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Inspection of the Canadian Embassy - Amman - Jordan
February 21 - 27, 2011
- Inspection Scope and Objectives
- Executive Summary
- 1 Mission Management
- 2 Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs (PERPA)
- 3 Commercial Economic (CE)
- 4 Consular Program
- 5 Common Services
- Appendix A: Mission Resources Fact Sheet
- Appendix B: 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, Commercial Economic, Consular and Common Services programs. The inspection objectives were to:
- Assess the effectiveness of the leadership and management practices of the Head of Mission (HOM) and the Mission Management team;
- Review the alignment of plans and activities, and program integration to Government of Canada and departmental objectives and priorities;
- Assess the adequacy of management controls and systems, procedures and the reliability of information for decision making and accountability purposes;
- Determine the extent of compliance with legislation, regulations and operating policies;
- Evaluate the use of resources to determine that they are judiciously used and if value-for-money is received; and
- Make recommendations, where warranted, to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Mission and its programs.
The focus and extent of on-site work was based on an assessment of materiality and related risk. This was done through communication with Headquarters (HQ) bureaux, including briefings by line management and the functional bureaux, review of relevant HQ and Mission documentation, past audit findings, and an analysis of recurring trends and systemic issues.
During the Inspection, inspection issues and lines of enquiry were further refined from information gathered through interviews with the Head of Mission and program managers, a meeting with locally engaged staff (LES) representatives of the LES Management Consultation 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, Commercial Economic, Consular and Common Services programs was conducted in Amman from February 21 to 27, 2011. A previous audit of these programs took place in 2005.
Since his arrival in the summer of 2010, the Head of Mission has promoted communication, and morale has improved within the Mission. Both the Head of Mission and the Program Managers will have to continue these efforts and ensure that issues are addressed in a timely fashion. A good rapport and collaboration has been fostered with Partner departments.
Overall the Mission has a good governance framework, however, the Committee on Mission Management (CMM) seems to function as an operational committee rather than as a forum for the discussion of management issues. The Mission should establish a distinct CMM and an Operations Committee and ensure appropriate membership on both.
The Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs program operates well. Program delivery can be improved with the development of work-plans which will also allow the Mission to better document resource utilization and pressures.
The Commercial Economic Program is also *** managed and would equally benefit from work-plans. The Program Manager who had been based in Damascus, has recently re-located to Amman in order to take advantage of opportunities resulting from the recently signed Free Trade Agreement with Jordan. Improvements to TRIO use should support both results-based management and resource utilization.
The Mission will need to ensure that there is appropriate oversight by Canada-based staff in Common Services and the Consular Programs ***.
The Deputy Management Consular Officer's position was created primarily as a resource for program delivery in Iraq. Over time, there has been an increase in the position's responsibilities in Amman, which has resulted in a corresponding decrease of the DMCO's involvement in Iraq. It will be important for the Mission to review and re-align the position's roles and responsibilities to ensure that the administrative needs of both Amman and the Iraq program are adequately met.
The application of the Common Services Model indicated that there was a lack of resources at the Mission. It is, however, unlikely that the Mission will see an increase of resources in the foreseeable future. The Mission should therefore review and re-align workloads to ensure more effective and efficient program delivery within the current resource base.
A total of 61 inspection recommendations are raised in the report; 61 are addressed to the Mission and there are none addressed to Headquarters. Management has responded to each recommendation indicating action already taken or decisions made, as well as future action. Of the 61 recommendations, management has stated that 43 have been implemented. For each of the remaining 18 recommendations, management has indicated the initiatives in progress or the intended future action.
1.1.1 The Embassy in Amman is a medium-size mission with 18 Canada-based staff (CBS) and 28 locally engaged staff (LES). It is responsible for departmental program delivery in Jordan and Iraq. It provides support to partner programs from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), the Department of National Defence (DND) the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
1.1.2 Program delivery in Iraq is the responsibility of the Head of Mission (HOM) and is carried out by an FS-03 PERPA Program Manager, a PM-05 CIDA Program Manager which are dedicated program resources and are based in Amman. The DMCO is dedicated partially to the provision of Common Services and the Consular Program in Iraq. She is supported by an LES Officer who is co-located at the British Office in Baghdad.
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 strategic objectives and advice/guidance from HQ.||X|
|The Committee on Mission Management (CMM) is an effective forum to review and make decisions on Mission policies and management issues.||X|
|The Locally Engaged Staff Management Consultation Board (LESMCB) is an effective forum for dialogue between Mission Management and LES.||X|
|Mission Management ensures that employees remain informed of key priorities and common services policy decisions.||X|
|Minutes of committee meetings, particularly CMM, are made available to all staff, as appropriate.||X|
|The Official Languages Act is respected and promoted by Mission Management.||X|
|Canadian public service values and ethics are promoted and reinforced, and employees are aware of available support resources (values and ethics, staff relations, etc.).||X|
1.2.1 The HOM arrived in the summer of 2010 and, since then, has focussed on communication and the improvement of morale at the Mission. He has fostered a good rapport and collaboration with Partner departments and a whole of government approach to mission management and program delivery.
1.2.2 While morale has improved, it is mixed in some sections, with perceptions of favouritism with regard to workloads. ***. Staff have indicated that there should be periodic reminders of the Values and Ethics Code which could help to combat some of the factors that affect morale.
1.2.3 There is an appropriate governance structure in place, with an extensive list of committees and the active participation of all programs. In addition to the standard complement of committees there is a Transformation Committee, an Environment Committee and a Rewards and Recognition Committee. The Mission should review the composition of the Housing Committee, to ensure that it is appropriate to the size of Mission.
1.2.4 The Committee on Mission Management (CMM) functions as an Operations Committee and includes all CBS. As it stands, the Committee is not an appropriate venue for management to address governance issues or discuss policy issues and the implementation of new procedures. The Mission should establish an Operations Committee as well and ensure that the CMM functions as a management committee.
1.2.5 The Mission has sufficient capacity to communicate and provide services to the public in both official languages, both verbal and written. All signage throughout the Mission and in the public areas is bilingual.
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.||X|
|The quarterly reconciliation of passport inventory is properly completed and certified.||X|
|The mission's bank reconciliations are properly reviewed and signed-off on a monthly basis.||X|
|The Mission has a plan to ensure the continuity of operations in the event of a major disruption or catastrophic event (i.e. business continuity plan).||X|
|Mission hospitality guidelines are 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|
1.3.1 Overall management controls are effective. While the Mission has developed a Business Continuity Plan (BCP), it needs refinement before being finalized and will then need to be tested. Some management at the Mission were not aware if the Alternate Command Post (ACP) had the appropriate network infrastructure to support the implementation of the BCP.
1.4 Recommendations to the Mission
1.4.1 The Mission should establish an Operations Committee separate from the CMM.
1.4.2 The Mission should ensure regular communication of and discussion about the Values and Ethics code.
1.4.3 The Mission should finalize the BCP, ensuring that all Programs have input into the BCP, and that it is periodically tested to ensure that the plan and the associated infrastructure are sufficient.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
1.4.1 In Progress for September 2011 - An Operations Committee will be established and will meet 2-3 times per month. CMM will meet once per month or more often as necessary.
1.4.2 Implemented in September, 2011. This has been addressed by HOM in both verbal and written manner. The HOM will hold town hall meetings periodically to discuss with staff Ethics and Values issues.
1.4.3 In Progress for November 2011. The BCP has been finalized with input from all programs. The Mission has conducted one tabletop exercise to test the BCP (an additional exercise will be held in 3rd quarter). An Alternate Command Post has been established *** and is fully functional. The BCP will be subsumed into new MEP scheduled for completion in November.
Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs (PERPA)
2.1.1 The Program is managed by an FS-03 Program Manager (PM), with support from an LE-09 Public Affairs Officer and an AS-01 Political Assistant.
2.1.2 Canada and Jordan have strong bilateral relations, based on common interests and values, and people-to-people links. Over the last decade, Jordan has consistently taken a leadership role in the pursuit of peace in the Middle East and has constantly promoted efforts to bring about an end to the conflict.
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 mission plan and informed by departmental and geographic bureau guidance and objectives.||X|
|PERPA plans outline intended outcomes and results are measurable.||X|
|Roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and have been communicated to all staff.||X|
|Internal communications within the program effectively support program delivery.||X|
2.2.1 The PERPA Program is *** managed, with appropriate planning and communications. The Program's component of the Mission Planning and Reporting (MPR) template is aligned with both Mission and Government priorities as well as reflecting appropriate performance measurement criteria.
