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Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

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Inspection of The Canadian Consulate General Hong Kong

(PDF Version, 335 Kb) *

June 3 - 11, 2010

Table of Contents

Inspection Scope and Objectives

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

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

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

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


Executive Summary

An Inspection of Mission Management, the Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs (PERPA), International Business Development (IBD), Consular and Common Services Programs was conducted in Hong Kong from June 3 to 11, 2010. A previous audit of these programs took place in 2002. The Mission in Hong Kong is responsible for departmental program delivery in the Chinese special administrative regions (SARs) of Hong Kong and Macau. In addition to departmental staff, the Mission also accommodates Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) as well as a Quebec Immigration Office. The Mission reports directly to Headquarters, but does work closely with its counterparts in mainland China, as well as other missions in the region to further common objectives.

Thirteen years after its transition back to Chinese rule following approximately 150 years as a British colony, Hong Kong remains an important component of Canada's international platform, as a major international finance and logistics hub as well as a focal point for reporting and monitoring on human rights and universal suffrage. It is also a major source of investor class immigrants, and Canada's largest immigration-processing centre for China, with 95% of their workload deriving from the mainland (mainly southern China). However, as budget constraints continue and the cost of real estate in Hong Kong increases, serious consideration must be given to the nature and scope of Canada's operational footprint in Hong Kong in terms of client service, effective program controls and the overall sustainability of costs. Given that CIC makes up approximately 50% of the Mission's footprint, with 10 CBS and 62 LES, they must be engaged early on in discussions regarding the challenges and potential solutions. A recommendation has been made in the Beijing Inspection Report regarding the need for a property strategy for the China Network (including Hong Kong) which would include an analysis of program size and location.

In the short term, the Mission will need to address potential cost reductions under its control. It has already made efforts to reduce costs by approximately $160,000 through leasing two lower cost staff quarters (SQs), disposing of two parking spaces at the Chancery, undertaking various greening initiatives, etc. To meet the reduction targets set by the International Platform Branch, the Mission must address its major cost items, ***. At an average of $165,000/year per SQ, the cost of accommodation in Hong Kong will continue to be a pressure point for the Department.

Overall, the Mission is *** managed and led by a Head of Mission (HOM) *** in every aspect of its work. Mission governance and communication frameworks support operations and facilitate good formal and informal dialogue with staff. There is also a concerted effort made to ensure that corporate messages are shared by Mission Management via the Committee on Mission Management (CMM) and through town hall meetings.

The PERPA Program is functioning *** but should place greater emphasis on operational planning and the establishment of performance indicators and expected results at the program level. Good and innovative practices have been put in place from an operational perspective, including the development of a workload monitoring tool and the use of lessons learned exercises following major events. There remains a need, however, to provide greater structure *** in the Program and increased independence in the achievement of their objectives. In some cases, more attention may be required on ***.

The IBD Program is *** managed and working in close alignment with the integrative trade model. Locally-engaged Staff (LES) are competent and knowledgeable, and the Canada-based officers provide horizontal leadership through their roles as investment and innovation champions. Business planning and implementation tools are in place and used effectively to ensure proactive activities occur, and are well aligned with the IBD Business Plan. Best practices include the use of outcall plans and the development of an outcall tool box which provides all staff with key messages and questions to be raised with clients related to investment, innovation and the services of the Export Development Corporation (EDC). The Program will, however, have to review its organizational structure to ensure that it is sustainable over the long term, particularly with regards to the management responsibilities *** as well as the relatively high number of Trade Commissioner Assistants, compared to peer missions.

The Consular Program is *** managed and provides effective client service. The Program oversees the largest passport operation outside of Canada, with the Mission issuing approximately 22,000 passports in 2009. The Consular case load is, however, lower and less complex relative to missions in mainland China. The presence of approximately 220,000 Canadians in the Mission's territory and Hong Kong's prevalence as an epicentre for major infectious diseases (eg. SARs, Avian Flu, H1N1, etc.), makes continued outreach and effective emergency planning an essential part of ongoing operations.

The Common Services Program is staffed by competent and dedicated LES and is providing a good level of service to clients. *** . This has impacted the work of staff and has required greater HOM involvement ***.

A total of 53 inspection recommendations are raised in the report; 49 are addressed to the Mission and four are addressed to Headquarters. Management has responded to each recommendation indicating action already taken or decisions made, as well as future action. Of the 53 recommendations, management has stated that 26 recommendations have been implemented. For each of the remaining 27 recommendations, management has indicated the initiatives in progress or the intended future action.


Mission Management

1.1 Overview

1.1.1 The Consulate General in Hong Kong is a large mission with 27 Canada-based staff (CBS) and 148 Locally-engaged staff (LES). It is responsible for departmental program delivery in Hong Kong and Macau, special administrative regions (SARs) of China. The Mission provides a platform for partner programs from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), as well as a Quebec Immigration Office. The Mission also benefits from the presence of partner department officers, including Agriculture and Agri-food Canada (AAFC) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). The Mission is responsible for information technology support to the missions in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City under the direction of the Client Services Regional Manager (CSRM) in Singapore.

1.1.2 The Mission oversees operating and capital budgets of $9.2 million and $77 thousand dollars respectively, and manages five Crown-owned and 19 Crown-leased properties. Through the provision of Consular and Immigration services, the Mission collects approximately *** on a monthly basis.

1.1.3 While reporting directly to headquarters (HQ), the Mission plays an important role in the Greater China Network, working with its counterparts to advance common objectives, and share expertise and resources. The status of democratic development, the stable business environment and the presence of approximately 220,000 Canadians, make Hong Kong an integral aspect of Canada's representation abroad. The work of the Network is facilitated by an annual country-wide consultative process with HQ and partners to define an overall China strategy. Those strategic objectives have been recently complemented 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 *** delivery of common services.

1.1.4 It should be noted, however, that Hong Kong remains a unique environment and, in many ways, *** . While there is an increasing need for missions to work together towards common objectives, the validity of the Mission's reporting relationship directly to Headquarters (HQ), rather than Beijing, remains.

1.2 Mission Management

Key Mission Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes 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 Headquarters. 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 Locally-engaged Staff Management Consultative Board (LESMCB).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 is effective, with clear and consistent communication and a concerted effort to improve operations. The Mission has also placed emphasis on its role as a transformation catalyst, culminating with a designation as the "best of the best" in transformation, winning the "Osez" Be The Change Award in May 2010. A transformation champion has been appointed and the initiative has been incorporated into all mission programs and is seen as an essential part of ongoing operations. The Mission has experienced challenges, however, in connecting with HQ based initiatives and communications, such as town halls and webinars, as a result of the twelve hour time difference. With the transition to increased responsibilities at missions, there is a growing sentiment that, from time-to-time, such forums should be scheduled to allow Asian missions to take part during normal work hours.

1.2.2 The Mission's strategic objectives are consistent with those of the Government of Canada (GoC). Given the nature of Hong Kong as an SAR and the long standing linkages in place with Canada, the Mission has a unique role in the implementation of the strategic objectives defined in the Canada-China Joint Statement. The International Business Development, Consular and Common Services programs have developed operational plans, whereas there is *** with regards to PERPA Program planning. Specific findings and recommendations to this effect can be found in the respective section of this report.

1.2.3 The Committee on Mission Management (CMM) meets weekly and serves as an important body to make management decisions and discuss operational issues. CMM minutes are made available on InfoBank for staff to reference as needed. The Mission, however, may consider reviewing its approach to addressing mission management issues by reducing the frequency of CMMs, while retaining the practice of weekly operational meetings. This would provide the MCO and the Common Services Program more time to properly prepare to brief management on the issues and follow-up on their implementation.

1.3 Management Controls

Key Management Control CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes 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 effective, with minor improvements required to business continuity planning and demonstrating value-for-money in hospitality diaries.

1.3.2 The Mission's committee structure effectively supports operations and corporate roles are adequately shared across the Mission. Managers are kept apprised of the financial situation on a regular basis, and Mission Management demonstrates a good example by adhering to security policies and procedures.

1.3.3 The Mission has a good emergency plan in place. Recent events have, however, demonstrated that some *** response procedures. In addition, annual drills should be conducted to familiarize staff with procedures and identify areas require an update or revision. Alterations to the setup of the *** are also required to ensure the site's suitability for operations, should there be a need.

