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Inspection of the Canadian Embassy - Bangkok, Thailand
November 28 - December 2, 2011
- Inspection Scope and Objectives
- Executive Summary
- 1 Mission Management
- 2 Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service (FPDS)
- 3 Commercial Economic (CE)
- 4 Consular
- 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 Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service, Commercial Economic, Consular and Common Services programs. The inspection objectives were to:
- Assess the effectiveness of the leadership and management practices of the Head of Mission (HOM) and the Mission Management team;
- Review the alignment of plans and activities, and program integration to Government of Canada and departmental objectives and priorities;
- Assess the adequacy of management controls and systems, procedures and the reliability of information for decision making and accountability purposes;
- Determine the extent of compliance with legislation, regulations and operating policies;
- Evaluate the use of resources to determine that they are judiciously used and if value-for-money is received; and
- Make recommendations, where warranted, to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Mission and its programs.
The focus and extent of on-site work was based on an assessment of materiality and related risk. This was done through communication with Headquarters (HQ) bureaux, including briefings by line management and the functional bureaux, review of relevant HQ and Mission documentation, past audit findings, and an analysis of recurring trends and systemic issues.
During the Inspection, inspection issues and lines of enquiry were further refined from information gathered through interviews with the Head of Mission and program managers, a meeting with Locally engaged staff (LES) representatives of the 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 Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service (FPDS), Commercial Economic (CE), Consular and Common Services programs was conducted in Bangkok, Thailand from November 28 to December 2, 2011. A previous audit of these programs took place in 2006.
The Embassy in Bangkok is a medium-sized mission with 19 Canada-Based Staff (CBS) and 47 Locally Engaged Staff (LES). It is responsible for departmental program delivery in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Burma. Partner departments in the mission include Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Department of National Defence (DND). The mission has an Honorary Consul (HonCon) located in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand. The Canadian Interdepartmental Task Force on Illegal Migrants is based at the mission with up to 14 temporary duty officers present at one time, rotating on a six-month basis.
The Mission Planning and Reporting (MPR) tool is in place and reflects Government and DFAIT priorities and objectives. Operational planning is in place for the CE program but needs to be improved for the FPDS, Consular and Common Services programs.
*** communications and morale issues have *** in the mission. Management decisions regarding internal policies, administrative procedures and programming ***. More effective communication in the mission would increase operational efficiency and effectiveness, and improve staff morale. ***. This has *** morale and motivation. As a good practice, weekly operations meetings could be held to share information, with committee on mission management (CMM) meetings occurring less frequently to discuss management issues.
The FPDS program is *** managed by an *** officer who has established a *** working relationship with her team and maintains an open door management style. The program manager is *** respected by her staff, who appreciates her *** management style. The FPDS program's activities are aligned to the mission's MPR; however, a documented operational plan for the program as a whole needs to be developed to ensure that strategies are identified along with related activities, outputs and expected results. The FPDS program has six officers but no operational support positions, with only occasional assistance from interns and co-op students when available. Options for the provision of non-officer support should be presented in a business case to headquarters (HQ) for additional resources.
The CE program is*** managed by a Senior Trade Commissioner ***. Weekly staff meetings effectively support operations and serve as a forum to communicate messages from HQ, share information and set priorities. The program has an effective planning process in place, which includes consultations with key partners. The consistent use of TRIO throughout the year needs to be encouraged. There is also a need to ensure that the investment outcall plan identifies opportunities for involvement of the Head of Mission (HOM) and to establish an InfoCentre to strengthen and formalize support functions.
The Consular program is *** managed and operating *** under the direction of the Deputy Management Consular Officer (DMCO). The team appreciates the DMCO's *** which has resulted in good morale and team work. The program has responded well to a number of prolonged crisis situations over the past few years where the mission has had to activate emergency plans. As a good practice, regular staff meetings should be scheduled. All consular staff should have passport certification and an updated mandate letter should be developed for the HonCon. Client feedback forms should be instituted and inventory controls strengthened.
Overall, the Common Services program is functioning well and provides a good level of service to clients. The finance and information management/technology sections in particular are functioning well, however, the property section requires attention to planning and organization. The program's capacity to maintain quality services is being stretched to the limit by considerable pressure due to the number of temporary duty personnel at the mission over the past 18 months. As a result of the recent crises, vacation leave for LES has been limited. Leave for staff should be scheduled as a priority. Regular staff meetings should be held and policies, procedures, service standards, and client feedback mechanisms need to be updated and communicated. A long term housing strategy has to be developed and actioned, and contract review board (CRB) controls strengthened.
A total of 50 inspection recommendations are raised in the report, 49 are addressed to the Mission and one is addressed to headquarters. Management has responded to each recommendation indicating action already taken or decisions made, as well as future action. Of the 50 recommendations, management has stated that 28 have been implemented. For each of the remaining 22 recommendations, management has indicated the initiatives in progress or the intended future action.
1.1.1 The Embassy in Bangkok is a medium-sized mission with 19 Canada-based Staff (CBS) and 47 Locally engaged staff (LES). It is responsible for departmental program delivery in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Burma. Partner departments in the mission include Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Department of National Defence (DND). The mission has an Honorary Consul located in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand. The Canadian Interdepartmental Task Force on Illegal Migrants is based at the mission with up to 14 temporary duty officers present at one time, rotating on a six- month basis.
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|
|The Committee on Mission Management (CMM) is an effective forum to review and make decisions on Mission policies and management issues.||X|
|The Locally engaged staff Management Consultation Board (LESMCB) is representative of mission programs and employee levels, and is utilized by both LES and mission management to facilitate communication.||X|
|Mission Management ensures that employees remain informed of key priorities and common services policy decisions.||X|
|Canadian public service values and ethics are promoted and reinforced, and employees are aware of available support resources (values and ethics, staff relations, etc.).||X|
1.2.1 The Mission Planning and Reporting (MPR) tool is in place and it reflects Government and DFAIT priorities and objectives. Operational planning at the program, section and individual staff level needs to be improved for the Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service (FPDS), Consular and Common Services programs. These plans need to cover all activities and responsibilities and be directly linked to the MPR. The mission has recently developed a public diplomacy strategy that, when implemented, will include input from and integration with all mission programs.
1.2.2 The CMM functions more as a forum for sharing information than as a discussion and decision making committee for management issues. As a good practice, weekly operations meetings could be held to share information, with CMMs occurring less frequently to deal with management and administrative matters.
1.2.3 An LES Management Consultation Board (LESMCB) is in place and meets quarterly or as necessary. The members are elected and there is a good representation from across the mission programs. The LES representatives of the Board conveyed the staff's appreciation for management's handling of the flooding situation and the assistance provided to staff affected. Overall, the LES were satisfied with the results of the total compensation review and had no major issues other than to seek clarification on certain points.
1.2.4 Communications by mission management regarding internal policy decisions, administrative procedures and programming decisions were often ***. More effective communication in the mission would increase operational efficiency and effectiveness and improve staff morale.
1.2.5 ***. This has previously impacted and continues to *** morale and motivation.
