Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

international.gc.ca

Inspection of the Canadian Embassy Cairo, Egypt

PDF Version (375 Kb) *

May 12 – 19, 2011

Table of Contents

Inspection Scope and Objectives

The scope of the Inspection included a review of Mission Management and the Political Economic, Commercial Economic, Consular and Common Services programs. The inspection objectives were to:

  • Assess the effectiveness of the leadership and management practices of the Head of Mission (HOM) and the Mission Management team;
  • Review the alignment of plans and activities, and program integration to Government of Canada and departmental objectives and priorities;
  • Assess the adequacy of management controls and systems, procedures and the reliability of information for decision making and accountability purposes;
  • Determine the extent of compliance with legislation, regulations and operating policies;
  • Evaluate the use of resources to determine that they are judiciously used and if value–for–money is received; and,
  • Make recommendations, where warranted, to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Mission and its programs.

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

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

Executive Summary

An Inspection of Mission Management, the Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs, Commercial Economic, Consular and Common Services programs was conducted in Cairo from May 12 to 19, 2011. An audit of these programs took place in 2005.

The Mission is managed by an EX–03 Head of Mission, who is well supported by his management team. Overall, the team is cohesive and works in alignment with the stated priorities of the Government of Canada. The Committee on Mission Management meets regularly and serves as a mechanism to discuss program activities and address mission management issues. The LES Management Consultative Board is an effective forum for dialogue, although communications have been strained of late as a result of the Total Compensation Review. The Mission uses both official languages in everyday operations and in the provision of services to the public.

By all accounts, the Mission responded well to the revolution of January 25, 2011 and effectively facilitated the evacuation of Canadian citizens. It has been noted, however, ***. These deficiencies, along with others identified in the lessons learned, should be addressed immediately***.

The Mission is also faced with significant internal risks related to the high turnover of mission management members this summer. In fact, six of eight management team members are relocating, including the Head of Mission, and some of their replacements are expected to be officers on ***.

The Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs (PERPA) Program is functioning and leads the development of the Mission Plan. Informal communications within the Program are effective and the team has demonstrated the ability to work well together on major initiatives. The Program does not, however, work collaboratively in the performance of regular activities and staff are not often aware of what others are doing. Consultation, teamwork and performance measurement can be enhanced through the collective development of a PERPA plan, and reinforced through regular staff meetings and follow–up.

The Commercial Economic team is actively working to enhance the commercial relationship between Canada and Egypt. However, engagement and interest *** is limited. Consideration needs to be given as to whether or not some of these resources could be better used elsewhere.

The Consular Program faces serious challenges over the summer to maintain normal operations and be able to respond to any major consular crises should the local political situation deteriorate. The Program's ability to respond is constrained by *** and the temporary staff filling in for individuals on *** leave. The Mission needs to ensure that plans are put in place to anticipate and mitigate possible issues that might occur. HQ should also be prepared to provide short–term support or surge capacity, leveraging the use of HQ or regional mission staff with the appropriate training and certification to ensure that operations continue to function effectively.

The Common Services Program is functioning well with the *** in all aspects of program delivery. The Program has developed a business plan for common service delivery. The Plan outlines high level objectives for the Program, but does not articulate how they will be implemented and the roles that each section will play. An operational plan would help the Program manage priorities, monitor implementation and measure results. Overall, client services were effective, although some updates to service standards are required.

A total of 60 inspection recommendations are raised in the report, 58 are addressed to the Mission and 2 are addressed to headquarters. Management has responded to each recommendation indicating action already taken or decisions made, as well as future action. Of the 60 recommendations, management has stated that 23 have been implemented. For each of the remaining 37 recommendations, management has indicated the initiatives in progress or the intended future action.

Top of page

Mission Management

1.1 Overview

1.1.1 The Embassy in Cairo is a medium–sized mission with 19 Canada–based Staff (CBS) and 60 Locally Engaged Staff (LES). The Mission is responsible for departmental program delivery in the Arab Republic of Egypt and provides a platform for several partner departments and agencies that deliver programs and services regionally. These include representation from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Public Safety (PS), the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

1.1.2 The Mission oversees operating and capital budgets of $1.26 million and $125 thousand respectively, and is responsible for the management of 2 Crown–owned and 19 Crown–leased properties. The Mission collects approximately *** in revenue on an annual basis through the provision of Consular and Immigration services.

1.1.3 The revolution which began on January 25, 2011 has dramatically changed the political and economic landscape of the country. By all accounts, the Mission responded well to the crisis and effectively facilitated the evacuation of Canadian citizens. It has been noted, however, that business continuity plans were not sufficient and key systems ***. There were also limited plans in place to address communication with LES and the designation of essential and non–essential staff. Since the end of the crisis, lessons learned exercises have been completed with the results recently shared with Mission Management. As the***, the recommendations of the lessons learned exercises need to be implemented as soon as possible.

1.1.4 The Mission is also faced with significant internal risks related to the high turnover of mission management members this summer. *** management team members are relocating, including the Head of Mission (HOM), *** and *** program managers. Some of these key roles are expected to be filled by officers***. The Mission is also anticipating the addition of ***, including a *** program manager ***.

1.2 Mission Management

Key Mission Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
The Mission's strategic objectives are consistent with Government and DFAIT priorities and guide staff performance measurement objectives.X  
DFAIT programs have developed operational plans based on the objectives outlined in the country strategy and advice/guidance from Headquarters (HQ). X 
The Committee on Mission Management (CMM) is an effective forum to review and make decisions on mission policies and management issues.X  
The Locally–engaged staff Management Consultation Board (LESMCB) is an effective forum for dialogue between mission management and LES.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, etc.). X 

1.2.1 The Mission is managed by an EX–03 HOM, who is well supported by his management team. Overall, the team is cohesive and works in alignment with the stated priorities of the Government of Canada. The Mission Planning and Reporting (MPR) tool is in place and used as a means to synthesize strategic and policy guidance and provide clear direction to mission programs. Outcomes identified in the MPR are derived through consultation with program managers (PMs) and approved by the HOM.

1.2.2 The Committee on Mission Management (CMM) meets weekly and serves as a mechanism to discuss program activities and address mission management issues. In a mission of this size, a model that allows for a weekly Operations Committee, with a monthly or bi–weekly CMM which focusses on mission management issues alone could be considered. CMM minutes should also be shared with all staff, where appropriate.

1.2.3 The LES Management Consultative Board (LESMCB) is an effective forum for dialogue between Mission Management and the LES community. Communications have been strained of late as a result of the Total Compensation Review and employee concerns regarding rising inflation.

1.2.4 Mission Management works to include both official languages in everyday operations and in the provision of services to the public. Bilingual reception staff are present in both Consular and Immigration programs, ensuring that clients can be greeted and served in the official language of their choice. Signage in the operational and Consular client areas was available in both English and French, whereas information in the Immigration waiting area was predominantly in English only.

1.2.5 While Mission Management supports the Values and Ethics Code, procedures are not in place to remind staff of their obligations on an annual basis, and to ensure that new staff acknowledge having read and understood the Code.

Top of page

1.3 Management Controls

Key Management Control CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
The Mission's committee structure meets minimum requirements based on size (Health and Safety, Security, Contract Review, etc.). X 
Mission committees are meeting regularly and effectively discharging their governance responsibilities. X 
Program managers are provided regular financial/budget updates to facilitate effective management and decision making.X  
Security policies and regulations are respected and promoted.X  
The quarterly reconciliation of passport inventory is properly completed and certified. X 
The mission's bank reconciliations are properly reviewed and signed–off 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 activities are properly documented, demonstrate value–for–money and align with mission objectives.X  
All employees have performance objectives set and annual reviews occur.X  

1.3.1 The majority of mission management controls are in place and operating effectively. Areas for improvement were identified with respect to the governance structure, the involvement of *** in quarterly passport reconciliation and the finalization and implementation of a business continuity plan (BCP).

1.3.2 The Mission's documented committee structure included the key elements required. However, not all committees were meeting and, in some cases, members where not aware that they had been assigned to participate. Given the risk, the Security Committee should be activated immediately.

1.3.3 The HOM is required to participate in, and sign–off on, the quarterly reconciliation of passport assets. A review of files and interviews with staff indicated that while forms were properly signed off, ***.

1.4 Recommendations to the Mission

1.4.1 The Mission should consider implementing separate Operations and CMM meetings to allow for more focussed discussions on Mission Management issues.

1.4.2 The Mission should ensure that all signage and information available in client areas is available in both official languages.

1.4.3 Processes should be put in place to ensure that:

  • Values and Ethics are promoted and reinforced formally on an annual basis; and
  • LES acknowledge having read and understood the Values and Ethics Code.

1.4.4 The Mission's BCP should be finalized, implemented and tested on a regular basis.

1.4.5 Mission Management should ensure that the Governance structure is fully implemented and committees effectively assume their responsibilities.

1.4.6 ***, and sign–off on, the quarterly reconciliation of passport assets.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

1.4.1 The Mission will implement a meeting schedule of weekly OPS and monthly CMM meetings. Implemented, August 2011.

1.4.2 Signs and information available in client areas are in both English and French. Many signs are also posted in Arabic. Implemented, August 2011.

1.4.3 New LES are required to follow the Department's online Values and Ethics course. Upon completion of the updated Values and Ethics manual, the Mission will institute an annual meeting with all staff on values and ethics. Implemented, August 2011.

1.4.4 The new Mission Emergency Plan (MEP) document will address this and incorporate the BCP. Due date for the new MEP is November 1, 2011 which the mission will meet. This process has already begun, Mission undertook a "lessons learned" exercise following the revolution to feed into the process. In progress, November 2011.

1.4.5 With staff changeover this summer all Mission Committees will be reviewed and re–constituted with the new Mission management. In progress, October 2011.

1.4.6 Implemented, August 2011.

Top of page

Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs (PERPA)

2.1 Overview

2.1.1 The PERPA Program in Cairo is led by an FS–04 Program Manager (PM), in an EX–01 position, and supported by three officers (FS–02, LE–09, LE–07) and two assistants (AS–01, LE–05). The LES Assistant is a shared resource, also serving as the HOM Social Secretary. The table below provides an overview of the financial resources available to the Program.

Budget2010-2011
Operations$5,800
Travel$4,000
Hospitality$4,000
Post Initiative Fund$12,000
Total$ 25,800

2.1.2 As noted earlier, the January 25th Revolution has dramatically changed the political and economic landscape of the country. While it is difficult to predict how events will unfold during this important transition period, Egypt will remain the most populous Arab state and a traditional leader of the Arab, Islamic, non–aligned, and developing worlds. Egypt's location at the intersection of Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, makes it a key regional player and an important and active member of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization. It is also a member of other important international bodies to which Canada does not belong, including the League of Arab States, the African Union, the Non–Aligned Movement, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Egypt has been a key western partner in the search for peace and stability in the Middle East and has important regional influence. Egypt is also the fifth largest troop contributor to United Nations peacekeeping missions.

2.2 Planning and Program Management

Key PERPA Program Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
PERPA plans are aligned with the priorities and objectives outlined in the mission plan and informed by departmental and geographic bureau guidance and objectives. X 
PERPA plans outline intended outcomes and results are measurable. X 
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 Program is functioning and has a good understanding of the corporate planning processes. The new Mission Planning and Reporting (MPR) tool has been used to synthesize a wide variety of planning inputs into a single point of focus for mission operations. With the exception of post initiative fund (PIF) based activities, however, the Program has not developed a plan that articulates how its key objectives will be advanced and what activities should occur.

2.2.2 Informal communications within the Program are effective and the team has demonstrated the ability to work well together on major initiatives. The Program does not, however, work collaboratively in the performance of regular activities and staff are not often aware of what others are doing. The benefits and drivers of collaboration, consultation and teamwork, can be derived through the collective development of a PERPA plan, and reinforced through regular staff meetings.

2.2.3 Employees have performance management plans (PMPs) in place that set out performance objectives and indicators. The end of year review process will provide management with a good opportunity to review staff objectives and indicators, some of which need improvement in terms of focus or articulation in measurable terms.

2.2.4 The Program's approach to information management is inconsistent, with some officers saving documents on their personal drives. Where possible, the Program's common drive or InfoBank should be used to centrally store and manage information and documents. This will be an essential part of the handover package for the two new CBS officers arriving in summer 2011.

2.3 Implementation

Key PERPA Implementation CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Strategic objectives and plans have been translated into individual or team work plans. X 
Activities and initiatives are aligned with the Mission's key priorities and with the principles of the New Way Forward PERPA Renewal initiative.X  
Program reporting is in–line with Mission and government objectives, timely and relevant.X  
The program develops and maintains a contact base that meets program's needs and objectives.X  
Relations with other mission programs facilitate program delivery. (i.e. public affairs). X 
The program facilitates a mission–wide coordinated approach to advocacy and the development of common messaging.X  

2.3.1 The PERPA Program's primary ongoing activities are related to monitoring, analysing and reporting on the domestic political and economic situation as well as foreign policy, and advancing Canadian interests and objectives with Egyptian authorities. The Program has also provided valuable support to eleven visits during the last year, including one at the ministerial level. The Mission has made effective use of the PIF by focussing on democracy and the rule of law, and human rights.

2.3.2 It was noted, however, that the level of activity and outreach conducted by certain officers was limited. As a result, hospitality funds were not being used to the extent expected, and reporting was predominantly based on reactive opportunities, i.e. senior level visits and HOM outcalls. The PERPA plan discussed in section 2.2 would help the Program develop a more proactive agenda by establishing outreach and network building objectives in support of key priorities. Hospitality budgets should be revisited upon completion of the plan and brought into line with the performance expectations set by the HOM.

2.3.3 The Program provides public affairs and media support to other programs when requested. The number of requests, however, is limited. This was generally due to either the level of activity or the availability of resources in other programs, but also by the limited collaboration in existing operations.

Top of page

2.4 Performance Measurement

Key PERPA Performance Measurement CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
The program has an established performance measurement system in place to monitor activities towards the achievement of objectives.X  
The program assesses performance against their strategy / objectives and plans, and provides a high–level assessment of performance through the MPR system at the end of the fiscal year.X  
Hospitality diaries demonstrate value–for–money and alignment with priorities. X 

2.4.1 The end–of–year MPR exercise provided the Program with an opportunity to assess and document results achieved for the Mission as a whole. Without a specific PERPA plan, however, it is difficult to determine and measure whether or not the desired Program results were achieved. Through the use of more immediate outcomes in a PERPA plan, such as the volume and focus of reporting and activities, as well as feedback received from clients, the Program will be in a better position to measure performance over the short term.

2.4.2 Hospitality expenditures were properly accounted for and direct linkages were made to program objectives demonstrating value for money. Officers are not provided with hospitality allocations and instead request funds from the Program Manager on an as–needed basis. To facilitate planning and encourage proactive outreach and network building, all officers should be provided with quarterly hospitality allocations. The amounts should be based on the officers objectives and workplan, and each should be held accountable for its strategic use.

2.5 Recommendations to the Mission

2.5.1 A PERPA plan should be developed to action the high level objectives stated in the Mission Plan and define performance indicators that are more directly within the Program's control.

2.5.2 Staff meetings should occur on a regular basis and be used to reinforce information sharing, collaboration and follow–up on the implementation of specific initiatives. Records of decision should be maintained.

2.5.3 PMP objectives and performance indicators should be revisited to ensure they are focussed and articulated in measurable terms.

2.5.4 Information management practices within the Program should be standardized and key program documents maintained on the common drive or in InfoBank.

2.5.5 Quarterly hospitality allocations should be provided to all officers based on their individual objectives and outreach plans.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

2.5.1 The new PERPA Program Manager will review the MPR and the PERPA section's contribution to the achievement of overall Government of Canada and Mission goals with PERPA staff in September. Individual PMP goals and objectives will also be reviewed with all staff to ensure that they are aligned with mission objectives as set out in the MPR. This should provide the additional focus desired for the work of the section linking individual activities with common Embassy objectives. Subsequent to this review with all PERPA staff an additional operational plan or plans will be developed as and if required. This issue has been noted in transition materials. In progress, November 2011.

2.5.2 PERPA staff meetings will be held weekly to reinforce information sharing and direction across the section. Where specific decisions are taken or direction given with respect to section activities or initiatives they will be documented in emails from the Program Manager to all PERPA staff following the meeting. Implemented, August 2011.

2.5.3 At present all PMPs are done and reviewed. PMP objectives and performance measures will be reviewed by the new PERPA Program Manager with all PERPA staff in the fall to ensure that they are focussed and articulated in measurable terms and aligned clearly with section and mission objectives. In progress, September 2011.

2.5.4 IM practices within the PERPA section will be reviewed and standardized to ensure that key program documents are maintained and accessible. In progress, November 2011.

2.5.5 Quarterly hospitality allocations will be provided to all CBS and LES officers and supervised by the PERPA Program Manager to ensure that expenditures are justifiable and aligned with individual, program, and mission objectives. Officers receiving hospitality allocations will complete all of the required financial reporting, including quarterly hospitality reports. Present volatility in Egypt requires timely adjustment in programming. In progress, November 2011.

Top of page

Commercial Economic (CE)

3.1 Overview

3.1.1 The CE Program is managed by an FS–04 Senior Trade Commissioner (STC) and supported by three LE–09 Trade Commissioners (TC) and three LE–05 Trade Commissioner Assistants (TCAs). The table below summarizes the financial resources available to the Program.

Budget2010–2011
Operations$33,200
Travel$13,000
Hospitality$2,900
Client Service Fund (CSF)$17,500
Total$ 66,600

3.1.2 Canada's economic engagement with Egypt is focussed in the areas of agriculture and transportation, and primarily based on the activities of a few companies. There is also a very strong relationship between Canadian and Egyptian Universities, with Egypt ranking second behind China in terms of foreign students studying Canadian curriculum outside of Canada. Following the revolution of January 25, 2011, however, the political and economic outlook is uncertain. Discussions with staff and local stakeholders indicated that foreign businesses are generally hesitant to engage in commerce, as are their Egyptian counterparts, until security and political stability has returned.

3.2 Planning and Program Management

Key CE 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  
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 Program has a sound planning framework in place, based on consultations locally and in Canada. However, due to the limited engagement of Canadian companies, the Program's selection of priority sectors is primarily based on areas where the commercial relationship is active. At present, the Program has six priority sectors, more than normal for a Program of this size.

3.2.2 The Program benefits from informal communication which facilitates the transfer of knowledge between staff related to specific issues encountered. The Program does not, however, have regular staff meetings. This has impacted the level of collaboration and teamwork as staff are not always able to provide input on each others' work or to allow new team members to learn through exposure to the strategies and approaches of others.

3.3 Implementation

Key CE 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 staff PMPs. X 
Activities and initiatives are aligned with the mission's key priorities.X  
The program utilizes TRIO to facilitate client relationship management. X 
TRIO use is monitored to ensure activities are reported appropriately and accurately reflect the work undertaken. X 
The InfoCentre function has defined objectives and responsibilities. X 

3.3.1 With the exception of problem solving services, the Program focusses the majority of its efforts on generating the interest of Canadian companies. Despite the efforts of the CE Program, the level of Canadian commercial activity is low. Officers expend a significant amount of effort attempting to create linkages between Canada and Egypt and attract Canadian companies to the Egyptian market. A perceived lack of support from the headquarters (HQ) sectors group and some regional offices in Canada has further demoralized staff.

3.3.2 The level of human resources within the Program is not commensurate with the level of commercial activity or potential between Canada and Egypt. Consideration needs to be given as ***. A more appropriate structure for the Program ***.

3.3.3 TRIO is not used systematically by the Program to manage inquiries and record services delivered. The handling of inquiries remains largely paper based, with a log sheet on the common drive used to monitor adherence to service standards. There is a need for a general modernization of practices and the integration of TRIO into operations. *** will be required on the part of the *** and refresher training may be required for all staff. The implementation of the InfoCentre concept would greatly facilitate this and should be explored, including the following key elements:

  • Removing individual email addresses from the virtual trade commissioner and replacing them with the Program's general email address.
  • Designating a TCA as the InfoCentre lead, receiving all inquiries, entering them in TRIO and assigning them to the responsible officer or assistant.

Initiating these practices would facilitate the use of TRIO by officers, ensure service standards can be monitored and address issues related to staff absences and vacation.

3.3.4 PMPs are in place for staff and regular feedback on performance is provided. There remains room for improvement with respect to the articulation of performance objectives and indicators for some staff, as well as the inclusion of quantitative targets defined in the business plan.

3.4 Performance Measurement

Key CE 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 Staff are involved in some elements of the performance measurement process through discussions on lessons learned and in the compilation of year–end results incorporated into the business plan. The inconsistent use of TRIO, however, limits performance measurement.

3.4.2 A review of hospitality diaries found that activities were aligned with priorities and the evaluations of events effectively demonstrated the value–for–money received. It was noted, however, that the level of activity within the Program related to outreach and hospitality was not as high as expected. Under current practices, officers are not allocated hospitality budgets and instead use the STC's budget on a reactive and as–needed basis. As a result, officers were not actively engaged in proactive outreach to the level expected.

3.5 Recommendations to the Mission

3.5.1 The Program should revisit its selection of priority sectors with a view to focussing proactive activities on fewer sectors.

3.5.2 Regular staff meetings should be held to discuss operations, assign tasks and follow–up on their completion.

3.5.3 The Program should utilize TRIO to record key interactions with clients inline with expectations set out by the Trade Commissioner Service Operations Bureau (BTD).

3.5.4 Officers should develop an outreach strategy related to their priority sectors, including requirements related to the participation of the STC and HOM, as well as the designation of hospitality requirements.

3.5.5 Quarterly hospitality allocations should be provided to officers to facilitate the implementation of priority sector action plans.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

3.5.1 Priority sectors will be reviewed within the next month with consideration for the recent departure of one LES 9 TC and the economic and political upheaval of the past few months and the subsequent changes to the Egyptian market. The trade section will reduce the number of priority sectors and focus more on those identified. In progress, September 2011.

3.5.2 Starting in September, regular weekly staff meetings will be held. In progress, September 2011.

3.5.3 The Program will use TRIO more regularly, however, staff wish to underline that this tool is not entirely satisfactory. Implemented, August 2011.

3.5.4 The Section already has an active and focussed Outreach program, in Egypt, in Canada, and at events in third countries where clients can be met. This practice will continue, even in a time of economic and business hardship for the Egyptian market. The HOM and the STC have intentionally tried to raise the status of the 3 LES TCs and to empower them through Outreach activities which have high visibility, including attending Ministerial meetings with the HOM and the STC and other meetings and events with senior business and government leaders from Canada and Egypt. Hospitality funds are available and used for Outreach by the STC and LES TCs. Implemented, August 2011.

3.5.5 Quarterly hospitality allocations will be provided to all CBS and LES officers and supervised by the Program Manager to ensure that expenditures are justifiable and aligned with individual, program, and mission objectives. Officers receiving hospitality allocations will complete all of the required financial reporting, including quarterly hospitality reports. In progress, September 2011.

Recommendation to the Middle East and Maghreb Bureau (GMD)

3.5.6 GMD should, in consultation with the Mission, revisit the level of resources in the Commercial Economic Program relative to the level of activity and performance expectations of HQ.

GMD Action and Timeframe

3.5.6 Discussions are underway to have resources (one LE–09 and one LE–05) reallocated within the region by summer 2012. Consolidation of Cairo's trade footprint will bring their resource levels to one CBS and four LES. Implemented August 2011.

Top of page

Consular Program

4.1 Overview

4.1.1 The Consular Program is overseen by an AS–06 Management Consular Officer (MCO) with day–to–day management undertaken by an AS–04 Deputy MCO (DMCO) ***. The Program is supported by an LE–07 Consular Officer with delegated signing authority, an LE–06 Passport Examiner and an LE–05 Consular Assistant. The Passport Examiner and Consular Assistant are new to their positions, both temporarily replacing permanent staff who are on *** leave.

Budget2010-2011
Travel$1,500
Hospitality$2,000
Total$3,500

4.1.2 The Mission provides approximately 2,050 passport services and processes approximately 300 citizenship applications per year. As notarial requests are not consistently tracked, no annual figures are available. There are 1,367 Canadian citizens in the Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) database, whereas the estimated number of Canadians residing in Egypt is 10,000.

4.1.3 The Program faces serious challenges over the summer to maintain normal operations as well as respond to any major consular crises should the local political situation deteriorate. The Mission needs to ensure that plans are put in place to anticipate possible issues that might occur and to mitigate their affect. HQ should also be prepared to provide short–term support or surge capacity, leveraging the use of HQ or regional mission staff with the appropriate training and certification to ensure that operations continue to function effectively. In assessing the risks to the Program, the following points should be considered:

  • The *** of Mission Management;
  • The *** from the middle of July until the new MCO, *** arrives in (late) September;
  • Canadians who reside in Egypt are interested in ensuring that their documents are up–to–date ahead of the planned elections in September 2011;
  • The *** are on *** leave and their replacements *** Consular training or passport certifications;
  • The Mission has already extended service standards from 15 days to 20 to compensate for increased volumes and a lack of trained staff;
  • The *** in January and significant work is still required; and
  • The HOM and *** are leaving the Mission *** and the majority of their replacements are individuals on their ***.

4.2 Program Management

Key Consular Program Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Consular work is planned and prioritized. X 
The Consular Contingency Plan is up–to–date.X  
The Duty Officer Manual is up–to–date.X  
The Mission has ongoing dialogue with key local authorities to facilitate program delivery.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 Consular team is led by an *** however, the *** . The MCO has created a task list and weekly meetings are scheduled with the Consular team. However, meetings do not occur on a regular basis and are often deferred. The *** does not utilize a workplan to assist with planning or setting priorities.

4.2.2 A regional emergency planning workshop was hosted by the Mission in 2010 and the Consular contingency plan has been updated. The Program plans to incorporate the lessons learned from the evacuation, however, key items still need to be addressed to ensure an effective response to possible future unrest. These include increasing the number of Canadians registered in ROCA, assigning registrants to districts and ensuring that wardens are identified for each district.

4.2.3 The Mission does not have enough trained and certified resources to provide needed back–up support for the Program while the permanent Passport Examiner and Consular Assistant are on *** leave. With the additional volume of services requested, the MCO, DMCO and Consular Officer are all assisting in the data–entry of passport applications. As the Passport Examiner and Consular Assistant have only recently started to use COMIP, it will be essential to ensure statistics are filed accurately and on–time to assist in the evaluation of current and future Program resource requirements.

4.2.4 Communications with local authorities have been re–established following changes related to the revolution in January 2011. The Mission has been able to maintain contact with detainees throughout this difficult period.

4.3 Client Service

Key Consular Client Service CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Service standards, a fee schedule and a copy of the official receipt are posted in public areas 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
The Mission has provided the Honorary Consul (HonCon) with a mandate letter which establishes their role, responsibilities and accountabilities and performance is reviewed annually.N/AN/AN/A
There is adequate liaison/support from the Mission for the HonCon.N/AN/AN/A

4.3.1 Consular staff are committed and motivated, but are experiencing difficulties meeting service standards. This is due to a higher than normal client demand following the unrest and a lack of passport certified personnel. As a result, the Program has changed the passport service standard from 15 to 20 days. Neither the original or revised service standards have been posted in the Consular waiting area.

4.3.2 Feedback forms were readily available in the Consular booths, however, neither the Passport Examiner nor the Consular Officer knew what the forms were for or how they should be used. The Program should make a renewed effort to promote the feedback function as well as to encourage ROCA registration. As a best practice, forms should be provided to clients at the time of service, and a locked drop box, controlled by the DMCO, placed in the reception area.

Top of page

4.4 Internal Controls

Key Consular Internal Control CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
A certified CBS signs–off on all passports, except in extenuating circumstances with the approval of Passport Canada.X  
Client documents and personal information are properly stored and secured. X 
Completed passport application forms and related documentation are securely destroyed 60 business days following the end of the month that they were submitted. X 
There are adequate segregation of duties for staff handling revenues. X 
Official receipts are issued to Consular clients and revenue is recorded on a record of fees received form.X  
Revenues are transferred to the finance section once $500 is reached (once a week if less than $500).X  
Upon reciept of new passport stock, two CBS verify the receipt of all assets, sign and return the transmittal note.X  
The primary inventory of passport blanks (temporary and emergency), identification labels, observation labels, stamps and seals are securely stored according to official policy. X 
Removal of passport stock from secure storage 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 (passports 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 quarterly reconciliation of passport inventory is properly completed and certified. X 
Official seals and stamps are properly inventoried, secured and access provided to designated staff only. X 

4.4.1 While some key controls were in place, improvements are required with respect to the ***.

4.4.2 With both the MCO and DMCO actively involved in the data–entry and approval functions of the passport application process, the result is a very thorough examination of the application documents. Additional controls, such as requiring both parents to be present for a child's application, have been implemented with the intention of deterring fraudulent activity.

4.4.3 The Consular area is open concept and connected to a well used common area of the Mission. ***.

4.4.4 The working *** during office hours and was not returned to the *** at the end of the day. The *** which also contained all of the working applications, was left open throughout the day. The working inventory must be secured and should be stored and locked in the ***. A daily log should be maintained to record and control the movement of inventory.

4.4.5 Revenues are reviewed by the DMCO and transferred to the Finance Section ***. However, all Consular officers utilize *** and all have access to the same key to open the drawer. This limits accountability should any funds go missing, and a better segregation of duties needs to be implemented. This could be achieved by assigning the register key to only one individual each day and formally transferring revenues between staff when a replacement is required to take over the register.

4.4.6 Completed *** forms were left unsecured on a side ***, until the worksheet had been scanned. Due to the higher than normal volumes of applications in process, scanning had been delayed by several days instead of being performed at time of *** pickup.

4.4.7 As noted in Mission Management, the *** to actively participate in, and sign–off on, the quarterly reconciliation of passport assets. A review of files and interviews with staff indicated that while forms were properly signed off, *** in the reconciliation process.

4.4.8 The Mission does not have an inventory for wet and dry seals. The inventory should serve as a register, indicating to whom the seals were issued and recording the individual's acknowledgement of responsibility. The inventory should be reconciled at a minimum annually.

4.5 Recommendations to the Mission

4.5.1 A Consular workplan should be developed to assist in resource planning and identify key initiatives that need to be undertaken.

4.5.2 Results of the lessons learned exercise should be incorporated into the contingency plan in consultation with the Policy, Emergency Planning and Training Division (CEP) to ensure the latest version is updated and available in COSMOS.

4.5.3 A plan should be developed to ensure that the Mission has sufficient passport certified staff available to provide services during staff absences and in times of elevated client demand for passport services.

4.5.4 Regular Consular Program meetings should be held.

4.5.5 The Warden Network should be strengthened by:

  • Recruiting wardens to cover all districts;
  • Assigning ROCA registrants to districts; and
  • Maintaining regular communication mechanisms with all wardens.

4.5.6 The Program should strengthen inventory controls to ensure that:

  • The working inventory is appropriately secured;
  • A daily log sheet is maintained to record and control the movement of inventory;
  • Two staff (at least one a CBS) participate in the month–end inventory reconciliation;
  • *** participates in the quarterly reconciliation; and,
  • Inventories of wet and dry seals are maintained.

4.5.7 The Mission should consider creating a separate and secure passport printing and revenue collection area for the Consular Program.

4.5.8 *** applications should be stored securely and destroyed appropriately within 60 business days following the end of the month in which they were completed.

4.5.9 Changes to the handling of ***and access to the *** should be implemented to improve the segregation of duties and increase accountability related to Consular funds and revenues.

4.5.10 Notarial services should be consistently recorded in COMIP.

Top of page

Mission Actions and Timeframes

4.5.1 A workplan will be prepared for the 2012–13 fiscal year to coincide with PMP objective setting and measurement. MCO will include this deliverable as an objective for the DMCO annually to ensure regular reviews. In order to manage potential future crises in Egypt, the 2nd PERPA officer will be given consular training. In progress, February 2012.

4.5.2 This is planned and will be part of the new consolidated Mission Emergency Plan (MEP). In progress, November 2011.

4.5.3 Plan was developed and implemented in June 2011. This included hiring the replacement for the Passport Examiner early, hiring a part time resource to help with surge and requesting a PPTC TD officer to assist with volume and train new staff who can provide surge capacity relief in the future. Mission has successfully completed training of new Passport Examiner as well as accrediting an emergency employee in PMP for future availability as backup. Further redundancy options are being explored (see S. 4.5.1). Implemented, June 2011.

4.5.4 DMCO will start regular meetings in September once all staff are back from holidays. In progress, September 2011.

4.5.5 Warden network development underway. ROCA assignments will be completed in September 2011 and quarterly communications will be instituted in addition to the regular communications we send them regarding continued protests and demonstrations. Funding will be requested from HQ to recruit wardens for all districts as this requires travel to the districts and training of new recruits. In progress, December 2011.

4.5.6 A small inventory is maintained in a ***, with the remaining supplies kept in ***. Procedures have been modified to ensure two staff (at least one CBS) complete the monthly reconciliation and the ***. The inventory of wet and dry seals will be completed by end of August 2011. In progress, August 2011.

4.5.7 The Mission has considered this and it was in prior inspection report. However, space limitations and lack of funding make the separate and secure space impossible. In the interim, mission has installed a wall and door to divide the section from the rest of the floor, but it is not ***. Implemented, July 2011.

4.5.8 Passport applications and other related documentation are now stored securely and will be destroyed on the semi–annual destruction runs carried out by the security manager as the destruction facility is a three hour drive from mission. Implemented, July 2011.

4.5.9 Mission will request funding to increase the space and *** capacity of the consular workspace. Until funding is secured, mission only has funds and space for ***. Controls exist to segregate funds and transactions by individual to increase accountability. Implemented, August 2011.

4.5.10 Staff have been advised and are now tracking notarial services and including them monthly in COMIP. Implemented, June 2011.

Common Services

5.1 Overview

5.1.1 The Common Services Program is managed by an AS–06 MCO who is supported by a team of 2 CBS and 19 LES. Together the team provides common services to 79 employees spread over 5 DFAIT and 4 partner programs. The Mission will face a larger than normal turnover of CBS this summer as the HOM, ***, and four other CBS will be relocated. As well, the Mission's establishment could increase by an additional three CBS members in 2011.

5.1.2 The Program is functioning well with the MCO fully engaged in all aspects of program delivery. *** have, however, increased the burden on the MCO to manage the Program, deliver services and respond to crises. To facilitate the turnover of several staff and arrival of the new MCO in the fall of 2011, the Program should enhance its planning practices and update service standards. There is also a need to improve the segregation of duties with respect to the handling of *** and to strengthen the application of controls around the *** and lease negotiations.

Top of page

Program Management

Key Common Services Program Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
An operational plan has been developed and incorporates key mission and international platform objectives, along with measurable expected results. X 
The program has documented and communicated administrative policies and procedures to guide management, staff and clients.X  
The Common Services program actively seeks to implement best practices, improve efficiencies and reduce operating costs.X  
Regular meetings with staff in the Common Services program are held to review priorities and to follow up the implementation of plans.X  

5.1.3 The Program has developed a business plan for common service delivery. The Plan outlines high level objectives for the Program, but does not describe how they will be implemented nor assign responsibilities. An operational plan would help the Program manage priorities, monitor implementation and measure results. Common Services policies and procedures have been developed, however, in order for these to be most effective, they should be updated on an annual basis.

5.1.4 Weekly meetings are held by the MCO with all direct reports and regular monthly meetings are held with all program staff. As a good practice, the Program would benefit from periodically holding formal meetings with non–office staff. These will allow non–office staff to speak with the MCO or DMCO directly regarding issues that they may not wish to raise with their direct supervisor.

5.1.5 The *** and is responsible for the Consular Program and the Human Resources Section. ***. Complications in the Consular Program related to two staff on *** leave and an increase in passport service requests as a result of the recent crisis, will limit the DMCO's ability to properly oversee and direct common service operations. Some assistance will be required over the short term to ensure that the Mission is able to provide minimum service levels and respond in the event of deterioration of the security situation in Egypt.

5.1.6 The DMCO also manages an LE–04 Receptionist, an LE–05 Dispatcher, five Drivers and two Messengers. The DMCO has little contact with the Drivers, Messengers and the Receptionist and regular meetings are not held.

Client Service

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

5.1.7 Overall, client services were effective. Service standards are in place for most common services, although they should be updated. The Mission has developed a brief summary of key service standards for some areas and a project to update the 2004 generic service standards is underway.

5.1.8 Although some clients provide comments regarding services, the Program does not have a formal mechanism in place to solicit client feedback. The Mission has purchased an electronic service order request system, however, a recent message from HQ advised that this system will not be supported once an upgrade to the SIGNET platform is introduced in 2012.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.1.9 Common Services policies and procedures should be reviewed and updated on an annual basis.

5.1.10 An operational plan should be developed in consultation with each Common Service section and put in place.

5.1.11 Periodic formal meetings should be established by the MCO or DMCO with non–office staff.

5.1.12 The DMCO should hold regular meetings with all his staff.

5.1.13 Service standards should be reviewed and updated on an annual basis and communicated to all staff.

5.1.14 The Mission should ensure that a formal feedback mechanism is in place for clients to provide comments regarding services provided.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.1.9 Policies and procedures are updated annually and sent to incoming CBS every year to advise them. Implemented, July 2011.

5.1.10 MCO will put a plan in place as part of the 2012–13 planning process and PMP exercise to ensure there are linkages to each teams/individual's objectives and the plan is measured. In progress, February 2012.

5.1.11 MCO will establish these on arrival in October. In progress, October 2011.

5.1.12 DMCO will establish these in September when staff have returned from holidays. In progress, September 2011.

5.1.13 Service Standards will be updated by end of 2011. Service Standards report sent to HQ and in September HOM will hold all–staff meeting to publicise service standards. In progress, December 2011.

5.1.14 Mission administration will canvass Embassy programs including partner departments semiannually via email on common services provided. Results of this canvass will be discussed by CMM and, if appropriate, reported to the RSCEMA and DFAIT HQ. In progress, December 2011.

Top of page

5.2 Human Resources

5.2.1 The HR functions at the Mission are the responsibility of the AS–04 DMCO who is also responsible for managing the day–to–day activities of the Consular Program. He is assisted by an LE–06 HR Program Assistant. Planning and organization of the HR Section is discussed with the MCO who provides general oversight of the Section.

Management

Key HR Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Responsibilities for human resource (HR) activities have been clearly defined, delegated and communicated to all staff.X  
LES have been provided with the most recent version of the LES terms and conditions of employment.X  
The LESMCB is representative of Mission programs and levels and is utilized by both LES and mission management to facilitate communication.X  
An HR plan has been developed and submitted to headquarters (HQ).X  
A coordinated approach is taken with regards to training and a budget established. X 
Mechanisms are in place to monitor completion of employee's performance evaluations.X  
Employee and position files are complete and maintained separately.X  
Job descriptions are up–to–date and signed by the incumbent and the supervisor.X  
The mission records LES accrued leave, deductions and current balances.X  

5.2.2 Overall, the HR Section is functioning well. The HR Program Assistant has been designated as the Mission training coordinator. While staff training is identified and discussed as part of the PMP process, training is organized on an ad hoc basis and no budget has been established.

5.2.3 An LES Management Consultation Board (LESMCB) is in place and meets as necessary. The Board meets twice a year with the HOM. The Inspection Team met with the LES members of the Board and the following issues were raised which have negatively affected staff morale and motivation:

  • Dissatisfaction with the TCR process and results, and a perceived lack of transparency over how decisions are made;
  • The urgent need for a review of the medical plan; and
  • The limited emergency planning and the impact it had on LES during the crisis, i.e. confusion over which staff were essential or not, and the lack of a calling tree to facilitate communications.

Key Processes and Internal Controls

Key HR Processes and Internal Control CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Staffing actions are conducted in–line with the Locally–Engaged Staff and HQ Workforce Programs Bureau (ALD) guidelines. Written records supporting the process are maintained and contain required documents and approvals.X  
Classification actions are conducted in–line with ALD guidelines. Written records supporting the process are maintained and contain required documents and approvals.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 
Staff are aware of the Values and Ethics Code and have signed a document certifying that they have read and understood this code. Mission management informs staff of the requirements of the Code 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  

5.2.4 Overall, key HR processes and internal controls were effective, with improvements needed concerning information available for new CBS, values and ethics and bilingual signage.

5.2.5 The Section processed eleven staffing actions over the last year, six of which were due to staff leaving to pursue better opportunities. This resulted in a higher turnover of LES than normally occurs at missions of similar size.

5.2.6 While new LES are provided with a checklist to ensure that they have been appropriately briefed by all sections, no similar list is provided to incoming CBS to guide them through the arrival process. Instead, the Administrative Assistant provides them with an informal briefing. A formal checklist would be helpful to ensure new CBS complete all steps in the process, receive all necessary documents and meet all key staff.

5.2.7 Procedures are not in place to ensure that new staff acknowledge having read and understood the Values and Ethics Code, or to remind staff annually of their obligations. A recommendation to this effect has been made in the Mission Management section of this report.

5.2.8 Signage in the operational and Consular client areas was available in both English and French, whereas information in the Immigration waiting area was predominantly in English only. A recommendation to this effect has been made in the Mission Management section of this report.

Top of page

Recommendations to the Mission

5.2.9 A coordinated approach should be taken with regards to training and a budget established.

5.2.10 A formal checklist should be developed to guide new CBS through the arrival process.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.2.9 The Mission HR Assistant will be tasked to meet with Program Managers to identify needs on an annual basis. The plan will then be reviewed and approved at the CMM. LES in–Canada courses, funded by HQ, will be offered to LES, when they become available and with approval of PM. Implemented, July 2011.

5.2.10 Mission will establish a CBS arrival and departure checklist to be completed by all arriving and departing CBS. Checklist will include security briefing, signing for SQ inventory, issuance and return of Egyptian diplomatic id cards, etc. Each item will be checked off, initialled, and dated by the responsible mission personnel, MSM for security briefing, Facilities Manager for SQ, etc. and mission will ensure that all items are completed upon arrival and before departure of new CBS personnel and their families. In progress, October 2011.

5.3 Physical Resources

5.3.1 The Physical Resources functions at the Mission are the responsibility of the MCO who is assisted by an LE–07 Property Manager, an LE–05 Materiel Assistant, an LE–05 Building Operator, an LE–04 Facilities Assistant, and an LE–00 Handyman. Transportation services are managed by an LE–05 Dispatcher who is supported by five Drivers and two Messengers.

5.3.2 The Section currently manages 22 properties, including a Crown–owned Chancery, a Crown–owned official residence (OR), 19 Crown–leased staff quarters (SQs) and a Crown–leased storage facility. The official vehicle fleet consists of *** vehicles, one of which is a dedicated CBSA vehicle.

Management

Key Physical Resources Program Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
The Mission Property Management Plan (MPMP) and the Mission Maintenance Work Plan (MMWP) are up–to–date and approved,X  
Staff Quarters (SQs) are allocated based on the recommendations of the Housing Committee.X  
The Chancery is well maintained and a maintenance schedule is in place.X  
The Official Residense (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.  X

5.3.3 The Section is functioning well and property and maintenance plans are reviewed and updated on an annual basis.

5.3.4 Maintenance plans are in place for the OR and the Chancery. The OR, which was built in 1925, requires an inordinate amount of attention to maintenance. This comes at a high cost, both in terms of maintenance and the impact on staff who are required to respond to issues on almost a daily basis. Plumbing and electrical infrastructure is sub–standard and requires constant repair and maintenance. Windows and doors are old fashioned and are not considered to be energy efficient. Previous plans to renovate this property have not materialized due to timing conflicts with HOMs. Renovations are well overdue and should be undertaken.

5.3.5 The Section uses a paper–based system for receiving and tracking maintenance and goods requests. The Mission had purchased the departmentally approved service order request system, although this software will not be supported when the signet upgrade is completed.

5.3.6 The Property Section conducts formal SQ and OR inspections only on arrival and departure of CBS, and not on an annual basis. Annual inspections are important and should be used to determine long range maintenance and capital acquisition requirements.

5.3.7 The Mission does not have a multi–year capital acquisition plan in place that could be reviewed and approved on an annual basis by the CMM. The Mission spent approximately $55,000 on capital and operational items during the final two weeks of the fiscal year. The majority of this materiel is unassigned and was placed in the storage facility for future use. Undertaking large scale purchases of this nature at the end of a fiscal year does not represent good financial management. A closer review of capital requirements and proper planning at the beginning of the year would reduce the amount of funds the Mission would have to spend at the end of any fiscal year. It should be noted that most major appliances are readily available locally, which reduces the requirement to stockpile these items.

5.3.8 Staff involved in the purchase of goods and services are not guided by any formal guidelines. This limits staff from exercising even limited authority and responsibility. Staff must seek approval from the MCO or DMCO for all purchases, regardless of value. As credit cards are widely accepted by major suppliers, consideration could be given to providing acquisition cards for use by property staff. This would reduce the use of cash and the number of cheques issued.

5.3.9 Included in the MCO's direct reports is the LE–04 Facilities Assistant. Given the close alignment of duties and responsibilities of the LE–05 Materiel Assistant, it would be more operationally effective ***. This may ensure better coordination of activities and could limit overlap of duties.

Top of page

Client Service

5.3.10 The Section is providing an overall good level of service to all clients.

Key Processes and Internal Controls

Key Physical Resources and Internal Control CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
An inspection is conducted by new SQ occupants and a Mission representative within 30 days of occupancy, after which occupancy agreements and distribution accounts are signed.X  
A percentage of the costs for OR supplies for personal use is determined and the regular reimbursements to the Mission are made.X  
Costs of damages to staff quarters or furnishings, beyond normal wear and tear, are recovered from the occupant.X  
Records of assets located in the Chancery, OR and SQs, as well as those in storage, are maintained on an ongoing basis and verified annually. Assets are appropriately safeguarded 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 

5.3.11 Overall, internal controls were effective, although it was noted that the Property Manager negotiates all SQ leases without involvement of the MCO until the final agreement on the lease amount.

5.3.12 Inventories for the Chancery and OR have been recorded, however, neither have been formally signed off. In the case of the Chancery, the Facilities Assistant should sign for the assets and the Materiel Assistant should sign to verify. The OR inventory should have been prepared and signed off soon after the HOM's arrival in 2008. SQ inventories are in place, have been appropriately signed off and materiel transfer vouchers are used to track the movement of assets. The Mission is using an electronic bar–code system to track assets, which is a good practice.

5.3.13 The Mission maintains a warehouse ***. The facility is well organized and clean. The Mission estimates *** the inventory should be signed off by the Facilities Assistant and verified by either the MCO or DMCO.

5.3.14 Official vehicles are well maintained. Routine maintenance schedules have been developed and the Dispatcher is actively seeking to use additional service facilities to ensure best value for money. Vehicle logs are completed, although monthly verification and reconciliation of mileage and fuel purchases is not conducted.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.3.15 The Property Section should formally inspect all properties on an annual basis.

5.3.16 The Mission should develop a multi–year capital acquisition plan that can be updated and presented to the CMM on an annual basis.

5.3.17 Local procurement guidelines should be developed for staff involved in the procurement process.

5.3.18 The Mission should consider changing the reporting relationship of the Facilities Assistant from the MCO to the Materiel Assistant.

5.3.19 The MCO should be more involved in the lease negotiation process to ensure value–for–money is obtained.

5.3.20 Inventories for all assets should be signed off by the custodian and verified by a second employee.

5.3.21 Inventories for assets in storage should be reviewed and reconciled on an annual basis.

5.3.22 The Vehicle Operating and Maintenance Report (EXT 159) should be used for the monthly verification of the purchase of fuel and vehicle usage and signed off by the DMCO or another CBS.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.3.15 MCO inspected all SQs in October 2010. Property section visits all SQs regularly but will ensure an annual formal inspection is recorded in each SQ file from now on. In progress, December 2011.

5.3.16 The MCO will prepare in October 2011 and it will be updated every April afterwards. In progress, October 2011.

5.3.17 Local procurement guideline document based upon existing petty cash, VAT and other guidelines and established procurement practices will be prepared and shared with all staff involved in the procurement process. In progress, November 2011.

5.3.18 Completed in June 2011 and communicated to employees. Job description and org charts will be updated by August 2011. In progress, October 2011.

5.3.19 The MCO will be more directly involved in future lease negotiations. In progress, May 2011.

5.3.20 This will be implemented once 2011 rotations have been completed and three 40ft containers of furniture have arrived from HQ in Aug/Sept. In progress, December 2011.

5.3.21 This will be part of the PMP objectives for the Facilities Assistant and Materiel Assistant annually. In progress, April 2011.

5.3.22 This will be done effective September 2011 by the Dispatcher and DMCO. In progress, September 2011.

Recommendations for the Physical Resources Bureau (ARD)

5.3.23 A timeline must be set for the renovation of the Official Residence, agreed to by senior management and respected.

ARD Actions and Timeframes

5.3.23 *** ARD will complete this options assessment in late 2011 and decide, in consort with any overriding strategic review directions, ***. In progress, December 2011.

5.4 Finance

5.4.1 The Finance Section is managed by the MCO with daily operations undertaken by an LE–07 Senior Accountant, an LE–05 Assistant Accountant and an LE–03 Finance Clerk. Staff work well together and duties are well defined. The Senior Accountant is providing on–going training to the Assistant Accountant to ensure she is able to provide appropriate back–up duties when required.

Management

Key Finance Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Financial procedures have been established to guide clients and finance staff. X 
The section employs methods to minimize disruption (eg. setting of "quiet hours" and controlling access to the finance section).X  
The section has explored alternate methods to minimize transactions and reduce reliance on cash (i.e. acquisition cards, EFTs). X 
Payment runs are kept to a minimum, but are sufficient enough to allow for good client service. X 
Roles and responsibilities ensure adequate segregation of duties. X 

5.4.2 While overall the finance function is well managed, there are a number of areas for improvement outlined in the following paragraphs.

5.4.3 The Finance Section has set a service standard of five days for all transactions. However, due to pressure from clients, staff work on a reactive basis and most transactions are processed as they are received. As a result, staff are not able to plan and prioritize their work. Payment runs are also performed *** rather than the recommended two to three times per week.

5.4.4 The use of acquisition cards for some purchases and the implementation of direct deposit for fees collected by CIC would facilitate operations by minimizing transactions and reducing the handling of cash. Staff feel that these methods would facilitate their work and are possible in the local environment. Early consultation with the accountants would ensure effective implementation of these initiatives and ensure proper control mechanisms are in place for their use.

5.4.5 The Senior Accountant is currently creating and entering all purchase orders into the financial system. This practice does not allow for adequate segregation of duties and is a task which is usually performed by the LES who initiates the purchase, i.e. Material Assistant. In addition, the Assistant Accountant performs both document entry and payment run functions in IMS rather than having these duties segregated between two employees.

Top of page

Key Processes and Internal Controls

Key Finance Internal Control CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
A Contract Review Board (CRB) is in place and operating effectively with clear terms of reference. X 
Contracting procedures have been documented and communicated to all staff involved in the contracting process. X 
Contracting files demonstrate compliance with policies and procedures.X  
The mission's bank reconciliations are reviewed and signed–off on a monthly basis.X  
The asset and liability report is reviewed on a monthly basis by the appropriate authority.X  
Section 34 is exercised by individuals who possess the appropriate delegation of authority.X  
Section 33 is exercised by individuals who possess the appropriate delegation of authority.X  
A CBS 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 the 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  
Travel and hospitality claim processes ensure that policies and guidelines are adhered to and that the accountant verifies the completeness and accuracy of the claim.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 The control framework in place needs to be strengthened to improve and reinforce certain aspects of financial operations.

5.4.8 A Contract Review Board (CRB) is in place and has met once since September 2010 to review contracts. However, the mandate of the CRB was not clear to all members. A yearly meeting to discuss the Terms of Reference (TOR), contracting regulations and changes and method of reviews would be beneficial especially when new members are appointed.

5.4.9 Staff involved in the contracting process are knowledgeable, but lack documented procedures to guide operations. This increases the risk that steps will be missed and documents retained on file will not be consistent. Over the last few years many maintenance and service contracts have been renewed automatically without a survey of the market to ensure contract prices are competitive.

5.4.10 All finance staff have access to the ***. This practice increases the risk of *** and creates challenges in terms of accountability should any asset go missing.

5.4.11 ***.

5.4.12 The monthly bank statement is reviewed by the Finance Clerk before being passed to the Senior Accountant for use in preparing the bank reconciliation. A CBS should always receive the bank statement directly from the bank and review it before providing it to Finance Section staff.

5.4.13 CBS are invoiced monthly for personal services which have been paid by the Mission on their behalf (telephone, transport). When reimbursement is made, the Finance Section stamps their invoice with a "paid" stamp but does not provide an official receipt.

5.4.14 During the course of the Inspection, petty cash accounts were reconciled and in order. However, two accounts are used infrequently and only require replenishment every two to three months. Messengers also regularly use personal funds to pay for taxis and submit for a reimbursement through petty cash at a later date, rather than using an operational advance.

5.4.15 A reconciliation of the *** was performed. Upon completion of the reconciliation with the team, *** placed the ECP back into the original envelope and closed it using a stapler. This practice is not appropriate and does not provide the custodian or others involved in the reconciliation process with any assurance that the envelope could not be tampered with. It was also noted that the last two counts were conducted by only one individual, rather than the two required.

5.4.16 The Finance Section performs personal banking services for CBS. However, it is questionable whether there is a need for these services as a number of automated bank machines, which provide access to international banking systems, are available throughout the city. In addition, CBS can open local bank accounts which would facilitate personal banking and the use of cheques.

5.4.17 A review of LES salary payments was conducted and found that employees were not paid the amount indicated on the LES Employment and Pay Certificate (EXT–208). Further review showed that LES were given their salary increments before new EXT–208s were approved.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.4.18 Service standards for the Section should be reviewed and clearly communicated to clients. Mission management should ensure that they are respected.

5.4.19 Payment runs should be reduced to ***.

5.4.20 The use of acquisition cards and direct deposit for all fees collected by CIC should be explored.

5.4.21 Adequate segregation of duties should be in place regarding the entry of purchase orders into IMS, document entry and payment run functions.

5.4.22 A yearly meeting of the CRB should be held to discuss TOR, contracting regulations and changes and method of reviews.

5.4.23 Contracting procedures should be documented and shared with staff.

5.4.24 To improve asset controls, the Section should:

  • Restrict access to the safe located in the Finance Section; and
  • Reconcile funds held in the safe regularly and arrange for appropriate deposit or transfer to HQ.

5.4.25 The MCO should receive the original bank statements directly from the bank.

5.4.26 Official receipts should be provided to clients at the time of payment.

5.4.27 Existing petty cash accounts should be reviewed for necessity and reduced where possible.

5.4.28 Processes should be put in place to improve practices related to the ECP, including:

  • On a monthly basis, the sealed envelope containing the ECP should be verified to ensure that no one has tampered with the envelope; and,
  • On a quarterly basis, the ECP must be reconciled by two CBS.

5.4.29 Personal banking for CBS should be discontinued.

5.4.30 The Mission should ensure that EXT–208 forms are completed and authorized before a change in pay is entered in the pay system.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.4.18 Once approved by CMM, service standards will be emailed to all staff and posted on accounts section door. In progress, January 2012.

5.4.19 Bank runs are currently ***. Cheque runs have been ***. Implemented, August 2010.

5.4.20 Both have been explored and due to a cash society, high fraud, poor records and bank complications neither are immediately possible in Cairo. Implemented.

5.4.21 The Mission will identify another position as responsible to enter POs, and provide the required training. In progress, October 2011.

5.4.22 New CRB will be formed in 2011, including a change in chair, and this will be added to their mandate. In progress, November 2011.

5.4.23 Chair of the new CRB will send an email announcing committee composition, TOR and link to all contracting procedures which are available on the Intranet. In progress, July 2011.

5.4.24 Access to the safe is restricted. Funds are reconciled monthly and relocated elsewhere since transfer to HQ is currently suspended due to diplomatic suspension of classified shipments. Implemented, August 2011.

5.4.25 The MCO will now receive the bank statement directly from the bank before providing it to the accounts section. Implemented, August 2011.

5.4.26 CBS will be billed on a monthly basis and provide with an official receipt. In progress, October 2011.

5.4.27 Petty cash accounts will be reviewed by incoming MCO in October 2011. We note that Egypt is substantially a cash society and that these are used/reconciled frequently. In progress, December 2011.

5.4.28 ECP has been closed and assigned to another CBS. This CBS will verify the envelope monthly and reconcile it with another CBS quarterly. Record will be kept with passport inventory records. Implemented, August 2011.

5.4.29 Personal banking in Egypt is next to impossible since the revolution and transfers in and out of country are restricted. Currency controls are in place. Banking here is not regular or assured – during the crisis banks were closed for a long time. ATMs frequently do not work or do not work correctly and credit card use is highly limited. As currently set up, personal banking does not represent an addition to the workload of the Finance section as it coincides with mission bank runs. It is Mission's strong preference to retain the current system. Implemented.

5.4.30 The Accounts Section has been instructed that pay cannot be changed unless they have received a completed and approved EXT–208. Implemented.

5.5 Information Management - Information Technology (IM-IT)

5.5.1 The IM-IT Section is managed by a CS–02 Foreign Service Information Technology Professional (FSITP), who is supported by one LE–07 Locally Engaged Information Technology Professional (LEITP). Oversight is provided by the MCO. The Section also provides services to the missions in Addis Ababa and Khartoum.

Top of page

Management

Key IM-IT Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
An Information Management/Information Technology (IM-IT) workplan exists and includes regional activities.X  
The CMM or an IM-IT Committee provides direction and oversight for the IM-IT function.X  
The liaison between the mission, HQ and regional manager is effective.X  
IM-IT requirements in relation to business continuity planning (BCP) have been defined, implemented and tested. X 

5.5.2 The Section is functioning well and roles and responsibilities are clearly defined. The FSITP and LEITP meet regularly and attend the monthly Common Services staff meeting. The Section has developed an IM-IT business plan that includes a project workplan, identified challenges, service standards and budget information. This will be a useful tool for staff and managers to monitor progress against objectives.

5.5.3 The IT team has not yet been approached for input to the business continuity plan or to identify IM-IT requirements for the alternate command post and it is unclear who has the lead on the project.

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  

5.5.4 The Section is client service oriented and regularly monitors remedy tickets to ensure issues are resolved in a timely manner. Clients interviewed confirmed that the Section provides a high level of service. Service standards are indicated in the IM-IT business plan. Although the Section is usually able to respond in a timely manner, service standards have not been communicated to clients.

Key Processes and Internal Controls

Key IM-IT Internal Control CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Back–ups are performed routinely and tapes are stored in a secure location away from the primary use area.X  
The mission has appropriate secondary communications in place and those tools are tested regularly. 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 digital subscriber line (DSL) connections).X  
Employees formally sign out IT assets (mobility tools) and are advised of their accountabilities. X 
Surplus IT assets are disposed with the appropriate approvals per departmental policy.X  

5.5.5 Overall, IM-IT processes and procedures are effective, with minor improvements required for maintenance and testing of satellite phones, and controls on IT inventories.

5.5.6 The Mission has a number of satellite phones which are currently held by the FSITP. It is unclear who is responsible for maintaining an inventory of these assets, ensuring users are trained and that regular testing is performed. The IM-IT Section has not been tasked with these functions.

5.5.7 The Mission's approach to information management is inconsistent. The common drive is used by some staff and programs to varying degrees and with varied success, while others are saving documents on their personal drives. Comments from staff indicated that they had difficulty in locating documents and, in general, understanding the filing structure.

5.5.8 Disa tokens and Blackberries are formally signed out by users, however, there is no sign–out process for laptops.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.5.9 Satellite phones should be tested regularly and an inventory maintained.

5.5.10 Standardized practices and processes should be developed and implemented to facilitate management and sharing of corporate information across programs.

5.5.11 Employees should formally sign–out laptops and be advised of their accountabilities in writing.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.5.9 Inventory exists and Sat phones will be tested quarterly once new CBS staff arrive. Mission will require funding for SIM cards. In progress, December 2011.

5.5.10 The current IM practise is to use the I: drive for storage of key program documents and to share corporate information between programs via email. In the fall Mission will establish an IM Committee to champion standardized IM practices. In progress, November 2011.

5.5.11 Laptop loans are tracked regularly in "Remedy" and employees sign a form that advises of their responsibilities and accountabilities regarding the laptop. The forms are kept with the IT section. Implemented, July 2011.

Top of page

Appendix A : Mission Resources Fact Sheet

Table 1: Mission Resources Fact Sheet of Physical Resources
Physical Resources
AssetsCrown OwnedCrown Leased
Chancery1 
Official Residence1 
Staff Quarters-19
Vehiclesx-

Table 2: Mission Resources Fact Sheet Financial Information
2009-2010 BudgetsProgram BudgetCommon Services Budget
Total$1,141,022$2,344,018
Operating (N001)$74,258$1,186,305
Capital (N005)$0$125,745
CBS Salaries (N011)$562,800$248,716
LES Salaries (N012)$503,964$783,252

Full Time EquivalentsTotalCBSLES
Head of Mission8.526.5
Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs5.532.5
Commercial Economic716
Consular413
Common Services27324
DND22-
CIC20416
Public Safety22-
CIDA312
Total Mission FTEs791960

Appendix B: 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 Human Resources
- Performance Management Program
PMP Consular
- Passport Management Program
PRIME
- Physical Resources Information - Mission Environment
ROCA
- Registration of Canadians Abroad
S&T
- Science and Technology
STC
- Senior Trade Commissioner
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

Note: Personal and sensitive information has been edited from these reports (shown in the reports as "*"), consistent with the provisions of the Privacy and Access to Information Acts.


* If you require a plug-in or a third-party software to view this file, please visit the alternative formats section of our help page.

Footer

Date Modified:
2012-11-23