April 14–16, 2010
The scope of the Inspection included a review of Mission Management and the Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs, International Business Development, Consular and Administration programs. The inspection objectives were to:
The focus and extent of on–site work was based on an assessment of materiality and related risk. This was done through communication with Headquarters (HQ) bureaux, including briefings by line management and the functional bureaux, review of relevant HQ and mission documentation, past audit findings, and an analysis of recurring trends and systemic issues.
During the Inspection, inspection issues and lines of enquiry were further refined from information gathered through interviews with the Head of Mission and program managers, a meeting with Locally–engaged Staff representatives, individual interviews with staff, and results of other documentation reviewed. The level of inspection work was therefore based on issues and information identified and gathered at all levels: HQ, Mission Management and Mission operations.
An Inspection of the Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs (PERPA), International Business Development (IBD), Consular and Administration
Programs was conducted in Zagreb, Croatia from April 14 to 16, 2010. The Mission was last visited in June 2001. The Embassy's staff complement of eight consists of two Canada–based Staff (CBS) and six Locally–engaged Staff (LES). The Mission's area of accreditation also includes ***.
This Mission is operating at full capacity. There have been a number of high–level visits recently, including a visit of the Governor General in October 2009. This busy program of visits was to culminate with a visit of the Prime Minister to Croatia in May 2010. Bilateral relations have strengthened due to these visits and this will likely increase the demands on an already stretched Mission.
The Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs (PERPA) Program is handling a diverse workload effectively. While little capacity remains for additional areas of responsibility, it is achieving its objectives in its current areas of focus. Further clarity is required regarding the ***.
The International Business Development Program, overseen by a Canada–based Senior Trade Commissioner (STC) in Budapest, Hungary, is performing effectively. There is one resident Locally–engaged Trade Commissioner (TC) in Zagreb. The working arrangement has the TC reporting functionally to the STC in Budapest and administratively to the Head of Mission in Zagreb. This arrangement works well due to the strengths and cooperative nature of the incumbents.
The Consular Program is active and well managed. The Mission Administrative Officer (MAO) has responsibility for the Program and the CBS Political Counsellor is involved in the areas where his oversight is required.
The Administration Program is overseen by the MAO. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is in place between the Mission in Zagreb and the Mission in Belgrade for certain functions. The MOU is appropriate and serves the needs of all parties. The Program should establish local service standards and administrative processes and communicate these to all Mission staff.
A total of 20 inspection recommendations are raised in the report; 18 are addressed to the Mission and two are addressed to Headquarters. Management has
responded to each recommendation indicating action already taken or decisions made, as well as future action. Of the 20 recommendations, management has stated that eight recommendations have been implemented. For each of the remaining 12 recommendations, management has indicated the initiatives in progress or the intended future action.
1.1.1 The Canadian Embassy in Zagreb is a small Mission with two Canada–Based Staff (CBS) and six Locally–Engaged Staff (LES). The Mission hires employees on contract when required. Two university interns are currently doing a term at the Mission, providing services to all sections on a need–driven basis.
1.1.2 The Mission is responsible for the territories of Croatia and Kosovo. All DFAIT Programs are managed within the Mission, although the LES Trade Commissioner reports functionally to the Senior Trade Commissioner (STC) in Budapest and the Management and Consular Officer in Belgrade oversees some administrative elements.
1.1.3 The Mission is running at full capacity. It has organized a number of high–level visits in recent years, including the Governor General (October 2009) and, at the time of the Inspection, was coordinating a May 7–8, 2010 visit of the Prime Minister to Croatia.
1.1.4 The Mission benefits from a team of *** staff that is able to pull together in times of necessity. All staff felt that they were treated professionally and with respect. Morale at the Mission was found to be high.
1.1.5 Communication emanating from Management, specifically the Head of Mission (HOM) is considered effective. Weekly all–staff meetings are held and announcements related to pending events or modifications of systems or procedures occur when necessary. The weekly meetings could be enhanced by producing a record of decisions to reinforce what is presented or discussed.
1.1.6 Some concerns exist with regards to the Mission's ability to effectively ***. Since assuming responsibility for it in March 2008, the Mission has had difficulty committing the time and financial resources to visit the territory and undertake both proactive and reactive activities. However, the situation is not significantly complicated by the lack of Albanian language capacity, since most Kosovars speak Serbian or Croatian.
1.1.7 A summary of decisions should be produced and circulated to staff following the weekly all–staff meetings.
1.1.7 Since the Mission does not have an Administrative Assistant position this will pose additional work for program staff which we deem to be of limited value from a Human Resources (HR) perspective. Regardless, the Mission has begun maintaining records of discussions from weekly staff meetings, which are being kept in a common folder accessible to all staff. Implemented June 2010.
1.1.8 Expectations for Program delivery in *** should be clarified. The resources required for the Mission to address these expectations should be examined.
1.1.8 DFAIT's overall expectations for Zagreb with regard to program delivery in *** have been quite modest and will continue to be so. Given lack of funding, it has been determined that no program delivery is in fact to be expected in *** for the immediate future. With the management of the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) shifting to DFAIT from Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) there may be an opportunity to review ***.
2.1.1 The PERPA Program has two permanent resources. It is managed by an FS–03 Program Manager and is supported by an LE–07 Academic and Cultural Liaison Officer reporting to the HOM. The interns hired by the Mission assist the Program on a regular basis, while still working within other Programs when required.
2.1.2 The Program is central to Mission operations through its leadership in planning visits and other high level events. Other areas of responsibility include political analysis/reporting, media relations, advocacy and coordinating participation in cultural events. The Program is also the lead for the International Experiences Canada program and will be responsible for the review of documents for Croatians applying for a work–permit in Canada.
2.1.3 The suite of contacts available to the Program in Croatia is very comprehensive. This enables the Mission to identify and leverage opportunities for advocacy and potential collaboration, which can further develop an already strong bilateral relationship.
2.1.4 The main challenge for the Program, currently, ***. In the absence of a formal country strategy and reporting agreement, it has been difficult to determine the priority that should be placed on ***. It is hoped that the new Mission Planning and Reporting (MPR) tool will help to alleviate some ***. In any event, it will be important to clarify ***.
2.1.5 The Program is very active and has little capacity for additional demands. Most interactions and visitors are at an official level and as such, the core services model as articulated in the New Way Forward does not have the range of application here that it would in a larger Mission where there are regular demands from all elements of Canadian society.
2.1.6 Through the MPR process or another forum, expectations surrounding *** should be clarified. Specific to the PERPA Program, this should include the level of reporting, advocacy and engagement with the Government and civil society.
2.1.6 Headquarters (HQ) expectations are to remain very modest, including occasional reporting on key events, such as elections or violence, maintaining contacts with key interlocutors in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and international community ***, within Zagreb's existing funds. This is to be confirmed in the ongoing MPR exercise, starting in FY 2010–2011.
3.1.1 The IBD Program in Zagreb is managed by an FS–04 STC based in Budapest, Hungary. An LE–09 Trade Commissioner (TC) based in Zagreb undertakes Program delivery within Croatia and Kosovo under the supervision of the STC.
3.1.2 This management structure could present challenges with respect to managerial oversight and direction in certain situations. In this environment it could potentially be further complicated by the differences in language and the fact that Hungary is in the Euro zone while Croatia is still outside of that. In some other missions of similar size the locally–engaged TC works exclusively under the direction of the HOM. In this particular case, the current model works *** well. This is *** the HOM who allows the Program to identify, develop and implement its strategy under the direction of the STC in Budapest.
3.1.3 The oversight of the STC is appropriate and provides *** to the TC in Zagreb. While there is no real need for ongoing and close oversight of the TC in Zagreb the STC does provide a window into the Department, identifying and communicating relevant emerging strategies or initiatives. The STC also helps to resolve or escalate issues that become more sensitive in nature.
3.1.4 The TC in Zagreb has been *** in advancing a number of issues of economic importance to Canada. Through her efforts, Canadian cattle were exported to Croatia for the first time in a number of years.
3.1.5 Oversight of the Program is made more effective by the consistent use of TRIO by the TC in Zagreb. The STC is *** using TRIO and its corresponding management dashboard that presents TRIO derived productivity metrics which greatly assists her ability to manage from a distance.
3.1.6 The TC does not benefit from a direct hospitality allocation. Given the relative operational autonomy of the Program in Zagreb, this could help to increase her ability to maintain important local contacts.
3.1.7 Regional collaboration among eastern European nations is occurring with regularity and Zagreb is integrally involved. The notion that working together can achieve efficiencies and make the combined market more attractive to Canadian companies is not a new concept in this region. It is understood that collaboration can only help to increase the visibility of the market and the engagement of stakeholders.
3.1.8 Areas to explore that would increase the effectiveness of an *** Program would be the possibility of collaborating with the IBD Program in Belgrade on events or initiatives and soliciting greater involvement from Canadian universities in Education Promotion events (strategies could be sought from other regional missions who perform this function). Should universities not express an interest, the value of spending time on this activity should be reconsidered.
3.1.9 The TC in Zagreb should be provided with a hospitality allocation.
3.1.10 Collaborating on events or visits with the IBD Program in Belgrade should be explored. This should occur during the planning cycle and when significant opportunities present themselves.
3.1.11 The Education Promotion event should be re–evaluated to determine whether or not Canadian university participation could be augmented.
3.1.9 The Mission will, review the internal budget allocation process and, in consultation with the STC in Budapest, establish a separate hospitality allocation for the TC. In progress for implementation by August 2010.
3.1.10 The Zagreb TC will undertake to work more cooperatively with the Belgrade IBD Program in future. In progress for implementation by April 2011.
3.1.11 Zagreb will again participate in this year's Education Fair at the University of Zagreb. The Mission hopes to be able to leverage new IEC funds to improve visibility of Canadian universities. Within existing means the mission is also undertaking greater outreach with Universities In progress for implementation by October 2010.
4.1.1 The Consular Program is managed on a day to day basis by the LE–07 Mission Administrative Officer (MAO), with oversight by the Consul/Political Program Manager. The MAO is supported by an LE–06 Consular Assistant. The HOM is *** engaged in the Program, being kept informed of cases, and becoming involved as necessary.
4.1.2 The Mission has Consular responsibilities for Croatia and Kosovo. Distance and language barriers can make the provision of Consular services in Kosovo a challenge. However, well established relations with other countries' representatives in the region mitigate many risks that the Mission may face in this area.
4.1.3 While the Program does not have a formal work plan, the use of calendars ensures that activities are performed within service standards. Key and recurrent, tasks, such a prisoner visits every 90 days, are entered into this schedule. This process has enabled the Consular staff to ensure that tasks are completed, and that key documents are up to date. As a result, Contingency Plans and Duty Officer Manuals for both Croatia and Kosovo are current.
4.1.4 Both the MAO and Consular Assistant have received appropriate Consular and passport training. The Section has balanced workloads, but increasing administrative responsibilities take the MAO away from Consular work. Therefore *** on developments in this Program.
4.1.5 The Consular Assistant has entry privileges in the Passport Management Program (PMP) component of COSMOS Consular software, and both the MAO and Consul have approver status. The MAO approves passports only in exceptional circumstances, when the Consul is away. Review of the PMP confirmed this.
4.1.6 Annual leave accrual is often an issue in small missions, and Zagreb is no exception. Consular staff feel that the Mission does not have sufficient capacity to provide back–ups for them to take leave. When leave is taken, work tends to accumulate, which acts as a disincentive as it necessitates redoubling efforts in order to address outstanding work.
4.1.7 The Mission has posted service standards in both official languages at reception, and is capable of providing service in both official languages. For complex issues, reliance is placed on the CBS.
4.1.8 Completed passport applications, as well as copies of those approved, are kept in four–drawer filing cabinets that are secured ***.
4.1.9 Consular revenues are collected by the Consular Assistant and stored by the MAO ***. Official Receipts are issued for each transaction as revenues move through the process, and cash is reconciled against receipts. Per the Manual of Consular Instructions (MCI), revenues are transferred to the Finance Section ***, however, they do occasionally exceed the*** criteria for transfer also identified in the MCI. Revenues were counted, and were correct.
4.1.10 Passport inventory documents reviewed were appropriately signed off. Additionally, a review of the documents indicated that the Consul was *** discharging his monthly responsibilities.
4.1.11 However, completed passport applications are not being destroyed within 60 days of the end of the month in which the service was provided, as the shredder with a larger capacity is non–functional. The Mission has a notional long term plan to deal with the build up of such documentation once the shredder is fixed.
4.1.12 The Mission has a network of 12 Wardens in 12 districts. Two of the districts are in Kosovo (one in Priština, the capital, and the other outside Priština). Potential wardens are approached by the Mission based on a set of criteria in order to identify individuals who would be a good fit. Communications with them are conducted via e–mail, cellular telephone, and land line telephone.
4.1.13 The Registry of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) consists of approximately 200 registrants which is down from the approximately 500 registrants from previous years. The Mission ascribes this situation to the move to an online registration system, which does not seem to be used by senior citizens, who formed a significant proportion of the previous registrants. The Mission believes that these Canadians are less comfortable registering with the online system.
4.1.14 The Mission should review the system of back–ups for Consular staff, to ascertain whether or not it is resulting in accumulated work.
4.1.15 The Mission should ensure compliance with the Manual of Consular Instructions and transfer revenues from the Consular Section ***.
4.1.16 Per the "Statement of Procedures: Inventory Management and Month–End Reporting", the Mission should ensure that completed passport applications are destroyed 60 days after the end of the month in which the service was provided.
4.1.14 Mission Management has already reviewed the back–up system for the Consular Section and has adopted work methods, in conjunction with advanced leave planning, to ensure service standards are met and that work is not accumulating. Implemented.
4.1.15 Given the resources available to us, Management has committed to taking action to ensure compliance with the MCI by transferring revenues from the Consular Section on a weekly basis. Implemented June 2010.
4.1.16 The Mission has already obtained funding from the Security Operations and Personal Safety Division (ISR) to repair the large shredder. Once repairs have been completed we shall action this recommendation. In progress for implementation by September 2010.
5.1.1 The Common Services Section, though informal in its planning and communications, operates effectively and has good morale. Staff and management were in constant and effective communications throughout the day. While CBS are located in the Security Zone (SZ), they are not out of touch with the Common Services Section. The HOM is *** seen in the Section, and both he and the Consul are regularly present to undertake electronic payment runs.
5.1.2 The Mission makes use of the generic service standards established by the International Platform Branch, and, while there are no formal feedback mechanisms, the MAO is kept aware of the status of work, and the satisfaction of clients.
5.1.3 The Mission has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Administration with Belgrade that, according to all parties, operates effectively. There is no MOU for Information Technology (IT) service provided by Budapest, however the Mission is satisfied with service levels.
5.1.4 The Mission should establish local service standards, and processes. Once established, the MAO should monitor adherence.
5.1.4 The Mission has requested a copy of the local service standards from Belgrade, which will be adapted to local needs once received. In progress for implementation by December 2010.
5.2.1 The MAO has not received any formal HR training, but this has not stopped her from developing ***systems for managing HR and establishing a basic HR Plan. File review indicated that the Mission retains all the appropriate information to demonstrate fair and ethical HR practices.
5.2.2 The Mission retains separate personnel, position and competition files, as well as files with information unique to requirements in Croatia. These files are stored in locked cabinets ***.
5.2.3 The most recent staffing action was in 2008. Review of the file demonstrated that the Mission had followed the appropriate process, and the file included scoring grids as well as letters to unsuccessful candidates. While there was, no note on file indicating a recommendation of the panel to the HOM, the position file shows that the successful candidate did receive an offer of employment signed by the HOM.
5.2.4 The Mission should ensure that HR files contain all appropriate information, including the recommendation memo to the HOM.
5.2.4 The Mission will ensure that files related to future staffing actions include all relevant information. Implemented.
5.3.1 The Property Section of the Mission consists of the MAO. For the most part, issues surrounding maintenance or repairs at Staff Quarters (SQ) and the Chancery are addressed by landlords. In exceptional cases, the Mission will hire a contractor to address any maintenance not performed by these landlords. The MAO does periodic tours to inspect the Chancery and inspects SQs prior to the arrival of CBS, and on an annual basis.
5.3.2 Review of Occupancy Agreements and Distribution Accounts showed that these documents are signed off in a timely manner.
5.3.3 While the Mission does not have a multi year capital acquisition plan, it does plan on an annual basis. A multi–year plan, however, will enable the Mission to better balance resources against requirements.
5.3.4 The Mission has a Contract Review Board (CRB) that meets in person and reviews all contracts. Review of contracting files showed appropriate documentation, save for scoring grids. Proposals and CRB recommendations were on file. Contracts themselves were held in a separate file.
5.3.5 Purchases over $1,000 follow a process by which the Mission solicits three offers, which the Consul, MAO and Consular Assistant review. The best value and/or lowest cost item/offer is then selected.
5.3.6 The Receptionist currently does Materiel Management (MM) module input into the Integrated Management System (IMS). Review of entries showed that the Mission was, on occasion, inputting multiple charges against a single vendor. In some cases, a single Purchase Order (PO) could have been established and charged against for items such as car washes or printing. Where possible, the Mission should establish a single PO for entry into MM and charge against it.
5.3.7 The Mission should establish a multi–year capital acquisition plan, to be approved by the CMM.
5.3.8 The Mission should ensure that contracting files contain all appropriate information.
5.3.9 The Mission should ensure that where possible, on multiple charges from a single vendor that are routine or predictable, they establish a single PO for entry into MM and charge against it.
5.3.7 While the Mission's size makes the need for a multi–year capital acquisition plan questionable, one will be created. In progress for implementation by August 2010.
5.3.8 The Mission will seek to ensure that contracting files contain all appropriate information. Implemented.
5.3.9 The Mission will work with Belgrade and the Regional Services Centre financial adviser to ensure that purchasing is streamlined and single PO's are used where appropriate. In progress for implementation by August 2010.
5.4.1 The Finance Section at the Mission is overseen by the MAO, with support by the LE–04 Receptionist/Bookkeeper. The Mission has an MOU with Belgrade for the provision of administrative support, such as entry into the IMS system. The Management and Consular Officer (MCO) in Belgrade, and his team, not only provide support, but guidance and oversight as well.
5.4.2 While client service issues had been identified concerning the Finance Section in Zagreb, the change in hub and spoke relationship from Budapest to Belgrade has resulted in an improvement in the level of service. It is likely that this improvement is a result of the Receptionist/Bookkeeper receiving instruction and coaching by those speaking Serbo–Croatian, and therefore the instructions were clearer.
5.4.3 The Receptionist/Bookkeeper does not have quiet hours, and in the current configuration of the office space, this is not possible. When performing some of the activities necessary for Finance, the Receptionist should be able to perform *** in a secure location and free from distraction.
5.4.4 The Mission has appropriate segregation of duties with regard to delegated signing authorities. However, the lack of CBS staff at the Mission sometimes makes signing sections 33 and 34 of the Financial Administration Act (FAA) difficult. Ideally, both should be signed in Zagreb, however as a result of having limited staff with approval authority, the MCO and Deputy MCO in Belgrade both exercise signing authority for Zagreb. At a minimum, section 34 should be signed off at the Mission prior to authorization for payment being given under section 33.
5.4.5 The Finance Section in Belgrade established a process for Electronic Funds Transfers (EFT) with the Mission's bank, in order to pay suppliers. The system implemented reduces the *** by requiring the use of tokens, and Personal Identification Numbers (PIN) ***. Two signatories are required to transfer funds, and signatories may only use the computer on which the EFT software has been set up.
5.4.6 The Mission ensures appropriate approval of electronic payments through this system by designating only those with section 33 signing authority the right to be a valid EFT signatory. Currently, only the HOM and Consul have delegated signing authority for section 33.
5.4.7 The Mission uses payment card for fuel purchases, but does not have an acquisition card for other purchases. Neither the HOM, nor the Finance Section see any barriers to using acquisition cards in the environment, however the MCO in Belgrade suggested that volatile currencies could potentially make use of the cards prohibitive.
5.4.8 The Mission maintains a ***, which is refreshed once a month. The petty cash was counted and was accurate.
5.4.9 The Mission should establish quiet hours for the Receptionist/ Bookkeeper, and ensure that there is a secure space for *** to perform financial duties.
5.4.10 The Mission should ensure that section 34 is signed off at the Mission prior to authorization for payment being given under section 33.
5.4.11 The Mission, in consultation with Financial Operations, International (SMFF) should examine the possibility of using an acquisition card in Zagreb.
5.4.9 Since re–signing the Chancery lease until 2015, the Mission has now been granted authority to undertake a renovation and refurbishment of the Chancery. As part of this plan, an enclosed office will be created to provide the Receptionist/Bookkeeper with an appropriate secure and quiet place to undertake *** duties. In progress for implementation by March 2011.
5.4.10 The Mission has made the necessary changes to standard operating procedures (SOPs) to ensure that Section 34 is signed prior to Section 33 of FAA. Implemented June 2010.
5.4.11 The Mission will investigate the feasability of using an acquisition card in Zagreb, and if deemed appropriate will consult with SMFF with regard to obtaining an acquisition card. In progress for implementation by August 2010.
5.5.1 Support for the Mission is provided by a CS–02 Foreign Service Information Technology Professional (FSITP) based at the mission in Budapest. The FSITP provides predominantly reactive service to Zagreb, with some planned support work. The Consular Assistant acts as Signet Support Administrator (SSA).
5.5.2 The MAO was not aware of, and therefore had not been using the MCO/MAO Enterprise System Management (ESM) portal, which would allow *** to see Remedy help–desk tickets and system outages. The FSITP makes use of the Remedy system and confirms with clients that problems have been resolved.
5.5.3 The Mission's IT infrastructure was adequate, and generally in good condition. Rooms housing technical equipment were orderly, and free of trip and fire hazzards. As appropriate, uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) were in place, to allow for controlled shutdowns of IT equipment.
5.5.4 The Designated Computer Centre (DCC) is located in the Secure Zone (SZ), and as a result, the SSA requires regular CBS provided access in order to perform routine back–ups of the system. A room on the main floor of the Chancery had been identified as a location for the DCC and the Mitnet Services Room (MSR).
5.5.5 The Mission should, at a minimum, re–locate the DCC to enable the SSA to perform the required back–ups without having to enter into the SZ. Back–up tapes, currently stored *** should ideally be stored ***.
5.5.6 The *** has been identified as the Alternate Command Post. However, no formal Business Continuity Plan (BCP) has been established.
5.5.7 The Mission should re–locate the DCC into the Operations Zone.
5.5.8 The Mission should ensure that ***are stored ***.
5.5.9 The Mission should establish a BCP that sets out key processes, the resources required (including IT infrastructure), and work sites in the event of an incident that requires activation of the plan.
5.5.7 The Mission has had preliminary discussions with the relevant stake holders on the feasibility of relocating the DCC into the Operations Zone. These discussions determined that there is no adequate space to implement this recommendation without extensive re–configuration of the Chancery. The room suggested in the report is too small for the DCC and location into this area is not feasible. In addition, especially given the current budgetary constraints facing the Department, we do not believe the expense involved in relocating the DCC into the operational zone warrants further consideration. In order to address the concerns of the Inspection Team, we have changed our procedures and tape back–up replacement will henceforth be effected by a CBS. Implemented July 2010.
5.5.8 The mission will explore the possibility of acquiring ***. In consultation with our FSITP it was determined that *** is not appropriate given the small CBS staff complement. In progress for implementation by March 2011.
5.5.9 The Mission will attempt to develop a BCP that meets departmental requirements. However, it should be noted that recent decisions related to the provision of Internet access at SQ's and the shut down of the computer home loan program may preclude being able to establish a realistic BCP. In progress for implementation by September 2010.
|Assets||Crown Owned||Crown Leased|
|Financial Information 2009-2010||Program Budget||Common Services Budget|
|CBS Salaries (N011)||203,821||-|
|LES Salaries (N012)||267,842||210,467|