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Inspection of the Consulate General of Canada - Sydney, Australia
December 12 - 16, 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 at the Consulate General of Canada in Sydney, Australia from December 12 to 16, 2011. A previous audit/inspection of these programs took place in 2005.
The Consulate General in Sydney is a medium-sized mission with six Canada-based staff (CBS) and 34 Locally Engaged Staff (LES). It undertakes departmental program delivery with a focus on the Commercial Economic program in Australia, in conjunction with the High Commission of Canada in Canberra.
While key management mechanisms are in place, there is an overall lack of management cohesion due to negative interpersonal relationships within and between some programs. The recently-arrived Head of Mission (HOM) has recognized the seriousness of these old but persistent issues and, with consultation and support from headquarters, has taken the appropriate initial steps to address the situation.
The mission's strategic objectives are reflected in the Mission Planning and Reporting (MPR) tool that is developed jointly with Canberra. However, more formal operational planning for FPDS activities is required to provide direction and guidance to staff and to ensure congruence with the MPR and related program objectives.
The principal mechanism for ensuring a whole-of-government approach is through the development of the joint MPR, which draws on feedback from representatives across government programs in both Canberra and Sydney. As well, the Committee on Mission Management (CMM) minutes from each post are circulated to all staff in Canberra and Sydney, and LES Management Consultation Board (LESMCB) meetings are held jointly. There is one CE plan for Australia that coordinates the activities of both missions. This approach helps to ensure policy cohesion and the consistent advancement of Canadian interests as program activities and initiatives are implemented.
The FPDS program is *** managed by an *** LES. The program focuses on public affairs, cultural activities and communications, providing support to the HOM and other programs. More collaboration with the mission in Canberra to develop and formalize a common advocacy strategy would be beneficial to ensure consistent messaging and alignment of activities as well as clarify each mission's responsibilities.
Overall, the CE program in Sydney is *** organized and effectively carrying out activities. Ongoing interpersonal conflicts *** in the program have, however, created an atmosphere of distrust, resulting in high levels of stress and low morale.***.
The CE plan for next fiscal year should be more focussed and concise, ensuring that the strategy is clear and that the corresponding qualitative indicators support effective performance analysis. The FS-03 officer working in Melbourne should participate in CE staff meetings at both missions via teleconference. The InfoCentre should be expanded to provide consistent service to all trade commissioners in Australia and assigned to an LES officer.
The Consular program provides consular and passport services to Canadian citizens in three Australian states and territories, including New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territories. The mission in Canberra covers the remaining states and territories. The HOM is temporarily acting as program manager until responsibility can be transferred to an appropriate CBS Officer. Consular plans and manuals are up to date, and the Mission Emergency Plan (MEP) is under development. The mission maintains a good network of contacts with local authorities such as police and prison officials and liaises with like-minded missions as required. The *** process needs to be strengthened and controls over *** should be improved.
The Common Services program is managed by a long-serving Mission Administration Officer (MAO). *** greater oversight of the program are required. Hiring practices, in particular, require immediate attention as some previous staffing actions were perceived as non- transparent and/or a potential conflict of interest. In order for the program to move forward, policies, guidelines and procedures must be developed and then approved by the CMM. The program would benefit from the development of a workplan that would outline future workload pressures and assist staff in preparing for upcoming events. While clients were satisfied with the services provided, the program does not have any mechanism in place to solicit feedback. As well, contracting controls need to be strengthened and a capital acquisition plan should be developed and reviewed by the CMM annually.
A total of 52 inspection recommendations are raised in the report, 52 are addressed to the mission and none are addressed to Headquarters. Management has responded to each recommendation indicating action already taken or decisions made, as well as future action. Of the 52 recommendations, management has stated that 29 have been implemented. For each of the remaining 23 recommendations, management has indicated the initiatives in progress or the intended future action.
1.1.1 The Consulate General of Canada in Sydney is a medium-sized mission with six Canada-based staff (CBS) and 34 Locally Engaged Staff (LES). It undertakes departmental program delivery, with a focus on the Commercial Economic (CE) program in Australia, in conjunction with the High Commission of Canada in Canberra.
1.1.2 The mission is managed by a newly-arrived EX-03 Head of Mission (HOM), who is responsible for overall mission operations and oversees the operational and capital budgets of $1.752 million and $20,000 respectively. The mission also manages a property portfolio that includes a Crown-owned chancery, a Crown-owned official residence (OR) as well as five Crown-leased staff quarters.
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 While key management mechanisms are in place, there is an overall lack of management cohesion due to negative interpersonal relationships within and between some programs. The new HOM met with all staff individually shortly after his arrival. Overall comments received indicated that mission morale was low and that there was a perception of a lack of transparency. Staff cited issues such as the removal of the salary packaging benefit, staffing processes, workload distribution and telework options, etc. The HOM has recognized the seriousness of these old but persistent issues and, with consultation and support from headquarters, has taken the appropriate initial steps to address and improve the situation. The promotion of values and ethics would reinforce improvements to the overall working environment.
1.2.2 The mission's strategic objectives are reflected in the Mission Planning and Reporting (MPR) tool that is developed jointly with Canberra. However, more formal operational planning for Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service (FPDS) activities is required to provide direction and guidance to staff and ensure congruence with the MPR and related program objectives.
1.2.3 The mission's committee structure is working sufficiently well. CMM meetings provide program managers (PMs) the opportunity to share information on objectives and activities and address mission-wide governance issues. Joint meetings between Canberra and Sydney help to ensure the two missions are coordinated in their delivery of Australia-wide programming, and minutes are circulated to all staff at both missions.
1.2.4 An LES Management Consultation Board (LESMCB) is in place and joint meetings are organized with Canberra and Sydney. There is good representation from across the mission. LES members of the LESMCB appreciate the management approach taken by the current HOMs, but were disappointed with both the process and the outcomes of the Total Compensation Review (TCR).