1.3 Whole of Government
|Key Whole of Government Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Mechanisms are in place to ensure a whole of government approach is taken for mission and program planning.||X|
|Mission and program plans are implemented in a coordinated manner to ensure policy coherence and effectively leverage the Canadian presence.||X|
|Partner departments contribute to the overall effective governance of the Mission and its operations.||X|
|Common Services are provided in line with the memorandum of understanding and any issues are addressed at CMM.||X|
1.3.1 The mission ascribes to a ‘whole-of-government approach’, reinforced by participation of partner departments in CMM and the weekly meeting of the Task Force Committee *** which is chaired by the HOM. Issues have arisen, however, regarding the sharing of information. Given the multi-department membership, protocols need to be developed regarding the handling ***.
1.3.2 Clients do not know what to expect from the common services program and, as such, expectations from clients are often inconsistent with the program's capacity to deliver. Common services policies, procedures and service standards need to be clarified, approved by CMM and communicated to all staff.
1.4 Management Controls
|Key Management Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Mission committees are meeting regularly and effectively discharging their governance responsibilities.||X|
|A Mission Emergency Plan (MEP) is in place and tested regularly.||X|
|Security policies and regulations are respected and promoted.||X|
|The quarterly reconciliation of passport inventory is properly completed and certified.||X|
|Program managers are provided regular financial/budget updates to facilitate effective management and decision making.||X|
|Bank reconciliations are properly reviewed and signed-off on a monthly basis.||X|
|Mission hospitality guidelines are appropriate and reviewed annually by CMM.||X|
|Hospitality activities are properly documented, demonstrate value-for-money and align with mission objectives.||X|
|All employees have performance objectives set and annual reviews occur.||X|
|The Honorary Consul (HonCon) has an up-to-date mandate letter and performance is reviewed annually.||X|
1.4.1 The mission has a full range of committees as part of its management control framework. For the most part, those governance bodies are functioning as required. There is a need, however, to reinforce the role of the Housing Committee to ensure that all housing issues are submitted and reviewed. Additionally, the Information Management and Information Technology Committee has not met for over a year.
1.4.2 The Mission Emergency Plan (MEP) needs to be updated and action taken where required. Program managers only recently received financial reports regarding their budgets. This should be regularized with the information used for CMM and program review of mission budgets. Hospitality funds are not always linked to mission objectives and priorities, and HOM hospitality and wine inventories should be regularly reconciled.
1.4.3 The mission has purchased a large quantity of Canadian wines that is stored at the official residence (OR). There is no formal inventory to track the usage of the wine which increases the risk of loss or misuse. Additionally, several bottles of wine have spoiled and have been discarded due to defective temperature control systems in the wine storage area.
1.4.4 The Honorary Consul (HonCon) is provided with a mandate letter and performance review annually. As further referenced in the Consular section of the report, the mandate letter requires updating to reflect current expectations regarding service standards, advances or expenses.
1.5 Official Languages
|Key Official Languages Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|The Official Languages Act is respected and promoted by Mission Management.||X|
|Mission signage is provided in both English and French and a bilingual Official Languages Co-ordinator has been appointed.||X|
|The Mission has sufficient capacity to communicate with and provide services to the public, both orally and in writing, in both official languages.||X|
1.5.1 The use of both official languages is promoted by the mission. An Official Languages Coordinator has been appointed and signage is provided in both English and French. The mission does experience capacity issues in some areas due to the difficulty of hiring local staff with Thai, English and French language skills. The receptionist is not bilingual, however, the mission provides back-up support in the appropriate language when required.
Recommendations to the Mission
1.6.2 Consideration should be given to implementing a revised governance structure which includes separate CMM and operations meetings. CMM meetings would address mission management issues and decisions, whereas operations meetings would facilitate info sharing and coordination of activities.
1.6.3 Mission management and administrative policies should be reviewed by CMM, communicated and made available to all staff.
1.6.4 The Mission Emergency Plan should be updated.
1.6.5 The mission should regularly provide program managers with budget and financial reports.
1.6.6 Hospitality evaluations should clearly demonstrate linkages to mission and program objectives.
1.6.7 Official purchases of wine and alcohol for the OR must be properly inventoried. A monthly reconciliation should be conducted, and an annual verification and carry forward should be performed with a report attached to the first quarter hospitality report. In the event of wines spoiling, these should be reported at the time of discard and written off using the appropriate form (EXT 369) and signed off by the HOM.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
1.6.1 Recent changes and many suggestions from the road map strategy developed have been implemented ***. Implemented in April 2012.
1.6.2 The Operations Committee meets weekly and focuses on short term activities and transactions. Minutes are written and shared. CMM has been established; the focus is on mission management issues, policy and planning. Record of decision is written and circulated to members. In addition, several mission committees will be reconstituted, mandates outlined and outcomes will feed into CMM. Implemented in April 2012
1.6.3 The mission has started a review of the policies. Work will continue over the course of the spring and summer to be completed and approved by CMM. In progress for September 2012.
1.6.4 The Mission Emergency Plan was reviewed and updated last fall following the major floods in Thailand. Implemented in December 2011.
1.6.5 This was decided at the first CMM. The MCO will bring to the next CMM as soon as budget information is provided by HQ. Implemented in April 2012.
1.6.6 This was implemented following last fall's Mission Inspection in December 2011.
1.6.7 The inventory was undertaken and completed in late January and has been maintained ever since. A process to ensure this continues to be done is in place. Implemented in January 2012.
Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service (FPDS)
2.1.1 The FPDS program is managed by an EX-01 Program Manager (PM) who is supported by five officers (FS-03 Global Security Reporting Program (GSRP), FS-03 covering Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) issues, as well as an FS-01, an LE-08 and an LE-07). The program has no assistant level resources. The budget figures presented below do not reflect resources devoted to the GSRP position or the ASEAN position. The program also manages two distinct Canada Funds for Local Initiatives for Thailand and Burma, totalling ***. With support from the CIDA program in Ho Chi Minh City, the FPDS program also supervises three CIDA LES in the absence of a CIDA CBS.
|Post Initiative Fund||10,500|
2.1.2 The program focuses on the promotion of democratic development and human rights in its countries of accreditation.***. The recent flooding crisis, which has also impacted mission operations and many local staff personally, has been a reporting priority.
2.2 Planning and Program Management
|Key FPDS Program Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|FPDS plans are aligned with the priorities and objectives outlined in the mission plan and informed by departmental and geographic bureau guidance and objectives.||X|
|FPDS plans outline intended outcomes and results are measurable.||X|
|Roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and have been communicated to all staff.||X|
|Internal communications within the program effectively support program delivery.||X|
2.2.1 The program manager is *** respected by her staff, who appreciates her ***. Roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and effectively communicated. The recent integration of the GSRP position required realignment and coordination of existing responsibilities. However, demands related to the planned visit by the Prime Minister, which was later cancelled, and the flood crisis allowed only 40 percent of the officer's time to be allocated to the GSRP mandate. It is expected that this will revert back to the normal 90 percent.
2.2.2 Communications in the program are effective. The program manager has established a *** working relationship with each staff member and maintains an open door management style. The program has weekly meetings attended by all staff where information is shared and projects and other issues are discussed.
2.2.3 The program's activities are aligned to the mission's MPR. However, a documented operational plan for the program as a whole needs to be developed to ensure that strategies are identified along with related activities, outputs and expected results. A program plan will help to focus on priorities, the allocation and management of resources, and provide a baseline when considering new or altered activities and initiatives. As a start, the program has recently developed a comprehensive public diplomacy strategy. Once in place, it can be used to incorporate needs and support from all mission programs. The role of the HOM is crucial to providing input, approval and on-going support. This should be effected through regular meetings with the PM and the HOM, as well as periodically with program staff, to review progress, make required changes and to provide support.
|Key FPDS 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 FPDS Renewal initiative.||X|
|Program reporting is in-line with Mission and government objectives, timely and relevant.||X|
|The program develops and maintains a contact base that meets programs needs and objectives.||X|
|Relations with other mission programs facilitate program delivery (e.g. public affairs).||X|
|The program facilitates a mission-wide coordinated approach to advocacy and common messaging.||X|
2.3.1 Management controls are exercised primarily through the communication, oversight and input of the PM. More systematic controls would include the development of individual work plans deriving from the program plan. In addition, more attention to New Way Forward principles is required in terms of awareness and incorporation into activities and initiatives. The quality of reporting, as assessed by HQ, is in-line with expectations and viewed as professional, useful and timely. Relations with other mission programs are positive and on-going,***. A more coordinated and formal approach to public diplomacy is being addressed through the recently developed public diplomacy strategy.
2.3.2 The FPDS program has six officers but no operational support positions. The standard for most programs of a similar size would be at least one, and more usually two, administrative or operational support positions. Support from the HOM CBS assistant or the HOM LES executive assistant is currently minimal. As a result, officers are required to provide their own support with occasional assistance from interns and co-op students when available.
2.4 Performance Measurement
|Key FPDS 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 strategies / objectives and plans, and provides a high-level assessment of performance through the MPR system at the end of the fiscal year.||X|
|Hospitality diaries demonstrate value-for-money and alignment with priorities.||X|
2.4.1 The program informally assesses performance prior to the development of the next year's MPR. A formal, documented performance measurement system would normally be incorporated into program planning. As the program undertakes its planning process, it should include appropriate performance measurement criteria and indicators which can then be used to assess results and adjust activities and strategies. The program does have up-to-date PMPs which are discussed with staff to assess individual performance and development requirements.
2.4.2 Hospitality files were reviewed and are in line with program objectives and hospitality guidelines.
Recommendations to the Mission
2.5.1 More direct engagement by the HOM is required in support of FPDS program planning and operations such as regular bilateral meetings between the PM and HOM and occasional HOM participation in program staff meetings.
2.5.2 Program operational plans need to be developed that incorporate strategies, related activities, outputs, resource requirements, timelines, expected results and performance indicators.
2.5.3 The program should identify options for the provision of non-officer support and, if required, present a business case to HQ for additional resources.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
2.5.1 Bilateral meetings between the HOM and program manager were instituted immediately after the Inspection, with formal agendas and notes. Implemented in December 2011.
2.5.2 The FPDS section held a retreat and developed an integrated plan that covers these elements. In the context of PMP discussions, individual officers were given action plans drawing from the section plan. Implemented in December 2011.
2.5.3 The FPDS program manager has discussed options with the MCO and will work to identify funds within the budget for emergency employment and will present a business case to HQ in line with the next business cycle. In the meantime, the program manager is making greater use of HOM Assistant in the absence of the HOM. In progress
Commercial Economic (CE)
3.1.1 The Commercial Economic (CE) program is led by an EX-01 Senior Trade Commissioner (STC) and is comprised of one FS-01 officer, four LE-09 officers (one position currently vacant) and four LES assistants (one LE-06 and three LE-05). In addition to Thailand, the program covers the relatively small markets of Cambodia, Laos and Burma/Myanmar (where no service is provided due to the Special Economic Measures Act). Strong growth in Cambodia and Laos continues to result in increasing demand from TCS clients as more market intelligence becomes available.
3.1.2 The 2011-12 FY budget for the program is as follows. Other operating funds have not been officially assigned to the program.
|Client Service Fund (CSF)||18,000|
|Integrative Trade Strategies (ITS)||1,500|
|Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)||1,000|
3.1.3 Bangkok ranks 24th on the Canadian Commercial Interest List and is grouped with tier 4 missions such as Oslo, Kuala Lumpur, Warsaw, Taipei and Istanbul/Ankara. After a sharp decline in 2009, Canadian merchandise exports to Thailand bounced back to $652 million and consisted primarily of wood pulp, fertilizer, electronic and electrical equipment, machinery and precious stone and metals (mainly gold). Official stocks of Canadian Direct Investment Abroad in Thailand totalled $890 million in 2010 while major recent investments made by Canadian firms in the financial services and manufacturing sectors demonstrate that Thailand remains a viable strategic partner for Canadian companies looking to insert themselves into global value chains. The recent interest shown by Thai firms to start investing abroad represents potential future benefits to Canada.
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 The program is *** managed by an STC***. Weekly staff meetings effectively support operations and serve as a forum to communicate messages from HQ, share information and set priorities.
3.2.2 The program has an effective planning process in place, which includes consultations with key partners. The business plan is substantiated, focussed and emphasizes the program's priorities by defining initiatives according to proactive and secondary sectors based on local opportunities and Canadian capabilities. It also appropriately defines the resources to be dedicated to other markets of accreditation. The investment outcall plan, although well established, would benefit from clearly identifying the opportunities best suited for HOM involvement.
3.2.3 Responsibilities among staff have been re-shuffled recently by the STC to respond better to corporate priorities and ensure that the program can assume the leadership of the ASEAN Cleantech virtual team. The exercise took into account operational requirements as well as staff expertise, competencies and interests. The effects of these changes are still being felt by staff, particularly by the trade commissioner assistants (TCA) who, in trying to adjust to their new responsibilities, are working individually rather than as a team. More effort is required to ensure effective cooperation and communication.
|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|
|InfoCentre functions are assigned and facilitate program delivery.||X|
3.3.1 Each LES officer is responsible for a priority sector as well as additional sub-sectors. Officers conduct their work in line with the integrative trade model, covering the entire spectrum of clients' activities in Thailand and the mission's other countries of accreditation. They would benefit from establishing stronger relationships with colleagues at HQ, in the regional offices and in the ASEAN region to share information on clients and programs as well as best practices.
3.3.2 The program is actively supporting the needs of Canadian clients in Thailand and is working effectively with its local partners. The program spends approximately 10% of its time covering Cambodia and Laos.
3.3.3 Although considered slow and time-consuming, TRIO is used by all program staff with seasonal peaks in data entry.
3.3.4 The program enjoys a higher-than-average ratio of TCAs to officers. While no model is in place, IBD programs usually have an average of one assistant to three officers. With a ratio of four TCAs to six officers, support functions should be formalized and strongly coordinated to include the breadth of services typically found in an InfoCentre.
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 ***. The STC should ensure that the performance of the program as a whole is measured and discussed in a more systematic fashion and that employees understand and find ways to maximize their individual role and contribution to program results.
3.4.2 Overall, hospitality events were aligned with priorities and supported by proper documentation. Most events were for meeting with business contacts and government officials and were low cost. LES are actively engaged in hospitality events.
Recommendations to the Mission
3.5.1 The STC should institute more frequently scheduled meetings with individual officers to review performance metrics, including TRIO data, and to discuss progress on the various sectoral action plans.
3.5.2 The program should ensure a more constant use of TRIO throughout the year and avoid surges in data entry as delayed entries can affect the clients' evaluation of the services received.
3.5.3 The investment outcall plan should identify the best opportunities for the involvement of the HOM.
3.5.4 An InfoCentre should be established to strengthen and formalize business processes related to support functions (e.g. back-up system, publication of generic email addresses, generation of performance reports, acknowledgment of receipt, responses to inquiries, etc.) with a view to improve program efficiencies and client service.
3.5.5 The STC should complete individual PMPs early in the new fiscal year and use this exercise to obtain agreement on the new fiscal year's roles and objectives as well as to formalize learning plans.
Recommendation to the Trade Commissioner Service Renewal Division (BTR)
3.5.6 BTR should work with the LES Policy and Program Development Division (ALDC) and the Corporate Classification and Development Programs (HSC)/Corporate Staffing, Planning, Official Languages and Employment Equity (HSR) divisions to ensure that the competency profiles of commercial officers and assistants properly underlie successful performance or behaviour at work and that they are reflected in the PMP system.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
3.5.1 In addition to a weekly section meeting, a monthly meeting is scheduled with each officer to review individual work plan and ensure overall coordination and adherence. Implemented in April 2012.
3.5.2 Individual PMPs were adjusted to also reflect timely entry. TRIO data is reviewed quarterly and needed action taken at the same time to ensure more constant entries. Implemented in April 2012.
3.5.3 A specific investment outcall plan with anticipated participation by HOM will be established at the beginning of each FY and relevant adjustments made semi-annually if needed. Implemented in April 2012.
3.5.4 An InfoCentre, with revised job description for the incumbent and adjusted JDs for other trade assistants as needed to improve efficiencies and client service, will be established and operationalized by September 2012.
3.5.5 Individual PMP meetings to take place within April/May of each new FY and objectives as well as learning plans established. Implemented in April 2012.
HQ Actions and Timeframes
3.5.6 BTR is in contact with ALDC, HSC and HSR to discuss the review of the Trade LES competency profiles. Should it be determined during this review that significant changes need to be made, a workplan will be put in place to effect the updates and the PMPs may subsequently be modified accordingly at a future date. In progress.
4.1.1 The Consular program is managed by the AS-06 MCO with the operational management assumed by the AS-05 Deputy MCO. The program is supported by a team of five locally engaged staff consisting of two LE-08 Consular Officers, an LE-08 Passport Officer, an LE-06 Senior Program Assistant and an LE-05 Consular Assistant. In addition, there is an Honorary Consul located in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand. The program is also responsible for Laos, Cambodia and Burma, where consular services are provided to Canadian citizens by the resident Australian missions under the Canada-Australia Consular Sharing Agreement. The program's financial resources are provided below.
4.1.2 The program is very busy with a constant workload of complex and routine consular cases, processing an increasing volume of passports, citizenship and notarial services with an increased demand placed on emergency management. The mission has experienced a number of prolonged crisis situations over the past few years and has had to activate emergency plans on several occasions. Employees are dedicated and experienced; they performed admirably in these crisis situations. Following the 'red shirt' incident of 2010, a lessons-learned document was developed and shared with other missions at a regional security conference.
4.1.3 The program provides approximately 1,650 passport services and processes approximately 220 citizenship applications and 2,100 notarial requests yearly. There are 1,471 Canadian citizens identified in the Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) database for Thailand, with an estimated 5,000 to 8,000 Canadians resident at any given time. Tourism statistics indicate a high volume of visitors, with approximately 170,000 Canadians visiting annually.
4.2 Program Management
|Key Consular Program Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Mission Consular plans and manuals are up to date.||X|
|Internal communications within the Program effectively support program delivery.||X|
|The Mission has ongoing dialogue with key local authorities to facilitate program delivery.||X|
|A warden network is in place and properly maintained.||X|
4.2.1 Overall, the consular program is *** managed and operating *** under the *** leadership and direction of the DMCO. The team appreciates the DMCO's ***. There is good morale and team work within the program. While there are ad hoc meetings and good informal communications with staff, regularly scheduled meetings do not take place.
4.2.2 The DMCO regularly reviews workloads and work processes to improve efficiency. She has developed a workplan that includes reporting and planning requirements. Staff know their roles and responsibilities and schedule their tasks and activities. The LE-08 consular officers switch case responsibilities/workloads twice a year which is a good practice that allows both officers the opportunity to work with the full range of consular cases. As a next step, the workplan should also be shared with staff to assist them in managing their workload.
4.2.3 The mission's planning and preparation activities continue to evolve and to be refined. Lessons learned after each crisis are documented and incorporated into the mission's contingency documents. This also includes recommendations from the Contingency Planning Assistance Team (CPAT) visit in 2009 and advice received from the Regional Emergency Management Officer (REMO) based at the mission in Kuala Lumpur. Consular plans and manuals are up to date and relevant contents will be transferred to the new Mission Emergency Plan (MEP) format. It will be important to ensure that essential and non-essential personnel and services are clearly identified and that the roles and responsibilities are communicated to all staff.
4.2.4 In order to increase back-up capacity during peak periods and consular emergency situations, the program plans to provide cross-training in passport management to other mission staff. It should be noted, however, that the *** have not yet taken the passport certification training, which should be a priority.
4.3 Client Service
|Key Consular Client Service Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Services are provided to Canadians in the official language of their choice.||X|
|Service standards, fee schedules and a copy of an official receipt are posted in public areas in both official languages.||X|
|Services are provided in line with established standards.||X|
|Client feedback is reviewed and corrective action is taken when warranted.||X|
4.3.1 The program is client-service oriented with a team of knowledgeable and experienced staff who are capable of providing services in both official languages.
4.3.2 While clients are encouraged to provide feedback electronically through the department's on-line feedback form, limited feedback is received. The program should make renewed efforts to promote the feedback function as well as encourage ROCA registration. As a best practice, notice cards/feedback forms could also be provided to clients at the time of service.
4.3.3 The mission has been satisfied with the services of the Honorary Consul (HonCon) whose primary role is to provide consular services and to undertake limited trade activities. An annual tasking letter is provided to outline roles and responsibilities. The wording of the letter has not been revised for some years and does not reflect current expectations regarding service standards, advances or expenses. ***.
4.4 Internal Controls
|Key Consular Internal Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|A certified CBS signs-off on all passports.||X|
|Client documents and personal information are properly stored and secured.||X|
|Procedures and practices related to the collection of revenues are appropriate (e.g. segregation of duties, handling of cash, official receipts, record of fees received forms).||X|
|Revenues are transferred to the finance section in line with the Manual of Consular Instructions.||X|
|Upon receipt of new passport stock, two CBS verify the receipt of all assets, sign and return the transmittal note.||X|
|Passport stock is securely stored and the removal of assets is recorded on an inventory log and initialled by the CBS custodian and the employee receiving the asset.||X|
|Working inventories provided to staff are appropriate and controlled by a daily log (passports issued, spoiled, returned to safe storage).||X|
|Monthly and quarterly reconciliations of passport stock are properly completed and certified.||X|
|Official seals and stamps are properly inventoried, secured and access provided to designated staff only.||X|
4.4.1 Overall controls governing passport and consular activities are effective. Minor improvement is required for passport inventory control and processing. The passport error rate has recently been higher than average due to issues involving place of birth variances as well as accelerating input speed to meet workload demands. The section is responsive to the feedback received from Passport Canada and has taken corrective action which has resulted in a decrease of the error rate.
4.4.2 There is appropriate oversight by CBS on passport activities. All passports are approved by CBS and documents are appropriately secured. The monthly and quarterly passport inventories are conducted and reconciled appropriately.
4.4.3 Consular cash revenue collection procedures are appropriate. The mission uses an electronic cash register system ***. Controls are in place, the system generates official receipts, as well as reports that replicate the information contained on the EXT-119 Record of Fees Received - Passport/Consular Services form. ***.
Recommendations to the Mission
4.5.1 The Consular program should have regular staff meetings with minutes or records of decision.
4.5.2 All consular staff, ***, should have passport certification.
4.5.3 An updated mandate letter should be developed for the HonCon at the time of the next performance review.
4.5.4 The mission should encourage the use of feedback forms and ROCA registration with every service provided to the public.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
4.5.1 The Consular program has started to hold regular team meetings, with minutes recorded and stored on the mission's shared drive. Implemented in March 2012.
4.5.2 *** have been requested to commence the passport certification course. *** have indicated completion within this FY and this is being added to their PMPs. In progress for March 2013.
4.5.3 The mission will seek direction regarding an updated mandate letter format and action. In progress for April 2012.
4.5.4 The mission had discontinued the practice of hard copy paper forms in favour of promotion of on-line feedback. The mission has now re-implemented the paper forms and is now actively promoting both options. Implemented in April 2012.
4.5.5 A new process is being adopted to reflect these recommendations. ***. In progress for May 2012.
5.1.1 The Common Services program is managed by an AS-06 MCO who is supported by a team of two CBS and 14 LES. The MCO recently arrived at the mission after a four-month vacancy following the departure of the previous MCO in July 2011. It is recognized that the program had been directed by the DMCO/Consular during this period, and she had *** in this role.
5.1.2 The program is responsible for providing common services to 66 employees spread over four DFAIT and five partner programs. In addition to the existing indeterminate staff complement, the mission also provides services to as many as 16 temporary duty staff from RCMP and CBSA on a rotating basis. This has placed a tremendous strain on both physical and human resources at the mission. The Committee on Representation Abroad (CORA) approved the addition of a handyman and an accountant position, but no funds have been provided by HQ. The mission has not begun work to staff these positions and is encouraged to consult with the Mission Client Services Division (AFO) as a priority in order to deal with increased workloads.
5.1.3 Common services employees have not been able to take annual leave due to the recent flooding crisis and increasing workload. If required, consideration should be given for unused leave to be carried forward to the next Fiscal Year and staff given the opportunity to utilize it when possible or be paid out as an alternative option.
|Key Common Services Program Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|A Common Services Business Plan is in place and used to establish priorities and guide operations.||X|
|Common Services policies and procedures are documented and communicated to management, staff and clients.||X|
|Internal communications within the Program effectively support program delivery.||X|
5.1.4 The Common Services program's capacity has been challenged by the recent crises, additional support required for task force personnel *** . The finance and IM/IT sections in particular are functioning well, although the property section requires attention to planning, organization and a review of its housing strategy. Constantly changing priorities to the staff quarter (SQ) portfolio is not healthy for the program as this causes unplanned additional workloads. Previous housing decisions taken over the past year will cost the mission upwards of $50,000 in fiscal year 2012/13, as funding issues were not taken into consideration prior to changes made in the SQ portfolio.
5.1.5 Regular meetings are not held with all staff within the program. While staff have the opportunity to speak with their supervisors, meetings are ad hoc in nature and little forward planning is undertaken. As well, LES who are supervised by an LES do not have an opportunity to meet formally with either the DMCO or MCO in order to discuss issues. This would provide an opportunity to raise issues that they may not feel comfortable raising with their immediate supervisor.
|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.||N/A|
5.1.6 Overall, client services were found to be good although the program's capacity to maintain quality services is being stretched to the limit and is under considerable pressure due to the number of temporary duty personnel at the mission over the past 18 months. The rotating temporary duty officers, as many as 16 at the mission at any given time, have placed increasing pressures particularly on transportation service delivery.
5.1.7 Service standards for most areas of the program have either not been updated or do not exist. Clients do not know what to expect from the common services program and, as such, expectations from clients are usually inconsistent with the program's capacity to deliver.
5.1.8 The program does not have a process in place that allows clients to provide feedback on services. Establishing and communicating a mechanism for feedback would assist in determining areas for improvement or where special attention is required. Some policies and procedures have been developed, but they are not routinely circulated to all staff. This can lead to false expectations and creates confusion on the part of staff and clients alike.
|Key Procurement and Contracting Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|A Contract Review Board (CRB) is in place and operating effectively with terms of reference.||X|
|Procurement and contracting procedures have been documented and communicated to all staff involved in the process.||X|
|Contracting files demonstrate compliance with policies and procedures.||X|
|The mission's multi-year Capital Acquisition Plan is approved by CMM annually.||X|
5.1.9 While a CRB is in place, terms of reference (TOR) were circulated to members only recently. No training or background information had been provided concerning member roles and responsibilities. The security guard contract was last tendered 10 years ago and has been simply renewed from year to year. As well, there is no contract register outlining contract end- dates that would facilitate forward planning. The CRB does not meet formally, as information is simply passed from one member to the other.
5.1.10 The mission does not have a multi-year capital acquisition plan that could be reviewed and approved on an annual basis by the CMM. Such a plan would assist in forward planning for capital purchases.
Recommendations to the Mission
5.1.11 The mission should consult with the Mission Client Services Division (AFO) to staff the accountant and handyman positions.
5.1.12 The MCO should review LES leave balances and schedule leave for staff as a priority.
5.1.13 A long-term housing strategy should be developed and properly analyzed prior to any major deviation from the mission's current inventory of accommodation.
5.1.14 Regular staff meetings should be held within the program and LES provided with access to the MCO or DMCO on a quarterly basis.
5.1.15 Engagement with clients should be enhanced through updating and communicating:
- Policies, procedures and service standards, and
- The mechanisms through which clients can provide feedback on services received.
5.1.16 Procedures and roles and responsibilities should be provided to all members of the CRB. Formal meetings should be scheduled and a contract register developed.
5.1.17 A multi-year capital acquisition plan should be developed and presented to the CMM annually for approval.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
5.1.11 AFO was consulted and both positions were approved in January 2012. A competition for the accountant position has recently started. The handyman job description has been completed and classified by ALD at GS-05 level. The poster is currently being drafted. Implemented in January 2012.
5.1.12 With the Prime Minister's visit in March 2012, most staff were not in a position to take leave prior to the visit. Beginning this fiscal year, the MCO will ensure staff are using their leave over the course of the year. Implemented in April 2012.
5.1.13 With the help of the housing committee and the Property Program Division (ARAK), the mission is developing a housing strategy. In progress for April 2012.
5.1.14 Common Services OPS meetings are held every second week since January 2012, and MCO & DMCOs maintain an open-door policy. A meeting with all drivers is scheduled for mid-April. Implemented.
5.1.15 All actual Common Services policies & service standards will be revised, approved by CMM, published on the wiki and advertised to all staff. Wiki training to staff will be provided for this purpose. Consultation with missions in the region will help identify gaps in BNGKK policies and action will be taken to have those gaps filled. New policies will be submitted for discussion & approval at CMM. A message was also sent to remind all staff about our existing Service Delivery Standards published on AFD intranet site. In progress for September 2012.
5.1.16 A full review of the MCRB mandate and procedures is under way and will be shortly completed. A workshop will take place to help those involved in contracting to better understand the process, and formal meetings will take place as required. A workshop session was given to MCRB members by an officer of the Property Maintenance and Operations Division (ARAF) during a recent visit, and the mission is in discussion with SPP to organize training on contracting. In progress for September 2012.
5.1.17 The mission has started the process of developing a multi-year capital acquisition plan which will involve an update of our current inventory. When completed, a plan will be prepared and submitted for approval to CMM. In progress for September 2012.
5.2 Human Resources
5.2.1 The human resources (HR) functions at the mission are the responsibility of the MCO who is assisted by an *** LE-06 personnel and administrative assistant.
|Key HR Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|A Mission HR plan has been developed and submitted to headquarters.||X|
|New LES and CBS employees are provided with an information package on the working conditions, benefits and regulations pertaining to employment at the Mission.||X|
|A coordinated approach is taken with regards to training and a budget has been established.||X|
|Mechanisms are in place to monitor the completion of employee's performance evaluations.||X|
|Employee and position files are complete, maintained separately and properly secured.||X|
5.2.2 Overall, HR procedures and processes are generally in place, although there was a temporary gap in the oversight/management of the HR functions as a result of the absence of an MCO, the mission's preparations for a high-level visit and an emerging crisis situation. The DMCO Consular temporarily assumed the management responsibility of the section for a four- month period between the departure of the MCO and the arrival of a new incumbent.
5.2.3 An HR plan was submitted to the Locally Engaged Staff and HQ Workforce Programs Bureau (ALD). However, a copy was not available at the mission and the acting MCO had not seen the document. The plan needs to be developed in coordination and consultation with other program managers or section heads to obtain their input for program requirements.
5.2.4 The role of mission training coordinator is shared between the DMCO Consular and the DMCO Physical Resources. Individual training needs are identified through the performance management program (PMP) process, and the mission recently completed an Organizational Learning Plan for which funding from headquarters was received for one course. However, there is no mission-wide training plan and budget established at CMM. A consolidated training plan would enhance the management of training and facilitate budgeting as well as the coordination and prioritization of needs for all programs. Official language requirements should be reviewed and incorporated into the plan.
5.2.5 The section maintains a spreadsheet to monitor and track PMPs. Although reminders are sent to program managers, the completion rate is rather low and only 26% of the employees have an up-to-date PMP. There also needs to be a consistent and mission-wide approach to performance management issues to ensure transparent and equitable practices across all programs.
5.2.6 The section also maintains a positions list, detailing the job title, incumbent and signature date of the most current job description. While efforts were made by many programs to review job descriptions in the last two years, there are still a number of them that have not been reviewed in over 10 years.
5.2.7 Separate position *** files are maintained by the LE-06 personnel and administrative assistant and are held *** should be maintained in a less ***. The files are well maintained and contain the key documents outlined in the ALD checklists.
|Key HR 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|
|Letters of Offer are signed by the appropriate authority and include the appropriate clauses (e.g. values and ethics, etc.).||X|
|LES accrued leave and deductions are recorded and the related liabilities are monitored.||X|
5.2.8 Overall, HR processes and internal controls were effective. The mission has conducted four staffing actions to date this fiscal year and seven staffing actions in the last fiscal year. There has been one classification action in the past two years.
5.2.9 The personnel and administrative assistant and the MCO work closely with program managers on staffing actions, but there is no standard procedural document in use. The process is explained on an ad hoc basis and managers use or develop their own competition documents. 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 program managers clearer guidelines and ensure greater consistency in the staffing process.
5.2.10 The competition files reviewed were well documented with key supporting documentation maintained on file. One instance was noted where an individual was initially appointed above the minimum salary rate. A note was on the file, however, the information therein was not substantive enough to justify the appointment at a salary rate above the minimum. More attention is required to ensure that justification for initial appointments above the minimum salary rate is substantiated and demonstrates the problems in recruiting a suitable candidate as opposed to the inability to recruit a specific candidate.
Recommendations to the Mission
5.2.11 The HR plan should be developed in consultation with other program managers and presented at CMM.
5.2.12 The mission should develop a mission-wide training plan with an established budget to be presented at CMM.
5.2.13 The mission should develop a standard staffing process document and tools to give program managers and staff clearer guidelines and ensure greater consistency.
5.2.14 *** should be moved *** and stored***.
5.2.15 The mission should ensure that job descriptions are updated and systematically reviewed at least every five years or whenever significant changes occur.
5.2.16 PMPs should be up to date for all staff.
5.2.17 The mission should ensure that appropriate documentation and justification is maintained on file for appointments made above the minimum rate of pay in accordance with Section 4.1.3 of the LES Terms and Conditions Regulations.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
5.2.11 The HR plan was prepared, submitted and approved at CMM. The HR plan is now integrated into the Mission Business Plan for Common Service Delivery and was submitted recently to ACM. Implemented in March 2012.
5.2.12 A mission-wide training plan has been drafted and will be submitted shortly for discussion and approval to CMM. A budget has been set aside for FY 2013 for training. In progress April 2012.
5.2.13 Administration has reminded all program managers of the tools readily available on the intranet to assist them in preparing and conducting a competition. The mission will use the checklist developed by ALD and already available on the intranet to ensure greater consistency in future staffing processes. Implemented in April 2012.
5.2.14 ***. The full transfer of responsibility will be achieved by mid-April. In progress April 2012.
5.2.15 The mission will develop a three-year plan to ensure all employee job descriptions are reviewed and updated if required. The mission will ensure job descriptions are reviewed on a regular basis. In progress for September 2012.
5.2.16 The Chargé and HOM (following his/her arrival) will work with the MCO to ensure all PMPs are up to date and completed by the end of the year. In progress for December 2012.
5.2.17 The mission will ensure proper documentation and justification is maintained on file in the future. When in doubt, consultation with ALD will take place to ensure compliance with LES TCR. Implemented in April 2012.
5.3 Physical Resources
5.3.1 The physical resources functions are managed by the AS-04 DMCO who is assisted by an LE-06 property assistant, an LE-05 materiel assistant, an LE-05 transportation assistant and five drivers. The section manages a Crown-leased chancery, a Crown-leased official residence (OR), 18 Crown-leased staff quarters (SQs) and a transportation fleet consisting of seven official vehicles.
5.3.2 The chancery is well beyond its capacity to accommodate the number of staff currently on site. There is little in the way of common space available, including a lack of meeting rooms. While the mission has done what it can to accommodate the surge in numbers ***, a long-term plan will have to be developed immediately to accommodate current and future temporary assignments.
|Key Physical Resources Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Mission property and maintenance plans are up to date.||X|
|The Chancery and Official Residence (OR) are well maintained and maintenance schedules are in place.||X|
|An efficient process is in place for receiving, processing and monitoring work orders.||X|
|Annual inspections are conducted to assess the state of SQs and input into maintenance and acquisition planning.||X|
5.3.3 The mission will face a large number of CBS relocations in the summer of 2012 with approximately two-thirds of the CBS ending their assignments. This will put a tremendous strain on an already stretched physical resources section. Planning will be important to address this issue. In the short term, the section should consider the use of emergency or contract employment help to cope with the backlog and future workload. The property manager often works overtime to try to keep up with the high workload.
5.3.4 Maintenance plans are in place for the chancery, OR and SQs. Landlords are fairly receptive to undertaking minor repairs, with major projects being addressed when leases are renewed. Annual inspections are conducted for all properties. The mission currently has two accommodation deficiency adjustments (ADAs) in place, both of which were approved on the basis of number of rooms (seven instead of eight as per guidelines). As well, both ADAs were submitted almost two years after occupancy, although they were granted on a retroactive basis to the original occupancy date.
5.3.5 Utility costs in Bangkok are expensive. Some SQs run up excessive electricity bills on a monthly basis as air conditioning units are being used constantly even when occupants are not in the SQ. In one instance, the monthly electricity bill for a medium-sized apartment is approximately $1,400, while other SQs of similar size and family configuration use less than half of this amount of electricity.
5.3.6 An inspection team member visited nine SQs as part of the property review. In general, the mission has a good inventory of SQs that affords them the opportunity to properly and fairly allocate these to incoming CBS and families. One concern is the overall space and size of some of the older leased SQs, with some measuring more than 450 square metres, well over what would normally be acceptable. Justification for leases where overall space is deemed excessive should be noted on file.
|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|
|Records of assets located in the Chancery, OR and SQs, as well as those in storage, are maintained on an ongoing basis and verified annually. Assets are appropriately safeguarded and controlled.||X|
|Disposals are appropriately authorized and follow departmental guidelines.||X|
|Vehicle logs and mileage are verified monthly by a CBS to reconcile usage to gas purchases as well as monitor vehicle performance.||X|
5.3.7 The mission stores a great deal of furniture and equipment located at a local moving company's warehouse at a cost of $13,000 per year. The reasonableness of the cost to store these items, which have no clear designation for their future use, should be examined. The value of goods being stored is unknown and no staff member has signed off as custodian for these assets.
5.3.8 The mission does not have a process in place to recover funds for damaged or lost assets or for loss or damage to pack up kit supplies. As such, there is no policy or procedure in place to ensure appropriate control over all assets.
5.3.9 Disposal records are well maintained and regular disposal actions are undertaken by the section. However, write off reports are routinely authorized and signed off by the MCO or DMCO, instead of the HOM.
5.3.10 The official vehicle fleet is well maintained. Routine maintenance schedules have been developed and vehicle usage is monitored regularly by the transportation assistant. Daily vehicle mileage logs that would include the recording of individual trips are not being kept by drivers, although a monthly reconciliation of fuel purchases is undertaken.
5.3.11 Proper planning and organization of limited resources is instrumental in ensuring that timely and quality service is provided to clients. For instance, the transportation section is under constant pressure where many requests are last-minute and always submitted with a sense of urgency. Communications is important to advise clients of limitations the section is currently working under.
Recommendations to the Mission
5.3.12 The mission, in consultation with Physical Resources Bureau (ARD), should develop a strategy to deal with the current chancery over-crowding issue.
5.3.13 The mission should develop an energy conservation policy and seek buy-in from all staff.
5.3.14 The mission should attempt to secure good SQs within reasonable space level and rental ceiling guidelines.
5.3.15 The mission should review the need for off-site storage facilities.
5.3.16 The HOM should sign off on all disposal reports. The mission should develop a policy to address the recovery for damaged or lost assets.
5.3.17 The mission should ensure that proper oversight is provided for the use of official vehicles and the reconciliation of fuel purchases. The daily vehicle log sheet (EXT 1447) should be completed by the drivers and monthly reconciliations of fuel purchased and mileage driven listed using form EXT159.
5.3.18 A review of the transportation policy should be undertaken, updated, and communicated to all clients.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
5.3.12 A full space study and plan for dealing with the Embassy space issue is under way. Following a recent visit of ARAF & ARAK and a conference call recently held with ARD, a full strategy is being developed. ARAK has indicated that reconfiguration to accommodate new CBS positions was approved at CORA level and rotating TD officers should start in early September 2012. In progress.
5.3.13 A full review of all mission committees is under way, and CMM will appoint an Environmental Committee with the mandate to promote good energy conservation practices. Consultation with missions from the region will take place to help establish and publish on our wiki a list of environmental good practices. In progress for September 2012.
5.3.14 The mission/ARAK have signed sale agreements for the purchase of SQs (see mission response to recommendation 5.1.13) and all are in line with DFAIT size requirements.
The mission will take advantage of this year's high CBS turnover to rent new SQs based on the new rental ceiling guidelines. In progress for September 2012.
5.3.15 Following this summer's CBS arrivals, an auction will be held to sell all used surplus material, and a review of space requirements will be conducted at the same time. Off- site storage space will likely be required in the future, but we hope to reduce our footprint and therefore the costs. The new multi-year acquisition plan (see mission response to recommendation 5.1.17) will help us in this regard. In progress for September 2012.
5.3.16 Administration will ensure that only the HOM signs on all disposal reports. CMM will review existing DFAIT recovery policies and discuss, recommend and approve any additional processes which may be useful in the application of existing policies. In progress for June 2012.
5.3.17 The Daily Vehicle Log (EXT-1447) and Vehicle Operating and Maintenance Report (EXT-159) have been in place since December 2011.
5.3.18 The mission doesn't have a comprehensive transportation policy in place but will shortly develop one which will be discussed and approved at CMM. Once approved, it will be communicated to all staff and enforced. In progress for September 2012.
5.4.1 The finance section is managed by the MCO with the day-to-day operations and support being provided by the LE-07 accountant and the LE-05 assistant accountant.
5.4.2 The mission has been approved to staff an additional accountant position, although it has not yet taken any action to staff this position. Immediate staffing of this position should be treated as a priority.
|Key Finance Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Roles and responsibilities ensure adequate segregation of duties.||X|
|The section employs methods to minimize disruption (eg. setting of "quiet hours" and controlling access to the finance section).||X|
|The section has explored alternate methods to minimize transactions and reduce reliance on cash (i.e. acquisition cards, electronic fund transfers).||X|
|Payment runs are kept to a minimum, but are sufficient to provide good client service.||X|
5.4.3 The two accountants work *** together and ensure proper segregation of duties. The assistant accountant provides full back-up service in the absence of the senior accountant. The property and materiel assistant position inputs materiel management (MM) module data.
5.4.4 Although the section has posted quiet hours, these are not respected by clients and are not enforced by staff. Quiet hours, and communication of the policy surrounding them, should be reviewed and clients advised to respect hours that are set.
5.4.5 Electronic funds transfers (EFTs) are not used by the mission. The use of EFTs could greatly reduce workloads and streamline accounting processes and should be discussed with the bank. The mission has one acquisition card that is issued to the materiel assistant. The use of acquisition cards could be expanded, where possible, to reduce the number of payment (KR) entries that the finance section has to perform.
|Key Finance Internal Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|The mission's bank reconciliations are reviewed and signed-off on a monthly basis.||X|
|The asset and liability report is reviewed on a monthly basis.||X|
|Financial signing authorities are exercised by individuals who possess the appropriate delegation of authority.||X|
|A CBS receives the original monthly bank statement directly from the bank and reviews it prior to giving it to the accountant.||X|
|Official receipts are provided to clients at the time of payment and to internal staff when funds are transferred (i.e. from Consular to Finance).||X|
|Reconciliations of any funds transferred within the mission are conducted in the presence of two staff.||X|
|Monthly reconciliations of immigration fees are completed and the EXT-1203 is signed by the appropriate authority.||X|
|Travel and hospitality claim processes ensure that policies and guidelines are adhered to and that the accountant verifies the completeness and accuracy of the claim.||X|
|Reimbursement of HonCon operational expenses is based on an established agreement.||X|
|A percentage of costs for personal use of OR supplies is determined and regular reimbursements are made to the Mission.||X|
|A process is in place to ensure that, where applicable, CBS reimburse the mission for any services of a personal nature received at their staff quarters (eg. television, internet, telephone, etc.).||X|
5.4.6 Overall, internal controls are in place that provide for effective and efficient operations, although there a few areas where the section can improve.
5.4.7 Official receipts are provided to clients and internal staff when cash or other financial instruments are transferred ***. However, there are occasions where official receipts are not given at the time of transfer, particularly when there ***.
5.4.8 The section processes all travel and hospitality claims for staff. During a review of monthly accounts, it was noted that in several instances, travel authority and advance (TAA) forms were not being used prior to the travel taking place.
5.4.10 There is no system in place to formally track the cost of OR supplies other than the HOM agreeing to pay for personal items himself. OR staff members are requested to separate official purchases from personal purchases and to use supplies accordingly.
Recommendations to the Mission
5.4.12 To streamline operations and provide a more effective work environment for staff, the mission should:
- Ensure that finance section quiet hours are respected by all staff, and
- Explore the use of EFTs and acquisition cards.
5.4.13 Official receipts should be provided at the time when cash or cheques are transferred to the ***.
5.4.14 TAAs should be signed off by the authorizing officer and submitted with any travel claim submitted for processing.
5.4.15 The mission should ensure proper ***.
5.4.16 A formal method of ensuring that any use of official OR supplies for personal purposes is recorded should be implemented and a reimbursement sought.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
5.4.12 A message was sent to all staff reminding them of the finance section's hours of operation. Reminders will also be sent periodically and/or as required. Administration has met with a bank to explore ways of paying clients and employees by using EFTs. Three more acquisition cards were received from HQ to help streamline our process and facilitate procurement. Implemented in April 2012.
5.4.13 Official receipts are now provided to clients every time money is transferred ***. With limited staff and a high number of transactions, consultation with SMFF will take place to find if a more efficient way to handle this process can be implemented. Implemented in April 2012.
5.4.14 A message has been sent to all staff reminding them of this requirement. Accounts won't process travel claims without having the TAA attached. Implemented in April 2012.
5.4.15 *** . Implemented in April 2012.
5.4.16 The official and private areas of the OR are on two different floors, therefore the HOM will reimburse the mission for all supplies used on the second floor and for personal food used for a six-month period. With this new historical data, the mission will establish a percentage to be used and charged to the HOM for future purchases. In progress for June 2012.
5.4.17 ***. Implemented in December 2011.
5.5 Information Management - Information Technology (IM-IT)
5.5.1 The IM-IT section is managed by the CS-02 Foreign Service Information Technology Professional (FSITP) who is *** supported by an LE-07 Locally Engaged ITP (LEITP). The section receives good support from the Regional Service Manager in Singapore.
5.5.2 The section provides services to 66 employees in addition to as many as 16 temporary duty officers from RCMP and CBSA. The FSITP also provides IM-IT support to the missions in Colombo and Dhaka.
|Key IM-IT Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|An Information Management - Information Technology (IM-IT) plan exists and includes regional activities.||X|
|The liaison between the mission, HQ and regional manager is effective.||X|
|The mission uses the required IM-IT service request system and maintains relevant data.||X|
5.5.3 The section is functioning well, although there is no formal IM-IT plan in place. This makes it difficult for the FSITP to properly assess workloads, assign priorities and to identify required resources.
5.5.4 The section is providing a *** level of service to its clients. Both the FSITP and LEITP have established a good working rapport with all programs. The ITPs are responsive to the needs of their clients and strive to solve problems quickly and efficiently. However, service standards are not available, and the ITPs are simply managing requests on an ad hoc, first- come - first-served basis.
|Key IM-IT Internal Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Back-ups are performed routinely and tapes are stored appropriately in a secure location away from the primary use area.||X|
|The Mission has appropriate secondary communications systems in place and those tools are tested regularly.||X|
|Controls are in place to ensure the Network Acceptable Use Policy (NAUP) is respected (SIGNET and digital subscriber line (DSL) connections).||X|
|Employees formally sign out IT assets (mobility tools) and are advised of their accountabilities.||X|
|Surplus IT assets are disposed with the appropriate approvals per departmental policy.||X|
5.5.5 Overall, IM-IT processes and controls were effective. Inventories of assets are current and monitored regularly. The section has developed a sign-out register for items that are available for loan to staff. This is particularly useful given the number of temporary duty staff, many of whom rotate in and out of the mission on a three to six month basis.
5.5.6 An IM-IT committee has been formed, however, it has not met for over a year. An observation was made to this effect in the mission management section of this report.
5.5.8 ***. A dedicated internet line has been installed. A contingency kit has also been assembled and is stored at the ***.
Recommendations to the Mission
5.5.9 The IM-IT section should establish updated service delivery standards and communicate these to clients.
5.5.10 An IM-IT plan should be developed, based on the template provided by HQ.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
5.5.9 IM-IT Service Standards already exist and are integrated into our Service Delivery Standards (SDS) dated 2004 posted on the intranet. A message has been sent to all staff reminding them of our actual SDS. The mission standards will be updated using the new generic standards available on AFD intranet site and submitted for discussion and approval by CMM this fiscal year. Implemented in April 2012.
5.5.10 An IM-IT plan has been drafted based on the HQ template and submitted along with Mission Business Plan for Common Service Delivery. Implemented in March 2012.
Appendix A: Mission Resources Fact Sheet
|Head of Mission||8||2||6|
Appendix B: Frequently Used Acronyms
- Canada-based Staff
- Commercial Economic
- Committee on Mission Management
- Consular Management Information Program
- Contingency Plan
- Contract Review Board
- Client Service Fund
- Electronic Funds Transfer
- Deputy Management Consular Officer
- Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service
- 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
- 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 Emergency Plan
- Mission Financial Officer
- MM Module
- Materiel Management Module of IMS
- Mission Maintenance Work Plan
- Memorandum of Understanding
- Mission Security Officer
- Mission Property Management Plan
- North American Platform Program
- Official Residence
- Operations Zone
- 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: