereo units have been distributed to SQ to replace and supplement existing units. In progress, September 2011.
5.3.28 A CBS will be present when the next inventory physical count scheduled for the fall is undertaken. Access to basement stores in the chancery has also been reduced to 2 LES since June. In progress, October 2010.
5.3.29 Mission will undertake to update inventories with dollar values as well as update the major maintenance tools inventories. In progress, August 2010.
5.3.30 This is being implemented and will be in place by the end of July 2010. In progress.
5.3.31 The Human Resources Manager has been assigned responsibility for the monitoring and approval of fuel and repair of mission vehicles. A revised process, including reconciliation of fuel consumption against distance driven will be instituted by October. In progress, October 2010.
5.4.1 The Finance Section is managed by an FI-02 Finance Officer and supported by one LE-06 Accountant and three LE-05 Assistant Accountants. The Section provides oversight and control related to Beijing's budget of approximately $14 million associated with operations, capital purchases and LES salaries. It also provides services to the missions in Chongqing and Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. On average, the Section processes 7,000 transactions per year and is responsible for completing *** Revenues collected for China-wide immigration activities and Beijing's Consular operations ***.
5.4.2 The Mission has worked to steadily reduce its reliance on cash, facilitated by the fact that the majority of visa applications are processed through a third-party provider who receives and deposits payments directly into the Mission bank account, and the introduction of debit/credit cards as a form of payment for Consular services.
|Key Finance Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Financial Procedures have been established.||X|
|The Section employs methods to minimize disruption (eg. setting of "quiet hours" and controlling access to the Finance Section).||X|
|Acquisition cards are being used, where appropriate, to minimize burden on petty cash accounts, cheque issuance and electronic fund transfer (EFT) requirements.||X|
|Payment runs are kept to a minimum, but are sufficient enough to allow for good client service.||X|
|Where appropriate, the mission uses Electronic Funds Transfers (suppliers, LES salaries).||X|
|Immigration refunds are arranged through cheque or EFT.||X|
5.4.3 Financial procedures were found to be either out-of-date or non-existent and thus do not provide sufficient guidance to Finance staff and clients. Some policies and procedures have been updated but only communicated orally, which does not provide staff with sufficient authority to process transactions as required. As a result, practices are often challenged by clients, and issues are addressed on an ad-hoc basis by management.
5.4.4 Although quiet hours are posted and the door is closed during these periods, clients often ignore the policy and interrupt the Section staff to ask questions. The policy has generally only been enforced during the fiscal year-end. As a result, staff are prevented from dedicating sufficient time and focus to exercising controls and performing other duties requiring a certain level of concentration.
5.4.5 Although an acquisition card has been issued to a staff member, it is not being used as local vendors prefer not to pay the associated card service fees. Instead, vendors prefer to receive payment by cheque or electronic fund transfers.
5.4.6 Written service standards are not in place which would help to manage client expectations although staff strive to process all transactions within five to ten days.
|Key Finance Process and Internal Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|A Contract Review Board (CRB) is in place and operating effectively with clear terms of reference (TOR).||X|
|Bank reconciliations are completed monthly and are properly reviewed and authorized by the appropriate authorities||X|
|The asset and liability report is reviewed on a monthly basis by the appropriate authority.||X|
|Section 34 is exercised by individuals who possess the appropriate delegation of authority.||X|
|Section 33 is exercised by individuals who possess the appropriate delegation of authority.||X|
|The appropriate authority receives the original monthly bank statement directly from the bank and reviews it prior to giving it to the accountant.||X|
|Official receipts are provided to clients at time of payment and to internal staff when funds are transferred (i.e. from Consular to Finance).||X|
|Reconciliations of any funds transferred within the mission are conducted in the presence of two staff.||X|
|Monthly reconciliations of immigration fees are completed and the EXT-1203 is signed by the appropriate authority.||X|
|Hospitality claim processes ensure that policy and guidelines are adhered to and that the accountant verifies the completeness and accuracy of the claim.||X|
|Hospitality files are maintained centrally in Finance, as per the hospitality guidelines.||X|
|A process is in place to ensure the consistent and appropriate review of travel claims.||X|
|A process is in place to ensure that, where applicable, CBS reimburse the Mission for any services of personal nature received at their staff quarters (television, internet, telephone etc).||X|
5.4.7 While a number of key controls and processes are in place, there is a need to improve certain aspects of financial operations. A CRB is in place, however, members only meet virtually. In-person meetings, at least quarterly, would provide an opportunity to discuss TOR's, contracting regulations and changes, method of reviews and to review contracts signed in the last period. It was also not clear how CRB members were able to assess the contracting process as the Request For Contract (RFC) and draft contract were the only documents provided to them for review.
5.4.8 A review of contracting files revealed many instances where only two members of the CRB approved the contract and on more than one occasion, only one member's signature appeared on the approval document. Files reviewed were incomplete and key supporting documents (other bids, evaluation grid, Statement of Work) were not always included in the contract file. As a result, the Inspection Team was unable to fully assess the Mission's compliance with contracting policies and procedures.
5.4.9 On average, the Mission's bank reconciliations are submitted to HQ 45 days late due to a number of contributing factors, including the timing and work involved in the LES payroll process, and the time taken *** to prepare them for review by the MCO and the HOM. Delays are also experienced in obtaining final approvals given the busy schedules of both the MCO and the HOM.
5.4.10 The Asset and Liability Report is only reviewed as part of year-end procedures and not on a monthly basis as required. As a result, items such as medical advances are not consistently tracked and have remained on the report past the due date. Three particular cases are highlighted below:
5.4.11 A review of petty cash accounts found that they are only ***. Specific issues included petty cash accounts stored *** and one instance where a custodian could not substantiate the proper use of funds.
5.4.12 In response to the 2009 H1N1 outbreak, the Mission withdrew *** from the Mission's bank accounts to be used as emergency funds. ***. They have not, however, been used for their intended purpose. In particular, the RMB funds have been used to facilitate hospitality and travel advance payments to staff.
5.4.13 Although the majority of Section 34 and Section 32 approvals are performed by employees with delegated authority, some CBS officers without delegated authority are signing for travel authorizations. This authority can only delegated to PMs and above. In some cases individuals exercised this authority while in an acting capacity, but no updated or acting signature card was on file to demonstrate the authority had been delegated. The Mission is also processing payments for the new CCC offices based on scanned copies of documentation. The original invoices are provided to the external firm hired to help manage the offices, departmental HQ or in some circumstances both. This creates confusion and could result in duplicate payments.
5.4.14 Hospitality files reviewed as part of the inspection process revealed that claims were made for events that would not meet hospitality guidelines for reimbursement, such as farewell lunches and book club meetings. Photocopies or internet printouts were also accepted as supporting documents for claims instead of original receipts as required.
5.4.15 A review of travel claims also indicated inconsistencies in the review process. The following issues were noted in particular:
5.4.16 All Finance staff have access to the Material Management (MM) module in the Integrated Management System (IMS) and some are able to both create purchase orders (POs) and process invoices against them. This does not provide an adequate segregation of duties. In addition, POs are being created for service contracts after the invoice has been received, contrary to contracting requirements.
5.4.17 Lease agreements for the different serviced apartments that the Mission rents for CBS include the cost of various utilities (cable, internet and telephone) and services. There is no consistent process in place, however, for CBS to reimburse the Mission for these personal costs. This has resulted in inconsistent reimbursement made by CBS and it is the Mission's responsibility to ensure that an appropriate cost recovery formula is developed and implemented.
5.4.18 A Mission policy is in place that requires staff to provide an official receipt (fapiao) from local vendors for all expenses that are submitted for reimbursement. This fapiao contains a stamp that indicates that value-added taxes (VAT) were paid. For small value items, however, merchants generally provide another form of receipt and attempts to obtain a fapiao can be frustrating and time consuming. The Mission is also unable to claim for VAT reimbursement related to some of these expenses, particularly for those related to hospitality. A revisiting of practices in this regard may ease the operational burden on both the Finance Section and its clients.
5.4.19 Local financial policies and procedures should be updated, approved by CMM and communicated to clients.
5.4.20 The quiet hours policy for the Finance Section should be enforced.
5.4.21 CRB members should meet in person at minimum every quarter and all contracts reviewed should be approved by at least three members.
5.4.22 A contract register along with the complete contracting file including all supporting documents should be held in a central location and properly secured.
5.4.23 An assistant accountant should assume some duties related to LES salary to provide the Accountant with support and facilitate the timely preparation of the bank reconciliation.
5.4.24 A timeline benchmark should be established for the completion of the bank reconciliation and standing monthly meetings should be scheduled with the MCO and the HOM to review the bank reconciliation.
5.4.25 The MCO and the Finance Officer should review the asset and liability report on a monthly basis.
5.4.26 The medical advance of the *** should be transferred to that mission's accounts.
5.4.27 Petty cash accounts management should be improved, including:
5.4.28 The requirement for emergency funds held at the Mission should be reviewed ***.
5.4.29 Only CBS with delegated signing authority should be authorizing payments and signature cards should be completed for all acting situations.
5.4.30 The Mission should seek clarification from HQ regarding its involvement in payment of CCC office expenses.
5.4.31 The Finance Section should ensure that any hospitality or travel claims with missing or inadequate information are not approved and returned to the approving manager for clarification.
5.4.32 A local travel policy should be developed which provides guidance on appropriate meal times and local meal rates.
5.4.33 The Finance Section should ensure that staff responsible for the travel claim review process are properly trained.
5.4.34 Finance staff IMS privileges should be modified to remove the ability to create POs, leaving that responsibility with the person initiating the purchase or contract.
5.3.35 POs should be entered into the MM module of IMS at the time that the contract or purchase is initiated.
5.4.36 A Mission policy should be developed to address CBS reimbursement for personal utilities and services included in SQ lease agreements.
5.4.19 The section has recently developed a ''Financial Procedures & Service Delivery Standards'' summary outlining the local financial procedures and expected service standards. The team also aims to draft a financial handbook for review and approval by CMM in October/November. This handbook will contain all procedures, processes, documents needed, and expected SDS for many topics such as hospitality claims, travel, reimbursement of recoverables by employees and other. Upon approval, the handbook will be communicated to clients. Mission is also working on a new tool incorporating Infobank, intranet and wiki information resources which will provide concise administrative information to all clients regarding policies, procedures and service standards. In progress, December 2010.
5.4.20 The section has reinforced the quiet hours policy since March. A reminder will be sent early September. Finance section doors will be kept locked during quiet hours. For emergencies, clients will contact the FMO. This information will be disseminated to all the Mission's clients. Implemented.
5.4.21 The CRB membership has been reinforced with additional members and will be meeting in September to review terms of reference, procedures, and additional tools that will help MCRB members in their decision process. The MCRB will meet on a regular basis. All contracts currently require quorum (at least three members) before they are approved and sent for signatures by both parties. An extensive review of the whole contracting process at the mission will be conducted with ARD's help in October/November during a planned visit by ARD and the CFO to mission, in order to improve our business processes and ensure compliance with DFAIT and GoC contracting policies, while pursuing the strategic initiative of a China network-wide CRB which provides enhanced oversight to the contracting function. In progress, November 2010.
5.4.22 The Contract Register is currently centrally held with the Administrative Assistant, who is secretariat to the Contract Review Board. Mission will now consolidate the supporting documents including quotations and bids together with the contract files under stewardship of Accounts section for quality assurance and completeness. In progress, December 2010.
5.4.23 Many minor work functions of the Accountant have been reassigned to the assistant accountants in June, and by doing so should ensure the timeliness of completion of the payroll and bank reconciliation. Two assistant accountants have been provided some training to help alleviate some of the Accountant's workload. The payroll function was not delegated to an assistant accountant as it would require a job description review and could warrant an upward reclassification. A more significant reshuffling of the section will be conducted later in the fall to ensure better distribution of the workload and timeliness. In progress, November 2010.
5.4.24 The review times from the operational level to the managerial level have been reduced to ensure that the HOM can review the bank reconciliation package and to ensure the timeliness in submission. Standing monthly meetings will be scheduled, staring September with the arrival of the new FMO. Implemented.
5.4.25 The Finance Officer prepares the A&L report on a monthly basis and presents it to the MCO with the bank reconciliation package. It is suggested that an operational communication to missions on this requirement is issued from the appropriate authority to ensure network-wide compliance, and the intranet information for bank reconciliation is amended to reflect this additional control and reporting requirement. Implemented.
5.4.26 *** have been transferred to the other mission Fund Center. Details (*** and mission)***. Implemented.
5.4.27 Mission has complied and performed the recommended actions for the current year's petty cash advances. The mission has also reduced the petty cash holders by three. Two petty cash holders remain, ***. Both advances are secured ***. The section conducts spot checks on petty cash advances periodically, and a log is created to document the occurrence and findings from the periodic spot checks. Implemented.
5.4.28 The Emergency Task Force Committee is currently undergoing an update and review of the mission's contingency plans and will determine the appropriate amounts required for the ECPs. The RMB and USD cash accounts will then be closed and ECPs created an secured in accordance with the requisite security controls. In progress, October 2010.
5.4.29 As per advice by SMFF in February 2009, the section had created acting signature cards for CBS for the duration of the posting period. An email authorization, once received by the section, would activate the acting authorities for the duration of the acting period. This practice was endorsed by SMFF and was reviewed in the recent financial review. In addition, we will ensure that all new CBS also have an acting signature card for the duration of their posting upon arrival at the mission. We will forward the updated signature cards to SMFF on a regular basis. We will also communicate the procedures to all our clients and make sure that they are aware and that they comply with the requirement to send an ''acting E-mail'' whenever they leave the mission. In progress, September 2010.
5.4.30 The mission has reviewed its internal capabilities and has proposed to address the CCC offices' needs by undertaking payment and financial services based on an agreed MOU. The framework for administrative support of the Regional Offices and the mission's and CCC's roles are being clarified in discussions between the Commercial section and relevant parties in HQ. In progress, November 2010.
5.4.31 The section has reinforced this practice as of April. The practice will be reinforced again once the handbook is approved and communicated to clients. We will draft a procedure on hospitality claims (documents needed, process, ''cheat sheet'', ''how to...'', sample claim, etc...) which will form part of the handbook (see 5.4.19). The document will be communicated to all clients and training sessions will be organized before the end of December (Same for travel bellow). Implemented.
5.4.32 The China missions are currently developing an All-China mission local travel policy which will be consistently applied across the network once approved by respective CMMs in September/October. Building on this policy, the Finance section will draft a procedure on travel claims (documents needed, process, ''cheat sheet',' ''how to..'', sample claim, etc.) similar in format to the one on hospitality which will also form part of the handbook. The document will be communicated to all clients and training sessions will be organized in December. In progress.
5.4.33 The staff responsible will help draft the procedure, and retake the training online; the mission will make sure they are fully knowledgeable of the claim review process. In progress, December 2010.
5.4.34 The section will identify an individual to perform functions related to POs only. Currently, more than fifty percent of the POs are created by the person initiating the purchase or contract, and the person is outside of the accounting function. This has also been discussed with SMFF in the annual financial review. In progress, December 2010.
5.4.35 This has been reviewed partially with the person in the Physical Resources section, and processes have been amended to align with this recommendation. Further discussions are required to reorganize work flow to ensure full compliance with contracting rules. This will be undertaken during the full review of mission contracting practices during the planned SPD/CFO visit in October/November. In progress, November 2010.
5.4.36 CMM approved on June 1, 2010 a cost-recovery policy for cable, internet and telephone costs for all staff quarter compounds, which was launched and communicated to all CBS. Implemented.
5.5.1 The IM-IT Section is managed by a CS-03 Foreign Service Information Technology Professional (FSITP) who is designated as the Team Leader. He is supported by a CS-02 FSITP, as well as a Locally-engaged expatriate (LE-EXP)-08 and three LE-EXP-07 Locally-engaged Information Technology Professionals (LEITPs). The Section provides services to 288 users located in four separate buildings within the Chancery compounds. The Section also provides support to the missions located in Chongqing and Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
|Key IM-IT Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|An IM/IT workplan exists and includes regional activities.||X|
|Where required, an IM-IT Committee has been established to provide direction and program input.||X|
|The liaison between the Mission, HQ and Regional Manager is effective.||X|
|IM-IT requirements in relation to business continuity planning (BCP) have been defined, implemented and tested.||X|
5.5.2 The Team Leader noted that he has an excellent team, all of whom are very capable. Regular meetings with staff to discuss issues or to develop planning documents are not held for the Section. Instead, ad-hoc discussions and other informal means of communications are used. Regular meetings would, however, provide an important forum to facilitate planning, delegation and feedback.
5.5.3 The Section noted concerns with regards to workload following the deletion of a CBS position two years ago. The Team Leader advised that he is working an average *** in order to maintain effective operations. The Section feels that its client demands statistics warrant a review of the adequacy of resources in place.
5.5.4 The Section has a strategic plan established for fiscal year 2010-2011 that outlines key priorities and activities to support the overall effectiveness of program delivery and client support. The Section should use this plan to establish an operational work plan to provide a more detailed list of actions and responsibilities (daily, weekly, quarterly tasks, special projects, etc.) to better monitor workloads and progress towards objectives. Such a plan could also be used to engage in discussions with the MCO on relative priority when new initiatives are identified. It would also ensure that key functions such as testing of secondary communications equipment are not overlooked.
5.5.5 As noted in Mission Management, an IM-IT Committee has been created, but has not met since September 2009. This Committee would provide an important forum for assessing the Mission's IM-IT requirements, introducing and implementing new practices and providing input into the Mission budgeting process. The IM-IT Committee could also be used to govern the use of InfoBank as the current file structure has grown rapidly and is in danger of becoming unwieldy.
5.5.6 As noted in Mission Management, ***.
|Key IM-IT Client Service Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Problems experienced by the user are generally resolved within a reasonable time frame.||X|
|The Mission is using the required help-desk/client service tools and maintains relevant data.||X|
|Issues identified at regional missions under the ITPs responsibility are monitored and consultations occur regularly with the appropriate authority.||X|
5.5.7 Overall, the Section provides a *** level of service to clients and has implemented initiatives to attain spending reductions by:
5.5.8 The Section relies on service standards which are posted on the DFAIT
IM-IT intranet site. The Section and its clients would benefit from the development of mission-specific service standards and making them accessible to clients.
|Key IM-IT Internal Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Back-ups are performed routinely and tapes are stored in a safe location.||X|
|The Mission has appropriate secondary communications in place and those tools are tested regularly.||X|
|The Mission has a consistent approach in place for the management of electronic and paper records and compliance to legislation, policies and standards.||X|
|Standardized practices and processes are in place to facilitate management and sharing of corporate information across programs. (e.g. e-mail best practices, effective folder structures).||X|
|Controls are in place to ensure the network acceptable use policy (NAUP) is respected (SIGNET and DSL connections).||X|
|Employees formally sign out IT assets (cellular telephones, laptops etc.) and are advised of their accountabilities.||X|
|Surplus IT assets are disposed with the appropriate approvals per departmental policy.||X|
5.5.9 Overall, IM-IT processes and controls are effective, but improvements could be made in secondary communications testing and information management. Although portable satellite (PSAT) units are tested every month, ***. The regular testing of these units should be incorporated into the IM-IT work plan as noted in 5.5.4.
5.5.10 InfoBank is widely used within the Mission, but as noted earlier, is in need of greater oversight and governance. With the exception of often poorly attended training sessions, the Section is not fully engaged in the management or delivery of InfoBank. In addition, an IM champion has not been identified/appointed to lead in this area, although the task has fallen upon the newly arrived DMCO/HR. Overall, the Mission needs to reinforce its IM practices and implement a more coordinated approach supported fully by all PMs.
5.5.11 The IM-IT Section should establish regular meetings to facilitate operations, planning and promote feedback.
5.5.12 The Mission should assess the requirement for additional IM-IT resources and provide a business case to HQ if warranted.
5.5.13 The Section should develop an operational work plan to provide a more detailed list of actions and responsibilities within its purview, including key tasks such as the ***, secondary communications units *** , etc.
5.5.14 InfoBank training should be made mandatory for all staff and the Mission should appoint an InfoBank Champion with the appropriate technical expertise to advise and guide end users.
5.5.11 Following the inspection, the IT section has switched from an ad-hoc model of meetings to regularly scheduled meetings on Tuesdays and Fridays. The Tuesday meeting is to plan for the week with new priorities identified at start of week and the Friday meetings will review the weeks activities and to help plan for the following week. Implemented.
5.5.12 The mission provided a business case for the resource issue in 2008 which resulted in the hiring of an LEITP in the Fall of 2008. However, this did not alleviate any workload required in the areas outside of LEITP access. Mission will review if additional resources are warranted. In progress, ongoing.
5.5.13 Currently, there is a plan in place for the core Embassy systems. The Remedy system automatically generates assignments for daily, weekly and monthly systems checks. This does include the PSAT (BGAN) currently installed. ***. In progress, August 2010.
5.5.14 InfoBank training is mandatory for all staff and is a component of the New Employee Workplace Training provided to all new LES. All staff are automatically scheduled for a session within a month of their start and we follow up with managers when staff have not attended the training. Sanctions for not attending the training will be discussed in September when CMM reviews the mission's annual learning plan.
Each section has an InfoBank champion who sits on the InfoBank SuperUser group and has the knowledge required to coach other staff and correct user errors. The mission does not have the required permissions for the InfoBank database to resolve technical issues in a timely fashion. In progress, ongoing.
6.1.1 The Mission in Chongqing is headed by an FS-03 STC who reports to the STC in Beijing. The STC is supported by an FS-02 TC, four LES TC's (LE-09, LE-08, and two LE-07s) as well as a TCA LE-05, a TCA/Office Manager (LE-06), a Consular and Public Affairs Assistant/Receptionist (LE-05) and a Driver/Administrative Assistant. Most of the staff have been with the Mission for some years and all are experienced and work together as a team in a professional environment.
6.1.2 The Mission's mandate is primarily focussed on the IBD Program, however, it is also responsible for PERPA, Consular and Administrative activities working in close cooperation with Beijing and, to a lesser extent, the other China missions. There is a formal Hub and Spoke Agreement (the Agreement) in place that defines roles and responsibilities between the Mission and the programs in Beijing.
6.1.3 The Mission is *** managed by the STC *** with staff. He is responsible for all aspects of Mission operations and has *** with the demands and challenges of a satellite mission *** in areas outside the IBD Program. *** departmental values and ethics. The performance management process is up-to-date for all staff and training needs have been identified. Staff would like more in-house training sessions as these have been appreciated in the past. The need for more language training was also noted.
6.1.4 The main challenge for the Mission is to maintain the integrity of resources devoted to IBD activities while responding to demands across all programs. The two CBS devote approximately 40 to 50 % of their time to IBD activities with the remainder devoted to the PERPA, Consular and Common Services programs.
6.1.5 The Mission has grown in recent years progressing from a micro-mission to a sizable mini-mission. The Mission at present requires more support resources in both the IBD and the Common Services programs. The Mission is at a point, however, where any decision to supply incremental resources will necessitate a restructuring of its configuration, in terms of program delivery and management, administrative support and office layout, and will require sufficient resources to operate as a full service small to medium-sized mission.
6.2.1 Mission activities are integrated with the greater-China network and have been actively aligned with Beijing's planning processes. IBD planning follows the regular departmental planning schedule. Officers consult with potential partners, colleagues and other stakeholders both in Canada and China. Officers develop their own business action plans which are discussed and approved by the CBS TC and the STC. Sectors were recently reorganized and responsibilities were reassigned to better align workloads and provide development opportunities. Under the new STC in Beijing, emphasis has been placed on key performance indicators (KPI) with performance measurement now based on China-wide standards including tracking new clients, business leads and success stories.
6.2.2 Communication is effected through a weekly staff meeting where progress on initiatives is reviewed, upcoming activities and events are noted and other issues are discussed. Staff find these meetings very useful in terms of sharing information and providing support. Management is *** accessible to staff, and the small office environment is conducive to teamwork and good morale.
6.2.3 TRIO has been fully implemented. Officers are all trained and confident in the use of TRIO to record KPIs in line with the strategy recommended by the Beijing InfoCentre. The TRIO Champion (TCA/Office Manager), deals directly with the InfoCentre in Beijing, participates in the weekly conference call with other China missions, updates Mission information and provides reports to the STC and TCs. TRIO statistics are reviewed monthly during staff meetings involving all officers and assistants. The STC in Beijing also provides periodic feedback on TRIO reports.
6.2.4 An investment strategy is in place focussed primarily on natural resources and mining. Twenty outcalls have been identified and promotional seminars are used to raise awareness. Efforts are coordinated with the China virtual team and the provincial representatives in Beijing.
6.2.5 There is a strong case to be made for additional Trade Commissioner Assistant resources. As the Mission has grown, more resources have been allocated to administrative and Consular activities. The TCA/Office Manager was originally only 50% devoted to administrative duties but now requires 100% involvement. This leaves only one position to support six officers, whereas the norm is closer to one support position for approximately three officers. All officers, including the STC, are carrying out their own administrative support which leaves less time to devote to higher value-added activities.
6.3.1 The Mission in Chongqing has the primary role of supporting bilateral trade initiatives, but also provides basic Consular services, such as case management, receipt of passport and citizenship applications and notarial services. The provision of these services are governed by a Hub and Spoke Agreement with the mission in Beijing. While the two CBS present are involved in Consular issues, the day-to-day work is undertaken by the Receptionist, occupying approximately 30% of her time.
6.3.2 The Mission noted some concerns with regards to obtaining timely support from the Consular Program in Beijing, particularly during the absence of the Receptionist. In some cases, they have had to seek advice from other missions within the China network. Although the Hub and Spoke Agreement provides for a one day turn-around time for support in Consular cases, a better communication mechanism is required for urgent issues. Flexible service from the mission in Beijing is all the more important as no back-up has been identified and trained to provide Consular services in the absence of the Receptionist.
6.3.3 The Mission currently deals with a volume of approximately 125 passport applications, 35 citizenship applications and 160 notarial services per year. The Receptionist enters her statistics in the Consular Operations Management Information Program (COMIP), but other staff, including the CBS, do not record the amount of their time spent on Consular work. This makes it difficult to track actual Consular workload undertaken by the Mission.
6.3.4 A review of the Mission premises revealed that official languages signage and documentation was inadequate. Only a minimal amount of French documentation was available to clients in the waiting area and Consular booth. *** and as both CBS are often out of the office, clients requesting services in French could have problems being served in their language of choice. The review also found a need to improve the information available to clients, including posting service standards, fee schedules, a copy of the official receipt and feedback forms in the waiting area and Consular booth.
6.3.5 Overall, passport and Consular controls were in place, however, there is room for improvement in the following areas:
6.3.6 *** is the custodian of a Consular petty cash account, but the funds are seldom used and ***.
6.4.1 The STC is responsible for overall management of the Mission and is receiving support from the TCA/Office Manager for all administrative related work. In general, the Agreement is working well, however, there are issues that require greater attention from Beijing particularly in the areas of Finance and IM/IT.
6.4.2 The TCA/Office Manager in Chongqing is responsible for receiving and verifying all invoices, claims and original supporting documentation. The Mission is responsible for its own budget and the CBS have been delegated authority to sign Sections 32 and 34. All documentation is transmitted to Beijing for processing and payment. Under the terms of the Agreement, the TCA/Office Manager is responsible for the entry of financial transactions into IMS, but ***. Currently, the TCA/Office Manager is the primary contact point for dealing with the Mission's bank. The bank statement is retrieved by *** and given directly to her for review.
6.4.3 The Receptionist has been designated as the Signet Support Assistant (SSA) and is required to spend a minimal amount of time dealing with IM-IT issues. However, staff often seek assistance from her to deal with related issues rather than contacting the IM/IT HELP Centre (944-HELP) ***. Due to *** , the Mission has been waiting for over six months to receive new office computers.
6.4.4 The Mission was recently renovated and provided with all new furniture from HQ, although, no inventory of Chancery assets has been undertaken. The Mission has one vehicle that is available to staff for official use. Gas purchases are made with a pre-paid gas card, however, no reconciliation is undertaken to verify mileage and gas purchases. The Mission has recently disposed of the previous vehicle using an auction that was opened to all diplomatic missions in Chongqing. Good support was provided by Beijing in helping with the disposal process. While the two SQ's are located approximately 25-35 minutes away from the Mission, commute times can exceed one hour if traffic is congested. The SQs are large fully-serviced homes, located in a gated community with security guards conducting periodic security checks of the neighbourhood. All personal cable, Internet and telephone fess are paid by the CBS.
6.5.1 The Mission should document the resources utilized to support programs not present at the Mission (i.e. Consular and PERPA) and present the results to Beijing and HQ as support for additional resources.
6.5.2 A more direct line of communication should be established between the Mission and the Beijing Consular Program for urgent issues.
6.5.3 The Mission should designate a back-up for Consular work and ensure that sufficient training is provided.
6.5.4 The Mission should ensure that all time devoted to Consular related work is entered in COMIP so that workloads are properly reflected.
6.5.5 The Mission should ensure that all documentation and signage in public areas is posted in both official languages, including a copy of the fee schedule, service standards and official receipt.
6.5.6 The Mission should ensure that it has a process in place to ensure clients can be served in both official languages at all times.
6.5.7 Client feedback forms should be provided to clients at the time of service.
6.5.9 The Mission should ensure that revenues are transferred to the TCA/Office Manager for subsequent deposit to the Mission bank account whenever fees collected reach the equivalent ***.
6.5.10 *** should be restricted to one individual and the need for the ***.
6.5.11 The Mission should ensure that the TCA/Office Manager is provided with IMS training.
6.5.12 The Mission should ensure that the bank statement is delivered to a CBS for review prior to be given to the TCA/Office Manager for processing.
6.5.14 The Mission should remind staff that the SSA's functions are limited and provide alternate direction for daily IT support, including the use of the 944-HELP IM-IT support line.
6.5.15 The Mission should ensure an ***.
6.5.16 The Mission should verify fuel purchases against mileage driven on a regular basis.
6.5.1 Mission currently documenting resources used to support programs not present at mission (PERPA, Consular, Admin) and will draft a case to present these to Beijing and HQ. In progress, August 2010.
6.5.2 Agreement reached with Beijing/CS on this issue and a contact list for urgent issues has been developed and placed in Consular Booth. Implemented.
6.5.3 One CBS and one LES will undergo on-the-job training with Consular Officer this month. Will follow -up with in-Canada training Sept 2010 and Feb 2011. Implemented.
6.5.4 All officers doing Consular work have their own COSMOS accounts and enter time into COMIP monthly. HOM compiles monthly COMIP reports. Implemented.
6.5.6 Agreement reached with Beijing/CS to provide french language support if both french-speaking CBS out of the office. Key contact numbers listed in Consular Booth. Implemented.
6.5.7 Client feedback forms are now provided to Consular clients at time of service. Implemented.
6.5.8 Chongqing has no dedicated consular resources and an increasingly busy Consular program is largely handled by the mission's LES receptionist. This LES handles the preparation of all consular documents for CBS signature and ***. Monthly passport inventory checks will be completed by LES Consular Officer and a CBS before sending to Beijing/CS. In progress.
6.5.9 ***. Implemented.
6.5.10 *** beginning the first week of September ***. In progress, September 2010.
6.5.11 Discussed. Agreement reached that TCA/Office Manager will complete online IMS training before end of fiscal year. In progress, March 2011.
6.5.12 On a monthly basis CBS will review and initial bank statement prior to processing. Implemented.
6.5.13 ***. Implemented.
6.5.14 During staff meeting July 19, 2010, staff were reminded that SSA's functions are limited and directed to email Beijing IT or call 944-HELP for IT support. Implemented.
6.5.15 Two staff will undertake to compile *** by reviewing previous versions and updating. In progress, August 2010.
6.5.16 Mission decided to review fuel purchases whenever new gas card (5000 RMB) is purchased. This will ensure that mileage and expenses verified every 1-2 months. Implemented.
|Assets||Crown Owned||Crown Leased|
|2009-2010 Budgets||Program Budget||Common Services Budget|
|Operating (N001)||$ 422,480||$ 9,131,246|
|Capital (N005)||0||$ 474,779|
|CBS Salaries (N011)||$ 2,600,800||$ 642,660|
|LES Salaries (N012)||$ 1,269,913||$ 2,810,826|