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Inspection of the Canadian Consulate General Seattle Including the Consulate in Anchorage

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March 12 - 19, 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 the Locally-engaged staff Committee, individual interviews with staff, and results of other documentation reviewed. The level of inspection work was therefore based on issues and information identified and gathered at all levels, HQ, Mission management and Mission operations.

Executive Summary

An Inspection of Mission Management, the Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs (PERPA), International Business Development (IBD), Consular and Common Services Programs was conducted in Seattle and Anchorage from March 12 to 19, 2010. A previous audit of these programs took place in 2001.

Overall the Mission has implemented effective management control structures. The Consulate General in Seattle is a medium sized mission with seven Canada-based staff (CBS) and 33 Locally-engaged staff (LES), and is responsible for program delivery in the states of Washington, Alaska, Idaho and Oregon and support for the partner departments located at the Mission. The Mission supports a Consulate in Anchorage, comprising one CBS and two LES, who deliver the PERPA Program there, and has the services of an Honorary Consul in Portland, Oregon.

The Consulate General has effective committees in place, including the Committee on Mission Management, the Contract Review Board, an Occupational Health and Safety Committee, and a Transformation Committee.

The PERPA Program in Seattle is *** managed, and has established a solid management framework, with good planning and communications processes. The Program Manager has identified approaches to improve performance monitoring, such as event post-mortems. However, there is a need to establish clear performance criteria in the strategic plan. The Program should also re-orient the approach to academic relations, away from Canadian Studies and more to focus on the development of strategic academic linkages.

In Anchorage, it is recommended that the Program undertake further work on incorporating performance measurement criteria into planning, and ensure that communications within the Program are effective.

The IBD Program in Seattle has developed a plan with well articulated strategic goals in each of the priority sectors, and has moved to incorporate key elements from the departmental Transformation initiative into its operations. The Program Manager has established highly effective communication practices, and has developed close working relationships with other Canadian missions, both in the US and internationally.

The Program would benefit from greater clarity around the role of the investment and innovation functional Officer, and from improvements in relationships with Regional Offices in Canada. Greater attention should be given to the timeliness of input into the TRIO system.

Consular Services are *** managed by an active Locally-engaged Consular Program Manager who reports directly to the Head of Mission. A significant amount of the Program's workload is generated by arrest and detention cases and by an increased number of citizenship cases that resulted from the coming into force of Bill C-37 in 2009. Considerable time and effort has been spent by the Mission to develop its Consular Contingency Plan, and all staff have received training with the King County Emergency Response Centre. As a result, the Mission will have a representative at the Centre in case of an emergency.

Control of passport and Consular services were generally effective. Closer attention should be given to areas requiring *** oversight, or where such oversight was lacking, or where there was not effective segregation of duties in revenue handling.

An *** Mission Administration Officer (MAO) is responsible for the management of Common Services at the Consulate General. The Program is pro-active, client service oriented and functions well. Key controls were in place and operating effectively.

The MAO has established goals and objectives, but these have not been translated into a formal work-plan. The need to formalize ad hoc procedures and processes are essential in all sections of the Common Services Program.

The Program should also address issues of segregation of duties with regard to payments by the Accountant, and the handling of revenues by the Property Assistant.

A total of 41 recommendations are raised in the report; 40 are
addressed to the Mission and one is addressed to Headquarters. Management has responded to each recommendation indicating action already taken or decisions made, as well as future action. Of the 41 recommendations, management has stated that 16 have been implemented. For the remaining 25 recommendations, management has indicated the initiatives in progress or the intended future action.

Mission Management

1.1 Overview

1.1.1 The Mission in Seattle is a medium sized mission with seven Canada-based staff (CBS) and 33 Locally-engaged staff (LES). It is responsible for program delivery in the states of Washington, Alaska, Idaho, and Oregon and provides support for the partner departments (Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police), located at the Consulate General. The Mission supports the Consulate in Anchorage, which has one CBS and two LES, and has the services of an Honorary Consul in Portland, Oregon.

1.2 Mission Management

Table 1: 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 HQ.X  
The Committee on Mission Management (CMM) is an effective forum to review and make decisions on mission and administrative policies.X  
Mission Management maintains an active and productive dialogue with the LES Management Consultative Board.X  
Mission Management ensures that employees remain informed of key priorities and administrative policy decisions.X  
Minutes of committee meetings, particularly CMM, are made available to all staff, as appropriate.X  
The Official Languages Policy is respected and promoted by Mission Management.X  
Canadian Public Service values and ethics are promoted and reinforced, and employees are aware of available support resources (Values and ethics, staff relations).X  

1.2.1 The Mission comprises a management team of both Canada-based and Locally Engaged staff which demonstrates cohesiveness and cooperation between programs. The Consulate General has formal program meetings on a regular basis, and quarterly all-staff meetings. Communication within the Mission is effective and contributes to a well-managed mission.

1.2.2 The Mission has the capacity to provide services to clients in both official languages in all sections. Under the Transformation Committee's group training initiative, over half of the Mission's staff participate in French language training. All signage and documentation in the public areas are in bilingual format.

1.3 Management Controls

Table 2: Management Controls
Key Management Controls 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, the Mission has implemented a management control structure that effectively mitigates many of the risks that it faces. Improvement, however, is needed in areas such as security (where the Mission requires enhanced awareness on issues of ***, and improving Business Continuity Planning (BCP).

1.3.2 An effective committee structure is in place within the Mission including a Committee on Mission Management which meets bi-weekly, a Contracting Review Board, and Housing, Occupational Health and Safety committees. A Security team, while not a formal committee, has also been assembled.

1.3.3 In addition, a Transformation Committee was established at the Mission in March 2009. The Committee members, representatives from different levels and programs, are enthusiastic and engaged. The Committee has taken an active role in identifying new initiatives to improve or transform the way they work with a focus on the Transformation themes. With a high level of staff participation, the Transformation Committee, in particular under the leadership of the Senior Trade Commissioner (STC), has fostered a good mission environment and is considered successful.

1.4 Recommendations

Recommendations to the Mission

1.4.1 The Mission should improve staff awareness of security policies and procedures, including ***.

1.4.2 The Mission should develop and periodically test an overall BCP.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

1.4.1 In progress for September 2010. Escorting is being conducted, requests for equipment have been made, repairs requested and the clearance request submitted.

1.4.2 In progress for September 2010. The Personnel Security and Contingency Plan is being blended with Mission Contingency Plan to produce single, overall Business Continuity Plan. Testing of the prototype Plan is schedule for July 2010 (biannually in future).

Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs (PERPA)

2.1 Overview

2.1.1 The PERPA Program in Seattle is comprised of an FS-04 Program Manager (PM) in an FS-03 position, two LE-09 PERPA Officers, and an LE-05 Program Assistant. The Program budget is summarized in the table below.

Table 3: PERPA Program
OperationsTravelHospitalityOther
$ 6,365$ 14,159$ 1,331$ 90,540

2.1.2 The most populous state in the region, the Governor of the State of Washington is a key interlocutor for Canada on border issues, trade, energy, agriculture and environmental issues. Trade and other trans-border issues mean that Canada must continually make its case both publicly and privately through advocacy to decision makers.

2.2 Planning and Program Management

Table 4: Planning and Program Management
Key PERPA Program Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
PERPA plans are aligned with the priorities and objectives outlined in the Country Strategy and informed by departmental and Geographic Bureau guidance and objectives.X  
PERPA Plans outline intended outcomes and results are measurable. X 
Officer roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and have been communicated to all staff.X  
Internal communications within the Program effectively support program delivery.X  

2.2.1 Overall, the PERPA Program in Seattle is *** managed, and has established a solid management framework, incorporating good planning and communications practices.

2.2.2 The planning process in particular is an example of a best practice. In developing the Strategic Advocacy Plan, the PM sought advice from the PERPA PM at the Consulate General in San Francisco. Applying the same model, staff were requested to develop operational work-plans that identified both funded and unfunded activities as well as activities they would like to undertake. Consultations were then undertaken with Headquarters, other missions, and programs at the Seattle Consulate General.

2.2.3 With the planning process, the Program Manager is attempting to create more stability and undertake conservative change management to fully align the Program with priorities. It is the PM's intent to take the content of the plan and use this as the basis for the input into the Performance Management Program (PMP). In order for the PM to be able to do so, performance measurement criteria and outcomes will have to be identified.

2.2.4 The PM conducts weekly team meetings, as well as weekly one on one meetings. The Program Assistant keeps a record of decisions at the weekly meeting, and this is circulated. Even though there was acknowledgement that communications in the Program had improved, not all staff saw the value of the frequency of the meetings.

2.3 Implementation

Table 5: Implementation
Key PERPA Implementation CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Strategic objectives and plans have been translated into individual or team workplans.X  
Activities and initiatives are aligned with the Mission's key priorities and with the principles of the New Way Forward PERPA Renewal initiative. X 
Relations with other mission programs facilitate program delivery (i.e. public affairs).X  
The program develops and maintains a contact base that meets programs needs and objectives.X  
Program reporting is in-line with Mission and government objectives, timely and relevant.X  
The Program is meeting the three categories of public diplomacy; communication of events, reinforcement of an image of Canada over the medium term; and building a longer term understanding and relationship with the country.X  
The program facilitates a mission-wide coordinated approach to advocacy and common messaging.X  

2.3.1 The PERPA PM and her team are effectively implementing the Strategic Advocacy Plan. While key criteria (noted below) are met, there are challenges that the Program faces, many of which are associated with the alignment of Headquarters (HQ) policy with local capabilities (an example of which is the concentration on Canadian Studies noted below).

2.3.2 The planning process used in the Program ensures alignment of work-plans and strategic objectives. Efficient and effective work is achieved with the knowledge of the New Way Forward (NWF), concentration on the core services, and use of guidelines.

2.3.3 For the most part, the Program is aligned with Government and Departmental objectives and priorities. Of particular note, however, is the work on academic relations. While there is an understanding of the change in approach to academic relations, interviews and document review indicated that there is a reluctance to move away from a Canadian studies approach.

2.3.4 Rather than focussing attention on well established Canadian Studies programs, *** should devote greater attention to advocacy through strategic linkages with academics who have ties to key policy centres and key decision-makers.

2.4 Performance Measurement

Table 6: 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 Performance measurement in the Program is in need of improvement. This will be even more important if the PM is to realize the goal of seamless integration of the planning process with the PMP.

2.4.2 The Strategic Advocacy Plan contains objectives, events/activities, target audiences and resources, but it does not include performance measurement criteria, specifically metrics. It also does not identify those activities that will have reports as deliverables.

2.4.3 It is recommended that the Program develops short term criteria and metrics as well as medium and long term success indicators. Short term indicators should be predominantly quantitative in nature, whereas medium and longer term would tend to be qualitative. *** short term quantitative measures ought not be the basis for an individual's performance assessment. They are used to evaluate the utility of the event, in pursuit of the strategic objective.

2.4.4 The PM indicated a desire to use a "post mortem" or "lessons learned" one-page sheet on the front of every event file to be used in performance monitoring for results based management to better ascertain the value of the event or activity. This should be considered to be a best practice.

2.4.5 PMPs are up-to-date with reasonable objectives set, however, PERPA Officers indicated a belief that they were being assessed in areas that are not applicable. The specific example of an assessment of leadership was raised. It was noted that in the current structure, neither PERPA Officer had subordinates, and thus this competency was not applicable to their role. The Mission should consider additional PMP training to assist staff in understanding the applicability of competencies at various levels.

2.4.6 Neither the PM, nor her staff, feel that they receive sufficient feedback from Headquarters on the quality, quantity and timeliness of the reports. Without such feedback, the Program will not know if their reports are valuable, if they are addressing issues of concern, if they are timely and sufficient in quantity.

2.5 Recommendations to the Mission

2.5.1 The Program should reorient academic relations activities toward advocacy through strategic linkages and less toward Canadian Studies.

2.5.2 The Program should develop short term criteria and metrics as well as medium and long term success indicators.

2.5.3 The Mission should consider additional PMP training, to assist staff in understanding the applicability of competencies at various levels.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

2.5.1 In progress for September 2010. The Program Manager is working *** to identify and seek new opportunities for strategic advocacy through academic relations activities with clearly defined objectives, timelines, results. In addition, *** to consult staff in other missions on possible contacts, types of activities, performance measurements in new strategic advocacy through academic relations approach.

2.5.2 In progress. The PERPA Program is participating actively in a Headquarters-driven all-mission network exercise to align activities of advocacy program with results, including yearly Strategic Advocacy Plan and Report, bi-weekly Performance Measurement Template and bi-weekly enhanced Advocacy Report Card. The Program is also participating in mission-wide MPR (Mission Planning and Reporting) initiative which clearly defines short term results of all Mission PERPA activities as well as medium- and long-term performance indicators of program.

2.5.3 In progress for August 2010. The PM has distributed competency profiles to PERPA officers and discussed their applicability in the course of completing their PMPs. This will be reinforced by discussion of the various competency levels over a series of weekly staff meetings. The PM will also encourage staff to participate in Mission classification exercises to become more familiar with requirements of the various levels. The PERPA Section will propose all-staff training on competency profiles under the rubric of the Transformation initiative.

2.6 Anchorage

2.6.1 The Consulate in Anchorage is a spoke office of the Consulate General in Seattle. Management of the Mission is undertaken by the FS-03 PERPA Program Manager, who reports to the EX-02 Head of Mission in Seattle. The PM is supported by an LE-09 PERPA Officer and an LE-05 PERPA Assistant.

2.6.2 While the Mission is focused on key advocacy messages such as the oil sands, clean energy and as a response to "Buy American", the PM is also giving attention to the Arctic and links between this issue and defence and security. In doing so, the mission has developed an Advocacy Plan that is aligned with the objectives of the Head of Mission (HOM), and those of the Department and Government of Canada. Further work will be needed in order to incorporate performance measurement criteria and results.

2.6.3 While planning is being done, some improvements could be made to the process. All staff should contribute to the development of the strategic advocacy plan, develop and use it for the basis for the preparation of individual work plans.

2.6.4 With the work-plans, there should be a move away from the individual calendars to keep projects on track, and onto a system that will allow the Mission to efficiently move objectives, success criteria and results from the work-plan into the PMP.

2.6.5 Communications between the Consulate and the Consulate General are good, and the PM noted that the HOM in Seattle provides the Mission with an appropriate level of engagement. At the time of the Inspection, the HOM had not yet visited the Consulate since the arrival of the new PM. Both Missions maintain strong inter-program communications, especially between Anchorage and the Seattle International Business Development (IBD) team.

2.6.6 Within the Consulate, the PM endeavours to hold weekly meetings with staff, and has periodic meetings with the PERPA Assistant. One-on-one meetings with the PERPA Officer, however, are infrequent.

2.6.7 Hospitality diaries were not completed in a fulsome manner. Objectives were recorded as "PERPA", rather than an actual program objective.

2.7 Recommendations to the Consulate

2.7.1 The PERPA Program should develop short term criteria and metrics as well as medium and long term success indicators.

2.7.2 The Consulate should develop individual work plans.

2.7.3 The Consulate should ensure that there are regular one-on-one meetings with all Program staff.

2.7.4 The Consulate should ensure that hospitality diaries are complete and reflect linkages back to objectives defined in the advocacy plan.

Consulate Actions and Timeframes

2.7.1 In progress for September 2010. In developing the Seattle/Anchorage Mission plan where applicable short and medium term goals will be integrated, the PERPA Manager will work with North America Outreach and Mission Liaison (GGC)/North America Programs and Operations Bureau (GND) to review the 2010/2011 North American Platform Program (NAPP) plan to integrate short term and medium term objectives and indicators.

2.7.2 In progress for September 2010. The PERPA manager has sought examples from Seattle and will work with staff to develop work plans in conjunction with development of the job description and work plan for proposed new Locally-engaged position.

2.7.3 Implemented. Together with the action plan noted in response 2.5.3 with regards to meetings in accordance with the PMP cycle, regular one on one meetings have been instituted. In addition to on going daily contact, the PERPA Manager will meet individually with LE-09 and LE-08 officers monthly. The LE-05 Assistant has regular opportunity to meet one on one, and is included in monthly conference call with Seattle's MAO.

2.7.4 Implemented. Anchorage has moved to an updated hospitality diary system. Each event is attached to a specific Program objective and related to specific outcomes and follow-up where appropriate.

International Business Development (IBD)

3.1 Overview

3.1.1 The IBD Program in Seattle is managed by an EX-01 STC. The STC is supported by an FS-03 Trade Commissioner (TC), four LE-09 TCs and two LE-05 TC Assistants (TCA). The Program is responsible for the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska. An Honorary Consul is present in Portland, Oregon who assists the Program in the identification and maintenance of contacts in that area. The LE-09 PERPA Officer in Anchorage devotes 20% of his time to IBD in Alaska, specifically in the oil and gas sector. The Program budget for fiscal year 2009-2010 is as follows:

Table 7: IBD Program
OperationsTravelHospitalityClient-Service FundNorth America Partnership Platform
$ 10,143$ 19,969$ 4,201$ 21,525$ 47,276

3.1.2 Priority sectors include Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Agriculture and Agri-food, Aerospace and Defence, and Clean Technologies. Each of the local TCs handles a priority sector. The FS-03 Officer is filling the role of investment and innovation functional specialist. The STC is responsible for Program management but also leads on activity related to the Asia-Pacific Gateway Corridor Initiative (APGCI).

3.2 Planning and Program Management

Table 8: 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 plan is well developed and articulates the strategic goals of the Program in each of its priority sectors and the number of activities projected to occur in each sector. In addition to the plan, and in support of the departmental Transformation initiative, the STC has led the development of a document that identifies a strategic vision for the Program. Under the headings of "people, process and technology", the document incorporates key Transformation elements into Program operations. More importantly, however, it helps the Program to meet its own strategic and operational goals.

3.2.2 In line with the strategic focus of the Program, a number of initiatives have been implemented to expand the range of contacts available in key companies. A specific strategy related to the large multi-national corporations in the area has been initiated with some notable successes to date.

3.2.3 Internal communications within the Program are considered highly effective and are a key means through which the STC monitors activity. Bi-weekly staff meetings are held and are supplemented by a bi-weekly meeting between the STC and each staff member individually. These meetings serve to ensure that the STC is apprised of activities in all sectors and that expectations with respect to priorities and areas of focus are clear to all staff.

3.2.4 There could be greater clarity around the specific role of the investment and innovation functional Officer. The role to date has largely been focussed on the provision of tools and techniques to identify and pursue investment or innovation elements within priority sectors. The number of joint initiatives and outcalls has been limited to date, although successful where pursued. Further work is required to leverage the specialized knowledge and abilities of the functional specialist to make these known, relevant and useful to officers in their sectors.

3.3 Implementation

Table 9: IBD Implementation
Key IBD Implementation CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Business plan objectives and those outlined in management's PMAs (Performance Management Agreement) /PMPs (Performance Management Program) appropriately cascade down into officer PMPs.X  
The program utilizes TRIO to facilitate client relationship management. X 
Staff use of TRIO is monitored to ensure activities are reported appropriately and accurately reflect the work undertaken. X 

3.3.1 The Program is active within all priority sectors and also in support of other departmental strategic initiatives. There is a close working relationship with Canadian missions in the US and with other Canadian missions internationally in some sectors (notably aerospace). The relationships and interaction with Regional Offices in Canada is less developed.

3.3.2 The Program has been instrumental in supporting departmental and governmental strategic initiatives. Examples include the hosting of a delegation of Canadian transportation executives under the APGCI, investment promotion roundtables preceding the Vancouver 2010 Olympiad, "Buy American" advocacy and Global Value Chain analyses of local companies.

3.3.3 The use of TRIO within the Program could be improved, particularly with regard to timeliness of inputs. Currently, entries are not occurring on a real time basis, as they frequently occur in blocks around the end of the calendar or fiscal year. It is important that inputs are done as soon as possible after the interaction to ensure that details are captured fulsomely and to allow other members of the Trade Commissioner Service access to the up-to-date intelligence. Efforts to improve the regularity of inputs have been initiated recently, such as "TRIO Fridays", but it remains to be seen whether these initiatives will improve the timeliness of entries.

3.4 Performance Measurement

Table 10: IBD 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 The Program complies with the standard reporting and performance measurement requirements that are in place for all IBD programs. Planning and subsequent reporting on results is taken very seriously by the STC and, by extension, the Program. In addition to the use of these planning and reporting tools, the STC regularly meets with Program staff, both as a team and individually, to keep abreast of the status of plans, activities and results achieved.

3.4.2 The Program has actively reported on its key activities to ensure that key stakeholders are informed. Reporting is strategic and well founded.

3.4.3 Hospitality and Program funds have been devolved to officers in the Program. Officers are active in their use of funds to further objectives in their sectors.

3.5 Recommendations

Recommendations to the Mission

3.5.1 The Program should develop a workplan for the investment and innovation functional specialist that identifies initiatives for which there is sole or joint accountability. Collaborative initiatives should have clearly indicated roles, responsibilities and deliverables.

3.5.2 The STC should ensure that the Program continues its efforts to improve TRIO usage, specifically with respect to the timeliness and completeness of inputs.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

3.5.1 In progress for July 2010. The 2009/2010 work plan for the Investment and Innovation officer indicated initiatives with clear deliverables. That being said, for 2010/2011, the work plan will identify specific initiatives that will also indicate the level of responsibility and deliverables for Program colleagues, should there be joint responsibility. TCs will have specific targets in the areas of Investment and Innovation and will be strongly encouraged by the STC to leverage the expertise of the Inv/Inn officer by taking him up more on his repeated offers for joint calls and collaborative initiatives.

3.5.2 In progress for July 2010. Team has instituted TRIO Fridays whereby time is devoted each week by all TCs to making TRIO entries. The STC will continue to make every effort to ensure sufficient TRIO training is provided for staff and that changes to the system are regularly communicated. TRIO usage will be added to the performance indicators in PMPs. The continuous training of a new TRIO Champion (new TCA) will also help to ensure that troubleshooting for TRIO is done efficiently.

Consular

4.1 Overview

4.1.1 The Consular Program is managed by a Locally-engaged LE-09 Consular PM, reporting directly to the HOM, and supported by an LE-07 Consular Officer and an LE-06 Consular Assistant. The Program is functioning well with experienced and dedicated staff and is responsible for serving clients in the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska. There is an Honorary Consul (HONCON) located in Portland, Oregon whose primary role and focus is trade-related with minimal support provided to the Consular Program.

4.1.2 The Mission processes approximately 750 citizenship applications and 35 notarial requests yearly. There are 221 Canadian citizens in the Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) database. The estimated number of Canadians residing in the accredited area is 300,000. The State of Washington is ranked third highest for visiting Canadians, with an estimated two million visitors a year.

4.1.3 A significant part of the workload of the Section is generated by arrest and detention-related cases. Bill C-37, which amended the Citizenship Act and came into effect in 2009, has significantly increased the number of citizenship cases.

4.2 Program Management

Table 11: Program Management
Key Consular Program Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
The Mission Consular Contingency Plan is up-to-date.X  
The Mission has ongoing dialogue with key local authorities to facilitate Program delivery.X  
The Duty Officer Manual is up-to-date and contains a list of hospitals, doctors, lawyers, dentists, etc., to whom clients can be referred.X  
Regular staff meetings are held to communicate new directives, set priorities, plan program and operational direction, and to ensure staff are aware of case management issues.X  

4.2.1 The Program is *** managed and benefits from good formal and informal communication. Staff have received necessary training, and the PM supports training for career development purposes. Staff are encouraged to take on projects, such as emergency planning, to further develop their expertise. The Program has ensured that each position has a back-up and that all functions can be carried out during absences.

4.2.2 The Program has spent considerable time developing its emergency planning and Consular Contingency Plan. All Consular staff have received training with the King County Emergency Response Centre, and arrangements have been made for the Program to have a representative at the Centre in the case of an emergency. This will allow the Mission to receive real-time updates on the situation. This initiative is seen as a good practice.

4.2.3 The Mission has also developed emergency consular kits, which are
awaiting distribution to key locations (the PM's house, the Alternate Work Site, etc.). These kits will allow the Consular Program to function should the Chancery become inaccessible.

4.2.4 The Program has developed a network of local contacts, including immigration and law enforcement officials, as well as members of the local legal community. These networks have enabled the Program to gain relatively quick access to Canadians in distress. Meetings with stakeholders highlighted that the Program is well respected, and the PM in particular is seen as *** in her field.

4.3 Client Service

Table 12: Client Service
Key Consular Client Service CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Service standards are made available to clients in both official languages.X  
The Program monitors adherence to Service Standards and makes adjustments where necessary.X  
The Program has the capacity to provide services to Canadians in the official language of their choice.X  
The Mission promotes client feedback mechanisms and takes corrective action, when warranted.X  

4.3.1 Arrest and detention cases, both criminal and immigration, are the main source of clients for the Program. The PM has developed a strong network and is able to access detained Canadians quickly and provide Consular services. The PM focuses on meeting with the clients early in the process in order to manage expectations and ensure the client has the necessary representation.

4.3.2 The Mission implemented passport application pre-screening service for clients in 2008, in partnership with the Regional Passport Office in Victoria, B.C. This service allows the Mission to review the application, certify all necessary documentation and make copies, (which will be accepted by the Passport Office in Victoria), allowing clients to keep their original documentation. The applications are sent to Victoria once a week and passports are then mailed directly to the client. This service has reduced the rate of returned passport applications due to incomplete or incorrect information, as well as reduced the wait times that clients had been experiencing. The service is deemed to be a success to date.

4.3.3 At a recent US-wide Consular Conference, missions were advised that letters of facilitation (LOF) would be phased out. In response, the Program decided to stop issuing LOF immediately, and instead issue temporary passports and Emergency Travel Documents (ETD). As the Mission has issued an average of 122 LOF annually, the Program believes that the processing time per client will have an impact upon workload and will monitor the situation.

4.3.4 The Consular Program is proactive in performing outreach to its other areas of accreditation. Since very few Canadian citizens are registered, it is challenging to reach all clients, and the Section works in close collaboration with other Mission sections, such as IBD, as well as the HONCON in Portland, to identify opportunities to coordinate activities. As an example, the Program has organized passport clinics and Consular information sessions at various events. The Program has also adopted a reverse approach to outreach by trying to educate agencies Canadians may contact to provide Consular service information.

4.4 Internal Controls

Table 13: 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 PMP.X  
Completed passport application forms and related documentation are held for 60 business days following the end of the month that they were submitted and then securely destroyed. X 
Upon receipt of new passport stock, 2 CBS verify the receipt of all assets, sign and return the transmittal note. (Form PPT 300 - Passport Receipt Form - to Foreign Operations (PPSP). X 
The primary inventory of passport blanks (temporary and emergency), ID labels, OBS labels, stamps, and seals are stored in according to official guidelines.X  
Movement of assets is recorded on an inventory log and initialled by the CBS custodian and the employee receiving the asset. X 
LES are allocated an appropriate working inventory that is controlled by a daily log (passport #s issued, spoiled, returned to safe storage) and unused inventory is stored securely at the end of each day.X  
Inventory is physically counted, reconciled and signed-off at the end of each month by two staff, one of whom must be a CBS. X 
The appropriate authority participates in and signs-off on quarterly passport inventory reconciliations.X  
There are adequate segregation of duties for staff handling revenues.  X
Client documents and personal information are properly stored, secured, and disposed.X  
Official receipts are issued to Consular clients and revenue is recorded on the EXT 119 (Record of Fees Received for Passport Consular Services).X  
Revenues are transferred to the accounts section once $500 is reached (once a week if less than $500), a reconciliation is completed in the presence of the transferring employee and an official receipt is issued. X 
Official seals and stamps are properly inventoried, secured and access provided to designated staff only. X 

* Seattle has an exemption from Passport Canada allowing the Program to be overseen by an LES

4.4.1 As indicated earlier, the Consular PM reports directly to the HOM and is responsible for the delivery of the passport program. There is no CBS approval of passports, nor is there CBS oversight of the Program, except as outlined below for the internal controls. All three LES in the section have received passport certification, and the passport approval function has been exercised primarily by the PM. The Consular Officer acts as the back-up approver in the absence of the PM. Both are Canadian LES with security clearances, who have been granted authorization from Passport Canada, (on an exceptional basis), to assume the approver role.

4.4.2 Overall, controls on passport and Consular activities were effective. At the time of the Inspection, the Program had recently begun storing the passport stock in the ***. A CBS from the Immigration Section had taken on responsibility for the stock and the transfer to the PM. The PM was signing the log when passports were transferred, but the *** was not.

4.4.3 Completed passport application forms were being stored for 90 days, and then securely destroyed. The Program was informed that the Passport Directive now stipulates that hard copy applications must be destroyed 60 days after the end of the month in which they were processed in the electronic system.

4.4.4 The PM is performing a monthly inventory count with a CBS, but the*** is not currently signing the inventory sheet to indicate they performed the reconciliation.

4.4.5 At the time of the Inspection, the Consular Officer was responsible for reconciling revenues at the end of each week. As the Officer performs many of the services and collects the fees, the PM was asked to take over reviewing the fee reconciliation. The Program transfers revenues to the Finance Section *** regardless of the amount of revenues held by the Section. The Program was reminded that they should be transferring revenues when the funds ***, or once a week, whichever comes first.

4.4.6 The Program is using a services performed log that did not have a place to record the Official Receipt number.

4.4.7 Both wet and dry seals are stored in the safe in the PM's office. An inventory has been created for dry seals, but there is no inventory of wet seals.

4.5 Recommendations

Recommendations to the Mission

4.5.1 The *** who transfers Passports to the PM should initial the inventory log.

4.5.2 Completed passport application forms must be securely destroyed 60 days after the end of the month in which they were processed.

4.5.3 Both the CBS and PM should sign the inventory sheet when performing the monthly inventory of passports.

4.5.4 The PM should review the reconciliation of revenues received by the Program. Funds should be transferred to the Finance Section ***, or when they ***, whichever comes first.

4.5.5 The Program should create a services log that includes a space for the Official Receipt number.

4.5.6 The Program should include their wet seals on their inventory of dry seals.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

4.5.1 Implemented with receipt of recent passport inventory in June 2010.

4.5.2 Implemented March 2010. Completed passport application forms are held for 60 days and securely destroyed as opposed to the practice of destruction of application forms after 90 days.

4.5.3 Implemented March 2010.

4.5.4 Implemented June 2010. Reconciliation of revenues is reviewed by the PM on a *** fund transfers have been an ongoing practice. In addition, the transfer of funds is conducted routinely when reaching ***.

4.5.5 Implemented March 2010. A service log has been created to include a section for the Official Receipt number.

4.5.6 Implemented March 2010. The dry seals inventory has been amended to include the wet seals and locations.

Common Services

5.1 Overview

5.1.1 The Common Services Program is managed by an LE-09 Management Administration Officer (MAO) and is supported by a team of seven LES. The Common Services Program is responsible for providing common services to 36 employees from DFAIT and two partner programs. In addition, the Program provides full administrative support to the spoke mission in Anchorage, as defined in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

5.1.2 Members of the Program are proactive, client-service oriented and provide effective client service delivery. The MAO is a member of the US Mission Management Board, a regional network that was created to provide a forum for Management Consular Officers (MCOs) and MAOs to collaborate on common issues. The weekly telephone calls allow the MAO to participate in the sharing of best practices and discussions on a regional network approach to common service delivery.

Program Management

Table 13: 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 The Program is led by an *** MAO and is functioning ***. The roles and responsibilities for staff are defined, with back-up procedures in place. Morale within the Program is high, and there is a strong sense of team spirit. Staff indicated that the MAO delegates tasks appropriately and that communication is effective. Regular meetings are held along with more informal section meetings.

5.1.4 The MAO has established goals and objectives, which she discusses with the HOM, ***. While Common Services staff are aware of their roles and responsibilities, they would benefit from detailed work-plans for all sections that would then feed into the PMP process. This will also provide Mission Management with a better understanding of the workload each Section is facing.

Client Service

Table 14: Client Service
Key Common Services Client Service CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Service standards have been established and communicated to clients.X  
Service standards reflect fair and equitable allocation and access to common services for all mission programs.X  
Any hub and spoke relationships are governed by an MOU, outlining the roles and responsibilities of each mission.X  
A mechanism is in place to solicit and receive client feedback and corrective action is taken when warranted.X  

5.1.5 Overall, client services were effective, and clients expressed a high level of satisfaction with the Program.

5.1.6 The Program has developed service standards, which have been shared with all staff. The Program may wish to consider re-organizing their common information repository in order to allow other sections to have an easy reference guide for the Program's services and service standards. Clients indicated that the service standards are always met, and often exceeded. The Program actively reviews its policies and procedures and solicits feedback from other programs in order to improve service.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.1.7 *** develop an operational plan to outline key priorities and activities and form the basis for sections' work-plans.

5.1.8 The Program should consider re-organizing their common information repository in order to allow other Sections to have a repository in which to find the Program's services and service standards.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.1.7 Implemented. *** for fiscal year 2010/2011 was completed June 16, 2010. Section work plan finalized June 23, 2010.

5.1.8 Implemented. Completed and announced to staff June 3, 2010.

5.2 Human Resources (HR)

5.2.1 The HR function at the Mission is the responsibility of the MAO, who is assisted by an LE-05 Administrative Assistant. Over the past year, the Mission has had seven staffing and two reclassification actions.

5.2.2 The Mission has HR policies and procedures in place and will draw upon the resources available through the Embassy in Washington's LES Portal to continue to improve HR services. The Mission has developed a range of testing materials over the years which it may wish to share with Locally-Engaged Staff and HQ Workforce Programs Bureau (ALD).

Program Management

Table 17: Program Management
Key Physical Resources Program 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 LES MCB is representative of mission programs and levels and is utilized by both LES and Mission Management to facilitate communication.X  
An HR plan has been developed and submitted to HQ. X 
A Mission training coordinator has been appointed and budget established.X  
Mechanisms are in place to monitor completion of employee's performance evaluations, CBS and LES.X  
Personnel and position files are complete and maintained separately. X 
Job descriptions are up to date and signed by incumbent and supervisor.X  
The Mission records LES accrued leave, deductions and current balances.X  

5.2.3 There are some elements of an HR work-plan, but it is not fully developed. The Embassy in Washington is currently working with all US missions to standardize and implement all elements of a complete HR plan, which the Mission will adopt.

5.2.4 Pursuant to the ALD message of December 17, 2009, which provided clarification on documentation requirements for staffing files, the Mission initiated a review to ensure all job descriptions and HR files are up-to-date. The Mission is in the process of creating an employee/position filing system in accordance with requirements outlined by ALD.

5.2.5 The Mission's leave requests and balances are managed through the
ABRA (an HR Management System) program, administered by the Embassy in Washington. In order to assist Mission employees, the Administrative Assistant has developed training tools and sends out a weekly ABRA tip, which addresses common issues raised by staff. This is seen as a good practice.

5.2.6 The Inspection Team met with members of the newly-formed Locally Engaged Staff Management Consultation Board (LESMCB). An LES Committee was previously in place, however, it was disbanded by LES several years ago, reportedly due to perceptions of a lack of resolution of longstanding compensation and benefits issues affecting employees in the US missions. The LESMCB has representation from all programs, and some staff members expressed their view that this forum appears to be more positive than the previous. The LES indicated that they are still concerned about the compensation and benefits issues and are awaiting the much-anticipated results of the Total Compensation Review conducted for missions in the US.

5.2.7 The MAO has been appointed as the Training Co-ordinator, and training information is rolled up from PMPs to create training plans. The Transformation Committee has also taken an active role in training and has arranged seminars and French classes for all Mission staff. Going forward, the Committee plans to hold several more training sessions this year.

Key Processes and Internal Controls

Table 18: Key Processes and Internal Controls
Key Physical Resources and Internal Control CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
The Mission maintains written records of each staffing action in-line with the requirements established by ALD.X  
Letters of Offer are signed by the appropriate authority.X  
New LES and CBS employees are provided with an information package on the working conditions, benefits and regulations pertaining to employment at the Mission.X  
Classification action files demonstrate adherence to departmental procedures and contain the required documents and approvals. X 
Employees concerned are advised in writing of the Classification Committee's decision and of their rights to grieve.  X
Staff are aware of and comply with the Values and Ethics Code and have signed a document certifying that they have read and understood this code. Staff should be reminded on an annual basis.X  
Mission signage is provided in both English and French and a bilingual Official Languages Co-ordinator has been appointed.X  
The Mission has sufficient capacity to communicate with and provide services to the public, both orally and in writing, in both official languages.X  

5.2.8 Overall, HR processes and internal controls were adequate, with improvements required in file maintenance and process documentation. Staffing and classification files are mostly complete, although a few items were not included in the file. Internal candidates for staffing processes were not informed, in writing, of which criteria they did not meet and advised of their right to request a Post Board Discussion. The MAO has provided oral feedback to unsuccessful candidates, but did not advise them of their right to a Post Board Discussion,***. Similarly, when a classification action is taken, the employee is not informed in writing of their right to grieve. For Classification Committee decisions, the decision, along with a clear indication of the support of the Committee, and the recommendation to the HOM was not included in the file.

5.2.9 The Mission has an Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Committee that meets monthly in virtual format. Records are kept and the annual report is filed with Headquarters as required. However, these records are not distributed to staff. The Committee has organized CPR and first aid training.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.2.10 For staffing processes, internal candidates should be informed, in writing, as to which criteria they did not meet.

5.2.11 When a classification action is taken, employees should be informed of the results of this action, in writing, and of their right to grieve.

5.2.12 Classification Committee decisions, along with a clear indication of the agreement of the Committee, and the recommendation to the HOM should be included in the Classification Committee file.

5.2.13 The OHS Committee should meet in person and perform annual inspections, in accordance with the Treasury Board OHS regulations. Minutes of the meetings, along with the Mission's annual report, should be distributed to all staff.

5.2.14 The names of the OHS Committee members should be placed on the common drive in order to ensure all Mission staff can contact the Committee.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.2.10 Noted and in progress. To be actioned during next staffing process. ALD staffing communications templates will be used.

5.2.11 Noted and in progress. To be actioned during next classification action. ALD notification template will be used.

5.2.12 Noted and in progress. To be actioned during next Classification Committee decision. ALD documentation template and position file content checklist will be used.

5.2.13 In progress to be actioned at July 2010 meeting.

5.2.14 In progress to be actioned at July 2010 meeting.

5.3 Physical Resources

5.3.1 The Physical Resources Section at the Mission is the responsibility of the MAO who is assisted by an LE-05 Property Assistant and an LE-04 Administration Assistant/Driver/Messenger. The Program manages the facilities at the Chancery and Official Residence, as well as the maintenance and oversight of the two crown-owned Staff Quarters (SQs), and the four official vehicles. There are also five private-leased SQs in Seattle as well as Crown-leased office space in a business suite, and a private leased SQ, in Anchorage.

Program Management

Table 19: 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 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

5.3.2 The Physical Resources Section is well run and client service oriented. The MAO has assembled a responsive and professional team. The Property Assistant participates in the monthly Common Services Section meetings. All other meetings between the MAO and Property Assistant are ad hoc or project driven.

5.3.3 There is no over-all property work-plan. However the Mission does make use of property maintenance checklists, which define when maintenance will be done by contracted companies. The Property Assistant undertakes monthly inspections of the Chancery for preventative maintenance, and a monthly walk through with the contract cleaner to ensure that the service is provided well.

5.3.4 There is no automated service request system at the Mission. Service requests are done via e-mail, which is sufficient for this environment.

5.3.5 There is no multi-year capital acquisition plan. While there is an annual identification of needs, this does not allow for multi-year budgeting.

5.3.6 While the Mission does not have formal local procurement guidelines, the MAO does have an ad hoc process that entails value for money research of items, and soliciting of costing information from local suppliers.

5.3.7 The Mission expressed concerns regarding the training received for the Materials Management (MM) module and was unclear as to what should be entered into MM. The Property Assistant, who is responsible for MM entries, contacted a MM expert at another US mission and was able to receive further guidance. The Mission has developed checklists and other tools to track MM entries throughout the process. Corporate Operations (SPD) should be aware of the difficulties facing missions who are attempting to implement MM and consider providing further guidance.

Client Service

5.3.8 The Property Assistant is aware of the recently circulated 2010 Service Standards. The MAO indicated that she is not actively monitoring adherence to service standards, as staff will communicate with her regarding the quality or timeliness of maintenance and repairs. The Property Assistant does, however, follow up with clients to ensure that work is done appropriately.

Key Processes and Internal Controls

Table 20: Key Processes and Internal Controls
Key Finance Process 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

5.3.9 Overall, internal controls were effective. However, issues were noted in the management of fuel purchases and asset disposals. The HOM has only recently begun paying a percentage of the cost of consumables at the OR.

5.3.10 Inventories are up to date, signed off in an appropriate time frame, and contain all required signatures.

5.3.11 The MAO has taken care of disposals in the past, and all records carry appropriate authorizations except for the recent disposal of 19 desktop computers, which require Headquarters approval. The Mission has been using Craigslist to dispose of assets rather than an auction. There is no record of Headquarters approval for this non-standard approach.

5.3.12 For disposal authorizations, the purchase price should be listed such that one may determine fair value, or in the case of IM/IT equipment that is to be donated, obtain appropriate authorizations.

5.3.13 The majority of CBS have privately-leased accommodation. The Mission sets rent ceilings through an analysis of the market and provides this information to the Housing Committee for approval by the HOM. All SQs were within rent ceilings. SQs were well maintained, and privately-leased accommodation was suitable for the needs of the families.

5.3.14 In both Seattle and Anchorage, vehicle logs were completed, as were fuel logs. There is, however no reconciliation of fuel purchased against mileage driven. As such, the Missions do not have effective means to assess vehicle performance, or identify misuse of assets.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.3.15 The Mission should formalize an over-all property work-plan.

5.3.16 The Mission should develop a multi-year capital acquisition plan and have it approved annually by the CMM.

5.3.17 The Mission should formalize the local procurement process.

5.3.18 The Mission should ensure that HOMs are made aware, at the beginning of their assignment, of the percentage for reimbursement of consumables used at the OR.

5.3.19 The Mission should ensure that disposal records contain all required approvals, as well as Headquarters approval for non standard methods of disposal.

5.3.20 The Mission should list the purchase price on disposal authorizations.

5.3.21 The Missions should undertake a monthly reconciliation of fuel purchased against milage driven, and have this reviewed by the MAO or a CBS.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.3.15 In progress for July 2010. Annual property maintenance checklists will be expanded into an overall property work plan.

5.3.16 In progress for July 2010. Annual capital acquisition plans will be expanded into a multi-year document for CMM approval.

5.3.17 In progress for September 2010. The Mission will research to sources best practice examples in order to develop a formalized process for the Mission.

5.3.18 In progress for September 2010. To be actioned upon arrival of new HOM in August 2010.

5.3.19 In progress to be actioned as required for next disposal action.

5.3.20 In progress to be actioned for next disposal action.

5.3.21 Procedures implemented in May 2010.

Recommendation to SPD

5.3.22 SPD should be aware of the difficulties facing missions (including this Mission) who are attempting to implement MM and consider providing further guidance.

SPD Action and Timeframe

5.3.22 SPD is supporting a Corporate Finance, Planning and Systems Bureau (SMD) initiative to facilitate and simplify MM functionality for occasional users (non-specialists) in interfacing with the MM and Integrated Management System (IMS) systems. This project will require work into 2011-2012, but will reduce the requirement for missions to become well versed in the technical aspects of the MM system. In addition, SPD is developing, with partners such as Treasury Board Secretariat and the Canada School of Public Service, a development program for LES at missions to become specialists with limited authority in the area of procurement. This should be launched later in 2010-2011. While it is recognized that small missions may be unable to develop this capacity, Contracting Policy, Monitoring and Operations (SPP) and or regional service centres, as they are activated, will support the transactional elements of their contract requirements. SPD will continue their efforts in support of smaller Missions and will reinforce the need to strengthen MM training abroad with the Canadian Foreign Service Institute. In progress for implementation in 2012.

5.4 Finance

5.4.1 The Finance Section is managed by the MAO with the support of the LE-07 Accountant and LE-05 Administrative Assistant who splits her time between general services, finance and human resource responsibilities.

5.4.2 The MAO engages in yearly financial planning, which is discussed at the CMM. The MAO also performs a year-end financial review and summary report which is used as the foundation for planning the next year's budget. This is seen as a good practice. There has been regionalization of some financial services, with the regional processing of pay through ABRA and the Integrated Management System (IMS). As the Embassy in Washington continues to investigate areas which could benefit from regional processing, the Mission will adapt its practices accordingly.

5.4.3 The Accountant has been proactive in ensuring that all administrative assistants have read-only access to IMS in order to allow program managers to better manage their budgets. The Accountant has provided one-on-one training and an "aide memoire" to administrative assistants to assist them in their use of IMS, which is seen as a good practice. The Accountant has also developed a support network, including accountants in Europe and at other US missions.

Management

Table 21: 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 Electronic Funds Transfers (suppliers, LES salaries).X  
Immigration refunds are arranged through cheque or EFT.X  

5.4.4 The Accountant does not have set quiet hours, but is able to shut her door during busy times. Both the MAO and Accountant expressed satisfaction with this arrangement.

5.4.5 The Mission has sought preferred rate status with suppliers, and uses those suppliers where possible. The Embassy in Washington is currently investigating the possibility of having a standing offer for supplies across the United States. Going forward, the Mission will use the resources obtained by the Embassy in Washington, where possible.

Client Service

5.4.6 Service standards have been established, communicated to all clients and are generally met or exceeded. The Section participates in ongoing communications and training sessions with clients in order to ensure processes and procedures are understood. The MAO presents monthly budgets at the CMM and the members are advised of any financial management issues. The CMM is involved in the yearly budget allocation process and have in-year allocation discussions as required.

Key Processes and Internal Controls

Table 20: Key Processes and Internal Controls
Key Finance Process and Internal Control CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
A Contract Review Board (CRB) is in place and operating effectively with clear terms of reference (TOR).X  
Bank reconciliations are completed monthly and are properly reviewed and authorized by the appropriate 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  

5.4.7 Overall, internal controls are effective, although some small improvements should be made. The Mission should strengthen their controls over revenue collection and official receipts. Revenues are currently being collected by the Property Assistant, who also prepares the bank deposit, ***. This does not comply with the requirements set out in the Mission Security Instructions Manual and the Accounting Manual for Missions. The Accountant is currently holding the stock of official receipts, rather than just a working supply.

5.4.8 The Mission Accountant currently pays utility bills via an acquisition card. In order to ensure the proper segregation of duties, the Accountant, who is also responsible for making IMS entries and reviewing acquisition card statements, should not have an acquisition card. As the Mission has ten acquisition cards, another member of the staff can be made responsible for these payments.

5.4.9 Hospitality claims are not filled out every quarter, rather the Mission
is carrying forward reports from one quarter to the next. Even if no hospitality expenses have been incurred, employees should be submitting hospitality reports quarterly when an advance has been issued.

5.4.10 The Mission is currently paying the landlords directly for private leases held by CBS. According to the Property Manual Chapter 6.4.1.2 and 6.4.2, private leases should be paid by the CBS directly to the landlord and the Mission should transfer the funds to the CBS' bank account.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.4.11 The Accountant should be responsible for collecting all revenues and preparing the bank deposit.

5.4.12 The Mission should ensure that the stock of official receipts is kept by the MAO, in a safe, and distributed as necessary.

5.4.13 The Mission should maintain appropriate segregation of duties, and transfer responsibility of the acquisition card to another Section employee, who would then be responsible for paying utilities.

5.4.14 The Mission should ensure that all staff submit hospitality reports quarterly if hospitality related activities have occurred (e.g. offering hospitality, receiving gifts, requesting an advance).

5.4.15 The Mission should not pay landlords directly for private leases, but rather transfer the rent money to CBS at the end of each month.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.4.11 Procedures implemented in May 2010.

5.4.12 Procedures implemented in May 2010.

5.4.13 Procedures implemented in May 2010.

5.4.14 Implemented in April 2010. Hospitality reports are now submitted for reimbursement as events take place and expenses reported. To date this fiscal year, due to budget reductions and operational changes within Mission sections, no advances have been issued.

5.4.15 Implemented in April 2010 for May 2010 private lease payments.

5.5 Information Management / Information Technology (IM-IT)

5.5.1 IM/IT is overseen by the MAO with day to day management of the function under the responsibility of the LE-08 Locally-engaged Information Technology Professional (LEITP) with support from two Regional - Foreign Service Information Technology Professionals (R-FSITP) based in Ottawa. The Consulate General has 39 users and 45 personal computers connected to the network. The LEITP also provides support to three users in Anchorage with stand-alone computers.

Management

Table 21: IM-IT Management
Key IM-IT Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
An IM/IT workplan exists and includes regional activities.  X
Where required, an IM-IT Committee has been established to provide direction and program input.N/AN/AN/A
The liaison between the Mission, HQ and Regional Manager is effective.  X
IM-IT requirements in relation to business continuity planning (BCP) have been defined, implemented and tested.  X

5.5.2 IM/IT at the Mission is managed in a reactive manner. There is no annual work plan, however the LEITP maintains a quarterly list of "to do" items. There is no discussion with the Client Support Regional Manager (CSRM) of the schedule of FSITP visits or of the activities scheduled for the LEITP.

5.5.3 There is no IM/IT committee at the Mission, however the LEITP participates in the monthly Common Service Program meetings, and is involved in ad hoc or project driven meetings.

5.5.4 The LEITP has little communication with the CSRM, and more with the units within the Infrastructure Technologies Bureau (AIT). The MAO also indicated that she has little communication with the CSRM.

5.5.5 As noted in the Mission Management section, Business Continuity Planning needs to be improved.

Client Service

Table 22: IM-IT 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

5.5.6 The *** is client service oriented, *** that would allow the MAO or CSRM to validate that clients are well served. The *** was aware of the new service standards, *** and therefore specific knowledge was limited.

5.5.7 Users at the Mission tend not to make use of the Help Desk facility unless the LEITP is away. The LEITP feels that the Help Desk and Remedy system are not an efficient way to manage IT support at the Mission. He indicated that using Remedy adds significantly to his workload, of which administrative tasks already account for an estimated 25%. The LEITP does, however, keep a personal log of activities and uses this as a basis for performance discussions with the MAO. This practice does not allow for the CSRM to get a timely and accurate view ***.

Key Processes and Internal Controls

Table 23: IM-IT 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, the Mission has implemented effective systems of internal control for both Information Management and Information Technology.

5.5.9 A review of processes demonstrated an awareness of Information Management and a need to handle sensitive information in an appropriate manner. The LEITP ensures that for all disposals of IT equipment, appropriate protocols and tools are used to remove information from Hard Disk Drives (HDD). Where sensitive information has been stored on the HDD, the LEITP ensures that the drive is destroyed. As noted in 5.3.11, the Mission did not have a record of authorization for the disposal of 19 computers. This finding is addressed by recommendation 5.3.19 in the Physical Resources section of this report.

5.5.10 Backups are done daily and stored in a fire proof safe ***. Regular backups should be stored *** in a fireproof safe.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.5.11 The Mission should undertake periodic communication throughout the year with the CSRM to maintain awareness of the schedule of FSITP visits or of the activities scheduled for the LEITP.

5.5.12 The Mission should ensure that both service providers and clients are aware of the service standards.

5.5.13 The Mission should consistently use Remedy to assign and account for IM/IT support tasks.

5.5.14 Backups should be regularly stored *** in a fireproof safe.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.5.11 In progress for July 2010. Periodic communication occurs between the CSRM and LEITP via e-mail. However, efforts will be made to increase the level of the missions' liaison on a more consistent basis.

5.5.12 In progress for July 2010. IM/IT service standards have been reviewed and discussed by the LEITP and MAO. Staff will be reminded of the location of the Mission's Service Delivery Standards in the common information repository as well as the general response times for emergency and routine service requests.

5.5.13 In progress for July 2010. The importance of consistent use of Remedy has been communicated at the Mission, and an increased recording of activities will be implemented.

5.5.14 In progress for July 2010. Procedures are currently being developed in order to ensure back up tapes are transported routinely to and from *** fireproof safe.

Appendix A : Mission resources Fact Sheet

Table 24: Physical Resources
AssetsCrown OwnedCrown LeasedPrivate Leases
Chancery-1-
Official Residence1--
Staff Quarters2-6
Office Space-1-
Vehicles4--

 

Table 25: Financial Information 2009-2010*
 Program BudgetCommon Services Budget
Operating (N001)219,1891,345,242
Capital (N005)-29,180
CBS Salaries (N011)601,456-
LES Salaries (N012)1,163,3681,196,426
Total$1,984,013$2,570,848

Appendix B : Organization Chart

Seattle Organizational Chart - Accessible version

Seattle Organization Chart

Appendix C: Frequently Used Acronyms

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

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Date Modified:
2012-11-27