1.2.5 Common Services policies, procedures and guidelines either require updating or do not exist (e.g. guidelines and procedures for human resource competitions, multi-year capital acquisition plan, hospitality guidelines). These should be reviewed, updated, approved by the CMM and communicated and made available to all staff. This will strengthen client service delivery by the program and will help to manage client expectations.
1.2.6 While strengthening Common Services policies, procedures and guidelines will help to improve morale and cohesion, the mission should also increase its overall transparency and ensure that management and governance decisions are consistently communicated to all staff.
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 joint Canberra-Sydney MPR is developed with the input of PMs from all DFAIT and partner departments and agencies across the missions, which facilitates whole-of-government planning. In Sydney, the CMM serves as the principal forum for ongoing dialogue on activities and operations across programs as well as discussion on mission governance issues.
1.3.2 Canberra and Sydney take advantage of their joint planning meetings to discuss strategic, government-wide issues. Similarly, the frequent high-level visits from across government are leveraged by both missions to advance a broad range of Canadian interests in Australia. The fact that Canberra and Sydney's FPDS and CE programs are closely linked helps to reinforce the importance of regular dialogue and inter-program consultation.
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.||N/A||N/A||N/A|
1.4.1 Management controls are generally in place and operating effectively, with some exceptions that require the mission's attention. At the time of inspection, the MEP was under development (in conjunction with Canberra)***.
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 mission respects and promotes the Official Languages Act. Signage is in both languages, and an Official Languages Coordinator has been appointed. The main challenge for the mission is maintaining sufficient bilingual capacity at all times, including having back-ups for positions that interface with the public. More emphasis will be placed on ensuring that recruitment criteria includes bilingual capability.
Recommendations to the Mission
1.6.1 In consultation with Headquarters, the mission should develop strategies to resolve interpersonal conflict and promote a healthier workplace environment.
1.6.2 The mission should increase its overall transparency and ensure consistency in communicating policies, procedures and other management messages and decisions to all staff.
1.6.3 The mission should address its bilingual capacity in its HR planning and include bilingualism in recruitment processes, when appropriate.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
1.6.1 Since his arrival in August 2011, the new HOM has worked with CMM members to develop a better team spirit. Specific interpersonal issues have also been addressed. Implemented April 2012.
1.6.2 Transparency has increased through frequent communication with the LESMCB and regular town hall meetings with all staff. Staff were pleased by the way both HOMs, in Sydney and Canberra, have managed the TCR process. Implemented April 2012.
1.6.3 The HR plan will be reviewed and will clearly identify areas to improve bilingual capacity at all times for specific functions. In progress for October 2012.
Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service (FPDS)
2.1.1 The FPDS program is managed by an LE-09 reporting to the HOM. The program manager is supported by an LE-07 Cultural Affairs Co-ordinator and an LE-04 Public Affairs Assistant (0.5 FTE). The program's financial resources are provided below.
|Post Initiative Fund||23,000|
2.1.2 The program focuses on public affairs, cultural activities and communications, providing support to the HOM and other programs. The program liaises with the mission in Canberra to coordinate objectives and activities.
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 FPDS program is *** managed by an *** LE-09 officer. Program planning is in line with departmental priorities and is formulated in close consultation with the missions in Canberra and Wellington to ensure a regional approach. Opportunities to advance Canadian positions and messaging are identified through research, local knowledge and networking with the community and combined with the needs of visiting delegations, the HOM and other mission programs.
2.2.2 While the department no longer prioritizes cultural promotion, the activities undertaken in this area leverage culture as a tool to promote broader government priorities (e.g. prosperity agenda, arctic issues, education initiatives) and advance Canadian interests within the public sphere.
2.2.3 The program's workplan is used as the basis for programming and is reviewed and adjusted as required. However, there is a need for the program to develop a more formal operational plan in order to better define program objectives and elaborate appropriate strategies.
|Key FPDS Implementation Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Strategic objectives and plans have been translated into individual or team workplans.||X|
|Activities and initiatives are aligned with the Mission's key priorities and with the principles of the New Way Forward 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 With only 2.5 positions in Sydney's FPDS program, the planning structure is not overly complex and the management controls in place adequately serve its needs. However, considering the close coordination with the mission in Canberra, the FPDS program should develop and formalize a common advocacy strategy to ensure all public affairs work advances consistent messages that are closely aligned to Canada's core interests in Australia.
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's measurement of performance is hampered by the lack of an operational plan which sets clearly defined and measurable objectives. In addressing the former deficiency, the mission should also develop corresponding results-based criteria to analyse progress over time.
Recommendations to the Mission
2.5.1 The program should develop an operational workplan that outlines measurable objectives and includes targets for the purposes of performance measurement.
2.5.2 The mission, in consultation with the mission in Canberra, should develop and formalize a common advocacy strategy.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
2.5.1 An operational workplan with measurable targets is in development. The workplan will complement the Mission Advocacy Activity Tracker (MAAT) reporting. In progress for September 2012.
2.5.2 Canberra and Sydney are working together on a common advocacy strategy for Australia, building on existing close collaboration. Three inter-post advocacy meetings have taken place since February 2012. In progress for September 2012.
Commercial Economic (CE)
3.1.1 The CE program in Sydney is led by an EX-01 Senior Trade Commissioner (STC) who is supported by a team of two CBS officers (FS-03 and FS-01), four LES Trade Commissioners (three LE-09s and an LE-07) and an LE-06 Trade Commissioner Assistant. The program also includes an LE-06 InfoCentre Manager and an LE-05 InfoCentre Assistant. The FS-03 CBS officer is teleworking from Melbourne as part of a pilot project. The financial resources available to the program are provided below.
|Client Service Fund (CSF)||23,000|
|Integrative Trade Strategy||39,500|
3.1.2 Australia weathered the global credit crisis without a major economic contraction. Its extractive industries are performing exceptionally well, compensating for weaker results in manufacturing and services. Many Canadian companies see investment in Australia as a good springboard to accessing Asian markets. China is Australia's largest trading partner and, in 2010, Australia and New Zealand signed a joint Free Trade Agreement with the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN).
