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Inspection of the Canadian Consulate General - Guangzhou
March 22 - 25, 2010
- Inspection Scope and Objectives
- Executive Summary
- 1 Mission Management
- 2 Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs
- 3 International Business Development
- 4 Consular
- 5 Common Services
- Appendix A: Mission Resources Fact Sheet
- Appendix B: Organization Chart
- Appendix C: Frequently Used Acronyms
Inspection Scope and Objectives
The scope of the Inspection included a review of Mission Management and the Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs, International Business Development, Consular and Common Services programs. The inspection objectives were to:
- Assess management controls and systems, procedures and activities that make up the programs;
- Determine the extent of compliance with legislation, regulations and operating policies;
- Assess the reliability and adequacy of information available for decision- making and accountability purposes;
- Ensure resources are judiciously used and that the Department is receiving value-for-money; and,
- Make recommendations, where warranted, to improve the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of programs.
The focus and extent of on-site work was based on an assessment of materiality and related risk. This was done through communication with Headquarters (HQ) bureaux, including briefings by line management and the functional bureaux, review of relevant HQ and Mission documentation, past audit findings, and an analysis of recurring trends and systemic issues.
During the Inspection, inspection issues and lines of enquiry were further refined from information gathered through interviews with the Head of Mission and program managers, a meeting with the Locally-engaged staff (LES) representatives of the LES Management Consultative Board, individual interviews with staff, and results of other documentation reviewed. The level of inspection work was therefore based on issues and information identified and gathered at all levels; HQ, Mission management and Mission operations.
An Inspection of Mission Management, the Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs (PERPA), International Business Development (IBD), Consular and Common Services Programs was conducted in Guangzhou from March 22 to 25, 2010.
A previous audit of these programs took place in 2002. After originally opening in 1995 with three staff, the Mission in Guangzhou has grown to include six Canada-based staff (CBS) and 23 Locally-engaged staff (LES), and is an integral part of the China network of missions. It also provides an operational platform for a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Migration Integrity Officer (MIO).
The Mission functions in a region that is becoming of increasing importance to Canada from an IBD and immigration perspective, but has not benefited from the same number of high level visits as its counterparts in Beijing and Shanghai. Like-minded countries have recognized the growing importance of the region and have reinforced their existing operations or transfer resources from neighbouring missions. As discussed in the Beijing Inspection Report,***.
The Chancery is at capacity, located in an older district of the city, and possesses a layout which does not facilitate the *** and does not provide sufficient space within the main reception area. In the short term, a plan to upgrade the current office is required, as it is starting to show its age and is in need of refurbishment. Over the long term, consideration should be given ***. As part of the China-wide property initiative, a clearer understanding of Canada's future program and representation needs will be required to ensure that the property footprint in Guangzhou is suitable over the medium term.
The Mission is *** managed, and the Head of Mission has worked to create *** environment amongst program managers and staff. The Mission's strategic objectives are consistent with those of the Government of Canada (GoC) and in line with the recent direction provided by the Canada-China Joint Statement. Issues with regard to LES compensation and benefits are, however, a major irritant and have occupied a significant amount of Mission Management time to address. Key management controls are in place, with minor improvements required to ensure hospitality diaries are completed more effectively.
The PERPA Program is small, consisting of the HOM, an LES Officer and an LES Assistant, but is actively engaged within and outside of the Mission. The lack of a CBS officer does, however, limit the level of engagement and proactive activities.
Despite the resource issue, the Program would benefit from translating China-wide objectives into terms applicable to southern China, and implementing a PERPA workplan to further guide activities and their alignment with overall objectives.
The IBD Program is *** managed and actively supports the needs of Canadian clients in southern China while working effectively with its local and regional partners. In addition to IBD activities, the Program produces some economic reports and provides input to reports produced by other missions in the China Network. As a part of the China Network, the Program also benefits from several best practices, including key performance indicators, virtual sector teams, training opportunities and the China InfoCentre located in Beijing. While existing planning practices are effective, greater consistency is required in the quality of individual performance management objectives. In addition, specific motivational challenges noted in the local labour environment may require a more structured approach to operations, such as rolling workplans for officers which more clearly state short term objectives and define initiatives and activities to support them. This would also provide managers with a better basis upon which to set clear expectations with staff and engage in discussions on performance.
The Consular Program has a heavy case management workload, including 36 arrest and detention cases. It is also the 19th busiest mission passport operation, providing approximately 2,200 services annually. To help address high workloads, the Program has implemented a number of best practices. These include:
- The translation of the passport application into Mandarin to assist clients who cannot read either official language;
- The creation of an arrest and detention timeline as a tool to better inform detainees on the Chinese legal process; and,
- The development and implementation of a *** that allows staff to monitor services required and wait times, facilitates revenue management and reduces the risk of errors by automating certain processes.
While the system has been implemented in a few other missions, it should be considered for broader implementation as a means to automate certain functions and help address growing workloads.
The Common Services Program is functioning ***, engaged with clients and has good back-up procedures in place. It has supported programs through the staffing of 11 of 23 positions over the last two years and has instituted effective practices to facilitate certain tasks, such as the arrivals and departures handbook and a detailed security briefing package. In line with the other mainland China missions, however, there is a need to better define service standards. Particular attention is also required to address issues with the staff quarter portfolio in terms of location and suitability.
A total of 54 inspection recommendations are raised in the report; 52 are addressed to the Mission and two are addressed to Headquarters. Management has responded to each recommendation indicating action already taken or decisions made, as well as future action. Of the 54 recommendations, management has stated that 30 recommendations have been implemented. For each of the remaining 24 recommendations, management has indicated the initiatives in progress or the intended future action.
1.1.1 The Consulate General in Guangzhou is a small mission with six Canada- based Staff (CBS) and 23 Locally-engaged Staff (LES). The Mission reports to the mission in Beijing and is responsible for departmental program delivery in the Chinese provinces of Guangdong, Fujian and Hainan, as well as the Autonomous Region of Guangxi Zhuang. In spring 2010, the Mission's consular territory was increased through the inclusion of the provinces of Hunan and Jiangxi. In addition to departmental programs, a Migration Integrity Officer from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is also present at the Mission. The International Business Development (IBD) Program also exercises an oversight responsibility for the new Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) office in Shenzhen.
1.1.2 The Mission oversees operating and capital budgets of $801,479 and $47,326 respectively, and is responsible for the management of a Crown-leased Chancery and five Crown-leased staff quarters (SQs). Through the provision of consular services to clients, the Mission collects approximately *** in revenue on a monthly basis.
1.1.3 The Mission in Guangzhou plays an important role in the China network of missions and participates actively in the annual country-wide consultative process with Headquarters (HQ) and partners. The implementation of these priorities and strategies across missions is facilitated through weekly all-China operational conference calls, and further reinforced through key messages and China-wide head of mission (HOM) and program manager (PM) retreats. While these objectives have been articulated at the strategic level and are in place for the IBD Program, there remains a need to define objectives in operational terms to facilitate delegation and follow-up on key deliverables for other programs.
1.2 Mission Management
|Key Mission Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|The Mission's strategic objectives are consistent with Government and DFAIT priorities and guide staff performance measurement objectives.||X|
|DFAIT programs have developed operational plans based on the objectives outlined in the country strategy and advice/guidance from HQ.||X|
|The Committee on Mission Management (CMM) is an effective forum to review and make decisions on mission and administrative policies.||X|
|Mission Management maintains an active and productive dialogue with the LES Management Consultative Board.||X|
|Mission Management ensures that employees remain informed of key priorities and administrative policy decisions.||X|
|Minutes of committee meetings, particularly CMM, are made available to all staff, as appropriate.||X|
|The Official Languages policy is respected and promoted by Mission Management.||X|
|Canadian Public Service values and ethics are promoted and reinforced, and employees are aware of available support resources (Values and ethics, staff relations).||X|
1.2.1 Overall, the Mission is *** managed and benefits from a professional and collegial management team. Operations are supported by a good committee structure and through consistent formal and informal communication. Annual retreats are held that provide a good forum for mission planning and team building activities. While morale is good, compensation is the single major concern for LES who feel that their salaries are significantly lower than those provided at other consulates. This issue has been raised repeatedly by LES with Mission Management through the LESMCB and through other channels, including performance review and one-on-one meetings. The Mission has also experienced a high level of turnover in the last two years, with 11 staff leaving, four of whom departed for compensation related reasons.