1.3.4 The Mission has established hospitality ceilings in line with the new Hospitality Outside of Canada Policy, with the exception of in-home events. The ceilings have, however, been established at the maximum allowable amount per the directions in the Policy. The CMM should review hospitality usage on an annual basis to ensure that established amounts remain reasonable and represent an effective use of funds.

1.3.5 A review of hospitality diaries indicated that programs were not always completing the form in a manner that clearly linked objectives and results to key priorities. At all times, hospitality objectives should be directly linked to overall Mission priorities, and evaluations should clearly demonstrate if and how that objective was advanced.

1.3.6 The review also noted that further adjustments are necessary to bring the Mission's practices into line with the requirements of the new Hospitality Outside of Canada Policy. In particular, the following items are inadmissible hospitality costs and should be charged to another general ledger account, including:

  • Attendance at events where no local contact is invited; and,
  • Transportation to and from hospitality events.

1.4 Recommendations to the Mission

1.4.1 The Mission should review its governance framework, including the frequency of CMMs and the potential institution of an operations committee.

1.4.2 The Mission should ensure that emergency response procedures are updated in line with departmental guidelines and the results of the lessons learned exercise.

1.4.3 *** should be held to ensure that procedures are adequate and that staff are familiar with their roles and responsibilities.

1.4.4 The Mission should annually revisit the established hospitality ceilings to ensure that they properly reflect the expected costs of events, while respecting the guidance provided by the Hospitality Outside of Canada Policy.

1.4.5 Mission Management should ensure that all hospitality diaries demonstrate clear linkages to Mission priorities, and that evaluations of events demonstrate how objectives were furthered and what follow-up activities should occur.

1.4.6 Tickets and registration fees at speaking events and conferences should be charged to the Program's operational budget, in line with the departmental Conferences Policy.

1.4.7 Costs related to travel for hospitality events should no longer be claimed as a hospitality expense.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

1.4.1 Implemented. Mission is implementing an alternating CMM/OPS meeting governance framework on a trial basis, in conjunction with the recently-introduced monthly FINSTAT-specific meetings.

1.4.2 In progress for September 2010. CMM will review the Mission's Threat and Risk Assessment, Business Continuity Plan, Local Standing Security Orders, Personal Safety Contingency Plan and the mission consolidated Contingency Plan Handbook in September 2010. A plan is in place to update these documents annually after the rotation of Canada-based staff, or as needed following lessons learned exercises, in coordination with ISRA.

1.4.3 In progress for September 2010. The mission participates annually in a building-wide fire drill organized by the building management. A separate *** procedures has been added to the Mission Security workplan and will be arranged in Fall 2010. A monthly test of the Chancery Security Alert System was implemented beginning in August 2010 by the Mission Security Officers, with feedback provided by the Floor Wardens.

1.4.4 Implemented. This practice was already in place at the time of the inspection. Prior to the promulgation of the new "Hospitality Outside of Canada Policy", the Mission reviewed ceilings annually by obtaining meal costs from a range of restaurants, hotels and clubs to determine reasonable rates for CMM approval. While adhering to the formula-driven approach of the new policy, all staff have been reminded that hospitality activites are to be modest, appropriate and cost-effective. The CMM will continue to review costs/ceilings annually.

1.4.5 Implemented. All staff have been reminded of this requirement and Mission Programme Managers will ensure compliance in their oversight of the hospitality planning/claims approval processes.

1.4.6 Implemented. Such expenses are now charged to the Conferences or Training GLs.

1.4.7 Implemented. Transportation expenses incurred for travelling to hospitality events are now processed as a Travel Claim and are charged to the local transportation GL.

Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs (PERPA)

2.1 Overview

2.1.1 The PERPA Program in Hong Kong is responsible for program delivery in the Chinese SARs of Hong Kong and Macau. Thirteen years after its return to China, the Hong Kong SAR continues to operate under the *** framework, while increasing its integration with mainland China. Hong Kong has retained its membership in several international organizations, including the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum and the World Trade Organization, *** Hong Kong's independent judiciary functions under the common law framework and, while it has a burgeoning multi-party system, half of its legislature is controlled by a small electorate and the head of the Hong Kong government is selected by a 800-person electoral committee.

2.1.2 In addition to its position as an important pivot point for financial and political interests in mainland China, Hong Kong remains a key link to the Canadian community abroad. At present, there are approximately 220,000 Canadian citizens resident in Hong Kong and 500,000 people of Hong Kong descent in Canada. There are also very strong linkages in the academic realm, with 100,000 graduates of Canadian universities present and active in Hong Kong.

2.1.3 These and other factors contribute to the high level of activity in Hong Kong and the constant stream of high level visitors from Canada. The Program focuses on the key areas of political and economic reporting, media/academic/cultural relations and visits support. The Program also recently assumed responsibility for the administration of the Working Holiday Program and takes a leadership role in the Mission's two signature events, Canada Day and the Sai Wan Canadian War Remembrance Ceremony.

2.2 Planning and Program Management

Key PERPA Program Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs (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 FS-03 Program Manager (PM) and supported by a team of one FS-01, two LE-08 officers, an LE-06 Visits and Events Coordinator and an LE-06 Program Assistant. The Program leverages an operational budget of $9,500 for operations, $3,000 for travel and $8,000 for hospitality.

2.2.2 Overall, the Program is functioning ***, with good formal and informal communication, and clearly defined roles and responsibilities. This is supported by weekly staff meetings as well as annual retreats to review the Mission environment, and to establish and reinforce priorities. The New Way Forward (NWF) Political Economic Renewal Initiative has also been implemented through departmental training and the use of key tools, such as the service request checklist, visits service standards and external service providers. Performance management plans (PMPs) are in place and ongoing performance feedback is provided to officers. ***, end of year PMP discussions have been held, but they will be finalized on a 15 month cycle ***.

2.2.3 Staff plan their work based on the Government objectives and those identified in the Country Strategy, and are further guided by the reporting agreement with HQ. While a list of tasks and activities is maintained, there is no higher level PERPA plan that articulates key objectives and priorities, performance indicators and expected results. The Program uses the PMP 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.

2.3 Implementation

Key PERPA Implementation CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Strategic objectives and plans have been translated into individual or team work plans.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 PERPA Program is implementing its activities in alignment with the Mission's priorities and the principles of the NWF. To facilitate this, the Program maintains a calendar of key events, reports, visits and other corporate duties. The document is used to help manage workloads and link activities to the Mission's key priorities and the NWF core services. While other Mission programs generally feel well supported, there is a need to more clearly define how certain academic/education activities are handled.

2.3.2 The Program also takes a professional approach to the implementation of its two signature events, Canada Day and Sai Wan. For example, with respect to the Canada Day event, the Mission has:

  • Established a committee to ensure a coordinated and strategic approach;
  • Engaged the CMM as a review function with regards to ensuring the event and its invitees remain strategic in focus;
  • Used an external service provider for certain aspects of the event (venue setup, graphics etc.);
  • Obtained sponsorships from key partners, covering approximately 90% of the expenditures;
  • Developed media hand-out kits to ensure a consistent approach to informing the press and communicating key advocacy messages; and,
  • Performed lessons learned exercises to assess the events implementation, the achievement of objectives and make recommendations to improve future events.

2.3.3 The Program has also implemented good practices, including the preparation of a comprehensive key messages document that can be used to develop speeches and slide presentations, and a virtual Chinese New Year Card that incorporated key advocacy messages and was shared with other posts in the region. To further improve the tools in the Program, consideration should also be given to developing a one-page key advocacy messages document that could be used by all staff when conducting outreach activities. The Program could use the IBD Program's "outcall toolbox" as an example to follow.

2.3.4 In some areas, there may also be a need for the Program to develop workplans to more clearly connect short term activities to longer term objectives. An officer level workplan would also provide staff with an opportunity to plan their outreach activities and request hospitality or travel budgets to support them. It also serves as an important planning tool for PM and HOM outcalls, where senior level engagement and support is required.

2.3.5 From an organizational perspective, the Program may have to revisit its resource base, competencies and division of roles and responsibilities to ensure that activities are sustainable. In particular *** restricts the flexibility of the small PERPA Program. To better meet the team's needs, the role *** should be expanded to include a broader range of support functions.

2.3.6 *** also presents a key challenge. While news clipping services have helped overcome such challenges in the past, budget constraints have forced the Mission to forgo such activities.

2.4 Performance Measurement

Key PERPA Performance Measurement CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes 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 assesses performance based on the outcome of specific events as well as the individual performance management plans of staff. As noted earlier, the PMP process is centred around individual performance management and does not define performance indicators and achievable results at the Program level.

2.4.2 A review of hospitality diaries for the 2009-2010 fiscal year indicated that the majority of activities were undertaken by the CBS and that there was a high level of reliance on the use of hospitality to fund individual attendance at speaking events. As stated in the new Hospitality Outside of Canada Policy, funds are to be used to provide hospitality to local contacts with the purpose of building, maintaining and leveraging networks abroad. In particular, the purchase of tickets for staff to attend speaking engagements on their own is not allowed. Future activities of this nature, where no external contacts are invited, should be considered as training or operational in nature and charged to the Programs operational budget (i.e. conferences). As hospitality amounts are only a ceiling, the Mission is able to adjust its internal allocation to reflect this change in practice. A recommendation to this effect has been made in the Mission Management section of this report.

2.5 Recommendations to the Mission

2.5.1 The Program should develop a high level PERPA plan and establish workplans for its staff to ensure high-level strategic objectives are translated into operational terms with achievable expected results.

2.5.2 The PERPA Program should revisit the roles and responsibilities of the ***.

2.5.3 The Program should develop a focussed strategic messages document for all programs to use as a tool when conducting outreach activities.

2.5.4 Hospitality allocations should be provided to all officers and utilized in alignment with the objectives stated in their respective workplans.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

2.5.1 In progress for September 2010. PERPA recently submitted the 2010-2011 Mission Planning and Reporting (MPR) which outlines Post's strategic objectives in the pursuit of key Canadian interests in Hong Kong. Relevant sections of the MPR form a high level PERPA plan that provides strategic guidance to PERPA officers. These strategic objectives are translated into more specific operational terms using the PMP framework. In addition, the PERPA Program Manager is working in consultation with every officer to develop monthly workplans that will serve as "real time" guiding tools in the conduct of their activities.

2.5.2 In progress for September 2010. As part of a broader revision of PERPA's program objectives and allocated resources, *** is being reviewed to ensure that the PERPA program is repositioned to respond to new demands and priorities as outlined in the MPR.

2.5.3 In progress for September 2010. Collating data from various advocacy related products, PERPA is producing (in both official languages) a focussed one-pager Strategic Messages document that will be made available across the mission for outreach activities.

2.5.4 In progress for September 2010. PERPA is reviewing its budget allocation in order for hospitality funds to be made available to PERPA officers, both CBS and LES. In accordance with DFAIT's Policy on Official Hospitality Outside Canada, CMM members have discussed and agreed for the PERPA Hospitality budget to be increased while respecting the overall mission hospitality budget ceiling.


International Business Development (IBD)

3.1 Overview

3.1.1 The Hong Kong SAR is a gateway to China and a major regional financial and logistics hub. It is considered to be one of the world's most transparent and open economies, supported by pro-business economic policies and regulatory regimes. The economy is largely tied to the services sector (estimated as high as 92%) and Hong Kong has positioned itself as a transparent, open, low-tax option for doing business in China and as a financial and business hub for the broader Asian region. For these and other reasons, such as the use of English in business dealings, the reliance on Common Law and a strong judiciary,***.

3.1.2 While these advantages remain, *** are strong competitors for investment and regional leadership roles in finance, transportation and related activities, leading the *** to look for ways to distinguish itself and create new opportunities. The Hong Kong Government has also announced its intention to increase cooperation with Shanghai on financial services and Taiwan on cultural and creative industries ***.

3.1.3 The IBD Program has established seven priority sectors in the areas ***.

3.2 Planning and Program Management

Key IBD Program Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes 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 is led by an FS-03 Senior Trade Commissioner (STC) in an EX-01 position, and supported by nine Trade Commissioners (FS-03, FS-01, five LE-09 and two LE-07), as well as five Trade Commissioner Assistants (LE-06 and four LE-05). In implementing its activities, the Program leverages approximately $13,000 in operations, $17,000 in travel, $14,000 in hospitality and $69,000 in client service funds (CSF).

3.2.2 The IBD Program is *** managed and benefits from the *** of the STC, and the knowledge and experience of the Program's officers and assistants. Weekly staff meetings effectively support operations and serve as a forum to communicate messages from HQ and the CMM, share information and set priorities. The collective approach has created an environment which facilitates collaboration and ensures alignment with the integrative trade model (ITM). The Program has an effective planning process in place, which includes consultations with key partners and an assessment of the previous year's performance. Staff PMPs are in place and are linked to the IBD Business Plan, TRIO reporting and established key performance indicators (KPIs).

3.2.3 The Program's organizational structure is hierarchical, with all LES officers reporting through the CBS officers to the STC. Discussions with staff indicated that management activities can occupy as much as 40-50% of their time. *** lead the team, future incumbents may not possess the same experience and skills. Additionally, the Program benefits from a higher than average ratio of trade commissioner assistants (TCAs), with one assistant for every two officers. While no model is in place, IBD programs usually have an average of one assistant to approximately three officers. The neighbouring mission in Guangzhou, for example, has one assistant to four officers. While consideration is being given to adjusting levels of the LES in the Program, consultation with the North Asia Geographic Bureau (GPD) is advisable to determine ***.

3.2.4 The Program supports several incoming missions and visits each year, and has successfully used business mission agreements (BMAs) and letters of agreement to recover costs and manage client expectations.

3.2.5 With the exception of the HOM Driver, the Mission has only one driver, to support all programs as well as facilitate incoming and outgoing diplomatic bags for all of mainland China. As a result, the Program spends approximately 30% of its operational funds on local transportation and experiences challenges in effectively conducting outcalls in more remote areas. A recommendation to improve transportation support has been made in the Common Services section of this report.

3.3 Implementation

Key IBD Implementation CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Business plan objectives and those outlined in management's PMAs/PMPs and 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 in Hong Kong and is working effectively with its local and regional partners, both in mainland China as well as in Manila and Singapore. The Program spends approximately 5-10% of its time covering the Macau SAR, with a small population of 500,000 and a gaming industry that attracts approximately two million visitors per month.

3.3.2 The Program also benefits from the expertise of the other China missions, particularly through the use of several best practices, such as KPIs, virtual sector teams, the China Infocentre and the training provided by the mission in Beijing. In order to mitigate the risk of an over focus on metrics, the STC has developed a short document designed to ensure that officers understand the need to focus on quality in the achievement of their KPIs.

3.3.3 Officers conduct their work in line with the ITM and the Program has developed tools to ensure that they are prepared to address all aspects of the Trade Commissioner Service (TCS), including investment, innovation and trade promotion. These tools, referred to as the "outcall tool box", are a best practice and could be considered for wider implementation. The Program also makes use of outcall plans, particularly for the cross-sectoral functions of investment and innovation. Trade Commissioners (TCs) spend between 15 and 25% of their time out of the office, with managers at the lower end and officers at the higher end of the range. All officers conduct and report on regular cold calls at a frequency appropriate in their sectors.

3.3.4 The Program records activities and results in TRIO, but has experienced some challenges with regard to the reporting of investment activities. In addition to TRIO, the Program is also expected to report to HQ using the Strategic Investment Intelligence System (SIIS). This dual reporting requirement does not adequately support the integrated work of the Program. Additionally, the Program has observed an uncoordinated approach to communications and timelines emanating from the Invest in Canada Bureau (BID). Last minute and duplicated requests for information have disrupted operations and should be minimized where possible.

3.3.5 As discussed in the Beijing Inspection Report, the IBD Program is supported by the China InfoCentre located in Beijing. While some issues are dealt with in Hong Kong due to the need for a local perspective, the China InfoCentre provides support to all China missions and should be viewed as a best practice. In particular, it provides the following key services:

  • Receives, responds and assigns approximately 80 service requests on a weekly basis that are sent to the common email address for all China missions (infocentrechina@international.gc.ca);
  • Creates and maintains standard responses for certain inquiries and identifies areas where the program could consider developing specific content for the Virtual Trade Commissioner (VTC) site to address repeat inquiries;
  • Monitors the content of the VTC and reports on popularity of documents; and,
  • Produces monthly KPI reports and TRIO tips that are shared with staff via the program managers and the individual mission's TRIO Champion.

3.4 Performance Measurement

Key IBD Performance Measurement CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Tools and mechanisms are in place to measure and monitor performance of the program.X  
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 and used regularly to assess performance and recognize the efforts of staff. While the system of KPIs reinforces the importance of quantitative results, the Program and its officers recognize the value of activities with longer term outputs and conduct themselves accordingly.

3.4.2 As a best practice, Program, sector and officer performance is tracked and reported on 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. Additionally, the Program conducts six-month follow-up exercises to validate the usefulness of events to clients and assemble statistics on commercial successes.

3.4.3 As a part of the Inspection, the Team met with a group of key stakeholders in an effort to assess the effectiveness of the Program and the services provided. Clients reported a high level of satisfaction with the IBD Program, citing the positive impact on their business and the forward looking strategic advice provided.

3.4.4 As noted and recommended on in Mission Management, a review of hospitality diaries for the IBD Program indicated that objectives and evaluations of events should be better linked to the key priorities of the Mission, particularly with regards to the CBS. In their current state, hospitality diaries do not always clearly demonstrate value-for-money.

3.5 Recommendations

Recommendations to the Mission

3.5.1 In consultation with GPD, the IBD Program should revisit its organizational structure with a view to longer-term sustainability and bringing its support resources into alignment with its peer missions.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

3.5.1 In progress. The officer-to-support ratio has been improving since 2006 and an *** will improve the ratio while aligning with regional missions. *** will attract more experienced officers to the position. *** Mission will review IBD organizational structure to adjust responsibilities upon departure of the incumbent.

Recommendation to BID

3.5.2 BID should work with Missions to minimize the dual reporting requirements on investment activities.

BID Action and Timeframe

3.5.2 BID will work closely with Posts to minimize the apparent dual reporting requirements during this fiscal year.


Consular

4.1 Overview

4.1.1 The Consular Program is *** managed by an *** AS-06 Deputy Management Consular Officer (DMCO) who is supported by 14 LES. The Program is divided into two sections, one responsible for passports and the other for Consular and citizenship, as demonstrated below. Day-to-day operations related to passport delivery are the responsibility of an LE-09 Senior Consular Program Officer/Passport Manager who is a *** and has authority for passport approval. Consular case management is handled by an LE-08 Consular and Citizenship Officer.

Hong Kong Organizational Chart

Hong Kong Organizational Chart - Accessible version

4.1.2 The DMCO/Consular currently reports directly to the HOM and is included as a member of the CMM, although this is not reflected in the Mission's organizational chart. The Management Consular Officer (MCO) is generally not involved in the Consular Program, other than providing assistance in high profile or sensitive cases. The Mission advises that, with the arrival of a new DMCO this summer, the reporting relationship will revert back to the traditional model with the DMCO reporting to the MCO. 4.1.3 The Mission is the highest passport producing operation outside of Canada and processed approximately 22,000 passports in 2009. In addition, approximately 2,660 citizenship applications were received and 2,090 notarial services were provided in 2009. The Mission estimates that there are approximately 220,000 Canadians residing in Hong Kong and Macau, although only 1,137 are in the Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) database.

4.1.4 The Passport Section has an excellent reputation and is considered to be the best operation outside of Canada, coupling fast processing times with low error rates. Most LES are long serving and have been with the Mission for more than ten years. For the most part, Consular cases handled by the Mission are not complicated, although, at the time of the Inspection, the Mission was dealing with 12 Canadians detained in its small territory of Macau and Hong Kong. Service standards for contact with detainees of one per quarter are met, with the Mission alternating prison visits with contact by telephone. Local infrastructure is excellent and authorities speak English and provide efficient and effective services.

4.1.5 The Program is recognized as a centre of expertise for citizenship and passport issues and receives daily requests for assistance/information from other missions in the region. Staff have also provided training to other missions including job shadowing in Hong Kong and assisting with temporary duties.

4.2 Program Management

Key Consular Program Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
The 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 DMCO/Consular has been working over the course of his posting to improve business processes and optimize the use of resources. In addition to a detailed workplan, the Program has developed a hospitality plan which includes objectives and budget implications. A Consular business continuity plan (BCP) is in place based on a reciprocal arrangement with the British Consulate General in Hong Kong. ***, and equipment is tested by our Mission staff ***. The hospitality plan and Consular BCP are considered to be best practices.

4.2.2 Consular staff work in an environment where challenges are discussed openly and staff are encouraged to make suggestions and find solutions. Feedback is shared with HQ in an effort to improve processes and help identify opportunities to gain efficiencies in all missions. Bi-weekly meetings are held for staff in the Passport Section, and other Consular staff are included on occasion. While an annual retreat occurs and includes all staff, regular all-staff meetings are not held. As a result, some staff are not always informed of new Program initiatives and directives. 4.2.3 The workload of the Passport Section is steady as up to 150 clients can visit the Mission daily. No additional back-up is provided during staff absences as remaining passport examiners are expected to pick-up the extra workload. While this is feasible during the low season, staff regularly work through lunch and after hours during the peak season (December to July) in order to maintain service standards.

4.2.4 The workload of the Consular and Citizenship Assistant is increasing, as the number of citizenship applications received at the Mission has risen steadily over the last five years and increased by 25% from 2008 to 2009. The Assistant would benefit from more support and back-up from the Consular Officer in day-to-day activities to ensure that client service levels are maintained.

4.2.5 The Program has made effective use of the *** prior to being seen by a Consular staff member and to provide information after Consular hours. Active monitoring of this arrangement will be necessary to ensure accurate and appropriate information is provided to clients and that this assistance does not ***.4.2.6 Financial assistance for Canadians in distress is currently provided using ***, who must then submit a claim to be reimbursed. Mission funds should be provided for this purpose and an efficient method to obtain them put in place. Use of the petty cash account could be considered for this purpose if the amount of the petty cash account was increased.

4.3 Client Service

Key Consular Client Service CriteriaMeetsNeeds
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 The Program is meeting client service standards as set by the Department and Passport Canada. Performance is actively monitored using statistics obtained from the Consular Management and Operations System (COSMOS), Passport Canada and the Queue Management System. Staff monitor the number of clients waiting and additional booths are used, if necessary, to keep client waiting times under 30 minutes.

4.3.2 A Mission-developed client satisfaction survey was undertaken in June 2009 for the second consecutive year. This is an excellent initiative which provided a good snapshot of client satisfaction as 466 responses were received over a 19 day period. Responses concerning client services were positive. The Program has also received positive feedback from clients through departmental feedback forms, however, only 84 client feedback forms were received in 2009-2010. Feedback forms are available in the reception area and interview booths, but they are not actively given to clients at the time of service. As some clients may be uncomfortable providing feedback forms directly to staff, the existing passport drop box could be used by clients to deposit forms.

4.3.3 Compared to other missions in China, the majority of clients in Hong Kong understand English and are able to complete forms correctly on their own. However, some concerns were noted regarding services offered to elderly clients who may not speak English well and who may be less likely to complain. The Mission should continue to monitor client services on an ongoing basis to ensure all clients receive a high level of service.

4.3.4 When applying for a passport, clients have the option of returning to the Mission to pick-up their passport or having it 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 approximately $2 for each passport mailed to a client. As the passport fee for services outside of Canada does not include a mail option ***.

4.3.5 In an effort to reduce the risks inherent with the handling of cash revenues, the Program accepts credit card payments for passport and consular related fees. Bank fees associated with this method of revenue collection, approximately $30,000 per year, are borne by the Common Services Program.

4.4 Internal Controls

Key Consular Internal Control CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes 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 the Passport Management Program.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, two 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 numbers 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 Passport Consular Services).X  
Revenues are transferred to the finance 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 Controls governing passport and consular activities were in place, although minor improvements should be made in two areas.

  • *** were not used when *** hands between Consular staff.
  • ***.

4.4.2 As there is no corporate tool that automates the consular/passport revenue collection process, the daily reconciliation of approximately 150 transactions, is completed manually and can take up to two hours. This is not an effective use of resources and increases the likelihood of human error. As Consular and passport volumes continue to grow, it is necessary to ensure Consular staff are supported with all the necessary tools, equipment and processes to continue to provide high value added services to clients.

4.5 Recommendations

Recommendations to the Mission

4.5.1 The DMCO/Consular should institute regular meetings with all Consular Program staff.

4.5.2 Staff workload should be monitored, especially during busy periods, to ensure staffing levels are adequate, and new back-up mechanisms should be explored.

4.5.3 ***.

4.5.4 A formal procedure should be put in place for Consular staff to obtain Mission funds for financial assistance cases.

4.5.5 The Program should ensure that feedback forms are provided to clients at the time of service and comments are shared with Consular staff, the MCO, HOM and HQ.

4.5.6 The Mission should offer passport mailing services***.

4.5.7 ***.

4.5.8 ***.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

4.5.1 Implemented with the arrival of the new DMCO/Consular.

4.5.2 Implemented. Monitoring of staff workload has been implemented and back-up mechanisms have been identified and will be implemented during busy periods and/or should staffing levels be found inadequate.

4.5.3 Implemented. The responsibilities *** have been realigned to focus primarily on *** duties. Regular monitoring will be conducted to ensure focus remains on *** and not on other tasks.

4.5.4 Implemented. A formal procedure has been established with the Mission Finance Section to facilitate access to the Distressed Canadian Fund.

4.5.5 Implemented. Front-line Consular officers distribute feedback forms to clients and are now encouraging clients to complete the forms at the time of service. Results will be shared more broadly with MCO, HOM and HQ.

4.5.6 In progress. The Mission will consult with CFM and Passport Canada to confirm the policy context and ensure consistency with practices at other Missions. In the interim, the Mission will stop ***. We estimate this approach will reduce existing mailing costs by at least 60%.

4.5.7 Implemented. DFAIT *** are now being used when transferring *** between colleagues.

4.5.8 Implemented. Consular staff have placed more emphasis on adequately ***.

Recommendations to Consular Policy and Advocacy Bureau (CLD)

4.5.9 CLD, in consultation with the Chief Financial Officer, should explore options to automate the revenue collection and reconciliation process.

4.5.10 CLD, in liaison with the International and Domestic Banking and Financial Operations Division (SMF), should determine if credit card fees can be passed on to the client, thus reducing charges to the Common Service budget.CLD Actions and Timeframes

4.5.9 CLC is working on the design phase of an upgrade to the COSMOS system which would allow it to track passport payments, create system-generated receipts with automatic numbering, require authorization of management in order to waive fees, generate summaries of financial activity to be used in the reconciliation process, and allow for tracking of notary services. The change has been approved by the COSMOS User Group. Some funds have been set aside for the project, but the decision to go forward will be confirmed once the total cost is known. If all goes according to schedule, the new changes would be incorporated into COSMOS during the spring of 2011.

4.5.10 No authority currently exists to pass credit card fees on to the client. In order to increase fees to support credit card costs, approval would have to be sought under the User Fees Act exercise. At present, missions must seek approval from the proper authority channels in HQ (SMF, Common Services and Programs) in order to accept credit card payment.SMF advises they are working with the Receiver General to come up with a credit card solution which may reduce costs. The status of this collaborative project is as yet unconfirmed. For the time Hbeing, SMF strongly suggests avoiding using credit cards due to the expense which cannot be absorbed by missions or the department.


Common Services

5.1 Overview

5.1.1 The Common Services Program is managed by an EX-01 MCO who is supported by a team of three CBS and 20 LES. The Program is well run by long serving staff who are both knowledgeable and effective. The Information Management-Information Technology (IM-IT) Section provides services to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. As well, the Mission is used as a central distribution point for the *** schedule and the Mission's purchasing unit provides services to regional missions on an ad hoc basis.

5.1.2 The Program is responsible for providing common services to 175 employees spread over four DFAIT and two partner programs, and the Quebec Immigration Office. The following table summarizes the resources available to the Program.

 TotalCBSLESLES Non-Office
General8251
Human Resources3 3 
Physical Resources514 
Finance4 4 
IM/IT413 
Total244191

Program Management

Key Common Services Program Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes 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 

5.1.3 Individual sections within Common Services are operating well and working to support mission operations. The EX-01 MCO ***, having served previously as a Mission Financial Officer. While he is actively involved in his Program's work, ***. This has had an impact on the work of staff and has required greater HOM engagement ***.

5.1.4 The MCO holds weekly meetings with his section heads, who in turn hold meetings with their individual teams. While some broader meetings do occur on an ad hoc basis, the MCO does not meet regularly with other Common Services staff. Both the MCO and the Common Services team would benefit from other mechanisms to share information and reinforce priorities, such as all-staff meetings and the MCO's periodic participation in section meetings.

5.1.5 PMPs for all staff other than those within the Common Services Program have been completed for fiscal year 2009-2010. At the time of the Inspection, there were still 17 PMPs outstanding ***.

Client Service

Key Common Services Client Service CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Service standards have been established and communicated to clients.X  
Any hub and spoke relationships are governed by an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), outlining the roles and responsibilities of each mission.Service standards reflect fair and equitable allocation and access to common services for all mission programs. X 
Any hub and spoke relationships are governed by an Memorandum of Understanding (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 The Program is providing a good level of service to clients, reflecting the commitment of Mission Management and the capabilities of competent and dedicated staff. The Program has also initiated some good practices which have resulted in better services for clients, such as:

  • Video conferencing for incoming CBS prior to relocation;
  • Well documented relocations checklist and information packages;
  • An attendance and leave system (access database) that provides PMs with current leave balances; and,
  • Well developed work plans that have been put in place for all Sections.

5.1.7 The Mission is dealing with the recent deletion of a driver position from its establishment, leaving only the HOM Driver and one pooled driver to provide transportation services. This has resulted in some cost savings for the International Platform Branch (IPB), however, Mission programs are now forced to charge related transportation expenses to their Program budgets as the Common Service Program is unable to meet all requests.

5.1.8 The 2004 Generic Service Standards were updated and approved by the CMM at the end of March 2010, but were only communicated to staff and clients in June 2010. The Program does not have a formal client feedback mechanism in place although staff have the ability to provide feedback through e-mails and town hall meetings. As noted in the Physical Resources section of this report, an active service order request system, such as the departmentally approved system that is capable of capturing client feedback, would provide the Program with a more effective solution.

5.1.9 The Mission is facing serious difficulties in meeting the financial savings target of $426,000 that has been set by the IPB. Cost reductions from the previous fiscal year total approximately $160,000 and included savings in staff quarter (SQ) rents, greening projects, and the release of two excess parking spaces at the Chancery. As a complicating factor, Chancery lease costs are expected to increase substantially in the near future (lease due for renewal in April 2012) and SQ rents average $165,000 per year. While cost reductions could be achieved through a gradual change in location***, CBS families are resistant, citing concerns related to the quality of housing, the surrounding environment and school transportation issues.

5.1.10 While the Mission must address major expenditure items to meet the IPB designated cost reduction targets, there are smaller budget items which should be examined to further reduce Common Services spending. These include, but are not limited to, credit card fees for Consular services, ***, and the regular purchase of flowers at the official residence (OR), all of which are currently charged to the Common Services budget. In the case of credit card and postage fees for passports, these are services provided to clients which may be deemed to be outside of normal service delivery requirements (see recommendation 5.4.9).

Recommendations to the Mission

5.1.11 The MCO should meet with staff periodically in all Sections of the Common Services Program to discuss issues affecting service delivery.

5.1.12 ***.

5.1.13 The Mission should ensure that adequate local transportation support is provided to all programs, either in terms of driver availability or the provision of additional funds.

5.1.14 The Program should establish a formal client feedback mechanism.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.1.11 Implemented. In addition to weekly meetings with Section Heads held since his arrival, as well as all-staff meetings during the Annual Business Planning and Budgeting Exercise, since July 2010, the MCO has also implemented a practice of joining regular sub-section meetings (Finance, Property, HR, IT, Security, General Admin) led by section heads on a quarterly basis, or on an ad hoc basis as required to address priority issues.

5.1.12 Implemented. ***. Mid-year reviews have been scheduled.

5.1.13 In progress. As the mission has only one driver to support all program requirements for all Departments, including Common Services, scheduling conflicts are monitored to measure service delivery and to provide HQ with statistics on demand vs. service capacity. The mission has proposed that the Platform cover the cost of outsourcing driver support for classified diplomatic mail runs in order to free up approximately 3-4 working days per month to devote to program needs. A separate proposal was made to ASM to cover the cost of outsourcing driver support to pick up the weekly unclassified mail, which would free up an additional 2 working days per month so that program staff do not incur the costs of taxis on these days.

5.1.14 In progress. The Mission will establish a comprehensive client feedback framework building on a variety of feedback mechanisms already in place and working effectively.

5.2 Human Resources

5.2.1 The HR functions at the Mission are the responsibility of the MCO who is assisted by an LE-07 HR Officer and two LE-05 HR Assistants. The HR Officer and one of the Assistants have attended the HR specialist courses in Canada, while the other Assistant has received related training in Hong Kong. The Section managed 21 staffing actions during fiscal year 2009-2010, 16 of which were emergency employment, and three classification reviews were conducted.

Program Management

Key HR Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes 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 LESMCB 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  

5.2.2 Overall, management of the HR Section is ***. The Section is guided by a well developed HR plan and is capable of providing a good level of service to all programs within the Mission.

5.2.3 The Locally-engaged Staff Management Consultative Board (LESMCB) was formed in November 2009 and is well represented by both Mission Management and LES. All members of the CMM participate while the LES are represented by a cross section of staff from all programs. Meetings are agenda driven, minutes are taken and town hall meetings are arranged after each meeting to brief LES, as required.

5.2.4 Interviews indicated that the LES feel well served by the new LESMCB and are encouraged by results of the first few meetings. The Inspection Team met with LES members of the LESMCB and the following concerns were raised.

  • Opportunities for career development and training, as well as the possibility of working at other missions.
  • The process and methodology of the Total Compensation Review (TCR) and the lack of LES involvement. Specifically, the LES would like to have input into the Markers used in the process, as well as in selecting Markers used for inflationary statistical information gathered (Mercer, International Monetary Fund, Economist Intelligence Unit and Statistics Canada), as they believe percentages derived from some organizations are understated.

5.2.5 The Mission has hired an employee on an indeterminate basis (LE-04 Consular Assistant), although no position number has been created (an SR400 position). The Mission advises that the Geographic Area Management Advisor (GLA) is aware and has provided the necessary funding for the position.

5.2.6 Job descriptions for many positions throughout the Mission are out of date. In particular, approximately 45% of DFAIT job descriptions have not been reviewed or updated in more than ten years. The Immigration Program is addressing job descriptions for its employees, while other programs are also pursuing updates as a priority.

Key Processes and Internal Controls

Key HR Processes and Internal Control CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
The mission maintains written records of each staffing action in-line with the requirements established by the International Platform Branch Human Resources Services Bureau (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  

5.2.7 Overall, HR processes and internal controls were in place with minor areas for improvement identified. Letters of Offer for LES have, in the past, been signed by the HR Officer while this authority is only delegated to the HOM. It was noted, however, that since the arrival of the current HOM, Letters of Offer have been signed by her.

5.2.8 The Inspection Team met with a number of CBS spouses. Comments received and issues raised included:

  • There is a fair and transparent housing allocation within the Mission;
  • They were concerned about *** as they believe that there is limited access to amenities and schools as well as school transport issues;
  • While opportunities for spousal employment exist, one must network in order to find good paying jobs. Language can be an issue (Cantonese). While employment opportunities exist at the Mission, many jobs are well below skill and educational levels.
  • Partner departments are not always supportive of establishing telework arrangements, thus requiring spouses to go on leave without pay.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.2.9 The Mission should ensure that job descriptions for all programs are reviewed and updated to reflect current duties associated with each position. In the future, job descriptions should be reviewed every five years at minimum or when there is a substantial change to the position duties.

5.2.10 The Mission should update its HR procedures to ensure that Letters of Offer continue to be signed by HOMs.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.2.9 In progress for March 2011. The Mission HR plan includes a review of all outdated job descriptions, to be completed before the end of FY 2010-11.

5.2.10 Since 2008, all Letters of Offer have been signed by the current Head of Mission. The Mission Human Resources Section has updated its HR procedures to ensure that this requirement continues to be adhered to by future HOMs.

5.3 Physical Resources

5.3.1 The AS-05 DMCO is responsible for the daily operations of the physical resources functions at the Mission under the overall management of the MCO. The DMCO is assisted by an LE-07 Property Manager, an LE-05 Purchasing/ Maintenance Officer, an LE-04 Property Clerk and an LE-04 Purchasing Clerk. The property portfolio consists of a Crown-leased Chancery, Crown-owned OR, four Crown-owned SQs and 18 Crown-leased SQs. The Section also maintains a small Crown-owned off-site warehouse storage facility.

5.3.2 The Chancery is located on five floors of an office building in the central business district, with CIC occupying two floors. The Quebec Immigration Office is co-located on the 10th floor of the building. There is also a small storage room in the Quebec Office space that is used by the Mission. The current lease expires in March 2012, and a significant rental increase is expected. The Mission has been actively engaged in the Chancery lease renewal project and has assisted the Physical Resources Bureau (ARD) in completing a space analysis of the current Chancery configuration. The Mission believes that a further review of space utilization as well as the application of the Treasury Board Secretariat's office accommodation standards could significantly reduce the overall footprint and result in substantial savings.

Program Management

Key Physical Resources Program Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes 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 Official Residence (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 

5.3.3 The Section is *** managed and there is good level of communication and cooperation between staff. The DMCO and Property Manager meet regularly, and short daily operations meetings occur between the Property Manager and the rest of the Section. The DMCO periodically sits in on these meetings.

5.3.4 Property planning is effective and includes a detailed preventative maintenance schedule and standard operating procedures (SOPs) that were developed by the DMCO. The Property Manager has also developed a project-based workplan with scheduled tasks and timelines for all work to be undertaken at the Chancery, OR and SQs. This is seen as a good practice.

5.3.5 The OR is well used for representation with many hospitality and other official events held regularly. A mid-life refurbishment was carried out in 2005-2006, however, the house is old and requires further upgrades. There are recurring problems with the airconditioning and exterior painting is required. The issue identified with the safety of the retaining wall, also identified in the 2003 Audit Report, remains outstanding, although renewed efforts have been made recently to resolve the issue. A building condition report (BCR) is scheduled for this fiscal year to assess the condition of the OR. This will provide information on the maintenance required to be included in a long-term maintenance plan for the OR. From a longer-term perspective, there is a need to consider future plans ***.

5.3.6 SQ portfolio management in an expensive real estate market like Hong Kong is challenging. The current rental market largely favours ***, making it difficult to manage a stable portfolio of suitable and affordable SQs. As the leases are not aligned with the posting cycle, this creates more work and budget pressures for the Mission. The Mission has initiated an SQ strategy to help reduce rental costs, realizing a savings of $100,000 last year by *** were budgeted at the average mid-point or below for each family configuration, and a spreadsheet outlining the current rents and family configurations was also developed to assist the Housing Committee when viewing SQs. The Mission has implemented a new process whereby a request for proposal (RFP) was used to procure the services of a realty firm, at no cost to the Crown, to source potential SQs.

5.3.7 The MCO and DMCO have visited all SQs, although the HOM has not yet had the opportunity to visit all SQs to see how all CBS are housed. As the HOM is ultimately responsible for housing allocations, this is important particularly in this environment to ensure informed decisions are made on SQ allocations based on the recommendations of the Housing Committee.

5.3.8 The Inspection Team visited seven SQs, three of which are Crown-owned, three Crown-leased and one potential SQ. Although some SQs were larger than others, all SQs were adequately sized and in conformity with the DFAIT Housing Guidelines. All were in good condition and located in neighbourhoods within a reasonable commute to the Chancery.

5.3.9 Space measurements indicated in the Mission Property Management Plan (MPMP) are taken directly from the SQ leases and include the overall common space for lobby areas and hallways of the building, which should not be included in the PRIME database.

5.3.10 While local procurement guidelines are generally understood by the responsible staff members and all purchases are approved in advance by the MCO or DMCO, there are no written guidelines in place. This could lead 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.

Client Service

5.3.11 A good level of service is provided by experienced and dedicated staff, and clients expressed their satisfaction with the services provided by the Section. Service standards and work order request procedures have been established. The Section strives to provide same day service where/when possible, although this exceeds the service standard of 5-10 days for routine requests and does not allow efficient grouping/planning of requests by type and location.

5.3.12 *** is used internally within the Property Section. It has not yet been implemented throughout the Mission due to technical issues as well as the inoperability of the client feedback link. Work order requests are received via e-mail or orally, and staff cut and paste the request into ***, which results in a duplication of work. Follow-up is conducted by e-mail or telephone. The Mission should continue to work with the IT section and HQ to resolve these issues and make the system accessible to all staff. This would greatly assist in the overall management and monitoring of client requests and provide a feedback mechanism.

Key Processes and Internal Controls

Key Physical Resources and Internal Control CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes 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 Overall, internal controls and processes were effective, although there are some minor improvements required for inventory and disposal practices. The Property SQ files are well documented. Separate lease, maintenance/repair and general correspondence files are maintained for each SQ. All occupancy agreements are signed, but most agreements have been signed by a member of the Property staff instead of the HOM.

5.3.14 The Property Assistant meets all new CBS upon their arrival to inspect the SQ and review the assets. The DMCO and Property Assistant also perform annual inspections of SQs in order to verify condition of furnishings and identify preventative work requirements or other potential issues with the SQ. The SQ Checklist (Property Manual Chapter 7 Annex B) should also be provided to the occupant for completion within three months. This would assist the Mission to identify any problems with the accommodation from the occupant's perspective.

5.3.15 Inventories are completed and signed for the Chancery, OR and SQs. As items are added or replaced, the inventories are updated, but the EXT 182 - Material Transfer Voucher form is not used to record whenever a movement or transfer of furniture and other assets occurs. The Fine Arts Inventory is up to date and signed by the HOM. Inventory records are maintained for the items stored in the off-site warehouse facility, although an asset value amount is not included in the inventory report, and annual verification of inventory stock is also not performed. There is currently no ***.
5.3.16 The Mission inventory program, developed internally, could be improved by having an asset value amount report available. In addition, the Mission should also use the Transfer and Disposal reports that are available in the program. These reports could assist when conducting reconciliations.

5.3.17 Disposal sales do not generate much interest and revenue in Hong Kong. In an effort to maximize the return to the Crown and reduce inventory and storage requirements, the Mission has introduced a practice whereby public auction sales are posted through an on-line market place. The Mission has viewed this method to be more successful as a larger audience can be reached with more offers received than in the past, and the amount of time spent by staff to manage the sale is reduced.

5.3.18 A review of the disposal files for the past three years indicated that improvements were required in the following areas:

  • Disposals were approved by the DMCO rather than the HOM;
  • Staff involved in the disposal decisions participated in sales;
  • Many items are disposed as scrap with no reason stated; and,
  • Official receipts were missing from most files.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.3.19 The Mission should continue the efforts to reduce SQ rents as well as to explore further options such as moving to less expensive areas or off-island if suitable housing, services and amenities are available.

5.3.20 The departmentally-approved electronic work request system should be rolled out to all Mission clients.

5.3.21 The Mission should ensure that space measurements for all properties listed within the PRIME database properly reflect actual space (i.e. useable space and not common area or storage rooms).

5.3.22 Local procurement guidelines should be developed and include guidance on seeking supplier discounts.

5.3.23 The Mission should try to group work requests to minimize multiple trips and maintain the normal service standard.

5.3.24 The HOM should sign the Occupancy Agreements.

5.3.25 The SQ Checklist (Property Manual Chapter 7 Annex B) should also be provided to the occupant for completion within three months of arrival.

5.3.26 EXT-182 Material Transfer Vouchers should be used each time movement of furniture and other assets occur within Chancery, OR and SQ facilities, and staff signature should be obtained immediately.

5.3.27 Inventory reports of items in storage should include dollar values.

5.3.28 *** should be undertaken and an annual verification of items stored in all warehouse or Chancery facilities should be performed.5.3.29 The Mission should ensure that:

  • Future disposal sales are approved by the appropriate authority (HOM or HQ in some cases per the Materiel Management Manual Chapter 7 Annex A);
  • That only permissible staff are allowed to participate; and,
  • Disposal records are maintained in a more complete manner.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.3.19 Implemented. Despite the challenges of a volatile and increasingly costly local rental market, the Mission has developed a comprehensive property strategy to reduce SQ rental costs and improve the cost-effectiveness of the property portfolio, exploring all options including acquisition of SQs outside Hong Kong island.

5.3.20 In progress. As explained to the Inspection Team, HQ's assistance is required to fix the non-functioning client feedback link in the automated messages generated by the system. Until this functionality is fixed, the full benefits of the system will not be realized. However, the Mission will proceed with rolling out the system and the IM/IT Section will continue to pursue a solution with HQ (AIAE).

5.3.21 In progress for November 2010. The Mission brought this matter to the attention of the Inspection Team and corrective action is now being taken.

5.3.22 In progress for March 2011. Written procurement guidelines will be developed in accordance with SPP's "New Guide on Procurement" (March 2010) to augment rigorous competitive bidding processes already in place.

5.3.23 Implemented. Although the current practice is not formalized, whenever possible routine work requests are grouped by type and location. Over the past two years the Property Section has been building a maintenance program to shift the focus from reactive to preventative in order to reduce urgent requests.

5.3.24 Implemented.

5.3.25 In progress for October 2010.

5.3.26 Will implement as a regular practice for SQs and the O/R as of August 2010 and for the Chancery as of February 2011.

5.3.27 In progress.

5.3.28 In progress. Verifications of the warehouse and chancery, including ***are scheduled for September 2010 and February 2011 respectively.

5.3.29 Implemented. Written procedures have been prepared to specify the requirement for HOM approval in advance and confirm that the provisions of MM Manual (Chapter 7) regarding those ineligible to purchase items for sale will be strictly observed. The document also includes the mission-specific methods used for the local sale of surplus items. Disposal records have been standardized for each transaction, and a tracking sheet has been developed to record all disposal activities during the fiscal year. The tracking sheet is updated as soon as each disposal is completed.

Recommendation to ARD

5.3.30 A long-term strategy should be developed in consultation with senior management and partner departments, within the overall China Property Initiative, ***.

ARD Action and Timeframe

5.3.30 The China Property Strategy will be developed over the next 12 months in consultation with affected missions and partner departments. ***.

The open space guidelines now in use will be applied to reduce the amount of space required.

5.4 Finance

5.4.1 The MCO is responsible for the overall management of the Finance Section, with daily operations handled by an LE-09 Finance Officer. The Section includes an LE-07 Deputy Accountant, an LE-05 Assistant Accountant and an LE-04 Accounts Clerk, all of whom are long serving members and are considered to be ***.

5.4.2 The Section processes approximately *** cheques per year, 1,400 of these are for Immigration Right of Landing Fees (ROLF) refunds. The Mission cited this as a major contributor to the workloads of the MCO and DMCO and suggested that consideration could be given to providing increased signing authorities to the Finance Officer, a Canadian citizen with a Certified General Accountant (CGA) designation.

5.4.3 Weekly meetings are held between the Finance Officer and her staff, however, the MCO does not attend. The MCO and Finance staff would benefit if he were to attend periodic meetings to reinforce issues and to provide feedback of the Section's performance. A recommendation covering this issue is raised in section 5.1 of this report.

Management

Key Finance Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes 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 EFT (suppliers, LES salaries).  X
Immigration refunds are arranged through cheque or EFT.X  

5.4.4 The Section has a workplan established for the 2010-2011 fiscal year which assists in providing a good quality of service to its clients. Although staff are in the process of developing written procedures to basic tasks involving document control and entry, clients have not been provided with guidance on the completion of travel or hospitality claims, invoice processing times, and other financial processes. This has led to increased work on the part of both Finance staff and program staff as incomplete documents have to be corrected and resubmitted. For instance, a check list of what Finance staff require to process claims and invoices would streamline the audit of travel/hospitality claims and invoice document entry, and reduce the number of times incomplete documents have to be returned to the originating program.

5.4.5 The Section does not employ a "quiet hours" policy which would allow the staff to concentrate on document entry and other areas of work that require a certain level of concentration. This has resulted in untimely interruptions and affects the privacy of the other work that is performed.

5.4.6 The Mission does not use electronic funds transfers (EFTs) as a means to pay supplier invoices. ***.

Client Service

5.4.7 Client service standards for the Finance Section have been incorporated into the Mission Generic Service Standard document that was approved by the CMM in March 2010 (see section 5.1).

Key Processes and Internal Controls

Key Finance Internal Control CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
A Contract Review Board (CRB) is in place and operating effectively with clear terms of reference. X 
Bank reconciliations are completed monthly and are properly reviewed and authorized by the appropriate authoritiesX  
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 

5.4.8 Overall, internal controls within the Section are deemed to be effective, although there are a few areas for improvement. A Contract Review Board (CRB) is in place, however, members only meet virtually. Periodic in-person meetings would provide an opportunity to discuss Terms of Reference (TOR), contracting regulations and changes, method of reviews and to review contracts signed in the last period.

5.4.9 While contracting guidelines are generally understood by the responsible staff members, there are no written guidelines in place. This has led to inconsistency in the process applied. Developing a standard process document would provide staff with clearer guidelines and ensure greater transparency in the contracting process.

5.4.10 A review of the contracting process identified the following areas requiring improvement:

  • CRB approvals were not consistently provided by three members of the Board.
  • At times, bids were accepted by e-mail and not in a sealed envelope. This practice introduces the risk that an ***.
  • Supporting documents were not consistently held on file for sensitive contracts ie. sole source and spousal contracts.

5.4.11 The asset and liability report is not reviewed and acknowledged by the *** as part of the *** of the Mission accounts. Review of this report would ensure that items such as outstanding advances are monitored and actioned accordingly.

5.4.12 The Section advises that they have one direct debit payment that is still in effect and processed regularly by the bank. This payment is for the LES provident fund. At the time of the Inspection, the Finance Officer had sent a request to Financial Operations, International Division (SMFF), to obtain written authorization for this process.

5.4.13 Prior to the Inspection, the official bank statement was delivered directly to the Finance Officer. The Inspection Team raised this issue and the statement is now delivered directly to the MCO, effective June 10, 2010. The MCO had not established a specific contact with the current Mission bank.

5.4.14 The petty cash account *** held by the Administration Program Assistant was counted and verified. The account is used for its intended purpose and is replenished on a *** although spot checks of this account are not conducted by the MCO or DMCO.

5.4.15 All CBS are accommodated in high-rise building complexes with varying amenities provided such as access to the swimming pool, gym facilities and shuttle bus service to the business centre where the Chancery is located. All CBS obtain and pay for internet and cable services. However, there is a need to determine a cost sharing amount to be reimbursed by CBS for amenities included in the rent management fees which are of personal benefit to staff and their families.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.4.16 The Mission should consult SMFF regarding the possibility of providing increased financial signing authorities to the LES Finance Officer.

5.4.17 The Section should provide clients with a checklist of requirements to process claims and invoices, and facilitate document entry.

5.4.18 The Section should establish a quiet hours policy.

5.4.19 The CRB should meet in person periodically.

5.4.20 The Mission should provide staff involved in the contracting process with written guidelines.

5.4.21 The Mission should ensure that all bids for contracts are received in sealed envelopes.

5.4.22 The MCO should review and sign off on the asset and liability report on a monthly basis.

5.4.23 The MCO should develop and maintain a primary contact with the bank.

5.4.24 The MCO should conduct spot checks for petty cash accounts.

5.4.25 The Mission should seek appropriate reimbursement from CBS for any services provided at their SQ which is considered to be personal.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.4.16 In progress. A formal business case will be put to SMFF and SMD in September.

5.4.17 Implemented. Checklists have been developed for processing claims and clients can access these files from InfoBank (Mission Shared Information, Policies & Guidelines).

5.4.18 Implemented.

5.4.19 In progress for November 2010.

5.4.20 In progress for November 2010. The Mission will collaborate with SPP to update existing guidelines in place since 2006, and will distribute the revised version in the Fall to all staff involved in contracting processes.

5.4.21 In progress for November 2010. The CRB will establish appropriate threshold criteria for sealed bids to be part of competitive bidding processes.

5.4.22 Implemented.

5.4.23 Implemented.

5.4.24 Implemented.

5.4.25 In progress. The Mission will seek appropriate reimbursement from CBS in accordance with Departmental policies in a manner consistent with other Missions.

5.5 Information Management / Information Technology

5.5.1 The IM-IT Section is managed by a CS-02 Foreign Service Information Technology Professional (FSITP), under the overall management of the MCO, and supported by an LE-08 Locally-engaged Information Technology Professional (LEITP) Supervisor and two LE-07 LEITPs. The Section provides services to 175 users in Hong Kong and provides support to the missions located in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, under the direction of the Client Support Regional Manager (CSRM) in Singapore.

5.5.2 The Mission also hosts a set of TRIO servers, an IPL human resource information system server and a Blackberry Enterprise server in support of a number of other missions in the region. Four hours per week is spent performing back-ups for these servers.

Management

Key IM-IT Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Information Management / Information Technology (IM/IT) workplan exists and includes regional activities. Good
Practice
 
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 

5.5.3 The Section is well managed and is providing quality and timely services to clients. The FSITP noted that he works with an excellent team whose members are long serving and knowledgeable. The Section benefits from good team spirit and communication amongst staff, and the FSITP is appreciated for ***. The MCO and HOM are supportive of the Section, and the FSITP attends the weekly Common Service section head meetings.

5.5.4 The Section has developed a comprehensive plan which aligns its priorities and strategies with clients' needs. The plan is posted on the Microsoft Sharepoint site for Asia and is reviewed at weekly staff meetings, in conjunction with the Mission calendar of events and other HQ taskings. Staff appreciate the direction that the plan provides as it enables them to monitor work, concentrate on identified priorities and improve operations. The team is also trying to further improve usability of the plan by incorporating key milestones and by creating linkages to staff PMPs. Consolidation of this information in one document, including regular maintenance and back-up activities, and adding responsibilities and timelines for completion, would further improve this good planning tool.

5.5.5 The Section is responsible for its own budget and provides input into the Mission budget planning exercise. Further improvements could be made through prioritization of items and client consultation at the beginning of the process.

5.5.6 ***. The equipment is tested quarterly. As indicated on the business plan, the Team plans to undertake consultations this year to ensure that adequate equipment is on site and documented IM-IT BCP procedures are developed.

Client Service

Key IM-IT Client Service CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes 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 The Section is committed to continually improving client services. To this end, the FSITP met with all PMs and Section heads to discuss client support, satisfaction, and opportunities to improve business processes with technology. This is a good practice and should be done regularly. Remedy tickets are checked daily to monitor outstanding work, and client requests are answered as soon as possible. Excellent feedback was received from users regarding IM-IT client service.

Key Processes and Internal Controls

Key IM-IT Internal Control CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes 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  

5.5.8 Overall, key IM-IT processes and internal controls are in place and effective. InfoBank is used extensively within the Mission and PMs are supportive in ensuring that staff are provided the time to take training. The DMCO is the InfoBank Champion and "tips" are sent out on a regular basis.

5.5.9 The Mission has had no issues with the Network Acceptable Use Policy (NAUP). As a good practice, reminders on the NAUP could be sent to staff on a regular basis, and all new staff could sign as having read the NAUP.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.5.10 The IM-IT plan should be expanded to include identification of lead responsibilities and timeframes for completion.

5.5.11 Budget planning exercises should include consultations with clients at the beginning of the process and the resulting list should be prioritized based on Mission needs.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.5.10 Implemented. The IM/IT plan already identifies leads for most projects and allows for entering milestones. The system has been updated to add a field for completion date, which will help ensure the team stays on track with the projects.

5.5.11 In progress for February 2011. Future IM/IT budget planning exercises will involve consultation with each program prior to submission to CMM for approval.

Appendix A : Mission Resources Fact Sheet

Physical Resources
AssetsCrown OwnedCrown Leased
Chancery 1
Official Residence1 
Staff Quarters418
Vehicles4 

 

Financial Information 2009-2010*
 Program BudgetCommon Services Budget
Operating (N001)$ 192,941$ 9,032,954
Capital (N005) 77,439
CBS Salaries (N011)  
LES Salaries (N012)2,143,8635,243,102
Total$ 2,336,804$ 14,353,495

Appendix B : Organization Chart

Canadian Consulate General Hong Kong – Organizational Chart - Accessible version

Hong Kong Organizational Chart

Appendix C: Frequently Used Acronyms

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

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Date Modified:
2012-11-14