3.1.3 In 2010, Canadian Direct Investment Abroad (CDIA) in Australia grew by almost 58% to over $21 billion. At present, Australia is the sixth largest global destination for CDIA, trailing only the US, the UK, Ireland and two Caribbean countries. Australian statistics show a similar level of investment destined for Canada from Australia, although this is not reflected in Canadian data.
3.1.4 ***. Although Canberra and Sydney each have an STC who independently manages his or her own human and financial resources, the two missions operate as distinct service points for the same Australia-wide CE program.
3.1.5 At present, the mission in Sydney, located in the country's largest city and financial centre, focuses on private-sector engagement. It leads on oil and gas, clean tech, information and communications technology, life sciences, infrastructure and green building, apparel/fashion, cultural industries, and through its InfoCentre, all other industries not otherwise handled by the mission in Canberra. The mission has recently, as a pilot, deployed a CBS officer to Melbourne in order to expand its network and better serve clients.
3.1.6 Canberra leads on government-to-government engagement, including significant market-access advocacy on import quarantine restrictions. It also has responsibility for agriculture/food, aerospace and defence, metals, minerals and related equipment, and education.
3.1.7 This report addresses the portion of the CE program operating in Sydney and Melbourne and also comments on elements that are common to the program based out of Canberra, such as the CE plan and the InfoCentre.
3.2 Planning and Program Management
|Key CE Program Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Program objectives reflect departmental plans and priorities, including partner departments where applicable.||X|
|Performance targets are defined, clear and measurable.||X|
|Roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and have been communicated to all staff.||X|
|Internal program communication effectively supports program delivery.||X|
3.2.1 Overall, the CE program in Sydney is *** organized and *** carrying out activities as per the CE plan. However, serious ongoing interpersonal conflicts have created an atmosphere of distrust, resulting in high levels of stress and low morale. Previous efforts to build team cohesion, including coaching by the Office of Prevention and Conflict Resolution, have provided some tools but failed to resolve the problems.
3.2.4 The STC has helped recently-hired employees adapt to their positions, and they have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities. To enhance collaboration and knowledge transfer, the STC could consider having more experienced officers informally mentor newer staff members. The supervision of the InfoCentre should be formally assigned on a permanent basis. Attention should be paid to ensure that all officers at the same level have an equivalent scope of responsibilities.
3.2.5 At present, the STC is not consistently using the performance management program (PMP) process to effectively foster employee development and strengthen individual performance. While quarterly reviews of PMPs take place,***. Similarly, the STC should empower employees to identify their own development needs and work with her team to devise appropriate training strategies.
3.2.6 The current CE plan for Australia is overly detailed (105 pages long), obscuring relevant objectives and priorities. It lacks the focus necessary to efficiently communicate information in a strategic manner. Additionally, activities that normally constitute outputs are used as qualitative performance indicators, a practice which does not conform to effective performance measurement. Identifying priorities and developing appropriate indicators will assist the program in planning, as well as in evaluating progress towards higher-level goals.
|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 Overall, the program is well structured and using its resources and tools to effectively provide service to clients. The mission has been a leader in ensuring that objectives outlined in the STC's PMA clearly cascade to staff PMPs and their corresponding job descriptions. This approach reinforces planning exercises and ensures that all members of the program are working towards the same objectives.
3.3.2 To facilitate program management and internal communications, officers should develop individual workplans that correspond to the activities and priorities outlined in the CE plan. Doing so will increase transparency and provide the STC with a broad outline of how officers are spending their time. This will enhance the STC's ability to coordinate activities and maintain balanced workloads among the officers.
3.3.3 Considering the nature of the CE program in Australia, the InfoCentre should provide similar services to all trade commissioners throughout the country. To generate additional efficiencies and facilitate information exchange, the InfoCentre could also operate as a clearing house for all trade enquiries directed to the missions in Australia and New Zealand.
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 uses the International Business Development (IBD) Dashboard to monitor program performance; results are discussed with staff on a monthly basis. This approach reinforces good practices and emphasizes the importance of maintaining accurate and timely reporting. The STC has been active in communicating with headquarters on emerging areas of importance based on the evolution of the Australian market.
3.4.2 The evaluation of program performance and discussion of broader strategic issues are undertaken in conjunction with Canberra. This type of collaborative assessment will be especially important in evaluating the recent assignment of an FS-03 officer from Sydney to Melbourne and applying lessons learned to possible future deployments.
Recommendations to the Mission
3.5.2 The FS-03 officer working in Melbourne should participate in CE staff meetings in Canberra in addition to Sydney.
3.5.3 The STC should assign on a permanent basis the supervision of the InfoCentre to an officer and update job descriptions as required.
3.5.4 The STC should adapt the PMP process to facilitate on a consistent basis two-way discussion on performance and management, as well as open communication on development needs and opportunities.
3.5.5 The CE plan for next fiscal year should be more focussed and concise in identifying priorities and related strategies and in defining corresponding qualitative indicators to support effective performance analysis.
3.5.6 The program's officers should develop individual workplans that correspond to the activities and priorities outlined in the CE Plan.
3.5.7 The mission should work with Canberra to ensure that the InfoCentre provides consistent service to all trade commissioners in Australia.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
3.5.1 ***. There has been a marked change in mission morale towards positive engagement amongst programmes, managers and personnel overall. This is particularly evident within the CE team. Implemented April 2012.
3.5.2 The FS-03 Trade Officer has been participating via teleconference in Canberra's CE staff meetings since January 2012. The Trade Officer will be reintegrated into Sydney CE in September 2012 following the conclusion of the Melbourne pilot project. Implemented January 2012.
3.5.3 The supervision of the InfoCentre has been assigned on a permanent basis to the LE- 09, who has held this responsibility since May 2011. Implemented May 2011.
3.5.4 The STC and HOM met with the CE team members in June 2012 to discuss this recommendation and the current PMP process. Implemented June 2012.
3.5.5 The size of the CE plan for the FY 2012-13 was reduced by 30% to 77 pages by removing individual officer work plans. Implemented June 2012.
3.5.6 The officers have completed their individual workplans to support their CE Plan and have integrated these into their PMPs and key performance indicators. Implemented June 2012.
3.5.7 Since the InfoCentre was formalized in 2008, it has been providing service to all trade commissioners in Australia. We have initiated discussions with Canberra to review the services offered and explore the possibility for the InfoCentre to act as a clearing house for Australia. In progress for November 2012.
4.1.1 The Consular program is managed by a long-serving *** LE-08 Consular Program Officer who is supported by an LE-06 Passport Examiner and two LE-05 Consular Assistants. The passport examiner position is a job share arrangement between two employees on an 80/20 basis.
4.1.2 The Head of Mission has temporarily assumed responsibility for the Consular program but will revisit this arrangement as it is not ideal. The program had been managed in the previous year and a half by the FS-03 Trade Commissioner before she was deployed to Melbourne. ***.
4.1.3 The program provides consular and passport services to Canadian citizens in three Australian states and territories including New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territories. The mission in Canberra covers the remaining states and territories. The program's financial resources are provided below.
4.1.4 The program provides approximately 3,600 passport services and processes an estimated 400 citizenship applications and a low volume of notarial requests yearly. There are 476 Canadian citizens identified in the Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) database although the estimated number of Canadians residing in Australia is 30,000. There are currently no CBS who have received passport certification, and consideration should be given to have at least one CBS take this course.
4.1.5 The program is very busy and is facing an increasing volume of passport and consular cases. Typical consular cases include death, detainees, lost/stolen passports and whereabouts/well-being. Contrary to the situation in Canberra, the mission receives many walk- in clients.
4.1.6 There are currently 65 detainees throughout Australia whose cases are managed between the missions in Sydney and Canberra. Arranging visits can be challenging given the vast territories to be covered. The mission maintains a service standard of one contact per year and new detainees are visited at least once until they are settled into the system. The program also arranges for telephone or mail correspondence with detainees as required.
4.1.7 There are currently 15 detainees who have applied for a transfer under the Transfer of Offenders Treaty (TOOT). The mission in Canberra is responsible for the management of such applications regardless of which mission is managing the file.
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.||N/A||N/A||N/A|
4.2.1 Overall, the program is functioning well. Consular plans and manuals are up to date and the Mission Emergency Plan (MEP) is under development. The program maintains a good network of contacts with local authorities such as police and prison officials and liaises with like- minded missions as required. There is no warden network in Australia.
4.2.2 Recent efforts were made to review work processes and explore options to gain efficiencies in order to meet workload demands. Significant improvements have been made to work processes in order to reduce the backlog of passport applications. Temporary duty assistance from Passport Canada last summer also was very helpful to review and improve workflow processes. The program should continue to review their processes to gain further efficiencies.
4.2.3 Staff are aware of their roles and responsibilities and the workload is shared equitably. The Consular Program Officer has developed a duty roster which outlines the responsibilities assigned to staff on a rotating basis. A consular workplan could be developed to identify key activities and initiatives, as well as to assign responsibilities and timelines for completion. This would ensure that all staff are also aware of key deliverables and better able to contribute to program priorities.
4.2.4 The Consular Program Officer is heavily involved in operational tasks such as the printing of the temporary passports and entering the services/fees received onto the tracking sheet. By reallocating these tasks to other staff, this would allow the program officer to focus on the management of consular cases, prison visits and overall supervision of the program.
4.2.5 The program benefits from good teamwork. While there is good informal communication within the program, most contact is on an ad hoc basis. Regular meetings should also be scheduled to discuss cases, review processes and other important issues.
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 delivers a good level of service to clients. Staff are dedicated, professional and competent in the discharge of their duties. One staff member is bilingual and can provide services in both official languages;***. Staff members from other sections are called upon to provide back-up assistance when required. Ideally, the program would have bilingual capacity at all times and should ensure that all future recruitment takes this into consideration.
4.3.2 A copy of the fee schedule was posted in the consular reception area; however, service standards and a copy of an official receipt had not been posted. These were posted prior to the departure of the Inspection team.
4.3.3 The program includes a feedback form, a copy of the "bon voyage" brochure and a ROCA registration form with every service. The mission receives a good response rate and feedback is shared with headquarters. As a best practice and to further promote feedback, copies of the form should also be available in the consular area. A locked drop box should be installed for clients to deposit feedback forms. The box should be controlled by the program manager and feedback shared with the HOM, consular staff as well as with headquarters.
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 ***should be improved. The passport approval role has been repatriated to Victoria, British Columbia and requires limited CBS involvement. The consular program officer has received Passport Canada authorization to approve emergency travel documents (ETD) if required. The FS-01 Trade Commissioner has the oversight responsibility for the passport stock and is actively involved in the control of the assets.
- The use of EXT 119 to record receipt of payment at the point of service.
- The issuance of official receipts by the finance section ***
4.4.3 A working stock of passports is provided *** by the CBS trade officer.***. While there is a log to track the exchange of these assets,***.
4.4.4 The receipt of passport stock and reconciliation of the monthly passport inventories are conducted by the *** and the *** but ***does not sign the form.***. It is important for inventory control purposes to have these reports submitted monthly.
4.4.5 ***. The inventory would serve as a register, indicating to whom the *** were issued and recording the individual's acceptance of responsibility. The inventory should be reconciled, at a minimum, on an annual basis.
Recommendations to the Mission
4.5.1 A CBS officer, other than the HOM, should be appointed to provide more oversight of the program.
4.5.2 The consular *** process should be strengthened.
4.5.3 The program should strengthen inventory controls to ensure that:
Mission Actions and Timeframes
4.5.1 The FS-03 Trade Commissioner will reassume the management of the program when she is relocated back to Sydney from Melbourne. In progress for September 2012.
4.5.2 The program has taken steps to strengthen the *** process. The finance section began issuing receipts when receiving deposits in December 2011.***. Weekly random spot checks to monitor/reconcile the consular cash revenue process by a CBS will be conducted once the FS-03 Trade Commissioner resumes management of the program. In progress for September 2012.
4.5.3 The program has strengthened the inventory controls.***. Implemented June 2012.
4.5.4 ***. In progress for June 2012.
5.1.1 The Common Services program is managed by an LE-09 Mission Administrative Officer (MAO) who is supported by a team of eight LES. The program is responsible for providing common services to 40 employees spread over four DFAIT programs and one partner program. Accommodation support is also provided to the FS-03 Trade Commissioner who works out of her staff quarter in Melbourne.
5.1.2 The MAO is also responsible for the operations of the International Exchange Program (IEP) that deals with working holiday visa applications for Australians wishing to travel to Canada. The program is well regarded at headquarters and at the mission. The processes that the IEP Coordinator developed serve as a model for other missions and will also form the basis of an on-line program to be developed by the International Experience Canada Unit (GLEE).
|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|
5.1.3 Staff within the program are knowledgeable and have the appropriate skills to perform their jobs effectively ***.
5.1.4 While the program has recently updated its service standards, some policies, procedures and guidelines are either in need of updating or do not exist, for example, in the area of human resource competitions. A review of the HR staffing process indicates that it lacks discipline, transparency and requires immediate attention.
5.1.5 In order for the program to move forward, policies, guidelines and procedures must be developed and then approved by the CMM. These documents should be consolidated into an easily accessible file, made available on a shared drive and communicated to clients and staff. This will strengthen client service delivery by the program and will help to manage client expectations. It will also enhance transparency and ensure equitable treatment of all programs.
|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||N/A||N/A|
5.1.6 The program lacks a formal planning mechanism as many activities and services are provided on a reactive basis. The program would benefit from the development of a workplan that would identify future workload pressures and assist staff in preparing for upcoming events.
5.1.7 Overall, clients were satisfied with the services provided. However, the program does not have any formal mechanism in place to solicit feedback from clients once service is provided. This is an important element in client service delivery and is a useful tool to measure performance.
|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|
5.1.8 In general, contracting and procurement processes are ad hoc in nature and do not provide the mission with a capacity for future planning.
5.1.9 A Contract Review Board (CRB) is in place. Contracts are circulated to the board members who act in their role as CRB members on a rotating basis. However, no formal meetings are held. Spousal/dependant contracts should all be vetted through the CRB to ensure transparency. A contract register is used; however, files do not contain requests for proposals.
5.1.10 The mission does not have a multi-year capital acquisition plan in place and simply deals with purchasing requests and issues as they arise. As a result, there have been problems with furnishing replacements for staff quarters. A capital acquisition plan would address these issues and make the process much more transparent.
Recommendations to the Mission
5.1.12 Policies, guidelines and procedures governing many aspects of Common Services program delivery should be updated or developed as required.
5.1.13 The MAO should develop workplans for all areas of the program.
5.1.14 The mission should develop a client feedback mechanism.
5.1.15 CRB meetings should be held at minimum on a quarterly basis to discuss all contracts issued during this period. Files should contain all relevant documentation related to decisions taken by the board.
5.1.16 A capital acquisition plan should be developed and reviewed by the CMM annually.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
5.1.12 Hospitality procedures and guidelines have been updated every year and provided to all programs. Classification files are completely up to date. All other policies, guidelines and procedures will be reviewed and updated as necessary before the end of the calendar year and communicated to staff. Copies of all policies, guidelines and procedures will be made available on the Sydney Wiki site which is currently being prepared. In progress for December 2012.
5.1.13 The workplan for the LEITP has been developed. Workplans for the finance, HR and property staff will be developed within the next two months. In progress for September 2012.
5.1.14 A client feedback form is under development and will be sent to staff shortly. A copy of the form will be made available on the mission's Wiki site. In progress for September 2012.
5.1.15 The CRB will meet on a regular basis as required. In progress for December 2012.
5.1.16 The CMM will review and establish a capital acquisition plan upon funding confirmation for 2012/13. In progress for July 2012.
5.2 Human Resources
5.2.1 The HR functions at the mission are managed by the MAO with the assistance of an LE- 06 Administration Assistant. It should be noted that the Administration Assistant also performed property/materiel-related duties prior to the creation of a new position. She continues to be heavily involved in that section ***. In addition, staff absences in the past year have also created a gap in the delivery of the HR functions. Over the past year, the mission has conducted four staffing actions.
|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 management needs some improvement with immediate attention required in the development of staffing procedures in accordance with the Locally Engaged Staff Services Bureau (ALD) guidelines.
5.2.3 ***, the mission has experienced a number of challenges with the application of some staffing processes and would benefit from refresher training governing staffing and compensation guidelines
5.2.4 The HR plan needs to be strengthened. A recruitment strategy to identify future requirements, including bilingual capacity and succession planning, has to be developed in consultation with program managers in order to properly capture all program needs.
5.2.5 The mission has developed arrival and departure checklists for CBS. A welcome kit is provided to all new CBS which includes general local information, and there is a good LES induction program. New employees are given a checklist to ensure they complete all steps in the orientation process, receive all necessary documents and are introduced to all key staff.
5.2.6 The MAO has been designated as the mission training coordinator. The LES Learning Roadmap has been shared with all LES, and training needs are identified through the PMP process. French language training is provided for all LES and on-line training is encouraged. However, there is no mission-wide training plan and budget established at CMM. A coordinated training plan would enhance management of training and facilitate budgeting as well as the coordination and prioritization of needs for all programs.
5.2.7 Most job descriptions are up to date, and PMPs are up to date. The completion of PMPs is monitored with reminders sent to program managers and discussion at CMM.
5.2.8 Separate position and employee files are maintained and appropriately secured in locked filing cabinets. The files are well maintained and contain the documents outlined in the ALD checklists, with the exception of one recent file which was missing key information pertaining to employment history. The mission is working with ALD to ensure that all relevant employment documents are on file to ensure an accurate taken-on-strength date is identified.
|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|
5.2.9 Overall, key HR processes require improvement with a particular focus on mission hiring practices and procedures. Some staffing actions have been perceived as non-transparent and/or as a conflict of interest which has raised some questions on the staffing procedures followed at the mission.
5.2.10 The mission historically and traditionally advertised many position vacancies internally to mission staff only. In some cases, emergency employees - often the sole applicants and deemed to be the "right fit" based on their knowledge of the mission, past work history and performance - were offered positions without going through an actual competition. In effect, the mission limited the selection area to the extent that it did not provide a reasonable pool of candidates. The mission should ensure a consistent establishment of selection areas and document their approach in the HR plan.
5.2.11 Documenting the process would provide clearer guidance and assure consistency and transparency in the staffing process. One case in particular generated negative allegations which could have been avoided had the appropriate staffing procedures been followed. Staffing policies/procedures (ALD and mission specific) should be considered as one of the priority items for development.
5.2.12 The competition files reviewed contained inconsistent documentation and, in some cases, lacked documents such as the rating guides and assessment notes of each candidate.
The Administration Assistant advised that additional files containing these documents are maintained; however, these were not provided for review at the time of the inspection.
5.2.13 A system is in place to track all LES leave. Under Australian law and included as part of the LES benefits, all long-serving LES are provided an additional two to three months of leave after each ten years of service. There are a number of long-serving staff at the mission representing a leave liability of approximately $2 million. Monthly updates, including the long- service leave accrued, are sent to all program managers.
Recommendations to the Mission
5.2.14 The mission should develop a mission-wide training plan with an established budget to be presented to the CMM for approval.
5.2.15 The mission should strengthen the HR plan to include a recruitment strategy and succession planning.
5.2.16 The mission should develop clear selection criteria when conducting a competition process and ensure consistent application of the approach throughout the mission.
5.2.17 The mission should develop written staffing procedures in accordance with ALD staffing guidelines, discuss at CMM and communicate to clients.
5.2.18 Staffing files should contain all key documents outlined in the ALD Staffing Checklist.
5.2.19 The mission should review the staffing toolkit available on the ALD website and contact ALD to obtain refresher training.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
5.2.14 The CMM will be asked to approve the plan and budget for mission-wide training once final budget allocations for 2012/13 are received. In progress for July 2012.
5.2.15 The recruitment strategy and succession planning will be included in an updated version of the HR Plan which will fully capture all program needs. In progress for August 2012.
5.2.16 Program managers at the mission have, in the past, prepared a clear selection criteria when requiring a position to be filled. A consistent approach for all staff has been implemented following ALD guidelines since the beginning of 2012. Implemented January 2012.
5.2.17 Written staffing procedures in accordance with ALD staffing guidelines will be prepared and discussed at CMM and communicated to staff. In progress for August 2012.
5.2.18 All newly created staffing files will contain the key documents outlined in the ALD Staffing Checklist. Implemented January 2012.
5.2.19 The Admin Assistant/Personnel Assistant is currently reviewing the staffing toolkit available on the ALD website to identify areas where we can strengthen our processes. If required, ALD will be contacted for additional training. In progress for October 2012.
5.3 Physical Resources
5.3.1 The Physical Resources section is managed by the MAO with support from the Property/Materiel Assistant. The HR Administration Assistant, who formerly served as the Property/Materiel Assistant, is still actively involved in the section, providing training and guidance to the recently hired incumbent. In recent months, the section has been challenged due to staff absences and high work volume. Developing and updating the required policies and procedures would increase the section's capacity to deal with client requests. Once completed, service standards would have to be adjusted accordingly.
5.3.2 The section manages a Crown-owned chancery, a Crown-owned official residence (OR) and five Crown-leased staff quarters (SQs), one of which is located in Melbourne. The section also manages two official vehicles, one used primarily for the HOM and the other as a pooled vehicle serving the needs of all programs.
|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 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 management of the physical resources section is, ***. Policies and procedures must be developed or updated in order for the section to be more proactive and to meet the demands of their clients. The Mission Property Management Plan (MPMP) and Mission Maintenance Workplan (MMWP) were current at the time of the inspection and due to be updated in January 2012. As part of the update of property plans, the data in the Physical Resources Information - Mission Environment (PRIME) database will require close attention. In the future, this data should be updated in a timely manner in order to have current information in the database (e.g. size of SQs, rental information, occupant information, new SQs data, etc.).
5.3.4 The section is relying on e-mail and telephone messages to receive service requests from clients. The mission should consider the purchase and installation of a service order request system. Considering that the mission in Canberra is currently using *** the system, guidance and assistance could be sought from Canberra.
5.3.5 The Property/Materiel Assistant has only seen one of the four SQs within the mission inventory. He must familiarize himself with all properties as soon as possible. Inspection of staff quarters is not conducted on an annual basis, but only upon the original occupancy of the CBS member.
5.3.6 One SQ lease is valued at approximately $9,000 per month, almost double that of other SQs in the inventory. This SQ, a three bedroom house, has also received much more maintenance and upkeep attention than other SQs in the inventory. ***. The mission has another three bedroom apartment, which was first leased four years ago at over $8,500 per month. Both of these properties, leased in 2008 based on the departmental space guidelines and prior to the establishment of rental ceilings, are well over the current ceiling, one by as much as 25%. However, the mission has made concerted effort to ensure that new leases respect the rental ceilings as closely as possible.
5.3.7 The mission has done a good job in securing two new SQs within the rent ceiling during the summer 2011 relocation season. Staff should be commended for their diligence and hard work in this regard. Both SQs are suitably sized and compatible for current family configurations. Lease renewals should be considered if the family configuration of incoming staff allows.
5.3.8 The Housing Committee currently approves several SQ options for incoming CBS to choose from. The standard procedure is for the Housing Committee to choose an SQ and recommend the assignment to the HOM rather than request the approval of the future occupant. The mission should attempt to establish a housing inventory of SQs that will be suitable over the long-term as searching for new leases every four years is not only time consuming but also requires additional funding for fit-up costs.
|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|
5.3.9 Overall, the internal controls in the section need improvement; rigour, discipline and proper planning must be instilled to improve controls.
5.3.10 While inventories of SQ assets are maintained, a representative from the section simply hands the inventory to the SQ occupant and requests that they perform a check and sign the inventory and the occupancy agreement. The Property/Materiel Assistant should be present when the occupant verifies items listed on the inventory.
5.3.11 An inventory of chancery assets has not been updated even though the mission recently underwent a refurbishment funded by the Physical Resources Bureau (ARD) in 2009. As well, inventoried items in storage have not been signed off by the custodian or verified by the MAO. File reviews were conducted as part of the inspection process. Inventories of SQ furnishings were all current although the section was not using materiel transfer vouchers (MTV) to track additions or deletions from inventories once the original inventory had been established.
5.3.12 A review of surplus asset disposal files indicated that the mission has frequently been disposing of assets through donations despite not having approval from ARD. As well, staff members involved in other disposal actions were permitted to submit bids and to purchase surplus assets. Disposal of surplus assets requires closer attention.
5.3.13 At the time of the inspection visit, the mission was in the process of updating the transportation policy governing the use of official vehicles. In the past, staff members were allowed to take vehicles from the chancery over the weekend on the premise that they had official duties to perform. This should be approved only on an exceptional basis. The updated policy should identify another individual in the Common Services program, other than the MAO, to be responsible for scheduling and accepting requests ***.
5.3.14 ***. These should be secured and used only when the vehicles are refuelled.***.
5.3.15 Vehicle logs are maintained for the two official vehicles. However, monthly reconciliations of mileage and fuel purchased are not prepared or signed off by the MAO.
Proper care should be taken by staff when completing these log sheets to ensure that information is legible and can be verified.
Recommendations to the Mission
5.3.16 Property policies, guidelines and procedures should be updated or developed where required.
5.3.17 PRIME data should be updated in a timely manner.
5.3.18 The mission should consider purchasing and installing a service request system.
5.3.19 SQ inspections should be conducted annually, preferably in line with the updating of the capital acquisition plan.
5.3.20 SQs currently in the inventory with leases in excess of the rent ceiling should not be renewed.
5.3.21 A member of the property section should be present when occupants are reviewing the SQ asset inventory.
5.3.22 The mission should ensure that all assets are inventoried and materiel transfer vouchers used to track any future movement.
5.3.23 Donations of surplus assets should be approved by ARD if the original value is greater than $200. Staff involved in the disposal process should not be permitted to participate in the purchase of assets.
5.3.24 Use of official vehicles should be closely monitored and any personal use restricted.
5.3.25 *** should be appropriately safeguarded.
5.3.26 The MAO should be involved in the monthly reconciliation and verification process for vehicle use and fuel purchases.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
5.3.16 All property policies, guidelines and procedures have been updated or developed. Implemented December 2011.
5.3.17 The mission will ensure that data is entered into PRIME in a timely manner. Implemented May 2012.
5.3.18 As *** is scheduled to phase out with the implementation of the new Signet environment, we will look into systems that will provide an improvement in the delivery of service standards. In progress for September 2012.
5.3.19 The mission will ensure SQ inspections are conducted annually. In progress for December 2012.
5.3.20 The two SQs on the inventory with leases in excess of the rental ceiling were leased prior to the establishment of a ceiling. *** all new leases will respect the rental ceilings established. Implemented September 2011.
5.3.21 When staffed, the mission will ensure that the Property/Materiel Assistant is present when occupants are reviewing the SQ inventory. In progress for September 2012.
5.3.22 Updated inventories are available for all the SQs and Chancery. Materiel transfer vouchers (MTV) were not used to track movement of assets; however, all distribution accounts were updated and appropriately notated to indicate transfers. We will in future use MTVs to track transfers. Implemented June 2012.
5.3.23 The mission will ensure that all disposal actions are undertaken in accordance with departmental procedures and that staff involved in the disposal process are not permitted to participate in the purchase of assets. Implemented June 2012.
5.3.24 An official vehicle policy was under review when the inspection took place. A policy has since been approved and implemented by CMM which restricts use of official vehicles for personal use. Implemented December 2011.
5.3.25 *** are now in the ***. Implemented December 2011.
5.3.26 The MAO is involved in the monthly reconciliation & verification of the vehicle use and fuel purchases. Implemented January 2012.
5.4.1 The Finance section is managed by the MAO with day-to-day operations undertaken by the LE-07 Senior Accountant and the LE-05 Assistant Accountant. Both accountants work well together and have established a clear division of duties while at the same time maintaining a working knowledge of all aspects of the section. This is particularly important should either of them be away from the office for an extended period of time.
|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 (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|
5.4.2 The section is functioning well, although there are a few areas where improvement in procedures can be made.
5.4.3 The Assistant Accountant provides Materiel Management (MM) Module input for contracts. MM document entry should be undertaken by another employee within the Common Services program, such as the Property/Materiel Assistant, to ensure that a proper segregation of duties is maintained.
5.4.4 Quiet hours are not employed by the finance section. Developing and implementing a quiet hours policy would allow the section to set aside time each day to receive receipts from the Immigration, the Consular and the Working Holiday programs as well as to conduct duties that require a greater degree of concentration.***.
5.4.5 While the mission is using the electronic funds transfer (EFT) option to process approximately 25% of its official payments, such as LES payroll and SQ rents, this option could be used more extensively.
|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.||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|A percentage of costs for personal use of OR supplies is determined and regular reimbursements are made to the Mission.||X|
|A process is in place to ensure that, where applicable, CBS reimburse the mission for any services of a personal nature received at their staff quarters (e.g. television, internet, telephone, etc.).||X|
5.4.6 Overall, internal controls are effective. However, there is room for improvement in certain areas.
5.4.7 The MAO receives and reviews the bank statement prior to giving it to the accountants. Banking reconciliations are current and are reviewed and signed off on a monthly basis. However, the HOM is not provided with all files prior to signing. These should be provided so that the HOM can review vouchers if required.
5.4.8 Prior to the inspection visit, the mission had conducted a review of the past 18 months of financial accounts in order to ensure that signatures were on all documents and files were complete. The mission back-dated and signed incomplete vouchers in an attempt to fulfill the original requirement. This should not have occurred. In most cases, these were for system deposits (SD) and journal voucher adjustment (SA) documents.
5.4.10 The Receptionist occasionally assists the Consular program***.
5.4.11 Telephone, internet, and cable fees for the OR are either paid in full or are shared between the consulate and the HOM. A system to recover for personal local calls which are metered has not been established. As well, there is no authority for cable and internet costs for the OR to be paid by the mission.
5.4.12 A wine inventory is maintained in a log book but no quarterly reconciliation takes place. Proper controls should be put in place to track purchases and consumption during hospitality events with quarterly and annual reconciliations as controls.
Recommendations to the Mission
5.4.13 MM document entry should be undertaken by a staff member who does not require Integrated Management System (IMS) access for other financial transactions.
5.4.14 The MAO should prepare a quiet hours policy and communicate this to clients accordingly. The dutch door should be used to restrict access during normal working hours.
5.4.15 The mission should liaise with the bank and suppliers in an effort to increase the use of EFTs as a payment method.
5.4.16 The mission must ensure that financial signing authorities are obtained prior to entry into IMS.
5.4.19 The mission should develop a mechanism to ensure personal costs at the OR are identified and reimbursed.
5.4.20 Cable and internet costs at the OR should be paid by the HOM.
5.4.21 Controls should be put in place to track the purchase and consumption of wine, and reconciliations should take place on a quarterly and annual basis.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
5.4.13 As the four members of the current Common Services team have access to IMS, MM document entry will be undertaken by the Property/Materiel Assistant when the position is filled. In progress for September 2012.
5.4.14 A quiet hours policy has been implemented and communicated to staff. Implemented June 2012.
5.4.15 The mission is currently working with the Corporate Accounting, Finance, Policy and Financial Systems Bureau (SMD) to introduce Standard Payment System (SPS). The introduction of SPS will create efficiencies and increase operational effectiveness for the mission. We anticipate an increase in EFTs from our current 30 percent to about 70 percent. In progress for October 2012.
5.4.16 The Accountant will ensure that all documents have financial signing authorities in place before entry into IMS. Implemented January 2012.
5.4.17 ***. Implemented December 2011.
5.4.18 ***. Implemented June 2012.
5.4.19 A better system has been put in place to ensure all personal costs at the OR are identified and reimbursed. Implemented December 2011.
5.4.20 The personal costs for cable and internet at the OR are now paid by the HOM. Implemented December 2011.
5.4.21 A log book has been maintained and reconciliation will take place on quarterly and annual basis. In progress for October 2012.
5.5 Information Management - Information Technology (IM-IT)
5.5.1 The IM-IT section is managed by an LE-08 Locally Engaged Information Technology Professional (LEITP) who was recently hired in October 2011. He has received good support to date as well as ongoing mentoring from the FSITP in Canberra. The section provides services to 40 indeterminate employees as well to as many as eight emergency or contract staff at any given time.
|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|
5.5.2 The section is providing a good level of service to its clients, although there is no formal workplan in place for the section. This makes it difficult for the LEITP to properly assess workloads, assign priorities and identify required resources. Given that he is new to the job, developing a workplan of tasks that he has to undertake over the next year would be of great benefit to him and the mission.
|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|
5.5.3 Overall, IM-IT processes and controls were in place and seen to be effective. Clients advised that they were receiving a good level of service from the LEITP and that he is responsive to their needs. Service standards were developed in April 2011 and are in place.
5.5.4 ***. The Client Service Regional Manager (CSRM) based at the mission in Singapore advised the LEITP that this location is acceptable ***.
Recommendations to the Mission
5.5.7 The LEITP should develop a formal workplan.
5.5.9 The *** should be tested on a regular basis.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
5.5.7 A formal work plan is now in place. Implemented January 2012.
5.5.8 The mission has migrated its server and tape back-up to the***. Implemented May 2012.
5.5.9 The LEITP is liaising with the HOM to ensure *** is tested ***. In progress for August 2012.
5.5.10 ***. In progress for October 2012.
Appendix A: Mission Resources Fact Sheet
|Operating||$ 196,800||$ 1,555,950|
|Total||$ 1,617,600||$ 2,978,334|
|Head of Mission||2||1||1|
|International Exchange Program||1||1|
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 Workplan
- 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: