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Inspection of the Embassy of Canada in Vienna - Austria including The Permanent Mission of Canada to The International Organizations in Vienna and The Canadian Delegation to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe

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October 17-21, 2011

Table of Contents

 

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.

Inspection Scope and Objectives

            The scope of the inspection included a review of the two multilaterals, The Permanent Mission of Canada to the International Organizations in Vienna and The Canadian Delegation to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, as well as the overall Mission Management and the Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service, 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 Locally Engaged Staff Management Consultation Board (LESMCB), 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 the Embassy of Canada in Vienna was undertaken during the period of October 17 to 21, 2011. The review included mission management, the delivery of bilateral and multilateral programs as well as consular and common services. An audit of these programs took place in 2006.

The Embassy in Vienna is a medium-sized mission with 24 Canada-based Staff (CBS) and 47 Locally Engaged Staff (LES). It is responsible for departmental program delivery in Austria and provides a platform for the Permanent Mission of Canada to the International Organizations in Vienna (VPERM), the Canadian Delegation to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (VOSCE), as well as Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and Public Safety. The mission also provides some services to the Quebec Immigration Office in Vienna, as well as the Canadian missions in Prague, Bratislava and Budapest.

The Head of Mission (HOM) demonstrates *** leadership and is supported by a cohesive and engaged management team. The programs work well together and effectively deliver activities in alignment with Government of Canada priorities. The HOM is responsible for the operations of all three missions and acts as the Ambassador to Austria and the Permanent Representative to the International Organizations in Vienna, which include the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), and the third largest UN headquarters, the UN Office in Vienna (UNOV). The program manager responsible for VOSCE holds the title of Ambassador to the OSCE.

Mission management has benefitted greatly from a strong interaction between the different program managers. This synergy is particularly noteworthy between the HOM and the Management Consular Officer (MCO) whose mutual support has resulted in the implementation of many best practices in the mission.

LES members of the Locally Engaged Staff Management Consultation Board (LESMCB) are elected and provide good representation from a cross-section of the mission. Regular meetings have facilitated good rapport with management and ongoing dialogue with the HOM. No major issues were raised to the inspection team by LES members.

The primary program delivery challenge faced by the mission is that there are only two support positions for 15 officers covering bilateral and multilateral programs (VPERM, VOSCE, Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service (FPDS) and Commercial Economic (CE)). The administrative support positions are assigned to the VOSCE and CE programs and only assist the VPERM and the FPDS programs for about one hour per day.

VPERM is operating at full capacity to meet its obligations with respect to three international organizations, with high-profile engagement in nuclear non-proliferation, safety and security in the IAEA and supporting substantial Canadian funding programs to UNOV and IAEA. VPERM also provides significant representation, services and support to various federal government departments and departmental branches. However, the lack of program support has had a significant impact on VPERM’s ability to effectively manage information, coordinate activities and maintain reasonable workloads. The mission’s activities are closely linked to the agendas of the organizations to which it is accredited, often involving long meetings and large volumes of paperwork. Additional administrative support would allow officers to focus on substantive, value-added work.  Notwithstanding the resource issue, VPERM plays a distinctive leadership role in all three international organizations, thereby contributing effectively to Canada’s security, as well as the institutional reform and international governance agendas.

VOSCE is organized, strategic in its engagement and operating in a cohesive manner. The delegation is small but adheres strictly to its priorities, delivering fewer interventions than in the past and not sending representatives to low priority meetings. However, Canada is still recognized as a leader within the like-minded group and VOSCE’s efforts on institutional reform have been noted. Our silence on lower priority topics has had the benefit of underlining the importance of the interventions Canada does deliver.

A total of 36 inspection recommendations are raised in the report. In total, 35 are addressed to the Mission and one is addressed to headquarters. Management has responded to each recommendation indicating action already taken or decisions made, as well as future action. Of the 36 recommendations, management has stated that 17 have been implemented. For each of the remaining 19 recommendations, management has indicated the initiatives in progress or the intended future action.

Mission Management

1.1 Overview

1.1.1 The Embassy in Vienna is a medium-sized mission with 24 Canada-based Staff (CBS) and 47 Locally Engaged Staff (LES). It is responsible for departmental program delivery in Austria and provides a platform for Canada’s Permanent Mission to the International Organizations in Vienna (VPERM), the Delegation to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (VOSCE), as well as Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and Public Safety. The mission also provides some services to the Quebec Immigration Office in Vienna, as well as the Canadian missions in Prague, Bratislava and Budapest.

1.1.2 The mission is managed by an EX-03 Head of Mission (HOM) who oversees operating and capital budgets of approximately $10 million and $100 thousand respectively. The mission’s property portfolio includes a Crown-leased Chancery, a Crown-owned Official Residence (OR) and 21 Crown-leased staff quarters (SQs).

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  
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 representative of mission programs and employee levels, and is utilized by both LES and mission management to facilitate communication.X  
Mission Management ensures that employees remain informed of key priorities and common services policy decisions.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 Head of Mission (HOM) is well supported by his management team. Overall, the team is cohesive, works well together and effectively delivers activities in alignment with the stated priorities of the Government of Canada. The HOM is responsible for the operations of all three missions and acts as the Ambassador to Austria and the Permanent Representative to the International Organizations in Vienna, which include the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), and the third largest UN headquarters, the UN Office in Vienna (UNOV). The Program Manager (PM) responsible for VOSCE holds the title of Ambassador to the OSCE.

1.2.2   The Mission Planning and Reporting (MPR) tool is in place and used as a means to synthesize strategic and policy guidance, providing clear direction to mission programs. Three MPRs are in place in this combined bilateral and multilateral mission. Outcomes identified in the MPR are derived through extensive consultation with program managers (PMs) and approved by the HOM. Departmental priorities and objectives are also reflected in the annual performance management process, in which the HOM establishes high-level goals and ensures that these cascade down to program manager performance objectives, as appropriate.

1.2.3   The HOM and the MCO have worked  *** well together to implement a number of best practices in the administration of the mission, such as internal client consultation, clear recorded policies and procedures, information documents for employees and regular internal communication.

1.2.4    The LES members of the LESMCB are elected and provide good representation from a cross-section of mission staff. Regular meetings have facilitated good rapport with management and ongoing dialogue with the HOM. It was noted that LES would like to see staff receive their outstanding long-service awards as they serve to recognize the valuable contributions of these employees to the mission. As well, they would like to better understand how job classifications and levels are determined.

1.2.5   The primary challenge facing the mission is a general lack of appropriate program support; there are only two support positions for 15 officers (VPERM, VOSCE, FPDS and CE). The support positions are assigned to VOSCE and the CE program and provide only limited assistance (approx. one hour per day) to VPERM and the FPDS program. While the political program is small and has managed with limited support, the impact on VPERM has been significant.

1.2.6   A recommendation for more program support is made in the VPERM section of this report. Generally speaking, the challenges associated with multilateral posts differ significantly from those engaged in traditional bilateral work. Workloads for multilateral posts are usually dictated by the agenda of the host organization, involving long meetings and significant amounts of information and material. A lack of program support creates significant challenges with respect to managing information, coordinating activities and assigning back-up responsibilities.

1.2.7   Under the HOM’s leadership, the mission has also demonstrated leadership through participation in HQ-based pilot projects on social media and risk management.   ***.  

1.3 Whole of Government

Key Whole of Government CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Mechanisms are in place to ensure a whole of government approach is taken for mission and program planning.X  
Mission and program plans are implemented in a coordinated manner to ensure policy coherence and effectively leverage the Canadian presence.X  
Partner departments contribute to the overall effective governance of the mission and its operations.X  
Common Services are provided in line with the memorandum of understanding and any issues are addressed at CMM.X  

1.3.1   The mission benefits from a strong and cohesive management team. Cooperation and collaboration is reinforced at the CMM and, when possible, through joint planning and project implementation. Discussions with partner department program managers noted a high degree of satisfaction with the common services provided and highlighted the programs’ solution-oriented approach.

1.3.2   VPERM also provides considerable representation, coordination and support to the programs and interests of partner departments in the international organizations in Vienna - a reflection of the extensive whole-of-government role played by the mission.

1.4 Management Controls

Key Management Control CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Mission committees are meeting regularly and effectively discharging their governance responsibilities. X 
A Mission Emergency Plan (MEP) is in place and tested regularly. X 
Security policies and regulations are respected and promoted.X  
The quarterly reconciliation of passport inventory is properly completed and certified.X  
Program managers are provided regular financial/budget updates to facilitate effective management and decision making.X  
Bank reconciliations are properly reviewed and signed-off on a monthly basis.X  
Mission hospitality guidelines are appropriate and reviewed 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  
The Honorary Consul (HonCon) has an up-to-date mandate letter and performance is reviewed annually.N/A

1.4.1   Overall, key management controls were in place and operating effectively. Areas for improvements were, nevertheless, identified:

  • The roles and responsibilities of the Security Management Committee and its members were not clear to all committee members;
  • The Occupational Health and Safety Committee failed to meet nine times per year, as required under law;
  • The mission had not yet put in place a Mission Emergency Plan;
  • Annual emergency drills were limited to fire response scenarios; and
  • Hospitality records did not always fully document activities and evaluate their value for money.

1.5 Official Languages

Key Official Languages CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
The Official Languages Act is respected and promoted by Mission Management. 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  

1.5.1 The mission is able to provide services to clients in both official languages. However, some internal communications are only conducted in one language due to employees’ language profiles. The mission should seek to promote the use of both official languages within the mission whenever possible.

1.6 Recommendations to the Mission

1.6.1 Evaluations of hospitality events should better demonstrate the results of an event and linkages to overall strategic objectives.

1.6.2 The mission should ensure that an Occupational Health and Safety Committee meets at least nine times per year, in line with legal requirements.

1.6.3 Emergency drill plans should be expanded to include a variety of events and scenarios.

1.6.4 Efforts should be made to enhance the use of both official languages within the mission.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

1.6.1 Managers have been advised to re-enforce the evaluation and demonstrate the results and their linkages with objectives and monitoring will continue.  Implemented March 2012.

1.6.2 Terms of Reference have been amended and members have been informed of the legal requirements and will meet accordingly. Implemented March 2012.

1.6.3 Other scenarios were tested at the OR during a workshop. The Mission has been in contact with the City of Vienna who is willing to assist in testing other potential situations. In Progress for October 2012.

1.6.4 Mission will make efforts in promoting the use of Official Languages whenever possible. In Progress.

The Permanent Mission of Canada to the International Organizations in Vienna (VPERM)

2.1 Overview

2.1.1 The Permanent Mission of Canada to the International Organizations in Vienna (VPERM) is headed by the EX-03 HOM. Operationally, VPERM is led by an FS-04 Program Manager (PM) who is supported by three Canada-based Staff (FS-04, and two FS-03). The mission receives minor administrative assistance, amounting to about an hour each week, from an LE-06 who primarily reports to VOSCE. VPERM’s financial resources are provided below.

Budget2011-2012
Operations$4,000
Travel1,800
Hospitality9,200
Overtime15,000
Total$30,000

2.1.2 VPERM is accredited to the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA), the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) and the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), as well as a number of smaller multilateral groups, committees and arrangements. The IAEA and the UNODC are the principal drivers of VPERM’s day-to-day work.

2.1.3 Canada is among the top ten contributors to the IAEA and the top three to the UNODC, providing over $20 million per year in combined voluntary and assessed contributions. In recent years, Canada has also pledged additional financial support through the Counter-Terrorism Capacity Building Program, the Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program and the Global Peace and Security Fund.

2.1.4 Throughout the Fukushima nuclear disaster, officers at VPERM expended an enormous amount of effort to provide headquarters with advice and intelligence as well as interpret the technical information from stakeholders at the IAEA. These contributions were crucial to Canada’s making informed and timely decisions in response to the crisis.

2.1.5 The international organizations in Vienna address a broad spectrum of issues that relate directly to Government of Canada priorities, including playing a key role in high priority files ***. As a result, VPERM is very active and works with a number of stakeholders across the government to represent, advocate and report on issues of whole-of-government importance. Key themes addressed by the mission are identified below.

  • Multilateral institution reform
    • Management, accountability, transparency and formulation
  • Nuclear issues
    • Non-proliferation, safety, security, safeguards, technical cooperation, nuclear test-ban treaty support and radiological/health issues
  • Crime prevention and criminal justice
    • Counter-narcotics, international drug and pharmaceutical regulation, corruption, identity crime, economic fraud, counter-terrorism financing, anti-money laundering, migrant smuggling/human trafficking, maritime piracy, emerging crimes such as cybercrime, cultural property crime and environmental crime
  • Export control
    • Nuclear and dual-use items and conventional and dual-use items

2.2 Planning and Program Management

Key Program Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Plans are aligned with the priorities and objectives outlined in the mission plan and informed by departmental and geographic bureau guidance and objectives. X 
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, VPERM is  *** managed and the mission operates as a cohesive team. The PM has clearly identified roles and responsibilities for team members and delegates accordingly. During periods of intense activity, the PM ensures that he takes the time to provide additional support and guidance to officers. Strong formal and informal communication was noted. Weekly meetings are held with the entire team, including the HOM, but minutes are not recorded. The mission would benefit from a short record of key activities and decisions to facilitate follow-up.

2.2.2 The volume of demands VPERM receives from partners puts significant stress on the mission’s operations as it is not sufficiently resourced to meet these growing stakeholder expectations. At present, VPERM works directly with a multitude of departmental divisions and over ten other federal departments and agencies, in addition to stakeholders from Canada’s nuclear industry. Each year, the mission provides assistance to dozens of visiting delegations that attend international events as well as regular and special meetings. In light of recent budget constraints, it was noted that partners are increasingly requesting that the mission attend meetings on their behalf and report on outcomes.

2.2.3 Planning and priority setting is working well on a day-to-day basis. VPERM has its own Mission Planning and Reporting (MPR) document which guides activities and links objectives to departmental priorities. However, VPERM observed that more could be done to link its multilateral work to the higher priority thematic objectives of the department. As well, it was noted that the MPR does not sufficiently articulate a whole-of-government approach, nor is there another planning tool that sufficiently outlines partners’ priorities and expectations. This information gap hampers VPERM’s ability to set well-defined and measurable objectives and, ultimately, impacts effective program management.

2.3 Implementation

Key Whole of Government 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.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 programs needs and objectives.X  
Relations with other mission programs facilitate program delivery (e.g. public affairs).X  
The program facilitates a mission-wide coordinated approach to advocacy and common messaging.X  

2.3.1 Considering that the delegation is small and consists solely of CBS officers, VPERM is effectively implementing its plans. The HOM, as Permanent Representative to the three international organizations, is actively and constantly engaged in supporting the mission. Activities and work plans support VPERM objectives and focus on providing information and analysis and ensuring policy integration. To improve efficiencies in document management and triage, the mission has contracted a temporary employee to address administrative backlogs and review its systems.

2.3.2 In 2006, based on high workloads, an audit team recommended that the mission solicit additional resources in order to more effectively pursue the full range of Canada’s interests at its accredited organizations. However, given budgetary constraints at headquarters, no request was made. Subsequently, the Canadian Embassy in Vienna was restructured following Strategic Review, resulting in the elimination of VPERM’s CBS administrative assistant position and a reduction in LES support from full time to one hour per week.

2.3.3 VPERM’s current organizational structure needs review. Administrative support is insufficient when compared to the needs of the mission, especially considering the large volume of documents to be triaged for consultation or analysis and the logistical requirements of organizing delegations and registering visitors for meetings and other official representations. At times, officers have struggled to keep pace with the rising demands of their positions while seeing to various program support functions. Furthermore, workloads are difficult to manage pro-actively given that VPERM must respond to the multi-lateral organizations’ evolving agendas, external crises and the needs and interests of partners.  These workload challenges have been exacerbated by the reduction one year ago in the overtime budget from $45,000 to $15,000.  When combined with the downgrading of the program head position from an EX-01 to an FS-04, this budget is now shared amongst all four CBS.  This results in a per officer reduction of overtime from $15,000 to $3,750, making it extremely difficult to cover UN and other multilateral meetings, which are usually scheduled to run after standard working hours.  Additionally, it provides the program with little to no flexibility to manage any crises or unforeseen events.

2.3.4 VPERM and headquarters will have to develop a strategy to manage the additional workload expected during Canada’s one-year Chairmanship of the Board of Governors of the IAEA (beginning September 2012). The HOM will serve as the IAEA Chairperson and coordinate the five or six week-long board meetings. During this period, the mission’s PM will serve as Canada’s voting representative on the Board of Governors. Additional support would be especially valuable given that the HOM must already carefully manage his responsibility to both the bilateral and multilateral missions. Efforts should be made to provide support to the HOM during peak periods, including considering the assignment of a temporary duty officer.

2.3.5 While DFAIT stakeholders are content with the reporting emanating from the mission, little feedback has been received from partners. Officers at the mission expressed concern that the volume (about 700 reports per year) may not be sustainable. To address this challenge and align the mission with current reporting standards, VPERM could transition to short, possibly point-form, reports with a focus on analysis.

2.3.6 The expertise of VPERM’s officers has been recognized by both internal and external stakeholders. Considering the technical complexity of nuclear issues, this must continue to be a critical qualification considered during recruitment and talent management exercises. To encourage further file-specific professional development, VPERM would benefit from additional training funds so that officers may take advantage of opportunities that exist outside of the public service.

2.4 Performance Measurement

Key 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 strategies / 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  

VPERM’s performance measurement is hampered by the issues identified in the sections above, namely the absence of clear priorities from other departments and agencies and the corresponding lack of measureable objectives. High workloads further limit the time the mission has to elaborate forward-looking strategies and review performance.

While progress toward medium to long-term objectives can be difficult to measure, using short-term outcomes, such as volume, focus or quality of reporting and activities, as well as feedback from clients, would facilitate better performance measurement. These same elements may be incorporated into employee PMPs to articulate individual contributions to broader objectives.

2.5 Recommendations to the Mission

2.5.1 VPERM should be provided with a dedicated administrative resource to ensure the mission can efficiently fulfill its mandate.

2.5.2 VPERM, in consultation with IDD, should develop a plan to manage the additional workload that will be associated with Canadachairing the IAEA Board of Governors.

2.5.3 Records of key discussions and decisions at staff meetings should be kept and shared to follow-up on the implementation of activities and initiatives.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

2.5.1 VPERM has again requested the creation of a new admin assistant position and is awaiting decision by HQ. In Progress for April 30th, 2012

2.5.2 A list of options has been developed with by VPERM with the assistance of HQ. Mission is awaiting decision by HQ. In Progress for April 30th, 2012.

2.5.3 Decisions taken at key weekly meetings will be kept and shared as appropriated to ensure follow up. In Progress for April, 2012

Recommendations to the International Security Bureau (IDD)

2.5.4 IDD, in consultation with VPERM, should develop a mechanism to clearly identify the strategic priorities of partner departments and agencies vis-à-vis the mission’s work. An agreement should be put in place to manage partners’ service requests in accordance with mission resources.

Headquarters Actions and Timeframes

2.5.4 VPERM is drawing up, for IDA's approval, a set of service standards which will then be communicated to OGDs.  These will be completed by summer.  In Progress.

Canadian Delegation to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (VOSCE)

3.1 Overview

3.1.1 The Canadian Delegation to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (VOSCE) is led by a Program Manager with the title of Ambassador (an EX-01 position). She is supported by four CBS officers (a L.Col.; two FS-03s; and an FS-01) as well as one Program Coordinator (LE-06). VOSCE’s financial resources are provided below.

Budget2011-2012
Operations$8,600
Travel21,400
Hospitality15,000
Overtime (CBS)15,000
Total$60,000

3.1.2 Canada’s engagement at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is important to our global governance and security agenda. It is an arena where European nations and important extra-regional players, such as the US and Russia, address emerging issues, including conflicts in the Caucasus and fragile states in Central Asia.

3.1.3 VOSCE works to advance many Canadian priorities including building the security and stability of Afghanistan and its neighbourhood and addressing transnational threats and security challenges in the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian regions. VOSCE advocates for the modernization and strengthening of Conventional Arms Control Regimes and OSCE Confidence-and Security-Building Measures. The delegation promotes multilateral accountability and reinforces the importance of these institutions in supporting human rights, democracy and the rule of law in the region, including through election monitoring.

3.2 Planning and Program Management

Key Program Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Plans are aligned with the priorities and objectives outlined in the mission plan and informed by departmental and geographic bureau guidance and objectives.X  
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  

3.2.1 Overall, VOSCE is organized, strategic in its engagement and operating in a cohesive manner. Individual roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and a well-organized backup system is in place to provide coverage during absences or travel. Although officers tend to work independently with little thematic cross-over, strong formal and informal communication was noted. The Ambassador leads weekly meetings with the entire team and ensures that minutes are recorded.

3.2.2 VOSCE has its own Mission Planning and Reporting (MPR) document which guides activities and links objectives to departmental priorities. Each year, following the OSCE Ministerial Council meeting and the Organization’s dissemination of priorities, the mission holds a planning retreat to set new objectives, establish an engagement plan and prepare the foundations for the following fiscal year’s MPR. This approach ensures that VOSCE’s plan is relevant and serves its purpose in guiding the mission to advance Canadian interests.

3.2.3 Pro-active planning bolsters the mission’s ability to adapt to peak work periods or emerging crises. Although VOSCE experienced a large CBS turnover during the 2011 rotation period, new officers have adapted well and are fully engaged in their files. Upon arrival, the mission provided each officer with a detailed list of their responsibilities, documentation relevant to their files, as well as a package that outlined mission objectives and the OSCE priorities. This approach expedites officers’ transition and reinforces the mission’s business continuity.

3.3 Implementation

Key Whole of Government 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.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 programs needs and objectives.X  
Relations with other mission programs facilitate program delivery (e.g. public affairs).X  
The program facilitates a mission-wide coordinated approach to advocacy and common messaging.X  

3.3.1 VOSCE is working actively to cover its key responsibilities and advance Canadian interests at the OSCE. Individual and team plans are strategic, and mission activities are aligned with the overall key priorities. The delegation works with other programs at the Embassy when appropriate, although the nature of its work sees it liaising more with headquarters and partner departments and agencies. Relations with DND are particularly strong, with a DND officer fully incorporated into VOSCE’s reporting structure. One challenge is that this officer must adhere to DND’s domestic hospitality policy, which applies additional limits to the use of hospitality funds.

3.3.2 VOSCE had a CBS AS-02 position cut following Strategic Review. At present, the delegation is quite lean, as was noted during conversations with like-minded HOMs accredited to the OSCE. However, the current structure is working well. VOSCE adheres strictly to its priorities; the delegation delivers fewer interventions than it has in the past and Canada is not represented at all meetings. Nevertheless, Canada is still recognized as a leader within the like-minded group and VOSCE’s efforts on institutional reform have been noted. Our silence on lower priority topics has had the benefit of underlining the importance of the interventions Canada does deliver.

3.3.3 VOSCE will undergo a significant leadership change in ***. Effective planning and high quality hand-over notes will be essential to ensuring mission momentum during the transition.

3.3.4 VOSCE’s approach to contact management is sufficient considering that the majority of its network falls within the OSCE and accredited countries. However, additional value could be provided by maintaining a centralized document which identifies the key contacts. This type of record can be especially useful during absences, transitions or crises.

3.3.5 At present, VOSCE utilizes a shared network drive which has some limitations in terms of access outside of the mission. It would be beneficial to transition to the standard network drive (i:\) drive and apply the appropriate protections to restrict access. Similarly, VOSCE should develop a system to manage and store ***.

3.4 Performance Measurement

Key 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 strategies / 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  

3.4.1 VOSCE communicates high-level results and program achievements through the MPR system. Results are well documented and covered in good detail but more could be done to identify best practices and specific areas for improvement. Overall, a more careful selection of performance indicators will make evaluation easier and more beneficial to program management.

3.4.2 The PM/Ambassador’s PMA and employees’ PMPs are kept up to date and used to review individual performance and overall contributions to the mission’s objectives. Hospitality funds demonstrate value-for-money and are used in alignment with mission priorities. Greater attention could be paid to the quality and consistency of the evaluation of events and activities.

Recommendations to the Mission

3.5.1 The mission should use the MPR’s year-end assessment to outline specific areas for improvement and identify practices that were central to positive outcomes. The selected performance indicators should be measureable and related to objectives that are under the mission’s control.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

3.5.1 VOSCE has begun implementing training for its Delegation members to improve the use of results-based indicators in work plans and performance reports. This will be applied in finalizing VOSCE's MPR 2011-12 Year-End Assessment, and in developing the MPR for 2012-13. In Progress for May 2012.

Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service (FPDS)

4.1 Overview

4.1.1 The FPDS program is responsible for bilateral relations with Austria and consists of an FS-03 Program Manager supported by an LE-07 Public Affairs Officer. The program’s administrative support is provided by an LE-05 Trade Commissioner Assistant, limited to approximately one hour per day and focussed on International Experience Canada (IEC). The program’s financial resources are provided below.

Budget2011-2012
Operations $12,941
Travel6,500
Hospitality11,161
Post Initiative Fund6,600
Total $37,202

4.1.2 Austria provides a window onto developments in Central and Eastern Europe, and the Western Balkans. Its capital, Vienna, remains an important venue for international conferences and seat to a number of key international organizations. However, with the increased importance of the EU, the bilateral program was reduced in size following Strategic Review, losing an LE-07 officer and an LE-05 assistant.

4.1.3 The FPDS program’s priorities are focussed on raising awareness and support for the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), advancing interests through advocacy on energy, environment, international security and the arctic, and increasing engagement on democracy, human rights, religious freedom and inter-cultural dialogue.

4.2 Planning and Program Management

Key FPDS Program Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
FPDS plans are aligned with the priorities and objectives outlined in the mission plan and informed by departmental and geographic bureau guidance and objectives.X  
FPDS 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  

4.2.1 Overall, the program is functioning well and benefits from a good level of formal and informal communication. With limited staff, roles and responsibilities are clear and adapt to the priorities of the program and the mission.

4.2.2 The FPDS program takes the lead on developing the bilateral mission plan and consults across the bilateral mission to determine priorities and ensure alignment with government objectives. The FPDS program also has a structured work plan that outlines key activities and facilitates workload planning. At present, this tool is structured thematically (e.g. political affairs, academic affairs) but does not clearly link to program objectives or identify expected outcomes. Reorienting the plan around key objectives (e.g. developing and monitoring support for CETA) and articulating outcomes and expected results at the macro level would improve it and help to ensure the program focuses on results.

4.3 Implementation

Key FPDS 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 FPDS 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 programs needs and objectives.X  
Relations with other mission programs facilitate program delivery (e.g. public affairs).X  
The program facilitates a mission-wide coordinated approach to advocacy and common messaging.X  

4.3.1 Overall, the program is working hard to achieve its objectives within its limited resource base. Consultations are held regularly with other mission programs and an effort is made to contribute to mission and departmental initiatives (e.g. social media pilot, etc.)  Due to the program’s small size and the HOM’s varied responsibilities, a good deal of effort is expended in support of the HOM’s bilateral activities. The HOM provides support to the FPDS program through strategic and operational direction, expanding contact networks and effective use of the official residence for hospitality activities.

4.3.2 The program manager has dedicated a good deal of time to a number of important initiatives and activities, including:

  • Delivering demarches on the European Fuel Quality Directive;
  • Advocating on Canada's diversity and integration policies and programs;
  • Organizing meetings and events as part of the mission’s responsibility as the contact point embassy for the NATO Partnership for Peace (since 2011);
  • Integrating FPDS work with that of the CE program; and
  • Leading mission participation in the HQ-drive social media pilot project.

4.3.3 Academic and cultural activities currently dominate the program’s activities. This is likely due to a combination of the ***  and the local context, which attaches great value to these domains. Nevertheless, the program manager will need to ensure that all activities further the program’s strategic objectives and that the officer has the resources necessary to appropriately expand her skills and contacts.

4.3.4 Similarly, the program’s advocacy strategy should be adapted to focus more on advancing core mission objectives with targeted audiences. While culture is a useful vehicle with which to engage decision makers, there is a larger than expected emphasis on academic and cultural contacts in advocacy and hospitality activities. Adapting the audience to fit the objectives generate more significant results and strengthen the program’s network.

4.3.5 The academic relations activities of the mission are primarily directed at providing support to Canadian studies centres in Austria, both through facilitating funding requests and participation in events. While it is important to support these centres, the program needs to expand its efforts into other areas, such as fostering academic connections in areas of policy importance for Canada.

4.3.6 Discussions with the geographic bureau and a review of reports indicated a need for greater strategic focus in reporting. The program should place emphasis on issues of emerging importance and validate their chosen subject matter and approach with headquarters ahead of drafting. It is equally important for the geographic to provide ongoing feedback and direction to the mission to ensure reporting remains on target and value-added.

4.4 Performance Measurement

Key FPDS 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 strategies / 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 

4.4.1 The program works to assess performance through the use of the year-end assessment in the mission planning and reporting tool. As noted previously, however, the FPDS work plan is largely activity based and does not articulate expected results. By defining objectives and outcomes at the program level, the program will improve its ability to measure and evaluate performance.

4.4.2 Hospitality activities were, for the most part, properly documented and in alignment with mission objectives. However, the evaluations of events did not always adequately demonstrate whether an objective was furthered and what follow-up activities should occur. This is an important element in demonstrating value for money.

4.5 Recommendations to the Mission

4.5.1 The FPDS work plan should be enhanced through greater emphasis on alignment with strategic priorities and the articulation of expected results at the program level.

4.5.2 Key stakeholders should be engaged in regular dialogue to define and update areas of strategic interest for political and economic reporting.

4.5.3 Activities related to cultural and academic affairs should be more closely aligned with core mission objectives and, where possible, focussed on longer-term outcomes.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

4.5.1 The FPDS workplan was restructured to show activities flowing from priorities and to reflect anticipated results. Priorities will be drawn directly from MPR, consulted with and approved by HQ partners. In Progress for May 2012.

4.5.2 A draft reporting agreement was discussed with the geographic in November; to be updated following further consultations with : GUB, GUA, GLB, Energy Secretariat, MER, IDR, BNATO, Regional Posts.  Semi-annual updates and regular consultations with GUB.The Public Affairs Officer will focus on developing contacts and subject matter familiarity in priority sectors such as energy, economics, security, and/or integration. In Progress for May 2012.

4.5.3 The evaluation of PIF, Hospitality and Travel spending in 2011-12 and planning for 2012-13 will include explicit link to priorities. The Section is focussing outreach to link Canadian Studies to priority sectors, including security and the Arctic, inadvance of Political Science section chairing Canadian Studies Association conference. Will support with Social Media, PIF expenditures. In Progress for February 2013.

Commercial Economic(CE)

5.1 Overview

5.1.1 The CE program in Vienna is managed by an FS-03 Senior Trade Commissioner (STC) who is supported by three Trade Commissioners (two LE-09 and one LE-07) and an LE-05 Trade Commissioner Assistant (TCA). A small portion of the TCA’s time (one hour per week) is allocated to support the FPDS program. The resources available to the program are as follows.

Budget2011-2012
Operations$9,839
Travel13,000
Hospitality22,322
Base Client Service Fund (CSF)20,000
Other (see CE Plan)109,650
Total$174,811

5.1.2 Austria is a small European market with a population of 8 million people. However, it possesses a stable economy and high purchasing power; it is the fourth richest country in Europe on a per capita basis. In addition to investment opportunities, Austria has potential as a partner in innovation through its demonstrated leadership in specific niche technologies that could help Canadian companies enhance their competitiveness. The program’s priority sectors are building products and construction, electric power equipment and services, and information and communication technologies.

5.2 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  

5.2.1 Overall, the team works well together and is dedicated to the implementation of their action plans. Trade commissioners are provided with the direction and support required to do their job. The STC’s communication style *** and performance goals and objectives are clear. Staff PMPs are in place and are discussed in mid-year reviews.

5.2.2 While roles and responsibilities are clearly defined, some concern was raised with respect to a perceived similarity between performance objectives and expectations for the LE-07 and LE-09 positions. The STC will need to ensure that roles and performance expectations are consistent with position levels.  Opportunities to take on more complex work should still be offered as a means to address the need for succession planning and professional development.

5.2.3 A review of CE business plans found that greater attention is required on the overall planning process and the alignment of activities to objectives. Significant inconsistencies with respect to priorities and results potentially arose from reusing sections of the text from previous years and a lack of attention to detail. Examples include:

  • The plan identifies three priority sectors while the related text provides details on four.
  • Quantitative results achieved for a given sector during 2010-2011 were reported differently from year-to-year.
  • The 2011-12 CE plan’s financial resources summary identifies approximately $81,000 in variances between the resources budgeted and those allocated in the action plans.

5.2.4 While some of the discrepancies could be as a result of the timing of the planning exercises for the next fiscal year and new financial procedures implemented by HQ, it is important that plans be accurate and updated regularly.

5.2.5 The program has set quantitative performance targets for each priority sector. However, inconsistencies in the planning process (noted above) and concerns related to the consistent use of TRIO (addressed later in this section) indicate that performance expectations are not clear and therefore difficult to measure effectively.

5.3 Implementation

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 
InfoCentre functions are assigned and facilitate program delivery. X 

5.3.1 The CE program proactively seeks to identify opportunities for clients and has a well-developed network in both Austria and Canada. The program primarily focuses on investment and the HOM is  *** active in supporting CE outcalls and in opening doors to Austrian companies. A strategic outcall plan is in place, incorporating guidance provided by headquarters and identifying areas where HOM support is required.

5.3.2 Discussions indicated that Austrian companies excel in niche markets and their technologies and approaches could benefit Canadian companies. While there is a good focus on outcalls related to investment promotion, the program appears to place a high degree of reliance on large trade promotion events and activities to pursue other program objectives, such as innovation and general trade promotion. While these events can be used as one element of a strategy, additional focus needs to be placed on the development and implementation of an innovation strategy that aims to help Canadian companies compete in the global marketplace.  The program had begun a survey of existing innovation linkages between Austria and Canada in the fall of 2011, but the general understanding of the innovation agenda and related strategies was limited.

5.3.3 A review of TRIO statistics noted inconsistencies in the usage of the system and the types of interactions being recorded as services. Discussions with officers noted a general lack of consensus and consistency on how to record activities in TRIO. For example, a large proportion of the services recorded in 2010-2011 were recorded in March 2011. A review of those services indicated that several outcall services were being recorded as a result of interactions occurring at trade shows.

5.3.4 As the program is small, no formal InfoCentre structure is in place. The program would benefit, however, from streamlining some practices such as triaging incoming requests from new clients. For example, a review of the CE program’s website indicated that individual employee email addresses have been published, even including that of the HOM. To ensure that new enquiries are directed to the general CE inbox, a general CE email address should be provided for use by first-time clients, allowing the TCA to triage requests, enter them in TRIO and assign them to the appropriate officer. This change (implemented shortly after the inspection) will help the STC to ensure that service standards are met and that TRIO statistics better reflect program activities.

5.4 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 

5.4.1 Tools and mechanisms are in place to support the performance measurement process and employees are involved. However, performance measurement will be more effective if the program clarifies expectations for the use of TRIO and ensures consistency in reporting results.

5.4.2 Hospitality activities were, for the most part, properly documented and aligned with mission objectives. However, as noted in the FPDS section of this report, the CE program’s evaluations of events did not always adequately demonstrate if an objective was furthered and what follow-up activities should occur. This is an important element in demonstrating value-for-money, as commented upon in the mission management section of this report.

5.5 Recommendations to the Mission

5.5.1 Greater emphasis should be placed on the documenting the outcomes of the planning process and ensuring consistency in the reporting of results.

5.5.2 Opportunities to advance Canadian innovation interests should be explored and the approach validated with headquarters.

5.5.3 The program should liaise with headquarters regarding requirements and best practices related to the use of TRIO and should monitor usage to ensure greater consistency in activities recorded.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.5.1 CEP reporting: in February. 2011 a review of all projects in CEP 2011-2012 was conducted to match actual budgets allocated.

TRIO reporting: in April 2012 a review of all TRIO reporting and Best Practices will be conducted for the whole section.

Hospitality reporting: in March 2012 a complete review of all reporting procedures and directives was directed for the whole section. In Progress for April 30, 2012.

5.5.2 A survey of all existing R&D facilities in Austria was started in September 2011, in particular all R&D ties with Canada. Final report delivered - March 2012.

A list of systematic Outcalls to be made over the next two FYs: incorporated into CEP 2012-2013 and budget planning (CSF, Hospitality and Travel) - February 2012

A special agreement was reached with BBT: BBT will search in Canada for partners for the most promising Austrian Prospects' R&D fields, as identified by VIENN. Latter will then make the introductions. First possibilities are being handled now - March 2012

Training: TD section was trained in the Innovation Atlas by HQ during Q1 2012. Other training opportunities are being sought. VIENN now participates in Innovation conference calls led by HQ. - March 2012. . Implemented March 2012.

5.5.3 "TRIO and SIIS:

The Commercial Program now has only one published e-mail. All these incoming e-mails are recorded by the TCA in TRIO and assigned to appropriate officer.

A review of all TRIO reporting and best practices for the whole section is scheduled for April 2012

A review of all reported (previous FYs) and projected CEP objectives for FY 2012-2013 was conducted in February 2012 to reflect TRIO and SIIS entries.

Since July 2011, VIENN has been utilizing contracts to enter the large number of new Contacts generated by its activities into Outlook. These are subsequently entered into TRIO and SIIS with appropriate SRs, Interactions, etc. In Progress, April 30, 2012.

Consular

6.1 Overview

6.1.1 The consular program is overseen by an AS-07 Management Consular Officer (MCO) with day-to-day management falling to an AS-04 Deputy MCO (DMCO). The program is supported by an LE-07 Consular Officer and an LE-06 Passport Assistant. The program is responsible for consular services in Austria, and provides support to the office in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Budget2011-2012
Travel$3,250
Hospitality1,395
Total$4,645

6.1.2 The mission processes approximately 560 passport requests, 60 citizenship applications and 90 notarial services on an annual basis. There is a steady consular case load. This year, the program has dealt with 14 deaths and 26 distress cases and there are currently ***. Canadian detainees in Austria. As of September 1, 2011 there were189 Canadian citizens identified in the Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) database for Austria. The estimated number of Canadians residing in Austria is approximately 2,000.

6.2 Program Management

Key Consular Program Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Mission Consular plans and manuals are up to date.X  
Internal communications within the program effectively support program delivery.X  
The mission has ongoing dialogue with key local authorities to facilitate program delivery.X  
A warden network is in place and properly maintained.N/A

6.2.1 Overall, the program is functioning well, benefiting from the *** of the MCO and the  *** communication skills and *** management style of the new DMCO. Roles and responsibilities are well defined and understood. Consular plans and the duty officer manual are up to date. The new mission emergency plan (MEP) is in the process of being completed with testing planned for February 2012. Policies, procedures and controls are in place and functioning well.

6.2.2 Since 2007, the program has provided oversight and guidance for the LE-07 consular officer in the Canadian office in Bratislava. However, the consular officer reports to the head of office in Bratislava, whom in turn reports to the HOM in Prague. The lack of a formal memorandum of understanding between the three missions has led to confusion and uncertainty regarding services and responsibilities. An agreement for remote passport approvals for Bratislava is in place (2008), but requires updating and new CBS signatures. A new agreement was completed following the inspection, effective November 30, 2011, and will be reassessed in a year.

6.2.3 The mission also provides back-up support for the MCOs in Prague and Budapest. There is, however, no memorandum of understanding (MOU) outlining roles and responsibilities related to this support to other missions.

6.3 Client Service

Key Consular Client Service CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Services are provided to Canadians in the official language of their choice.X  
Service standards, fee schedules and a copy of an official receipt are posted in public areas in both official languages. X 
Services are provided in line with established standards.X  
Client feedback is reviewed and corrective action is taken when warranted.X  

6.3.1 Overall, client service is effective with only minor areas for improvement identified. Key documents and information was available for clients in public areas, but did not include the fee schedule.

6.3.2 Client feedback forms are available in the waiting area and are provided at the time of passport and citizenship service delivery. Feedback forms are submitted directly to consular staff and subsequently shared with mission management and headquarters. As a best practice, a locked drop-box should be installed for clients to submit completed surveys anonymously.

6.4 Internal Controls

Key Consular Internal Control CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
A certified CBS signs-off on all passports.X  
Client documents and personal information are properly stored and secured.X  
Procedures and practices related to the collection of revenues are appropriate (e.g. segregation of duties, handling of cash, official receipts, record of fees received forms).X  
Revenues are transferred to the finance section in line with the Manual of Consular Instructions.X  
Upon receipt of new passport stock, two CBS verify the receipt of all assets, sign and return the transmittal note.X  
Passport stock is securely stored and the removal of assets is recorded on an inventory log and initialled by the CBS custodian and the employee receiving the asset.X  
Working inventories provided to staff are appropriate and controlled by a daily log (passports issued, spoiled, returned to safe storage).X  
Monthly and quarterly reconciliations of passport stock are properly completed and certified.X  
Official seals and stamps are properly inventoried, secured and access provided to designated staff only.X  

6.4.1 Overall, key internal controls were in place and operating effectively. All consular staff have Passport Management Program certification, and passports are approved by the DMCO or the MCO. Client documents and personal information are appropriately stored, secured and destroyed. There are adequate controls in place to ensure sign off by clients who pick up passports or citizenship documents in person.

6.4.2 There is an appropriate segregation of duties and control of cash when it is received by the consular program. Reconciliation of consular revenue takes place at least twice a week or when revenue reaches $500 and is reviewed by the DMCO. The majority of consular revenue is collected via money order.

6.4.3 A month-end reconciliation of the inventory of passport stock is conducted by the DMCO and the AS-01 Registry Head. Passport assets are properly reconciled by the DMCO and the HOM on a quarterly basis.

6.4.4 There are appropriate logs to track passport movements ***.

6.4.5 There is an inventory of official seals and these are properly secured. This control should be *** and ensuring custodians formally acknowledge their accountabilities.

6.5 Recommendations to the Mission

6.5.1 Roles and responsibilities for consular services and support with Bratislava, Prague and Budapest should be defined and documented in a memorandum of understanding.

6.5.2 A bilingual copy of the fee schedule for services should be posted in the public area.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

6.5.1 The mission has begun discussions with the other Missions on the roles and responsibilities with the objectives of establishing a MOU. In Progress for September 2012.

6.5.2 Bilingual copy has been posted as recommended. Implemented March 2012.

Common Services

7.1 Overview

7.1.1 The common services program is managed by an AS-07 MCO who is supported by a team of 4 CBS and 15 LES. The 4 CBS include an AS-04 DMCO, an AS-01 Registry Clerk, a CS-03 Foreign Service Information Technology Professional (FSITP) and a Military Police Services Support (MPSS) Security Manager.

7.1.2 The program is responsible for providing common services to 70 employees spread over four DFAIT and four partner programs, as well as a Quebec immigration office located in the same building. Services are provided to the Canadian missions located in Bratislava, Prague and Budapest. The AS-01 clerk manages the mission’s responsibilities as the Eastern European hub for diplomatic courier services.

Program Management

Common Services Program Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
A Common Services Business Plan is in place and used to establish priorities and guide operations.X  
Common Services policies and procedures are documented and communicated to management, staff and clients.X  
Internal communications within the program effectively support program delivery.X  

7.1.3 Overall, the program is *** managed and operations are guided by the Common Services Business Plan. The latter is complemented by a comprehensive work plan that is shared with each section. The work plan identifies key initiatives and responsibilities, along with expected timelines for completion.

7.1.4 The MCO  *** and provides *** leadership to a good team of knowledgeable CBS and LES. Staff and clients appreciate the MCO’s management and solutions-oriented approach. Communication is effective, supported by weekly program meetings and one-on-ones with all direct reports. There are monthly meetings with all common services and consular staff. Each section head also has weekly meetings with their own staff.

7.1.5 Several good practices have been implemented in the mission under the guidance of the  *** MCO. These include, but are not limited to, the following examples.

  • Partner department relations: The MCO liaises with program managers on services during one-on-one sessions and at CMM. CIC and FPDS program managers have also been invited to speak at common service workshops to provide feedback to staff from a client’s point of view.
  • Information sessions: An information session is held for new CBS and dependents to discuss common services, policies, procedures and standards.
  • Use of tools: The mission wiki is used extensively to share information with clients and provide on-demand access to guidelines, tools, service standards and an extensive suite of mission policies and procedures.
  • Security information sharing: A security newsletter is sent to all CBS and spouses; the template is shared with other missions.
  • Training: Language training and mentorship programs have been implemented to help staff benefit from their colleagues’ skills and experiences.
  • Regional Cooperation: the program plays a strong regional role through training, exchanging information and sharing best practices.

 

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. X 

7.1.6 Overall, client services are effective and clients are satisfied with the support provided. In addition to the program manager consultations noted earlier, the program has also conducted surveys to gauge overall quality of services. The survey was limited to CBS and will be expanded to include LES in the future.

7.1.7 In addition to documented policies and procedures, the program has also produced a useful “one pager” called Service Standards at a Glance. These documents are available on the Wiki and used to guide and inform clients. The wiki has largely been developed and updated by the MCO and it will be important that these roles are transitioned to line staff to ensure continuity following CBS turnover.

7.1.8 There is a lack of clarity with respect to the services currently provided to spoke missions. Although there are some agreements in place, improvement could be achieved by formalizing MOUs to outline the division of key responsibilities.

Procurement and Contracting

Procurement and Contracting CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
A Contract Review Board (CRB) is in place and operating effectively with terms of reference.X  
Procurement and contracting procedures have been documented and communicated to all staff involved in the process.X  
Contracting files demonstrate compliance with policies and procedures.X  
The mission's multi-year Capital Acquisition Plan is approved by CMM annually. X 

7.1.9 Contracting and procurement processes are managed by the DMCO, with the support of an LE-07 property and materiel manager and an LE-05 property/materiel clerk. The Contract Review Board (CRB) provides a review and oversight function. Practices have been changed recently to provide the CRB with an opportunity to review and comment on requests for proposals and statements of work before they are issued. This is a good practice as it helps to ensure consistency in the process, resolving any issues prior to the solicitation of bids.

7.1.10 The contracting files reviewed had complete documentation of the contracting process with the exception of minutes containing the relevant CRB decision. Documentation containing CRB approval should be kept on file, which could include email correspondence or a signed decision sheet.

7.1.11 The mission has initiated an annual process to establish a standing offer for short-term mission contracts, primarily directed at spouses and dependents. The process is aimed at providing surge capacity of prequalified and screened candidates. While this is an effective approach, the mission would benefit from consulting the Contracting Policy, Monitoring and Operations (SPP) division to ensure it conforms to regulations.

7.1.12 A capital acquisition plan is in place based on replacement cycles, inspection of SQs and priority items. While discussion does occur regarding the purchase of major items, the plan itself is not tabled at CMM for review.

Recommendations to the Mission

7.1.13 The roles and responsibilities for services provided to spoke missions should be defined in a formal agreement.

7.1.14 CRB decisions should be documented on file.

7.1.15 The mission should seek SPP guidance regarding the use of standing offers for short-term spousal and dependent contracts.

7.1.16 The multi-year capital acquisition plan should be approved by CMM annually.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

7.1.13 The mission is waiting for further information on the roles and responsibilities of Vienna. Once confirmed, the Mission will produce MOU. In Progress for August 2012.

7.1.14 Decisions are now fully documented. Implemented March 2012.

7.1.15 Consultation and advice are being sought and the Mission is currently working with SPP to ensure compliance. In Progress for May 2012.

7.1.16 Acquisition plan was approved by CMM as part of the Mission Business Plan. Implemented March 2012.

7.2 Human Resources (HR)

Overview

7.2.1 The HR functions at the Mission are the responsibility of the MCO, who is also designated as the mission training coordinator. There is no single staff member assigned with the responsibility for HR tasks.

7.2.2 The section delivers service to 70 staff within the mission. There have been 8 staffing actions in fiscal year 2011-2012 to date and 17 in fiscal year 2010-2011. No classification actions have taken place in the past two years.

Management

HR Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
A mission HR plan has been developed and submitted to headquarters.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  
A coordinated approach is taken with regards to training and a budget has been established.X  
Mechanisms are in place to monitor the completion of employee's performance evaluations.X  
Employee and position files are complete, maintained separately and properly secured.X  

7.2.3 Overall, HR planning and management is functioning well despite the lack of a dedicated HR position. While increasing HR support from the Regional Service Centre Europe, Middle East and Africa (RSCEMA) will help the mission in the future, identifying a central HR resource in the mission would assist the MCO and ensure consistency of service.

7.2.4 There are good policies, procedures and processes that have been developed and made available to staff on the mission Wiki.

7.2.5 Guides have been developed to assist CBS through the arrival and departure process. They serve to ensure that staff are informed of procedures and that all required steps are followed. A similar checklist is not yet in place to facilitate the orientation of new LES.

7.2.6 There is strong mission support for spousal employment opportunities, but currently there is no Reciprocal Employment Agreement with Austria. The mission is working with the  *** on this issue.

Internal Controls

Key HR 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  
Staff and HQ Workforce Programs Bureau (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 and include the appropriate clauses (e.g. values and ethics, etc.).X  
LES accrued leave and deductions are recorded and the related liabilities are monitored.X  

7.2.7 Overall, HR processes and internal controls were in place and operating effectively. The staffing files adequately outline the processes followed, and letters of offer are signed by HOM.

7.2.8 A number of job descriptions are currently out of date and require validation by management and the employee.

Recommendations to the Mission

7.2.9 The mission should develop and implement an arrival/departure checklist for LES.

7.2.10 Job descriptions should be reviewed when there have been significant changes to duties, and a process should be put in place for a systematic review every 5 years.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

7.2.9 Both checklists have been developed and are available. Implemented March 2012.

7.2.10 All Program Managers have been informed to update job descriptions. In Progress for September 2012.

7.3 Physical Resources

Overview

7.3.1 The physical resources section is managed by the DMCO who is assisted by an LE-07 Property and Materiel Manager and an LE-05 Property/Materiel Clerk. The LE-05 Administrative Assistant also performs the role of mission vehicle dispatcher. In addition, there are four Drivers a Handyman and a Cleaner.

7.3.2 The section currently manages 23 properties including one Crown-leased chancery, one Crown-owned official residence (OR), 21 Crown-leased staff quarters (SQs) and 1 storage facility. There are five official vehicles in the fleet.

Management

Key Physical Resources Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Mission property and maintenance plans are up to date.X  
The Chancery and Official Residence (OR) are well maintained and maintenance schedules are in place.X  
An efficient process is in place for receiving, processing and monitoring work orders.X  
Annual inspections are conducted to assess the state of SQs and input into maintenance and acquisition planning.X  

7.3.3 The property section is functioning well. There are weekly meetings of the property team with the DMCO, and the MCO holds full Common Services meetings on a monthly basis. Properties are inspected once a year and maintenance work plans are updated annually.

7.3.4 A housing committee exists and there are detailed minutes of its meetings. The committee’s terms of reference are dated March 2007. Generally, all committees should review and update their terms of reference on an annual basis. This ensures mandates remain relevant and new members are advised of their responsibilities.

7.3.5 The chancery has leased space in a multi-tenant building for the past 20 years ***.

7.3.6 The OR is a well-maintained heritage house, originally built in 1925 and purchased by Canada in 1956. The property is well designed for representational use, and the HOM makes it readily available to PMs to hold hospitality events in support of program activities.  The HOM has also made an effort to increase use of the OR by improving functionality, such as the installation of video-conferencing capabilities for meetings and other functions.  ***.

7.3.7 Mission management leases SQs based on an analysis of the overall rental costs and the housing market availability. The enforcement of rent ceilings created challenges for the mission but they met the targets in all but four cases. Any delay in the posting confirmation process creates additional challenges in acquiring appropriate SQs due to Vienna’s tough housing market.

7.3.8 An effective work order system is in place and is used to monitor and follow-up on client requests. The section also uses the wiki, which includes a housing guide, to effectively reinforce client responsibilities and help manage expectations. Feedback from clients was largely positive.

Key Processes and Internal Controls

Key Physical Resources Internal Controal 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  
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  
Vehicle logs and mileage are verified monthly by a CBS to reconcile usage to gas purchases as well as monitor vehicle performance. X 

7.3.9 Overall, internal controls were in place with minor areas for improvement. Annual inspections are undertaken by the DMCO to ensure required repairs and purchases are included in the yearly maintenance plan and the capital acquisition plan.

7.3.10 In addition to the distribution accounts for the OR and SQs, electronic inventories for fine art, warehouse contents, tools and the chancery furnishings are up to date. Some surplus furniture is currently stored in a commercial warehouse awaiting disposal.

7.3.11 The mission has implemented its own vehicle log sheet to replace the vehicle operating and maintenance report (EXT 159). It contains the same information, but in a format that is more effective for their needs. These log sheets are collected by the dispatcher and the data is compiled by the finance officer for review. The resulting report provides a summary for each car that includes monthly and cumulative information on repairs, maintenance and fuel consumption. While an effective process, the forms should provide a space for drivers to certify that the vehicle use was for official purposes. In addition, the DMCO, should review and sign the reports as a control.

Recommendations to the Mission

7.3.12 The terms of reference of the Housing Committee should be reviewed on an annual basis and updated when required.

7.3.13 Surplus furniture should be disposed of as soon as possible.

7.3.14 Vehicle log sheets should be signed by the drivers and those exercising the oversight functions.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

7.3.12 TOR will be reviewed before the relocation period. In Progress for May 2012.

7.3.13 Auction took place in March and is completed. Implemented March 2012.

7.3.14 The form was amended and changes have been implemented. Implemented March 2012.

7.4 Finance

Overview

7.4.1 The finance section is managed by the MCO with the support of an LE-07 financial management officer, an LE-06 accountant and an LE-04 assistant accountant. On a monthly basis, the section processes approximately 120 electronic funds transfers (EFT) and oversees the handling *** in consular revenue and *** in immigration revenue.

Management

Key Finance Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Roles and responsibilities ensure adequate segregation of duties.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, electronic fund transfers).X  
Payment runs are kept to a minimum, but are sufficient to provide good client service.X  

7.4.2 Overall the finance section is functioning well and benefits from experienced staff. The segregation of duties is adequate, but attention should be paid to ensure that petty cash custodians do not have financial duties or access to IMS. As well, fewer staff members should have permission to create vendor codes in IMS.

7.4.3 The finance section has posted “open hours”; however, some clients find the timelines too restrictive. Given the presence of two multilateral programs with heavy responsibilities outside of the mission, efforts should be made to determine how best to structure open hours to facilitate client service and minimize staff disruption.

7.4.4 Generally, the section has implemented practices to minimize transactions and reduce the use of cash. Further efficiencies could be achieved through increased use of acquisition cards.

Key Processes and Internal Controls

Key Finance Internal Control CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
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.X  
Financial signing authorities are 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  
Reimbursement of HonCon operational expenses is based on an established agreement.N/A
A percentage of costs for personal use of OR supplies is determined and regular reimbursements are made to the mission.X  
A process is in place to ensure that, where applicable, CBS reimburse the mission for any services of a personal nature received at their staff quarters (eg. television, internet, telephone, etc.).X  

7.4.5 Overall, internal controls are in place to safeguard financial assets and ensure payments and deposits are completed in accordance with policy.

7.4.6 At present, the bank statements are received directly by the LES Accountant, instead of first being reviewed by a designated CBS. All CBS bank account signatories do, however, have the ability to view the bank statements on line.

7.4.7 Official receipts are provided to clients and staff when payments are made and when funds are transferred to the finance section.  *** an official receipt should also be provided at that stage. Consideration should also be given to providing the driver/messenger with an escort.

7.4.8 The Quebec Immigration office is co-located at the mission in Vienna and their payments are processed through the finance section. The mission has created a stamp to use on Quebec invoices that serves as a substitute for Section 34 of the Financial Accountability Act. However, there is no specimen signature card on file related to provincial authorities.

7.4.9 Petty cash is used for minor purchases and employees are repayed upon submission of receipts. However, petty cash vouchers were not completed when employees were reimbursed for purchases. These forms were only completed when the petty cash itself was replenished (roughly once each quarter).

Recommendations to the Mission

7.4.10 The segregation of duties should ensure that any custodians of petty cash do not have other financial duties or access to IMS.

7.4.11 The mission should reduce the number of staff who can create vendor codes in IMS.

7.4.12 Clients should be consulted on appropriate quiet hours for the finance section and efforts made to ensure clients respect timelines, with exceptions for priority issues.

7.4.13 Bank statements should be received and reviewed by a CBS before being transferred to the accounts section for use in the bank reconciliation.

7.4.14 The mission, in consultation with headquarters, should determine what documentation to keep on file in order to properly authorize co-locator payments, such as specimen signature cards.

7.4.15 Petty cash vouchers should be completed at the time when employees are reimbursed for expenditures.

7.4.16 Official receipts should be provided for all fund transfers, including to those clients making deposits at the bank.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

7.4.10 The petty cash custodian no longer has access to IMS. Implemented March 2012.

7.4.11 All requests for creation of new or for changes are now done by HQ. Implemented March 2012.

7.4.12 Consultation took place and the schedule will be amended on April 2nd, 2012. Implemented.

7.4.13 Mission has fully implemented the recommendation and bank statements are now sent directly to the MCO for her review. Implemented March 2012.

7.4.14 Advice is currently being sought and Mission has requested guidance to SMFF and AFR. In Progress for April 2012.

7.4.15 New procedures have been developed and implemented. Implemented March 2012.

7.4.16 Mission sought advice and follows the procedures approved by HQ/Finance. Implemented March 2012.

7.5 Information Management – Information Technology (IM-IT)

Overview

7.5.1 The IM-IT section is managed by a CS-03 Foreign Service Information Technology Professional (FSITP) and supported by an LE-07 Locally Engaged ITP (LEITP). The section provides services to approximately 70 users in Vienna, Bratislava and Prague. Support is also provided to Budapest and other missions as directed by the Client Service Regional Manager.

Management

Key IM-IT Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
An Information Management - Information Technology (IM-IT) plan exists and includes regional activities.X  
The liaison between the mission, HQ and regional manager is effective.X  
The mission uses the required IM-IT service request system and maintains relevant data.X  

7.5.2 Overall, the IM-IT team is providing good services to clients. This was validated through feedback forms and interviews with staff. An IM-IT plan is in place to guide operations and manage priorities. The section also provides input into budgeting and exercises to establish mission training priorities. Cost savings have been realized through the consolidation of telephone lines, switching from analog to digital and deleting legacy lines.

7.5.3 The mission is in the process of establishing an IM-IT committee to improve information management. It will be important to include representatives from all areas of the mission so issues related to usage and common practices can be resolved.

7.5.4 There is a central registry at the mission. However, with the use of InfoBank and C5, the registry generally contains out-dated documents. Further cooperation from PMs will be required to review all documents and ensure that all files are stored appropriately.

Key Processes and Internal Controls

Key IM-IT Internal Control CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Back-ups are performed routinely and tapes are stored appropriately in a secure location away from the primary use area. X 
The mission has appropriate secondary communications systems in place and those tools are tested regularly.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  

7.5.5 Overall, IM-IT processes and controls were in place with minor opportunities for improvement noted.

  • ***
  • The satellite phone is tested monthly ***.
  • The ITAMS inventory system effectively tracks IT assets, but there is no formal acceptance of accountability for the asset by the user.

Recommendations to the Mission

7.5.6 ***.

7.5.7 ***.

7.5.8 Employees should formally sign out IT assets using the appropriate headquarters-developed form.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

7.5.6 Training is currently being scheduled with essential staff. In Progress for June 2012.

7.5.7 New safe has been purchased and installed away from the Chancery. Implemented March 2012.

7.5.8 All employees with IT assets have signed the IT assets form.  Implemented March 2012.

Appendix A: Mission Resources Fact Sheet

Physical Resources
AssetsCrown-OwnedCrown-LeasedPrivate-Lease
Chancery 1 
Official Residence1  
Staff Quarters 21 
Vehicles5  
Storage 1 

 

Financial Information 2011/2012
BudgetProgramCommon Services
Operating (Embassy)$123,500$3,566,058
Operating (VPERM)$15,000-
Operating (VOSCE)$45,000-
Capital-$104,839
CBS Salaries (Embassy)$420,000$404,000
CBS Salaries (VPERM)$432,000-
CBS Salaries (VOSCE)$557,000-
CBS Overtime (Embassy)$0$0
CBS Overtime (VPERM)$15,000-
CBS Overtime (VOSCE)$15,000-
LES Salaries (Embassy)$1,302,000$3,096,129 (incl. partners and Quebec Imm salaries)
LES Salaries (VPERM)--
LES Salaries (VOCE)$75,800-
LES Overtime (Embassy)$0$20,000
LES Overtime (VPERM)--
LES Overtime (VOSCE)$0-
Total$3,000,300$7,191,026
Human Resources (FTEs)
ProgramTotalCBSLES
Head of Mission725
VPERM440
VOSCE (incl. DND)651
FPDS211
CE514
Consular2.30.32
Common Services (incl. DND)16.74.712
CIC/CBSA15312
Public Safety321
Quebec Immigration918
Total702446

Appendix B: Frequently Used Acronyms

CBS
– Canada-based Staff
CE
– Commercial Economic
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
FPDS
– Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service
FSITP
– Foreign Service Information Technology Professional
FTE
– Full Time Equivalent
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
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
MEP
– Mission Emergency Plan
MFO
– Mission Financial Officer
MM Module
– Materiel Management Module of IMS
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
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:
2013-01-31