January 21 – 28, 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 the Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs (PERPA), International Business Development (IBD), Consular and Administration Programs was conducted in Guatemala City from January 21 to 28, 2010. The Mission was last visited in May 2002. The Embassy’s staff complement of 45 consists of nine Canada–based Staff (CBS) and 36 Locally–engaged Staff (LES). The Mission’s area of accreditation also includes Belize, with an Honorary Consul (HONCON) located in Belize City.
The Mission has been busy over the last year with a number of successful high–level visits, including the Governor General’s in December 2009. The Head of Mission (HOM) has developed an extensive number of contacts which, in conjunction with participation in such organizations as the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, has raised the profile of Canada. Given increasing criminality in the country and the risk of natural disasters, safety and security are priorities for the Mission. An all–staff retreat was held earlier in the fiscal year which, staff noted, resulted in an improvement in morale. There is still work to be done to increase transparency in the staffing process and deal with tensions between some staff members.
With the Government of Canada’s Americas Strategy, there has been an increased level of focus on Guatemala. The PERPA Program’s level of engagement will increase, as funding from the *** is allocated to the country. The Program currently does not have a support position; ***. The HOM and PERPA Program Manager need to schedule regular meetings to review activities and share information.
As well as being engaged in its priority sectors, the IBD Program is heavily involved in Corporate Social Responsibility issues related to Canadian mining investments in the country and free trade negotiations with the Central America Four, which includes Guatemala. With the help of the Mission’s Finance Section, the Program has developed a system to reconcile IMS (Integrated Management System) data and the Client Service Fund (CSF) expenditures. As many missions have reconciliation difficulties, the Trade Commissioner Service Support Division (BTS) is encouraged to review this process for potential use by other missions.
The International Platform Branch’s Common Services Model review indicated that the Administration Program is under–resourced and ***. Unfortunately, funding all these position creations will not be possible in the short–term. This is currently a one Management Consular Officer (MCO) post and, as the MCO is also the Mission Security Officer (MSO) (which requires 30% of his time), *** for the Mission is the *** position. This would allow for closer oversight of the Consular and Administration functions. The MCO position is currently classified at the AS–05 level. ***.
Until the ***, passport approvals will be undertaken by the HOM Assistant, who has had the appropriate training. Given the added responsibility for the Consular Program, ***. To re–balance workloads, the Program should review the division of duties of the Consular staff. The Program also provides Consular services to Australians in both Guatemala and Belize.
Information Management–Information Technology (IM–IT) and some financial services are provided to the mission in San Salvador, and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) should be developed outlining roles, responsibilities and service standards. The MCO is focussed on improving client service, and the next step will be to find the right balance between control, service and managing client expectations.
A total of 63 inspection recommendations are raised in the report; 60 are addressed to the Mission and three are addressed to Headquarters. Management has responded to each recommendation indicating action already taken or decisions made, as well as future action. Of the 63 recommendations, management has stated that 42 recommendations have been implemented. For each of the remaining 21 recommendations, management has indicated the initiatives in progress or the intended future action.
1.1.1 The Embassy in Guatemala City is staffed by nine Canada–based Staff (CBS) and 36 Locally–engaged Staff (LES). The Partner departments at the Mission include Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The Mission’s area of accreditation includes Guatemala and Belize, with an Honorary Consul (HONCON) in Belize City. The Mission has been busy over the last year with a number of high–level visits from ministers and the Governor General.
1.1.2 Contingency planning and security awareness are a priority for the Mission, given the increasing *** occurring in the country and the risk of natural disasters from earthquakes, hurricanes and volcanic eruptions.
1.1.3 Mission programs are well coordinated, as evidenced by the committee work on common issues such as Corporate Social Responsibility and the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives. A co–ordinated Management team visit to Belize was also organized, rather than program managers (PMs) visiting individually, as occurred in the past. There is also a Security Committee that coordinates justice and security initiatives between programs.
1.1.4 The Mission’s committee structure is sound and includes the Committee on Mission Management (CMM), LES Management Consultation Board (LESMCB), Contract Review Board (CRB), Housing, Occupational Health and Safety, Classification and Security committees (plus the two noted in paragraph 1.1.3). An Official Languages Champion and Training Coordinator have been identified.
1.1.5 The CMM meets bi–weekly, or as issues arise, and is composed of all PMs. The Mission also holds an all–CBS CMM bi–monthly. Minutes are kept and a summary of the minutes, translated into Spanish, are sent to all staff. Rather than the Management Consular Officer (MCO) presenting just an update on the budgets, the team is starting to discuss the allocation process as well.
1.1.6 The LES Committee has been transformed into the LESMCB with the current LES members remaining until March 31, 2010. The Head of Mission (HOM) meets quarterly with the Committee/Board to provide information and listen to concerns. While minutes are circulated, they are not provided to the Official Residence (OR) staff. The LESMCB should ensure that they communicate regularly with the OR staff.
1.1.7 Points highlighted by the LESMCB during the meeting with the Inspection Team include:
1.1.8 The HOM, ***, arrived in summer 2008. She *** periodically walks around the office. The HOM holds town hall meetings every quarter, often in Spanish, ***. She also holds a quarterly breakfast with LES; participants are chosen by the LESMSB at random. This was noted by the LES as a good practice for HOMs. The HOM also met with CBS spouses early in her posting.
1.1.9 HQ and staff highlighted that the HOM has been working to increase Canada’s profile in the country. She has been very active and has developed a diverse network of contacts, many at high levels.
1.1.10 An all–staff retreat was held earlier this fiscal year and staff noted positive results and an improvement in morale. After the all–staff retreat, the PMs held a mini–retreat to discuss issues raised. The Mission would like to do another retreat next fiscal year to build upon the progress made. During this retreat, it would be useful to re–visit staffing and contracting procedures as these were subjects on which LES and spouses were unclear.
1.1.11 The Mission has the capacity to provide services to clients in both official languages and in Spanish. Most signage was bilingual (and some trilingual), although some need to be posted in French. The HONCON’s staff have been provided with instructions to contact the Mission if the Consulate needs assistance with French speaking clients.
1.1.12 The LESMCB should ensure that OR staff are included in Board activities, including elections, and that all minutes and information is distributed to them.
1.1.13 The Mission should hold another retreat.
1.1.14 The Mission should ensure that signage throughout the Mission is in both official languages.
1.1.12 Implemented April 2010. The OR staff were included in the latest election, and minutes and information distributed to them.
1.1.13 In progress for October 2010. The retreat is being planned and a facilitator is booked. On the recommendation of the facilitator, and in consultation with the CMM and LESMCB, it was decided that the retreat would be held after the arrival of incoming CBS.
1.1.14 In progress for June 2010. A survey of the Mission was undertaken. Signage being produced for posting.
2.1.1 The Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs (PERPA) Program in Guatemala City is managed by an FS–03 Program Manager. The PM is supported by an LE–09 Political Economic and Public Affairs Officer. An LE–05 Social and Public Affairs Assistant is to be allocated to the Program on a part–time basis, sharing time between supporting the Program and acting as the HOM Social Secretary. Recently, the LE–05 position has been mainly occupied supporting the HOM or whole–of–Mission events/visits, and therefore has been providing limited direct support to the PERPA Program.
2.1.2 Countries of accreditation for the Program include Guatemala and Belize.
2.2.1 The Program is active in Guatemala and, to a lesser extent, Belize. Belize is usually visited once or twice a year for outreach. The most recent visit involved a whole–of–Mission coordinated program of events.
2.2.2 Financial resources committed by the Government of Canada to Guatemala are set to increase significantly with *** projects planned for the country. The *** will add to a number of other initiatives in which Canada has been involved, such as its status as a *** donor to the United Nations–led International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) and as a significant international aid donor.
2.2.3 As a result, there is a steadily increasing level of engagement between Canada and Guatemala. Projects supported by the Government cover a broad spectrum of society. There are capacity building projects aimed at increasing the ability of the Government to deliver services, projects aimed at civil society and support for capacity building in the legal sector. This wide range of support is appropriate in the context of this country, ***.
2.2.4 The increasing level of engagement is coupled with a greater focus on this country, and Latin America as a whole, as articulated in the Government of Canada’s Americas Strategy. As well, the number of official visits to the country has risen. The result is that the Program will have to remain targeted and focussed in its activities, as it will not have the capacity to deliver unlimited value in all aspects of its mandate.
2.2.5 Reporting by the Program to Headquarters (HQ) and partner departments is regular and targeted toward the Government’s priorities and areas of focus.
2.3.1 The current level of coordination between the activities of the PERPA Program and the HOM's activities can be improved. Activities, meetings and reports have occurred ***, as well as instances where ***. Understanding that it is not always possible to inform the other party of every interlocutor interaction, better communication channels should be developed to ensure open dialogue.
2.3.2 The work profile of the***. With a recent position reclassification, resulting in the position of a Majordomo at the OR, there should be a small reduction in the workload of the *** related to OR events. The Mission should consider integrating *** more into the PERPA Program, with some clarity provided on reporting lines.
2.3.3 The most recent Country Strategy and Reporting Agreements produced by the Mission and approved by the Geographic Division, do not reflect the current environment in the country nor the current level of engagement of the Government of Canada. Despite a moratorium on updating these documents unless circumstances have changed dramatically, it is now time for the Program to re–examine, in conjunction with the Geographic Division, the areas of focus for activities, advocacy and reporting. This should occur regardless of whether a planned new format for Country Strategies and Reporting Agreements is produced for use by all missions.
2.3.4 The Program, through the Social and Public Affairs Assistant, maintains Mission contacts in the “Contact Plus” system. Program managers have not always been timely in providing updates to the repository. While it is positive that the Mission maintains this central repository of contacts, PMs should be reminded to provide timely and complete updates to ensure that the repository is reflective of the current nature and status of contacts.
2.4.1 An operational plan to cover PERPA activities in Belize should be developed for the upcoming Fiscal Year (FY). This plan should be approved by the HOM and communicated to the Latin America and Caribbean Bureau (GCD) for any additional input.
2.4.2 The HOM and PERPA PM should hold more regular bilateral meetings to discuss activities, contact engagements, reporting and areas of focus. These meetings should serve as a forum to exchange information and obtain HOM concurrence for future activities.
2.4.3 The time allocation of *** should be re–examined with a view to providing more support to the PERPA Program.
2.4.4 The Country Strategy and Reporting Agreement, or some variation of these documents, should be modified in consultation with GCD. Should the moratorium on formally updating these documents remain in effect, a formal understanding as to the areas of focus for advocacy, reporting and public affairs should be reached between the Mission and GCD.
2.4.5 The Mission should establish a protocol for the updating of Mission – wide contacts. Such a protocol should establish the frequency of updates, the level of information recorded and the format for storage.
2.4.1 In progress for June 2010. The Mission will use the new Mission Planning and Reporting document to establish activities for Belize. Given lack of resources, the Program does not believe that a separate operational plan to cover activities in Belize is feasible given limited resources
2.4.2 Implemented April 2010. Regular bilateral meetings are now taking place, and will continue with the new PERPA PM in the fall 2010.
2.4.3 In progress for July 2010. The job description will be reviewed, as part of the wider job description review exercise, taking into account the needs of the HOM and PERPA sections, (see also response 5.2.8).
2.4.4 In progress for June 2010. The Mission is unsure how feasible this would be at the current time, given that the rollout of the New Business Model is changing roles and responsibilities, and that updating the Country Strategy would be an interdepartmental exercise. With the current moratorium on formally updating the Country Strategy and Reporting Agreement, the Mission proposes to use the new Mission Planning and Reporting document as the short term guiding document for advocacy, reporting and public affairs. As the New Business Model becomes more clear, (including direction on the future nature and use of the Country Strategy and Reporting Agreement), the Mission will seek to ensure that the overarching idea behind this recommendation is respected.
2.4.5 In progress for September 2010. A contractor will be hired twice a year to update the contacts list. The contract will specify the level of information to be recorded and the format for storage.
3.1.1 The International Business Development (IBD) Program in Guatemala City (which covers Guatemala and Belize) is managed by an FS–03 Senior Trade Commissioner (STC). The STC is supported by an LE–09 Trade Commissioner and an LE–06 Senior Trade Commissioner Assistant. The STC arrived at the Mission in September 2009.
3.1.2 The budget for the Program is as follows:
|Client Service Fund||$12,500|
3.2.1 The period following the arrival of the STC at Mission has been very busy, with the Governor General’s visit in early December 2009 and a number of other high–level visits. Notwithstanding this, the STC moved early to assess Program priorities and areas of focus and re–distribute the Program’s priority sectors among staff. There were naturally *** among staff concerning the change, *** it was important for the STC to take ownership of the Program given the short tenure of postings to Guatemala ***.
3.3.1 A number of high–profile issues are managed by the STC in conjunction with the HOM. There is a significant amount of activity with respect to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) issues related to Canadian mining investments in Guatemala. Additionally, Guatemala is a component of the Central America Four (CA–4) free trade negotiations (which also includes Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras). The STC is also responsible for a number of high–value reactive sectors such as aerospace and defence.
3.3.2 The Program benefits from *** local staff who are able to cover their sectors with minimal supervision from the STC. They are also aware of the key strategic objectives for the Trade Commissioner Service. This is important as the STC is often occupied with visits or high–profile activities. ***.
3.3.3 The Program hospitality budget is not devolved to local staff. The provision of a hospitality allocation to staff with sectoral responsibilities can help to reinforce accountability and autonomy.
3.4.1 The Program makes appropriate use of TRIO (TCS’ Client Relationship Management System) and entries indicate a higher than average performing program. The STC had not been receiving copies of the IBD Dashboard that gives high–level performance information on the Program. The use of the Dashboard and TRIO to monitor Program performance is an effective way to have an ongoing dialogue with staff with respect to activities and priorities.
3.4.2 Prior to an inspection the Trade Commissioner Service Support Division (BTS) requests a mission to reconcile the amount of Client Service Fund (CSF) spent, as recorded in Business Planning templates, versus what is recorded in the Integrated Management System (IMS). Prior to this Inspection, BTS asked the Program to reconcile its CSF expenditures starting in FY 2006–2007. This effort consumed a total of 60 hours of Program staff time. There was also a significant amount of time spent on the reconciliation by the Finance Section. The amounts were ultimately reconciled, however, the accuracy of the reconciliation is questionable given that it was difficult to determine what had happened four years ago to allow for adjustments to be made.
3.4.3 The request for IBD programs to perform this reconciliation, only prior to an Inspection, needs to be reconsidered, as currently the majority of missions are not reconciling the data. Some missions, including Guatemala City, have developed a system and protocol between the IBD Program and the Finance Section to avoid future discrepancies. BTS is encouraged to develop a policy, system and associated tools to support all IBD programs and allow them to record sound data in the future.
3.5.1 The STC should institute recurring bilateral meetings with his two staff members to allow for in–depth discussions on plans and activities in their sectors.
3.5.2 The STC should devolve a portion of the IBD Program’s hospitality allocation to Program staff members.
3.5.3 The STC should establish contact with the Strategic Trade Planning and Performance Management Division (PDC) to obtain regular IBD dashboard reports. These reports should then be used to monitor Program and staff member activities and overall performance.
3.5.1 Implemented April 2010. Bilateral meetings put in place.
3.5.2 Implemented April 2010. Hospitality allocations have been undertaken in the IBD Business Plan, in consultation with Program staff members. Staff prefer that the STC manage the overall budget directly with the Finance Section. Staff have been encouraged to use hospitality resources within the frame of the IBD Plan and their sectors of responsibility.
3.5.3 Implemented April 2010. Contact has been established with PDC to obtain IBD dashboard reports, which will be used to monitor Program and staff member activities and overall performance.
3.5.4 BTS should develop a policy or protocol that establishes the requirement to reconcile the IBD Reporting Templates with IMS. The announcement of this requirement should coincide with the provision of tools to allow for missions to efficiently adhere to the requirement.
3.5.4 During the annual reporting on results of the post business plans exercise, PDC asks posts to reconcile their budget allocations as reported in their business plans with those as recorded in IMS. This is done to ensure an accurate reflection of funds spent in support of the various aspects of their program. There have been investigations to determine the feasibility of automating the reconciliation, however the cost of the system development to perform this function have proven restrictive in implementing this automation.
In a message from BTS to all STCs in May 2010 on the subject of Designation of Section 34 of the Financial Administration Act (FAA) for the CSF, all STC were advised of the requirement to report on the usage of funds in accordance with CSF Guidelines and to reconcile these reports with IMS. Furthermore, as a best practice, STCs were encouraged to undertake this reconciliation on an ongoing basis throughout the year.
The CSF Steering Committee has already considered the value of using incentives for the receipt of base CSF funding tied to the timely completion of previous FY Commercial Economic Program (CEP) reporting and accurate reconciliation of IMS. This linkage will be made explicit and communicated to all STCs at the same time that the remaining 50% of base level CSF funding is provided to posts in Quarter 2.
4.1.1 The Consular Program is managed by the MCO with the assistance of an LE–09 Consular Program Officer, an LE–06 Consular Assistant and an LE–05 Consular Assistant. The AS–02 HOM Assistant also supports the Program, particularly during the MCO’s absence. The Program’s areas of accreditation are Guatemala and Belize, with an HONCON in Belize City. The Mission also provides general Consular services to Australians in both countries of accreditation, working with their contacts at the Australian Embassy in Mexico City on more complicated cases.
4.1.2 The Mission provides an average of 1,000 passport and 200 citizenship services per year. However, due to a change to the Citizenship Act, last year the Mission handled 620 citizenship applications, primarily from Belize. There are some outstanding citizenship cases dating back to 2004 that need to be completed.
4.1.3 At the time of the Inspection, Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) showed 385 registrants in Guatemala and 500 in Belize out of an estimated 5,500 resident Canadians in each country. The number of Canadians who have self–registered in the new ROCA on–line system is much lower than in the original system, despite the Program’s promotional efforts. Guatemala welcomes approximately 38,000 Canadian tourists annually and Belize around 18,000.
4.1.4 Approximately *** have an assigned warden. The Mission noted challenges in recruiting and retaining wardens, as many Canadians are dual nationals and are generally more integrated into local society and less interested in performing this function. The Program provides an updated list of registrants to the wardens quarterly, given security risks and the threat of natural disasters such as earthquakes, mud slides and hurricanes.
4.1.5 Passport assets were appropriately accounted for and secured. However, *** is undertaking the passport approval function. In order to comply with the requirement that a Secret–cleared CBS approve passports, and given the MCO’s workload, as the HOM Assistant has completed the passport certification course, the approval function could be assigned to this position. Until the proposed *** position is created, and the approval function is transferred to that position, the classification level *** position should be examined, given the increased role in the Program. In the past, the Program has provided remote approvals for the mission in San Salvador when required.
4.1.6 With this change to the role of the LES Consular Program Manager, and in order to deal with demand/backlog for citizenship applications, the Program should review the division of duties and workload of the employees.
4.1.7 The Mission should conduct a warden recruitment exercise and, once completed, hold a conference.
4.1.8 Secret–cleared CBS, who have been certified, should undertake the approval function for passports.
4.1.9 With the proposed increased role in the Consular Program, ***, in consultation with GCD and the Assignment and Pool Management Division (HFP).
4.1.10 The Program should review the division of duties and workload within the Section.
4.1.7 In progress for May 2010. The Mission will undertake a targeted campaign to identify suitable wardens in Guatemala (in order to avoid conflicts of interest). An open solicitation for wardens will be undertaken in Belize. The Mission will examine the possibility of hosting warden conferences in Guatemala and Belize if budgetary resources permit. The Mission notes that warden conferences were held in both countries last year.
4.1.8 Implemented February 2010. Secret–cleared CBS, who have been certified, are undertaking the approval function for passports.
4.1.9 In progress for June 2010. The Mission has consulted the Assignment and Pool Management Division (HFP) which advised that this issue is being addressed as part of the Foreign Service Administrative Assistants (FSAA) Renewal job description exercise for "hybrid positions”. The Mission has been advised that the *** position will likely be created this FY, after which Management and Consular responsibilities will be redistributed amongst the MCO and ***. As such, the Mission will continue to explore mechanisms for interim compensation for these added Consular responsibilities and current duties will be examined as part of the overall job description review (see response 5.2.8). Should the *** position not be approved, the Mission will examine the classification level.
4.1.10 Implemented May 2010. Division of duties reviewed and workload redistributed.
4.1.12 Whenever fees collected reach the equivalent of ***, or at the end of each week, whichever comes first, these fees should be remitted to the Finance Section.
4.1.13 The Program should post service standards and the fee schedule in both official languages in the Consular booth. It is also a best practice to post a copy of the receipt that clients should receive when paying for a service.
4.1.14 When a client is not the one picking up documents, written notification should be provided by the client to the Mission indicating approval for another party to do so on their behalf.
4.1.15 To improve revenue processing, the Program should ensure that:
4.1.16 The log to record transfers of passport stock *** should be used consistently.
4.1.12 Implemented February 2010. Fees being remitted to the Finance Section. A review of accounts indicate that the requirement is being respected.
4.1.13 Implemented April 2010. Service standards, fee schedule and copy of receipt are posted in both official languages in the Consular booth.
4.1.14 Implemented February 2010. Written notification now standard practice.
4.1.15 Implemented February 2010. All recommendations actioned and now standard practice.
4.1.16 Implemented February 2010. Log to record transfer of passport stock *** now used consistently.
5.1.1 The Administration Program is managed by the MCO, who will be departing *** after three years at the Mission. He is supported by four LES officers, four assistants and two drivers. A review of the Mission’s Common Services Model indicated that the Program is under–resourced; lacking a DMCO, an assistant and a handyman. The Mission is also on the priority list for ***. Due to budget constraints, it is unknown when these resources will be funded.
5.1.2 As the MCO is also the Mission Security Officer (MSO) (spending approximately 30% of his time on security tasks), it has been a challenge to appropriately guide staff and monitor the functions under his control. *** would allow for closer oversight of the day–to–day activities in each area. HQ noted that, given the size and complexity of the Mission, ***, is also being examined.
5.1.3 The MCO has been working to make the Program more service oriented. In September 2009, an Administration Handbook was developed and distributed to outline services and processes as a reference for both staff and clients. The MCO has also taken the Service Standards to the CMM for review and approval. Once approved, the document will be released to all staff. The next challenge will be to find balance between service, control and client expectations.
5.1.4 The MCO, in close consultation with the HOM, has been working to improve certain processes, such as ensuring hospitality claims are submitted quarterly (not yearly), overtime claims presented monthly, and informing the local authorities that only CBS can give permission to open diplomatic shipments. Within the Program, individual workplans exist, and the MCO is working on rolling these up to create a formal Mission Common Service Plan to start FY 2010–2011. This exercise will help the Program with priority setting and allow for followup with staff.
5.1.5 The Administration Program has bi–weekly meetings, which occur after the CMM. However, the MCO does not meet with non–office staff on a regular basis and the Drivers and Receptionist are not consistently included in Program meetings.
5.1.6 Another challenge *** is that *** arrived ***. In this environment, *** is needed, both for personal and professional integration. For example, it would assist with *** internal staff who have *** and participating fully in networking opportunities with local authorities and foreign dignitaries.
5.1.7 As was noted in the 2010 Inspection Report for the mission in San Salvador, given the Mission in Guatemala provides some support to San Salvador (ie LES pay and IM–IT), there is a need to formalize this relationship via a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
5.1.8 The MCO should finalize the roll–up of individual work–plans to the Mission’s Common Service Plan.
5.1.9 The MCO should meet quarterly with non–office staff and should include the Drivers and the Receptionist in the Administration Section meetings when possible.
5.1.8 In progress. Work underway and to be finalized during Section retreat in May 2010.
5.1.9 Implemented March 2010. Meetings have been held with the Drivers, Guards, Receptionist and OR staff. Staff meetings are now scheduled in order to permit Drivers to attend. PMs asked to ensure that the Receptionist roster is respected in order to ensure consistent attendance by Receptionist.
5.1.10 Given the importance of having Spanish language capabilities at this Mission, HFD should work with the Geographic Bureau and International Platform Branch to ensure that all CBS being posted to Guatemala are given the appropriate time for language training prior to the assignment.
5.1.10 In 2009, MCO positions at missions abroad received a foreign language designation for the first time as part of the Centre for Language Training’s (CFSL's) regular survey of missions. The Foreign Language Committee approved the following strategy for ensuring that MCOs posted to these foreign language designated positions have the opportunity to develop the required level of language skills.
5.2.1 The MCO is responsible for the Human Resources (HR) function with the assistance of the Personnel and Office Manager (LE–08). Given ***, the Personnel and Office Manager is approached by colleagues with questions or concerns throughout the day, making it difficult for ***.
5.2.2 Overall, the HR filing structure was well maintained although some documents and processes need to be updated or corrected:
5.2.3 Performance Management Programs (PMPs) are up to date, and the Mission has started gathering information on training needs. The next step is to develop a Mission–wide training plan. Supervisors should annually review their staff’s training needs (including OR and non–office staff) and forward the information to the Training Co–ordinator.
5.2.4 The Mission has an active Health and Safety Committee which meets regularly, but does not distribute their annual reports or meeting minutes to staff. As the OR is a place of work, it should be included in the Committee’s inspections.
5.2.5 The LES Handbook was last updated in 1999, and the Mission’s new LES Terms and Conditions are part of Phase II of the worldwide review. The current LES Handbook is available to staff.
5.2.7 The Mission should consider quiet hours for the Personnel and Office Manager.
5.2.8 Job descriptions should be updated, in writing, as necessary and reviewed and signed at least every five years.
5.2.9 The Mission Report should be updated.
5.2.10 When signing forms, if the Chargé is signing on behalf of the HOM, this should be clearly indicated in the signature block.
5.2.11 A Mission–wide training plan should be developed.
5.2.12 The Health and Safety Committee should distribute their annual report and meeting minutes to all staff.
5.2.13 The Health and Safety Committee should inspect the OR annually as it is a place of work.
5.2.7 Implemented May 2010. Quiet hours for the Personnel and Office Manager as well as others have been established. All Mission staff have been advised.
5.2.8 In progress for September 2010. Out of date job descriptions have been identified. Those requiring minor revisions will be updated and signed by current PMs and staff by July 2010. For those requiring, more significant changes, or with organizational implications, current PMs will consult staff and prepare draft to be confirmed by incoming PMs on arrival, thus avoiding the possibility of two updates in a short period of time.
5.2.9 In progress for May 2010. Responsible officer has completed the new Interwoven Training session required for the new Mission Report template and is completing the update.
5.2.10 Implemented May 2010. Staff have been reminded of this practice and greater vigilance will be exercised on the part of those responsible to ensure compliance.
5.2.11 In progress for July 2010. A Mission–wide training plan is being developed, linked to the PMP process. It will be compiled by the Training Co–ordinator in cooperation with the PMs and approved by the CMM.
5.2.12 Implemented April 2010. Annual report and minutes distributed to all staff.
5.2.13 Implemented May 2010. OR inspected by the Health and Safety Committee.
5.3.1 The Property, Maintenance and Materiel Services Section is managed by the MCO. A Property and Materiel Manager (LE–07) and a Property and Materiel Assistant (LE–04) support the Section. The Section maintains a Crown–leased Chancery, a Crown–leased Official Residence, three Crown–owned Staff Quarters (SQs) and five Crown–leased SQs.
5.3.2 The Mission currently has four apartments and four houses in its portfolio. All the houses are located in gated communities with 24 hour security. The apartments are located in a secure building with 24 hour security. The SQ occupied by the current PERPA Program Manager, as well as the OR, have additional 24 hour security services provided by the Mission.
5.3.3 The Inspection Team visited three SQs as well as the OR. All SQs were in good condition and well maintained. *** (a Crown–leased house) is scheduled to be deleted from the portfolio, as this house is ***.
5.3.4 Given that the Mission takes their long–term housing needs into account, including the cost of ensuring an SQ meets security standards, there have been instances in the past where CBS were over or under housed. These situations should be justified and recorded on file.
5.3.5 The OR is located in an area with other diplomatic residences. It is well maintained and has a suitable representational area. The OR is not air conditioned, as is common in Guatemala, and the representational area can become uncomfortably hot during events.
5.3.6 The HOM and MCO are currently in the process of determining a percentage that the HOM will reimburse the Mission for consumables used at the OR.
5.3.7 The Mission has purchased and installed the Departmentally approved work order system. However, the Property Section is still receiving some service requests by email. This should be discouraged.
5.3.8 Operational logs are completed for vehicle usage, although the drivers are not always identified. The logs do not specify whether trips are official or personal, nor does the passenger initial the log. A monthly verification and reconciliation is conducted, but is not reviewed by the MCO.
5.3.9 In general, Distribution Accounts were missing some information. The OR, Chancery and SQ Distribution Accounts of furnishings and equipment do not include a condition report, location of each item or the original cost. As well, SQ Distribution Accounts and Occupancy Agreements were not all signed within the specified timeframe, as per the Property Manual section 7.3.3.
5.3.10 Files related to asset disposals were not complete (see paragraph 5.3.22 for details). The Departmental Disposal form EXT–369 was not used and documentation relating to the sale of assets was missing. Donations of computers were made with the authorization of Industry Canada, as specified in the Material Management Manual, Chapter 7, Annex C. However, the Mission neglected to obtain the approval from the Information Management and Technology Bureau (AID).
5.3.11 The Housing Committee membership changes annually, and the terms of reference are provided to the Committee members on an annual basis. The HOM receives housing recommendations from the Committee and tables those recommendations at CMM for final discussion.
5.3.12 Planning for the Property function is undertaken through the annual update of the Mission Property Management Plan (MPMP), input into the Physical Resources Information – Mission Environment (PRIME) database, and through the development of an annual Mission Maintenance Work Plan (MMWP). The Mission plans its capital expenditures, but only one year in advance. Given recent budget constraints, the development of a multi–year capital acquisition plan would help the Mission prioritize their capital expenditure requirements. The Property Section carries out semi–annual inspections of the SQs and OR, which assists in the development of the maintenance plan and provides input into the capital acquisition plan.
5.3.13 The Property Section has developed service standards that have been distributed to all staff. However, due to the fact that the Program is under resourced, service standards are not met. The MCO believes that when the new resources are approved for the Mission, the Section will be better equipped to meet the service standards.
5.3.14 The Mission should ensure justification for over/under housing is on file.
5.3.15 The Mission should consider adding fans to the representational areas of the OR in order to improve air circulation.
5.3.16 All property requests should be sent exclusively using the electronic work order system. Instructions for making these requests should be made clear to all staff.
5.3.17 The vehicle logs should:
5.3.18 The MCO should review the monthly fuel reconciliation.
5.3.19 All SQ Distribution Accounts and Occupancy Agreements should be signed within the time frame specified in the Property Manual section 7.3.3.
5.3.20 In order to improve asset control, the Mission should ensure that:
5.3.21 Whenever there is a disposal of assets, through sale, scrap or donation, a Disposal Report (EXT 369) should be completed and signed by the HOM.
5.3.22 For disposal sales, the Mission should include the following in the disposal file.
The MCO should sign off on this package to verify that the information is complete and correct.
5.3.23 The Mission should ensure that authority from the Physical Resources Bureau (ARD) is obtained when considering donations of surplus furnishings and equipment which was originally valued at more than $1,000. AID should be consulted regarding the sale or donation of any computer equipment.
5.3.24 A multi–year capital acquisition plan should be developed to assist in the replacement and refurbishment of the Chancery, OR and SQ furnishings and equipment. The capital acquisition plan should be tabled and approved on an annual basis by the CMM.
5.3.14 Implemented April 2010. Files are up to date.
5.3.15 In progress. The Mission is working with HQ to acquire fans as none are available locally.
5.3.16 Implemented April 2010. Communicated to all CBS by HOM at the CMM and via a Spanish language communique to all LES. In addition, user instructions were re–circulated in a Mission–wide message.
5.3.17 Implemented May 2010. Logs revised to meet all recommendations.
5.3.18 Implemented February 2010. The MCO now reviews the monthly reconciliation.
5.3.19 Implemented February 2010. Property staff have been instructed to monitor deadlines and to seek MCO assistance if there is an issue with obtaining signatures in a timely manner. The Mission notes that several Distribution Accounts and Occupancy Agreements on file do not match arrival dates of CBS due to a change in SQs mid–posting or a change in assigned assets. A new procedure has been put in place to demonstrate these changes and to log older Distribution Accounts and Occupancy Agreements
5.3.20 In progress for October 2010.
5.3.21 Implemented May 2010. While the report has been standard practice, the MCO has signed instead of the HOM. The HOM signed the latest report and will do so in the future.
5.3.22 Implemented February 2010.
Now a current practice for the MCO.
5.3.23 Implemented February 2010. ARD approval will be obtained in the future for donations of furnishing and equipment valued at more than $1,000. The Mission notes that there have been no such donations in recent past. AID will be consulted in the future regarding the sale or donation of computer equipment. The Mission has compiled and provided to AID a list of recently donated and sold computer equipment.
5.3.24 Implemented February 2010. A multi–year capital acquisition plan was developed and approved by the CMM. This requirement will be met in future years.
5.4.1 The MCO, as Mission Financial Officer (MFO), oversees the Finance function with the support of the LE–07 Senior Accountant and the LE–05 Purchase Agent/Administrative Assistant.
5.4.2 The Senior Accountant is responsible for processing LES pay for the missions in Guatemala and San Salvador. There is a need to assign and train a backup for this duty, so the processing can still occur should the Senior Accountant be unexpectedly absent.
5.4.3 There appears to be an overlap of duties between the Purchase Agent/Administrative Assistant and the Property/Materiel Manager regarding the Mission’s office supplies. The job descriptions should be revisited for clarification. The job title for the Purchase Agent/Administrative Assistant should also be reviewed as it does not reflect the accounting function, which now consumes the majority of the position’s duties.
5.4.4 The Mission has an active Contract Review Board (CRB), but Board members meet only virtually (e–mail). Members should meet in person periodically to review terms of reference, discuss trends, etc. Original bid documentation should also be available for the Board members’ review, not just the recommended bid. The Board should also consider reviewing sensitive cases, such as spousal contracts, which would aid in demonstrating transparency. In order to clarify some processing procedures, the Mission should contact Contracting Policy, Monitoring and Operations (SPP) for advice on entering items, such as standing offers, in the MM module.
5.4.5 As a best practice, the Senior Accountant makes a monthly appointment with the MCO to review and sign the bank reconciliation, and the MCO does the same with the HOM. To improve the process, supporting documentation should be provided during both reviews.
5.4.6 It would be useful for the Finance Section to have quiet hours in order to allow staff to concentrate on certain activities. This is a common practice and could be even more beneficial here as the Purchase Agent/Administrative Assistant is also responsible for the office supply inventory and distribution. The Section’s clients should be reminded of the service standards that have been established, so last minute requests are minimized. The dutch doors should remained locked, even during open hours, as only the MCO, the two Finance staff and the HOM should be able to enter the offices. During quiet hours, employees should leave documents in the bin located outside the offices.
5.4.7 Given the security situation and limits on automatic teller machine (ATM) withdrawals, the Mission is providing ***. This service was not authorized by Financial Operations, International (SMFF), and the Mission should submit its business case to SMFF. The Mission should also review its current process to improve efficiencies, such as reducing the number of bank runs per week. The Mission, in consultation with the bank and SMFF, should also examine other options that might be feasible. The Mission should ensure that, if the Drivers ***, it is part of a scheduled visit and not a special trip.
5.4.8 The Receptionist logs invoices received and when suppliers pick up payment. The log indicated that some payments were outstanding. To verify if/where there are delays in the process, the Administration Program should consider having staff date stamp invoices when they are received so that refinement to the process can be made.
5.4.9 The Program should assign and train a backup for LES pay processing.
5.4.10 The Program should review the job descriptions of the Purchase Agent/Administrative Assistant and the Property/Materiel Manager to clarify their roles in the management of the Mission’s office supplies.
5.4.11 The Program should review the job title for the Purchase Agent/Administrative Assistant to accurately reflect the current role.
5.4.12 To strengthen the CRB, the Board should:
5.4.13 The Section should include supporting documentation with the bank reconciliation provided to the MCO and HOM for review and approval.
5.4.14 To allow the appropriate time for the Finance Section to process transactions, the Mission should:
5.4.15 The Mission should consult SMFF (and the bank) regarding the *** provided *** in order to examine ways to improve efficiencies.
5.4.16 The Program should consider date stamping invoices as they move through the receipt/payment/delivery process.
5.4.9 Implemented April 2010. The Personnel and Office Manager has completed training to fulfil this function. The Personnel and Office Manager will perform the two payroll payments for the month of May 2010, under the supervision of the Senior Accountant, for further practise.
5.4.10 In progress for July 2010. Being undertaken as part of the larger process of updating job descriptions as noted above (see response 5.2.8).
5.4.11 In progress for July 2010. Being undertaken as part of the larger process of updating job descriptions as noted above (see response 5.2.8).
5.4.12 Implemented February 2010.
5.4.13 Implemented February 2010. Provision of supporting documentation now current practice.
5.4.14 Implemented April 2010.
5.4.15 In progress for May 2010. Business case is being prepared and will be sent SMFF.
5.4.16 Implemented May 2010. The Mission had been using date stamps at various points in process. However, the process has been reviewed and revised. Date stamps are now applied at all key points of the receipt/payment/delivery process. New policy on file.
5.4.17 In order to improve efficiencies and controls, the following procedural recommendations are noted for action:
5.4.18 The HOM should remind all staff that advances must be settled in the currency in which it was originally provided.
5.4.19 Correspondence with the bank should be routed through the MCO, who will review it and then provide it to the Finance staff.
5.4.20 For control purposes, the MCO should be reviewing staff’s acquisition card statements (with supporting receipts) and the HOM should be reviewing the MCO’s.
5.4.21 The Finance Section should review its funds forecasting process with a goal to reduce the number of monthly requests made to SMFF.
5.4.22 For control purposes, the Mission should discuss with the bank if it is possible to have ***.
5.4.23 The Section should remind staff that Hospitality diaries and claims should include:
5.4.24 The Section should remind staff that for travel arrangements:
5.4.25 The Mission should ensure that all documents always have both Section 33 and 34 signatures.
5.4.18 Implemented April 2010. The HOM reminded all CBS at the CMM. PMs asked to remind their staff. The reminder was noted in the CMM minutes and in a Spanish language communique to all staff.
5.4.19 Implemented February 2010. Now current practice.
5.4.20 Implemented April 2010. Now current practice.
5.4.21 Implemented April 2010. Funds forecasting reviewed and measures put in place to reduce the number of monthly requests.
5.4.22 In progress for June 2010. Further to discussions with the bank, this appears to be technologically feasible but is still subject to confirmation, development of a protocol and staff training.
5.4.23 Implemented April 2010. The HOM reminded all CBS of these points in the CMM. Mission hospitality diaries and claims will be completed respecting the requirements of the new Hospitality Policy effective April 1, 2010.
5.4.24 Implemented April 2010.
5.4.25 Implemented April 2010. While this has been a Mission practice, greater vigilance will be exercised on the part of those responsible to ensure compliance.
5.5.1 The Information Management–Information Technology (IM–IT) function at the Mission in Guatemala City is managed by the MCO, who is supported by an on–site Locally Engaged Information Technology Professional (LEITP) and two Foreign Service Information Technology Professionals (FSITPs) based in Mexico City. The LEITP also provides service to the mission in San Salvador.
5.5.2 There is currently no formal mechanism in place at the Mission, or through the FSITPs, to manage the function. Having IM–IT as an item for discussion at the CMM could improve the overall management and coordination of the function at the Mission.
5.5.3 The most significant issue affecting IT delivery at the Mission has been the reduction in support provided by the FSITPs based in Mexico. The expansion of Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s operations in Mexico and significant reductions to travel funds for FSITPs have resulted in a decrease in support being provided to the Mission. There is a need to more clearly define the support model.
5.5.4 While the Mission’s operations have not significantly been affected, there are a number of outstanding support requirements. These include repairing some ***, switching telephone extensions and updating ***.
5.5.5 Currently the LEITP and MCO meet as required to discuss IM–IT matters, which is ***, particularly given the limited visits by the FSITPs. Regular meetings should occur as a means to monitor workload and issues and, as previously mentioned, the CMM should be consulted and informed of workload, priorities and other matters related to IM–IT management at the Mission.
5.5.6 The MCO *** the status of service requests for this Mission, nor the mission in San Salvador, and therefore does not use the tickets to discuss outstanding items with the LEITP at regular meetings.
5.5.7 To support business continuity planning, the Mission has a number of satellite phones. A new unit is to be acquired imminently for the Official Residence that will enable the use of the telephone indoors. Consideration should be given to providing the surplus unit to another mission.
5.5.8 There is no control or reporting for long–distance telephone usage. This had been in place before but was discontinued.
5.5.9 IM–IT management issues should be brought to the CMM for discussion and resolution on a recurring basis.
5.5.10 The MCO should obtain access to Remedy or the MCO IT Portal to allow for more oversight with respect to the status of outstanding IT service requests.
5.5.11 Regular bilateral meetings between the MCO and LEITP should be established to discuss workload and plans.
5.5.12 Should the acquisition of the new satellite phone unit result in a surplus of satellite phones, the unit should be transferred to another regional mission (note: the mission in San Salvador requires a portable unit).
5.5.13 The Mission should institute controls and/or reporting of long distance telephone usage.
5.5.9 Implemented April 2010. The CMM will discuss IM–IT management issues on a quarterly basis.
5.5.10 In progress for May 2010. Request for access made and awaiting response.
5.5.11 Implemented May 2010. Weekly meetings now taking place.
5.5.12 Implemented. While the current complement of satellite phones may be larger than the norm, the high level of risk arising from *** natural disasters is significantly higher than the norm. The Mission notes that acquisition of a new satellite phone will be to replace a damaged phone, not to increase overall stock.
5.5.13 Implemented May 2010. A new policy has been put in place to clarify permissible use, with procedures established to monitor monthly usage and to recover costs associated with personal use.
5.5.14 A Service Level Agreement should be established for Guatemala City that identifies the frequency of visits and the types of situations that would warrant a rapid response from the FSITP out of Mexico City.
5.5.14 It should be noted that mission service delivery standards are governed by the Interdepartmental Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Operations and Support at Missions Abroad. There is currently no formal Service Level Agreement (SLA) with missions that would specify the frequency of visits. The establishment of an SLA with each individual mission is one of the main objectives of the Regional Service Centre as part of the delivery of common services.
The standard practice is to visit missions without an FSITP presence once per quarter. FSITPs are usually dispatched for service affecting emergencies within 24 to 48 hours. Routine and emergency visits are managed and scheduled by the Client Service Regional Manager (CSRM).
|Assets||Crown Owned||Crown Leased|
|Financial Information 2004-20101||Program Budget||Common Services Budget|
|1 figures are pre 50% Program budget cuts and 3.2% Common Services budget cuts|
|Operating Budget (N001)||$ 169,200||$ 1,199,100|
|Capital Budget (N005)||$ 72,307|
|CBS Salaries Budget (N011)||$420,000||$65,436|
|LES Salaries Budget (N012)||$584,000||$801,400|