2.2.2 Despite being located in the Security Zone (SZ), the PM is viewed as having an open door. Communication within the Program and also between the Program and the rest of the Mission work well.
|Key PERPA Implementation Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Strategic objectives and plans have been translated into individual or team work plans.||X|
|Activities and initiatives are aligned with the Mission's key priorities and with the principles of the New Way Forward PERPA Renewal initiative.||X|
|Program reporting is in-line with Mission and government objectives, timely and relevant.||X|
|The program develops and maintains a contact base that meets programs needs and objectives.||X|
|Relations with other mission programs facilitate program delivery (i.e. public affairs).||X|
|The program facilitates a mission-wide coordinated approach to advocacy and common messaging.||X|
2.3.1 Overall, Program implementation is effective and aligned with key priorities and the principles of the New Way Forward.
2.3.2 The Program Manager uses the Performance Management Program (PMP) to move from the strategic MPR to an operational context. The PMP, however, does not provide sufficient detail to function effectively as an operational plan. A work-plan is an internal document that need not be overly complex, but be able to show when activities will occur, the nature of the activity as well as long and short term results, deliverables, resources (financial and human), and clear accountabilities.
2.3.3 The level of activity in the region has resulted in the PM having to manage requests for information on events in neighbouring countries. This drew away from the planned reporting that was to take place. The recent short assignment of a temporary duty officer was of value to the Program, as it relieved the PM from reporting on key areas, and allowed a greater focus on other priorities.
2.3.4 The PM also finds that corporate responsibilities ***. The PM indicated that as much as one third of his time is taken by his responsibilities as Mission Security Officer.
2.3.5 While the PM does manage along the principles of the New Way Forward, the realities of the post make it difficult to balance overall needs with the philosophy of the initiative. The PM is being asked to take on incremental responsibilities, from acting as MSO, to coordinating the Mission input into the MPR, acting on behalf of the Damascus based Canadian Defence Attache and coordinating the logistics for classified diplomatic bags in transit to other missions.
2.3.6 Both the Mission and Headquarters will have to ensure that planning and resources are appropriate to meet the needs in the region, both within the PERPA Program and the wider Mission Management.
2.4 Performance Measurement
|Key PERPA Performance Measurement Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|The program has an established performance measurement system in place to monitor activities towards the achievement of objectives.||X|
|The program assesses performance against their strategy / objectives and plans, and provides a high-level assessment of performance through the MPR system at the end of the fiscal year.||X|
|Hospitality diaries demonstrate value-for-money and alignment with priorities.||X|
2.4.1 The PERPA Program has established performance measurement criteria in the MPR and monitors activities and progress against objectives.
2.4.2 The PM demonstrated a *** understanding of the full range of performance measurement and management tools, and utilized them as appropriate.
2.5 Recommendations to the Mission
2.5.1 The Program should develop an operational plan, or individual work- plans.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
2.5.1 In Progress for September 2011. The recommendation was presented and discussed at the bi-weekly PERPA meeting on June 28. Based on input from the PERPA team, the PM will develop an operational plan listing PERPA activities for 2011/12 based on priorities outlined in the MPR, and articulated around the seven PERPA core services.
The plan will include inputs (financial resources such as hospitality, PIF, % person-hours) and outputs (expected results and timelines). A draft was circulated to the PERPA team for comments in July 2011. The PERPA PM will include the draft operational plan as part of the handover package for the incoming PERPA PM.
Commercial Economic (CE)
3.1.1 The CE program is managed by a regional FS-04 Senior Trade Commissioner (STC) who, until the time of the inspection, was based out of Damascus. The Program comprises an LE-09 and an LE-07 Trade Commissioner, both of whom have extensive experience at the Mission. The Program also has the support of a Trade Commissioner Assistant based in Damascus.
3.1.2 The bilateral relations between Canada and Jordan benefit from the recent Canada-Jordan FTA signed in July 2009. The FTA includes goods, environment and labour agreements. The FTA was closely followed by the signing of a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) and a Nuclear Cooperation Agreement. While Jordan ***, it appears to be more stable and transparent ***. It therefore represents a preferred entry point for the region. Its rising importance as a regional shipping and transportation hub and its proximity to Iraq have also made it increasingly interesting to Canadian companies.
3.1.3 The CE Program continues to identify Agricultural and Agri-Food as a priority sector, however, it also has identified emerging sectors that will be further investigated and promoted.
3.1.4 With the region's second largest oil reserves, Iraq remains a *** potentially lucrative market. ***. The CE Program in Amman has selected the Oil and Gas, Building Products and Construction, as well as Agricultural Equipment and Technology sectors to pursue in Iraq.
3.2 Planning and Program Management
|Key CE 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|
|Roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and have been communicated to all staff.||X|
|Internal program communication effectively supports program delivery.||X|
3.2.1 Overall Program management is effective and benefits from good strategic planning, regular communication, and clear roles and responsibilities.
3.2.2 The Program makes use of appropriate planning mechanisms and consultation in the selection of the priority sectors and development of related strategic action plans. The Global Commerce Strategy is considered in planning ***. The Program has implemented the principles of the Integrative Trade Model by leveraging regional knowledge through a hub and spoke system.
3.2.3 Approximately five years ago the Mission was given responsibility for CE sectors in Iraq, adding to the workload. The STC indicated, that even though the CBS responsible for the Iraq programs is located in Amman, he has reallocated Iraqi CE sectors to staff at other posts in the region. This was done in order to better balance out the workload and allow the regional team to adequately cover the geographic areas of responsibility and Iraqi sectors.
3.2.4 While the Commercial Economic Plan (CEP) has strategic and action plans, no formal operational or individual work-plan has been developed to implement the CEP. Ideally, the program should document the sub-activities of the activity plan and identify expected results, time-lines, resource allocation, and accountabilities.
|Key CE 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 staff PMPs.||X|
|Activities and initiatives are aligned with the mission's key priorities.||X|
|The program utilizes TRIO to facilitate client relationship management.||X|
|TRIO use is monitored to ensure activities are reported appropriately and accurately reflect the work undertaken.||X|
|The InfoCentre function has defined objectives and responsibilities.||X|
3.3.1 The CE Program is effectively implementing its CEP, and making use of the available tools to monitor performance and manage relationships with clients.
3.3.2 The use of TRIO by the Program has been limited by the speed and complexity of the application. The STC is risk managing TRIO use, in that he puts less emphasis on input of new local contacts and more on increased general use. As a result, he has found that staff now make more use of the system and he is better able to monitor and manage results.
3.3.3 The increased use of TRIO should improve staff familiarity with the application and result in fewer issues stemming from the application's complexity. To facilitate this, refresher training should be provided, to go beyond the basic knowledge and skills taught in previous training.
3.4 Performance Measurement
|Key CE 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 For the most part, hospitality diaries are maintained in a manner that demonstrates value for money and alignment with priorities and are in compliance with policy and directives.
3.5 Recommendations to the Mission
3.5.1 The Program should develop an overall operation plan, and individual work-plans.
3.5.2 To Program should ensure that refresher TRIO training is provided to staff.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
3.5.1 Given the small size of the team and the fact that they cover all sectors of the economy, implementing work plans does not make organisational sense given the reactive nature of the work.
Instead, the trade section uses staff meetings summaries as a tool for the planning of upcoming activities and follow up on items.
The Commercial Economic Planning tool (CEP) is also consulted and modified consistently to ensure that yearly planning is followed and that changes are reflected in the IBD as soon as they are announced.
PMP's are also used as a planning tool and modified as events and new objectives arise. Amman also uses a WIKI calendar for the Hub and Spoke which serves a planning purpose.
Given the limited resources in the Trade section and the number of tools already used for planning purposes, as well as the reactive nature of such a small team, STC's view is that work plans are not the best tool for the type of work being done in AMMAN-TD and would in fact add a layer of work that would be counter productive.
3.5.2 In progress. TRIO refresher training will be provided within the current year.
4.1.1 The Consular Program is overseen by the AS-06 Management Consular Officer (MCO), with the operational management of the Program undertaken by the AS- 04 Deputy MCO (DMCO). The Program is supported by an LE-08 Consular Officer and LE-06 Passport Examiner, both of whom have been granted signing authority by the Consular Policy and Advocacy Bureau (CND) for certain notarial services. The Program is also responsible for providing consular and passport services for Iraq.
4.1.2 The Program is quite busy and operates in a complex environment. As Jordan is not a signatory of the Vienna Convention, managing consular cases in this country ***. There is a good level of participation and assistance provided by the Mission in regional emergencies. Staff are well trained and experienced and have participated in the evacuation of Lebanon in 2006, the recent evacuation in Alexandria, multiple evacuations of Canadian citizens in Gaza and temporary duty assistance to the mission in Cairo.
4.1.3 The DMCO position was created in 2005 to predominantly provide administrative and consular support for the Iraq program in Baghdad in addition to providing support to the mission in Amman primarily for the Consular program. Over the past two years, the DMCO has assumed more responsibilities for common services in Amman, which has led to a decrease in the time spent on the Consular Programs and on Iraq.
4.1.4 Resources for the delivery of full consular services to Iraq are limited and the operational environment ***. Under a Memorandum of Understanding, an office space is maintained in the British Office in Iraq. The first point of contact for a Canadian is the LES Office Manager, who is located in the British Office in Baghdad. He receives passport, citizenship and visa applications and travels to Amman every couple of months. Applications are also sent by mail to the mission in Amman.
4.1.5 The DMCO travels to Baghdad quarterly for prison visits or, as required, for other consular cases. Other accredited CBS provide assistance when they are in Baghdad. ***. Limited time and resources have had an impact on the DMCO's ability to visit more frequently and update contingency plans. The DMCO has established contacts within the community for an informal wardens network ***.
4.1.6 The Mission provides approximately 1,100 passport services, 30% of which are for Iraq, and processes approximately 250 citizenship applications annually. Statistics for notarial services obtained through the COMIP indicate a low number of notarial requests. However, the Mission indicated that numerous notarial requests are received and processed, but were unable to provide an accurate or approximate number of requests received and actioned. There are 722 Canadian citizens registered for Jordan and 36 registered for Iraq in the Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) database, the majority (95%) of whom are dual nationals. There are an estimated 6,000 Canadians residing in Jordan and approximately 40,000 Canadian visitors annually. There are up to 4,000 Canadians visiting family members in Iraq during the summer high season.
4.2 Program Management
|Key Consular Program Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Consular work is planned and prioritized.||X|
|The Consular Contingency Plan is up to date.||X|
|The Duty Officer Manual is up to date.||X|
|The Mission has ongoing dialogue with key local authorities to facilitate program delivery.||X|
|Regular staff meetings are held to review priorities, communicate policy and procedural changes, and keep staff apprised of case management issues.||X|
4.2.1 While the Program is functioning well, ***. The LES are largely autonomous and self-managing and have been assigned some responsibilities which would normally fall under the scope of a CBS. ***.
4.2.2 There are good informal communications with staff, however, regularly scheduled meetings do not take place. Such meetings would provide opportunities to discuss Program management/administrative issues, especially since the DMCO is situated on a different floor. In addition, the development of an operational workplan would be useful to ensure that regular tasks (for example submitting monthly reports) and cyclical requirements (such as updating contingency plans) are prioritized and not delayed.
4.2.3 Staff have developed a good network of contacts with local authorities within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of the Interior, airports, police, prisons, etc. The CBS are members of a like-minded group of foreign missions that exchange advice and information via email and meet a few times a year. A recent event was held where LES consular officers also attended, which staff found extremely useful. It is hoped that this will continue.
4.2.4 The Consular Contingency Plan (CONPLAN) for Jordan was updated by the LES Consular Officer in December 2010, but still needs to be reviewed by the DMCO/MCO, approved by the HOM and submitted to Headquarters for final approval. As part of the contingency planning, the Consular Officer identified and viewed a number of potential evacuation centre sites, and arranged for the use of *** in the event of an emergency. While it is important to have the input and participation from the Consular Officer, the MCO and DMCO should be directly involved in these arrangements and any letter of undertaking should be signed by an authorized CBS.
4.2.5 The Mission has also developed a draft Business Continuity Plan. A quick review of the contents of the plans indicated a requirement for more detailed information and concrete actions regarding ***. A Consular Planning Assessment Team (CPAT) visit was conducted by members of the Department's Consular Bureau and the Department of National Defence in 2007. The recommendations resulting from the visit have not been included in the CONPLAN. The CONPLAN for Iraq ***.
4.2.6 The warden network was recently reviewed and updated. There is a good level of communication with wardens, with monthly newsletters and frequent ROCA and SMS messages. A wardens conference with HQ participation was held in December 2009, and the Mission intends to host another conference in the next year.
4.3 Client Service
|Key Consular Client Service Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Service standards, a fee schedule and a copy of the official receipt are posted in public areas in both official languages.||X|
|The program monitors adherence to service standards and makes adjustments where necessary.||X|
|The program has the capacity to provide services to Canadians in the official language of their choice.||X|
|The Mission promotes client feedback mechanisms and takes corrective action, when warranted.||X|
|The Mission has provided the Honorary Consul (HonCon) with a mandate letter which establishes their role, responsibilities and accountabilities and performance is reviewed annually.||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|There is adequate liaison/support from the Mission for the HonCon.||N/A||N/A||N/A|
4.3.1 Consular staff have received the training required to perform their jobs and in addition, fraud awareness training was provided to Consular staff by the Migration Integrity Officer (MIO) based in Damascus. This is an excellent example of cooperation with neighbouring missions and other partner departments. Further training in client service and Camant note writing is planned. Staff provide back-up support for each other, and the LE-08 Consular Officer has started to involve the LE-06 Passport Examiner in consular cases for further exposure to consular activities. Examiner in consular cases for further exposure to consular activities.
4.3.2 The Mission has experienced some difficulty in meeting the 15 day service delivery standard for passports as a result of delays in obtaining CBS approvals due to other demands. In briefings prior to the Inspection, Passport Canada indicated that the Mission has a higher percentage of temporary passport issuance than average, which may be attributable to the delays in obtaining CBS approvals. Passport Canada indicated that they will work with the Mission to address this issue.
4.3.3 A copy of the fee schedule was posted in the public areas and consular information is available in both official languages. The posting of the service standards and a copy of the official receipt would further improve client services and assist with managing client expectations.
4.3.4 Clients have access to feedback forms, but there is no drop box in which to deposit them. The forms are given to the receptionist or staff, and the MCO collects the feedback which is shared with HQ. 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.
4.4 Internal Controls
|Key Consular Internal Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|A certified CBS signs-off on all passports, except in extenuating circumstances with the approval of Passport Canada.||X|
|Client documents and personal information are properly stored and secured.||X|
|Completed passport application forms and related documentation are securely destroyed 60 business days following the end of the month that they were submitted.||X|
|There is adequate segregation of duties for staff handling revenues.||X|
|Official receipts are issued to Consular clients and revenue is recorded on a record of fees received form.||X|
|Revenues are transferred to the finance section once $500 is reached (once a week if less than $500).||X|
|Upon receipt of new passport stock, two CBS verify the receipt of all assets, sign and return the transmittal note.||X|
|The primary inventory of passport blanks (temporary and emergency), identification labels, observation labels, stamps, and seals are securely stored according to official policy.||X|
|Removal of passport stock from secure storage is recorded on an inventory log and initialled by the CBS custodian and the employee receiving the asset.||X|
|LES are allocated an appropriate working inventory that is controlled by a daily log (passports issued, spoiled, returned to safe storage) and unused inventory is stored securely at the end of each day.||X|
|Inventory is physically counted, reconciled and signed-off at the end of each month by two staff, one of whom must be a CBS.||X|
|The quarterly reconciliation of passport inventory is properly completed and certified.||X|
|Official seals and stamps are properly inventoried, secured and access provided to designated staff only.||X|
4.4.1 Controls on passport and consular activities require improvement ***.
4.4.2 The passport assets are properly reconciled and signed off by the DMCO and HOM on a quarterly basis. ***.
4.4.3 The Mission implemented *** to facilitate the consular revenue process. ***. The system is capable of producing different types of reports, ***. As the LES both have signing authority and perform most notarial services, periodic spot checks and reconciliations should be conducted by the DMCO.
4.4.5 Passport applications and documentation are appropriately secured, ***. The Mission is aware of the 60-day guidelines and indicated that documents are kept an additional month in case information is required. As all documentation should be scanned into the passport system; it is not necessary to retain the documents beyond the normal guidelines.
4.4.6 The Mission does not have an inventory for ***. The inventory should serve as a register, showing to whom ***. were issued and recording the individual's acceptance of responsibility. The inventory should be reconciled, at a minimum, annually. The Consular Policy and Initiatives Division (CLP) is developing a template to facilitate this process which is expected to be released with the new Consular Policy Manual in 2011.
4.5 Recommendations to the Mission
4.5.1 The Mission should revisit the responsibilities assumed by the DMCO and establish priorities related to the management of the Consular programs in both Amman and Iraq.
4.5.3 The Program should ensure that the CONPLAN and BCP are reviewed and include the CPAT 2007 report recommendations and updated information. The CONPLAN and BCP should be tested.
4.5.4 Bilingual copies of Consular service standards, fee schedules and an official receipt should be posted in the waiting area and consular booth.
4.5.5 The Program should ensure that all services and mission resource hours, including non-Consular staff, are included in the monthly COMIP statistics report.
4.5.6 The Program should use *** in accordance with the Manual of Consular Instructions guidelines.
4.5.7 The DMCO should perform reconciliations of revenue collected for all services, including notarial and citizenship.
4.5.8 ***. In the event of the absence of both the DMCO and MCO, arrangements should be made with another CBS member to close the cash.
4.5.9 The Program should strengthen inventory controls to ensure that:
- a log is created for tracking *** transfers ***;
- two staff (at least one a CBS) participate in the month-end inventory reconciliation;
- the receipt of new passport stock is verified and signed by two CBS;
- passport applications are destroyed 60 days after the end of the month in which the application was received, in accordance with the guidelines;
- inventories *** are developed and verified annually.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
4.5.1 Implemented in August, 2011.. The Mission will revisit the division of labour and the responsibilities of the MCO and the DMCO during the summer period ***.
4.5.2 Implemented in July, 2011. Bi-monthly staff meetings were implemented in the section in July, 2011. The hiring of a new staff (Passport Examiner/Consular Assistant) reinforces the requirement for more oversight and better teamwork.
4.5.3 In progress for November, 2011. Both the CONPLAN and the BCP were reviewed in light of the recent events going on in the Middle East. Recommendations from the CPAT that visited in March 2011 will be included by November, 2011, in the new MEP which integrates the BCP, CONPLAN, PSCP and other contingency plans.
4.5.4 Implemented in March, 2011. Bilingual copies of Consular service standards, fee schedules and an official receipts are posted in the waiting area and consular booths.
4.5.5 Implemented in March, 2011. Monthly COMIP reports are now scrutinized by the DMCO and reviewed and filed by the MCO.
4.5.6 Implemented in March, 2011. We use a cash register that provides receipts for each transaction. These receipts contain all the information that the EXT 119 represents. Also the cash register software allows us to print reports on a daily/weekly basis.
4.5.7 Implemented in March, 2011. Revenues are reconciled every day after public hours and transferred to the accountants.
4.5.8 Implemented in March, 2011. ***. In the event of the absence of both the DMCO and MCO, arrangements will be made with another CBS member to close the cash.
4.5.9 Implemented in July, 2011. A binder with divided sections for each type of passport stock ***.
Completed passport applications are now filed by month of receipt of the application. At the end of each month, the Consular Program Assistant pulls out all applications from the relevant month (i.e. over 60 days: June is pulled at the beginning of September, for example) and destroys them ***.
See above note re log for tracking passport stocks. A separate section has been added *** with a notation initialled by the DMCO as to the present location ***(e.g. Consular section, ACP, etc.). The inventory *** was verified by DMCO upon her arrival in August 2011 and a calendar note has been made to verify each July.
5.1.1 The Common Services Program is managed by an AS-06 MCO who is supported by a team of one CBS and 13 LES. Mission cohesion and morale are impacted by a Program ***. While staff are competent, ***.
5.1.2 The DMCO's role and responsibilities need to be reviewed and realigned. As mentioned in 4.1.3, the position was originally created largely to support the Iraq Program and assume the operational responsibility for the Consular program in Amman. Currently, the DMCO manages the Consular and Finance sections, is responsible for property and security related projects, and for managing visits. She spends approximately 15% of her time on the Iraq Program and feels that this is insufficient given its increasing demands. This impacts on the workload of Amman staff, especially in the Finance section. ***.
5.1.4 The Program has limited resources which provide services to six programs as well as the Iraq Program. The Common Service Model was applied in early 2010 and recommended the addition of two LE-05 Administrative Assistant positions, one of which would be dedicated to the Iraq Program. However, the Mission *** and it is doubtful that any new positions will be created in the short-term.
5.1.5 Construction of a new Chancery will begin in the next few months and is expected to take two years to complete. Upgrades to the current Chancery are a priority in the interim to ensure *** requirements are met until the move occurs. The current location and limitations of the building make this challenging and requires the support of HQ.
5.1.6 Ten CBS will leave the Mission this summer. ***. Continuity of Mission operations will be an issue in this environment but in particular for the Common Services Program.
5.1.7 Recent events in the region *** and the Mission has been called upon to assist other missions in the region with staff and equipment. The Mission has also been involved with evacuations from Egypt and Gaza. ***, the Mission also receives many high level visits and is host to numerous meetings and conferences.
|Key Common Services Program Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|An operational plan has been developed and incorporates key Mission and international platform objectives, along with measurable expected results.||X|
|The program has documented and communicated administrative policies and procedures to guide management, staff and clients.||X|
|The Common Services program actively seeks to implement best practices, improve efficiencies and reduce operating costs.||X|
|Regular meetings with staff in the Common Services program are held to review priorities and follow up on the implementation of plans.||X|
5.1.8 ***. These issues are discussed in more detail in the relevant sections of this report.
5.1.9 The Inspection identified the following areas that require improvement:
- Instituting an operational plan and ensuring formal monitoring of work is performed;
- Documenting key policies, procedures and service standards and communicating them to staff and clients;
- Performing a workload analysis and review of staff functions;
- Using the CMM more effectively to approve and communicate Administrative Policy.
5.1.10 The Program has a Business Plan, and Performance Management Program (PMP) discussions are held with the HOM and staff to identify global objectives. The translation of these objectives into a more detailed operational plan would benefit the Program and serve as a useful tool for the HOM and MCO to monitor work during regular meetings. The operational plan would identify Program priorities and achievable timelines for projects and tasks.
5.1.11 Although policies and procedural documents exist for some sections these are not maintained centrally. Documented policies and procedures will reduce the need for staff to repeat instructions over and over to clients and will help to clarify roles and responsibilities. These will also ensure consistency in processes followed and avoid steps being missed.
5.1.12 Given the limited resources available to the Program, it would be useful for the MCO to perform a workload analysis and review of staff functions. This exercise would identify areas where potential efficiencies could be gained and where duties could be reallocated to balance workloads. Care will need to be taken to ensure that there is adequate segregation of duties and that position levels are respected. Back-up duties and succession planning could also be addressed.
5.1.13 ***. Communication occurs informally on an ad hoc basis. As a best practice, section meetings should occur weekly and should focus on major issues, progress made on the operational plan and client service. It should also be used to raise items for CMM discussion and decision. Additionally, periodic meetings should be held by the MCO/DMCO with non-office staff and OR staff to ensure they have the opportunity to raise and discuss issues without their supervisors present.
|Key Common Services Client Service Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does 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|
5.1.14 In general, clients were satisfied with services provided by the Program though there are improvements to be made in the Finance Section.
5.1.15 Service standards were last reviewed in 2004. Use of, and adherence to, reasonable service standards which are clearly communicated to clients would help manage client expectations and enable staff to manage their workloads more effectively.
5.1.16 While there are instances where external client feedback has resulted in improvements, internal client feedback is not sought in a consistent manner and no formal mechanism is in place for this purpose.
5.1.17 The Mission provides support to the Iraq Program, however there is no Memorandum of Understanding or agreement in place to outline services provided and roles and responsibilities.
Recommendations to the Mission
5.1.19 The DMCO's role and responsibilities should be clarified.
5.1.20 An operational plan should be developed for the Program.
5.1.21 Documented policies and procedures should be developed and available to clients and staff.
5.1.22 A workload analysis and review of staff functions should be performed.
5.1.23 Regular meetings should be held with the DMCO and sections as well as with non-office and OR staff.
5.1.24 Service standards should be updated and communicated to staff and clients.
5.1.25 A formal client feedback mechanism should be instituted.
5.1.26 An agreement outlining services provided to the Iraq Program should be developed.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
5.1.18 Implemented in August, 2011. A new MCO arrived at post in August 2011. Inspection recommendations and observations are being followed and the MCO will ensure effective oversight of the Common Services Program.
5.1.19 Implemented September, 2011. Roles and responsibilities are being clarified with the arrival of new MCO and DMCO. Workload of these two positions is under review along with the workload of the property and HR assistants. Org charts have been updated to reflect changes.
5.1.20 In progress for December, 2011. An operational plan is being developed.
5.1.21 Implemented in June, 2011. All documents are now available on our Wiki page.
5.1.22 In progress for November, 2011. As noted in 5.1.19 this exercise is on-going. This problem, which was first identified during the CSM exercise in 2009 and now by this inspection, has been exacerbated by the addition of 3 new CBS during summer 2011. However, no additional common services resources have been created. All analysis reflect that the workload is heavy due to a lack of clerical support.
5.1.23 Implemented in September, 2011. The MCO now has daily meetings with the DMCO, weekly meetings will all CS staff (MCO, DMCO, Prop, HR, Fin, IT, Security) and another weekly meeting with HOM, MCO and DMCO.
5.1.24 Implemented in September, 2011. Service standards including the services to the BGDHD program will be reviewed and updated
5.1.25 Implemented in September, 2011. The MCO with the DMCO and MPSS met with all programs separately to receive feedback. The CS level of service is discussed every week during the Ops meeting which includes all program managers.
5.1.26 In progress for April, 2012. The Mission will develop specific service standards for the BGHDD program . These service standards will be specific to the program and will not include the services such as housing, FSDs, etc., that are already covered under the service standards of Amman.
5.2 Human Resources
5.2.1 The Human Resource (HR) function at the Mission is the responsibility of the MCO who is assisted by an LE-06 HR Assistant. In the past year the Section has processed three classification actions and seven staffing actions, with two more in progress.
|Key HR Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Responsibilities for human resource (HR) activities have been clearly defined, delegated and communicated to all staff.||X|
|LES have been provided with the most recent version of the LES terms and conditions of employment.||X|
|The LESMCB is representative of mission programs and employee levels, and is utilized by both LES and mission management to facilitate communication.||X|
|An HR plan has been developed and submitted to headquarters.||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 and maintained separately.||X|
|Job descriptions are up to date and signed by the incumbent and the supervisor.||X|
|The mission records LES accrued leave, deductions and current balances.||X|
5.2.2 In general, HR management is effective. The MCO has worked closely with the HR Assistant over the last year to improve services to clients. The HR plan is thorough and well done and the Performance Management Program (PMP) process is up to date. The Total Compensation Review is in progress for the Mission and the current Handbook is dated 1996.
5.2.3 The lack of an Administrative Assistant position for the Common Services Program means that a wide variety of duties are performed by the HR Assistant. As discussed in 5.1.12, a review of these duties may identify areas where efficiencies can be gained, i.e. reduced involvement in the staff medical claims process, streamlining the tracking of LES leave, reduce the workload associated with managing back-ups for the receptionist's coffee breaks.
5.2.4 The HR Assistant has been designated as the Mission Training Coordinator, however, there is no mission-wide training plan. Although training needs are identified through the PMP process, planning is done informally by emails to all staff who submit their requests on an ad hoc basis. A global training plan would enhance management of training and facilitate budgeting as well as the coordination and prioritization of needs for all programs.
5.2.5 While most job descriptions are up to date, a systematic review is not performed every five years and many employees feel their positions should be reclassified as their duties have changed. As a best practice, some missions review the accuracy of job descriptions as a part of PMP discussions and make revisions where warranted. Care should be taken by managers to ensure that employees are only tasked with duties that are commensurate with the level of their positions to avoid "position creep" or possible grievance situations. For example, the new receptionist is being assigned tasks by many different staff members ***.
5.2.6 An LES Management Consultation Board (LESMCB) with representative LES from different programs is in place and a meeting with the new HOM has been held. The LESMCB is very active and benefits from an engaged and supportive Mission Management.
5.2.7 While minutes of LESMCB meetings are sent to staff via email, improved communication with new staff members should be undertaken to ensure they are informed of the role of the LESMCB. OR staff should also be consulted consistently and provided with meeting minutes. In addition, LES would benefit from more discussion regarding the Total Compensation Review to ensure they understand the process more clearly. A Mission retreat is held annually, which is a good initiative. The next retreat is scheduled for March 2011. While the retreats are appreciated by staff, they indicated that more focus should be placed on resolving issues and having concrete action items as an outcome.
|Key HR Processes and Internal Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Staffing actions are conducted in-line with the Locally Engaged Staff and HQ Workforce Programs Bureau (ALD) guidelines. Written records supporting the process are maintained and contain required documents and approvals.||X|
|Classification actions are conducted in-line with ALD guidelines. Written records supporting the process are maintained and contain required documents and approvals.||X|
|Letters of Offer are signed by the appropriate authority.||X|
|New LES and CBS employees are provided with an information package on the working conditions, benefits and regulations pertaining to employment at the Mission.||X|
|Staff are aware of the Values and Ethics Code and have signed a document certifying that they have read and understood this code. Mission Management informs staff of the requirements of the Code on an annual basis.||X|
|Mission signage is provided in both English and French and a bilingual Official Languages Co-ordinator has been appointed.||X|
|The Mission has sufficient capacity to communicate with and provide services to the public, both orally and in writing, in both official languages.||X|
5.2.8 The HR Assistant works closely with PMs on staffing actions. As there is no standard procedural document in use, the process is explained on an ad hoc basis.
This could lead to inconsistency in the process applied by different managers and in the documents maintained on file. Developing a standard process document would give PMs clearer guidelines and ensure greater consistency in the staffing process. A review of files also revealed that a formal process was not in place to consistently advise CBS spouses and dependants of job opportunities.
5.2.9 While most files reviewed contained sufficient supporting documentation, staffing files were inconsistent ***.
5.2.10 It was noted that in the past some PMs were reluctant to take the advice of the HR Assistant or include a member of the HR team in staffing processes. Irregularities have also occurred when the HR Assistant was not consulted, *** although he did not fulfill all of the required duties. The MCO, with the support of the HOM, should ensure that the HR Section is involved in all HR actions.
5.2.11 In the past, the Common Services Program held welcome sessions for new CBS and dependants as part of their orientation. Consideration should be given to reinstating these sessions as they are a good opportunity to introduce clients to Mission staff and to discuss administrative procedures and service standards.
5.2.12 While arrival/departure procedures and checklist are in use for CBS, they do not exist for LES. These would provide instructions for employees and other staff involved in this process on who to contact, and what is required. It is important that key program areas, such as security and information management and technology, be consulted on the content to ensure that important steps in the process are not missed.
Recommendations to the Mission
5.2.13 A more coordinated approach should be taken with regards to training by establishing a mission-wide training plan and budget.
5.2.14 The Mission should ensure that job descriptions are reviewed at least once every five years or when there is a substantial change to position duties.
5.2.15 All staff should be informed about the role and responsibilities of the LESMCB, receive meeting minutes and be consulted regarding agenda items.
5.2.16 A standard process document should be developed to guide staffing actions, indicate documents to be kept on file and to notify dependants regarding job opportunities.
5.2.17 The Mission should ensure that the HR Section is involved in all HR actions.
5.2.18 An LES arrival/departure checklist should be developed in consultation with the IM/IT and Security Sections.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
5.2.13 In progress for November, 2011. The Human Resources Coordinator is now the Mission Training Coordinator. A budget within the Common Services allocation has been approved by the CMM, for mission-wide training and a more coordinated approach will be established once the new CBS are in place.
5.2.14 Implemented in July, 2011. Job descriptions were reviewed in July 2011. Changes were made to job descriptions of the Property Assistant, HR Assistant and the Receptionist. Job descriptions will be considered evergreen documents that will be reviewed constantly given the growth of the mission and our lack of resources.
5.2.15 Implemented in October, 2011. The LESMCB at the Mission in Amman meets on a regular basis and has now communicated with all LES (office and GS) and distributes minutes to all staff.
5.2.16 Implemented in July, 2011. The "Staffing File Contents Checklist" is now being used to guide staffing actions, indicate documents to be kept on file and to notify dependants regarding job opportunities. This checklist is being shared with the members of the competition board from the beginning of the hiring process.
5.2.17 Implemented in July, 2011. The Human Resources Section is involved in all HR actions at the Mission. Only one staffing action in 2010 was processed without HR involvement. Program Managers have been reminded of their obligation to adhere to HR regulations and recommendations.
5.2.18 Implemented in July, 2011. LES Arrival and LES Departure checklists have been developed, with information on what is required by the LES taken on strength and the LES struck off strength.
5.3 Physical Resources
5.3.1 The Physical Resources Section at the Mission is the responsibility of the MCO who is assisted by the DMCO and the LE-07 Property Manager. The Property Manager supervises a team of two handymen, three drivers and two cleaning staff. The Mission maintains a Crown-leased Chancery, a Crown-owned Official Residence (OR), 16 staff quarters (SQ), *** official vehicles, and off-site storage facility.
5.3.2 The Crown-leased Chancery occupies the 2nd to the 5th floors of a building situated in the banking district of Amman. The current building has a number of well- known challenges *** and is not adequate for the operations of the Mission. Final contract negotiations for the construction of a new Chancery on land purchased eight years ago were under way at the time of the Inspection, and construction is expected to be completed within the next two years. In the interim, the Mission is working closely with the Physical Resources Bureau (ARD) and the Security Operations and Personal Safety Division (CSRA) on a number of upgrades to the current Chancery until the move is completed.
5.3.3 The OR is located approximately 15 minutes from the Chancery in a residential neighbourhood close to the site of the new Chancery. It is a modestly-sized but attractive house that underwent some renovation and refurbishment in the summer of 2009. With the HOM hosting many events, and very generously extending its use to all programs, the OR is well used for representation.
5.3.4 Several initiatives undertaken by the Mission have resulted in reduced energy use and cost savings. These included:
- Chancery and SQ rental renegotiation to achieve reduction or nil increase resulted in $125,000 rental savings for the Chancery alone;
- Use of the Mission handymen to perform most maintenance has also saved costs;
- The purchase of a hybrid car and a van;
- The HOM's friendly competition for CBS to reduce energy; and,
- A recycling program initiated by the PERPA program.
|Key Physical Resources Program Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|The Mission Property Management Plan (MPMP) and the Mission Maintenance Work Plan (MMWP) are up to date and approved.||X|
|Staff Quarters (SQs) are allocated based on the recommendations of the Housing Committee.||X|
|The Chancery is well maintained and a maintenance schedule is in place.||X|
|The Official Residence (OR) is well maintained and a maintenance schedule is in place.||X|
|The mission has an efficient process in place for receiving, processing and monitoring work orders.||X|
|Annual inspections are conducted to assess the state of SQs and input into maintenance and acquisition planning.||X|
|The mission's multi-year Capital Acquisition Plan is approved by CMM annually.||X|
|Local procurement guidelines have been established.||X|
5.3.5 Overall property management requires more oversight ***. The LE-07 Property Manager has been at the Mission for approximately four years and, over the past two years, has assumed the operational responsibility for the physical resources function. Although the LE-07 consults the MCO and all expenditures/contracts are authorized, the LE-07 is the primary point of contact for suppliers, landlords and Mission and HQ staff. ***.
5.3.6 The Property Manager ***. He has become a *** key resource for the Mission. Selected to participate in the in-Canada Property Management course, he has not yet been able to attend due to personal commitments, but has attended a property workshop held in Cairo.
5.3.7 As the sole office staff member in the Property Section, the Property Manager has a broad range of duties including property, materiel, contracting, procurement, and driver/vehicle management. He negotiates the lease renewals and reductions, sources suppliers, ***. Mission, and is the sole IMS Materiel Management (MM) user. ***. For example, he involves others where possible, to ensure segregation of duties for the procurement, receipt and payment of goods. With his sense of commitment and responsibility for the Section, coupled with the lack of a back-up, ***.
5.3.8 The Common Service Model application identified an additional administrative resource for general assistance to the Common Services program. Although HQ has indicated that the creation of such a resource would not occur in the immediate future due to other priorities and pressures, assistance is required in the Section and a position would greatly assist the Mission. In the interim, the Mission should review the tasks and determine if another position could take over some of the tasks.
5.3.9 Physical resources planning is completed through the Mission Property Management Plan (MPMP) and the Mission Maintenance Work Plan (MMWP). Although maintenance is performed for the Chancery, OR and SQs, a regular maintenance schedule has not yet been developed. The PRIME database is not up to date and staff indicated that they had been experiencing difficulties with saving information on the system.
5.3.10 The Mission has a procurement plan approved by CMM, and SQ inspections are pro-actively carried out to identify issues to feed into the plan. Warehouse/SQ inventories levels are monitored to reduce the stockpiling of goods. To further improve the plan, CBS should be consulted for input, and a multi-year plan be developed to ensure that major asset replacements are addressed. Local procurement guidelines should be developed.
5.3.11 Clients expressed overall satisfaction with the quality and level of service provided by the Section. An electronic work order system, an older *** version, is used for work order and transportation requests. The system is functional and has reporting capability for follow-up, and feedback is obtained via email
5.3.12 Although outdated service standards are in place, the Section operates on a reactive and responsive basis, and they strive to provide same or next day service where possible. This exceeds service standards for routine requests and does not allow for effective planning and scheduling of tasks. Standards should be re- established based on priorities, to improve efficiency and better manage workload.
|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 are signed.||X|
|A percentage of costs for personal use of OR supplies is determined and regular reimbursements are made to the Mission.||X|
|Costs of damages to SQs or furnishings, beyond normal wear and tear, are recovered from the occupant.||X|
|Records of assets located in the Chancery, OR and SQs, as well as those in storage, are maintained on an ongoing basis and verified annually. Assets are appropriately safeguarded and controlled.||X|
|Disposals are appropriately authorized and follow departmental guidelines.||X|
|Vehicles logs are appropriately completed, demonstrating that use was for official purposes.||X|
|Vehicle logs and mileage are verified monthly by a CBS to reconcile usage to gas purchases as well as monitor vehicle performance.||X|
5.3.13 Overall, internal controls require some improvement in the areas of inventories and vehicle logs.
5.3.14 OR and SQ distribution accounts are up to date and occupancy agreements are signed by the HOM and occupant. Changes to inventories are kept on file, but the EXT 182 Materiel Transfer Voucher is not used to record the movement of assets. ***.
5.3.15 The current SQ portfolio consists of seven and eight-room apartments, as in the past it was challenging to find suitable six-room configurations. In the upcoming relocation season, the Mission intends to realign its SQ portfolio in accordance with departmental guidelines as more suitable six-room housing is becoming available. There are some instances where CBS are over-housed, but no justification is kept on file. The SQs viewed were located in good neighbourhoods, attractive, well furnished and maintained. It should be noted that the handymen are highly skilled and perform most, if not all, the maintenance which has resulted in savings for the Mission. CBS were generally satisfied with their accommodation, with no major issues reported.
5.3.16 The Mission maintains a small storage facility in a residential area located outside Amman ***. The Property Manager initiated a formal lease four years ago, but had intended to review other facility options. The lease is inexpensive (approximately $11,000 Canadian dollars per annum) according to the Mission, however despite requests for a copy of the lease, the Inspection Team was not able to verify this. There have been no issues to date with regard to this facility. An inventory of goods is maintained and up to date, however, it does not include a dollar value amount.
5.3.17 The Mission maintains *** official vehicles, one of which is a dedicated Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) vehicle, and two are other Partner Department vehicles. The Mission received a request from a Partner Department to purchase a third vehicle. While DFAIT HQ authorization was retained on file for one RCMP vehicle, there was no such record for the other Department's vehicles, and it was unclear whether DFAIT HQ was aware of these requests.
5.3.18 Drivers have written standard operating procedures and have received armoured vehicle training. Two drivers share responsibility for the scheduling of transportation requests, however, each driver is responsible for the maintenance schedule of their vehicle. Given the size of the fleet, a comprehensive maintenance schedule should be developed. There are separate files for each vehicle, with all maintenance cost and other invoices on file. It was noted that many invoices were in Arabic only, which make verification by CBS difficult.
5.3.19 While vehicles logs are completed by the drivers, passengers do not sign to confirm receipt of the service. The Property Manager monitors vehicle fuel usage, spot checks the odometers and completes monthly reconciliations using a form he has developed, as he had not been requested by management to complete the Vehicle Operating and Maintenance Report (EXT 159) on a regular basis. SQ and OR oil consumption is also monitored and tracked.
5.3.20 The Mission has an arrangement for the purchase of gas through one gas station, and monthly invoices are sent directly to the Mission. Some staff indicated that this was quite limiting especially for travel outside the city, as drivers would have to pay for gas then get reimbursed. The Mission should investigate the use of gas cards with on-line billing access which are apparently now available.
5.3.21 The last disposal sale was held in December 2010 in a sealed bid auction. A review of the file indicated that the appropriate disposal procedures were followed. Although HOM approval via email was on file, the Disposal Report (EXT 369) had not yet been signed. All other records were complete and on file.
Recommendations to the Mission
5.3.23 The Mission should review the responsibilities of the Property Manager position and ensure that assigned tasks correspond to the position level and job description.
5.3.24 To alleviate some of the workload of the Property manager and to ensure further appropriate segregation of duties, the Mission should review tasks and consider:
- obtaining additional acquisition cards for staff who are required to make purchases;
- transferring the petty cash to another employee;
- transfer the MM data entry to another employee,
- identifying and training a back-up.
5.3.25 Service standards should be reviewed and realistic delivery timeframes should be established for routine and priority requests to better manage the planning of the Section. The standards should be communicated to staff and clients.
5.3.26 The Section should develop a consolidated written maintenance plan for both the OR and Chancery facilities.
5.3.27 The Mission should review and update information in the PRIME database and contact the ARAI Help Desk in the Physical Resources Bureau for assistance if technical difficulties are experienced.
5.3.28 The Mission should develop a multi-year capital acquisition plan and table it at CMM for approval.
5.3.29 Local procurement guidelines should be developed.
5.3.30 The Mission should ensure that the SQ portfolio is rebalanced and a range of housing suitable for different family configurations is maintained. Justification for any under or over-housing should be maintained on file.
5.3.31 The Mission should develop and maintain an inventory for the Chancery. Dollar values should be included in all inventory records. Maintenance tools should also be recorded and assigned custodianship.
5.3.32 The Mission should ensure that movement of assets are controlled and acknowledged through the use of a materiel transfer voucher (EXT182).
5.3.33 The warehouse keys should be kept in a locked key press controlled by the MCO.
5.3.34 The Mission should conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the warehouse and research whether other cost-effective facilities are available closer to the Chancery.
5.3.35 The Mission should ensure that all official vehicle purchase requests for partner departments are authorized through AFD.
5.3.36 The vehicle operating and maintenance report (EXT159) should be completed and the verification of vehicle usage and fuel purchase costs should be reviewed and signed by the MCO.
5.3.37 A maintenance schedule for vehicles should be developed, and maintenance and repair costs should be monitored on a regular basis.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
5.3.22 Implemented in September, 2011. The new MCO arrived in August, 2011, and is now actively involved in the physical resources function.
5.3.23 In progress for October, 2011. This has been on-going. This problem, which was first identified during the CSM exercise in 2009 and now by this inspection, has been exacerbated by the addition of 3 new CBS during summer 2011. A review will be completed by October.
5.3.24 In progress for November, 2011. An acquisition card has been ordered for the HOM. The current acquisition card is accessible to the Property Manager, the MCO and the DMCO. The Mission has considered transferring MM data entry and petty cash responsibility to other employee(s). ***.
5.3.25 In progress for October, 2011. Service standards were developed under 3 categories: Urgent, priority and routine. Presently these standards are ready to be tabled in the CMM.
5.3.26 In progress for November, 2011. Chancery: this recommendation will not be implemented at this time. *** from the present location and most maintenance is conducted by the landlord.
OR: the mission will continue to follow the building report, which is less than 4 years old, in consultation with ARAF.
5.3.27 Implemented in July, 2011. PRIME info has been updated.
5.3.28 Implemented in September, 2011. A multi year Capital plan has been developed to include appliances and furniture for SQ; and office machines for the chancery.
5.3.29 In progress for December, 2011. Local procurement guidelines are in development with a view to efficiently ensure best value for money, including after sale services, and with a view to ensure comparability of goods and services according to the intent of the FSDs.
5.3.30 Implemented for July, 2011. The SQ portfolio has been adjusted according to guidelines and SQ113 (6 rooms) has been acquired to rebalance our portfolio and meet the arrival of an extra single employee.
5.3.31 In progress for December, 2011. A draft inventory has been completed *** and will be finalized as to date of purchase and cost by December, 2011
5.3.32 Implemented in October, 2011. Email is used for transfer of assets and used to inform CBS that items have been added to their inventory. Emails are then filed under the PRID.
5.3.33 Implemented for September, 2011. Warehouse keys are now controlled by the MCO, and in his absence the DMCO or MPSS.
5.3.34 Implemented for September, 2011. A cost/ benefit analysis is completed. The status quo is more economical.
5.3.35 Implemented for July, 2011. During the last purchase in June 2011 (RCMP), AFD was consulted repeatedly but never replied.
5.3.36 Implemented in April, 2011. EX 159 forms are now reviewed by the MCO monthly.
5.3.37 Implemented in September, 2011. Maintenance of vehicles is being conducted according to the manufacturers schedule and includes the yearly technical inspection at the traffic department.
5.4.1 The Finance Section is managed by the DMCO who is assisted by an LE- 07 Accountant and an LE-05 Assistant Accountant. The Section also provides support to the Iraq Program. The Mission has *** staff in the Section and should be well positioned to operate effectively and efficiently once identified issues are resolved.
5.4.2 In May 2009, two members of the Financial Operations - International Division (SMFF) visited the Mission for 2.5 weeks. A review of the April 2010 bank reconciliation was also performed by SMFF, and the Special Investigations Division (ZIU) reviewed the June 2010 accounts as part of the Inspection process. A number of recommendations have been passed to the Finance Section as a result.
5.4.3 Support to the Iraq Program is approximately 30% of the Section's time which includes preparing FINSTAT reports and the budget, processing travel claims and payments on behalf of CIDA. The banking system in Iraq has collapsed, a situation which creates challenges and makes processing more time consuming.
|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|
|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|
|Roles and responsibilities ensure adequate segregation of duties.||X|
5.4.4 Key finance functions (budgeting, FINSTAT reports and monthly bank reconciliations) are performed by the DMCO with *** reliance on the Accountant ***.
5.4.5 Over the last two years, there has been a deterioration in the relationship between the Finance Section and clients. ***. Misunderstandings have led to frustrations on both sides ***. Recently, the HOM's intervention was required ***. Concrete steps will need to be taken to ensure the situation does not worsen and to improve client satisfaction.
5.4.6 While the Finance Section has tried to tighten procedures following the SMFF audit in 2009, clients feel that ***. Finance staff have *** explained to clients what is required, but clients are still unsure of what documents they should provide, and this misunderstanding results in delays in processing payments.
5.4.7 Both clients and Finance staff need to take responsibility for ensuring documents are processed within timelines established by service standards. Support from managers and the CMM will be required to ensure staff understand their roles. Those with delegated signing authorities for Sections 33 & 34 of the Financial Administration Act will need to commit to signing documents in a timely manner. Service standards should be reviewed and communicated to clients to manage their expectations. Clients will, in turn, need to inform their external contractors of Embassy payment terms.
5.4.8 The following steps were discussed with Common Services management as approaches to improve processes:
- checklists detailing required supporting documents for different types of payment requests will be developed and provided to clients;
- documents will only be received in person by the accountants rather than left in mailboxes or left on desks;
- documents will be reviewed with the client and only complete packages will be accepted for processing; and,
- a date stamp will be placed on complete packages to monitor adherence to service standards.
5.4.9 As discussed above, overall client services are perceived to be poor.
|Key Finance Internal Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|A Contract Review Board (CRB) is in place and operating effectively with terms of reference.||X|
|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 bank reconciliations are reviewed and signed-off on a monthly basis.||X|
|The asset and liability report is reviewed on a monthly basis.||X|
|Section 34 is exercised by individuals who possess the appropriate delegation of authority.||X|
|Section 33 is exercised by individuals who possess the appropriate delegation of authority.||X|
|A CBS receives the original monthly bank statement directly from the bank and reviews it prior to giving it to the accountant.||X|
|Official receipts are provided to clients at the time of payment and to internal staff when funds are transferred (i.e. from Consular to Finance).||X|
|Reconciliations of any funds transferred within the mission are conducted in the presence of two staff.||X|
|Monthly reconciliations of immigration fees are completed and the EXT-1203 is signed by the appropriate authority.||X|
|Travel and hospitality claim processes ensure that policies and guidelines are adhered to and that the accountant verifies the completeness and accuracy of the claim.||X|
|A process is in place to ensure that, where applicable, CBS reimburse the mission for any services of a personal nature received at their staff quarters (eg. television, internet, telephone, etc.).||X|
5.4.10 Overall, internal controls were effective. From April 2011, the Mission will be able to do electronic banking and will have access to bank statements online which will facilitate work of the Section. The DMCO and the Accountants are well known to the bank officials. They should work with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) staff at the Mission ***.
5.4.11 A Contract Review Board (CRB) is in place and meets to discuss contracts. Terms of reference exist for the CRB and a threshold has been established. However, at least one contract was found to have been signed without CRB approval indicating that the process needs to be tightened at the Mission. It was also noted that the CRB has three voting members which includes the MCO. Since the MCO should not review contracts originating from his own Program, the number of members does not ensure that contracts are reviewed by a minimum of three people.
5.4.12 In general, contracting practices at the Mission are not well understood, and documentation held on file varied greatly depending on the person managing the process. Some staff do not seem to understand the purpose of a contract or the need to adhere to the conditions of a contract. ***. Documented procedures to guide staff will help ensure consistency in processes followed. Training for staff involved in the contracting process will also be important to ensure correct procedures are followed.
5.4.13 Mission drivers perform personal banking services for CBS but it is questionable whether this service should be provided. A number of bank machines, which provide access to international banking systems, are available and CBS can open local bank accounts to facilitate personal banking and the use of cheques.
5.4.14 All recommendations from the SMFF visit and account reviews should be implemented. In addition, the following issues were noted:
- CBS reimbursement for gardeners fees at SQs is 50% for everyone rather than calculated according to the Property Management Manual 16.7.3;
- Blackberry charges are paid by the Common Services budget where they should be paid by each program budget; and,
- Asset and liability reports are not reviewed on a monthly basis as required.
Recommendations to the Mission
5.4.16 Financial procedures should be established to guide clients and Finance staff.
5.4.17 Service standards should be reviewed and communicated to clients.
5.4.19 CRB membership should be increased to ensure a minimum of three members review all contracts when they originate from the Common Services Program.
5.4.20 Documented procedures regarding contracting including maintenance of files and guidelines, should be provided to staff and training sessions held.
5.4.21 Personal drawings for CBS should cease.
5.4.22 Recommendations from the SMFF visit and account reviews should be implemented.
5.4.23 CBS reimbursement for gardeners fees at SQs should be calculated according to the Property Management Manual 16.7.3.
5.4.24 Blackberry charges should be paid by each program budget.
5.4.25 Asset and liability reports should be reviewed on a monthly basis.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
5.4.15 Implemented in September, 2011. The new MCO arrived in August 2011. Bank reconciliations, reviews of accounts, contact with the bank officials, assets and liability reports, FINSTAT, etc., are all done in close collaboration between accountant and the MCO.
5.4.16 Implemented in May 2011. The finance section established an action plan - re-established procedures, provided updated handouts for clients, updated service standards and adopted a more flexible and accessible consultation option by extending its public hours and performing on the spot reviews with clients.
5.4.17 Implemented in May, 2011. Services standards have been reviewed and in addition three main documents have been produced to guide clients (payments, travel and hospitality checklists). More will be produced following consultations during the November, 2011 all staff retreat.
5.4.18 In progress for June, 2012. The Immigration section will explore this possibility but assistance/approval from HQ will be required
5.4.19 Implemented in March, 2011. The CRB membership has been revised. The Chair is now the MPSS and three new members have joined.
5.4.20 Implemented in March, 2011. The HR assistant is keeping the inventory of contracts and emails have been sent to remind all staff to copy her when a contract is being signed.
5.4.21 Implemented in September, 2011. Personal withdrawals have been stopped. They are now only used for large amounts and in emergencies.
5.4.22 Implemented in September, 2011. All recommendations were addressed. An on-going exercise to improve client relations is being performed by the Senior Accountant and the MCO to ensure service standards are communicated and are realistic for both the finance section and clients.
5.4.23 Implemented in April, 2011. Currently there are no gardening fees being reimbursed. Future reimbursements will be applied according to the occupancy agreement articles (i.e. only above 660 sq m)
5.4.24 Implemented March, 2011. The rule is now applied. Each program is billed for their Blackberry fees.
5.4.25 see 5.4.15
5.5 Information Management - Information Technology (IM-IT)
5.5.1 The Information Management (IM) - Information Technology (IT) section is managed by the MCO, who is supported by an LE-08 Locally Engaged Information Technology Professional (LEITP) with over 16 years experience at the Mission. The Client Service Regional Manager (CSRM) is based in Nairobi, and the Foreign Service Information Technology Professional (FSITP) is based in Abu Dhabi.
|Key IM-IT Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|An Information Management - Information Technology (IM- IT) work plan exists and includes regional activities.||X|
|The CMM or an IM-IT Committee provides direction and oversight for the IM-IT function.||X|
|The liaison between the mission, HQ and regional manager is effective.||X|
|IM-IT requirements in relation to business continuity planning (BCP) have been defined, implemented and tested.||X|
5.5.2 Overall IM-IT management at the Mission is effective.
5.5.3 The LEITP meets annually with the MCO to discuss the life cycle of major items, and to organize the IM/IT budget. ***. IM-IT should be established as a recurrent topic at CMM, or the Mission should establish an IM-IT Committee to provide local guidance and oversight of the function.
5.5.4 While the Section does have a work plan, it can be improved by defining recurrent key tasks, projects, planned testing of the BCP, and key planning dates.
5.5.5 Communication between the CSRM and LEITP is effective, and done through a monthly conference call. The LEITP noted that *** has an open door, and that there is effective communication with him.
|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 uses the required IM-IT service request system and maintains relevant data.||X|
5.5.6 The LEITP is *** client service oriented, and as such it can be difficult sometimes to balance responsiveness to clients with the reporting needs of management through the help-desk system.
5.5.7 While the LEITP does make use of the service request system, he noted that an increasing amount of administrative work (e.g. telecoms billing management) is not tracked in remedy. It is recommended that this be tracked in the system, so that the CSRM may see what demands are being made on this resource.
5.5.8 Often, requests are made through informal channels, and do not result in service request tickets being created. The LEITP indicated that the tool was being used as a method of communicating with the CSRM and HQ with regard to difficult requests.
|Key IM-IT Internal Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Back-ups are performed routinely and tapes are stored in a secure location away from the primary use area.||X|
|The Mission has appropriate secondary communications in place and those tools are tested regularly.||X|
|Standardized practices and processes are in place to facilitate management and sharing of corporate information across programs (e.g. e-mail best practices, effective folder structures).||X|
|Controls are in place to ensure the Network Acceptable Use Policy (NAUP) is respected (SIGNET and digital subscriber line (DSL) connections).||X|
|Employees formally sign out IT assets (mobility tools) and are advised of their accountabilities.||X|
|Surplus IT assets are disposed with the appropriate approvals per departmental policy.||X|
5.5.9 Overall, IM-IT processes and controls were in place and operating effectively. There is a need, however, to improve information management practices.
5.5.10 The LEITP indicated that there are two potential alternate command posts (ACP) and that both have appropriate infrastructure in place to handle their use as the ACP. The LEITP and FSITP recently tested several of the network drops at the primary ACP.
5.5.11 Following events in the region, the LEITP did a test of the secondary communication systems. While he had been regularly testing them before, it was decided that, in light of events, they should be tested again.
5.5.13 Currently, the Mission does not have InfoBank. It is making use of shared calendars and contacts as much as possible, to facilitate information sharing. The LEITP noted that the shared drive does not have a naming convention or structure rules to facilitate management of electronic documents.
5.5.14 Hard copy documents are not effectively managed. During the course of the inspection a set of contracting files were requested. Management were unsure where these documents were stored. Review of the files provided showed no defined file structure. For files such as Contracting, Staffing, Classification, Personnel, etc. the Mission should establish clear guidelines not only for content, but also file maintenance and custodianship.
Recommendations to the Mission
5.5.15 The LEITP in consultation with the MCO should refine the work-plan to include recurrent key tasks, projects, planned testing of the BCP, and key planning dates.
5.5.16 The MCO should ensure that IM-IT issues are discussed at CMM or that an IM-IT Committee is established.
5.5.17 The LEITP should ensure that all service requests and other work is recorded in the service request system.
5.5.18 Management should ensure that there are effective practices in place to manage both electronic and hard-copy information.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
5.5.15 Implemented in September, 2011. A work plan has been established which includes BCP tasks such as regular visits to the ACP for preventive maintenance. It also includes recurrent tasks and a communication strategy to encourage the use of the 944-HELP line.
5.5.16 Implemented in September, 2011. IM-IT issues are discussed weekly in the Common Services staff meetings and are raised with CMM on as needed.
5.5.17 Implemented in September, 2011. The MCO and LEITP have reminded users of the need to request services in writing or via the 944-help line. This ensures compliance to the remedy ticket system.
5.5.18 In progress for December, 2011. This is on-going. The mission is cleaning up unused files and management is still following up with different sections to ensure both paper and electronic files are cleaned up.
Appendix A: Mission Resources Fact Sheet
|Assets||Crown Owned||Crown Leased|
|2009-2010 Budgets||Program Budget||Common Services Budget|
|Operating (N001)||79,960 $||1,629,058 $|
|CBS Salaries (N011)||425,367||153,955|
|LES Salaries (N012)||248,388||414,673|
|Total||753,715 $||2,346,816 $|
|2009-2010 Budgets||Program Budget||Common Services Budget|
|Operating (N001)||64,327 $||755,070 $|
|CBS Salaries (N011)||-||-|
|LES Salaries (N012)||-||-|
|Total||64,327 $||761,433 $|
|Full time Equivalents||Total FTE||CBS||LES|
Appendix B: 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
- 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: