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Inspection of the Embassy of Canada - Manila, the Philippines
April 16-20, 2012
- Inspection Scope and Objectives
- Executive Summary
- 1 Mission management
- 2 Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service (FPDS)
- 3 Commercial Economic (CE)
- 4 Consular
- 5 Common Services
- Appendix A: Mission Resources Fact Sheet
- Appendix B: Frequently Used Acronyms
Inspection Scope and Objectives
The scope of the Inspection included a review of Mission Management and the Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service, Commercial Economic, Consular and Common Services programs. The inspection objectives were to:
- Assess the effectiveness of the leadership and management practices of the Head of Mission (HOM) and the Mission Management team;
- Review the alignment of plans and activities, and program integration to Government of Canada and departmental objectives and priorities;
- Assess the adequacy of management controls and systems, procedures and the reliability of information for decision making and accountability purposes;
- Determine the extent of compliance with legislation, regulations and operating policies;
- Evaluate the use of resources to determine that they are judiciously used and if value-for-money is received; and
- Make recommendations, where warranted, to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Mission and its programs.
The focus and extent of on-site work was based on an assessment of materiality and related risk. This was done through communication with Headquarters (HQ) bureaux, including briefings by line management and the functional bureaux, review of relevant HQ and Mission documentation, past audit findings, and an analysis of recurring trends and systemic issues.
During the Inspection, inspection issues and lines of enquiry were further refined from information gathered through interviews with the Head of Mission and program managers, a meeting with Locally Engaged Staff (LES) representatives of the LES Management Consultation Board, individual interviews with staff, and results of other documentation reviewed. The level of inspection work was therefore based on issues and information identified and gathered at all levels: HQ, Mission management and Mission operations.
An inspection of Mission Management, the Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service (FPDS), Commercial Economic (CE), Consular and Common Services programs was conducted in Manila, Philippines from April 16 to 20, 2012. A previous audit/inspection of these programs took place in 2005.
The embassy in Manila is a large mission headed by an EX-03 Head of Mission (HOM) with 33 Canada-based Staff (CBS) and 135 Locally Engaged Staff (LES). The immigration and visa program have a significant presence and represent the program's largest operation outside Canada. The mission is responsible for departmental program delivery in the Philippines and oversees an Honorary Consul in Cebu City. Partner departments include Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). The mission provides hub and spoke support for information management and information technology to Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. It also provides security assistance to other missions in the region as required. The mission is *** managed and operating effectively under the leadership of the HOM and his management team although the prolonged absence of a program manager for CIC has become a challenge for the program and mission management. Mission strategic objectives are determined through the Mission Planning and Reporting (MPR) process which was led by the FPDS program with a collaborative whole of government effort.
The FPDS program is *** managed and morale in the section is good. It focuses on supporting and encouraging progress in the areas of human rights, rule of law, security and local initiatives such as media capacity. The program also undertakes activities related to public affairs, economic reporting and general relations. The development of operational workplans with targets and measures would help the program manager achieve his goal of linking activities to Government of Canada's priorities, including prosperity and regional security. Relations with other mission programs are positive and on-going, particularly with issues related to advocacy and corruption.
The CE program is *** managed by a Senior Trade Commissioner with *** management style. The HOM's involvement and engagement is seen as positive and constructive. The program's plans cascade down to staff PMPs and are aligned with the mission's key priorities. The planning cycle would provide even more value if overall performance monitoring was improved. The mission is the lead for the commercial component of Canada's ASEAN network for the infrastructure sector strategy. Manila is also the Office of Liaison with International Financial Institutions (OLIFI) for the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The program and the HOM engage with the ADB's location in Manila to build strong contacts and relationships which could potentially assist Canadian companies.
The consular program is *** managed and morale is good under the Deputy Management Consular Officer's (DMCO) *** leadership style. The consular staff forms a committed, motivated and strong team. An Honorary Consul (HonCon) located in Cebu City has provided consular services to Canadians in that area for a significant number of years. A warden's network is in place which requires active recruitment and review to ensure the right balance of coverage within major cities and provincial locations.
The common services program is providing a good level of service to mission clients. There is good morale and teamwork in the sections. While the MCO is seen as *** of his staff, discussions with clients, CBS and LES, have shown that ***. The MCO's weekly meetings with section heads could be even more effective if strategic and forward planning information was regularly shared. Controls are generally in place with some room for improvement in the completeness of contracting and HR files. A mechanism for client feedback should be considered so client service and client/program communication can be monitored and improved.
A total of 59 inspection recommendations are raised in the report, 59 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 59 recommendations, management has stated that 49 have been implemented. For each of the remaining 10 recommendations, management has indicated the initiatives in progress or the intended future action.
1.1.1 The embassy in Manila is a large mission headed by an EX-03 Head of Mission (HOM) with 33 Canada-based Staff (CBS) and 135 Locally Engaged Staff (LES), of which 17 CBS and 77 LES work for the immigration and visa program. It is responsible for departmental program delivery in the Philippines and oversees an Honorary Consul in Cebu City. Partner departments include Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
1.1.2 The mission provides hub and spoke support for information management and information technology to Bandar Seri Begawan. It also provides security assistance to other missions in the region as required.
1.1.3 The common services program is managed by an EX-01, who is responsible for overall mission operations and oversees the operational and capital budgets of approximately $5.2 million and $233 thousand respectively. The mission also manages a property portfolio that includes a Crown-leased chancery, a Crown-owned official residence (OR) as well as 27 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 The mission is *** managed and operating effectively under the leadership of the HOM and his management team. There are good communication mechanisms in place and morale is positive.
1.2.2 Mission strategic objectives are articulated through the Mission Planning and Reporting (MPR) process, which is led by the Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service (FPDS) program in collaboration with all programs. On a regular basis the Committee on Mission Management (CMM) meets to develop and refine overarching objectives and the mission statement for the embassy.
1.2.3 Management mechanisms include weekly meetings with the HOM and individual program managers and an extensive committee structure reporting to the CMM. The CMM meets weekly, alternating between 'operations' based meetings where it is used as a forum to exchange information on priorities and activities, and 'decision' based meetings that focus on higher-level issues and mission governance. Town hall meetings for all staff have been held to present and discuss mission-wide topics and issues. Each program conducts meetings with its staff to provide an overview of CMM discussions, discuss program specific issues and share information. A successful practice which is appreciated by staff, are the Friday morning informal meetings held between the HOM and small groups of six to eight employees. These gatherings have been useful in reinforcing messages, promoting initiatives such as values and ethics, and in providing the HOM with feedback and suggestions from across the mission.
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 HOM initiated a collective approach to develop a common mission statement and overarching objectives. These have been distributed to every employee in both official languages and in the local language. The CMM and individual meetings with program heads are used by the HOM to foster cooperation and coordination on horizontal policy files and common services initiatives. 'Whole of government' input and participation are evidenced by the promotion of values and ethics, emergency planning, the development and review of program and mission plans, and the functioning of mission committees.
1.3.2 The CMM is a forum where all management issues including common service delivery are discussed. The mission could benefit from conducting a review of delivery standards in close coordination with all partner departments present at mission with a focus on areas where challenges have been identified. This would present management with an opportunity to reassess and fine tune common service delivery to partner departments in areas of property, HR and finance management with a focus on client service.
1.4 Management Controls
|Key Management Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Mission committees are meeting regularly and effectively discharging their governance responsibilities.||X|
|A Mission Emergency Plan (MEP) is in place and tested regularly.||X|
|Security policies and regulations are respected and promoted.||X|
|The quarterly reconciliation of passport inventory is properly completed and certified.||X|
|Program managers are provided regular financial/budget updates to facilitate effective management and decision making.||X|
|Bank reconciliations are properly reviewed and signed-off on a monthly basis.||X|
|Mission hospitality guidelines are appropriate and reviewed annually by CMM.||X|
|Hospitality activities are properly documented, demonstrate value-for-money and align with mission objectives.||X|
|All employees have performance objectives set and annual reviews occur.||X|
|The Honorary Consul (HonCon) has an up-to-date mandate letter and performance is reviewed annually.||X|
1.4.1 Overall, key management controls are in place and operating effectively. As part of its management control framework the mission has an extensive committee structure. For the most part, the committees are functioning effectively and reporting to the CMM.
1.4.2 The housing committee composition currently does not fully and proportionately reflect all mission programs. In addition, given the naturally close relationship of the housing committee with the common service program, the chairperson selected should not be closely connected with that program. The fact that the DMCO property is a permanent non-voting committee member adequately supports the committee.
1.4.3 A strong emphasis is placed on emergency planning with the adoption of a new MEP in 2011. The mission Security Program Manager, in his newly created position, is in the process of refocusing the security function to include a regional perspective. In order to ensure engagement with all programs and oversight by mission management, the manager should report to and be directed by the Security Committee.
1.4.4 The Honorary Consul (HonCon) in Cebu City has been providing consular services in the Cebu area for many years.***. Cebu City is a busy consulate and the majority of the Honorary Consul's work is associated with consular responsibilities as well as immigration and trade inquiries. An annual tasking letter is in place, however there is no appendix listing refundable expenses.
1.5 Official Languages
|Key Official Languages Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|The Official Languages Act is respected and promoted by Mission Management.||X|
|Mission signage is provided in both English and French and a bilingual Official Languages Co-ordinator has been appointed.||X|
|The Mission has sufficient capacity to communicate with and provide services to the public, both orally and in writing, in both official languages.||X|
1.5.1 Overall, the mission respects the Official Languages Act and promotes the use of both official languages. Signage within the mission and in the reception area on the ground floor of the office tower complex is posted in both languages. The mission is well served by a trilingual receptionist. However, the only person within the consular program capable of providing services to clients in both official languages is the CBS program manager.
1.5.2 Official language capacity of some LES involved in providing direct services to Canadian clients is weak. The mission actively encourages French language training for LES although there is more demand than funding available. The need to strengthen the official languages capability of the consular staff is recognized; although the mission should give a higher priority to improving the official languages capability of staff directly serving Canadians.
Recommendations to the Mission
1.6.1 In order to enhance client service the mission should conduct an annual client survey to reassess and fine tune common service delivery.
1.6.2 The composition of the housing committee should be revisited to ensure that there is appropriate proportional representation for all programs.
1.6.3 The chair of the housing committee should be a senior program manager.
1.6.4 The mission should initiate a succession plan ***.
1.6.5 French language instruction should be a priority for mission staff who are responsible for providing front-line services to Canadians.
1.6.6 The mission should include French language capability as a priority in staffing for positions where there is a responsibility to provide front-line services to Canadians.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
1.6.1 Mission is investigating feedback mechanisms for client service delivery. As this is a network wide initiative we would seek leadership advice from the International Platform Branch (IPB). Implemented.
1.6.2 Appropriate representation on the housing committee will be ensured. The composition of all embassy committees is being reviewed following the summer rotation and the housing committee will see changes to ensure appropriate representation. Implemented.
1.6.3 The housing committee was led by the security program manager, a senior manager who is responsible for an independent mission program and a CMM member. We will review the committee chairs in conjunction with the overall review of committee membership, taking into account the advice from the inspection report. Implemented.
1.6.4 Mission has already undertaken preliminary actions***. The ambassador has also made similar inquiries.***. In progress for March 2014.
1.6.5 Mission is reviewing the requirements for official language training based upon competency and operational requirements and will allocate resources accordingly. In progress for December 2012.
1.6.6 Language ability is already an important factor in staffing positions. Where the operational requirement exists, French language ability will continue to be accorded priority in the statement of merit criteria (SOMC) for LES positions. Implemented.
Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service (FPDS)
2.1.1 The FPDS program is headed by an EX-01 program manager (PM). The PM is supported by an FS-01, an LE-08 public affairs officer and two LE-05 assistants. The program's financial resources are provided below.
|Post Initiative Fund||9,900|
2.1.2 The program focuses on supporting and encouraging progress in the areas of human rights, rule of law, security, and local initiatives such as local media capacity. The program also undertakes activities related to public affairs, economic reporting and general relations.
2.2 Planning and Program Management
|Key FPDS Program Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|FPDS plans are aligned with the priorities and objectives outlined in the mission plan and informed by departmental and geographic bureau guidance and objectives.||X|
|FPDS plans outline intended outcomes and results are measurable.||X|
|Roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and have been communicated to all staff.||X|
|Internal communications within the program effectively support program delivery.||X|
2.2.1 The program is *** managed and morale in the section is good. The PM, who arrived last summer, provides *** leadership. He is supported by enthusiastic officers. Overall, the program is operating effectively and benefits from formal and informal communications based on regular meetings and daily interactions. There are staff meetings every two weeks where management shares information from the CMM and other activities, and where staff can raise and discuss issues. The PM meets regularly with each staff member and is accessible to them as required.
2.2.2 The FPDS program led the Mission Planning and Reporting (MPR) process, with a collaborative whole of government effort. The MPR articulates high level strategic outcomes. The program then aims to link activities to Government of Canada's priorities, including prosperity and regional security.
2.2.3 The program would benefit from a more detailed workplan that would link MPR strategic objectives and corresponding activities, responsible officers and measureable performance indicators that are within the program's control. Targets should be set against the performance indicators and establish achievable, expected results. The plan could also include year-end assessments to identify the results against the planned activities. This would provide for a better linkage between the MPR and staff performance management plans (PMPs), as well as a tool to reinforce the team's focus on their contribution to overall program objectives.
2.2.4 The roles and responsibilities of the officers are clearly defined. There is, however, some confusion when it comes to the responsibilities of the LE-05 assistants. Situations arise where cooperation and tasking between the LES officer and the assistants have caused tension between staff. As the senior assistant often works closely with the FS-01 officer, ***. This will clarify tasking and provide ***.
2.2.5 One LE-05 position was reassessed in the past year and was under-classified. However, the position was never reclassified due to a freeze on the budget. The mission should investigate the status of the reclassification.
|Key FPDS Implementation Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Strategic objectives and plans have been translated into individual or team work plans.||X|
|Activities and initiatives are aligned with the Mission's key priorities and with the principles of the New Way Forward FPDS Renewal initiative.||X|
|Program reporting is in-line with Mission and government objectives, timely and relevant.||X|
|The program develops and maintains a contact base that meets programs needs and objectives.||X|
|Relations with other mission programs facilitate program delivery (e.g. public affairs).||X|
|The program facilitates a mission-wide coordinated approach to advocacy and common messaging.||X|
2.3.1 The PM and his team align their activities with the priorities of the Canadian government, the mission's MPR and with the principles of the New Way Forward. Management controls are exercised primarily through the communication, oversight and input of the PM. More systematic controls would include the development of individual work plans deriving from the program plan.
2.3.2 Relations with other mission programs are positive and on-going particularly with issues related to advocacy and corruption. The mission supports the anti-corruption agenda focusing on rule of law and the judiciary in order to improve the trade and investment climate. The program should develop an advocacy strategy for the mission to guide other mission programs with the challenges they face in the current situation. This should be appended to the workplan.
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 leads on the Mission Planning and Reporting (MPR) process and has identified high level expected results for the year. The program's performance measurement is hampered, however, by the lack of an operational plan. A formal, documented performance measurement system should be incorporated into program planning. As the program undertakes its planning process, it should include appropriate performance measurement criteria and indicators which can then be used to assess results and adjust activities and strategies. The program does have up-to-date PMPs which are discussed with staff to assess individual performance and development requirements.
2.4.2 Hospitality files were reviewed and are in line with program objectives and hospitality guidelines.
Recommendations to the Mission
2.5.1 The FPDS program should develop a formal advocacy strategy in line with challenges that are faced in the Philippines, to guide mission programs.
2.5.2 A workplan should be developed for the program that includes an embedded advocacy strategy. This plan should include targets and performance indicators.
2.5.3 Individual workplans should be derived from the program workplan and used to guide and assess performance.
2.5.4 The PM should clarify the roles and responsibilities of the LE-05 administrative assistants ***.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
2.5.1 The FPDS manager met with staff to underline the need to line up all advocacy/hospitality with stated priorities of the embassy, DFAIT and Government of Canada. In lieu of direction and/or template from HQ, the FPDS program in Manila is developing its own forward planning document linked to priorities and advocacy. Implemented.
2.5.2 Program workplan will result as part of the initiative above. Implemented.
2.5.3 Individual workplans also to be derived from 2.5.1 initiative. In progress for October 2012.
2.5.4 The FPDS manager met with both LE-05s to clarify roles and responsibilities, as well as reconfirming the job descriptions of all LES in the section to ensure clarity across the section.***.Implemented.
2.5.5 Given the relatively small size of the FPDS team, *** does not present a great deal of efficiency, nor is it required. The FPDS manager recommends against this action. Implemented.
Commercial Economic (CE)
3.1.1 The Commercial Economic (CE) Program in Manila is managed by an FS-03 Senior Trade Commissioner (STC) acting at the EX-01 level. The STC is supported by six trade commissioners (TCs) (one FS-02, two LE-09, two LE-08 and one LE-07) and six trade commissioner assistants (TCAs) (three LE-06, two LE-05 and one LE-04). The FS-02 oversees the work of the one LE-07 TC and two LE-06 TCAs. The table below summarizes the financial resources available to the program.
|Client Service Fund (CSF)||36,620|
|Organizational Learning Fund||9,550|
3.1.2 The Philippines has an estimated population of over 92 million people with a gross domestic product (GDP) of over $199 billion in 2010, ranking it the forty fifth largest GDP by the World Bank. The Philippines is also one of ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The mission is the lead for the commercial component of Canada's ASEAN network for the infrastructure sector strategy.
3.1.3 The CE program provides services to clients by offering information to Canadian companies interested in opportunities in the region and increasing the coordination amongst the ASEAN Network. The program's priority sectors are agriculture, food and beverage, cleantech, defense, education, information and communication technologies (ICT), infrastructure and mining.
3.1.4 Manila is the location of the Office of Liaison with International Financial Institutions (OLIFI) for the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The program liaises with the ADB, conducts outcalls, organizes two business missions per year, as well as scans its website and forward potential projects to Canadian companies. The HOM and the STC are also involved in supporting ADB advocacy and awareness building for the benefit of Canadian commercial interests and work closely with CIDA given the development mandate of the Bank.
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 program is *** managed. The STC is recognized as an *** manager. She is appreciated for her ability to provide advice on various aspects of the trade work and on administrative matters, specifically related to budgets. The ambassador's involvement and engagement is seen as positive and constructive. He willingly meets with clients, hosts trade events and shares high level contacts.
3.2.2 The planning process of the program is done through consultation among staff, the department's ASEAN network and headquarters. The plan in place is aligned with the Mission Planning and Reporting (MPR) document and Government of Canada priorities. The planning framework is thorough and has strategic focus. The planning process included trade commissioners developing individual action plans which were reviewed by the STC and consulted with the HOM. Although these plans are strategically focused, the methodology as to how they set their performance targets was not clear. The program would benefit from consultations with the Strategic Trade Planning and Performance Management (BTR) division.
3.2.3 The performance indicators provided in the Commercial Economic Program (CEP) plan are identified in each TC and TCA's performance management program (PMP). Specific targets for the current fiscal year are being reviewed and assessed against last year's results and new targets will be set based on capabilities and resources.
3.2.4 The STC holds regular staff meetings that include all CE staff. In addition, the STC holds weekly individual TC meetings followed by distributing minutes, which provides additional guidance and support to the TCs. The STC has instituted a monthly learning meeting, to highlight various topics of interest. These are presented by different team members, helping to keep staff up-to-date on issues, policies and procedures.
3.2.5 Roles and responsibilities are not clearly defined. This program's structure includes various levels of LE positions from LE-04 to LE-09. The LE-04 to LE-06 positions are not clearly differentiated from one another nor the LE-07 from the LE-09 positions. Job descriptions and competencies for each position should be reviewed in relation to program requirements. Where necessary, job descriptions should be updated.
|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 providing effective services and is actively working to identify and promote opportunities for clients. Activities are well aligned with mission objectives and the implementation of a regional approach is demonstrating results in terms of improved sector planning and performance measurement.
3.3.2 The CE program has improved its data entry into TRIO significantly compared to the past two years. TRIO use is monitored by the STC through section reviews of monthly reports on service requests (SRs), outcalls and leads. Enhancing this function has been identified as an issue to be addressed in centralizing the delegation of administrative resources through an InfoCentre approach.
3.3.3 The STC has created a document identifying two proposed models to the organizational structure to incorporate an InfoCentre or a first step to an InfoCentre which they call "InfoCentre light". The CE program has currently implemented the InfoCentre light approach with the CBS officer monitoring and assigning tasks to the TCAs. However, two TCAs still report directly to three TCs. Moving towards a full InfoCentre approach would be beneficial to the program and would eliminate confusion and overtasking of the TCAs. It will also be important to clarify the TCs and TCAs new roles and responsibilities.
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 To improve financial planning and financial management within the program, a spreadsheet has been created. The STC also monitors the use of TRIO through monthly reports produced by the Trade Commissioner Service Renewal Division (BTR).
3.4.2 There is a need to better monitor the overall performance of the program. When establishing performance targets for each sector, the STC and her team could assign the InfoCentre to monitor the overall performance of the program and have team members individually monitor their own performance.
3.4.3 Hospitality activities reviewed were in line with CE and mission objectives, and expenses were properly supported.
Recommendations to the Mission
3.5.1 The program should consult with the Trade Commissioner Service Renewal Division (BTR) on assessing performance against targets being set.
3.5.2 The program should implement a full InfoCentre approach.
3.5.3 The program should review and update job descriptions and competencies for each level.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
3.5.1 Compulsory performance targets were revised with finalization of CEP on April 30, 2012. Targets were established on the basis of last year's results and adjusted to reflect a reduced number of priority sectors, also taking into account planned activities and prioritization amongst priority sectors. Consultation with BTR confirmed that targets were appropriate. On recommendation of BTR, optional targets for leads and outcalls have also been established. Implemented.
3.5.2 The InfoCentre light observed during the inspection visit had been in place for only 3 months. As a relatively recent change there was still some confusion around roles and responsibilities. Consultation was conducted with all members of the CE section (in separate sessions for TCs and TCAs), including full disclosure of inspection observations shared with the STC about the InfoCentre light model. The CE team expressed satisfaction with the current model to date and a preference to test the InfoCentre light over the course of a full fiscal year prior to making any further organizational adjustments. Management has therefore decided to continue with the current model for another 6 months and reassess at that time whether or not to implement a full InfoCentre approach. In progress for March 2013.
3.5.3 A review of job descriptions reveals that these do accurately reflect work being done by members of CE section. However, a number of the descriptions - particularly at the TC level - do not differ significantly across levels and most closely resemble a benchmark at a higher level than most positions are currently classified. Given the cultural context, any revision of duties downwards would have negative implications for staff morale. Any re- classification of positions would have implications for the embassy's salary envelope and require Committee on Representation Abroad (CORA) approval. The embassy will consult with Locally-Engaged Staff and HQ Workforce Programs Bureau (ALD) as to possible courses of action. In progress for March 2013.
4.1.1 The consular program is overseen by the EX-01 MCO with daily management conducted by an AS-05 DMCO. The program is supported by an LE-08 senior consular officer, two LE-05 consular assistants and an LE-04 receptionist. The LE-05 common services program assistant and an emergency employee provide back up during the peak consular season that runs from January to May. An Honorary Consul (HonCon) located in Cebu City has provided consular services to Canadians in that area for a significant number of years.
4.1.2 Manila is a full-service, medium-volume mission working in a country with an unpredictable physical environment, official travel warnings against Canadians traveling in some areas due to serious threats to personal safety, and a corruption index that rates corruption as highly likely. It provides approximately 2,400 passport services and processes 400 citizenship applications and 2,300 notarial requests annually. There are 1,120 Canadian citizens identified in the Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) database. The estimated number of Canadians residing in the Philippines is 12,000 to 15,000 with the majority being dual Filipino/Canadian nationals.
4.2 Program Management
|Key Consular Program Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Mission Consular plans and manuals are up to date.||X|
|Internal communications within the Program effectively support program delivery.||X|
|The Mission has ongoing dialogue with key local authorities to facilitate program delivery.||X|
|A warden network is in place and properly maintained.||X|
4.2.1 Overall the program is *** managed and morale is good under the DMCO's *** leadership style. The program benefits from strong team work that evolved over the past two years as this new team has come together. There is appropriate DMCO oversight of the passport function and the MCO provides assistance when required in complex consular cases.
4.2.2 The HonCon is provided with an up to date mandate letter, annual appraisal and *** however, a schedule stipulating the expenses which are reimbursable to him was not included in the documentation.
4.2.3 The Philippines is a country with a high risk for emergencies ranging from civil unrest to natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanoes, typhoons and tsunamis with their associated destructive flooding. Contingency documents are up to date including the mission emergency plan (MEP) and the duty officer manual (DOM). ***. Given the existing risk of environmental emergencies the mission should evaluate the *** requirement ***.
4.2.4 Internal communication is good and supported by weekly team meetings to review workloads, discuss ongoing cases and set priorities, although there are no minutes taken or records of decision noted.
4.2.5 The DMCO is *** at directing work and ensuring that key activities take place. A dedicated electronic consular calendar is used as a tool. Further development to make this into an annual workplan including details of the person responsible for an activity and the expected completion dates, would allow for more effective long term planning for the program.
4.2.6 Job descriptions are up to date and performance management plans (PMP) are in place for all employees although they would be more useful if goals were established early in the fiscal year and if there was a mid-year review instead of only at the end of the fiscal year as was the case at the time of the inspection.
4.2.7 There is a meeting with like-minded missions every quarter as well as weekly information sharing by email regarding travel, cases and trends. The mission initiates key working level contacts such as police officers and government staff who would not otherwise participate in outreach activities.
4.2.8 A wardens' network is in place which requires active recruitment and review to ensure the right balance of coverage within major cities and provincial locations. Currently a quarterly newsletter is sent out, but this is unidirectional communication. There is no scheduled *** system. A warden's conference is planned for the fall of 2012 where there will be the opportunity to discuss roles and responsibilities and to welcome new recruits.
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 mission is well served by committed and motivated consular staff. As mentioned in the mission management section of the report, the mission has a trilingual receptionist and a bilingual CBS program manager, however, French training to improve the official languages capability of consular staff directly serving Canadians warrants a higher priority in the mission.
4.3.2 Information such as the service standards, fee schedules and a receipt copy is posted in the waiting area or consular booths in both languages. Service standards are routinely met and client service feedback shows 80-90% satisfaction.
4.3.3 The section uses *** which is a database with features such as queue management, for consular client processing. The system generates receipts as well as reports that include the required information found on the EXT-119 Record of Fees Received -Passport/Consular Services form. Consular staff had positive comments regarding this system which was developed at the Guangzhou mission.
4.3.4 The program responded proactively to the challenges involving the turnover of key staff members in 2009-10 by undertaking training to ensure appropriate back-ups are now in place. An emergency employee with Passport Management Program training is available during peak periods. The receptionist and the common services program assistant also have Passport Management Program training and provide backup for passport processing.
4.3.5 A training plan is in place which includes courses for the consular assistant and the receptionist in their respective areas; however, these were on hold at the time of the inspection. Similarly, French language had been requested by the consular officer and the two assistants to improve the official languages capability of the team but they had not started taking language classes.
4.4 Internal Controls
|Key Consular Internal Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|A certified CBS signs-off on all passports.||X|
|Client documents and personal information are properly stored and secured.||X|
|Procedures and practices related to the collection of revenues are appropriate (e.g. segregation of duties, handling of cash, official receipts, record of fees received forms).||X|
|Revenues are transferred to the finance section in line with the Manual of Consular Instructions.||X|
|Upon receipt of new passport stock, two CBS verify the receipt of all assets, sign and return the transmittal note.||X|
|Passport stock is securely stored and the removal of assets is recorded on an inventory log and initialled by the CBS custodian and the employee receiving the asset.||X|
|Working inventories provided to staff are appropriate and controlled by a daily log (passports issued, spoiled, returned to safe storage).||X|
|Monthly and quarterly reconciliations of passport stock are properly completed and certified.||X|
|Official seals and stamps are properly inventoried, secured and access provided to designated staff only.||X|
4.4.1 Overall, controls governing passport and consular activities are in place ***. There is appropriate oversight by CBS, and all consular staff have Passport Management Program certification.
4.4.2 The program enforces a clean desk policy, made possible by the removal of a significant backlog of documentation that needed to be shredded. ***.
4.4.3 Consular *** procedures did not include the issuance of receipts to the consular assistants at the time *** were turned over to the DMCO for reconciliation. Changes in the reconciliation process were put in place at the time of the inspection including the immediate issuance of receipts to the consular assistants ***.
4.4.5 The monthly and quarterly passport inventories are conducted and reconciled appropriately. *** means that it is practical for the DMCO *** on an as needed basis, eliminating the need for a working inventory within the program.
4.4.6 The stamps and seals assigned *** are appropriately secured *** when not in use. They are inventoried on an as-needed basis when prompted by either Passport Canada or DFAIT.
Recommendations to the Mission
4.5.1 A schedule of reimbursable expenses should be added to the Honorary Consul's mandate letter.
4.5.2 The mission should determine if *** should be part of ***.
4.5.3 Records of decisions at weekly consular program meetings should be recorded.
4.5.4 Existing consular planning should be formalized into a workplan to assist in resource planning and to identify key initiatives that need to be undertaken.
4.5.5 Performance management plans should have written goals established at the beginning of the year and a mid-year discussion for management to give and receive feedback as well as a review at the end of the fiscal year.
4.5.6 An analysis should be prepared to assess the need for wardens in major Philippine cities and in rural areas, followed by active recruitment in the districts which do not have sufficient warden coverage.
4.5.7 Testing of the warden *** should be conducted regularly.
4.5.9 *** should be provided immediately ***.
4.5.10 A practical procedure for the *** should be developed in conjunction with HQ and approved.
4.5.11 The *** should be reconciled and witnessed by the MCO on an annual basis.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
4.5.1 A schedule will be added to next annual tasking letter (due in September 2012). It should be noted that there has never been inappropriate use of consular funds for HonCon operations and all expenditures have been transparent and consistent with reasonable established procedures. Implemented.
4.5.2 The mission is reviewing practices with like-minded missions and the Regional Emergency Management Officer (REMO) and will re-assess the need for ***. On a day to day basis, *** is the accepted form of currency. If it is deemed necessary, mission will contact SMFF. In progress for October 2012.
4.5.3 Consular team meetings are held on a weekly basis. Minutes are now being kept of these meetings starting Aug 14, 2012. Implemented.
4.5.4 A workplan was created on Aug 23. Implemented.
4.5.5 Dates entered into Consular workplan in order to ensure this is completed on time. Implemented.
4.5.6 The mission has undertaken a comprehensive review of the Warden system. Warden districts have been reviewed and realigned to better meet our client base, and clients are currently being reassigned. *** and are actively seeking new wardens in areas where coverage is inadequate. Recruiting documents have been developed and will be shared with other PMs for possible distribution when they meet a potential Warden, or may already know someone. In progress for December 2012.
4.5.7 Will implement two times per year when new wardens are in place (September and March). Entered into consular workplan. In 2011, mission established a quarterly newsletter for the wardens, which provides news to the wardens on developments in the Consular program and also allows the mission to ensure that communications network is being maintained. Implemented.
4.5.8 ***. Implemented.
4.5.9 New procedures for managing *** were implemented upon advice from the Inspection team. Implemented.
4.5.10 The mission has made arrangements with *** bank to provide exact change for consular transfers. Procedures are now aligned with the recommendations. Implemented.
4.5.11 The information was entered into Consular workplan to ensure this is done at beginning of each calendar year. Implemented.
5.1.1 The Common Services Program is managed by an EX-01 MCO who is supported by a team of two CBS (including an AS-05 DMCO/Property and a CS-02 FSITP) and 24 LES. The program is responsible for providing common services to 168 employees spread over five DFAIT and three partner programs. The IM-IT section provides support services to the mission located in Bandar Seri Begawan.
|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|
5.1.2 The MCO is seen as *** and is engaged in all areas of the program. The finance section in particular appreciates his advocacy on their part regarding support for the quiet hours policy and in providing timely feedback. Areas for improvement were identified with respect to providing sufficient instructions to clients and explaining why certain procedures need to be followed.
5.1.3 Rules and policies are not applied evenly in the areas of contracting, hospitality, housing, and Contract Review Board (CRB) approvals. Clients have indicated that the approach from the common services program was control based and not solution oriented.
5.1.4 The MCO meets weekly with all section heads within the program. Minutes are maintained and records of decisions kept although the***. They would like to be kept more informed of direction and change. Meetings with general service staff (OR staff, drivers, messengers) should also be undertaken by the MCO or DMCO in order to provide them with access to raise issues beyond their immediate supervisors.
|Key Common Services Client Service Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Service standards have been established and communicated to clients.||X|
|Services provided reflect fair and equitable allocation and access to common services for all mission programs.||X|
|A mechanism is in place to solicit and receive client feedback, and corrective action is taken when warranted.||X|
|Hub and spoke relationships are governed by an agreement outlining the roles and responsibilities of each mission.||X|
5.1.5 Overall, the program is providing a good level of service to mission clients. Should the mission be considered as a regional service delivery point, they will have to ensure that solid service mechanisms are in place on which clients can rely.
5.1.6 Service standards are dated April 2004 as these were developed as part of the original interdepartmental MOU. They should be updated or modified to reflect the current working environment. Standards are an essential aspect of client service and a prerequisite to the mission taking on a regional role.
5.1.7 The mission does not have a formal client feedback mechanism in place, such as an annual survey that would allow clients to provide comments on services provided. These in turn can be used by the program to refine processes and procedures as required. At the same time, informal strategies such as quarterly "lunch and learn" sessions with the chair rotating among the mission programs, may facilitate two-way communication between clients and common service sections. This way, common service can move from having a gatekeeper reputation to a role as a facilitator.
5.1.8 As a good practice, the mission has developed a common service portal as part of the mission wiki that includes an extensive list of procedures and policies to guide both clients and service providers. It would be valuable to review all policies and procedures annually and table these at the CMM for review.
|Key Procurement and Contracting Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|A Contract Review Board (CRB) is in place and operating effectively with terms of reference.||X|
|Procurement and contracting procedures have been documented and communicated to all staff involved in the process.||X|
|Contracting files demonstrate compliance with policies and procedures.||X|
|The mission's multi-year Capital Acquisition Plan is approved by CMM annually.||X|
5.1.9 In general, contracting and procurement processes are effective. A CRB is in place and members meet to review and approve all contracts valued at $5,000 and above. Contracts above $2,500 are circulated electronically among members for approval. There are issues regarding the lack of use of the materiel management (MM) module to create contracts as the mission is using an old contract form as a template then types the information into the MM module at the end of the process. The MM module, when used to create contracts, automatically provides the most current government contract template. Documentation held on file is incomplete as requests for proposals are not included and only a simple email outlining bids received is provided to the CRB.
5.1.10 Although the mission identifies capital purchases to be undertaken in-year, there is no multi-year capital acquisition plan in place. One should be developed and tabled annually at the CMM. The mission has developed a 5 year official vehicle replacement plan.
Recommendations to the Mission
5.1.11 The mission should ensure that policies and regulations are followed by all programs.
5.1.12 General Service staff should meet with the MCO or DMCO on a periodic basis.
5.1.13 Service standards should be updated, tabled at the CMM and communicated to all staff.
5.1.14 The common services section should initiate activities to enhance two way communications with their clients.
5.1.15 In addition to an annual client survey, the common service sections should make a feedback form available to clients.
5.1.16 Contracting files should contain all relevant information pertaining to approved contracts.
5.1.17 A multi-year capital acquisition plan should be developed and approved by the CMM on an annual basis.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
5.1.11 Compliance with established Government of Canada and DFAIT procedures is monitored and confirmed through the common service section review. Individual instances of noncompliance are reviewed on a case by case basis and are brought to the attention of the individual, and if required, to the program manager's attention. In cases of systemic noncompliance, the issue is brought to CMM for discussion and joint problem solving. Mission makes extensive use of a well-organized wiki page that outlines mission procedures and policies. Implemented.
5.1.12 The MCO conducts monthly section meetings with all management and Consular services staff, including drivers and mailroom staff. These meetings include general discussion of section topics and mission activities for the coming month. The MCO also conducts informal lunches with each section on a quarterly basis and uses these opportunities to discuss a variety of issues with staff in a less formal setting. Non-office staff assigned to the OR are not supervised by the MCO and would normally meet with their supervisors in the HOM program. However, DMCO (property) will meet with OR staff on a regular basis to coordinate procedures and priorities and address property issues. MCO meets with the OR manager monthly to discuss general management of the OR and address policy questions. Implemented.
5.1.13 Service standards (SS) were reviewed by the MCO in August 2011 and confirmed with the HOM in Sept 2011. They conform to with the International Platform Branch (IPB) service standards and are available to all employees via the mission wiki. In future, annual review of SS will take place with CMM. The mission will annotate the wiki after the annual review of service standards and advise staff accordingly. It is understood that a comprehensive review of the service standards to reflect the new MOU on Common Service Abroad will be undertaken across the platform in the near future, led by the IPB. Implemented.undefined
5.1.14 The mission is exploring options for client feedback of service delivery. Mission currently uses the *** system to monitor and obtain feedback on Property and maintenance related issues. Similar tools may become available with the implementation of the *** works control system, currently under review by the IPB. Implemented.
5.1.15 The mission is discussing options for client feedback, but looks to the International Platform Branch to provide a system wide standard for obtaining this kind of feedback at all missions. Implemented.
5.1.16 Documentation pertaining to the tendering process and contracting was retained by each section to ensure that section corporate memory and continuity is maintained. We will require sections to now provide copies of all supporting documentation to the CRB when a contract proposal is submitted for review. Implemented.
5.1.17 A capital acquisition plan is required as part of the IPB business planning process, and was completed and approved by CMM for 2011-12. Given the uncertainty around budget allocations as a result of the deficit measures of Budget 2012, we are now reviewing our multi-year acquisition plan. Planning for next FY is already underway. It should be noted that there is no format for a multiyear capital plan and missions in the region (including Manila) have requested the IPB to provide standards and template for forward planning of capital expenses. Implemented.
5.2 Human Resources
5.2.1 The HR functions at the mission are the responsibility of the MCO who is assisted by an LE-08 HR officer and two LE-04 HR assistants. The HR officer has over 20 years of experience and is *** familiar with HR matters. The two assistants have not yet received HQ training. The section is active and dedicated in its delivery of HR services. In comparison to the size of the mission, there is a relatively low complexity and volume of work. In the past year there have been four regular staffing actions and one grievance.
|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 is efficient. The MCO meets regularly with HR staff to discuss larger HR themes and plans. The HR officer then directs the processes with the support of the section's two assistants.
5.2.3 The section is in the process of fine tuning the HR plan for staff at the mission. Its goal is to ensure a more strategic approach to its development and implementation. Various HR initiatives and learning activities have been planned in the budget, including ***. The report received is used by the section to further plan internal learning activities. The HR plan would be improved if the budget was more detailed, showing planned costs for specific activities. The HR officer is the mission's learning coordinator and incorporates those duties with those of her position.
5.2.4 Each assistant is responsible for specific areas of the HR portfolio such as staffing, leave, insurance, health and safety and candidate background checks. While assistants are cognizant of their respective areas, they understand each other's files and can back up as needed.
5.2.5 New LES are provided with an arrival briefing from the HR section as well as supporting documents to assist them with their integration. Representatives of the LESMCB expressed that this information is not current. The LES community has not received information pertaining to changes or lack thereof to benefits and salaries or which markers were used for the Total Compensation Review survey.
5.2.6 A detailed package is in place for CBS on arrival. A number of CBS indicated expectations to receive additional information pertaining to local environment, cultural sensitivities and more frequent communications on security matters.
5.2.7 A number of staffing actions are conducted via internal competitions. This restricts the pool of candidates from which the mission can recruit, in turn limiting the ability of the mission to hire the best available candidates on the market. Internal competitions should only be held in exceptional circumstances.
|Key HR Internal Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Staffing actions are conducted in-line with the Locally-Engaged Staff and HQ Workforce Programs Bureau (ALD) guidelines. Written records supporting the process are maintained and contain required documents and approvals.||X|
|Letters of Offer are signed by the appropriate authority and include the appropriate clauses (e.g. values and ethics, etc.).||X|
|LES accrued leave and deductions are recorded and the related liabilities are monitored.||X|
5.2.8 Overall, HR processes and internal controls were good, with improvement needed in the areas of staffing processes, position descriptions and background checks. HR files were complete, and competitions adhered to ALD guidelines.
5.2.9 Procedures and guidelines pertaining to staffing actions are not clearly understood by all programs. In one case, a program was not aware of the HR section's role in staffing activities, directly resulting in a disorderly process that did not follow regulations.
5.2.10 There was a concern raised regarding a lack of transparency in the pre-screening of potential emergency staff by the HR section on behalf of another program. The process followed by HR was sound, but improved communications would help avoid misunderstandings. Pre- screening processes often used *** in order to assess potential candidates. ***.
5.2.11 Performance management plans (PMP) were completed by the vast majority of staff at the end of the fiscal year. The section offered information sessions to supervisors to familiarize them with the process. There was inconsistency however, in the use of the PMP as a planning tool for staff. The frequency with which supervisors met staff to discuss learning plans and objectives varied depending of the program. Staff reported that although their PMP was completed at year end, they had not prepared their PMP at the beginning of the year nor did they participate in a mid-year review.
5.2.12 A *** was advertised as ***. This is not in keeping with HR guidelines. It should have been described as subject ***.
5.2.13 When conducting background checks of individuals prior to hiring them, no reference check was conducted, although the required forms indicated that it had been completed.
Recommendations to the Mission
5.2.14 Guidelines for staffing actions should be obtained and communicated to other programs and sections.
5.2.15 Internal competitions should only occur in exceptional circumstances and a justification kept on file.
5.2.16 The section should make full use of their large library of *** in order to reduce the possibility *** thus improving the ***.
5.2.17 In cases of ***, the section should consult with ALD to ensure compliance with regulations, prior to any advertisement.
5.2.18 The section should submit advertisements to HQ for review before publishing.
5.2.19 The section should ensure that the reference checks are completed fully and accurate documentation retained on file.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
5.2.14 The mission has well established and clearly explained procedures for LES staffing, which are readily available on the embassy wiki site. These have been vetted by ALD and are in conformity with departmental practices. All hiring managers are directed to this site and are also provided a verbal briefing on staffing procedures in the mission. The mission also makes use of staffing tool kits provided by ALD and by CIC for immigration positions. To supplement this, the HR section will undertake proactive outreach to hiring managers on a regular basis. Implemented.
5.2.15 In accordance with established DFAIT practice, the hiring manager determines the appropriate staffing process to undertake and makes the decision on the area of the selection and eligibility criteria, with advice from HR. The decision to undertake an internal or external process is determined based upon the operational requirements and the organization developmental needs of the program. Hiring managers will be required to provide written justification for internal competitions. Implemented.
5.2.16 The mission agrees that this is a best practice and maintains a large archive of ***, going back many years. Other missions in the region routinely seek assistance from the mission in Manila when they require ***. It is anticipated that the implementation of the regional services approach in Asia will provide centralized assistance by HR professionals to create *** procedures. Implemented.
5.2.17 The mission consults with ALD on a regular basis for advice on staffing procedures. For example, the recent reductions and subsequent staffing processes as a result of the deficit measures of Budget 2012 driven reorganization of the Immigration Section was extensively discussed with ALD and the final strategy was supported by our regional HR advisor. Implemented
5.2.18 The mission will refer advertisements to the appropriate authority in headquarters. Implemented.
5.2.19 The mission conducts thorough background and reference checks on all candidates for indeterminate, term and emergency employment prior to issuing an offer of employment. Implemented.
5.3 Physical Resources
5.3.1 The physical resources functions at the mission are managed by an AS-05 DMCO who is in the fourth year of his assignment. He has a *** understanding of issues facing the property portfolio and is guided by a good suite of policies and procedures. He has also developed a binder with detailed handover notes for his successor that provides background information as well as future planning documents for all section services.
5.3.2 The section manages a Crown-leased chancery, a Crown-owned official residence (OR) and 27 Crown-leased staff quarters (SQs). The official vehicle fleet consists of 10 vehicles.
|Key Physical Resources Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Mission property and maintenance plans are up to date.||X|
|The chancery and official residence (OR) are well maintained and maintenance schedules are in place.||X|
|An efficient process is in place for receiving, processing and monitoring work orders.||X|
|Annual inspections are conducted to assess the state of SQs and input into maintenance and acquisition planning.||X|
5.3.3 The section is *** managed and is providing a good level of service to clients. Property and maintenance plans are up to date and maintenance schedules for all properties are in place. One area that requires attention is in the input of data into the PRIME database as current SQ space calculations do not reflect net usable space and tend to reflect an over- housing situation.
5.3.4 ***. Rates for Class A business space have decreased recently. The MCO has been actively engaged *** as well as using his network of contacts in this regard. ***.
5.3.5 The OR is well maintained with regular and preventative maintenance schedules in place.***.
5.3.6 Section staff are familiar with all properties although annual formal inspections are not conducted. Inspections would assist the section in identifying issues at an earlier stage. Preventative equipment and facility maintenance schedules are in place although the DMCO considers that current schedules may be too frequent in some cases. As such, he plans to reduce the frequency of some maintenance, for example, to quarterly from the current monthly scheduling.
5.3.7 The mission leases 10 houses and 17 apartments ***. This could result in annual cost saving in *** maintenance and repairs of approximately $30,000 per house. The mission's property strategy includes the retention of a limited number of houses to ensure flexibility for staff with large family configurations as four bedroom apartments are not readily available on the market. Although according to local law the mission can own only one property, the issue of apartment ownership should be pursued with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).
5.3.8 Until recently, the mission was using only one real estate agent to source potential SQs. By using more than one agent, the mission could ensure that the most cost effective properties are shown.
5.3.9 One SQ *** has recurring mould problems that have been present since 2008. The occupant has lived with the situation by frequently cleaning affected areas; however, there does not seem to be a permanent solution. This is a health and safety issue. The mission has made the decision to dispose of this property when the lease comes due for renewal this summer.
|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|
5.3.10 Overall, internal controls were effective. Inventories for the Chancery, OR and SQs are all current. The mission employs a custom made inventory management system including a bar code system to track all materiel assets. Assets in storage are also inventoried although no formal custodial ownership has been assessed. The inventory clerk should sign for these assets and have the DMCO counter-sign.
5.3.11 The mission has stored furniture at an off-site facility that belongs to four full-serviced apartments. This is the result of a decision to furnish these SQs with crown purchased furniture. This defeats the purpose of leasing fully serviced SQs as the cost to store this furniture is approximately $7500 per year. The mission has made the decision to rectify this situation in the coming posting season.
5.3.12 The disposal of assets is conducted through the use of a commercial auction house. Through sales, the mission has reduced its reliance on commercial storage by almost 80%. The MCO has signed off on disposal reports, although policy requires that this be done by the HOM.
5.3.13 The section has entered into standing offers with three companies to undertake minor maintenance and upkeep of properties, including preventative maintenance. The MCO is considering the use of one company only to provide all services through a standing offer. This must be carefully thought out and costs verified regularly in order to ensure good value for money.
5.3.14 Official vehicle logs are maintained for daily use, and monthly reconciliations are monitored and verified by the DMCO. ***. Some older vehicles have relatively poor gas mileage performance (35 litres per 100 kilometers or worse) and the mission should consider replacing these vehicles with more environmentally/cost effective vehicles.
Recommendations to the Mission
5.3.15 Annual formal inspections of all properties should be conducted and the results incorporated into maintenance and acquisition planning.
5.3.16 The mission should investigate the possibility *** as part of its housing inventory.
5.3.17 The mission should broaden its use of real estate agents when considering new leases.
5.3.18 The lease for SQ *** should not be renewed when the current occupant vacates the property this summer.
5.3.19 The control of materiel in storage should be strengthened by having the custodian sign for these assets and the inventories periodically verified by the DMCO.
5.3.20 The mission should ensure that furnishings provided by a landlord are used and not stored.
5.3.21 The HOM should approve and sign off on all asset disposals.
5.3.22 A system should be put in place***.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
5.3.15 The newly arrived DMCO (Property) is conducting comprehensive inspections of all mission properties, which will be repeated annually. This will inform the mission property plan and will drive recommendations regarding the retention of properties, as well as capital investments/maintenance projects for existing properties. Inspections are conducted in conjunction with the housing committee, and recommendations from the committee are an important input to the Property section's annual planning. Implemented.
5.3.16 The mission is investigating with MFA whether the restriction on diplomatic property ownership to one property extends to condo and apartment ownership. We will convey the advice received to ARD. In progress for December 31, 2012.
5.3.17 The mission has sought advice from several real estate agents through the preparation for the summer rotation. Implemented.
5.3.18 The lease on this property was not renewed. The decision to dispose of this property was taken as part of the 2011-12 mission housing plan in spring 2011. Implemented.
5.3.19 The mission will implement distribution accounts (DA) for all assets, including office contents, and custodians will be required to sign for all issued items. The mission already maintains comprehensive inventories for all SQs, and all CBS are required to sign their SQ inventory along with their occupancy agreement. Implemented.
5.3.20 The mission is replacing furnishings in landlord-furnished apartments as the CBS tenants rotate out of the mission. This summer two furnished apartments changed over and the furnishings were replaced. We anticipate that the remaining apartments will be similarly refitted over the next two summer rotations. Mission has assumed leases for three additional furnished properties and has retained the landlord-supplied furnishings in the apartment. In progress for summer 2014.
5.3.21 The HOM is signing all disposal reports. Implemented.
5.3.22 The mission maintains monthly logs for generator maintenance and fuel consumption. Fuel purchases are tracked though IMS. However, the mission ***. Implemented.
5.4.1 The finance section is managed by the MCO with the day to day operations and support provided by an LE-08 financial management officer (FMO), two LE-05 accounts assistants and one LE-04 administrative assistant. The FMO has over 20 years' experience in finance at the mission. The remaining team members have been at the mission for just over one year. They have a significant depth of accounting experience and professional qualifications which they each bring to the section.
|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 *** managed; there is good morale and effective team work. The section could further improve by scheduling weekly meetings to formalize team communication, discuss work load, document planning and share ideas to improve processes.
5.4.3 Good practices are in place although they could be better utilized if properly documented. The addition of three new finance section staff members in early 2011 illustrated the need for clearly documenting finance procedures. Some processes are currently being mapped by the accounts assistants.undefined
5.4.4 There are posted quiet hours but more discipline needs to be exercised to ensure they are effective. The use of electronic funds transfers (EFT) has increased and further work is being done to find suppliers who accept this type of payment. There are currently two payment runs per week which meets clients' needs. Improvements can be made in the client service area, particularly in communication.
5.4.5 Internal controls are in place and the section meets established service standards. The next step is to embrace client service and go beyond the existing email communication to clients by becoming proactive in learning about their needs and educating them in accounting processes. The team has already started using the wiki in this regard. The section may wish to expand the information to provide "how to submit" guides for all finance services. Periodic finance "brown bag lunch" information events may also go a long way in demonstrating interest in learning about their clients' needs and educating clients in what a financial process, such as a travel claim, entails and why certain procedures are in place.
5.4.6 The FMO had significant experience as the accountant before assuming her current leadership role. To support this responsibility and her role as section manager, ***, possibly by the MCO or another program manager.
5.4.7 The accounts assistants recognize the support they receive from the MCO on enforcing the afternoon quiet hours policy. A reminder to clients could be sent out with an explanation of the importance of the quiet hours policy in order to process their claims in a timely manner. Although there is a "Closed" sign on the Dutch door, the door between the FMO's office and the finance area is not closed, nor is there a sign, resulting in clients engaging with the accountants during quiet hours.
5.4.8 EFTs are used increasingly at the mission despite resistance by some suppliers due to additional bank charges. The mission is continuing to expand EFT usage and requesting this method of payment with new suppliers. There is only one acquisition card at the mission and although its use would decrease IMS transaction processing, it is used infrequently because the mission is reluctant to give up cash discounts given to non-card users.
5.4.9 There is a positive attitude in the section. The new staff have adjusted to the mission environment, accepted responsibility for their work and incorporated new steps in procedures when needed.
|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 Certification of Immigration Deposits is signed by the appropriate authority.||X|
|Travel and hospitality claim processes ensure that policies and guidelines are adhered to and that the accountant verifies the completeness and accuracy of the claim.||X|
|Reimbursement of HonCon operational expenses is based on an established agreement.||X|
|A percentage of costs for personal use of OR supplies is determined and regular reimbursements are made to the Mission.||X|
|A process is in place to ensure that, where applicable, CBS reimburse the mission for any services of a personal nature received at their staff quarters (e.g. television, internet, telephone, etc.).||X|
5.4.11 ***, was counted and verified. Periodic spot checks are undertaken by the DMCO/Property. *** was also counted and a discrepancy was explained and corrected.
5.4.12 ***. There is a recommendation in the consular section of this report to explore the most practical way of doing this and to document the resulting approved process.
5.4.13 The FMO provides financial reports to the HOM, and prepares an internal spreadsheet for common services which details every budget line item. A monthly reminder email is sent to program managers to check their budgets and balances. This process is undertaken weekly near fiscal year end.
5.4.17 Reimbursement of the Honorary Consul's (HonCon) expenses is not currently based on an established written agreement. After many years of service to Canada by the present HonCon,***. Moving from an informal to a written agreement would be a good management practice and will facilitate a seamless *** at a future date.
5.4.18 The HOM pays for personal items such as internet and cable; however there is no written agreement in place describing the arrangement for the HOM to purchase other supplies on his own or to reimburse a portion of other consumables such as cleaning supplies at the official residence.
Recommendations to the Mission
5.4.19 Mission accounting procedures should be documented and made available to all staff.
5.4.20 The mission should initiate weekly section meetings to formalize team communication, discuss work load, document work plans and to share ideas to improved processes.
5.4.21 The section should use strategies such as expanded information in the wiki and "brown bag lunch" events to learn about their clients' needs and educate clients in what a financial process - such as a payment - entails and why certain procedures are in place.
5.4.22 Mission staff should be reminded that the slot in the finance section's door is available for them to drop off documents during "quiet hours" and strategies should be put in place to ensure that accountants have uninterrupted time when they are doing work that requires more concentration.
5.4.23 The mission should explore the benefits of making small purchases using acquisition cards and determine if there would be payment efficiencies realized by having more than one in use at the mission.
5.4.26 Reimbursement of HonCon operational expenses should be based on a written agreement.
5.4.27 A payment should be established for costs related to personal use of OR supplies that are reimbursed by the HOM according to departmental policy.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
5.4.19 The mission accounting procedures are clearly outlined and are available on the mission wiki through the Common Service Portal. Implemented.
5.4.20 The mission accountant will conduct weekly section meetings with accounting staff. Implemented.
5.4.21 The mission makes extensive use of the Manila wiki to outline mission financial procedures. We are exploring additional areas where information can be made available for staff through this venue. The mission will undertake lunchtime session to inform staff about financial procedures, as was done in October 2011 when we devoted a full month to providing information on LES HR benefits. Implemented.
5.4.22 Finance staff are being more diligent about enforcing the client service hours for the cashier's office. Non-finance staff are not permitted admission to the finance section area. Implemented.
5.4.23 Use of corporate purchase cards is not widely available in Manila and we are only able to use this at one major retailer. Mission has negotiated favourable pricing with certain local suppliers, and makes payment through monthly invoices. Payments are consolidated to a single monthly account, which is settled via electronic funds transfer. We would not be able to realize the 20% - 25% discounts that we enjoy if we used corporate credit cards. In fact, some suppliers charge a premium for credit card use. Implemented.
5.4.24 ***. Implemented.
5.4.25 ***. Implemented.
5.4.26 This will be included in the HonCon annual instructions. Implemented.
5.4.27 This approach has been implemented in accordance with the new policy of accounting for shared costs in OR, effective 1 September, 2012. Implemented.
5.5 Information Management - Information Technology (IM-IT)
5.5.1 The IM-IT section is managed by a CS-02 Foreign Service Information Technology Professional (FSITP) who is supported by three Locally Engaged Information Technology Professionals (LEITPs) an LE-08 and two LE-07s. The section provides services to 168 employees as well as to emergency and contract staff as required. The section also provides support to the mission located in Bandar Sari Begawan, Brunei through quarterly scheduled on- site visits.
5.5.2 The FSITP supervises the LE-08 who in turn supervises the two LE-07's. The organization chart reflects a flat-line relationship between the FSITP and the 3 LEITPs and should be changed to reflect these reporting relationships.
|Key IM-IT Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|An Information Management - Information Technology (IM-IT) plan exists and includes regional activities.||X|
|The liaison between the mission, HQ and regional manager is effective.||X|
|The mission uses the required IM-IT service request system and maintains relevant data.||X|
5.5.3 The section is well organized and providing clients with a good level of service, although there were comments received from the CIC program suggesting that client service provided is not always consistent.
5.5.4 Plans are in place and work schedules for all staff are well defined. All staff are knowledgeable and client service oriented. The IM-IT business plan is located on the mission wiki although this can be complemented by the FSITP identifying staff to undertake objectives and to assign target completion dates.
5.5.5 Meetings between the FSITP and the three LEITPs are scheduled weekly. They are agenda driven, however records of decisions are not maintained. The LEITPs are also involved in a monthly teleconference call with regional ITPs from other missions.
5.5.6 The Remedy system is used to input service requests. Staff send a message to a generic mail box and this info is transferred to the Remedy system. The number of open tickets is low and they are monitored on a weekly basis.
5.5.7 The mission does not have an identified room that can be used as a dedicated training facility. As such, the section is requested to regularly assemble and disassemble IT equipment as meeting rooms are also used for other purposes. Designating a full time space for IT training would be useful as it could be permanently equipped thus eliminating the need for the IT section to dedicate resources each time training takes place.
|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|
5.5.8 Overall, IM-IT processes and controls were effective. ***.
5.5.9 The section maintains an inventory of items on loan to staff that is monitored through the use of a manual sign out sheet. Surplus IT assets are disposed of by the property section after the ITPs have cleaned the hard-drives. The section should ensure that the Information Management and Technology Bureau (AID) is informed of the disposal of IT assets.
Recommendations to the Mission
5.5.10 The organizational chart for the section should be updated to reflect the supervisory role of the LE-08 LEITP.
5.5.11 The section business plan should identify staff and assign target completion dates.
5.5.12 The mission should consider designating a permanent space that can be equipped and used as a training room.
5.5.13 AID should be informed of any disposal of IT assets.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
5.5.10 Organization chart has been updated to reflect the supervisory role of the LE-08 LEITP, as well as the re-classification level of the FSITP position from CS-02 to CS-03. Implemented.
5.5.11 The mission has completed the IT business plan using the template mandated by AID. This is an optional requirement, but mission felt it was a useful practice and decided to complete the full document. If there are supplementary requirements not included in the planning template, it would be useful if these could be communicated through AID to ensure uniformity throughout the network. The mission designated responsible officers for all projects, but deadlines were to be determined by HQ and/or regional security manager (RSM). Implemented.
5.5.12 As with many missions, space is a limited commodity in Manila. We will discuss this with the property bureau, but with a 20% reduction in our mission budget, it is unclear where funding for this would be found. Mission makes extensive use of our existing multi- purpose room, which was designed to provide a meeting and training facility. In progress for March 2013.
5.5.13 Mission will inform AID of IT equipment disposals. Implemented.
Appendix A: Mission Resources Fact Sheet
|Vehicles||10 (1 for disposal)|
|Head of Mission||9||2||7|
|HR Portal (HMO)||2|
Appendix B: Frequently Used Acronyms
- Canada-based Staff
- Commercial Economic
- Committee on Mission Management
- Consular Management Information Program
- Contingency Plan
- Contract Review Board
- Client Service Fund
- Electronic Funds Transfer
- Deputy Management Consular Officer
- Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service
- Foreign Service Information Technology Professional
- Full Time Equivalent
- Fiscal Year
- Global Commerce Strategy
- Global Value Chains
- Head of Mission
- Honorary Consul
- Human Resources
- High Security Zone
- Information Communication Technologies
- Information Management - Information Technology
- Integrated Management System
- Locally Engaged Information Technology Professional
- Locally Engaged Staff
- LES Management Consultation Board
- Management Consular Officer
- Mission Emergency Plan
- Mission Financial Officer
- MM Module
- Materiel Management Module of IMS
- Mission Maintenance Work Plan
- Memorandum of Understanding
- Mission Security Officer
- Mission Property Management Plan
- North American Platform Program
- Official Residence
- Operations Zone
- Post Initiative Fund
- Program Manager
- Performance Management Agreement
- Human Resources - Performance Management Programundefined
- 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: