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Inspection of the High Commission of Canada - Wellington, New Zealand - Including the Consulate in Auckland

April 23 - 27, 2012

Table of Contents

Inspection Scope and Objectives

The scope of the inspection included a review of Mission Management and the Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service, Commercial Economic, Consular and Common Services programs. The inspection objectives were to:

The focus and extent of on-site work was based on an assessment of materiality and related risk. This was done through communication with Headquarters (HQ) bureaux, including briefings by line management and the functional bureaux, review of relevant HQ and mission documentation, past audit findings, and an analysis of recurring trends and systemic issues.

During the inspection, inspection issues and lines of enquiry were further refined from information gathered through interviews with the Head of Mission and program managers, a meeting with Locally Engaged Staff (LES) representatives of the LES Management Consultation Board, individual interviews with staff, and results of other documentation reviewed. The level of inspection work was therefore based on issues and information identified and gathered at all levels: HQ, mission management and mission operations.

Executive Summary

An inspection of Mission Management, the Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service (FPDS), Commercial Economic (CE), Consular and Common Services programs was conducted in Wellington and Auckland, New Zealand from April 23 to 27, 2012. An audit of these programs took place in 2005.

The High Commission in Wellington is a small mission with three Canada-based Staff (CBS) and nine LES filling eight positions. It is responsible for a trade office in Auckland, headed by a CBS, Senior Trade Commissioner who reports to the High Commissioner and is supported by two LES. The High Commission is responsible for departmental program delivery in New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Kiribati and Tuvalu.

The mission is managed by an EX-01 acting in an EX-02 Head of Mission (HOM) position. *** allowing her managers considerable latitude in running their operations. Programs are operating well and internal communication is good; however, more communication and coordination is required at the mission level. This can be achieved by holding more frequent meetings of the Committee on Mission Management (CMM) and periodic CBS-only meetings to discuss high level management and administrative issues. The mission has the capacity to provide services to the public in both official languages. A whole-of-government approach is facilitated through twice yearly meetings between Wellington, Canberra and Sydney.

The FPDS program is *** managed by an *** officer. The FPDS' program reports New Zealand's views on a number of issues, advances demarches for all six countries of accreditation and monitors developments in the Trans Pacific Partnership. The Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) delivered $400 thousand in program funding to the five Pacific Islands of accreditation. Program activities and initiatives are generally based on the Mission Planning and Reporting (MPR) document and requests from HQ. The mission would, however, benefit from the development of an advocacy strategy supported by a documented operational plan.

The CE program is located in Auckland and is *** managed by the STC with defined roles and responsibilities and *** communications. Business planning is based on results achieved and analysis of potential sectors. Activities and initiatives are based on three priority areas of opportunity for Canadian businesses in New Zealand: environmental industries; bio-technology; and information and communications. The Auckland office is well situated near the center of the city and provides presentable and comfortable work space. *** and needs to be addressed by management.

The Consular program is *** managed by the FPDS program manager. Regular meetings are held, plans and manuals are up-to-date, and services are provided to clients in accordance with the Consular Policy Manual. *** activities are in need of improvement, ***.

The Common Services program benefits from an *** LES Mission Administration Officer (MAO). Aspects of client services should be improved. Several clients expressed the need for enhanced communications in particular related to finance and property issues. Service to the Auckland office is not satisfactory. Delays in services and a lack of a client service oriented approach have caused issues between the offices. The mission has experienced challenges related to finding housing within rent ceilings in neighbourhoods where schools offer the same options as in Canada.

A total of 29 inspection recommendations are raised in the report, 29 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 29 recommendations, management has stated that 14 have been implemented. For each of the remaining 15 recommendations, management has indicated the initiatives in progress or the intended future action.

Mission Management

1.1 Overview

1.1.1 The High Commission in Wellington is a small mission with three CBS and nine LES filling eight positions. A consulate in Auckland, reporting to the High Commissioner, is headed by a CBS supported by two LES. The High Commission is responsible for departmental program delivery in New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Kiribati and Tuvalu.

1.1.2 The mission is managed by an EX-01 acting in an EX-02 Head of Mission (HOM) position. She is responsible for overall mission operations and oversees the operational and capital budgets of approximately $925,000 and $50,000 respectively. The mission's normal capital budget is $15,500. The mission also manages a property portfolio in Wellington and Auckland that includes two Crown-leased chanceries, a Crown-owned official residence and three Crown-leased staff quarters.

1.2 Mission Management

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

1.2.1 The MPR document is used to guide mission programming and is based on DFAIT and government objectives and priorities. The plan is developed at the beginning of the year based on previous experience and existing local circumstances with input from the Geographic bureau on departmental priorities.

1.2.2 The missions in Wellington and Auckland are small and benefit from a relaxed and teamwork-oriented environment. Locally engaged staff, for the most part, has worked at the missions for several years and are experienced and qualified. Programs are generally operating well. Communications within programs are good with program managers holding regular meetings and managers accessible to staff as required. Roles and responsibilities are well defined, with shared duties defined and back-up procedures in place.

1.2.3 CMM meetings are not, however, held on a regular basis, with only a few held in the six months preceding the inspection. To ensure integration and coordination of information and activities, CMM should be held regularly, ideally at least every two weeks. As well, active sharing of schedules and plans would further mission coordination of activities and enhance achievement of mission objectives.

1.2.4 At present, the CMM includes key LES (the MAO, accountant and consular officer), in the absence of an MCO position and partner department representatives. This inclusive approach is beneficial in a small mission for discussion of operations and sharing information, but at times management discussion should be limited to CBS only. At the mission level, this would ensure that decisions, guidance and direction are given in relation to program goals and objectives and that there is sufficient oversight regarding administrative policies, procedures and service delivery.

1.2.5 Values and ethics are promoted by circulating the Values and Ethics guidelines (and the Conduct Abroad Code for CBS) yearly and requiring staff to acknowledge receipt in writing. Staff is encouraged to raise any questions they may have about the appropriateness of any conduct.

1.3 Whole of Government

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

1.3.1 A whole-of-government approach is facilitated through meetings with partner representatives based in Canberra and Sydney which are held twice a year. The HOM and the FPDS program manager communicate regularly with partner representatives and support their visits including by attending meetings with them in Wellington. The Wellington mission administers the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) funded Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) in five Pacific Island countries promoting both CIDA and DFAIT objectives.

1.3.2 Staff at all levels cited examples in which the Common Services program was perceived to be inflexible and not client service-oriented, particularly in the case of Auckland. In general, the dissemination of information from Wellington to Auckland and the Common Service program's responsiveness to clients' needs could be improved.

1.4 Management Controls

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

1.4.1 Management controls are in place; however, improvements are required in some areas to ensure effective operation. ***. Financial budgets, expense reports and updates should be provided to all program managers when requested.

1.4.2 PMPs have been completed annually. Managers meet with employees once or twice a year to discuss responsibilities and objectives. More frequent meetings would ensure better assessment of each employee's performance and progress in meeting established objectives.

1.4.3 In the wake of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, the mission has taken steps to improve disaster preparedness. This has included the upgrading of technical equipment, training and repatriation of passport approvals.

1.4.4 There is a recently issued mandate letter or instructions on record for the Honorary Consul in Fiji.

1.5 Official Languages

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

1.5.1 The mission has broad capacity to provide services to the public in both official languages. Mission signage is appropriately posted in both official languages and an official languages coordinator has been appointed.

1.6 Recommendations Recommendations to the Mission

1.6.1 The mission's program managers and HOM should coordinate their plans in order to maximize efficiency, coherence and coordination of mission activities.

1.6.2 The CMM should meet regularly to discuss mission management and key issues.

1.6.3 The mission should hold CBS-only meetings periodically in order address higher level management and administrative issues.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

1.6.1 The mission's program managers and HOM currently coordinate their plans informally to some extent, but will formalize the process in order to maximize efficiency, coherence and coordination of mission activities. In progress for October 2012.

1.6.2 The schedule for regular CMMs was disrupted due to travel and incoming visits. The mission is returning to holding bi-weekly CMM meetings. Implemented.

1.6.3 The mission will hold CBS-only meetings on a quarterly basis, starting once all CBS are back at mission. In progress for November 2012.

Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service (FPDS)

2.1 Overview

2.1.1 The FPDS program is managed by an FS-04 officer in an FS-03 position and supported by an LE-06 political economic assistant. The program manager is also responsible for consular and security. The program's financial resources are provided below.

Budget for the Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service (FPDS)
Budget2011-2012
Operations 
Travel$ 7,738
Hospitality2,880
Post Initiative Fund 
Total$ 10,618

2.1.2 The program's main areas of focus include the advancement of Canada's priorities by regularly reporting on New Zealand's views on a wide range of issues such as international security, human rights, *** UN resolutions ***. It also includes making demarches as required for all six countries of accreditation, advocating for Canadian membership in and monitoring developments of the Trans Pacific Partnership. The CFLI, with the delivery of $400 thousand in program funding to the five Pacific Islands of accreditation, has been used to support academic relations as well as public affairs activities to leverage the development of contacts through the support of local events.

2.2 Planning and Program Management

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

2.2.1 The FPDS program is *** managed by the program manager who is in her first year of a four-year posting. Weekly meetings are held with the political assistant to review and prioritize program activities. Meetings with and input from the HOM occur as needed. The program benefits from occasional support from the HOM assistant with visit logistics, demarche drafting and follow-up and handling of communications.

2.2.2 Program planning is based on the MPR, with HOM and staff input as well as consultation with Canberra, HQ and partner departments. Specific priorities and activities are identified, but the process in place is informal and largely reactive. The mission would benefit from the development of an advocacy strategy supported by an operational plan that identifies specific activities to be undertaken, associated resource requirements, timelines, performance criteria and expected results. The plan should take into account HOM involvement and coordination of her program under the advocacy strategy.

2.3 Implementation

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

2.3.1 The FPDS program supports other mission programs including those located in Canberra and Sydney that have accreditation to New Zealand. Visits are coordinated with mission activities and supported in line with specific visit objectives. Public affairs events include participation of other programs when appropriate to support their advocacy objectives. The program is currently managing only to some extent a mission-wide coordinated approach to advocacy and common messaging across the mission's various programs.

2.3.2 The program manages a $400,000 CFLI fund, delivered through the use ***. They administer numerous projects in the five Pacific Island countries of accreditation. While this assistance is greatly appreciated and widely recognized, many of the projects are small and limited in scope. The mission should consider a more strategic and long-term focus for fewer more substantive projects that will have more sustainable results and require less administration.

2.3.3 The inclusion of the program's strategic objectives and plans into the political economic assistant's workplan has yet to fully take place. Doing so would further clarify expectations of this position within the FPDS program.

2.4 Performance Measurement

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

2.4.1 The program assesses performance throughout the year and in summary during the preparation of the MPR. Specific measurement criteria need to be developed within the context of documented operational plans. Hospitality expenditures are used to support program objectives and are in line with prescribed guidelines.

2.5 Recommendations Recommendations to the Mission

2.5.1 The FPDS program should develop an operational plan that outlines activities, resources, performance indicators and expected results.

2.5.2 The mission should develop a formal advocacy strategy with input from mission programs, including those accredited to New Zealand but located in Australia.

2.5.3 Review future CFLI projects with the objective of supporting ***.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

2.5.1 The FPDS program will develop an operational plan as part of the MPR process for FY 2012-2013. In progress for November 2012.

2.5.2 The mission will develop a formal advocacy strategy for FY 2012-2013 with input from mission programs, including those accredited to New Zealand but located in Australia. In progress for November 2012.

2.5.3 The mission has received guidance from the Development and Coordination Division (IRC) ***. In progress for April 2013.

Commercial Economic (CE)

3.1 Overview

3.1.1 The CE program is located in Auckland and reports to the HOM in Wellington. The program is managed by a FS-03 Senior Trade Commissioner (STC), who is supported by an LE-09 trade commissioner (TC) and an LE-06 trade commissioner assistant (TCA). The program's financial resources are provided below.

Budget for the Commercial Economic (CE) Program
Budget2011-2012
Operations$ 135,700
Travel7,738
Hospitality4,320
Client Service Fund (CSF)7,680
Total$ 155,438

3.1.2 The CE program is focussing on three priority areas of opportunity for Canadian businesses: environmental industries; bio-technology; and information and communications. The program does not engage in any proactive effort to attract foreign direct investment. Outreach, however, is undertaken to establish relationships with existing New Zealand investors in Canada and well as Canadian investors in New Zealand.

3.2 Planning and Program Management

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

3.2.1 The program is *** managed with leadership provided by the STC. The CE business plan is developed on the basis of an assessment of results achieved in the previous year and consultation with the missions in Sydney and Canberra at both the TC and STC levels. Priority sectors are identified, performance targets are set and resource allocation is made based on anticipated activity. Input on specific action plans is sought from HQ and the relevant ROs.

3.2.2 Communications are effective with a regular staff meeting held weekly to discuss on- going and future events and to share information. There is also the expected informal communication typical of a small office environment.

3.2.3 Roles and responsibilities are clearly defined with the TC handling proactive priority sectors and the STC dealing with the clean technology sector, HQ related activities and overall management of the program and the office. The TCA devotes her time to both trade and office related activities. She responds to general trade enquiries, is responsible for the consumer products sector, provides research support to the officers and logistical support for visits and events. As part of the administrative activities, she performs reception duties, processes invoices, orders supplies, manages the petty cash and liaises with Canberra for IT support and with Wellington on administration issues.

3.3 Implementation

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

3.3.1 The program's activities and initiatives are based on mission priorities and are reflected in the CE business plan. PMPs are in place and reflect program objectives and overall mission and departmental priorities. The program is committed to promoting trade development and has identified three priority sectors on which to focus. Most activity occurs in the Auckland area where nearly half the population reside although other centres are visited to cover events and/or make outcalls.***. When required, the STC travels to Wellington to troubleshoot and promote trade policy issues.

3.3.2 TRIO is used by all the staff and entries are up to date. The TCA produces reports for the officers. A formal InfoCentre has not been set up due to the small size of the program.

3.4 Performance Measurement

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

3.4.1 Performance is measured through monitoring of TRIO output and review of the CE business plan during the year and at year end. Hospitality is used appropriately and expenditures are in line with hospitality guidelines.

Consular

4.1 Overview

4.1.1 Management of the consular program is the responsibility of the FPDS program manager who is supported by an LE-07 consular officer and two halftime LE-06 consular assistants sharing one position. The HOM assistant provides backup particularly for French speaking clients and ***. The program's financial resources are provided below.

Budget for the Consular Program
Budget2011-2012
* Shared with FPDS
Travel*$ 7,738
Hospitality*2,880
Overtime5,544
Total$ 16,162

4.1.2 The mission provides approximately 1,800 passport services and processes approximately 170 citizenship applications and 20 notarial requests yearly. There are 807 Canadian citizens identified in the Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) database. The estimated number of Canadians residing in New Zealand is 15,000 to 20,000 and in Fiji 200. Approximately 50,000 Canadians visit New Zealand each year.

4.2 Program Management

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

4.2.1 The program is *** managed and regular meetings are held bi-weekly with staff. Consular plans and manuals are up-to-date and planning is mostly reactive with issues and direction provided during the program meetings or as required.***. Contacts with local authorities are maintained and plans are in place to resume meetings with like-minded missions to discuss consular issues.

4.2.2 A warden system is in place for New Zealand and Fiji. Of the seven warden districts, five wardens are in place and efforts are underway to identify candidates for the remaining districts. As noted under Mission Management, the mission has taken steps to improve disaster preparedness following the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. This has included the upgrading of technical equipment, training and repatriation of passport approvals.

4.3 Client Service

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

4.3.1 Services are provided to clients in the official language of their choice in accordance with the Consular Policy Manual. Service standards, fee schedules and a copy of an official receipt are posted in the lobby area of the mission in both official languages.

4.4 Internal Controls

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

4.4.1 Overall, certain controls governing *** are in need of improvement,***.

4.4.2 Monthly passport inventory reports are prepared by the HOM assistant and approved by the FPDS program manager. ***. As well, once every three months, the HOM is required to participate in the reconciliation and sign off the monthly report. During the inspection, the inventory was counted and reconciled.

4.4.3 The consular assistants are located in an open area directly accessible to all staff. A controlled area is currently available and should be considered for consular staff. ***.

4.4.4 Clients have the option to pay fees ***. Official receipts are provided to clients upon payment. ***.

4.4.5 All three *** staff and ***.

4.5 Recommendations Recommendations to the Mission

4.5.1 Consideration should be given to providing a controlled work area ***.

4.5.2 *** including a CBS and every three months by the HOM and a CBS.

4.5.3 The mission should review *** in consultation with HQ.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

4.5.1 A controlled work area has been provided ***. Implemented.

4.5.2 Procedures have been instituted (effective May 2012) under which *** and every three months by the HOM and a CBS. Implemented.

4.5.3 The mission will review *** in consultation with HQ. In progress for March 2013.

Common Services

5.1 Overview

5.1.1 The Common Services program is managed by *** LE-09 mission administration officer (MAO) who is supported by an accountant, a receptionist/signet support assistant (SSA), a driver and a partially dedicated resource in Auckland.

5.1.2 The program is responsible for providing common services to 14 employees covering four DFAIT programs. Three staff members responsible for the delivery of the CE program are located in Auckland. In Auckland, one staff member liaises with Wellington's common services team and is responsible for on-site common services related matters.

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

5.1.3 ***. Internal communications, through formal and ad hoc meetings, are effective. However, the program has experienced challenges communicating with staff at the chancery and the consulate. While a cordial environment exists, a professional service-based approach needs to be fostered by the program and overseen by mission management to improve relations between the program and mission staff.

5.1.4 Certain aspects of the common service program require additional management attention.***. The accountant is the MAO's back up, but has also been assigned physical resources responsibilities. Clients have ***.

5.1.5 The delineation of responsibilities between the MAO and the accountant also needs to be revised and addressed so that the MAO is *** for all aspects of the common services program.

5.1.6 The program would benefit from formalizing policies and procedures and making them readily available to staff in order to provide accurate information and appropriately manage client expectations.

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

5.1.7 Overall, many aspects of client service require improvement. Clients expressed the need for better communications from the Common Services program in general ***. Specifically, communication with the consulate needs attention, given the limited opportunity for face-to-face interaction, to address existing issues and to foster an atmosphere of collaboration and trust. A more client-oriented approach will be necessary to ameliorate cooperation.

5.1.8 Examples of situations of unexplained financial-related decisions were provided by various employees. This lack of transparent communication has contributed to a tense working relationship between a number of employees***.

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

5.1.9 The contracting process is managed in collaboration with the Contracting, Policy, Monitoring and Operations Division (SPP). In light of the size and resources of the mission, this approach is appropriate and allows for regular consultation. In general, contracting and procurement processes are consistent and effective.

5.1.10 The Contract Review Board (CRB) meets to review proposed contracts. The MAO is part of the CRB, which can give the appearance of a lack of transparency as many contracts are initiated by the Common Services program. Contracting files were complete, but many contained unnecessary documents and not all were in order.

5.1.11 Capital acquisitions are approved by the CMM on a yearly basis, but no clear multi-year plan is in place for CMM review. The mission would benefit from using a multi-year approach in order to better plan future capital acquisitions.

Recommendations

Recommendations to the Mission

5.1.12 The mission should ensure that Common Services policies and procedures are documented and available to all staff.

5.1.13 The *** in client interactions, providing advice on service requests and a rationale for decisions and actions.

5.1.14 The MAO should retain overall responsibility for the management of physical resources, with the accountant assuming these responsibilities only when the MAO is away.

5.1.15 The MAO should serve as a non-voting advisor on the mission's CRB.

5.1.16 The program should ensure *** to promote awareness of the latest departmental policies and practices.

5.1.17 The program should ensure that financial and contracting files contain all the required information and are organized in a logical manner.

5.1.18 The program should develop a multi-year capital acquisition plan for review and approval by the CMM.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.1.12 The mission will ensure that Common Services policies and procedures are documented and available to all staff. In progress for December 2012.

5.1.13 The *** in client interactions providing advice on service requests and a rationale for decisions and actions. This will also be raised at the next CMM. Implemented.

5.1.14 The MAO has the overall responsibility for the management of physical resources. The accountant deals with day to day issues based on direction from the MAO. Implemented.

5.1.15 The MAO will now serve as a non-voting advisor on the mission's CRB. Implemented.

5.1.16 The program will ensure that *** on departmental policies and practices as soon as an appropriate course is available. In progress for March 2013.

5.1.17 The program has ensured that financial and contracting files contain all the required information and are organized in a logical manner. Implemented.

5.1.18 The program will develop a multi-year capital acquisition plan for review and approval by the CMM. In progress for September 2012.

5.2 Human Resources

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

5.2.1 Overall, HR management ***. The MAO discusses HR issues with HQ for guidance where necessary and works in collaboration with the accountant and program managers for implementation at the mission. In the past year, there has been one staffing action.

5.2.2 A formal information package is not distributed to newly arrived CBS or LES, yet various documents are provided and the section makes itself available to answer specific questions. However, a more formal and comprehensive package could be developed. The section assists managers in tracking completed performance evaluations through the use of regular reminders. Given the size of the mission, this approach works well.

Internal Controls
Key HR Internal Control CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Staffing actions are conducted in-line with the Locally-Engaged Staff and HQ Workforce Programs Bureau (ALD) guidelines. Written records supporting the process are maintained and contain required documents and approvals.X  
Letters of Offer are signed by the appropriate authority and include the appropriate clauses (e.g. values and ethics, etc.).X  
LES accrued leave and deductions are recorded and the related liabilities are monitored.X  

5.2.3 Overall, HR processes and internal controls are in place. Access to files was restricted to individuals involved in HR processes. Staffing action files and the appropriate approvals were in place. Competitions were properly conducted and files included the required information for staffing processes.

5.2.4 Concerns were raised over the timeliness of pay increments. In one case, an employee explained that increments on two different occasions were three and six months late respectively. This raises concerns over the controls in place to ensure such actions are completed in a timely manner.

Recommendations

Recommendations to the Mission

5.2.5 Annual pay increments should be tracked and reviewed by the MAO and paid as they fall due.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.2.5 The program now has a tracking system in place for pay increments. Implemented.

5.3 Physical Resources

5.3.1 The physical resources functions at the mission are the responsibility of the MAO with the accountant delegated the management of the section. The section is responsible for a property portfolio in Wellington and Auckland that includes two Crown-leased chanceries, a Crown-owned official residence, as well as three Crown-leased staff quarters. The section also manages the mission's two official vehicles.

5.3.2 The chanceries are located in multi-tenant office buildings in Wellington and Auckland. The offices are well maintained and the furniture is in good condition.

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

5.3.3 While the mission property and maintenance plan (MPMP) for Wellington was accurate, the one for Auckland was out of date. The Auckland MPMP inaccurately described the environment and the building condition where the office is located.

5.3.4 The OR is a large property located some distance away from the city centre and chancery. During high traffic hours, this increases the commute time for the HOM and becomes a deterrent to guests invited to hospitality events. ***.

5.3.5 Rent ceilings have been introduced and have been implemented. The section highlighted challenges related to finding housing within rent ceilings in neighbourhoods where schools are more comparable to those in Canada. The lack of availability of condos in Wellington limits the availability of housing that meets the various needs of incoming CBS.

Key Processes and Internal Controls
Key Physical Resources Internal Control CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
An inspection is conducted by new SQ occupants and a mission representative within 30 days of occupancy, after which occupancy agreements and distribution accounts are signed.X  
Records of assets located in the Chancery, OR and SQs, as well as those in storage, are maintained on an ongoing basis and verified annually. Assets are appropriately safeguarded and controlled. X 
Disposals are appropriately authorized and follow departmental guidelines. X 
Vehicle logs and mileage are verified monthly by a CBS to reconcile usage to gas purchases as well as monitor vehicle performance. X 

5.3.6 Overall, internal controls generally need improvement to ensure accountability.

5.3.7 New Zealand is located in a high seismic risk area, but it is unclear whether all properties meet seismic requirements. Due to the location of mission properties, confirming the status of those structures should be a priority.

5.3.8 Various items, such as files, office supplies and small tools, are kept in an onsite storage room which is accessible to all staff. Better controls should be in place in order to limit access to these assets.

5.3.9 Disposals of assets are conducted via auction sales, donations, participation in recycling programs, or by being discarded. Proper authorizations and documentation are in place but improvements to the process are required. The accountant is in charge of the entire process from auctioning items, receiving payments and approving pick-ups. ***.

5.3.10 Vehicle logs at times lacked the signatures of users and mileage information. There is no reconciliation of gas consumption to mileage.

Recommendations

Recommendations to the Mission

5.3.11 The MPMP should be updated to reflect current information in Auckland.

5.3.12 Mission should consult Physical Resources Bureau (ARD) ***.

5.3.13 The mission should provide relevant information to HQ pertaining to schooling access for consideration in rent ceilings determination.

5.3.14 Auction sales procedures should be put in place to ensure better segregation of duties by involving other members of the team.

5.3.15 Vehicle logs should be properly completed and the MAO and accountant should reconcile monthly vehicle gas purchase versus mileage per vehicle logs.

5.3.16 The mission should consult with ARD to ensure that properties are assessed per seismic requirements.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.3.11 The MPMP was completed in January, 2012 and reflects the mission's view of the environment and building condition of the office in Auckland. Implemented.

5.3.12 The most recent property visit ***. No further information has been received from ARD, ***. In progress for March 2013.

5.3.13 The mission will provide HQ with information on schooling access for its consideration in determining rent ceilings. The mission also notes that HQ considers the public school system in New Zealand to be compatible with the one in Canada; however, it has not been made clear to the mission on what basis this determination has been made. Efforts to dispute that point of view have been unsuccessful. Most diplomatic missions use private schools. In progress for March 2013.

5.3.14 The mission will review its current auction procedures to ensure appropriate segregation of duties. In progress for March 2013.

5.3.15 Vehicle logs will be properly completed by including more information in the vehicle logs. Currently, the accountant and the HOM sign the vehicle logs and ensure that receipts are attached. The monthly vehicle gas purchases versus mileage per vehicle logs are already being monitored. Implemented.

5.3.16 The mission is working with ARD to ensure that properties are assessed per seismic requirements. In progress for December 2012.

5.4 Finance

Management
Key Finance Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Roles and responsibilities ensure adequate segregation of duties.X  
The section employs methods to minimize disruption (e.g. setting of "quiet hours" and controlling access to the finance section).X  
The section has explored alternate methods to minimize transactions and reduce reliance on cash (i.e. acquisition cards, electronic fund transfers).X  
Payment runs are kept to a minimum, but are sufficient to provide good client service.X  

5.4.1 Overall, the finance section is *** managed by a long-serving accountant. ***.

5.4.2 The section provides to the Committee on Mission Management (CMM), when they meet, regular updates on the mission's budgets. Program budget information should also be provided to program managers on a monthly basis.

Key Processes and Internal Controls
Key Finance Internal Control CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
The mission's bank reconciliations are reviewed and signed-off on a monthly basis.X  
The asset and liability report is reviewed on a monthly basis. X 
Financial signing authorities are exercised by individuals who possess the appropriate delegation of authority.X  
The MAO 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.N/AN/AN/A
Travel and hospitality claim processes ensure that policies and guidelines are adhered to and that the accountant verifies the completeness and accuracy of the claim.X  
Reimbursement of HonCon operational expenses is based on an established agreement. X 
A percentage of costs for personal use of OR supplies is determined and regular reimbursements are made to the Mission.X  
A process is in place to ensure that, where applicable, CBS reimburse the mission for any services of a personal nature received at their staff quarters (e.g. television, internet, telephone, etc.).X  

5.4.3 Overall, internal controls are effective with the section now issuing most payments via electronic funds transfers (EFTs). Bank reconciliations are signed off monthly, *** items requiring controlled access *** which is in keeping with departmental guidelines. There are, however, a number of areas requiring improvement.

5.4.4 ***. Documents pertaining to the same project were at times split in different files. With the planned transfer of CFLI files back to the partner department, the mission should consolidate its filing by safekeeping copies of all documents in order to maintain complete files in case of future review.

5.4.5 In the past, a number of travel advances were issued and later settled, although the proper travel authorities had not been completed. The section was reminded by the inspection team of the proper processes and rules.

5.4.6 The consulate's bills are managed and paid in Wellington ***.

5.4.7 The consulate is provided with a *** for ongoing cash needs. The replenishment procedure put in place by Wellington, requiring both invoices and the balance of funds to be returned to Wellington before processing, is restrictive and unnecessary. At the time of inspection, the replenishment of the *** had yet to be completed six weeks after having been sent to Wellington.***.

Recommendations

Recommendations to the Mission

5.4.8 All consulate payments should be reviewed and signed off by the consulate head of office before their submission to the mission in order to ensure accurate payment authorization.

5.4.9 The asset and liability report should be reviewed monthly as part of the bank reconciliation process.

5.4.10 File review should be conducted to ensure all relevant ***. Required copies should be made before sending material back to partner department(s).

5.4.11 The consulate's *** should be *** with a replenishment margin***.

5.4.12 Replenishment time for *** should be linked to a reasonable service standard.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.4.8 All consulate payments are now reviewed and signed off by the consulate head of office before their submission to the mission in order to ensure accurate payment authorization. Implemented.

5.4.9 As of May 1, 2012, the asset and liability report are reviewed monthly as part of the bank reconciliation process. Implemented.

5.4.10 File reviews are now conducted to ensure all relevant *** and required copies are made before sending material back to partner department(s). Implemented.

5.4.11 Once the new STC has section 34 signing authority, the *** in accordance with the recommendation. In progress for October 2012.

5.4.12 Following the increase *** (as per 5.4.11), a reasonable service standard for its replenishment will be established. In progress for October 2012.

5.5 Information Management - Information Technology (IM-IT)

5.5.1 IM-IT responsibilities are under the general guidance of the MAO. The mission IT section covers two sites: the chancery in Wellington and the consulate in Auckland. Day-to-day IT responsibilities in Wellington are handled by the receptionist who is also the mission's Signet support assistant (SSA). Consulate responsibilities and more complex in-country IT issues are overseen by the regional FSITP and LEITP located in Canberra. The mission has a total of 15 Signet users in addition to a number of mobility tools on loan to staff.

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

5.5.2 The mission has a comprehensive IM-IT plan in place, detailing key activities and procedures for the management of the mission's resources.

5.5.3 The receptionist/SSA handles a number of on-site responsibilities, some planned and others in response to client requests for services. Items affecting the consulate in Auckland are handled by direct communication with the Canberra office. The SSA is not copied on such exchanges. The mission would benefit if the SSA was kept in the loop, even if not required to take action on such items, as it would improve her knowledge and keep her up-to-date on emerging issues.

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

5.5.4 Overall, IM-IT processes and controls were effective, with regular tasks clearly identified with specific timeframes for completion including server tapes back-up, inventory control and addressing client service requests. Back-up of server information is conducted regularly ***. The mission's satellite phone is tested on a regular basis and a number of staff are provided with mobility tools. These tools are signed out and accounted for. Sales of surplus assets are conducted properly with equipment memory-wipes conducted using the approved software. When more significant issues arise, the mission contacts the FSITP in order to get instructions on how to solve the problem.

Recommendations Recommendations to Mission

5.5.5 The SSA should be included in communications with the regional FSITP on a regular basis for information purposes and cooperation as required.

Mission Actions and Timeframes

5.5.5 The SSA is now included in communications with the regional FSITP and the mission in Auckland staff on a regular basis. Implemented.

Appendix A: Mission Resources Fact Sheet

Physical Resources
AssetsCrown-OwnedCrown-LeasedPrivate-Lease
Chancery-2-
Official Residence1--
Staff Quarters-3-
Vehicles2--
Storage---
Financial Information 2011/2012
BudgetProgramCommon Services
Operating$ 94,000$ 831,000
Capital-50,500
CBS Salaries396,400-
CBS Overtime10,000-
LES Salaries440,500237,100
LES Overtime15,600 
Total$ 956,500$ 1,118,600
Human Resources (FTEs)
ProgramTotalCBSLES
Head of Mission422
FPDS211
CE312
Consular2-2
Common Services3-3
Total14410

Appendix B: Frequently Used Acronyms

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