1.2.2 The Mission's strategic objectives are consistent with those of the Government of Canada (GoC) and in line with the recent direction provided by the Canada-China Joint Statement. While operational plans have been developed for the IBD Program, there remains room for improvement with regards to the Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs (PERPA), Consular and Common Service programs. Specific findings and recommendations to this effect can be found in the respective sections of this report.
1.2.3 The DMCO has been appointed as the Official Languages Coordinator and the Receptionist is able to *** however, ***.
1.2.4 As discussed and recommended on in the Beijing Inspection Report, the *** would enable it to leverage a broader range of tools to advance Canadian interests.
1.3 Management Controls
|Key Management Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|The Mission's committee structure meets minimum requirements based on size (Health and Safety, Security, Contract Review, etc.).||X|
|Mission committees are meeting regularly and effectively discharging their governance responsibilities.||X|
|Program managers are provided regular financial/budget updates to facilitate effective management and decision making.||X|
|Security policies and regulations are respected and promoted under the leadership of mission management.||X|
|The appropriate authority participates in the quarterly reconciliation of passport inventory and signs for the assets on hand.||X|
|The appropriate authority reviews and signs-off on the mission's bank reconciliations on a monthly basis.||X|
|The Mission has a plan to ensure the continuity of operations in the event of a major disruption or catastrophic event (i.e. Business Continuity Plan).||X|
|Mission Hospitality guidelines are reviewed and updated annually by CMM.||X|
|Hospitality diaries are properly supported, demonstrate value-for-money and are used in alignment with Mission objectives.||X|
|All employees have performance objectives set, annual appraisals occur, and a coordinated approach is taken to training and development.||X|
1.3.1 Overall, key mission management controls were in place and operating effectively. There remains, however, some room for improvement in the quality of hospitality diaries.
1.3.2 While the Mission has several committees in place to address management issues, the Management Consular Officer (MCO) sits as a member on all of these. Responsibilities for committee membership should be shared by other members of the staff, including LES members as required.
1.3.3 The Mission's approved hospitality ceilings date from December 2008 and should be updated on an annual basis by the CMM. While the hospitality diaries reviewed were supported with proper financial documents, the qualitative aspects did not always demonstrate value-for-money through clear linkages to strategic objectives and fulsome evaluations of events.
Recommendations to the Mission
1.4.1 The Mission should revisit committee membership with a view to balancing responsibilities amongst CBS and LES where possible.
1.4.2 Mission hospitality guidelines and cost ceilings should be reviewed and updated annually by the CMM.
1.4.3 Mission Management should ensure that hospitality diaries clearly demonstrate value-for-money through direct linkages to strategic objectives and provide more fulsome evaluations of events that indicate how an objective was advanced and what follow-up activity is to occur.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
1.4.1 All committee memberships have been reviewed and balanced membership has been approved by CMM. Implemented.
1.4.2 China-wide hospitality guidelines and rates are now established and approved by all China Mission CMMs. Implemented.
1.4.3 Mission has implemented the use of EXT-2043 and prepared in-house training for all staff including managers on the use of the form. Best practices from other missions are being sought. In progress.
Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs (PERPA)
2.1.1 The PERPA Program in Guangzhou consists of the HOM, an LE-08 Public Affairs Officer and an LE-07 HOM Assistant. In addition to supporting the program of the HOM, the Public Affairs Officer handles academic, cultural and media relations and provides support to the IBD Program by overseeing Education Marketing activities. ***, however, should be reviewed with a view to ***, bringing it into alignment with similar positions in other missions.
2.2 Planning and Program Management
|Key PERPA Program Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|PERPA plans are aligned with the priorities and objectives outlined in the Country Strategy and informed by departmental and Geographic Bureau guidance and objectives.||X|
|PERPA Plans outline intended outcomes and results are measurable.||X|
|Officer roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and have been communicated to all staff.||X|
|Internal communications within the Program effectively support program delivery||X|
2.2.1 Given the small size of the Program, formal planning is limited but does exist in the form of a HOM outcall program and a list of upcoming events and activities. Individual objectives have also been articulated in Performance Management Plans (PMPs) and reinforced through mid-year review discussions. The Program would benefit, however, from the development of a PERPA workplan to operationalize the broad and high level strategic objectives outlined in the Country Strategy and Joint Statement. The leadership on such a workplan should come from Beijing, particularly given the initiative to operate a PERPA network across all China missions.
2.2.2 Communications within the Program are effectively supported through regular formal and informal discussions and conference calls with the China network of missions. Inter-program communication is facilitated by the Public Affairs Officer's inclusion in the weekly IBD meeting. In addition to briefing on Education Marketing activities, this forum allows for the identification of areas where PERPA can support the achievement of broader mission objectives.
|Key PERPA Implementation Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Strategic objectives and plans have been translated into individual or team workplans.||X|
|Activities and initiatives are aligned with the Mission's key priorities and with the principles of the New Way Forward PERPA Renewal initiative.||X|
|Relations with other mission programs facilitate program delivery (i.e. public affairs).||X|
|The program develops and maintains a contact base that meets programs needs and objectives.||X|
|Program reporting is in-line with Mission and government objectives, timely and relevant.||X|
|The Program is meeting the three categories of public diplomacy; communication of events, reinforcement of an image of Canada over the medium term; and building a longer term understanding and relationship with the country.||X|
|The program facilitates a mission-wide coordinated approach to advocacy and common messaging.||X|
2.3.1 The Program's key activities are aimed at bilateral relations, advocacy and public diplomacy within the provinces of Guangdong, Fujian, Guangxi, and Hainan; supporting high level visits from Canada and regional visits from other China missions; and, supporting other Mission programs.
2.3.2 As stated earlier, the Program would, however, benefit from the development of proactive workplans focussing on areas that support outreach and create opportunities to further Mission objectives. While somewhat dependent on guidance from Beijing, the Mission could consider implementing a three to six month rolling workplan to better articulate objectives and identify strategies and activities that will be used to achieve them.
2.4 Performance Measurement
|Key PERPA Performance Measurement Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|The PERPA Program has an established performance measurement system in place to monitor activities towards the achievement of outputs and objectives.||X|
|The PERPA Program assesses performance against their strategy / objectives and plans.||X|
|Hospitality diaries are maintained in a fashion that demonstrates value-for-money and alignment with priorities.||X|
2.4.1 The Program's current approach is primarily focussed on activities and does not articulate overall objectives in terms of its territory in southern China. Without identifying expected outcomes, the Program is not well positioned to demonstrate that the intended results have been achieved. For large events, however, results achieved and lessons learned are discussed to improve the implementation of future projects.
2.4.2 As stated in Mission Management, a review of hospitality diaries indicated that they should more clearly demonstrate value-for-money by linking activities to Mission objectives and using the evaluation of events to identify how those objectives were advanced and what follow-up activity should result.
Recommendations to the Mission
2.5.1 The Program should further define PERPA objectives in terms of the Mission's area of accreditation and articulate performance indicators and expected results.
2.5.2 The Program should consider implementing a PERPA workplan to further guide activities and their alignment with overall objectives.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
2.5.1 -2 A Whole of China MPR and PERPA workplan have been developed by BEJING in consultation with all posts. A mission-specific PERPA workplan including ST and MT outcomes and results, activities and objectives, and performance indicators has been developed drawing on the whole of China MPR and Workplan and adapted to reflect local needs and context. Implemented.
International Business Development (IBD)
3.1.1 China is the world's third largest economy and has experienced an average yearly gross domestic product (GDP) growth of about ten percent since 1980.
While it has not been immune to the recent global financial crisis, the Chinese economy has rebounded quickly and growth has been forecasted to remain around the seven to eight percent range for 2009. According the 2010-2011 IBD Business Plan, growth in Southern China has in fact continued despite the effects of the global financial crisis.
3.2 Planning and Program Management
|Key IBD Program Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Program objectives reflect departmental plans and priorities, including partner departments where applicable.||X|
|Performance targets are defined, clear and measurable.||X|
|Officer roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and have been communicated to all staff.||X|
|Internal program communication effectively supports program delivery.||Best Practice|
3.2.1 The IBD Program in Guangzhou is led by an FS-03 Senior Trade Commissioner (STC) and supported by an FS-02 and six LES officers (two LE-09, three LE-08 and one LE-07) and two assistants (LE-05). One of the officer positions is funded by Agriculture and Agri-food Canada (AAFC). In addition, the STC exercises leadership and oversight responsibilities for the new CCC office in Shenzhen. The Program's budget includes $44,144 for operational costs, $29,917 in client service fund (CSF), $24,233 for travel and $7,405 for hospitality. AAFC provides its LES officer with approximately $7,000 in additional travel and hospitality funding.
3.2.2 Overall, the Program is *** managed by the STC who exercises ***. An IBD Business Plan is in place, and the team has identified initiatives and action plans for their respective priority sectors, including targets related to the China networks key performance indicator (KPI) system. The Program did, however, have a high number of priority sectors identified. Future consultations with HQ on the IBD Business Plan will provide the Program with further guidance on refining its focus.
3.2.3 Communications within the Program are facilitated by weekly meetings and a collegial approach by all staff to the sharing of information and opportunities. In addition to all IBD staff, the meeting also includes the Public Affairs Officer who covers Education Marketing activities. As a best practice, the MCO and HOM have also sat in on the meetings, improving inter-program communications and their understanding of policy and procedural requirements. The STC has also participated in Common Services staff meetings.
3.2.4 While staff have all participated in the primary IBD course, the Global Learning Initiative II (GLI II), they would benefit from further training on conducting strategic investment outcalls. Such training has been recommended in the Beijing and Shanghai reports, creating the opportunity for a network approach to the delivery of this specialized training.
3.2.5 The number of trade commissioner assistants (TCAs) in the Program is low relative to the number of trade commissioners (TCs) and other offices in China. For example, Guangzhou's ratio of TCAs to TCs is two to eight, whereas Hong Kong has five TCAs to support ten TCs, and Shanghai has five TCAs to support 13 TCs. While not highlighted as an issue having a major impact on program delivery, additional support to officers would facilitate program delivery and limit the amount of their time spent on administrative tasks.
|Key IBD Implementation Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Business plan objectives and those outlined in management's PMAs (Performance Management Agreement) /PMPs (Performance Management Program) appropriately cascade down into officer PMPs.||X|
|The program utilizes TRIO to facilitate client relationship management.||X|
|Staff use of TRIO is monitored to ensure activities are reported appropriately and accurately reflect the work undertaken.||X|
|The InfoCentre function has defined objectives and responsibilities.||Best Practice|
3.3.1 The Program is actively supporting the needs of Canadian clients in southern China and is working effectively with its local and regional partners. In addition to IBD activities, the Program produces some economic reports and provides input on and feedback to reports produced by other missions in the China network. In return, the Program benefits from the expertise of other missions, particularly through the use of several best practices, such as the KPIs, virtual teams, the China Infocentre and the training provided by Beijing.
3.3.2 A review of PMPs in place for the 2009-2010 fiscal year showed that the quality of performance objectives and indicators was inconsistent among officers.
There is a need to more fully develop individual objectives and performance indicators beyond the generalities of the IBD Business Plan to ensure expectations are clear. These objectives and indicators should be defined in obtainable and measurable terms, and contain both qualitative and quantitative aspects. While improvement is required, the Program's managers should be commended for consistently conducting the mid- year performance review with all staff.
3.3.3 Specific challenges within the local environment may also require a more focussed approach to objectives to ensure the expectations of management are clear and that staff have well defined proactive strategies and initiatives to execute. For example, individual officer workplans based on a three to six month horizon that include key outreach activities and define how resources will be utilized could be developed. These would facilitate discussion between officers and managers concerning the work to be performed and provide clear and tangible performance indicators to be included in the PMP.
3.3.4 The implementation of these workplans would also facilitate a more strategic use of the HOM's time, which is largely ad-hoc at the present time and initiated by the officer. By identifying in advance areas where senior level support, the Program would be in a better position to set priorities and ensure the HOM is engaged for specific and strategic purposes.
3.3.5 The Program regularly uses TRIO to record its activities, and performance is reviewed on a regular basis by the STC in line with the China networks KPIs (service requests, new clients, business leads, commercial successes, and information downloads). As a good practice, the PERPA Officer covering the Education Marketing sector uses TRIO to record her activities, and the HOM Assistant uses it to record the IBD related activities of the HOM. There remains room for improvement with regards to some officers, who should record their activities in a more timely fashion. It is important that all officers see recording activities in TRIO as an integral part of providing services to clients and essential in monitoring the Program's achievement of its KPIs.
3.3.6 As discussed in the Beijing Inspection Report, the IBD Program is supported by the China IBD InfoCentre located in Beijing. The InfoCentre provides support to all China missions and should be viewed as a best practice. In particular, it provides the following key services:
- Receives, responds and assigns approximately 80 service requests on a weekly basis that are sent to the common email address for all China missions (email@example.com);
- Creates and maintains standard responses for certain inquiries and identifies areas where the program could consider developing specific content for the Virtual Trade Commissioner (VTC) site to address repeat inquiries;
- Monitors the content of the VTC and reports on popularity of documents; and,
- Produces monthly KPI reports and TRIO tips that are shared with staff via the program managers and the individual mission's TRIO Champion.
3.4 Performance Measurement
|Key IBD Performance Measurement Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Tools and mechanisms are in place to measure and monitor performance of the program.||X|
|Program employees are involved in the performance measurement process.||X|
|Hospitality diaries are maintained in a fashion that demonstrates value-for-money and alignment with priorities.||X|
3.4.1 The Program's performance is measured in line with the KPIs established by Beijing and reviewed on a regular basis during IBD staff meetings. The Program has experienced a decline in clients over the last few years, and it will be essential that efforts are placed on proactively identifying opportunities for Canadian companies and engaging all staff in expanding their existing client base.
3.4.2 A review of hospitality diaries for the IBD Program revealed that activities were clearly linked to strategic objectives and that evaluations of events demonstrated how those objectives were furthered. The review did note, however, that events are generally large in nature, and the Program would benefit from a more balanced approach with smaller events targeted at a smaller number of individuals. Building upon the development of workplans identified earlier in this section, officers could be allocated a portion of the hospitality budget to conduct network building and maintenance. The strategic use of these resources should also be incorporated into their PMPs and evaluated as a part of the mid and end-of-year performance review process.
Recommendations to the Mission
3.5.1 The Program should consult with Beijing regarding investment outcall training for Trade Commissioners.
3.5.2 The Program should revisit PMP objectives and performance indicators to ensure that expectations are clear and consistent, and that expected results are obtainable and measurable.
3.5.3 The Program should consider implementing a rolling workplan to better define short term activities and their linkages to long term objectives.
3.5.4 The Program should develop a more formal process, such as a strategic outcall plan, for engaging the HOM in support of their objectives.
3.5.5 The STC should continue to monitor the team's use of TRIO to ensure value added and timely information is provided.
3.5.6 IBD officers should be allocated hospitality funds based on their workplans, and the strategic use of those resources should be incorporated into their PMPs.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
3.5.1 GANZU will deliver investment outcall training in coordination and collaboration with BEJING and other China missions. This training will take place ASAP and at the very latest by the end of November. In progress.
3.5.2 All PMPs will be reviewed by the new STC. Performance measures will be made consistent across the entire IBD program. Expected results will be based on easily measurable metrics. In progress, September 2010.
3.5.3 As part of the IBD plans and PMP mid-year reviews that will be performed with the arrival of the new STC, a more focussed approach to deliver results according to the yearly objectives will be implemented. Plans with a 3 months horizons will be developed highlighting key outreach activities and hospitality initiatives. In progress, September 2010.
3.5.4 The Program will work at establishing a strategic outcall plan for each officer during the IBD mid-year review process which will be shared with the HOM for his comments and potential participation.
The strategic outcall plan will be established every 3 months and will be reviewed accordingly. In progress, September 2010.
3.5.5 The STC will monitor the team's use of TRIO while ensuring that the content inputted in TRIO is valuable, accurate and demonstrates results. The STC will allocate time every 2 weeks to review the TRIO entries by officers and assistants and provide feedback. In progress, September 2010.
3.5.6 The Program will allocate hospitality funds to each trade officer after revision of their workplans, planned initiatives and previous years' utilization of funds. Officers will be held responsible for the funds allocated and use of the funds will be reflected in next year's PMP. In progress, September 2010.
Recommendation to the North Asia Bureau (GPD)
3.5.7 GPD should review the allocation of *** to Guangzhou to ensure proper support is provided to the Program and its officers.
GPD Actions and Timeframes
3.5.7 ***. GPC/GPD will discuss this with the GANZU HOM and the China STC, as well as GLA before mid-September to explore options, including SR400 requests, new financial resources, and reallocation. In progress.
4.1.1 The Consular Program is managed by an AS-04 Deputy Management Consular Officer (DMCO) with oversight provided by the AS-05 MCO. The Program is supported by an LE-08 Consular Officer, an LE-06 Consular Assistant and an LE-05 Passport Assistant and the LE-04 Receptionist.
4.1.2 The Program has a heavy case management workload dealing with 36 arrest and detention cases, among the highest numbers in the world after missions in the United States and Sydney, Australia. It is also the 19th busiest mission passport operation, providing approximately 2,200 passport services, and processing approximately 290 citizenship applications and 620 notarial requests yearly. There are 378 Canadian citizens registered in the Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) database, however, the number of Canadians residing in the region is estimated to be between 15,000 and 20,000.
4.1.3 The Program has been proactive in developing tools to improve operational effectiveness and client service delivery. In particular, the Program had the passport application form translated into Mandarin to assist clients who cannot read English or French, and also developed an arrest and detention process timeline document to better inform detainees of what to expect from the Chinese legal system. These documents have been shared with the other missions in China. The Program also developed a ***, which allows staff to monitor services required and wait times, facilitates revenue management and reduces the risk of errors by automating certain processes. It is considered to be a best practice and could be considered for implementation in other missions.
4.2 Program Management
|Key Consular Program Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|The Consular Contingency Plan is up-to-date.||X|
|The Mission has ongoing dialogue with key local authorities to facilitate Program delivery.||X|
|The Duty Officer Manual is up-to-date and contains a list of hospitals, doctors, lawyers, dentists, etc., to whom clients can be referred.||X|
|Regular staff meetings are held to communicate new directives, set priorities, plan program and operational direction, and to ensure staff are aware of case management issues.||X|
4.2.1 The Program is *** managed, and the DMCO ***. Communication is effective, and staff are kept informed of issues that affect their work through bi-weekly meetings that also include the Receptionist and the MCO. Consular staff also attend Common Services staff meetings.
4.2.2 Consular staff work in an environment where challenges are discussed openly and they are encouraged to make suggestions and find solutions. Staff are very proactive and look for ways to improve processes and procedures to gain efficiencies.
As a best practice, the Program sent the Consular Assistant to the mission in Hong Kong to study its operations and identify good practices that could be implemented in Guangzhou. Additionally, the Passport Assistant visited the Scarborough Passport Office and the Mississauga print centre while in Canada for Consular Specialist training.
4.2.3 On a daily basis, the Receptionist spends the majority of her time performing Consular related duties given that most visitors and telephone calls to the Mission are Consular related. The Receptionist has *** which will provide the Program with increased flexibility during peak periods and staff absences. Although the current involvement of the Receptionist is beneficial and is a good use of her time, the Receptionist is in a Common Service position, and priority should be given to those activities when conflicts arise.
4.2.4 Given the number of clients seeking Consular and Passport services, the size of the reception/consular waiting area and limited number of interview booths can present challenges to effective program delivery. ***. As there are only two interview booths, instances have occurred where the DMCO or Consular Officer had to interrupt a client in order to conduct an interview for a consular case.
4.3 Client Service
|Key Consular Client Service Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Service standards are made available to clients in both official languages.||X|
|The Program monitors adherence to Consular Service standards and makes adjustments where necessary.||X|
|The Program has the capacity to provide services to Canadians in the official language of their choice.||X|
|The Mission promotes client feedback mechanisms and takes corrective action, when warranted.||X|
4.3.1 Similar to other missions in China, arrest and detention cases consume a great deal of the time of the Consular Program. *** the LES Consular Officer must accompany *** on all prison visits. At the time of the Inspection, Guangzhou had 36 Canadians detained within its Consular territories. Although the Mission has been able to meet its service standards for prison visits of one visit per quarter, the requirement for a CBS member and an LES member to visit all detainees in person is a drain on the Program's limited resources.
4.3.2 The Program also faced challenges with clients who are unable to complete passport applications themselves. To assist clients who cannot read English or French, the Mission translated the passport application form into Mandarin to be used as a guide to facilitate completing the form without added assistance from Consular staff. Clients who are unable to read are provided with a list of translation companies or are asked to return with a friend who can assist them in the process.
4.3.3 As noted in Section 4.1, the *** is considered to be an excellent tool and has enhanced the overall efficiency of client service by removing the need to manually prepare official receipts, worksheets and daily reconciliations. The DMCO is able to use the System to monitor wait times and length of time spent with clients and intervene as required. Data from the System was also used to substantiate the Mission's actions when a client submitted a complaint to HQ regarding the service provided.
4.3.4 The Program is meeting service standards set by the Department and Passport Canada. However, service standards and a copy of the official receipt are not posted in the waiting area.
4.3.5 ***. However, the *** and, in the event that she is absent, there are staff in other sections who can assist. There is no signage within the main reception area that advises clients that they can be served in either official language.
4.3.6 The Program has received positive feedback from clients, and the number of feedback forms submitted has increased dramatically since staff started giving forms to clients at the time of payment rather than once the service had been completed. As a best practice, a locked box should be installed in the reception area for clients to deposit forms, as some clients may be uncomfortable providing feedback forms directly to staff.
The box should be controlled by the DMCO and feedback shared with Consular staff, the MCO, HOM and HQ.
4.3.7 The Consular Program receives several general inquiries daily by telephone and email which are answered within 24 hours. Although there is a plan to systematically create templates for email standard responses and store them in an organized format, staff could reduce workload by referring clients to the Mission's website and creating a frequently asked questions (FAQs) section.
4.4 Internal Controls
|Key Consular Internal Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|A trained CBS with substantial control of the passport program is assigned overall responsibility to oversee regulatory compliance with Passport Canada's policies and procedures.||X|
|A certified CBS signs-off on all passports, except in extenuating circumstances requiring the function to be conducted by an LES with the approval role in PMP.||X|
|Completed passport application forms and related documentation are held for 60 business days following the end of the month that they were submitted and then securely destroyed.||X|
|Upon receipt of new passport stock, two CBS verify the receipt of all assets, sign and return the transmittal note. Form PPT 300 - Passport Receipt Form - to Foreign Operations (PPSP).||X|
|The primary inventory of passport blanks (temporary and emergency), ID labels, OBS labels, stamps, and seals are stored in according to official guidelines.||X|
|Movement of assets is recorded on an inventory log and initialled by the CBS custodian and the employee receiving the asset.||X|
|LES are allocated an appropriate working inventory that is controlled by a daily log (passport #s issued, spoiled, returned to safe storage) and unused inventory is stored securely at the end of each day.||X|
|Inventory is physically counted, reconciled and signed-off at the end of each month by two staff, one of whom must be a CBS.||X|
|The appropriate authority participates in and signs-off on quarterly passport inventory reconciliations.||X|
|There are adequate segregation of duties for staff handling revenues.||X|
|Client documents and personal information are properly stored, secured, and disposed.||X|
|Official receipts are issued to Consular clients and revenue is recorded on the EXT 119 (Record of Fees Received Passport Consular Services).||X|
|Revenues are transferred to the Finance Section once $500 is reached (once a week if less than $500), a reconciliation is completed in the presence of the transferring employee and an official receipt is issued.||X|
|Official seals and stamps are properly inventoried, secured and access provided to designated staff only.||X|
4.4.1 Overall, controls governing passport issuance and Consular activities are in place, but there is room for improvement with regards to the inclusion of a second staff member in the monthly reconciliation process.
4.4.2 The Program receives payment for services ***, which is transferred to the Finance Section ***. The use of credit/debit cards, bank drafts or direct deposit for payment would help to reduce risk inherent with cash handling.
4.4.3 It was noted during the Inspection that ***.
Recommendations to the Mission
4.5.1 Given the high use of the receptionist position for Consular issues, the Mission should consult the Area Management Office, Consular Services and Emergency Management Branch (CFA) regarding the requirement for additional resources.
4.5.2 Bilingual copies of Consular service standards and the official receipt should be posted in the waiting area.
4.5.3 A locked box should be installed in the reception area for clients to deposit forms. The box should be controlled by the DMCO and feedback be shared with Consular staff, the MCO, HOM and HQ.
4.5.4 The Program should increasingly refer clients to the Mission website for general inquiries, while at the same time work to improve the availability of information and addition of a frequently asked questions (FAQs) section.
4.5.5 Monthly inventory reconciliations of passport stock should be conducted by two staff, one of whom must be a CBS.
4.5.6 The Program should explore alternate forms of payment for Consular services, and should ensure that ***.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
4.5.1 The Mission agrees that a dedicated ***, however the current space and set-up of the Mission do not allow for a dedicated *** area or window. The Mission will flag the situation to CFA and request *** in conjunction with the upcoming scheduled review of the Mission's current facilities and location. In progress.
4.5.2 Prior to the inspection, the Mission consulted CLP, who confirmed that the Consular service standards are out of date. The current standards include services that missions do not provide. The Mission will post an edited version of the standards and an official receipt sample. In progress, October 2010.
4.5.3 The Mission will source and install one. In progress, December 2010.
4.5.4 The China.gc.ca "Assistance to Canadians" section is scheduled for review by all China missions. Mission already includes website and online information links in email correspondence as well as provides all information through use of business cards during public hours.
In progress, March 2011.
4.5.5 Implemented, March 2010.
4.5.6 SMFF has already asked other China missions to put alternate payment methods on hold pending a world-wide solution. The Mission will explore the sourcing of *** currently in use at other missions. Our booths are particularly undersized and the space is fully utilized. It may not make the use or installation of a *** practical. In progress, September 2010.
4.5.7 Discussed with consular staff August 2010. All Consular staff now ***. The Mission has also placed signage at the entrance to the consular section indicating access to Consular personnel only. Implemented.
5.1.1 The Common Services Program is managed by an AS-05 MCO who is supported by the DMCO and eight LES. The Program is responsible for providing common services to 29 employees from four DFAIT programs and one partner department program. The following table summarizes the resources available to the Program.
|Key Common Services Program Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|The Common Services Program has developed an operational plan that incorporates key mission and international platform objectives, along with measurable expected results.||X|
|The Common Services Program actively seeks to implement best practices, improve efficiencies and reduce operating costs.||X|
|There are regular staff meetings in the Common Services Program to review priorities for the period and to follow up the implementation of plans.||X|
5.1.2 The Common Services Program is functioning well, morale is generally high and good back up procedures are in place. A high level operational plan has been developed in coordination with the missions in Beijing and Shanghai for the 2010-2011 fiscal year to outline key priorities and activities designed to support the overall effectiveness of Common Services Program delivery and to effect better client service.
The Program would benefit, however, from developing workplans for all sections within the Program. A workplan would assist in identifying workload pressures, setting realistic goals for staff, and ensuring compliance with policies and procedures.
5.1.3 In addition to managing the Common Services Program, the MCO position is also responsible for the overall management of a busy Consular Program with workload statistics and complexity at a level that is comparable to the missions in Beijing and Shanghai. The MCO positions at those missions are classified at the AS-06 level, while the MCO position in Guanghzou is classified at the AS-05 level. The comparability of responsibilities and complexity warrants a review of the level of the MCO position by the Mission Client Services and Innovation Bureau (ASD).
|Key Common Services Client Service Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Service standards have been established and communicated to clients.||X|
|Service standards reflect fair and equitable allocation and access to common services for all mission programs.||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Any hub and spoke relationships are governed by an MOU, outlining the roles and responsibilities of each mission.||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|A mechanism is in place to solicit and receive client feedback and corrective action is taken when warranted.||X|
5.1.4 While overall client services were effective, some improvement is needed with respect to a lack of documented service standards. Mainland China missions recently began updating the generic 2004 service standards and each mission should ensure that local conditions are taken into consideration. Once developed, the service standards can be used to measure client satisfaction and Program performance.
5.1.5 The Mission has a good suite of policies and procedures developed, which should be reviewed and updated on an annual basis and approved by the CMM.
5.1.6 The Mission Report does not fully reflect the difficulties associated with life in Guangzhou and challenges associated with finding suitable housing for large families wishing to live within the downtown core. It will be important to manage expectations of new CBS coming to post or those considering a posting to Guangzhou.
Recommendations to the Mission
5.1.7 The Mission should develop workplans for each section within the Common Service Program.
5.1.8 Mission specific service standards should be developed and communicated to all staff.
5.1.9 Policies and procedures should be updated, reviewed and approved by the CMM on an annual basis.
5.1.10 The Mission Report should be updated to reflect the challenges associated with living in Guangzhou, particularly with regards to commuting times and location of schools and other amenities.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
5.1.7 The Mission has a workplan for all sections but is also in the process of outlining a section calendar with more specific items. In progress, October 2010.
5.1.8 The Mission is waiting for a late summer staff rotation to be completed before CMM review and finalisation of the service standards. In progress, October 2010.
5.1.9 All-China policies are being reviewed and drafted in consultation with other China missions that will supercede existing ones. In progress, December 2010.
5.1.10 The mission report is now updated. Implemented, April 2010. Recommendations to the Mission Client Services and Innovation Bureau (ASD)
5.1.11 ASD, in consultation with the Assignments and Executive Management (HFD) and the Consular Policy and Advocacy (CLD) bureaux, ***.
ASD Action and Timeframe
5.1.11 ASM has been reviewing the classification with GANZU and BEJING and has received a formal request. The classification model was reviewed and the position appears to fall within the parameters of ***. ASM has forwarded the request to the HR Portal for formal classification review by HMO,***.
5.2 Human Resources (HR)
5.2.1 The HR functions at the Mission are managed by the MCO who is supported by the Administrative Assistant. The Section has dealt with numerous staffing actions over the past two years as a total of 11 staff members have left for various reasons. For a Mission with only 23 LES, this represents a 47% turnover in a short period of time.
5.2.2 The Mission is faced with several issues concerning *** and the application of Canadian benefits. The LES Handbook was last updated in 2002, a major concern for staff as several changes to the Chinese labour law have occurred over the past eight years. Additionally, concerns were raised with regard to the level of compensation and comparability among missions in China. As recommended in the Beijing Inspection Report, the particular nature of the LES groups, labour contracts with the Diplomatic Service Bureau (DSB) and changing labour environment necessitate a closer review by HQ prior to the completion of the Total Compensation Review (TCR) for China. As well, other like-minded missions in China have already taken steps to address the situation and should be consulted as a part of the TCR process.
|Key HR Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Responsibilities for the human resource activities have been clearly defined, delegated and communicated to all staff.||X|
|LES have been provided with the most recent version of the LES Handbook.||X|
|The LES MCB is representative of mission programs and levels and is utilized by both LES and Mission Management to facilitate communication.||X|
|An HR plan has been developed and submitted to HQ.||X|
|A Mission training coordinator has been appointed and budget established.||X|
|Mechanisms are in place to monitor completion of employee's performance evaluations, CBS and LES.||X|
|Personnel and position files are complete and maintained separately.||X|
|Job descriptions are up to date and signed by incumbent and supervisor.||X|
|The Mission records LES accrued leave, deductions and current balances.||X|
5.2.3 Overall, the HR function is *** managed and provides a good quality of service to all programs. PMPs are in place for all staff and job descriptions are up-to- date and reviewed annually as part of the PMP process.
5.2.4 The Inspection Team met with the LES members of the LES Management Consultative Board (LESMCB), which was formed in February 2010. The LES members were elected by their peers and represent a cross section of all programs. The issues raised during the meeting involved:
- Comparability of salaries among missions in China related to the cost of living; and,
- Clarification on how the TCR process will be undertaken and the markers that will be used.
5.2.5 Personnel files and position number files are available for all staff, but in many instances documents were misfiled. Some documentation is also missing on certain files, including organizational charts and approved classification action forms.
|Key HR Processes and Internal Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|The Mission maintains written records of each staffing action in-line with the requirements established by ALD.||X|
|Letters of Offer are signed by the appropriate authority.||X|
|New LES and CBS employees are provided with an information package on the working conditions, benefits and regulations pertaining to employment at the Mission.||X|
|Classification action files demonstrate adherence to departmental procedures and contain the required documents and approvals.||X|
|Employees concerned are advised in writing of the Classification Committee's decision.||X|
|Staff are aware of and comply with the Values and Ethics Code and have signed a document certifying that they have read and understood this code. Staff should be reminded on an annual basis.||X|
|Mission signage is provided in both English and French and a bilingual Official Languages Co-ordinator has been appointed.||X|
|The Mission has sufficient capacity to communicate with and provide services to the public, both orally and in writing, in both official languages.||X|
5.2.6 Overall, HR processes and internal controls were in place with minor areas for improvement required. Letters of offer for LES expatriate staff and letters of intent to engage Diplomatic Services Bureau (DSB) staff have, in the past, been signed by ***. This authority is, however, only delegated to the HOM.
5.2.7 Several recent competition files were reviewed, and inconsistencies were noted in the information that was maintained on the file. In particular, some files were lacking:
Letters to unsuccessful internal candidates;
Completed scoring grids;
Memos to the HOM advising him of the results of the competition and recommending the hiring of the successful candidate; and,
The signed letter of offer.
Recommendations to the Mission
5.2.8 Personnel and position files should be reviewed to ensure correct documentation is located on each file.
5.2.9 The Mission should ensure that the HOM signs all letters of employment.
5.2.10 The Mission should develop a competition file check list to ensure consistent and appropriate documentation is maintained on files.
5.2.11 The Mission should ensure that any staff dealing directly with the public have necessary official language capabilities ***.
5.2.12 The Mission should ensure that signage in public areas is provided in a both official languages.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
5.2.8 Position files have been updated and the Mission will review personnel files for proper documentation. Implemented.
5.2.9 Letters of employment have been signed by the HOM since August 2009. ***. Given the size of the Mission, future signatures will also highlight if one is acting as the HOM at the time. Implemented.
5.2.10 The Mission has asked ALD for their competition file checklist and adjusted for redundancy. The competition file checklist is now included in our staffing SOPs. Implemented.
5.2.11 ***, as in the past, been provided with official language training on a priority basis. They will receive a minimum of two courses as compared with one for other staff. Implemented, June 2010.
5.2.12 All signage that was not in both official languages has been translated. Implemented.
5.3 Physical Resources
5.3.1 The Property Section is managed by the MCO and is supported by an LE-05 Property/Materiel Assistant and two drivers. The Property/Materiel Assistant has been in the position for two years ***. The Section is small but provides *** client service and has greatly reduced the number of work requests it handles by leasing of fully serviced staff quarters (SQs).
|Key Physical Resources Program Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|The MPMP and MMWP are up-to-date and approved by the appropriate mission and HQ authorities.||X|
|The appropriate authority allocates SQs based on the recommendation of the Mission Housing Committee.||X|
|The Chancery is well maintained and a maintenance schedule is in place.||X|
|The Official Residence (OR) is well maintained and a maintenance schedule is in place.||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|The mission has an efficient process in place for receiving, processing and monitoring work orders.||X|
|Annual inspections are conducted to assess the state of the SQ and input into maintenance and acquisition planning.||X|
|The Mission's multi-year Capital Acquisition Plan is approved by CMM annually.||X|
|Local procurement guidelines have been established and include direction on obtaining supplier discounts.||X|
5.3.2 The Section is *** managed, although a workplan is not yet in place. There is, however, a plan to use "task manager" for work planning for recurring tasks and maintenance.
5.3.3 The Chancery is at capacity and is located in an office complex in an older district of the city. The building where the Consulate is housed is 30 years old and showing signs of its age. The visitor reception and client waiting area is small, resulting in periods where there is standing room only and ***. Most other consulates and many businesses have moved their offices to the new central business district. ***. In the short term, a plan to upgrade the current office is required, as it is starting to show its age and is in need of refurbishment.
5.3.4 A key area of concern for the Mission is the SQ portfolio as CBS expressed *** regarding the suitability and location of some SQs (ie. young couples in complexes suitable for families and in neighbourhoods without amenities). The HOM SQ in particular, although of a good quality, cannot be easily used for official events as it is located far away from the downtown area. This poses inherent challenges to effective program delivery.
5.3.5 Although all purchases are pre-approved by the MCO and local procurement practices are generally understood by the responsible staff members, there are no written guidelines in place. This could lead to inconsistency in the process followed and in the documents maintained on file. Developing a standard document would provide staff clear guidelines and ensure greater transparency in the procurement process.
5.3.6 As part of the development of a China-wide procurement strategy, a review of purchasing options could be performed to identify the most cost effective location for regularly purchased or big-ticket items in order to obtain better value-for- money for all missions. For example, some items such as printing of business cards is much cheaper in Guangzhou than in other cities in China.
5.3.7 As discussed in Section 5.1 of this report, service standards are not in place. Although most service requests are actioned quickly, the lack of service standards for Property services makes it difficult to manage client expectations. The MCO meets with each CBS employee shortly after his arrival to discuss client services and holds one-on-one sessions with PMs to discuss services and get feedback. The lack of a formal feedback mechanism, such as that provided by the departmentally approved work request system, hampers the Section's ability to monitor ongoing client satisfaction.
|Key Physical Resources Internal Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|An inspection is conducted by new SQ occupants and a mission representative within 30 days of occupancy, after which occupancy agreements and distribution accounts signed.||X|
|A percentage of the costs for OR supplies has been established and regular reimbursements are made.||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Costs of damages resulting from occupant negligence are recovered.||X|
|Records of assets in storage are maintained on an ongoing basis and verified annually. The Mission maintains a dollar value of stored assets.||X|
|Chancery, OR, and SQ assets are appropriately safeguarded, inventoried, and controlled.||X|
|Disposals are appropriately authorized and follow Departmental guidelines.||X|
|Vehicles logs are appropriately completed, demonstrating that use was for official purposes.||X|
|Vehicle logs and mileage are verified monthly by a CBS to reconcile usage to gas purchases as well as monitor vehicle performance.||X|
5.3.8 The Property/Materiel Assistant meets with all new CBS upon their arrival. Occupancy agreements and distribution accounts are in place, but often signed several months later. A follow-up meeting scheduled shortly after the CBS' arrival would allow both parties to review SQ assets and sign the forms together, as well as discuss any work requirements.
5.3.9 The Mission does not hold large amounts of furniture in storage and only maintains three store rooms located on the same floor as the Chancery and utilizes a room in the *** store excess furniture. ***.
5.3.10 The Property/Materiel Assistant performs annual inspections of SQs in order to verify the condition of furnishings and to update SQ inventories,***.
5.3.11 Disposal sales are approved by the HOM as required. However, most bids are submitted by email, instead of a sealed envelope to ***. A review of disposal records indicated that copies of receipts for payment received were not included.
5.3.12 Official vehicle logs are maintained by the drivers for all vehicles, though a review of the logs and mileage driven is not performed by the supervisor. In addition, the monthly Vehicle Operating and Maintenance Report (EXT-159) is not verified and signed by a CBS.
5.3.13 Guangzhou is a category three mission without an OR and no official supplies are purchased for the HOM by the mission. Therefore, no reimbursement is required.
Recommendations to the Mission
5.3.14 The Housing Committee should take a more active role in the management of the SQ portfolio in order to ensure that SQ sourcing, selection and allocation is appropriate and not only meets needs of the Mission with regards to operational budgets but also takes into consideration current and incoming occupant requirements.
5.3.15 Local procurement guidelines should be developed and include direction on obtaining supplier discounts.
5.3.16 The Property Section should implement a feedback mechanism to monitor client satisfaction.
5.3.17 The Property Section should schedule a meeting with newly arrived CBS, within 30 days of occupancy, to sign the occupancy agreements and distribution accounts as well as discuss any SQ issues.
5.3.18 Complete *** should be in place for all Mission ***.
5.3.19 Material Transfer Vouchers should be used to record the movement of furniture and other assets and be signed by a CBS.
5.3.20 Disposal procedures should be adjusted ***.
5.3.21 A CBS should verify and sign the monthly Vehicle Operating and Maintenance Report (EXT-159).
Mission Actions and Timeframes
5.3.14 The Housing Committee has been given the requested instructions by the HOM. The cost of housing in Guangzhou has increased significantly in tandem with the growth rate over the past 15 years (over 10% annually) thereby severely limiting housing options. The current SQ portfolio is far from adequate with commuting times in some cases as long as 90 minutes making life difficult for CBS and their dependants. In progress.
5.3.15 Staff involved in purchasing have reviewed and continue to follow Chapter 3 of the Material Management manual. Staff are always encouraged and coached on how to ask for discounts locally. No staff have been accepted to material management training in Ottawa and more courses need to be offered with greater access to staff abroad. The Mission will adopt BEJING's guidelines as soon as they are made available. In progress.
5.3.16 In such a small mission, feedback has been easily obtained by asking clients on a periodic and ad hoc basis. The Property Section is also working with IT to determine an easy way to obtain client feedback using the service request software, without increasing administration. In progress.
5.3.17 The Property Section met with new CBS within the first 30 days of arrival to go over outstanding issues. Occupancy agreements and inventories have been signed. Implemented, September 2010.
5.3.18 The Mission is planning an auction and disposal prior to making a *** Staffing and programming challenges with visits has delayed this from last FY. In progress, January 2011.
5.3.19 Vouchers are now used. Follow up training will also be provided with BEJING's assistance this FY. Implemented.
5.3.20 Disposal procedures are followed to DFAIT standards and, where practical, by local expectations. The Mission is satisfied that disposals are done fairly and transparently, however, our procedures were sometimes misunderstood by bidders. Instructions to bidders have since been improved and standardised. Staff have reviewed chapters on disposals in the property management manual. Records continue to be kept on file. Despite mission-provided training, access to formal departmental training for property and other staff is still required to further reinforce understanding of GoC principles. Implemented, August 2010.
5.3.21 A CBS now signs the monthly Vehicle Operating and Maintenance Report. Implemented.
5.4.1 The MCO is responsible for the management of the Finance Section, with daily operations undertaken by an LE-07 Finance Officer. ***.
|Key Finance Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Financial Procedures have been established to guide clients and Finance staff.||X|
|The Section employs methods to minimize disruption (eg. setting of "quiet hours" and controlling access to the finance section).||X|
|Acquisition cards are used, where appropriate, to minimize burden on petty cash accounts, cheque issuance and EFT requirements.||X|
|Payment runs are kept to a minimum, but are sufficient enough to allow for good client service.||X|
|Where appropriate, the mission uses Electronic Funds Transfers (suppliers, LES salaries).||X|
|Immigration refunds are arranged through cheque or EFT.||N/A||N/A||N/A|
5.4.2 The Section does not have any written procedures in place that could be used by staff or clients that would provide guidance regarding the completion of travel or hospitality claims, invoice processing times, and other financial procedures.
5.4.3 A review of finance reports indicated that a number of minor errors are made in the processing of transactions. As a best practice, the institution of a "quiet hours" policy can facilitate the concentration required for processing transactions, completing data entry and generating reports. A privacy screen for the Finance office could also be considered.
5.4.4 Concerns with regards to the level of transactional workload was also raised. Two particular items could help reduce the number of transactions; the use of acquisition cards for purchasing low value goods and the issuance of hospitality advances.
5.4.5 As discussed in Section 5.1 of this report, service standards for the Section are not in place to guide clients and staff in the provision of services. Mainland China Missions are updating the 2004 standards and each mission should ensure that local conditions are taken into consideration.
|Key Finance Internal Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|A Contract Review Board (CRB) is in place and operating effectively with clear terms of reference.||X|
|Bank reconciliations are completed monthly and are properly reviewed and authorized by the appropriate authorities.||X|
|The asset and liability report is reviewed on a monthly basis by the appropriate authority.||X|
|Section 34 is exercised by individuals who possess the appropriate delegation of authority.||X|
|Section 33 is exercised by individuals who possess the appropriate delegation of authority.||X|
|The appropriate authority receives the original monthly bank statement directly from the bank and reviews it prior to giving it to the accountant.||X|
|Official receipts are provided to clients at time of payment and to internal staff when funds are transferred (i.e. from consular to finance).||X|
|Reconciliations of any funds transferred within the Mission are conducted in the presence of two staff.||X|
|Monthly reconciliations of immigration fees are completed and the EXT-1203 is signed by the appropriate authority.||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Hospitality claim processes ensure that policy and guidelines are adhered to and that the accountant verifies the completeness and accuracy of the claim.||X|
|Hospitality files are maintained centrally in Finance, as per the hospitality guidelines.||X|
|A process is in place to ensure the consistent and appropriate review of travel claims.||X|
|A process is in place to ensure that, where applicable, CBS reimburse the Mission for any services of personal nature received at their staff quarters (television, internet, telephone, etc).||X|
5.4.6 Overall, financial controls need to be improved. ***. Until additional training can be provided, *** should request a quick access list of specific reports from the Finance Foreign Operations Division (SMFF).
5.4.7 The Mission has an active Contract Review Board (CRB) in place. However, members are only provided with a summary of competing bids, and do not receive full copies of all bids. As such, essential documentation is not reviewed by the CRB. Additionally, contracts are often submitted at the last minute and do not provide CRB members with enough time to conduct a proper review. Many bids are received via e-mail and, as such, ***. Not all documents concerning contracts are held in a central file as individual programs maintain original bid documentation.
5.4.8 The monthly bank statement is retrieved from the bank by one of the drivers who in turn gives it directly to the Finance Officer. The bank statement should be given to the MCO for review prior to being provided to the Finance Officer for action.
5.4.9 Computer generated receipts are provided to Consular clients via an ***. The Finance Officer, however, does not provide Consular staff with an official receipt when revenues are transferred to the Finance Section. One should be provided whenever funds change hands.
5.4.10 Official hospitality rates were last reviewed and updated in 2008. Currently, all hospitality expenses are processed for individual events as officers are not taking hospitality advances on a quarterly basis. Ensuring that hospitality advances are drawn would provide for better planning as well as reduce the amount of time spent by the Finance Section processing individual claims. Hospitality reports were also not maintained on a central file to facilitate the review and verification process.
5.4.12 Many invoices received and processed by the Finance Section are in Mandarin only. At a minimum, a simple translation into English or French should be provided for all invoices paid by the Mission.
Recommendations to the Mission
5.4.13 The Section should develop a set of written financial procedures that can be used to guide clients and staff.
5.4.14 A quiet-hours policy should be implemented for the Finance Section.
5.4.15 The Mission should explore ways to reduce the number of small value transactions, including the use of an acquisition card and issuance of hospitality advances.
5.4.17 Contract bids should be received in a sealed envelope and only opened after the deadline for bid receipt has passed.
5.4.18 The Mission should consider establishing time lines for bid submissions which would allow the committee to properly schedule CRB review meetings i.e. minimum two week lead time prior to contract due to start.
5.4.19 The Mission should ensure that a complete contracting file including all supporting documents is held in a central location and properly secured.
5.4.20 The Mission should ensure that the bank statement is received by the MCO prior to giving it to the Finance Officer for processing.
5.4.21 The Finance Officer should ensure that an official receipt is issued each time revenues are deposited with the Finance Section.
5.4.22 The Mission should ensure that hospitality records are centrally stored and maintained separately from the official accounts.
5.4.23 The Mission should consider ***.
5.4.24 An English or French translation should be provided on all invoices received in the local language.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
5.4.13 The Financial section, as others, are developing SOPs for presentation to all sections. Travel Claims are chief among these. In progress, January 2011.
5.4.14 Quiet Hours has been implemented for every morning. Blinds are installed on Accountant's window and his door remains closed during this time. Implemented.
5.4.15 Hospitality Advances are now being issued. Acquisition cards will not be implemented unless Mission can gain approval for local cards to facilitate transactions, pending SMFF approval. Implemented
5.4.16 ***. Implemented.
5.4.17 Our contract bidding procedure is not often followed by local suppliers and it is difficult not to exclude all bidders in these cases - cases where best value is being provided. Greater emphasis is now placed in training staff in disposal procedures and stricter adherence to procedure will be enforced for contracts of higher value. Implemented.
5.4.18 The Mission has already developed SOPs for contracting that will assist others in understanding our procedures. These will be used as training tools for internal clients going forward. In progress, October 2010.
5.4.19 This is now performed and will continue to be enhanced. Implemented.
5.4.20 This is now performed. Implemented.
5.4.21 This is now performed, however, multiple controls are also in place through the *** that provides a stronger audit trail in the event of problems. Implemented.
5.4.22 The new hospitality form does not allow for the claim and the diary portion to be separated. However, copies will now be kept in a separate binder managed by the MCO administrative assistant. In progress, December 2010.
5.4.23 The Mission has had this discussion with SMFF and ***. Implemented.
5.4.24 This is impractical given the staffing levels of the mission. Every CBS with signing authority has the right to ask for a translation where they don't understand and most CBS are fluent in Chinese. The MCO and the DMCO also routinely question invoices that are not clear.
5.5 Information Management - Information Technology (IM-IT)
5.5.1 The IM-IT Section is overseen by the MCO while the day-to-day functions are carried out by an LE-08 *** Locally-engaged Information Technology Professional (LEITP). Additional support to the Section is provided by the Foreign Service Information Technology Professional (FSITP) located in Shanghai. A *** is also contracted on occasion to assist during longer absences (i.e. annual leave). The Section provides services to 29 users within the Mission.
|Key IM-IT Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|An IM/IT workplan exists and includes regional activities.||X|
|Where required, an IM-IT Committee has been established to provide direction and program input.||X|
|The liaison between the Mission, HQ and Regional Manager is effective.||X|
|IM-IT requirements in relation to business continuity planning (BCP) have been defined, implemented and tested.||X|
5.5.2 Services are provided under the direction of the Client Service Regional Manager (CSRM) in Singapore, with support from the FSITP in Shanghai. IT support requests are coordinated through Remedy, but there is no IM-IT workplan in place to address major projects or improvement initiatives. The Mission was, however, in the process of developing a workplan to assist in organizing the Section and assist the MCO with a workload analysis.
5.5.3 An IM-IT Committee is in place and last met in January 2010. The Committee provides input into the Mission's budget planning process and assesses IT hardware and software requirements.
5.5.4 The Mission has set up the ***. Equipment is tested on a regular basis.
|Key IM-IT Client Service Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Problems experienced by the user are generally resolved within a reasonable time frame.||X|
|The Mission is using the required help-desk/client service tools and maintains relevant data.||X|
|Issues identified at regional missions under the ITPs responsibility are monitored and consultations occur regularly with the appropriate authority.||X|
5.5.5 The Section is providing a *** level of service to clients. Service standards are being developed in consultation with the missions in Beijing and Shanghai. Once standards have been approved, the Mission should ensure that clients are advised accordingly.
|Key IM-IT Internal Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Back-ups are performed routinely and tapes are stored in a safe location.||X|
|The Mission has appropriate secondary communications in place and those tools are tested regularly.||X|
|The Mission has a consistent approach in place for the management of electronic and paper records and compliance to legislation, policies and standards.||X|
|Standardized practices and processes are in place to facilitate management and sharing of corporate information across programs. (e.g. e-mail best practices, effective folder structures).||X|
|Controls are in place to ensure the network acceptable use policy (NAUP) is respected (SIGNET and DSL connections).||X|
|Employees formally sign out IT assets (cellular telephones, laptops, etc) and are advised of their accountabilities.||X|
|Surplus IT assets are disposed with the appropriate approvals per departmental policy.||X|
5.5.6 Overall, IM-IT processes and controls were effective. ***.
5.5.7 The Mission has *** in its inventory, but they are *** on a regular basis ***.
5.5.8 An inventory of IT assets is maintained through the use of ITAMS and the LEITP reviews and updates the inventory on a regular basis. A sign-out register is used for equipment, such as laptop computers, that is provided to staff on loan. Disposal of surplus equipment is conducted by the Common Services Section.
5.5.9 Currently, the Mission has no procedure to track long distance telephone usage, and no restrictions have been place on any units within the Chancery. This creates a liability to the Mission if staff are using the system for personal use.
Recommendations to the Mission
5.5.12 The Mission should implement a procedure where all staff must have commercial long distance telephone calls authorized by their supervisor.
5.5.13 A system should be implemented to recover personal long distance telephone charges.
5.5.14 The Mission should request the FSITP in Shanghai to place long distance dialling restrictions on specific phones within the Chancery.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
5.5.10 The Mission is waiting for confirmation from CED to remove the *** from the MCO's office to make space. In progress.
5.5.11 Satellite phone training is provided to new incoming CBS *** Implemented, August 2010.
5.5.12 While program managers have indicated they wish to authorize individuals for long distance calls, the only system/solution to track which extension made which call costs over 4K CAD, something the Mission cannot afford. ***. Internal extension dialling and call review solutions could be better determined and funded by HQ IT services. In progress.
5.5.13 This is implemented for all cellular phone use, but is not currently possible for land line service. The technical capability to produce a report to see which phones dialled which number (for any mission) is available, but requires HQ to implement.
5.5.14 Long Distance calling restrictions have been placed on various phones as indicated by Managers. Implemented.
Appendix A: Mission Resources Fact Sheet
|Assets||Crown Owned||Crown Leased|
|2009-2010 Budgets||Program Budget||Common Services Budget|
|CBS Salaries (N011)||430,425||84,010|
|LES Salaries (N012)||282,222||248,086|
Appendix B: Organization Char
Organizational Chart - Accessible version
- HOM (EX-02)
- IBD (FS-03)
- 1 CBS
- 8 LES
- Management Consular (AS-05)
- 1 CBS
- 11 LES
- CBSA (FS-03)
- 2 LES
- PERPA (LE-08)
- 1 LES
- IBD (FS-03)
Appendix C: Frequently Used Acronyms
- Business Continuity Plan
- Canada-based Staff
- Committee on Mission Management
- Consular Management Information Program
- Contingency Plan
- Contract Review Board
- Client Service Fund
- Electronic Funds Transfer
- Deputy Management Consular Officer
- Foreign Service Information Technology Professional
- Full Time Equivalent Position
- Fiscal Year
- Global Commerce Strategy
- Global Value Chains
- Head of Mission
- Honorary Consul
- Human Resources
- High Security Zone
- International Business Development
- Information Communication Technologies
- Information Management - Information Technology
- Integrated Management System
- Locally-engaged Information Technology Professional
- Locally-engaged Staff
- LES Management Consultation Board
- Management Consular Officer
- Mission Financial Officer
- MM Module
- Materiel Management Module
- Mission Maintenance Work Plan
- Memorandum of Understanding
- Mission Security Officer
- Mission Property Management Plan
- North American Platform Program
- Official Residence
- Operations Zone
- Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs
- Post Initiative Fund
- Program Manager
- Performance Management Agreement
- Human Resources - Performance Management Program
- Consular - Passport Management Program
- Physical Resources Information - Mission Environment
- Registration of Canadians Abroad
- Science and Technology
- Senior Trade Commissioner
- Staff Quarter
- Security Zone
- Trade Commissioner
- Trade Commissioner Assistant
- Trade Commissioner Service
- The TCS' Client Relationship Management System
- Office of the Inspector General
- Inspection Division
- Date Modified: