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Inspection of the Embassy of Canada in Oslo, Norway (including the Canadian International Centre for the Arctic Region)

October 11-14, 2011

Table of Contents

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:

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.

Executive Summary

An inspection of Mission Management, Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service, Commercial Economic, Consular and Common Services programs as well as the Canadian International Centre for the Arctic Region (CICAR) was conducted at the Canadian Embassy in Oslo from October 11 to 14, 2011. A previous audit/inspection of these programs took place in 2004.

The embassy in Oslo is a small mission that covers bilateral relations with Norway. Since 2009, the Canadian Centre for the Arctic Region (CICAR) has been co-located within the mission to bring greater coherence and collaboration to our broader Arctic efforts. The bilateral relationship is strong and reinforced by our common interests as Arctic neighbours and petroleum producers. Internationally, both countries work together closely to promote democratic governance and human rights.

Overall, mission management is engaged and the appropriate governance structures are in place to facilitate effective program delivery and support major aspects of a whole-of- government approach. Departmental programs are actively pursuing their objectives and providing good services to clients. While some programs work together to facilitate whole-of- government objectives, there remains room to encourage all mission programs to contribute to objectives beyond their program's immediate scope.

The collocated CICAR has evolved into a well-organized and effective unit to advance Canada's Arctic policy. This performance is based on a strong foundation of planning, reporting and communication, under the leadership of the centres' Director. As roles and responsibilities are continuing to evolve between the mission and HQ, it will be important to safeguard the centre's core value added. If the Centre's responsibilities are expanded to include whole-of- government coordination, *** could be designated to perform this work reporting to the CICAR Director in Oslo. There is also a need to revisit how the Northern Initiatives Fund is managed to ensure it remains an effective advocacy tool for missions.

The Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service program is operating effectively and well aligned to departmental and Government of Canada priorities, including the Arctic, energy and European relations.***. While it is important to incorporate senior LES into broader discussions on mission operations, it is equally important to reinforce the role of the program manager in providing strategic direction to advocacy activities which are in need of modernization.

The Commercial Economic program is functioning well and places a high degree of emphasis on incorporating stakeholder interests and using partner funding to advance program objectives. The focus on the availability of funding as a precursor to partnering does not properly support a whole-of-mission perspective and could be perceived by others as a barrier to collaboration.

The Common Services and Consular programs are functioning well, under the leadership of an ***LE-09 officer. The FPDS program manager retains the title of Consul and provides CBS oversight on passport operations. The programs have effective planning procedures and controls in place for all functions. Significant efforts have been made by the program to improve internal systems, reduce risk related to the handling of cash and support a series of high level visits. The program does not have an on-site information technology professional, which was raised as a concern by programs, particularly CICAR given that importance of technology for a program with resources based in missions from Anchorage to Moscow.

A total of 38 inspection recommendations are raised in the report, 31 are addressed to the mission and seven are addressed to headquarters. Management has responded to each recommendation indicating action already taken or decisions made, as well as future action. Of the 38 recommendations, management has stated that 28 have been implemented. For each of the remaining 10 recommendations, management has indicated the initiatives in progress or the intended future action.

Mission Management

1.1 Overview

1.1.1 The Canadian Embassy in Oslo is a small mission with 6 Canada-based staff (CBS) and 21.5 Locally-engaged staff (LES). It is responsible for departmental program delivery in Norway and oversees an Honorary Consul located in Bergen. In addition to traditional bilateral programs, the mission also provides a platform for the Canadian International Centre for the Arctic Region (CICAR). The mission does not have an information technology professional (ITP) and instead relies on the mission in Stockholm for support.

1.1.2 The Mission oversees operating and capital budgets of $1.17 million and $28 thousand respectively, and is responsible for the management of one Crown-owned and six Crown-leased properties. The Mission collects approximately $40,500 thousand in revenue on an annual basis through the provision of consular and immigration services.

1.2 Mission Management

Mission Management
Key Mission Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
The Mission's strategic objectives are consistent with Government and DFAIT priorities and guide staff performance measurement objectives.X  
The Committee on Mission Management (CMM) is an effective forum to review and make decisions on Mission policies and management issues.X  
The Locally-engaged staff Management Consultation Board (LESMCB) is representative of mission programs and employee levels, and is utilized by both LES and mission management to facilitate communication. X 
Mission Management ensures that employees remain informed of key priorities and common services policy decisions.X  
Canadian public service values and ethics are promoted and reinforced, and employees are aware of available support resources (values and ethics, staff relations, etc.).X  

1.2.1 The Mission is led by an EX-03 Head of Mission and supported by an effective management team. Overall, the mission is *** managed and benefits from good formal and informal communications. The CMM meets regularly and includes a cross section of program managers and staff, such as the Public Affairs Officer. While facilitating information sharing amongst senior staff, discussions on mission management issues should be limited to program managers. It would be beneficial for the mission to restrict CMM membership to Program Managers only, and create a secondary group to discuss mission activities and forward planning, such as an operations committee.

1.2.2 Departmental programs are actively pursuing their objectives and providing good services to internal and external clients. The Mission Planning and Reporting (MPR) tool is in place and used as a means to synthesize strategic and policy guidance and provide clear direction to mission programs. Outcomes identified in the MPR are derived through consultation with program managers (PMs) and approved by the HOM.

1.2.3 Communication within the mission is effective and properly supported through the sharing of weekly CMM minutes, monthly all staff meetings, quarterly LESMCB meetings and annual staff retreats.

1.2.4 The LESMCB is currently comprised of all LES staff, rather than a small group of elected representatives. This was due, in part, to a lack of interest on the part of LES to serve as representatives and what is perceived as the Board's limited scope. This lack of designated LES representatives presents challenges to mission management with respect to establishing an effective dialogue.

1.2.5 Values and ethics are regularly discussed in the operations of the mission, and mission management regularly reminds staff of their obligations. This has been reinforced through a focussed staff meeting to review the draft DFAIT Values and Ethics Code in November 2010 as well as the inclusion of a values and ethics section in the all staff retreat in March 2011.

1.2.6 The common services and consular programs are managed by a *** LE-09 officer. For some time, the individual's job title has been Management Consular Officer (MCO), conferred by mission management to reflect the broad range of responsibilities under his purview. Some concerns were noted, however, from various stakeholders regarding the use of the title, as it is generally associated with CBS members of the rotational MCO pool. There are also certain elements of the typical MCO job which can only be performed by a CBS with the requisite training, diplomatic status and security clearance. While primarily an internal title, the use of the title for CBS and LES officers could lead to confusion in roles, particularly as similar positions are created in certain missions and the department looks to evolve the role of the CBS MCO abroad. For the purposes of this report, the titles of Consular Officer and Mission Administration Officer (MAO) are used in the consular and common services sections respectively.

1.3 Whole of Government

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

1.3.1 Overall, the mission takes a coordinated approach to program delivery across the mission, with a good level of cooperation between the Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service (FPDS) Program and CICAR. While some collaborative program implementation has occurred with the Commercial Economic (CE) Program, it has generally been limited to endeavours where another mission program has been able to contribute funds to a specific project. While the ability to allocate funding to an initiative is one indicator of alignment with mission objectives, opportunities remain for mission programs to work together in other areas. It will be important for the HOM to work with program managers to identify areas where the mission should work together as a whole and ensure that all programs are engaged, regardless of the availability of funds.

1.3.2 While no partner department programs are present at the mission, regular consultations are held with relevant HQ divisions and OGDs during the course of the year to inform priorities and initiatives. Semi-annual Nordic HOM meetings and bimonthly conference calls also serve to coordinate activities across the region.

1.4 Management Controls

Management Controls
Key Management Control CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Mission committees are meeting regularly and effectively discharging their governance responsibilities. X 
A Mission Emergency Plan (MEP) is in place and tested regularly.X  
Security policies and regulations are respected and promoted.X  
The quarterly reconciliation of passport inventory is properly completed and certified.X  
Program managers are provided regular financial/budget updates to facilitate effective management and decision making.X  
Bank reconciliations are properly reviewed and signed-off on a monthly basis.X  
Mission hospitality guidelines are appropriate and reviewed annually by CMM.X  
Hospitality activities are properly documented, demonstrate value-for-money and align with mission objectives. X 
All employees have performance objectives set and annual reviews occur.X  
The Honorary Consul (HonCon) has an up-to-date mandate letter and performance is reviewed annually.X  

1.4.1 Overall, key mission management controls were in place and operating effectively, with areas for improvement noted with respect to the contract review board and the demonstration of value for money in hospitality claims.

1.4.2 Mission committees are generally in place and operating effectively. There is a need, however, to improve the independence of the CRB which was comprised of the HOM and the LE-09 MAO. This presents challenges as both the HOM and MAO are not fully independent of the process, particularly given that the majority of contracts originate from the Common Services Program. Contracts should be reviewed by a minimum of three employees that are independent of the process. To improve the objectivity of the oversight function of the CRB, regular members should be drawn from a cross section of mission programs, including a range of management and staff, LES and CBS.

1.4.3 Hospitality activities were, for the most part, properly documented and in alignment with mission objectives. Some instances were noted, however, where the evaluations of events did not adequately demonstrate if an objective was furthered and what follow-up activities should occur. This is an important element in demonstrating value-for-money.

1.5 Official Languages

Official Languages
Key Official Languages CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
The Official Languages Act is respected and promoted by Mission Management. X 
Mission signage is provided in both English and French and a bilingual Official Languages Co-ordinator has been appointed.X  
The Mission has sufficient capacity to communicate with and provide services to the public, both orally and in writing, in both official languages.X  

1.5.1 The mission provides high quality services in both official languages to the public. Management is working to improve the use of both official languages in internal communications, including holding bilingual CMM meetings.

1.6 Recommendations

Recommendations to the Mission

1.6.1 Mission management should encourage the LES community to identify representatives to participate in the LESMCB, reflective of a cross section of mission programs and employee levels.

1.6.2 An effort should be made to promote collaboration across programs, including the Commercial Economic Program.

1.6.3 CRB membership should be revisited, with regular members drawn from a cross section of mission programs, including a range of management and staff, LES and CBS.

1.6.4 Mission management should ensure that all hospitality diaries effectively demonstrate value-for money by indicating how objectives were furthered and what follow-up activities should occur.

1.6.5 Mission management should promote the use of both official languages in formal and informal communications, where possible.

Recommendations to Headquarters

1.6.6 The MCO Governance Committee, in consultation with the International Platform (ACM) and Consular, Security and Emergency Management (CFM) branches, should elaborate a policy or directive that establishes guidelines for the designation of LES program manager positions in consular and common services.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

1.6.1 The HOM and MCO met with LES prior to the inspection and encouraged them to put representatives forward for the LESMCB. Feedback was not positive. All-staff meetings are used as LES forum. Implemented October 2011.

1.6.2 Ops Committee has been established which meets every two weeks. All CSB and LE-9 officers participate and exchange information and program activities. Implemented January 2012.

1.6.3 CRB has been extended to include HOM and other Programme Managers. Implemented November 2011.

1.6.4 CMM has discussed and officers have understood and implemented requirement from new period 01 April 2012. Implemented November 2011.

1.6.5 The FPDS program manager was named on her arrival in 2009 as champion for official languages. CMM meetings are occasionally held in French. For informal communications, the FPDS manager and other French native staff always use French with the local staff that have a good knowledge of that language or who want to practise it. Implemented.

Headquarters Actions and Timeframes

1.6.6 The MCO Governance Committee has made a firm decision that the term "MCO" is to be reserved for CBS officers only and that an MAO with consular duties will report to a CBS for the consular and security programs. Thus, the Committee recommends that the Locally Engaged Staff Services Bureau (ALD) conduct a review to implement the above and report back in the fall of 2012. The Committee also proposes a new title to help address those situations where MAOs take on consular duties, Mission Administration and Consular Officer (MACO). The committee recognizes however that ALD has the expertise on classification, job descriptions and job titles related to LES staffing and may have other suggestions on how to implement the committee's decision. In progress, fall 2012.

The Canadian International Centre for the Arctic Region (CICAR)

2.1 Overview

2.1.1 The Canadian International Centre for the Arctic Region (CICAR) is a regional policy centre based out of the Canadian Embassy in Oslo, Norway. CICAR uses a hub-and-spoke model. The EX-01 Director in Oslo is supported by four staff: an FS-02 policy officer, two LE-09 officers and an LE-05 administrative assistant. In addition, CICAR has three spokes with one officer at each location: Washington D.C. and Moscow are staffed with FS-03 officers and Anchorage has an LE-08. CICAR's financial resources are provided below.

The Canadian International Centre for the Arctic Region
Budget2011-2012
Operations$11,026
Travel$43,159
Hospitality$1,046
WSHDC Budget$14,500
ANCOR Budget$3,500
Total$73,231

2.1.2 CICAR was formed in 2009 as part of a pilot project associated with the department's Transformation Agenda. The initiative developed four strategically located regional policy centres that were aligned thematically with Government priorities: The Canadian International Centre for the Arctic Region in Oslo, Norway; The Andean Unit for Democratic Governance in Lima, Peru; The Regional Office for Peace and Security in Panama City, Panama; and The ASEAN Network, with headquarters in Jakarta, Indonesia. As the pilot phase for these centres comes to a close in 2012, there will be an important opportunity to explore lessons learned to improve efficiencies across the current group of policy centres and better prepare the department for future regionalization efforts.

2.1.3 The Arctic has a place of prominence within both Canada's domestic and foreign policy. With the upcoming Canadian Chairmanship of the Arctic Council of Foreign Ministers (which occurs once every 16 years), the demands placed on the CICAR, especially with respect to coordinating Arctic Council matters, will continue to rise and require careful management.

2.2 Planning and Program Management

Planning and Program Management
Key FPDS Program Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Plans are aligned with the priorities and objectives outlined in the mission plan and informed by departmental bureaus' guidance and objectives.X  
Plans outline intended outcomes and results are measurable.X  
Roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and have been communicated to all staff.X  
Internal communications effectively support program delivery.X  

2.2.1 CICAR serves as a regional policy centre that is focussed on the advancement of the international dimensions of Canada's arctic policy. It has its own Mission Planning and Reporting (MPR) document which elaborates on CICAR's mandate to provide strategic analysis, intelligence and advocacy in support of the 2009 Northern Strategy and the 2010 Statement on Arctic Foreign Policy. The team has developed detailed work plans to outline activities and assign responsibilities at the officer level. CICAR's plans are reviewed frequently and are clearly aligned to the priorities and objectives elaborated in the MPR. These planning tools, along with regular progress reports, are used to convey results and evaluate progress towards CICAR's high-level objectives.

2.2.2 Formal and informal communication among team members effectively supports program delivery. Weekly meetings at the hub and bi-weekly phone calls with officers at spoke missions facilitate upward and downward communication. However, both physical distance and time zones are natural impediments to quality communication and, at times, communication gaps have occurred. Sharing a short record of key discussions and decisions would reinforce horizontal communication and facilitate follow-up. As well, it was noted that video conferencing would be a useful tool in enhancing information sharing. Headquarters has since identified that plans are in place to provide video conferencing tools to the mission before the end of fiscal year 2011-2012.

2.2.3 Officers have noted that increased Arctic engagement from stakeholders, including from other government departments, and tasking from Ottawa complicate the management of CICAR. Both the nature of managing a decentralized regional policy centre and the devolution of increased policy leadership to the field under the New Business Model place high demand on the Director's time. In this context, it is important that the Energy, Climate and Circumpolar Affairs Bureau (MDD) and CICAR have clearly defined roles and responsibilities ***.

2.2.4 The lessons learned from the deployment of these regional policy centres will be beneficial to the Department as it looks to increase the overall efficacy of its mission network. A formal review of these policy centres, such as a formative evaluation, would help bring to light the comparative strengths and weaknesses of this operational model and contribute to any future regional initiatives. The findings would also assist in determining the balance of responsibilities between CICAR and headquarters and to strengthen the relationship between the two. An evaluation of the regional policy centre model is scheduled for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

2.3 Implementation

Implementation
Key Whole of Government CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Strategic objectives and plans have been translated into individual or team work plans.X  
Activities and initiatives are aligned with the Program's key priorities and with the principles of the New Way Forward FPDS Renewal initiative.X  
Reporting is in-line with Mission and government objectives, timely and relevant.X  
The program develops and maintains a contact base that meets the Program's needs and objectives.X  
Relations with other mission programs facilitate program delivery (e.g. public affairs).X  
CICAR facilitates a coordinated approach to advocacy and common messaging.X  

2.3.1 The objectives outlined in the MPR flow well into team and individual work plans. Activities are clearly related to key priorities and are undertaken in keeping with the New Way Forward.

2.3.2 ***. In the meantime, CICAR's continuing advice to partner missions on opportunities to leverage other resources for Arctic advocacy (e.g. the Post Initiative Fund or the Understanding Canada Academic Programmes) remains highly important.

2.3.3 The centre has already established a wide network of contacts that support its program objectives. At present, these contacts are managed largely at the officer level. In order to improve contact management and facilitate transition during the rotation of both CBS officers in 2012, CICAR would benefit from a shared approach to contact management.

2.4 Performance Measurement

Performance Measurement
Key FPDS Performance Measurement CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
The Program has an established performance measurement system in place to monitor activities towards the achievement of objectives.X  
The Program assesses performance against strategies / objectives and plans, and provides a high-level assessment of performance through the MPR system at the end of the fiscal year.X  
Hospitality diaries demonstrate value-for-money and alignment with priorities.X  

2.4.1 CICAR has an established performance measurement system and uses monthly reports to communicate results and activities. These monthly updates are an effective tool to keep CICAR's team members and key stakeholders appraised of its activities and initiatives. Due to the volume and workload related to these reports, CICAR could consider transitioning to preparing a quarterly report that focuses on results and outcomes. The practice of officers providing monthly progress reports to the Director should continue as well as incorporate the use of resources, as it facilitates program management and serves as a key input to quarterly results reporting. At present, hospitality use is limited but is well aligned with the Centre's priorities.

2.5 Recommendations

Recommendations to the Mission

2.5.1 CICAR should consider implementing a quarterly, results-based report to stakeholders in order to better communicate higher-level outcomes.

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

Recommendations to Energy, Climate and Circumpolar Affairs Bureau (MDD)

2.5.3 The delineation of roles and responsibilities between MDD and CICAR should be reviewed, including the coordination of the international dimensions of Canada's arctic policy with other governmental departments and agencies.

2.5.4 MDD and CICAR should revisit the implementation framework for the NIF, adapting it to the fund's current requirements. Roles and responsibilities for the NIF should be clarified, ***.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

2.5.1 CICAR will implement quarterly, results-based reports rather than monthly reporting to stakeholders beginning in June 2012. In Progress for June 2012.

2.5.2 CICAR weekly staff meetings are an opportunity to discuss planned activities and provide progress updates on work underway. Key decisions arising from the CICAR OSLO staff meetings will be shared with CICAR officers in WSHDC and MOSCO, with other OSLO staff and with MDA as appropriate. Following the mission inspection, OSLO was outfitted with videoconferencing facilities which is contributing to improved communications with officers in WSHDC, MOSCO and with HQ divisions. Implemented February 2012.

Energy, Climate and Circumpolar Affairs Bureau - Actions and Timeframes

2.5.3 MDD has identified director level leads on the key policy areas of work and, under the direction of MDD, CICAR and MDA (which both report to MDD) worked closely throughout autumn 2011 to further refine the roles and responsibilities of each unit according to the broad policy lead roles. New mechanisms have also been established for *** timely interaction between the two groups given the inter-linkages between the policy issues. The process will be updated on an annual basis, to reflect changing priorities and resource shifts related to DRAP, and new resources allocated to MDA related to Canada assuming the Chairmanship of the Arctic Council 2013-15.Since autumn 2011, CICAR and MDA have also collaborated to lead the inter-departmental coordination of the international dimensions of Canada's arctic policy across governmental departments and agencies, especially Canada's work at the Arctic Council. Implemented.

2.5.4 MDA and CICAR worked closely throughout the autumn of 2011 to determine the most efficient and effective way to manage the NIF. ***.This will be revisited on an annual basis to ensure that the decision continues to match evolving priorities and operational realities. Implemented.

Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service (FPDS)

3.1 Overview

3.1.1 The FPDS Program in Oslo is managed by an FS-02 acting in an FS-03 position. This program manager (PM) is supported by an LE-09 officer and two LE-06 assistants. At the time of the inspection, there was also an LE-05 Translator position that has since been eliminated. The financial resources available to the program are provided below.

Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service
Budget2011-2012
Travel$7,900
Hospitality$7,000
Post Initiative Fund (PIF)$6,000
Nordic regional PIF$7,200
Total$28,100

3.1.2 The FPDS program covers bilateral relations with Norway. Canada and Norway have enjoyed a long history of like-mind cooperation on bilateral and multilateral fronts. The two countries have been allies on Afghanistan and Libya, partners on Arctic strategies and collaborators on human rights, democracy, and sustainable development; including in fora such as the U.N. and NATO. Norway is not a member of the E.U., but does act as a strategic partner to Canada on European continental issues.

3.1.3 The Canadian Honorary Consul in Bergen, Norway provides limited *** support for the FPDS program. This is accomplished by maintaining a set of key contacts, supporting visits by embassy staff and hosting events.

3.2 Planning and Program Management

Planning and Program Management
Key FPDS Program Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
FPDS plans are aligned with the priorities and objectives outlined in the mission plan and informed by departmental and geographic bureau guidance and objectives.X  
FPDS plans outline intended outcomes and results are measurable. X 
Roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and have been communicated to all staff. X 
Internal communications within the program effectively support program delivery.X  

3.2.1 Overall, the program is operating effectively and benefits from strong formal and informal communications, including an annual retreat, regular team meetings and one-on-one PM-officer meetings.

3.2.2 The program is well aligned to departmental and Government of Canada priorities including the Arctic, energy and European relations. It benefits from a strong Mission Planning and Reporting (MPR) tool augmented by an FPDS working-level program plan.

3.2.3 The FPDS plan does not contain outcomes or performance measurement indicators and targets. This makes it difficult to measure success over time. Outcomes, indicators and targets could be applied under each commitment.

3.2.4 The mission should make efforts to improve the advocacy function within the FPDS program. Currently, the function is not employing modern advocacy techniques and does not demonstrate work towards whole-of-mission objectives. ***.

3.2.5 Officers do not have hospitality allocations and, thus, request funds on an as needed basis. To encourage proactive outreach and network building, officers should be provided with quarterly hospitality allocations. The amounts should be based on an officer's objectives and work-plans, with each officer held accountable for its strategic use.

3.3 Implementation

Implementation
Key FPDS Implementation CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Strategic objectives and plans have been translated into individual or team work plans.X  
Activities and initiatives are aligned with the Mission's key priorities and with the principles of the New Way Forward FPDS Renewal initiative.X  
Program reporting is in-line with Mission and government objectives, timely and relevant.X  
The program develops and maintains a contact base that meets programs needs and objectives.X  
Relations with other mission programs facilitate program delivery (e.g. public affairs). X 
The program facilitates a mission-wide coordinated approach to advocacy and common messaging. X 

3.3.1 The program contributes well to the overall MPR and aligned with the principles of the New Way Forward. Work plans and employee Performance Management Program (PMP) evaluations are linked and complete.

3.3.2 The FPDS program is working well towards objectives, including in the role as a key Canadian Nordic mission that works closely with CICAR, co-located at the mission. This success is important to monitor as CICAR, and its co-location at a mission, is a new business model for the department. A challenge however, is close collaboration with the CE program. More efforts towards synergy could improve overall mission results, including through better communications and advocacy.

3.3.3 As a good practice, the program is using the departmental WIKI to share reporting. Both proactive and reactive reports are uploaded to the WIKI, followed by an email to key stakeholders that include a notice, brief synopsis and a link. Approximately 20 reports were uploaded in 2010-2011, garnering good feedback from headquarters.

3.3.4 The FPDS program makes an effort to identify opportunities for mission programs to work together. Cooperation has been largely limited to work with CICAR, as other mission programs have not always been interested in collaborating. As noted in the mission management section of this report, and repeated in the CE section, more emphasis needs to be placed on defining objectives where programs should work together to fulfil whole-of-mission objectives. FPDS and CE programs should be encouraged to work together, this is particularly important in order to ensure effective advocacy and common messaging.

3.4 Performance Measurement

Performance Measurement
Key FPDS Performance Measurement CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
The program has an established performance measurement system in place to monitor activities towards the achievement of objectives. X 
The program assesses performance against strategies / objectives and plans, and provides a high-level assessment of performance through the MPR system at the end of the fiscal year.X  
Hospitality diaries demonstrate value-for-money and alignment with priorities.X  

3.4.1 The FPDS work plan does not include outcomes, targets or an indication of timelines for review/evaluation, which are important for planning, reporting and conducting lessons-learned exercises. It would benefit the program to conduct an exercise to both bolster knowledge and application of results-based management principles and update the work plan accordingly.

3.4.2 Hospitality expenditures were properly documented and direct linkages were made to program objectives demonstrating value-for-money.

3.5 Recommendations

Recommendations to the Mission

3.5.1 FPDS plans should be revised to include expected results and better articulate how success is measured by including performance indicators with targets.

3.5.2 The advocacy function should be renewed, bringing it up to modern standards. The renewed focus should be on whole-of-government objectives.

3.5.3 ***.

3.5.4 Officers should be allocated quarterly hospitality budgets based on objectives and workplans.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

3.5.1 The FPDS workplan now includes references to expected results and performance indicators (as stated in the MPR). In the MAAT, we have reported on results for the FY 2011-2012 as requested by HQ. Implemented April 2012.

3.5.2 The FPDS planning and hospitality is already well aligned with priorities, moving away from a public affairs function to a modern advocacy one. The FPDS workplan includes again this year activities encouraging whole-of-mission projects. Implemented April 2012.

3.5.3 ***.

3.5.4 At the time of the inspection, the PM had her own hospitality and travel budget (political budget) and so did the LE-09 public affairs officer (public affairs budget). The two assistants were offered funds as needed/requested (official lunches; travel for training/regional meetings, etc.). As of April 1, 2012, there is one single FPDS hospitality budget which the PM allocates amount according to priority activities identified in the program workplan. Implemented April 2012.

Commercial Economic (CE)

4.1 Overview

4.1.1 The CE Program in Oslo is led by an FS-03 Senior Trade Commissioner (STC) and supported by three officers (two LE-09, one LE-07) and an LE-06 trade commissioner assistant (TCA). The financial resources available to the program are provided below.

Commercial Economic
Budget2011-2012
Travel$15,000
Hospitality$10,000
Client Service Fund (CSF)$39,316
Total$64,316

4.1.2 Norway is Canada's largest Nordic trading partner, tenth largest worldwide (2010), and ranks twenty-first in terms of foreign direct investment (FDI), including 71 firms with 133 facilities in Canada. Norway is a small, but wealthy, country with the world's fourth highest per capita income. Its wealth is primarily based on offshore oil and gas resources, which represents approximately 26% of the gross domestic product (GDP). Traditional industries continue to be of significance, but are complemented by developments in the information and communication technology, life sciences, renewable energy, environmental products and services, financial services and food distribution sectors.

4.2 Planning and Program Management

Planning and Program Management
Key CE Program Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Program objectives reflect departmental plans and priorities, including partner departments where applicable.X  
Performance targets are defined, clear and measurable.X  
Roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and have been communicated to all staff.X  
Internal program communication effectively supports program delivery.X  

4.2.1 Overall, the CE Program is operating effectively and benefits from good internal communications. As the team is small, formal team meetings occur approximately every three weeks with ad-hoc issue specific meetings held on an almost daily basis. Performance targets are clear and incorporated into the CE Plan as well as staff PMPs, and progress towards these is monitored through use of the CE Dashboard and the Strategic Investment Intelligence System (SIIS).

4.2.2 The CE Plan is developed through consultations with HQ, regional missions, key partner departments, relevant provinces, associations and private companies. The Plan also includes an investment strategy which is integrated into sector action plans and based on tools provided by the Invest in Canada Bureau (BID).

4.2.3 While roles and responsibilities are clearly defined, some concern was raised with respect to a perceived similarity between performance objectives and expectations for the LE- 07 and LE-09 positions. The STC will need to ensure that roles and performance expectations are assigned within the team in a manner which respects position levels.

4.2.4 Officers do not have hospitality allocations and instead request funds from the STC on an as needed basis. To encourage working-level planning towards proactive outreach and network building, officers should be provided with quarterly hospitality allocations. The amount should be based on an officer's objectives and action plans, with each officer held accountable for its strategic use.

4.3 Implementation

Implementation
Key CE Implementation CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Business plan objectives and those outlined in management's PMAs (Performance Management Agreement) /PMPs (Performance Management Program) appropriately cascade down into staff PMPs.X  
Activities and initiatives are aligned with the mission's key priorities.X  
The program utilizes TRIO to facilitate client relationship management.X  
TRIO use is monitored to ensure activities are reported appropriately and accurately reflect the work undertaken.X  
InfoCentre functions are assigned and facilitate program delivery.X  

4.3.1 Overall, CE activities are implemented in line with established plans and priorities, and external stakeholders are satisfied with the services provided. While the program is active in several sectors, oil and gas is the primary sector and activity is largely focussed on investment aftercare. Employees are guided by objectives and expectations set out in staff PMPs and in sector action plans. Activities and outcomes are recorded in TRIO and SIIS. While no formal InfoCentre exists, key support functions are centralized to facilitate program operations and support to officers.

4.3.2 The program places a high degree of emphasis on incorporating stakeholder interests and using partnerships to deliver projects and validate their alignment with key client priorities. While this emphasis on financial partnerships ensures activities are closely aligned with external clients, it can lead to a lack of collaboration within the mission when other programs do not have funds to support joint activities. As noted in the mission management section of this report, a stronger whole-of-mission approach is needed to ensure all mission programs are effectively leveraged to further Canadian priorities.

4.3.3 The Official Residence is used extensively to conduct program hospitality and engage key clients and local business leaders. Consultations with external stakeholders cited a high degree of satisfaction with the services provided by the program and the engagement of the HOM.

4.3.4 Support provided by headquarters was generally noted as good. The lack of a coordinated strategy for ***, however, presents the mission with significant challenges to implementing activities and serving clients.

4.4 Performance Measurement

Performance Measurement
Key CE Performance Measurement CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Tools and mechanisms are in place to measure and monitor performance of the program.X  
Program employees are involved in the performance measurement process.X  
Hospitality diaries are maintained in a fashion that demonstrates value-for-money and alignment with priorities. X 

4.4.1 The STC uses performance information provided by TRIO and SIIS, as well as qualitative results and reports to monitor overall program performance. Staff are involved in the process and provided the appropriate support to meet performance expectations.

4.4.2 CE hospitality activities were properly documented, although the evaluations of events did not always provide a good demonstration of value-for-money. More effort needs to be placed on results as opposed to activities.

4.5 Recommendations

Recommendations to the Mission

4.5.1 The STC should review the allocation of roles and responsibilities within the program to ensure that trade commissioners are tasked and evaluated at the appropriate level.

4.5.2 The Program should ensure that program activities incorporate overall mission objectives and, where possible, a concerted effort is made to advance whole-of- government priorities.

4.5.3 Hospitality allocations should be provided to officers based on objectives and action plans, with each officer held accountable for its strategic use.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

4.5.1 ***. Implemented April 2012.

4.5.2 All trade officers are on side re overall mission objectives and whole-of-government priorities. Implemented April 2012.

4.5.3 Hospitality is allocated by each officer in CEP business action plans and objectives; each officer also reports their spending at year end as per each plan and objective. Implemented April 2012.

Consular

5.1 Overview

5.1.1 The Consular Program is managed by an LE-09 Consular Officer, who also serves as the Mission Administration Officer (MAO), under the overall management of the HOM. The CBS FPDS program manager and the CBS HOM administrative assistant exercise the responsibilities and authorities for the passport function. The program has one full time equivalent (FTE) position that is shared between two employees, with two separate position numbers. One employee occupies an LE-07 consular program officer position three days a week (.06 FTE), and the other occupies an LE-05 consular assistant position two days a week (.04 FTE).

5.1.2 There is one Honorary Consul (HonCon) located in Bergen. Documentation, including a mandate letter, appraisal, inventory, and objectives for fiscal year 2011-2012, is up to date. The HonCon's primary contact at the Mission is the LE-09 Consular Officer.

Consular
Budget2011-2012
Travel$5,000
Hospitality$1,000
Total$6,000

5.1.3 The mission in Oslo is a full service passport mission providing approximately 400 passport services and processing approximately 50 citizenship applications and 80 notarial requests annually. There are 354 Canadian citizens identified in the Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) database. The estimated number of Canadians residing in Norway is 2,000- 3,000, most of whom are dual nationals.

5.2 Program Management

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

5.2.1 Overall, the program is *** managed and benefits from the strong teamwork of the experienced staff. There is appropriate CBS oversight of the passport function with minor improvements required in tracking inventories.

5.2.2 The roles and responsibilities of the two part time employees are well defined and clearly understood. The LE-07 employee assumes most of the complex consular cases and tasks. This arrangement seems to be working well for the Mission and allows the flexibility to have sufficient coverage for absences.

5.2.3 Communication is effective and meetings are held to discuss policy, procedural changes and ongoing cases. The section has a work plan in place which lists routine, monthly and annual tasks 5.2.4 Overall, planning documents are up to date, including Consular Contingency Plans and the Duty Officer Manual (DOM). The Mission Emergency Plan (MEP) was drafted and pending HOM approval at the time of the inspection. As part of emergency planning, a desk top exercise was developed by the LE-09 Consular Officer and conducted as an exercise during the Mission annual retreat in March 2011. This excellent tool was shared with our missions in Denmark, Iceland and Sweden. The mission has worked in collaboration with Stockholm and Copenhagen to develop a regional contingency plan. A draft Nordic Emergency Plan has been sent to HQ for review.

5.2.5 The Mission maintains contact with local authorities and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) as well as like-minded missions. The consular program hosts an annual forum which includes assistant staff from a number of Embassies based in Oslo. This event has proven to be an invaluable tool to establish and maintain a good inventory of contacts. In addition to local events, consular outreach activities are being planned to involve 2 cities within Norway per year.

5.3 Client Service

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

5.3.1 The mission is well served by experienced and client service oriented consular staff. Services standards are met and employees are providing good client service in both official languages.

5.3.2 Client feedback forms are available in the waiting area and are also included with passport and citizenship services. A locked box is installed in the consular booth for the deposit of feedback forms. Feedback is shared with the HOM, HQ and consular staff, and many positive comments have been received.

5.3.3 Bilingual signage and information is available in the public areas and a copy of the fee schedule is posted in the consular booth. A copy of the service standards, however, was not posted.

5.4 Internal Controls

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

5.4.1 Overall, controls governing passport and consular activities were in place with minor improvement required *** working inventories. There is appropriate oversight by CBS and all Consular staff have Passport Management Program (PMP) certifications.

5.4.2 The mission has significantly reduced its reliance on cash as most consular fees are now paid via direct deposit. Cash is accepted exceptionally for emergencies. The consular revenue collection process is appropriately documented and controls are in place. Official receipts are issued to clients when cash is received.

5.4.3 Passports are approved by the CBS HOM assistant or the FPDS Program Manager. Receipt of passport stock is verified by the HOM assistant and the Consular Officer. Month-end inventory reconciliations are conducted by the CBS HOM Assistant and the Consular Officer. Passport assets are properly reconciled by the HOM assistant and the HOM on a quarterly basis. A count of the inventory of passport stock *** was conducted during the inspection, and the inventory was verified. The mission has a small stock of immigration documents *** which was also counted and verified by the inspection team.

5.4.4 The HOM assistant transfers a small working stock of passport supplies to the consular officer or assistant as required. A log is maintained to track passport stock distributed *** to the consular section. The working stock is stored securely in ***.

5.4.5 Although the mission has developed a list of seals and stamps,***. The seals and stamps inventory should be reconciled at least 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.

5.5 Recommendations

Recommendations to the Mission

5.5.1 A copy of the service standards should be posted in the reception area.

5.5.2 The program should strengthen inventory controls to ensure that:

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.5.1 A full copy of the service standards has been posted. Implemented April 2012.

5.5.2 A new logging system has been introduced *** the flow of working inventory. The HOM Assistant is the custodian. ***. Note that the mission no longer has an inventory of Immigration visas. Implemented April 2012.

Common Services

6.1 Overview

6.1.1 The Common Services Program is managed by an LE-09 MAO, who also manages the Consular Program, and supported by a team of four LES. The program is responsible for providing common services to 27.5 employees, including the newly established Canadian International Centre for the Arctic Region (CICAR). There are no partner department programs located at the mission, however, the mission now provides services to five CICAR staff without incremental Common Services Abroad Charges (CSAC). The MAO also provides operational support for the mission in Reykjavik.

6.1.2 The program is functioning well, and met challenges during 2011 that were the result of:

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

6.1.3 Overall, the program is *** managed with effective planning, procedures and controls in place for all common service functions. Minor improvements are required with the Contract Review Board (CRB), and disposal processes.

6.1.4 The MAO is a long serving *** employee. ***. There is effective and regular communication among the common services staff.

6.1.5 A number of good practices in place at the mission include:

Client Service
Key Common Services Client Service CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Service standards have been established and communicated to clients.X  
Services provided reflect fair and equitable allocation and access to common services for all mission programs.X  
A mechanism is in place to solicit and receive client feedback, and corrective action is taken when warranted.X  
Hub and spoke relationships are governed by an agreement outlining the roles and responsibilities of each mission.X  

6.1.6 Overall, client services were effective. Staff are experienced, capable and have been trained to provide back up for each other. Clients expressed their satisfaction with services received.

6.1.7 The mission has documented policies and procedures in place, and updated service standards (2010) are given to all clients. These documents are also available in InfoBank. There is no formal mechanism in place to receive feedback, but the MAO receives feedback via email or CMM which is sufficient for a mission of this size. As a good practice, a client service survey can also be used to measure the current client satisfaction and assist with planning for improvements to service if required.

6.1.8 A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is in place with Reykjavik which outlines the roles and responsibilities, as well as the quarterly visits by the MAO.

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

6.1.9 Contracting and procurement procedures are in place, and the functions are *** managed by the MAO, supported by an LE-06 Administrative Assistant. Improvements can be made to the Contract Review Board (CRB), the bid solicitation process and procurement which are outlined below.

6.1.10 Oslo, and Norway in general, has a limited market for suppliers and tradesmen which creates procurement challenges. The mission is active in moving from one year to three year contracts where possible. Not only does this lessen the administrative burden and reduces costs but contracted tradesmen respond more quickly when emergency repairs are needed.

6.1.11 The members of the CRB are the HOM and the MAO. This configuration does not ensure that the contracts have been reviewed by the required minimum of three people who were independent of the process, particularly when the majority of contracts originate from the MAO's own program. The oversight function of the CRB could be improved by including as regular members, program managers who are not usually involved in contracting, to provide an independent assessment of the contracting process.

6.1.12 The contracting process is well documented with detailed files, although sealed bids are not always opened and recorded in the presence of two mission employees.

6.1.13 The mission uses a local acquisition card which is accepted at businesses in Oslo and provides statements in local currency. This acquisition card has not been approved for use by Financial Operations-International (SMFF). It should be noted that SMFF has a contract in place with an international credit card company to provide acquisition cards to missions.

Recommendations

Recommendations to the Mission

6.1.14 The membership of the CRB should be expanded to a minimum of three board members who are normally independent of the contracting process.

6.1.15 Sealed tenders for contracts should be opened and recorded in the presence of a minimum of two mission staff members.

6.1.16 The mission should seek approval for the use of the local acquisition card or should make arrangements with SMFF to replace it with an approved credit card.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

6.1.14 The CRB has been expanded to at least 3-4 board members. Implemented November 2011.

6.1.15 Agreed, this is normally the procedure undertaken at post. On 1 occasion MCO and Consultant opened the tenders together. Implemented November 2011.

6.1.16 The mission has identified the possession of a local purchase card in all banking surveys and during a visit by SMFF in 2010. No concern was raised as it was a single card and amounts are limited, therefore no change will be made to the current set-up. Implemented.

6.2 Human Resources

6.2.1 The human resources (HR) functions at the mission are the responsibility of the MAO who is assisted by various section staff but not one dedicated resource. The MAO is the training coordinator. The mission managed seven staffing actions in fiscal year 2010-2011, largely as a result of the establishment of the Canadian International Centre for the Arctic Region (CICAR). Three staffing actions were processed in fiscal year 2011-2012.

Management
Key HR Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
A mission HR plan has been developed and submitted to headquarters.X  
New LES and CBS employees are provided with an information package on the working conditions, benefits and regulations pertaining to employment at the Mission.X  
A coordinated approach is taken with regards to training and a budget has been established. X 
Mechanisms are in place to monitor the completion of employee's performance evaluations.X  
Employee and position files are complete, maintained separately and properly secured. X 

6.2.2 Overall, HR management is effective with minor improvement required for mission training plans and the maintenance of files.

6.2.3 The mission has an HR plan. Arrival and departure guides have been developed for CBS, but there are no checklists for LES to assist with the orientation of newly hired employees.

6.2.4 Mission staff make use of the on-line training available, and many have participated in training opportunities in Canada and in the region. Training needs are identified in Performance Management Programs (PMP) and in the HR Plan, and a small budget has been established. The next step would be to consolidate these needs into a mission-wide training plan. The Locally Engaged Staff Management Consultation Board (LESMCB) brought forward an interest across programs, for more flexible arrangements for time off for education.

6.2.5 PMPs are in place and job descriptions are updated. The MAO ensures a systematic review of job descriptions is completed every 5 years or when significant changes occur. He reviews files on an annual basis to determine if action is required.

6.2.6 The mission maintains employee, staffing and classification action files, but does not maintain separate position files. A review of the employee and staffing files was conducted and files contained the key documents on the Locally Engaged Staff and HQ Workforce Programs Bureau (ALD) checklist.

6.2.7 The LESMCB functions with all LES staff attending all meetings due to a lack of volunteer representatives. The limited mandate of the LESMCB was presented as part of the reason why there is not a lot of engagement. This composition of the committee should be revisited with the goal of having a smaller committee with LES representative from different programs and levels. Some of the issues and concerns discussed in LESMCB meetings included:

Internal Controls
Key HR Internal Control CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Staffing actions are conducted in-line with the Locally-Engaged Staff and HQ Workforce Programs Bureau (ALD) guidelines. Written records supporting the process are maintained and contain required documents and approvals.X  
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  

6.2.8 Overall, HR processes and internal controls were in place. The MAO refers to the ALD guidelines to conduct staffing, and all letters of offer are signed by the HOM. The documents maintained on file demonstrated adherence to the staffing guidelines. An effort is also made to include CBS spouses on communications related to job vacancies. At the time of the inspection, one spouse was hired as receptionist through a competitive process.

Recommendations

Recommendations to the Mission

6.2.9 The mission should develop an arrival/departure checklist for LES to assist with the orientation of newly hired employees.

6.2.10 A mission-wide training plan should be developed to prioritizes and coordinate training requirements.

6.2.11 The mission should maintain separate position files containing the documents outlined in the ALD position checklist.

Recommendations to the Locally-Engaged Staff and HQ Workforce Programs Bureau (ALD)

6.2.12 ALD, in consultation with the mission, should review the current DFAIT pension benefit for LES, taking into consideration the changes in the local secondary pension plans in Norway.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

6.2.9 An arrival/departure checklist for LES has been developed. Implemented December 2011.

6.2.10 A training plan will be developed in the fall following the implementation of the deficit reduction action plan. In Progress for December 2012.

6.2.11 Agreed. In Progress for December 2012.

Locally-Engaged Staff and HQ Workforce Programs Bureau (ALD) Actions and

Timeframes

6.2.12 Changes to LES pension and benefits are made pursuant to a recommendation determined as part of the Total Compensation Review (TCR) process which refers to local law and local practice.

During the most recent TCR, it was determined that a more in depth review of the LES pension coverage in Norway should be completed. The TCR findings recommended that the social security supplementary earnings-related pension introduced in recent years in Norway be explored for the LES. Currently, LES coverage includes Norway's social security basic pension as well as coverage under the Pension Scheme for Employees of the Government of Canada, Locally-Engaged outside Canada, 1996.

The authority to make changes to LES pension and insurance or local social security participation has historically been held by Treasury Board rather than by DFAIT. This authority has only recently been delegated to the DFAIT, with effect from January 1, 2012. DFAIT is in the process of establishing a governance framework to review and approve changes to pension, insurance and social security for LES pursuant to a TCR recommendation. Outstanding TCR recommendations pertaining to LES pension, insurance and social security will be identified in 2012-2013 and an action plan for review established within the new governance framework. In progress. FY 2012-2013

6.3 Physical Resources

6.3.1 The Physical Resources Section is managed by the MAO who is supported by an LE- 06 Administrative Assistant. The Official Residence is Crown-owned while the five apartment SQs and the Chancery are Crown-leased. In addition to the GS-05 Head of Mission's Driver, there is also a GS-05 Driver/ Handyman. The mission vehicle fleet consists of three passenger vehicles plus a utility trailer that allows the mission to undertake some of their own deliveries and haulage.

6.3.2 The Chancery is located in a multi-tenant office building. The offices are well maintained and the furniture is in good condition. The introduction of five positions in the new Canadian International Centre for the Arctic Region (CICAR) has resulted in the Chancery reaching capacity.

6.3.3 The official residence (OR) is located in Bygdø, a rural peninsula on the west side of Oslo.

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

6.3.4 Management of the Section is effective and has met the challenge of keeping SQ leases below the rent ceiling. All SQs are leased with a mission policy of matching the lease period to the CBS rotational schedule. This provides management with flexibility to respond to different family configurations during relocation season.

6.3.5 The mission inspects each SQ annually to gather information which feeds into the maintenance and multi-year acquisition plans. The SQs are well maintained. Mission management negotiates repairs by landlords at the beginning of leases, recognizing that small maintenance becomes the responsibility of the mission once the tenant moves in.

6.3.6 The official residence is used extensively for functions and hospitality events involving all programs with an estimate of 1,000 visitors in 2010. The mission estimates cost savings of $15-20,000 per year in hall rental and meal costs by using this facility. Refurbishment of some of the representational areas would complement the well maintained grounds and add to the property. The current configuration of rooms in the family area should be assessed with the objective of providing more privacy, particularly in light of the frequent use of the representational area. The property includes an annex with a garage and two apartments that are rented to staff. Although renovations for the interior of the annex, including bathrooms are on the mission's five year work plan, no funding has been allocated by the Physical Resources Bureau (ARD).

6.3.7 ***.

Key Processes and Internal Controls
Key Physical Resources Internal Control CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
An inspection is conducted by new SQ occupants and a mission representative within 30 days of occupancy, after which occupancy agreements and distribution accounts are signed.X  
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 

6.3.8 Overall, internal controls were found to be effective while some improvements can be made in official wine inventory management, furniture disposals and the verification of vehicle log books. Occupancy agreements and distribution lists examined indicated that improvement has been made in the timeliness in obtaining the tenant's signatures. In addition there is a record of items in storage which the HOM signs.

6.3.9 Many items of surplus furniture waiting for disposal were stored in the attic area of the OR at the time of the inspection. There is a weak market for used furniture and in particular for larger Canadian items. It is a challenge to recover costs associated with disposal. Disposal documentation reviewed was usually signed by the MAO not the HOM as required by policy.

6.3.10 Vehicle log books are completed in detail, initialled by the drivers and the HOM driver calculates and records fuel usage. Each log book is signed off by the MAO monthly, however, oversight by a CBS should take place in the form of reviewing the log books at least annually.

Recommendations

Recommendations to the Mission

6.3.11 The mission should ensure that all possible options are explored for the disposal of Crown assets in a timely manner.

6.3.12 The HOM should sign off on disposal documents.

6.3.13 Vehicle log books should be review annually by a CBS.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

6.3.11 Excess furniture will be disposed of in spring 2012 in line with other processes. In progress for December 2012.

6.3.12 Implemented November 2012.

6.3.13 Not agreed. The mission believes that the controls in place are sufficient. Implemented.

6.4 Finance

6.4.1 The Finance Section is managed by the LE-09 MAO with the support of an LE-06 Accountant and an LE-06 Administrative Assistant. The section processed 113 electronic fund transfers (EFTs) for Oslo and 25 for Reykjavik in July 2011. In the same month *** in Consular revenue was collected. There are no cheques issued and no immigration revenue collected or immigration refunds processed. Payments, including CBS and LES payroll, are almost exclusively by electronic bank transfers.

Management
Key Finance Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Roles and responsibilities ensure adequate segregation of duties. X 
The section employs methods to minimize disruption (e.g. 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  

6.4.2 Overall the Finance Section is functioning well and benefits from experienced, knowledgeable staff.

6.4.3 Roles and responsibilities are well defined and employees have been trained to perform back up functions. Segregation of duties is adequate in this small mission, however, some improvement could be realized by ***. It could be reinstated on a temporary basis by request to HQ during any extended absence ***.

6.4.4 Although the Section does not have posted "quiet hours", the Accountant's office is in a quiet area and she closes her door when necessary to focus on work requiring greater concentration. Handling of cash is not part of the mission's normal operations and payment processing has been reduced to once a week. The Accountant did not feel that structured quiet hours are required.

Key Processes and Internal Controls
Key Finance Internal Control CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
The mission's bank reconciliations are reviewed and signed-off on a monthly basis.X  
The asset and liability report is reviewed on a monthly basis.X  
Financial signing authorities are exercised by individuals who possess the appropriate delegation of authority.X  
A CBS receives the original monthly bank statement directly from the bank and reviews it prior to giving it to the accountant. X 
Official receipts are provided to clients at the time of payment and to internal staff when funds are transferred (i.e. from Consular to Finance).N/AN/AN/A
Reconciliations of any funds transferred within the mission are conducted in the presence of two staff.N/AN/AN/A
Monthly reconciliations of immigration fees are completed and the EXT-1203 is signed by the appropriate authority.N/AN/AN/A
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  

6.4.5 Overall, internal controls are in place to safeguard financial assets and ensure financial transactions are completed in accordance with policy.

6.4.6 The HOM reviews and signs off on the bank statements monthly and also signs Section 34 for invoices related to the Common Service Function when necessary. This process strengthens oversight in this small mission. The MAO has delegated financial authority ***, particularly the Essentials of Managing in the Public Service (G110) course.

6.4.7 The bank statements are received by the LES accountant and reviewed by the MAO weekly. If it is not practical for a CBS to receive the bank statements, the procedures could be strengthened by having the MAO receive the bank statements and examine them prior to passing them on to the Accountant. Although this is contrary to the policy of having a CBS receive the statements, it was noted that all CBS signatories to the bank account and the MAO have the capability of viewing the bank statements on line.

6.4.8 Clients are asked to make electronic payments to the mission bank account, rather than pay in cash. There is no immigration revenue collected by DFAIT so the criteria in the table above related to official receipts, funds transfer and the monthly reconciliation of immigration fees are not applicable.

6.4.9 The mission has developed a streamlined process for hospitality claims and communicated expectations to clients, which has resulted in well documented, complete hospitality files. There is a signed agreement with the Honorary Consul in Bergen that itemizes recoverable costs and the inventory of Government of Canada assets held by the HonCon.

6.4.10 The HOM reimburses the mission for shared OR costs on a percentage basis, however a clear policy from HQ would assist missions in determining the appropriate calculation for these reimbursements. CBS in SQs pay their expenses of a personal nature (e.g. internet) directly to the appropriate utilities eliminating the need for the mission to set up and track these recoverables.

6.4.11 The wine inventory is verified once a month, however, it was noted that wine was not consistently recorded in line with its consumption. This created challenges and lengthened the process related to hospitality inventory reconciliation.

Recommendations

Recommendations to the Mission

6.4.12 ***.

6.4.13 The mission should identify *** access.

6.4.14 Bank statements should be addressed so that they are received by the MAO at the mission.

6.4.15 The wine inventory should be updated regularly in line with consumption.

Recommendations to the Client Relations and Mission Operations Bureau (AFD)

6.4.16 The Client Relations and Mission Operations Bureau (AFD) should provide a policy to direct missions on how to calculate the HOM's reimbursement for shared OR costs.

6.4.17 AFD should explore options to provide the Essentials of Managing in the Public Service (G110), or equivalent, to all locally engaged heads of program, such as mission administrative officers.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

6.4.12 The mission will no longer undertake *** once the processing of payments is transferred to Berlin. In Progress Fall 2012.

6.4.13 Not agreed. The mission has written verification from SMFF that existing practice is an acceptable solution. This issue will also solve itself in the fall of 2012, when payments move to Berlin. Implemented.

6.4.14 Agreed. Implemented May 2012.

6.4.15 Wine inventory is counted monthly by HOM assistant and Cook at OR. The mission feels that the controls over wine inventory is now sufficient. Implemented.

Client Relations and Mission Operations Bureau (AFD) Actions and timeframes

6.4.16 AFD has established a working group to develop standardized procedures and guidelines for missions, where there is a lack of understanding or clarity, to assist missions in applying best practices. The issue of OR shared costs will be discussed by that group and global guidelines will be developed. In progress.

6.4.17 CFSI in conjunction with the International Platform Branch and other functional bureaux have developed a learning roadmap for mission administrative officers. MAOs are encouraged to discuss their needs with HOMs and AFD/RSCs and identify additional training and development opportunities through the PMP process. Implemented

6.5 Information Management - Information Technology (IM-IT)

6.5.1 The MAO is responsible for the overall management of IM-IT with support from a Foreign Service Information Technology Professional (FSITP) in Stockholm. The mission has not formally assigned the role of Signet Support Assistant (SSA), but the CBS HOM Assistant is familiar with systems and software and provides support where possible.

6.5.2 The mission has 27.5 FTEs not the 28 users required for an LES IT resource. CICAR, with spokes in Anchorage, Moscow and Washington has a requirement ***.

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

6.5.3 Overall, the IM-IT section is operating effectively with plans in place for the four scheduled visits of the FSITP. The mission is very happy with service provided, but finds it challenging without an IT resource on site. The current CBS HOM Assistant has been acting as main contact for IT issues but is departing the mission ***. The mission may be challenged to nominate a new SSA who has the technical ability and the capacity to assume the 0.3 FTE duties required to fulfill this role.

6.5.4 The addition of CICAR has prompted the mission to consider video-conferencing tools, *** and a process to use InfoBank efficiently between missions and HQ.

6.5.5 ***.

Key Processes and Internal Controls
Key IM-IT Internal Control CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Back-ups are performed routinely and tapes are stored appropriately in a secure location away from the primary use area.X  
The mission has appropriate secondary communications systems in place and those tools are tested regularly.X  
Controls are in place to ensure the Network Acceptable Use Policy (NAUP) is respected (SIGNET and digital subscriber line (DSL) connections).X  
Employees formally sign out IT assets (mobility tools) and are advised of their accountabilities.X  
Surplus IT assets are disposed with the appropriate approvals per departmental policy.X  

6.5.6 Overall, IM-IT processes and controls were in place. The back-ups are performed by the CBS HOM Assistant and are appropriately stored. Surplus IT assets are disposed after the appropriate procedures are performed by the FSITP during scheduled visits.

Recommendations

Recommendations to the Mission

6.5.7 The mission should identify an SSA to work in collaboration with the FSITP in Stockholm.

6.5.8 Communication equipment including video conferencing *** should be considered in the mission budget process. HQ should be contacted to investigate if some items could be purchased from a central budget (e.g. CSD for security related items)

Recommendations to the Information Management and Technology Bureau (AID)

6.5.9 AID in conjunction with the mission should review the IT support requirements in OSLO in consideration of the mission and CICAR communication needs.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

6.5.7 The mission is seeking additional resources for the SSA role. The FSITP position in Stockholm has been removed and support has been taken over by RSCEMA. In Progress for December 2012.

6.5.8 Video conferencing and *** were installed in March 2012. Implemented March 2012.

Information Management and Technology Bureau (AID) Actions and Timeframes

6.5.9 The IT support responsibilities for OSLO will move from STKHM to the Regional Service Center (RSCEMA) during summer 2012. As part of the transition, the Client Service Regional Manager (CSRM) will be in touch with the mission to review the IT support requirements and communication needs specific to them. In progress for the Summer 2012.

Appendix A: Mission Resources Fact Sheet

Physical Resources
AssetsCrown-OwnedCrown-LeasedPrivate-Lease
* Included in chancery lease agreement.
Chancery-1-
Official Residence1--
Staff Quarters-5-
Vehicles3--
Storage-1*-
Financial Information 2011/2012
BudgetProgramCommon Services
Operating$130,055$887,388
Capital-$28,425
CBS Salaries$586,200-
CBS Overtime$12,500-
LES Salaries$1,516,865$489,372
LES Overtime$79,835$23,996
Total$2,325,455$1,429,181
Human Resources (FTEs)
ProgramTotalCBSLES
Head of Mission725
FPDS4.513.5
CE514
Consular1-1
Common Services5-5
CICAR523
Total27.5621.5

Appendix B: Frequently Used Acronyms

CBS
Canada-based Staff
CE
Commercial Economic
CMM
Committee on Mission Management
COMIP
Consular Management Information Program
CONPLAN
Contingency Plan
CRB
Contract Review Board
CSF
Client Service Fund
EFT
Electronic Funds Transfer
DMCO
Deputy Management Consular Officer
FPDS
Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service
FSITP
Foreign Service Information Technology Professional
FTE
Full Time Equivalent
FY
Fiscal Year
GCS
Global Commerce Strategy
GVC
Global Value Chains
HOM
Head of Mission
HONCON
Honorary Consul
HQ
Headquarters
HR
Human Resources
HSZ
High Security Zone
ICT
Information Communication Technologies
IM-IT
Information Management - Information Technology
IMS
Integrated Management System
LEITP
Locally Engaged Information Technology Professional
LES
Locally Engaged Staff
LESMCB
LES Management Consultation Board
MCO
Management Consular Officer
MEP
Mission Emergency Plan
MFO
Mission Financial Officer
MM Module
Materiel Management Module of IMS
MMWP
Mission Maintenance Work Plan
MOU
Memorandum of Understanding
MSO
Mission Security Officer
MPMP
Mission Property Management Plan
NAAP
North American Platform Program
OR
Official Residence
OZ
Operations Zone
PIF
Post Initiative Fund
PM
Program Manager
PMA
Performance Management Agreement
PMP
Human Resources - Performance Management Program
PMP
Consular - Passport Management Program
PRIME
Physical Resources Information - Mission Environnent
ROCA
Registration of Canadians Abroad
S&T
Science and Technology
STC
Senior Trade Commissioner
SQ
Staff Quarter
SZ
Security Zone
TC
Trade Commissioner
TCA
Trade Commissioner Assistant
TCS
Trade Commissioner Service
TRIO
The TCS' Client Relationship Management System
ZID
Office of the Inspector General
ZIV
Inspection Division
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