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Inspection of the Canadian High Commission Kingston, Jamaica

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Jan 24 - 28, 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 Reporting and Public Affairs, Commercial Economic, Consular and Common Services programs was conducted in Kingston from January 24 to 28, 2011. A previous audit of these programs took place in 2002. The High Commission is a medium sized Mission with 13 Canada-based Staff (CBS) and 53 Locally-engaged Staff (LES). In addition to DFAIT programs, the Mission also provides a platform for partners from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

The Mission is running well and benefits from the presence of a
strong and dedicated Management team. The Head of Mission (HOM) is on his first overseas assignment with the Department, following a career with CIDA. ***, team morale and communications have improved. Mission objectives are in alignment with those of the Government of Canada and programs are working effectively to implement their plans. Mission governance practices are sound, supported by a strong committee structure and an active dialogue with the LES community. With the regular occurrence of natural disasters such as hurricanes, as well as the civil unrest in Jamaica in the spring 2010, the Mission takes emergency planning seriously.

The Political Economic Reporting and Public Affairs Program is led by a Program Manager who is supported by a junior LES Officer and a senior LES Officer, who was recently hired under the Regional Office for Peace and Security reporting to the program head based in Panama. Jamaica is a key partner within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and is a country of focus under the America's Strategy. The Program is functioning *** and supports Mission activities and initiatives for all programs. Plans have been developed for the Public Affairs function, but further effort is required in planning and documenting less tangible activities and initiatives, which should be in line with the framework set out in the New Way Forward.

The Commercial Economic Program is led by a Senior Trade Commissioner who is supported by *** LES. Establishing a trade agreement with CARICOM, in which Jamaica is a large player, is a priority of the Government of Canada. Planning and operations are effective and supported by good communication and regular Program meetings. A good deal of effort has been expended to enhance teamwork, a renewed focus on communication and a team approach to planning.

The Consular Program is *** managed and benefits from good communications and a strong team approach. At the time of the Inspection, the Management Consular Officer (MCO) did not have Passport Management Program (PMP) certification. As the only CBS at the Mission with PMP certification is the Deputy MCO (DMCO), the Mission has difficulties ensuring a CBS was always available to certify passports. The team provides *** services to clients, but needs to ensure that key Consular information is made available to clients in the waiting area in both official languages. Internal controls are in place except with respect to the handling of client information and the need to strengthen practices over revenue processing procedures.

The Common Services Program is operating *** and providing a good level of service to clients. Service standards were updated in November 2010. Following an extended period of short-term temporary duty MCOs, the Program has been working to ensure proper application of policies and procedures and has been providing consistent service to clients. With the departure of the DMCO during the summer of 2011, there will be a need to re-evaluate the distribution of functional responsibilities between the MCO and DMCO to ensure a proper balance.

A total of 50 inspection recommendations are raised in the report, all addressed to the Mission. Management has responded to each recommendation indicating action already taken or decisions made, as well as future action. Of the 50 recommendations, management has stated that 27 have been implemented. For each of the remaining 23 recommendations, management has indicated the initiatives in progress or the intended future action.

Mission Management

1.1 Overview

1.1.1 The High Commission in Kingston is a medium sized mission with 13 Canada-based Staff (CBS) and 53 Locally-engaged Staff (LES). It is responsible for departmental program delivery in Jamaica, Turks and Caicos, Bahamas and the Cayman Islands. There are no hub or spoke relationships. The Mission supports DFAIT programs and partner departments including Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

1.1.2 Jamaica has been identified *** under the Americas Strategy. The bilateral relationship is mature and stable ***. The Mission supports numerous visits and delegations and has effectively responded to recent hurricanes and civil unrest in Jamaica as well as setting up forward operations capacity for the Haiti earthquake response.

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 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 management team is headed by an EX-03 Head of Mission (HOM) *** a cohesive and collegial atmosphere *** to management and staff relations. The Committee on Mission Management (CMM) is effectively used as a forum to raise and discuss issues and to make decisions regarding Mission policies and operations. The Mission Planning Report (MPR) is the key planning document for the Mission and is aligned with DFAIT objectives and priorities. It is used as the basis for program planning and is reviewed on a quarterly basis during the Quarterly Portfolio Review exercise undertaken by the CMM where plans for the preceding and upcoming quarters are reviewed for progress, risk factors and any required adjustment. However, certain aspects of program planning (which are detailed further in this report) require improvement.

1.2.2 The CMM is used to establish a whole of government approach including transformation initiatives, Mission risk factors and internal management. Priority has been placed on improving communications and morale. Various initiatives have been taken including establishing the Locally Engaged Staff Management Consultation Board (LESMCB), restarting the social program, holding quarterly town hall meetings with all staff, increased interaction by the HOM with staff through informal walk-arounds and fostering an open door policy. Staff, both CBS and LES, have reported improved communications and morale.

1.2.3 The HOM has established a CMM Quarterly "360" exercise for strategic whole of government dialogue across programs. A fixed agenda is used to guide discussion on key corporate issues and program delivery, with a focus on risk and risk management.

1.2.4 The LESMCB has been established and meets quarterly with the HOM and Management Consular Officer (MCO). Issues raised by the LES membership often through LESMCB sub-committees are presented and discussed. Details of the Inspection Team's meeting with the Board members can be found in section 5.2 of this Report.

1.2.5 Values and ethics are promoted by the Mission through discussion in town hall meetings and Mission committees and via emails on specific topics.

1.2.6 The HOM has also instituted a number of outreach strategies. One is the practice of quarterly conference calls *** in Canada in order to address practical issues (such as entry procedures) and aid in communicating with the Jamaican diaspora in Canada. A second is the development of the "CIDA Roadmap" which outlines the programs within CIDA's portfolio and how to navigate through them.

1.2.7 The CIC Program recently moved to that department's new Global Case Management System and work processes are being redefined.

Official Languages

1.2.8 The Mission has appointed an Official Languages Co-ordinator. At the time of the Inspection, there was sufficient capacity to communicate with and provide services to the public, both orally and in writing, in both official languages. While most signage throughout the Mission and in the public areas is in both English and French, fire orders and evacuation notices are in English only.

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 Management controls and procedures are in place and are operating effectively. Minor improvements are noted in the relevant program sections. The Mission noted that budget reductions make travelling to the other countries of accreditation challenging.

1.3.2 The Mission has an appropriate structure of committees in place including the CMM, Housing, Information Management, Occupational Health and Safety, Awards and Recognition, Classification, and Post Transformation committees. A Contract Review Board has been established. In addition to these, the Mission should establish a Security Committee to review security needs and oversee their implementation.

1.3.3 A Business Continuity Plan has recently been updated and an Emergency Response Team (ERT) is in place. Periodic scenarios are presented by the ERT to test procedures in place particularly for hurricanes and other disasters. *** has been identified and set up as an Alternate Command Post.

1.3.4 Hospitality files were reviewed and, as has been noted in most missions, improvement is required in both describing how the event supports program and Mission objectives and the evaluation of event results.

1.3.5 While some of the staff's Performance Management Programs (PMP) have been completed, there are still some outstanding that need to be finalized. Through this process staff highlight training needs and the Mission has recently identified a Training Coordinator in order to develop a Mission-wide training plan. Once this plan has been developed, the Mission should allocate a training budget to facilitate its implementation.

1.4 Recommendations

Recommendations to the Mission

1.4.1 The Mission should establish a hospitality strategy that supports Mission objectives and that is integrated into Mission and program planning. Specific hospitality events should then be evaluated as to their effectiveness.

1.4.2 The Mission should establish a Security Committee.

1.4.3 The Mission should ensure that PMPs are completed on a timely basis.

1.4.4 The Mission should develop a Mission-wide training plan.

1.4.5 The Mission should ensure that signage (including fire orders and evacuation notices) is in both official languages.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

1.4.1 A Mission hospitality strategy will be established, linked to the MPR for Kingston and supported by a "Key Leader Engagement Strategy". In progress for September 2011, for review by CMM and approval at the quarterly management retreat.

1.4.2 The Mission has an "Emergency Response Team (ERT)" composed of key CMM members which meets regularly to review all security issues (including hurricane and earthquake preparedness and training) and which conducts regular "tabletop exercises" with security scenarios. Security and risk issues are also reviewed quarterly by the CMM during the quarterly management retreat. The ERT will be reconfigured as a "Security Committee" and operate as it currently does. Implemented.

1.4.3 PMPs are currently being updated after the completion of the Mission MPR and with the arrival of new CBS staff this summer. In progress for August 2011.

1.4.4 Noted and being actioned. The Mission has an established a training budget for staff and published policies for setting training priorities as well as a process for reviewing, evaluating and funding training requests. Work has commenced within the LESMCB to draft an "Organizational Learning Plan' for Kingston as the next step. In progress for September 2011, draft document for CMM review at the quarterly management retreat.

1.4.5 Noted and being actioned, bilingual signage and notices will be provided. In progress for July 2011.

Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs (PERPA)

2.1 Overview

2.1.1 The PERPA Program is headed by an FS-03 Program Manager (PM) who is supported by a LE-07 Public Diplomacy and Media Affairs Officer. In October 2010 an LE-08 Regional Peace and Security Officer was recruited as part of the Regional Office for Peace and Security (ROPS), reporting to the Director for the program in Panama. The Program also receives support from the HOM's Assistant on a limited basis.

Budget2010-2011
Travel$4,900
Hospitality$3,666
Post Initiative Fund$6,000
Total$ 14,566

2.1.2 The PERPA Program's prime responsibility is supporting and developing the bilateral relationship. Jamaica is a key partner within the CARICOM (Caribbean Community) and is a country of focus under the America's Strategy. In response to Mission and Headquarters (HQ) priorities, the Program engages in ongoing communication with the Government of Jamaica through diplomatic notes, demarches and, official and informal meetings.

2.1.3 Through a public affairs strategy, the Program promotes and supports Mission activities and initiatives for all programs. The Program is also involved in *** Capacity Building programs writing proposals, managing projects and reporting. The new ROPS resource will augment existing peace and security activities in addition to new initiatives. In support of these initiatives the Program organizes and is involved in a busy schedule of high level visits and missions. The Program produces a quarterly comprehensive overview that analyses political, economic and security trends, and major developments.

2.1.4 The Mission has also created a public diplomacy document (the Policy and Program Placemat) that highlights Canada's role and activities in Jamaica. As its development involves all program, the exercise helps to coordinate Canadian programming more effectively.

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 The Program is *** managed providing *** support to the HOM and *** addressing Mission and Program objectives. Program activities are aligned with Mission and HQ priorities. The Program is heavily tasked in fulfilling its own priorities, requests from HQ, and supporting and coordinating high level visits. Outside of public affairs activities, all of the PERPA workload is handled by the PM. The addition of the Regional Peace and Security Officer will provide incremental support (15% as per agreement).

2.2.2 The PM has weekly meetings with his staff both together and individually. These meetings are used to review on-going work, discuss issues and plan for upcoming initiatives and events. Staff found these meetings to be very useful and appreciated the PM's efforts to keep them informed. HOM involvement in the Program is *** with roles and responsibilities clearly defined and open lines of communication maintained.

2.2.3 Plans have been developed and documented for the Public Affairs function and for the Regional Peace and Security Officer. These are useful tools to guide staff, review activity and project status, and assess progress. The plans in place have been used as a basis for employee appraisal through the PMP process. More effort is required in planning and documenting less tangible activities related to public diplomacy, bilateral activities, visits and other on-going initiatives as is required in the New Way Forward initiative. A strategy and related plan can document known proactive activities while allocating time and resources for reactive activities that per experience are likely to occur. This will aid the Program in priorizing and assigning resources and will also help the Program to better identify demands and pressures and therefore support business cases for incremental resources.

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 A public affairs strategy and guidelines have been developed for the Mission. Operational instructions are available to all programs as well as a template to submit requests for support or services. Every month programs are asked to identify needs. A monthly meeting is held with the HOM, PM and Public Diplomacy and Media Affairs Officer to discuss plans, recent requests and upcoming events. As a product of this process a schedule of events for the Mission is produced at the beginning of the year and updated each month. The CMM is also used to discuss the schedule of events and to ensure a coordinated and integrated approach to advocacy, outreach and communications.

2.4 Performance Measurement

Key PERPA Performance Measurement CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
The PERPA program has an established performance measurement system in place to monitor activities towards the achievement of objectives. X 
The PERPA 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 Program performance is assessed through:

  • a comprehensive quarterly overview report that analyses political, economic and security trends and major developments;
  • quarterly summary reports that are required by the ROPS; and
  • a monthly review of the public affairs plan.
  • At year end individual reports (over 20 for the past year), the number of visits and public affairs events are reviewed against original MPR objectives.

2.5 Recommendations to the Mission

2.5.1 The Mission should ensure that operational plans include all PERPA activities in line with the reporting objectives set out in the New Way Forward policy.

2.5.2 The Mission should ensure that staff receive New Way Forward training.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

2.5.1 Mission operational plans, specifically the MPR include PERPA activities which are aligned with the NWF policy. The PERPA PM uses the NWF framework to present activities and progress against plans at the CMM quarterly management retreat. Implemented.

2.5.2 All PERPA staff have completed the online "New Way Forward" training course. Implemented.

Commercial Economic (CE)

3.1 Overview

3.1.1 The Commercial Economic Program in Kingston is headed by an FS-03 Senior Trade Commissioner who is supported by two LE-09 Business Development Officers and one LE-06 Senior Business Development Assistant.

Budget2010-2011
Travel$ 4,900
Hospitality$ 3,666
Client Service Fund (CSF)$ 5,000
Total$ 13,566

3.1.2 Jamaica is one of the largest economies in the region and an important partner in CARICOM trade discussions. A CARICOM trade agreement is a priority for the Canadian Government and would derive commercial benefits in the areas of goods, services and investment. The continuing recession, recent hurricane damage *** are part of the context in Jamaica that has to be factored into business development strategies and activities.

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 Since his arrival in early fall of 2010 the Senior Trade Commissioner (STC) has provided *** direction to his staff implementing a management structure that fosters communication, trust and accountability. Staff have responded positively *** and are working as a team. ***.

3.2.2 Annual business plans are developed with the involvement and input of all staff. As a result of a planning retreat, plans are developed that reflect the priorities and objectives set out in the MPR and those of the Trade Branch. Clear performance targets are set for each staff member and projects and related funding are identified. Roles and responsibilities are defined through the planning process and are reflected in job descriptions.

3.2.3 The Program has weekly team meetings where progress on plans and activities is discussed, information is shared and coming events are highlighted. *** is consultative, working directly with staff when required and encourages team work and collaboration.

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 The Program has strong operational systems and controls in place. An InfoCentre has been established and is managed by the Senior Trade Assistant who undertakes research and responds to enquiries in assigned sectors and routes others to responsible officers. She is also the TRIO champion and manages the database of key local contacts. The Program utilizes InfoBank for file management.

3.3.2 The Trade Dashboard reporting system is used by the STC to measure and assess outputs and results. Operationally, the STC requires each staff member to submit a weekly Trade Activity report outlining their activities and achievements. These reports are copied to colleagues and are used during the weekly Program meeting to discuss status and progress, and to highlight issues. This practice provides a transparent mechanism to hold staff accountable, to keep staff informed and to provide support and advice to each other.

3.3.3 Staff are required to strategically arrange outcalls based on their objectives and sector plans. A template has been designed that ensures that appropriate facts and information is collected and analysed, and that records information obtained and follow-up required. Each officer has a target of 50 outcalls for the year.

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 The Program monitors performance through its weekly Program meetings when officers report on activities. The business plan is reviewed periodically by the Program and is discussed at CMM as part of the Mission's Quarterly Review Exercise. Staff have PMPs in place that are based on their specific objectives per the CE Business Plan and that also identify training and development opportunities.

3.4.2 Reductions in travel and CSF funding have negatively impacted the
Program in achieving all of its objectives. As noted in the Mission Management section, travel to other countries of accreditation, Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, and the Cayman Islands is minimal, resulting in limited outreach and other activities. Identification of Client Service Funding in the Program's business planning far exceeds its allocation of $5,000. The Program has requested additional CSF funding from HQ with the intention of actioning some of these activities.

Consular Program

4.1 Overview

4.1.1 The Consular Program is overseen by the AS-06 MCO with day-to-day supervision by the AS-04 Deputy MCO (DMCO). The Consular team also includes an LE-08 Consular Officer, LE-07 Passport/Citizenship Officer and two LE-06 Consular Assistants.

4.1.2 The Program's area of accreditation includes Jamaica, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands. The Mission is assisted by Honorary Consuls located in Montego Bay (Jamaica), Nassau (Bahamas) and Seven Mile Beach (Cayman Islands). Staff also provide general Consular services to Australian citizens.

4.1.3 The following tables summarize the travel and hospitality resources available to the Program.

Budget2010-2011
Travel$ 600
Hospitality$1,000
Total$1,600

4.1.4 The Mission provides approximately 1,950 passport services and processes 220 citizenship applications and 80 notarial requests yearly. In the area of accreditation there are 875 Canadian citizens in the Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) database, out of an estimated 6,200.

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 Program benefits from *** teamwork. In addition to daily interaction, monthly meetings are held to review the Program plan, cases and workload. Joint Common Services and Consular Program staff meetings are held quarterly.

4.2.2 Staff have developed good contacts with local authorities and like-minded missions. The Program has developed a warden network and regular contact is maintained. To assist with communications, the Mission plans to recruit wardens for Kingston as it has been responsible for contacting Canadians within the city directly. The last warden conference was in 2007. The Mission highlighted budget constraints as a concern as it limits the frequency of warden conferences and visits to other islands only once per year.

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. X 
There is adequate liaison/support from the Mission for the HonCon.X  

4.3.1 To assist in meeting service standards, both the Consular Officer and Passport/Citizenship Officer have been granted delegated signing authority for notarial services, though these are normally provided by the MCO or DMCO. The LE-04 Receptionist has also been certified in the Passport Management Program (PMP) and provides back-up support to the Program.

4.3.2 The MCO however, has not yet been certified in PMP, which has been problematic for the Mission as the only CBS able to conduct the approval function is the DMCO. In order to address a back-log of passport application entries, a Passport Canada officer visited for two weeks in September 2010, and arranged for a regional office in Canada to assist with approvals until the end of December 2010.

4.3.3 In the past, the Mission has asked neighbouring missions to provide remote approvals, however with Consular demand increasing each year, this becomes more burdensome for other missions. Given the passport volume and requirement to cover other islands in the territory, the Mission should consider having a third CBS (for example the Foreign Service Administration Assistant) certified as an approver in PMP.

4.3.4 The Mission has noted that passport demand has increased (particularly during the holiday season) as Canadians frequently travel to the islands without their Canadian passport, but then cannot board the flight to return home. Both HQ and the Mission have been doing outreach to try to educate clients and these efforts will need to continue.

4.3.5 While the Mission has close communications with and provided letters of appointment to the HonCons, it does not provide an annual tasking letter or complete a performance assessment. As a best practise, the Mission and each HonCon should develop a memorandum of understanding (MOU) outlining responsibilities and eligible expenses so a basis exists for annual assessments and approved expenses.

4.3.6 While there is a separate Consular booth, most clients are served at the main window located in the Chancery lobby, allowing others in the waiting area to overhear the conversation. Consular staff should use the Consular booth for the majority of clients and the window as a secondary service point during periods of high volume. ***.

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.N/AN/AN/A
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 most internal controls are in place, improvements are required in the handling of revenue and the safeguarding of personnel information and assets.

4.4.2 To improve revenue processing, the Program should ensure that:

  1. a copy of the official receipt and a note informing clients that they should receive a receipt for any payment are displayed in the Consular booth;
  2. revenues are transferred to the Finance Section***
  3. the cash register void key is held by the MCO/DMCO so that void transactions are reviewed and approved;
  4. the cash register drawer is locked up and not left in the register at night;
  5. the reason for a void or no sale is noted on the receipt;
  6. void and no sale slips are attached to the revenue reconciliation document to ensure that receipts are consecutive;
  7. for notarial services, a copy of the receipt is included with the documents that are signed;
  8. *** float is established as a standing advance; and
  9. when completed, cash register main rolls are transferred to the Finance Section to be retained as part of the financial record.

4.4.3 HonCons, provided with emergency travel documents and other assets, submit inventory reports to the Mission on a monthly basis. Staff, however, are not consistently reconciling these assets during visits to the Consulates.

4.4.4 Consular case files containing personnel information are kept in ***. These filing cabinets should be locked and combinations stored properly.

4.5 Recommendations to the Mission

4.5.1 The MCO should obtain certification in PMP.

4.5.2 The Mission should investigate having a third passport approver certified to assist with passport delivery.

4.5.3 For each HonCon the Mission should:

  • prepare an annual tasking letter;
  • complete an annual written record of performance; and
  • establish an MOU outlining approved expenditures for reimbursement.

4.5.4 The Program should consistently use the Consular booth to meet with clients and use the window only as a secondary service point during periods of high volume.

4.5.5 The Program should ensure that the improvements to revenue processing, as noted in paragraph 4.4.2, are implemented.

4.5.6 The Program should reconcile inventories and assets held by the HonCons during visits by Mission staff.

4.5.7 The Mission should ensure that client information is stored securely.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

4.5.1 Noted and training underway. In progress for September 2011.

4.5.2 Action already taken with incoming PERPA PM to be PMP certified. Implemented.

4.5.3 Approved expenditures and accounting and administrative instructions for budgets and payments processing will be included as a separate, discrete section in the tasking letters for the HonCons. The draft letters are with the HOM and are to be sent out July 2011. Annual performance letters will be issued in the fourth quarter of this fiscal year. In progress for December 2011.

4.5.4 Noted and implemented in February 2011.

4.5.5 Implemented in February 2011. All nine points of the revenue processing changes have been implemented.

4.5.6 Noted and in progress for November 2011.

4.5.7 Implemented in February 2011.

Common Services

5.1 Overview

5.1.1 The Common Services Program is managed by the AS-06 MCO who is supported by a team of two CBS and 16 LES. The MCO has day-to-day responsibility for the Human Resources and Information Management-Information Technology functions, and is also the Mission Security Officer. The Program is responsible for providing common services to 44 employees in the three DFAIT and four partner programs.

5.1.2 The DMCO (who had prior postings as a Foreign Service Administration Assistant (FSAA) and worked at HQ as an FI Officer) ***. Due to this experience, the DMCO has been assigned day-to-day supervision over the Consular, Physical Resources and Finance functions, all of which require substantial oversight. As it is likely that his replacement will be a recent MCO graduate, the Mission should review and document the distribution of responsibilities between the MCO and DMCO in order to ensure proper training/mentoring for this position.

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 Prior to the arrival of the current MCO in 2009, there had been an extended period of short-term temporary duty MCOs. Since then, the Program has been working to ensure consistent applications of policies and procedures and to up-date required documentation.

5.1.4 The team works *** together and indicated that there is good communication through the use of bi-weekly unit head meetings and quarterly all Common Services and Consular Program staff meetings. Both the MCO and DMCO have open door policies and are seen by staff to be approachable.

5.1.5 Although the non-office staff are invited to meetings, as a best practice the MCO/DMCO should meet with these groups on a regular basis to allow for more targeted discussions.

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  
Any hub and spoke relationships are governed by an agreement outlining the roles and responsibilities of each mission.N/AN/AN/A

5.1.6 Internal clients noted satisfaction with the services provided by the Program. The Mission up-dated the Program's service standards in November 2010.

5.1.7 Under the Common Services Model, a Mission of this size and complexity may warrant a human resources assistant position. The Mission indicated that there is currently a vacant property project manager position that has never been staffed. The Mission should examine the tasking of the Administration Assistant and staff in the Physical Resources section to determine if duties are appropriately distributed and if a position is needed in the Program.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.1.8 The distribution of functional responsibilities between the MCO and the DMCO should be reviewed in order to ensure appropriate balance.

5.1.9 The DMCO/MCO should also meet separately with the non-office staff to provide the opportunity for the discussion of issues.

5.1.10 The Mission should conduct a workload evaluation of the Administration Assistant and staff in the Physical Resources section to determine appropriate distribution of tasks and positions.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.1.8 Noted and awaiting arrival of new DMCO. In progress for October 2011.

5.1.9 A schedule has been established where the DMCO will meet with this group every third Friday, commencing in August 2011.

5.1.10 Noted and in progress for September 2011.

5.2 Human Resources

5.2.1 The Human Resources (HR) function at the Mission is the responsibility of the MCO who is assisted by an LE-05 Administrative Assistant. The Mission is equipped with a mini-clinic and a contract nurse who provides medical services. In fiscal year 2010-2011, the Mission contracted a spouse to act as the Community Coordinator.

Program 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 Handbook.X  
The LESMCB is representative of Mission programs and levels and is utilized by both LES and mission management to facilitate communication. X 
An HR plan has been developed and submitted to 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 The LES Handbook was last updated in 1998, and the Mission's new LES Terms and Conditions are part of Phase II of the worldwide review. The current LES Handbook is available to staff. The Mission has completed an HR Plan and is formalizing Mission-specific polices such as for training.

5.2.3 As noted in paragraph 1.2.3, the Mission currently has an active LESMCB, however the Official Residence (OR) staff were not included in the election process nor do they receive minutes of meetings.

5.2.4 The Inspection Team met with the LES members of the LESMCB and the following issues were discussed:

  • current management is willing to engage and discuss LES concerns such as the health plan, pension and other benefits;
  • staff feel they are more comfortable in raising issues as the management team is monitoring progress;
  • the Board's first year priority was on improving morale and year two will be clarifying certain processes and procedures, such as staffing and grievance procedures;
  • there is a need to have a Mission-wide training framework and plan established to capture training needs identified in PMP.

5.2.5 The Program has started to use the Locally-Engaged Staff and HQ Workforce Programs Bureau (ALD) file checklists when reviewing/creating files in order to ensure that HR filing is complete. There is still work to be done to ensure that job descriptions are up-to-date.

5.2.6 Observations on PMPs, training and Official Languages are noted in the Mission Management section of this report.

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  

5.2.7 The Mission has an active Health and Safety Committee which sponsors training activities such as CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). While the Committee conducted an annual workplace inspection, it does not met the required nine times per year.

5.2.8 The Mission Report on the Intranet site is dated 2008 and should be reviewed and updated.

5.2.9 During the meeting with the CBS spouses, concerns were raised regarding the following items:

  • that they could not contribute to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) when employed as contractors at missions;
  • in countries where spouses are unable to work outside missions, there is frustration that there are only limited opportunities to work at the mission (i.e. work is not in their field of expertise or is low paying);
  • partner department spouses (especially those not from Ottawa) noted the difficulty in accessing training or information prior to posting and support upon return to Canada;
  • a need to expand pack-up kits as air shipments have been discontinued;
  • appreciative of the services of the community coordinator and the nurse; and
  • frustration with the health insurance company refusing payment for prescriptions and tests authorized by doctors outside Canada where the processes/systems are different.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.2.10 Job descriptions should be reviewed and updated. Once finalized they should be signed by incumbents and supervisors.

5.2.11 The Mission should ensure that OR staff are included in the LESMCB election process and receive minutes of meetings.

5.2.12 The Mission's Health and Safety Committee should meet nine times each year.

5.2.13 The Program should update the Mission Report.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.2.10 Implemented February 2011.

5.2.11 Noted for future action. There has not been a recent election for the LESMCB. When this concept was put into practice by HQ last year, the local staff met to choose their LESMCB representatives. These individuals have not yet changed.

5.2.12 Noted and will comply. In progress for July 2011.

5.2.13 Noted and in progress for July 2011.

5.3 Physical Resources

5.3.1 The Physical Resources function at the Mission is the responsibility of the DMCO who is assisted by an LE-07 Property Assistant, an LE-05 Materiel Assistant, an LE-04 Property Clerk, three Maintenance Assistants and three Drivers/Messengers. The Section maintains a Crown-owned Chancery, a Crown-owned Official Residence, seven Crown-owned staff quarters (SQs), five Crown-leased SQs and six vehicles.

Program 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 Residens (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  

5.3.2 Physical Resources planning is completed and documented annually through the Mission Property Management Plan (MPMP), the Mission Maintenance
Work Plan (MMWP) and a CMM approved annual materiel acquisition plan. Although there is no multi-year materiel acquisition plan, the Section has a database of SQ furniture which indicates the estimated replacement year. This database could be expanded to include capital resources at the Chancery, and used as a multi-year materiel acquisition plan.

5.3.3 The Mission has developed a work order system where staff submit a form detailing their request to the Section. However, some staff still make property requests by telephone or in person. The work orders are tracked manually by the Property Officer.

Client Service

5.3.4 Clients indicated that the Physical Resources team is client service oriented. Overall assets were in good condition and properly maintained. The Mission has initiated the practice of providing pre-briefing sessions for potential bidders on larger contracts.

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 pre-established 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 

5.3.5 Internal controls in place requiring improvement are detailed below.

5.3.6 The Mission has a shortage of storage space and is currently using an area in the maintenance assistants' office to store surplus assets. There is a large stockpile of furniture from a recently disposed SQ, which the Mission expects to use during the upcoming relocation season. ***

5.3.7 The Chancery inventory is recorded by room and is up-to-date. As a best practice, the occupant of each office should sign their office inventory. The Mission uses Materiel Transfer Vouchers (MTVs) to track the movement of Mission assets.

5.3.8 Although SQs are inspected on a regular basis, Occupancy Agreements are not always signed within 30 days of occupancy, nor are they signed by the HOM.

5.3.9 The Mission should take the following steps in order to improve the disposal process:

  • Open the disposal sale to CBS and others outside the Mission. If it is determined that the security situation precludes the Mission from opening the sale to the public, inviting staff from other diplomatic missions should be considered.
  • The following employees, their spouses and dependents should not participate in disposal sales (Materiel Management Manual (MMM), Section 7.1)
    • Housing Committee members
    • Former custodians of the materiel if they requested a replacement for the item
    • any staff involved in the disposal activities
  • Minimum bids should be set, using the Amortization Table for Calculating Remaining Value of Materiel found in Appendix B-3 of the MMM.
  • The Mission should seek HQ approval for all items being proposed for disposal.
  • HQ approval should be sought for all donations where the original purchase price was $1,000 or more.
  • Disposal forms should be completed in their entirety and approved by the HOM.
  • Copies of the Official Receipt given to clients should be attached to the file.
  • A written confirmation from the buyer stating that they took possession of the goods purchased should be kept on file.
  • The total amount recorded on the disposal form should match the total amount of the official receipts.
  • The disposal record should ensure that if multiple currencies are used, the exchange rate used to covert the amount to CAD is indicated.

5.3.10 ***. There is no keypress or register.

5.3.11 The Mission currently uses vehicle logs to track the use of Official Vehicles, however, the logs should include the elements listed below:

  • The destination, passenger and time of each trip;
  • The initials of the passenger after trip completion.

5.3.12 The Mission tracks vehicle fuel usage, purchases and maintenance performed in an spreadsheet developed by the Section. ***.

5.3.13 Vehicle maintenance does not appear to be performed on a regular basis, as per the manufacturer's recommendations. Vehicle logs did not include a clear record of maintenance performed.

5.3.14 The Mission has installed back-up generators at each SQ and the OR. The generators are well maintained by a contract company and Mission staff verify fuel and battery power levels monthly, however no log is kept.

5.3.15 The Mission has developed its own formula to determine the amount employees reimburse the Mission for yard maintenance. As this formula differs from that laid out in the Materiel Management Manual, the Mission should contact the Physical Resources Bureau (ARD) to ensure they are following the proper procedure.

5.3.16 The HOM is reimbursing the Mission for cable and internet expenses, but no system is in place to reimburse the Mission for consumables.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.3.17 The Mission should develop a multi-year materiel acquisition plan and table it at CMM for approval.

5.3.18 All work orders should be submitted using the work order form developed by the Property Section.

5.3.19 The Mission should consider using an electronic work order tracking system and should consider purchasing the departmentally approved system.

5.3.20 The Mission should investigate options ***.

5.3.21 Occupants of each office should sign their office inventory.

5.3.22 When an MTV is used, staff taking possession of the assets should sign the form.

5.3.23 Occupancy Agreements should be signed within 30 days of the CBS taking occupancy of the SQ and signed by the HOM.

5.3.24 The Mission should ensure the disposal process follows departmental guidelines as noted in paragraph 5.3.9.

5.3.25 *** installed ***. A key register should be used to sign out keys.

5.3.26 The Mission should ensure the vehicle logs include the elements noted in paragraph 5.3.11.

5.3.27 Vehicle maintenance should be performed on a regular basis and documented in the vehicle file.

5.3.28 The MCO or DMCO should verify fuel usage monthly and create a log for the back-up generators.

5.3.29 The Mission should contact ARD to ensure their formula to reimburse CBS for yard maintenance performed at SQs is in line with the Department's policy.

5.3.30 The Mission should develop a formula to determine the amount the HOM should reimburse for consumables used at the OR.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.3.17 Noted and will be actioned. In progress for August 2011.

5.3.18 Noted and staff were reminded. Implemented January 28, 2011.

5.3.19 Noted and will be investigated. In progress for September 2011.

5.3.20 Grills and pad locks were provided. Implemented March 2011.

5.3.21 Noted and in the process of being completed. In progress for July 2011.

5.3.22 Noted and actioned. Implemented January 28, 2011.

5.3.23 The 30 day deadline noted and in progress. As there is a significant CBS turnover this summer 2011, this process will be put into place during the turnover period.

5.3.24 Noted and in progress. There has not yet been a disposal since the Inspection but these processes will be put into place with the next sale.

5.3.25 Noted and actioned. Implemented June 15, 2011.

5.3.26 Both points have been implemented in the vehicle log books. Implemented January 28, 2011.

5.3.27 Noted and will be actioned. In progress for July 2011.

5.3.28 Noted and will be actioned. In progress for July 2011.

5.3.29 Implemented April 1, 2011. This issue was raised and discussed at the CMM. A new approach has been implemented.

5.3.30 Implemented February 2011. This issue was raised and discussed at the CMM and implemented.

5.4 Finance

5.4.1 The MCO is responsible for financial operations and is involved primarily with budget management, reviewing and approving the monthly bank reconciliation and providing advice and assistance. Day to day operations are the responsibility of the DMCO who is supported by an LE-07 Accountant and an LE-04 Assistant Accountant.

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 Overall the Finance function is *** managed and, with a few exceptions, has proper procedures and controls in place. There is no detailed workplan for the Section that highlights on-going expectations, special projects and significant events or requirements. While communications occur on a daily basis, periodic Section meetings with the DMCO, and at times with MCO, should be held to discuss Mission and Finance matters and to allow staff to raise issues and concerns. More involvement by the DMCO and MCO in on-going operations is required to ensure that they are aware of all procedures and controls in place and that these are in compliance with government and departmental policies.

5.4.3 Financial procedures have been developed and are available to staff and clients. Budget information, including travel and hospitality amounts, is reviewed by the MCO and presented to the CMM for discussion and review. The monthly financial forecast (FINSTAT) report is prepared by the DMCO and reviewed and approved by the HOM. Payment requests are processed *** and revenue deposits are made ***. Monthly bank reconciliations are prepared by the Accountant. Both the MCO and HOM review and approve the bank reconciliations.

5.4.4 The collection and processing of revenues is organized and well
controlled. The CIC Program accepts payment for visas through deposits made at the bank. All other services may be paid at the Mission by means of bank drafts only, as cash is not accepted. Payments are received *** enters the payment information into the CIC revenue accounting system (POS+). Revenue received is reconciled to the POS+ records and transferred to the Finance Section ***.

Client Service

5.4.5 Clients are *** with the level of service provided by the Finance Section. Service is provided within established standards and overall the Section is viewed ***.

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  

5.4.6 The contracting process is managed by the MCO and DMCO with the assistance of the Property Clerk. A Contract Review Board (CRB) is in place, chaired by the CE Program Manager. CRB terms of reference were reviewed and updated and are now waiting approval by Contracting Policy, Monitoring and Operations (SPP). Contracts over $10,000 are reviewed and approved by the CRB. Service contract information is entered into the Materiel Management module by the Property Clerk. As a best practice, the Property Clerk provides information sessions on the request for proposal process and requirements to contractors. This has reduced the number of disqualifications based on technicalities.

5.4.7 As noted there are areas where financial procedures and controls require improvement. The following recommendations are raised to augment the control framework in place or to alter existing procedures in order to comply with departmental policy.

Recommendations to the Mission

5.4.8 Banking documents, in particular monthly statements, should be directed to a CBS and all significant communication with the bank should be initiated by a CBS.

5.4.9 The Finance Section should establish quiet hours where focus can be given to processing tasks such as the payment run.

5.4.10 An official receipt should be issued to clients for all payments. It should indicated the amount of cheques and cash on it.

5.4.11 CIC and the Common Services Program should assess the possibility of having all service fees remitted to the bank.

5.4.12 Asset and liability accounts should be regularly reviewed by the MCO/DMCO.

5.4.13 The Mission should reconcile pro forma invoices to vendor statements to avoid duplicate payments.

5.4.14 The Mission should assess the possibility of downloading IMS directly to the bank system to eliminate duplicate entries and improve efficiency.

5.4.15 Requests sent to the Receptionist for vendor creation in IMS, should be copied to the MCO or DMCO.

5.4.16 The accountants should refer to the SMFQ (Financial Reporting and Audited Financial Statement) Intranet site to verify appropriateness of general ledger accounts when processing transactions.

5.4.17 The Finance Section should review cash register Z tape numbers with Consular revenue reconciliations to ensure they are consecutive.

5.4.18 The CRB should conduct spot checks of contracts under $10,000.

5.4.19 CRB minutes should be recorded and kept on file.

5.4.20 A back-up should be trained on the materiel management module to ensure coverage during absences and peak periods.

5.4.21 The Section should ensure that the last copy of an Official Receipt remains in the booklet so that the booklet can be used for verification purposes. All four copies of any voided/spoiled Official Receipts should remain in the booklet.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.4.8 Noted and actioned. Implemented February 1, 2011.

5.4.9 Implemented February 1, 2011. Quiet hours have been established, every Thursday from 11 am to 2 pm.

5.4.10 Noted and actioned. Implemented February 1, 2011.

5.4.11 CIC is considering setting-up Visa Application Centre Service (VACS) which would take care of service fee collections. In progress.

5.4.12 These are being reviewed. Implemented February 2011.

5.4.13 Noted and actioned. Implemented February 1, 2011.

5.4.14 Noted and will work with Financial Operations, Domestic and International (SMF) and the bank to see if this is possible. In progress.

5.4.15 Noted and actioned. Implemented February 1, 2011.

5.4.16 Noted and staff have been advised. Implemented February 1, 2011.

5.4.17 Noted and actioned. Implemented February 1, 2011.

5.4.18 Noted and the CRB has been advised. Implemented March 1, 2011.

5.4.19 Notes are kept on file. Implemented February 1, 2011.

5.4.20 Noted and will be actioned. In progress for October 2011.

5.4.21 Noted and actioned. Implemented February 1, 2011.

5.5 Information Management - Information Technology (IM-IT)

5.5.1 The Information Management Function is overseen by the MCO who is supported by an LE-08 and an LE-07 Locally Engaged Information Technology Professionals (LEITPs). The team reports to the Foreign Service Information Technology Professional (FSITP) in Bogota on technical issues and receive policy advice and direction from the Client Support Regional Manager (CSRM) in HQ. IT support is provided to 65 connected *** workstations and the Honorary Consulates in Montego Bay, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and the Turks and Caicos.

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 IT function is *** managed. The recent addition of a second LEITP has increased capacity and back-up. The junior LEITP has undergone an initial period of training. Roles and responsibilities have been established with the intention of exposing the new LEITP to all aspects of IT work. New initiatives are planned, for example providing clients with more training and assistance. The LEITPs work independently reacting to client requests and troubleshooting technical problems. The MCO provides guidance and support when required and the FSITP in Bogota provides assistance on more complex issues. The Section would benefit by developing and documenting a formal workplan that would identify major projects and proactive initiatives. This plan would be used by the MCO and FSITP to monitor performance, anticipate when their support is required and to report progress and results to the IT Committee.

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  

5.5.3 Client feedback regarding IT service *** response to requests made. InfoBank is supported and effectively used by clients. New initiatives and support are planned including setting up a training room to accommodate IT training, introducing videoconferencing in anticipation of CIDA decentralization and supporting CIC's new case management system.

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.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  

5.5.4 Overall, IM-IT processes and controls are effective. Backups are performed on a daily basis and stored offsite as per SIGNET standards. The Mission has *** as part of the BCP Kit which are tested monthly. ***.

Recommendation to the Mission

5.5.5 The Mission should develop a formal IT workplan identifying major projects, routine requirements, time lines and expected results.

Mission Action and Timeframe

5.5.5 This is part of the Program's overall work plan. Implemented March 2011.

Appendix A

Table 1: Mission Resources Fact Sheet of Physical Resources
Physical Resources
AssetsCrown OwnedCrown Leased
Chancery1-
Official Residence1-
Staff Quarters75
Vehicles0-

 

Table 2: Mission Resources Fact Sheet Financial Information
2009-2010 BudgetsProgram BudgetCommon Services Budget
Total$374,001$3,787,143
Operating (N001)$0$2,380,683
Capital (N005)$0$117,980
CBS Salaries (N011)$0$173,000
LES Salaries (N012)$374,001$1,115,480

Appendix B : Organization Chart

Organization Chart - Accessible version

Mission Organization Chart

Appendix C: Frequently Used Acronyms

BCP
- Business Continuity Plan
CBS
- Canada-based Staff
CMM
- Committee on Mission Management
COMIP
- Consular Management Information Program
CONPLAN
- Contingency Plan
CRB
- Contract Review Board
CSF
- Client Service Fund
EFT
- Electronic Funds Transfer
DMCO
- Deputy Management Consular Officer
FSITP
- Foreign Service Information Technology Professional
FTE
- Full Time Equivalent Position
FY
- Fiscal Year
GCS
- Global Commerce Strategy
GVC
- Global Value Chains
HOM
- Head of Mission
HONCON
- Honorary Consul
HQ
- Headquarters
HR
- Human Resources
HSZ
- High Security Zone
IBD
- International Business Development
ICT
- Information Communication Technologies
IM-IT
- Information Management - Information Technology
IMS
- Integrated Management System
LEITP
- Locally-engaged Information Technology Professional
LES
- Locally-engaged Staff
LESMCB
- LES Management Consultation Board
MCO
- Management Consular Officer
MFO
- Mission Financial Officer
MM
- Module Materiel Management Module
MMWP
- Mission Maintenance Work Plan
MOU
- Memorandum of Understanding
MSO
- Mission Security Officer
MPMP
- Mission Property Management Plan
NAAP
- North American Platform Program
OR
- Official Residence
OZ
- Operations Zone
PERPA
- Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs
PIF
- Post Initiative Fund
PM
- Program Manager
PMA
- Performance Management Agreement
PMP 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

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Date Modified:
2012-11-21