Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.
Inspection of the Embassy of Canada - Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD)
Office of the Inspector General
April 10 - 17, 2013
- Inspection Scope and Objectives
- Executive Summary
- 1 Mission Management
- 2 Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service (FPDS)
- 3 Commercial Economic (CE)
- 4 Economic and Finance Program
- 5 Consular
- 6 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, 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 inspection 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 HOM 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), Economic and Finance, Consular and Common Services (CS) programs was conducted in Abu Dhabi from April 10 to 17, 2013. A previous inspection of these programs took place in 2005.
The Embassy of Canada in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is a medium-sized mission with 21 Canada-based Staff (CBS) and 38 Locally Engaged Staff (LES). It is responsible for program delivery in the UAE, in conjunction with the mission in Dubai. Partner departments and agencies represented at the mission include Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), ***, the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces (DND), and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). Mission supports one co-locator, Export Development Canada (EDC).
The mission is managed by an EX-03 Head of Mission (HOM) who arrived in October of 2012, only five months prior to the inspection. The mission pursues strategic objectives that are consistent with government of Canada priorities and under the leadership of the HOM. The recent lifting of a visa requirement for Canadians by the UAE for example, signalled an important transition in the relationship.
Mission management has made an effort to enhance communication, address ongoing morale challenges and encourage coordination among programs. However, there are still a number of areas that require attention. Morale is mixed and varies across and within programs. Efforts on the part of the new HOM to improve morale (which had been effected by legacy issues), including through increased communication with all staff, have generally been received positively. Still, complaints persist on some program management issues as well as values and ethics concerns that will need attention to ensure that all staff respect the Values and Ethics Code and its pillars. Sustained effort will be required to overcome the CBS/LES divide. Despite efforts to strengthen this area, the mission would benefit from greater whole-of-government coordination in both the planning and the delivery of mission programs.
Most of the appropriate governance committees are present at the mission; however, some changes are required to strengthen the mission's operations and governance. The CMM currently functions as a forum for discussion but is not an effective body for making decisions. Not all of the mission's committees have terms of reference in place, and contracting procedures are not overseen by a Contract Review Board (CRB). The LES Management Consultation Board (LESMCB) does not consistently facilitate information sharing and discussion between management and LES, nor does it meet on a regular basis.
Mission management has undertaken the necessary planning for emergency preparedness; however, not all members of the emergency response team are *** of their roles and responsibilities. Emergency preparedness training was delivered at the mission in November 2012, and the mission emergency plan was subsequently updated in February 2013. Some lessons learned and other elements from the exercise should be incorporated into the plan.
Some key management controls are used effectively, whereas others require attention. The mission's *** requires improvement and hospitality controls should be strengthened. Employee performance evaluations were not completed for the previous fiscal year; however, the mission has recognized this weakness and initiated a process to complete Performance Management Programs (PMP). Program managers receive monthly financial updates, the bank and passport reconciliations are generally completed as required and the HOM participates ***.
The FPDS program is headed by an FS-03 program manager who is also a part of the ***. He splits his time about evenly *** responsibilities and managing the FPDS program. The program manager takes an *** approach to management ***. Overall, the FPDS team is motivated and morale is good. The program would, however, benefit from the formalization of some roles and responsibilities. The LE-05 administrative assistant for example, works closely with the FPDS program and the program manager conducts her performance evaluation; however, the mission's organization chart does not identify a formal reporting relationship. Performance measurement could improve at both the program and individual level. There is no program-wide performance measurement system and PMPs are not used to link individual work to strategic objectives.
The CE program is headed by an FS-03 Trade Commissioner (TC) who reports to the FS-04 STC in Dubai. Overall, the program is functioning well and is delivering on its commitments. The Commercial Economic program (CEP) plan is aligned with the Mission Planning and Reporting document, departmental priorities and Government of Canada priorities. The TC ***, has an open door policy, encourages sharing of information and provides support and guidance to officers in their respective sector. The TC has promoted a "one team, one program" approach within both the office in Dubai and the office in Abu Dhabi. The team is dedicated, works well together to effectively carry out activities as per the CEP plan. However, the program is focussing and proactively working on too many sectors. Some officers, for example, are allocated two priority sectors while the guidelines state one priority sector per officer.
The Economic and Finance program is a one-person program consisting of the FS-03 Regional Economic and Finance Counsellor. He is responsible for delivering economic and financial reporting on the UAE and the other five states of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Overall, the program is providing good value to the mission in Abu Dhabi.
The Consular program is managed by an AS-06 Management Consular Officer (MCO) with day-to-day operations under the responsibility of the DMCO AS-04. Although the consular workload is heavy for Abu Dhabi, the program functions well and provides quality services to clients. Overall, controls on passport and consular activities were effective***.
The Common Services program is managed by an AS-06 MCO who is *** manager. The mission has undergone the assessment for the Common Service Delivery Point (CSDP) model for financial service and will transition to the London CSDP in the near future. The mission also provides financial services to Doha, Qatar including payroll, payments, Integrated Management System (IMS) entry and banking.
Overall, the CS program is functioning well. There is room for improvement however, in a number of areas including client service, contracting/procurement practices,***. The Common Services Business Plan is used to guide overall program objectives, although section work plans have not been developed that would assist in managing work flow and planning of key activities and deliverables. In general, contracting and procurement processes require improvement. The mission does not currently have a CRB, although there was one in place in 2008.
A total of 70 inspection recommendations are raised in the report, 68 are addressed to the mission and 2 are addressed to HQ. Management has responded to each recommendation indicating action already taken or decisions made, as well as future action. At the time of writing, management has stated that 56 have been implemented.
1 Mission Management
1.1.1 The Embassy of Canada in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is a medium-sized mission with 21 Canada-based Staff (CBS) and 38 Locally Engaged Staff (LES). It is responsible for departmental program delivery in the UAE, in conjunction with the mission in Dubai. Partner departments and agencies represented at the mission include Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), *** the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces (DND), the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), and Export Development Canada (EDC).
1.1.2 The mission is managed by an EX-03 Head of Mission (HOM) who arrived in October of 2012, only five months prior to the inspection. He is responsible for overall operations and oversees the operational and capital budgets of $2.5 million and $208,000 respectively. The mission also manages a property portfolio that includes a chancery, an official residence as well as 17 Crown-leased staff quarters (SQs).
1.1.3 The UAE is of strategic importance to Canada due to its overall political and economic stability as well as its comparative openness and understanding of Canadian positions and interests in the region. Canada-UAE bilateral relations have improved significantly; the recent lifting of a visa requirement for Canadians by the UAE signalled an important transition in the relationship. The UAE continues to be an important regional base for Canada and Canadian economic interests.
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|
|Mission management ensures that employees remain informed of key priorities and common services policy decisions.||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 dialogue.||X|
|Mission committees are meeting regularly and effectively discharging their governance responsibilities.||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 Overall, the mission serves as an effective platform to advance Canadian interests in the UAE Mission management has made an effort to enhance communication, address ongoing morale challenges and encourage coordination among programs. However, there are still a number of areas that require attention.***.
1.2.2 The mission pursues strategic objectives that are consistent with government of Canada priorities. They have developed a good communication tool, referred to as a strategic narrative, which highlights opportunities and articulates the significant shared interests between Canada and the UAE. As well, an internal document has been produced to identify key files and assign responsibility. There is, however, scope for the mission to better align performance measurement to its overall strategic objectives. Improvements to the strategic planning of DFAIT programs could also assist with effective performance measurement.
1.2.3 Overall, staff are producing good results. However, the pressure to perform at a high level has generated some stress. Morale is mixed and varies across and within programs. Efforts on the part of the new HOM to improve morale (which had been effected by legacy issues), including through increased communication with all staff, have generally been received positively. Still, complaints persist on some program management issues as well as values and ethics concerns that will need attention to ensure that all staff respect the Values and Ethics Code and its pillars. Sustained effort will be required to overcome the***.
1.2.4 The HOM places high priority on communication. Shortly after his arrival, he met with all staff individually, established regular one-on-one meetings with program managers and increased the frequency of all-staff meetings. He also expressed desire to improve the quality of communication with partners at the mission, as this is a current area of weakness. Key priorities could also be communicated more effectively throughout the mission.
1.2.5 Additional communications structures also exist at the mission. Sub-committees are used to facilitate dialogue on priority events and themes, such as social media or high-level visits. As well, the Common Services program has developed a mission wiki that contains reference material, including policies and procedures. On the other hand, information from the Committee on Mission Management (CMM) is not consistently transmitted through program meetings and the minutes are not always distributed.
1.2.6 Most of the appropriate governance committees are present at the mission. However, some changes are required to strengthen the mission's operations and governance. The CMM currently functions as a forum for discussion but is not an effective body for making decisions. Frequently, management issues that would normally be resolved at the CMM, such as the determination of mission policies, are delegated to the MCO or other mission committees. In addition, not all of the mission's committees have terms of reference in place, and contracting procedures are not overseen by a Contract Review Board (CRB).
1.2.7 The LES Management Consultation Board (LESMCB) does not consistently facilitate information sharing and discussion between management and LES. The LES representatives, two thirds of whom come from the CIC program, do not recognize the Board's full value and feel that***. Minutes are not distributed to all staff or posted on the mission's wiki. Over the past year, the LESMCB only met twice, and the HOM first chaired a meeting in February 2013. The LES representatives identified the following key subjects for discussion with management: the absence of clear communication on the Total Compensation Review; LES desire for housing and travel allowances;***.
1.2.8 The mission formally promotes the public service values and ethics. Following the recent revision to the code, an electronic copy was distributed to all staff and an overview presentation was given at a town-hall meeting. However, it was reported that a number of staff didn't read the material, and the overall awareness of the code's content was low. Values and ethics issues, including disrespectful behaviour and a perceived difference in treatment between CBS and LES, were raised by staff in the context of the inspection.
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 Despite efforts to strengthen this area, the mission would still benefit from greater whole-of-government coordination in both the planning and the delivery of mission programs. This applies across DFAIT programs as well as with other partners at the mission. For example, although work had been done to identify key files that were crucial to the mission's overall strategy, not all program managers were aware of the document and it was not used to operationally channel resources towards concrete objectives.
1.3.2 It was identified that the mission in Dubai did not provide significant input into Abu Dhabi's strategic Mission Planning and Reporting (MPR) objectives, and no joint advocacy strategy exists for the two missions. As well, although all programs provided some input into the MPR document in Abu Dhabi, further work could be done to identify common interests and areas where programs should work together. As a consequence, there may be missed opportunities for collaboration within the mission or across the country.
1.3.3 The implementation of programs would also benefit from greater coordination. The two missions in the UAE have not always operated in harmony. For example, the mission in Dubai indicated that it has not consistently received all of the reporting emanating from the mission in Abu Dhabi. Nonetheless, both missions jointly deliver the Commercial Economic (CE) program, Abu Dhabi's Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service (FPDS) program manager frequently visits Dubai for work, and the two missions' consular programs communicate well on emergency management. Although overall relations between the two missions have improved, continued effort is required to ensure lines of communication are open and clear, especially for events which may involve representation from both missions.
1.3.4 Going forward, the HOM will have to work carefully with all program managers, including partners, to enhance coordination, to communicate the importance of all programs being involved in mission governance, and to ensure that resources are effectively leveraged for the benefit of all GoC priorities.
1.3.5 Partners are generally satisfied with the common services provided to their programs. A common thread among CBS, from both DFAIT and partners, was a desire to improve the timeliness and communication related to***.
1.4 Emergency Preparedness
|Key Emergency Preparedness Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|The mission emergency plan (MEP) is up to date.||X|
|An emergency response team (ERT) has been identified and members are aware of their roles and responsibilities.||X|
|The MEP is tested regularly through the conduct of exercises and simulations.||X|
|The mission has identified an alternate command post and the appropriate secondary communications systems are in place and tested regularly.||X|
|Consultation occurs with like-minded and neighbouring Canadian missions regarding emergency planning.||X|
1.4.1 The mission has taken a number of steps to plan and prepare for an emergency scenario. Attention to these matters is particularly important given the regional risks and the high number of Canadian residents in the country. Continued work on plans and procedures should be undertaken in conjunction with Dubai to ensure a cohesive approach across the country.
1.4.2 Emergency preparedness training was delivered at the mission in November 2012, and the mission emergency plan (MEP) was subsequently updated in February 2013. However, some lessons learned and other elements should still be incorporated into the plan. For example, procedures should be developed for an earthquake scenario. The MEP was tested during the emergency preparedness training, but only one member of the LES was included in the session and***. Although regular fire drills occur, more drills***.
1.4.3 An emergency response team (ERT) exists, but not all members are *** their roles and responsibilities. Confusion as to the difference between the ERT and the mission's security committee should be clarified. ***.
1.4.4 The mission maintains good contact with like-minded and neighbouring missions as well as local authorities.
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 Official languages are respected and promoted by mission management. The HOM has demonstrated leadership by ensuring that most messages to all staff are bilingual and using both official languages in town hall meetings. An Official Languages Co-ordinator has been appointed, and key services are provided in both English and French. Official signage directed at the public is bilingual, but much of the internal postings are in English only.
1.6 Management Controls
|Key Management Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Security policies and regulations are respected and promoted.||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|
|Mechanisms are in place to monitor the completion of employees' performance evaluations.||X|
|A coordinated approach is taken with regards to training and a budget has been established.||X|
|The quarterly reconciliation of passport inventory is properly completed and certified.||X|
|The Honorary Consul (HonCon) has an up-to-date mandate letter and performance is reviewed annually.||N/A||N/A||N/A|
1.6.1 Some key management controls are used effectively, whereas others require attention.***.
1.6.2 Hospitality controls also require attention. The mission's hospitality guidelines and meal rates date from 2009 but no longer correspond to market prices. Several hospitality claims were processed with meal rates that exceeded the approved ceilings. Some of the documentation also failed to fully communicate the purpose and value derived from the events. The HOM Guide on Official Hospitality Outside Canada is a good resource to advise the mission on leveraging funds and documenting activities.
1.6.3 Employee performance evaluations were not completed for the previous fiscal year. The mission has recognized this weakness and initiated a process to put Performance Management Programs (PMPs) in place, starting with program managers. Going forward, it will be important to link employees' objectives to mission priorities and ensure that meaningful dialogue between employees and their supervisors is included as part of the evaluation process.
1.6.4 Program managers receive *** financial updates, the bank and passport reconciliations are generally completed and signed off as required and the HOM participates in *** reconciliation of passport inventory. The Deputy Management Consular Officer (DMCO) coordinates mission-wide training and has a dedicated budget for this purpose.
Recommendations to the Mission
1.7.1 The mission should strengthen its planning practices. Strategic objectives that cascade to concrete ones, should be set for the mission and used as a basis for program planning and employee PMPs.
1.7.2 All employees should have a PMP in place and participate in formal performance discussions with their supervisor in accordance with the performance management cycle.
1.7.3 Mission should develop and implement a plan to improve staff morale.
1.7.4 The mission should examine the possibility of holding separate operations committee and CMM meetings. Minutes from these meetings should be distributed to employees as appropriate as well as posted to the wiki or shared network drive.
1.7.5 To ensure it fulfills its mandate, the procedures and structure of the LESMCB should be modified:
- The HOM should chair the meetings until the Board consistently fulfill its role as an effective venue for discussion between LES and mission management;
- The mandate of the LESMCB should be clarified with all LES;
- Diverse representation, both in terms of level and program, should be encouraged in the election of LES representatives;
- A plan should be established to meet at least on a quarterly basis; and
- Meeting minutes should be distributed to all staff.
1.7.6 The mission should review its governance structure to ensure that all key governance elements, as outlined in the HOM Guide on Mission Governance, are addressed and that mission committees have up-to-date terms of reference. As part of this, a Contracting Review Board should be established.
1.7.7 The mission should ensure that all staff take values and ethics training, that mission-wide discussions on values and ethics occur on an annual basis and that staff are reminded of the various resources available to address questions or concerns.
1.7.8 Mechanisms should be put in place to identify, consolidate and communicate the key priorities from all programs across the two missions in the UAE. Consideration could be given to holding a joint UAE planning retreat to identify common interests and proactively set out concrete plans to leverage the Canadian presence.
1.7.9 Representatives of partner programs should contribute to mission management and participate in mission committees.
1.7.10 Roles and responsibilities should be reviewed with all members of the mission's ERT.
1.7.11 The mission should ensure regular testing of the MEP that includes all staff.
1.7.12 *** policies and procedures should be reviewed, and all staff should be reminded of their responsibilities.
1.7.13 The mission should address the following points related to hospitality:
- The mission's hospitality rates should be reviewed on an annual basis and approved by CMM; and
- All hospitality activities should be supported by documentation that outlines the purpose of the event, links it to mission priorities, evaluates its value-for-money and identifies any follow up that was taken or is required.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
(Please note: The management actions below reflect the initial responses upon receiving the recommendations. They do not reflect the current status of implementation.)
1.7.1 Strategia was used to ensure that strategic objectives were identified and cascade into concrete actions and objectives. The PMA and PMP process was then used to ensure that individual work plans reflect strategic objectives and coordinated approach. Retreats within programs were also used to reinforce planning; and will continue. Implemented February 2014.
1.7.2 All DFATD employees have PMPs and all officers undertake formal mid-term and end of term reviews as well as ongoing feedback. Implemented April 2014.
1.7.3 A plan to improve staff morale was initiated in the first quarter of the HOM's arrival. To date, a Social Committee has been established, social activities have been organized by the HOM for all staff, and a formal recognition program to augment the instant award scheme has been proposed. The recognition program will constitute two social events per year during which awards will be given to staff who reflect the corporate culture the mission is trying to promote, including reflecting our values and ethics. The first event is planned for Canada Day celebrations at the embassy on 26 June 2014. Implemented June 2014.
1.7.4 This was discussed at CMM and it was agreed that, given the extensive regional travel of many members, a weekly meeting allowed for better attendance over-all. The CMM has a formal agenda and minutes are distributed to members and employees as appropriate after the meeting. Implemented September 2013.
1.7.5 The HOM now chairs the LESMCB. The mandate has been reviewed with members. Membership has been reviewed to ensure better representation. It meets quarterly and as required. Minutes are distributed. Implemented October 2013.
1.7.6 The MCO has reviewed, with the HOM, the mission committee governance structure and memberships and they address related governance requirement. Terms of reference exist for committees. Contract Review Board has been established. Implemented November 2013.
1.7.7 The mission will ensure that this training takes place by January 2015, when the full new rotation of staff has also been completed. All staff have been encouraged to take the on-line training and PMs will ensure that colleagues have the time during work hours to take the course. This will be reinforced with our second all staff meeting on Values and Ethics, to coincide with the joint retreat in the fall. In addition, the mission will inform staff of the resources available to address questions or concerns. In Progress for December 2014.
1.7.8 A joint retreat of the two missions in the UAE is planned for the end of September, once the five new program managers have arrived at their missions. This retreat, along with smaller retreats for DFATD staff, will be used to discuss planning and identify objectives or activities that could be jointly supported by the two missions. In Progress for December 2014.
1.7.9 All partner programs participate in mission management through the CMM and other committees. CIC is Co-Chair of committees; membership in other committees reflects the diversity of programs. Implemented November 2013.
1.7.10 This has been done with new ERT. More regular meetings have been established.***. Implemented October 2013.
1.7.11 MEP tabletop exercise with ERT members is planned on a yearly cycle to take place next at our new EOC, and then pegged to the annual visits of the MPSS. All staff simulation will take place with the visit of the Regional Emergency Manager slated for this fiscal year. In Progress for December 2014.
1.7.12 This is done on a regular basis through email at CMMs and other occasions. *** has been conducted and recommendations are being implemented. Implemented January 2014.
1.7.13 Rates were reviewed in October 2013 and an update presented in April 2014 for CMM consideration. Data is being collected for per capita hospitality rates. All PMs have been instructed to be more vigilant on supporting documentation and objectives and PMs have been specifically requested to provide information when it has not been made available. Mission always strives for value for money and has taken actions such as curtailing large National Day receptions with this in mind. Implemented May 2014.
2 Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service (FPDS)
2.1.1 The FPDS program is headed by an FS-03 program manager who is supported by one FS-02 officer. Administrative support is provided to the program by the HOM's locally engaged administrative assistant, but no formal reporting relationship exists. The program manager is also a part of the ***.
2.1.2 The UAE is considered strategically important to Canada. It is widely recognized as one of the *** countries in the region and enjoys a high degree of political and economic stability. It also provides an important window ***. The program identifies the following as its key priorities: public diplomacy in the UAE, communicating why the UAE matters to Canada, supporting whole-of-government objectives, delivering high-level visits, and building the mission's network in the country.
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|
|Internal communications within the program effectively support program delivery.||X|
2.2.1 The FPDS program is small but produces good results on a number of fronts. The program manager takes an *** approach to management***. He shares information *** with both the FS-02 and the LE-05 administrative assistant, who provides program support. Overall, the FPDS team is motivated and morale is good.
2.2.2 The program would benefit from the formalization of some roles and responsibilities. The program manager splits his time about evenly between his *** responsibilities and managing the FPDS program. However, no formal agreement outlines how much time should be dedicated to each function and there may be differing expectations from mission management and Headquarters. In addition, although the LE-05 works closely with the FPDS program and the program manager conducts her performance evaluation, the mission's organization chart does not identify a formal reporting relationship.
2.2.3 The program relies largely on the Mission Planning and Reporting (MPR) document to guide its priorities. However, no additional plans exist and the MPR commitments do not address all the key program priorities. The absence of these tools leads the program to be more reactive, and its work is often driven by demands emanating from Headquarters, the HOM or the CE program. A program-specific work plan would help communicate the overall strategic direction and key priorities, assign resources to concrete objectives, and facilitate effective performance measurement.
2.2.4 Informal communication within the program is good, but attention should be given to consistently holding team meetings. Possibly as a result of the program manager's frequent visits to Dubai for *** work, the program's meetings are often cancelled. These should be restored and used to review and prioritize activities, identify key issues and ensure messages from management meetings are conveyed to the team. Following an agenda could help to guide conversations and ensure that important areas are addressed.
|Key FPDS Implementation Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|The program facilitates a mission-wide coordinated approach to advocacy and common messaging.||X|
|Program reporting is in line with mission and government objectives, timely and relevant.||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|
|Relations with other mission programs facilitate program delivery (e.g. public affairs).||X|
|The program develops and maintains a contact base that meets program needs and objectives.||X|
2.3.1 The program is delivering upon its mandate despite its limited resources and a high pace of work. It has effectively supported a number of high-level visits and works closely with the HOM and the CE program to support their objectives. Communication is also open with partner departments, and the program provides public affairs support to events and activities across the mission.
2.3.2 Despite the program's support for mission-wide objectives, there is no cohesive plan or common messaging. The mission self-identified a need to develop a communications plan and indicated that this would be elaborated ahead of next year's planning cycle. Such a tool could form part of an advocacy strategy. It would be useful to ensure consistency in messaging and to facilitate outreach and contact media, especially in the context of high-level visits.
2.3.3 Reporting on *** priorities is targeted, clear and relevant. It also reflects the strong contact network that the program manager has developed. The more traditional FPDS reporting also has good value and provides information and analysis that goes beyond what is available in the public domain. A daily media summary is produced by the program; stakeholders should be consulted to determine if the product provides sufficient value given the availability of internet news and the time it takes to produce the summary.
2.3.4 One of the program's priorities is to expand its network within the UAE. Consideration could be given to establishing this as a key commitment for the program and outlining a related strategy in the program's work plan.
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 Mission Planning and Reporting (MPR) system at the end of the fiscal year.||X|
|Hospitality diaries demonstrate value-for-money and alignment with priorities.||X|
2.4.1 Performance measurement could improve at both the program and individual level. There is no program-wide performance measurement system and PMPs are not used to link individual work to strategic objectives.
2.4.2 The program uses the Mission Advocacy Activity Tracker (MAAT) to report both activities funded through the Post Initiative Fund (PIF) as well as those that do not require financial resources. Also, the program held a retreat in the summer of 2012 to assess the results of its activities. While positive, the program should also be sure to jointly evaluate its progress on the MPR commitments ahead of establishing new objectives for the following fiscal year.
2.4.3 Strengthening program planning will also facilitate more meaningful performance measurement at a program level. Results should be reviewed on an ongoing basis and complimented with an annual retreat to validate the related strategies and activities and incorporate lessons learned into future planning.
2.4.4 The program has not used the Performance Management Program (PMP) to evaluate individual performance. This is missed opportunity to link day-to-day work to higher objectives as well as to provide individuals with feedback and identify areas for professional development. Although the program manager is supportive of his team overall and holds informal discussion on career development with members of his team, the process should be formalized.
2.4.5 The program's reporting on hospitality was inconsistent. Some of the documentation reviewed did not fully communicate the purpose and value derived from the events in question. A good practice in reporting outcomes is to link the event or activity to reporting or other tangible products. The FS-02 should be allocated a portion of the program's hospitality and be held accountable for planning and reporting. This would help to reinforce planning for her areas of responsibility and provide a tool for further network building.
Recommendations to the Mission
2.5.1 Consideration should be given to formalizing the LE-05 Administrative Assistant reporting relationship to the program or determining another sustainable approach to meet the program's administrative needs.
2.5.2 The program should develop a work plan that outlines key activities and links human and financial resources to strategic and measurable objectives. This work plan should cascade into employees' individual work plans in order to maintain a coherent strategic focus and reflect the approved MPR/Strategia plan.
2.5.3 Formal program meetings should take place on a regular basis and be used to reinforce information sharing, review and prioritize activities and convey information from management meetings. A short record of decisions should be maintained.
2.5.4 A whole-of-government advocacy strategy and plan should be developed for the mission.
2.5.5 A performance measurement system should be implemented to monitor activities on an ongoing basis and assess results against strategic objectives and plans. Lessons learned should be captured and applied to future planning.
2.5.6 All employees should have clear PMP objectives and participate in formal performance discussions with their supervisor in accordance with the performance management cycle.
2.5.7 The use of hospitality should be planned in order to ensure funds are strategically and fully leveraged. The associated documentation should outline the purpose of the event, links it to mission priorities, evaluates its value-for-money and identifies any follow up that was taken or is required.
Recommendations to the Mission, the Trade and Diplomacy Middle East Bureau (GMD) and the ***.
2.5.8 An agreement should be put in place between the mission, GMD and *** to clearly define the program manager's responsibilities to managing the FPDS program versus his role as a *** officer.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
(Please note: The management actions below reflect the initial responses upon receiving the recommendations. They do not reflect the current status of implementation.)
2.5.1 The LE-05 assistant reports directly to the FPDS Program Manager who has primary managerial responsibility for the position, conducts the formal performance review process, provides ongoing mentorship and structures the position's education plan. On specific tasks related to OIC and EC, which are within the formal job description, the files are managed by the responsible program. This change has been reflected in the organisational chart. Implemented August 2014.
2.5.2 The program has developed a workplan as part of the planning process and input into Strategia. Objectives cascade into individuals' work and are supported by their PMPs. Implemented March 2014.
2.5.3 Weekly staff meetings chaired by the political Counsellor are now in effect. Minutes of the meetings are taken, and once approved, are distributed to HOM and other program managers. Implemented September 2013.
2.5.4 Work is underway and will be facilitated by the new Strategia process; a joint mission retreat planned for September where specific time will be devoted, and in future sessions, to discuss advocacy priorities aligned with mission objectives. In Progress for December 2014.
2.5.5 The program has now established a formal performance measurement system. The program's progress on strategic objectives is evaluated through Strategia, lessons learned are captured after high-level visits and other major events, and individual performance is evaluated through PMPs. Implemented April 2014.
2.5.6 Reviews and feedback take place regularly in accordance with the performance management cycle. Implemented April 2013.
2.5.7 The HOM has instructed on the use of hospitality. PMs and officers ensure that funds are leveraged, that activities promote clear objectives of the integrated department and government priorities. Implemented April 2013.
Mission, GMD and *** Actions and Timeframes
(Please note: The management actions below reflect the initial responses upon receiving the recommendations. They do not reflect the current status of implementation.)
2.5.8 *** in consultation with the mission and GMD, has amended the relevant *** Management Accountability Framework section to incorporate separate language for hybrid FPDS*** officers which designates a 50/50 split between *** and FPDS-related work and a reporting output benchmark of 2-4 reports per month. Implemented June 2014.
3 Commercial Economic (CE)
3.1.1 The Commercial Economic (CE) program in Abu Dhabi is headed by an FS-03 Trade Commissioner (TC) who reports to the STC in Dubai. The TC is supported by two LE-09 Trade Commissioners (TCs) and one LE-05 Trade Commissioner Assistants (TCA). The program's financial resources are provided below.
|Client Service Fund (CSF)||$ 113,000|
3.1.2 The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has the third largest gross domestic product (GDP) in the Middle-East and North Africa region. Export of petroleum and natural gas continues to play an important role in their economy; however, other sectors such as manufacturing, construction and services sector are growing and allowing the UAE to become less dependent on natural resources as a source of revenue.
3.1.3 Relations between Canada and the UAE have been strong for most of their 39 year relationship. In 2009, Canada and the UAE signed a bilateral agreement to further enhance economic cooperation, trade and investment.***. The following year, a visa requirement was imposed on Canadians visiting the UAE. In early 2012, the Foreign Affairs Minister, John Baird, and the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, set out an agenda between both countries to strengthen and re-energize the Canada-UAE relationship. One year later, both countries agreed to lift the visa regime. One year later the UAE took a decision to revert to the previous visa on entry regime for Canadians.
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|
|Internal program communication effectively supports program delivery.||X|
3.2.1 Overall, the program is functioning well and is delivering on its commitments. The Commercial Economic program plan is aligned with the Mission Planning and Reporting (MPR) document, departmental priorities and Government of Canada priorities. The TC ***, has an open door policy, encourages sharing of information and provides support and guidance to officers in their respective sector. The TC and STC in both ABDBI and DUBAI have promoted a "one team, one program" approach. The team *** works *** together to effectively carry out activities as per the CEP plan.
3.2.2 The planning process begins with discussions at the trade retreat regarding the program's priorities and the team discuss their respective sectors. This discussion helps shape the strategy that is drafted by the STC in Dubai in collaboration with the TC in Abu Dhabi. The retreat is then followed by consultations with other programs at the mission, partner departments (AAFC, EDC), provinces, Headquarters and neighbouring missions in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region as well as the Middle-East and North Africa (MENA) region. Both UAE missions, DUBAI and ABDBI, have newly arrived Heads of Missions (HOMs) who are active ***. Considering this new pace, the program should consult and engage both Heads of Missions (HOMs) in the planning process and identify areas where their participation could help advance the CE program.
3.2.3 The program is focussing and proactively working on too many sectors. Some officers are allocated to two priority sectors while the guidelines state one priority sector per officer. In consultation with the DUBAI mission, the program should consider reducing the number of sectors that are worked on proactively in order to deliver the right level of service to clients.
3.2.4 During the planning process, TCs are responsible for developing their individual sector/functional area action plan. Within each action plan, TCs identify results for the previous year and set performance targets for the coming year. When reviewing the business plans, the results and the targets were not well substantiated. The STC should review the performance assessments and ensure that the appropriate figures were identified.
3.2.5 Communications within the program is effective. The CE program conducts a weekly team meeting and includes the DUBAI CE team via videoconference. The program should consider distributing an agenda ahead of the meeting. In addition to the weekly CE meeting, the CE program attends a weekly trade forward planning and operations meeting via *** which includes the HOMs, CE program managers, the EcoFin officer and the Public Affairs (PA) officer. The CE program might want to consider separating the meeting into two groups: one as the forward planning with the HOMs and the other as the operations with the EcoFin officer and PA officer. This will allow the CE team to discuss strategic topics with the HOMs and to elaborate on the implementation with the other two officers. The TC also promotes an open door policy which allows his team to ask questions and receive informal feedback.
|Key CE Implementation Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Business plan objectives and those outlined in management's Performance Management Agreements(PMAs) / Performance Management Programs(PMPs) appropriately cascade down into staff PMPs.||X|
|Activities and initiatives are aligned with the mission's key priorities.||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, staff do not have Performance Management Programs (PMPs) in place and formal discussions are not conducted throughout the year. PMPs should be available for each employee. Business plan objectives and objectives outlined in management's Performance Management Agreements (PMAs)/PMPs should appropriately cascade down into staff PMPs.
3.3.2 Overall, the program is providing effective services and is actively working to identify and promote business opportunities for clients. Since mission objectives related to the CE program are changing, activities need to be realigned. The implementation of a regional approach has improved sector planning and overall client service. Sector officers are in continuous consultations within the GCC trade network and with the sector groups at headquarters.
3.3.3 TCs in Abu Dhabi are active members of the GCC trade network. TCs share information across the mission network to develop joint initiatives when possible. Certain sectors have a structured GCC network with a dedicated lead officer, such as the agriculture sector, located in Dubai and the education sector located in Abu Dhabi. Other priority sectors would benefit from a structured approach.
3.3.4 Although the education officer is responsible for the region, the mandate for that position is not clear for both the officer and the TC. Guidance from headquarters has not been as strong as the program would like and leaves the program with no clear direction as to what the responsibilities of the regional role is meant to be as there are officers responsible for the education sector in other missions in the GCC. It would be beneficial for the TC to have bilateral meetings with the regional education officer in order to provide guidance.
3.3.5 The new TRIO system, TRIO 2, was rolled out to the GCC missions where the DUBAI mission hosted the training sessions for the STCs and TRIO champions from the region. All officers from Abu Dhabi were able to attend this training session. Considering that all officers received the training, the program should improve the use of TRIO 2 and enter information in a timely manner. The TRIO champion, located in Dubai, is assisting officers in both missions, with their TRIO entries. However, the TRIO statistics at the time of the inspection did not accurately reflect the actual services delivered and outcalls that have taken place throughout the year.
3.3.6 Market reports were not available on the trade commissioner service (TCS) website. It would be beneficial for clients to have access to market reports for priority sectors and secondary sectors. This will allow clients to gain more information on certain sectors as well as reduce the amount of requests sent to the InfoCentre.
3.3.7 The InfoCentre is located in Dubai and is comprised of one LE-05 TCA who is managed by an FS-01 officer. The program has identified two back-up positions for the InfoCentre, one TCA in Dubai and another TCA in Abu Dhabi. Overall the InfoCentre is functioning well and providing a good level of support to officers.
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 Performance measurement is taking place at the event level by individual officers. Officers also measure the performance of their sectors by the feedback received from clients regarding a successful business transaction. At the program level, performance measurement as a team was not occurring throughout the year. Discussions of results and successful or unsuccessful initiatives should be taking place.
3.4.2 The TC should also print a snapshot from the International Business Development (IBD) Dashboard system as well as from TRIO and review the data with his team during staff meetings. It would be useful to use the TRIO reports in comparison with the IBD Dashboard to ensure that data is entered appropriately.
3.4.3 Hospitality reporting was generally satisfactory but with a need to make the purpose of events more clear as well as an accurate evaluation of results and success. The evaluation of results should extend beyond an acknowledgement that all objectives were met. A good practice in reporting outcomes is to link the event or activity to reporting or other tangible outcomes. In addition, the hospitality budget was not distributed among the TCs; it is requested on a case by case basis. The STC should consider distributing a portion to the TCs and holding them accountable for its strategic use.
Recommendations to the Mission
3.5.1 The CE program should include both HOMs in the business planning process and align activities and initiatives with mission priorities.
3.5.2 The TC should ensure that tools and mechanisms are in place in order to measure the performance of the program.
3.5.3 The TC should ensure that TRIO data is entered in a timely manner.
3.5.4 The TC should ensure that PMPs are in place for each CE staff member and completed in a timely manner.
3.5.5 The TC should have bilateral meetings with the regional education officer and provide guidance to that role.
3.5.6 The CE program should include market reports on the TCS for their priority sectors.
3.5.7 The use of hospitality should be planned in order to ensure funds are strategically and fully leveraged. The associated documentation should clearly state the purpose of each event, evaluate if, and how, value-for-money was achieved and identify any follow up that was taken or will be required.
Recommendations to Edu-Canada (International Promotion of Education in Canada) Unit (GLEC)
3.5.8 GLEC should outline the mandate, role and responsibilities of the regional education position.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
3.5.1 The CE program held a one-day planning meeting with both HOMs where officers presented objectives, priority sectors, projects and activities. Implemented March 2014.
3.5.2 The TC now uses TRIO 2 and the IBD Dashboard to measure the performance of the program. Implemented March 2014.
3.5.3 The TC raised TRIO data entry requirements on a regular basis, at weekly CE team meetings, prior to the end of each month, and prior to the end of each quarter. Dashboard/TRIO results were reviewed on a regular basis with the team. All team members were regularly reminded to set aside specific time in their weekly Outlook calendars to allow for timely TRIO data entry. Trade Assistant and Info Centre Manager resources were made available to Commercial officers during particularly busy periods around major delegation and trade show events to "blitz" TRIO data entries and client service follow up. Implemented March 2014.
3.5.4 CE program PMPs are in place in hard-copy format. Some have been entered into the online PMP system; some have yet to be entered electronically. Implemented April 2014.
3.5.5 The ABDBI Commercial Counsellor and the DUBAI STC are both providing ongoing guidance to the regional education officer and clarifying the mandate of that role towards other GCC posts. Implemented March 2014.
3.5.6 Several market reports are planned for the new fiscal year and adequate funding will be set aside for translation. Implemented April 2014.
3.5.7 More fulsome explanation of the purpose, evaluation, value-for-money and initial results achieved has been incorporated in the event and quarterly reporting forms. Implemented March 2014.
HQ Actions and Timeframes
3.5.8 The Maghreb and Regional Commercial Relations division (EMC) and missions, with support from the International Education division will review *** to ensure effective regional marketing and client service in support of the International Education Strategy. This will entail an assessment of the resources available in the GCC region for the education sector, including the Health/Education Officer in RYADH, workload factors, market competition and opportunities and travel considerations, together with discussions with stakeholders and partners. In Progress for December 2014.
4 Economic and Finance Program
4.1.1 The Economic and Finance program is a one-person program consisting of the FS-03 Regional Economic and Finance Counsellor. He is responsible for delivering economic and financial reporting on the UAE and the other five states of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
4.2 Planning and Program Management
4.2.1 Overall, the program is providing good value to the mission in Abu Dhabi. The FS-03 maintains regular formal communication with the HOM as well as the FPDS and CE programs. However, at present the program's focus is heavily weighted to the UAE (about 70%). Attention to careful planning and outreach to the missions of accreditation could assist the program in transitioning to a more equal weighting between the UAE the other GCC countries. Although good cooperation was sited in visits to other missions, there is very little tasking that comes from regional HOMs or program managers.
4.2.2 The FS-03 has *** developed a work plan for the program. While a good initiative, there is scope to expand it beyond reporting commitments to stakeholders in Canada. For example, the current plan does not identify how hospitality or travel resources will be used to advance its objectives. Adding these elements to the plan would help the program to further its networking goals and provide an opportunity to work with missions in the region to identify when a visit would be of most benefit.
4.3.1 The program focuses principally on reporting, but also supports mission-wide objectives through pushing messages via social media and participating in events where economic or financial analysis would be of benefit. Positive feedback has been received from both Headquarters and the mission. Reporting is well written, uses creative elements to capture the reader's attention and relates directly to Canadian interests.
4.4 Performance Measurement
4.4.1 The absence of an effective plan to outline how resources (both human and financial) will be leveraged to advance strategic objectives hampers effective performance measurement. As a result, the measurement is based largely on meeting reporting goals, in terms of numbers, and informal feedback from clients. While this is a good base, it does not address all activities of the program. The ECOFIN officer has recognized performance measurement as an area for improvement.
4.4.2 The program's hospitality documentation does not consistently communicate the purpose and value derived from the events in question. A good practice in reporting outcomes is to link the event or activity to reporting or other tangible products.
Recommendations to the Mission
4.5.1 The program's plan should be modified to include all key activities and to links human and financial resources to strategic and measurable objectives.
4.5.2 A performance measurement system should be implemented to assess results against strategic objectives. It should include both qualitative and quantitative key performance indicators, and lessons learned should and applied to future planning.
4.5.3 The use of hospitality should be planned in order to ensure funds are strategically and fully leveraged. The associated documentation should outline the purpose of the event, links to mission priorities, evaluate its value-for-money and identify any follow up that was taken or is required.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
4.5.1 ECOFIN's Plan for FY 2014-15 in Strategia will list all key activities along with a description of each, their cost estimates, link to programme objectives and anticipated results. In Progress for April 2014.
4.5.2 Through Strategia, the ECOFIN program has developed a business plan with a performance measurement system that includes performance indicators, targets and results that are measured and assessed against strategic objectives. Implemented January 2014.
4.5.3 A hospitality strategy was developed for fiscal year 2014-15 and approved by the HOM as part of the broader ECOFIN workplan. As recommended, attention will be paid to ensure that the associated documentation clearly outlines the purpose of the events and the related outcomes as well as identifies how they relate to mission priorities and any follow-up that would be required. Implemented June 2014.
5.1.1 The Consular program is managed by the AS-06 Management Consular Officer (MCO) with day-to-day operations under the responsibility of the AS-04 DMCO who is supported by an LE-06 Consular Assistant. The mission receptionist also provides a degree of support to the program. The program's financial resources are provided below.
|*Program travel funding is distributed according to submitted expenditure plans and mission priorities. As such these amounts are subject to change according to needs from one year to the next.|
5.1.2 The mission provides approximately 1,800 passport services and processes approximately 200 citizenship applications and 2,300 notarial requests yearly. There are 1,519 Canadian citizens in the Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) database. The estimated number of Canadians residing in Abu Dhabi is 15,000.
5.1.3 The Consular workload is heavy for Abu Dhabi. In addition to the passport, citizenship and notarial requests, the section deals with *** detainees with an associated expectation to be at court, and many financial assistance related cases. The bilateral visa issue had impact on Canadian residents and detracted from the mission's ability to address other issues such as *** and liaison with like-minded missions for consular planning.
5.2 Planning and 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|
5.2.1 Overall the program functions well and provides quality services to clients. The program benefits from an *** MCO who provides general direction and *** staff handling daily operations. With high client expectations and volume,***.
5.2.2 The program lacks scheduled program meetings to plan ahead and review ongoing cases and issues. Regular program meetings would further improve the program's internal communications and plan better to deliver on its services. *** indicated that at times it was somewhat unclear whether *** should discuss various cases and issues with the ***. Program meetings would serve as a platform to discuss such matters.
5.2.3 While internal meetings do not occur as frequently as they should, the Consular assistant is in regular contact with the Dubai Consular Officer. The Consular Assistant benefits from her experience as well as facilitating communication between the consular programs in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Given the heavy workload experienced by each program,***. For instance, passport services could be delivered in one location while citizenship requests could go to the other.
5.2.4 The program conducts regular outreach activities to meet with Canadians and encourage registration with the mission. This activity contributes to the program's visibility amongst Canadians and raises awareness as to what the program can assist them with. However, outreach activities aimed at increasing communications with local authorities at various levels has yet to receive the same amount of focus from the program. While frequent communications with Canadians is desired, similar communications with key local contacts is also necessary.
5.2.5 This helps with the program's ability to interact further with local authorities.***. Further reinforcing the relation with these contacts could help in improving this situation. This could be achieved via hospitality activities aimed at local authorities which could prove beneficial to the program in maintaining and expanding its network of local contacts.
5.2.6 A growing warden network has developed in recent years with various outreach activities taking place regularly to raise awareness amongst Canadians of the value of the ROCA. Significant progress has been made but a number of warden districts still lack assigned wardens. Efforts to assign wardens to these districts should continue.
5.2.7 The program has successfully worked towards greater capacity by providing passport training to the receptionist and by maintaining a shortlist of trained term employees, on whom they can call when needed. While these steps are important, they are also indicative of the potential lack of depth in terms of the number of employees for the program.
5.2.8 With the MCO's oversight of the program and intervention in more complex cases, the *** that reporting to both *** is at times confusing, as *** is unsure whether or not specific cases should be brought to the MCO's attention. Regular team meetings where a review of ongoing cases and future steps would help clarify this issue.
5.3 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|
5.3.1 Overall quality of client services was good. Clients are served in the official language of their choice by dedicated staff. Copies of service standards and official receipts are posted in both official languages. Due to a past plan to expand the consular program, the sole existing consular booth was redesigned as two clients' windows. This makes it impossible for clients to discuss sensitive cases with staff at those windows. Clients are therefore directed to existing visa interview booths on another floor to discuss personal cases. While not a major irritant, redesigning the current consular windows into at least one private consular booth would be more in line with consular program normal set-up.
5.3.2 Client feedback forms were not readily available to clients. Feedback forms should be prominently placed to ensure clients have easy access to them and a system should be developed by the program to actively review them and put in place mechanisms to address concerns raised.
5.4 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.||X|
|Revenues held in the consular section are kept to a minimum and are transferred to finance on a regular basis.||X|
|Upon receipt of inventory two CBS verify the receipt of all assets, sign and return the transmittal note.||X|
|Inventory is appropriately secured and removal of assets is appropriately recorded.||X|
|Working inventories provided to staff are appropriate and controlled by a daily log.||X|
|Monthly and quarterly reconciliations of inventory are properly completed and certified.||X|
|Official seals and stamps are properly inventoried, secured and access provided to designated staff only.||X|
5.4.1 Overall, controls on passport and consular activities were effective ***.
5.4.2 Consular fees are posted,***.
5.4.3 Consular revenues are collected and properly secured. Transfers *** take place on a regular basis.***.
5.4.5 Official seals and stamps were accounted for during the inspection of the program ***.
Recommendations to the Mission
5.5.1 The MCO should schedule regular program meetings.
5.5.2 To facilitate program delivery, the program should put together a plan laying out the management of local contacts to ensure ongoing dialogue with key local authorities.
5.5.3 Feedback forms should be made available to clients and a locked deposit box should be installed in the consular waiting room to ensure anonymity. The MCO should clear the box on a monthly basis and take appropriate action when necessary.
5.5.4 A CBS should oversee ***.
5.5.5 The program should put in place an inventory of ***.
5.5.6 The program should ensure CBS involvement ***.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
5.5.1 The MCO chairs agenda-driven program meetings twice a month. Implemented August 2013.
5.5.2 The program maintains and expands a database with consular contacts. Hospitality events are created for networking in line with program priorities. A strategic plan with groupings, specific actions and lead persons has been finalised. Implemented April 2014.
5.5.3 Feedback forms are available to clients and feedback has been actively sought with the help of an intern. Program management takes action following positive comments and complaints. In lieu of a box, which remains empty, we are installing an Ipad in the reception and will continue to invite clients to provide feedback online. Implemented April 2014.
5.5.4 ***. Implemented April 2014.
5.5.5 ***. Implemented September 2013.
5.5.6 With the implementation of the preferred credit card payment method,***. Implemented April 2014.
6 Common Services
6.1.1 The Common Services program is managed by an AS-06 MCO who is supported by a team of 2 CBS and 13 LES. The program is responsible for providing common services to 59 employees spread over four DFAIT and six partner programs. The mission is providing some common services support to the mission in Doha and has also started working more collaboratively with the mission in Dubai.
6.1.2 The mission has experienced incremental program growth in recent years. As a result, four new positions were created (LE-06 HR Assistant, LE-05 Assistant Accountant, LE-04 Property Assistant and LE-05 Logistics Assistant which has since been converted in March 2013 to a handy man position).
6.1.3 The mission has undergone the assessment for the Common Service Delivery Point (CSDP) model for financial service and will transition to the London CSDP in the near future. With the expected implementation, the mission will have to revisit the common services staff complement, including the Translator position that has been tagged to the Common Services program.
|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|
6.1.4 Overall, the program is functioning well. Considerable efforts have been made by the MCO and DMCO to implement change and establish or re-establish processes. There is room for improvement in a number of areas including client service, contracting/procurement practices, ***.
6.1.5 The MCO***, having completed more than 10 postings as MCO. The DMCO arrived in 2011 on his first assignment abroad ***. They work *** together. The MCO should continue his mentorship role and ensure that the DMCO is exposed and involved in areas *** such as finance/contracting and other key areas. There is room to give him more responsibilities. The DMCO advised that he would welcome further clarification of the roles/responsibilities, and it would be a good practice to document the division of the roles/responsibilities.
6.1.6 The program has been working on job sharing approach in common services to diversify and familiarize job packages to ensure appropriate back-up capacity. Staff are asked to prepare handover notes when they go on leave, which is a good practice. There is effective team work and cooperation, and morale in the section is good. The MCO***, and they appreciate his open door policy and guidance.
6.1.7 The Common Services Business Plan is used to guide overall program objectives, although section work plans have not been developed that would assist in managing work flow and planning of key activities and deliverables. This will be important in light of the upcoming relocation season, and the transition to the CSDP. A consolidated work plan that identifies staff assigned and deadlines associated with each task would help with planning, organization and service delivery.
6.1.8 Extensive policies and procedures have been developed for most areas of common services (transport and service request forms, travel and hospitality procedures, property, human resources etc.) and centralized on the mission Wiki in the past two years, and a number of new ideas and initiatives such as the use of social media have been introduced by the DMCO.
6.1.9 While there have been many improvements, there are still mission staff and clients who indicated they were unaware of the existence of some policies. In addition, although most policies created are brought to the HOM and informally raised, they have not reached CMM formally. Mission policies/procedures should be discussed and brought forward at CMM for approval. Further cooperation and collaboration with the mission in Dubai can be enhanced to explore opportunities for the sharing of best practices and mission policies/procedures.
6.1.10 The MCO meets with all common services and consular staff bi-weekly, and minutes are maintained. Staff have indicated, however, that they would appreciate periodic section meetings to discuss issues on specific program delivery. In addition, OR staff and drivers do not meet separately with a member (MCO or DMCO) to discuss issues. Periodic meetings should be held to allow them the opportunity to raise any issues.
|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|
6.1.11 While partners/programs were generally satisfied with client service delivery to programs, support provided to CBS for SQ maintenance was identified as more challenging. Although a presentation detailing the property service standards outlining mission and client responsibilities was provided to new CBS upon arrival, clients commented that they were not clear on how to obtain SQ maintenance as there was inconsistency (some requests through mission some directly to building management). The creation of a handy man position should greatly assist the mission with the management of routine maintenance requests.
6.1.12 Although there is no formal feedback mechanism in place, the program seeks client feedback regularly in the form of surveys on the Wiki and e-mail. Surveys have been conducted after the relocation season, on the services of the community coordinator, the translator services, on life at mission. A formal feedback mechanism would assist the program in recognizing successes and any deficiencies for all service areas.
6.1.13 As the mission will transition to the London CDSP model for financial services in the next few months, it will be important that the service standards be revisited to reflect changes. Roles/responsibilities will have to be reviewed and realigned within the section and communicated to all staff and clients.
6.1.14 The program provides some common services to the mission in Doha for the input of financial transactions, IT and HR support. Some work was done on a Common Services MOU with Doha during the initial months following Doha's opening, but this document was never finalized. The relationship with Doha is also likely to evolve with the CSDP model, and an MOU with Doha should be revisited if the mission continues to provide any services.
Procurement and Contracting
|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|
|A plan is in place for major acquisitions and is approved by CMM annually.||X|
6.1.15 In general, contracting and procurement processes requirement improvement.
6.1.16 The mission does not currently have a Contract Review Board (CRB), although there was one in place in the past (up to 2008). Given the relatively low level of contracting activity, mission decided that a CRB was no longer necessary; the MCO and DMCO have been managing the contracting process internally. The CRB is an important element of mission governance and an important tool to ensure sound stewardship of public funds. The mission could explore with Dubai the possibility of creating a single CRB to oversee contracts for both UAE missions.
6.1.17 The mission has spent considerable efforts over the last couple of years developing mission policies and procedures and making them accessible to all staff. There is still some work left on the procurement and contracting side.
6.1.18 A review of files indicated that the contracting policies and procedures were not always followed. The mission has been paying invoices for translation services on a monthly basis for several years now. However, there is no contract or agreement in place with the local business. Mission is at risk as there is no written agreement governing how much mission should be paying for these services while the contractor is at liberty to increase rates unilaterally at a moment's notice.
6.1.19 The mission selected a local supplier in the first quarter of 2012 for gardening maintenance work at the OR. The contractor was awarded a short term contract following a competitive process. The mission had no previous experience with this supplier therefore management signed a three month contract to get a feel for the contractor's abilities. After expiration of the initial three-month period, the contract was renewed on three separate occasions without any form of competition for an additional 9 months. As a result, the contract value was increased by 300% from AED 7,500 to AED 30,000. Standard contract clauses allow for termination of contract without penalty. It would have been preferable to sign a long term contract given that the mission could have terminated the contract at any moment if unsatisfied with the contractor's performance.
6.1.20 The following documentation was not always present in the contract files reviewed by the inspection team:
- date stamp as proof when proposals from bidders were received;
- indication of who opened the proposals;
- record of proponent meeting as well as notes on any issue raised by bidders;
- evaluation criteria, and;
- evaluation grid with results signed by evaluation team.
6.1.21 Notwithstanding the absence of a CRB, the mission is making efforts to improve the process for new contracts with the objective to sign multi-year agreements. Request for Proposals (RFPs) are sent to three or more potential bidders. Bids are rated as per RFP criteria.
6.1.22 The program has established an acquisition plan, although it does not provide for a multi-year forecast of anticipated expenditures. As well, the plan is not discussed and approved at CMM.
Recommendations to the Mission
6.1.23 The mission should put in place a work plan for all sections of the program, outlining the key initiatives and responsibilities, along with expected timelines for completion.
6.1.24 The mission policies, procedures should be discussed and brought forward for approval at CMM and then communicated to all staff and clients.
6.1.25 Service standards should be reviewed and communicated to all staff, and a formal client feedback mechanism should be developed.
6.1.26 The MCO/DMCO should schedule periodic section meetings to discuss specific program issues and periodic meetings with OR staff and drivers to allow them the opportunity to raise any issues.
6.1.27 The MOU with Doha should be reviewed and revised if necessary, should ABDBI continue to provide common services support.
6.1.28 The mission should re-establish the CRB with written Terms of Reference.
6.1.29 In order to strengthen and improve contracting processes:
- Key procurement and contracting procedures should be made available to all staff involved in the contracting process.
- Contracts should be awarded following a competitive process irrespective of value (i.e. below the sole-source threshold).
- Mission should not request services from a supplier unless there is a formal written agreement between both parties.
- Mission should plan enough lead time when renewing contracts to complete a competitive process before the existing contract's expiration date.
- Contract files should include all documentation supporting each step of the process leading to award of contract to successful bidder.
- Contract files should be stored either in electronic or paper format in a central repository.
6.1.30 The mission should keep exploring avenues to streamline the contracting process, particularly in view of the transition to CSDP.
6.1.31 A multi-year acquisition plan should be developed and presented to CMM for approval on an annual basis.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
6.1.23 Common Services has created a work plan and Line plans for all sections through Strategia process. Implemented April 2014.
6.1.24 New policies and procedures are presented by MCO at CMM on a regular basis. Further communication takes place with CMM minutes, emails, program managers briefing to staff and update of relevant information repository such as mission Wiki. Implemented April 2013.
6.1.25 Standards have been reviewed through the Strategia process and are available to all on the common folder of the shared drive. They have been communicated to staff via CMM and program managers, new employees' briefings. The mission formally surveys staff yearly on client satisfaction within the service standards framework. Implemented February 2014.
6.1.26 Program meetings are scheduled to occur twice a month, chaired by MCO. Minutes are taken and distributed. Implemented September 2013.
6.1.27 ABDBI will provide IT service only within the standard IT network hub and spoke arrangement. Finance, general admin and HR support will cease by June 2014 with the implementation of the CSDP model and in line with DOHA's current capabilities. In Progress for June 2014.
6.1.28 The CRB has a new membership. The board has met and is being involved in contracting according to its mandate. Implemented March 2014.
6.1.29 The mission requests quotes and by default adopts a competitive approach to service and products sourcing. Staff involved in contracting have been briefed and know where to find assistance and reference information. Mission is discussing streamlining options with CSDP hub in London and adopts best practices from RSCEMA. Implemented April 2014.
6.1.30 The CRB is active and provides recommendations. Contracting for the relocation season is organised and includes standing offer. The mission relies on LPOs and new acquisition cards for procurement. The property manager is taking on more contracting responsibilities and increasing his knowledge of relevant HQ requirements. He provides smaller contracts competitive bid submissions for management's review. Implemented April 2013.
6.1.31 Capital acquisition plan is done yearly and focuses on vehicles. A three-year plan will be drafted. In Progress for June 2014.
6.2 Human Resources
6.2.1 The human resources (HR) functions are the responsibility of the MCO with assistance provided by the LE-06 HR Assistant. The section has undertaken 9 staffing actions and 11 classification actions in the last 2 years. The mission has used the Regional Services Centre Europe, Middle East and Africa Virtual Classification Committee since early 2012.
6.2.2 HR services are provided to the mission in Doha for LES pay and recruitment, and the mission has been working more closely with the mission in Dubai to establish a consistent UAE-wide compensation package and to harmonize and collaborate on policy administration.
6.2.3 The LES are comprised of non-nationals who must be sponsored by the mission to work in the UAE. The challenging local administrative environment, and the lack of a standardized and established process, has at times resulted in ***. The mission has been working with the MFA and other government ministries to resolve the issue.
|Key HR Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|A mission HR plan has been developed and submitted to headquarters.||X|
|New LES are provided with an information package on the working conditions, benefits and regulations pertaining to employment at the mission.||X|
|Employee and position files are complete, maintained separately and properly secured.||X|
6.2.4 The creation of an HR Assistant position has greatly improved the management of the HR function. The staffing of the position in September 2012 with an experienced HR professional has enabled the mission to centralize all HR-related duties previously done by several people. There have already been a number of new activities initiated and good practices implemented, such as the creation of an LES data bank, a good orientation program for LES, a job skills inventory, etc. It will be important to ensure that all planned activities are fully developed and/or followed up.
6.2.5 The mission has undertaken a systematic process to centralize HR records which were previously kept in three different Common Services areas responsible for the provision of services related to HR. Personnel file checklists have been developed, and one on one meetings have been initiated with LES to review documents on file and obtain missing information. Once this exercise has been completed, missing or out-dated job descriptions will be prepared or updated as required.
6.2.6 The mission has good orientation documents for new employees. A welcome kit package is provided to all new CBS and LES, and includes a detailed new employee checklist for both CBS and LES. Orientation briefings are also conducted by the HR assistant and DMCO, and a message of introduction is sent for new employees by the program manager. A comprehensive orientation program for LES has been developed with documents available on the Wiki.
6.2.7 The DMCO is the Training Coordinator. A mission training plan and budget were established last FY. A job skills inventory has been developed and will be sent to all staff to capture training requirements and gaps, and a mission-wide plan will be further developed.
6.2.8 Employee files are currently being assembled and will be reviewed and updated as required for any missing information. Position files are kept mostly in electronic format at present, but a filing system needs to be devised as they are not currently filed on a common drive. A review of a sample of files found that some had incomplete and inconsistent documentation.
|Key HR Internal Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Staffing actions are conducted in line with the Locally Engaged Staff Services Bureau (ALD) guidelines. Written records supporting the process are maintained and contain required documents and approvals.||X|
|Letters of offer are signed by the appropriate authority and include the appropriate clauses (e.g. values and ethics, etc.).||X|
|LES accrued leave and deductions are recorded and the related liabilities are monitored.||X|
6.2.9 Overall, HR processes and internal controls were in place.
6.2.10 The mission has been working closely with the mission in Dubai to establish a consistent UAE-wide compensation package and to harmonize and collaborate on policy administration. They have been working to develop a common competencies-based recruitment strategy to establish pools of prequalified candidates.
6.2.11 Competitions are conducted in accordance with ALD guidelines on staffing, and the Letters of Offer are signed by the HOM. However, improvement is required to ensure that all required documents are maintained on file to support the process. Staffing/competition files did not contain all required documentation. Several pieces of information not contained on the files include the statement of merit criteria, copy of advertisement (or how it was advertised), correspondence to unsuccessful candidates, and final report to the HOM with recommendations etc. The ALD checklist should be used as a reference to ensure files contain the required documentation.
6.2.12 LES leave is monitored and an excel spreadsheet is maintained. Quarterly leave reports are provided to employees, and program managers receive employees' leave summary every month. In addition, an LES Master data bank has been created and data is being collected to capture employee data, salary information, TOS increment, leave.
Recommendations to the Mission
6.2.13 The mission should ensure that appropriate documents are maintained in position and employee files. The Locally Engaged Staff Services Bureau (ALD) checklist should be used as a reference.
6.2.14 Job descriptions should be reviewed every five years or whenever there have been significant changes to position duties. The mission should ensure that a process is in place and results documented.
6.2.15 Written records to support the staffing process should be maintained on file. The ALD checklist should be used as a reference.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
6.2.13 Although the mission has created files for new positions and new employees, efforts to separate documentation on older files remains in progress. In Progress for June 2014.
6.2.14 Along with the HR files review and re-organisation, a job description review cycle will be implemented, communicated to managers and staff and monitored by MCO. In Progress for June 2014.
6.2.15 Files have been created to maintain documentation in support of each staffing action and include the ALD checklist. Implemented April 2013.
6.3 Physical Resources
6.3.1 The physical resources functions at the mission are the responsibility of the MCO who is assisted by the DMCO, an LE-07 Property Manager and an LE-04 Property and Materiel Assistant. The program manages a portfolio of one Crown leased Official Residence (OR), a Crown leased Chancery, 18 Crown leased staff quarters, and a fleet of 6 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 in place for receiving, processing and monitoring work orders.||X|
|Annual inspections are conducted to assess the state of staff quarters (SQs) and input into maintenance and acquisition planning.||X|
6.3.2 The section has a mission property and maintenance plan that highlights current market conditions and trends as well as housing perspective and challenges. The plans are up to date and point toward some challenges in areas of rentals for a segment of the staff quarters.
6.3.3 The Chancery is located in a commercial tower where a large mall is located. Offices in the building were apparently designed with open space concepts and the AC system was built to work best within that context. The Chancery's current configuration consists mostly of enclosed offices, resulting in poor air circulation which has created an uncomfortable work environment.
6.3.4 There are daily meetings between the DMCO, drivers and property staff but no detailed work plan or maintenance plan exist indicating recurring tasks or planned activities.
6.3.5 The Property Manager and assistant sometimes take on partial relocation of furniture, whether this done due to lack of manpower or to save time, it is ultimately a less than efficient use of resources. Contracted individuals should be completing these tasks while section LES work on planning moves, responding to clients requests, and preparing material for MCO and DMCO such that they are aware of current challenges, trends and issues.
Key Processes and Internal Controls
|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 fuel purchases are verified against consumption (e.g. mileage/usage rates for vehicles and generators).||X|
6.3.6 Overall, internal controls were found to be lacking in the areas such as the systematic inspection of disposals and vehicle logs.
6.3.7 Service standards are mostly in place for items managed by the section, with most tasks completed shortly after requests are put in (80% completion within 7 calendar days). The section performs well under this indicator but lacks good controls for work not performed by the section itself.
6.3.8 Request for works at SQs are completed often by the landlords' hired repair teams. Issues of punctuality and language barriers have repeatedly been brought up by clients. Clients are unsure at what point they should advise the section of the issues faced. The most vocal clients tend to obtain faster services than those who more patiently wait before calling on the section to follow-up on existing issues. A clear system is needed to inform clients at which point they should contact the section regarding any pending work.
6.3.9 Expectations are that improvements will be made with the creation of a mechanic position. The position will coordinate and communicate more directly with repair teams as well as ensure quality of the work.
6.3.10 The section also needs to contract out various small jobs to local companies with varying results in terms of quality. Currently no system is in place to evaluate the quality of the work performed and to identify companies who do not meet expected standards.
6.3.11 There has not been a consistent approach to the disposal of assets, and many have been completed via internal auctions. In the disposal of assets, the mission should attempt to obtain the best value for the items disposed and ensure that proper documentation is in place and follows all departmental guidelines.
6.3.12 Internal sales are used for smaller items and classified ads used for large items, this is subjective based on the DMCO's individual views and lacks clear guidelines, developing a more detailed set of guidelines would strengthen the process.
Recommendations to the Mission
6.3.13 The mission should ensure that elements of the Property section are in the work plan, including maintenance schedules for the Chancery, OR and SQs.
6.3.14 The section should develop a database of reliable companies and keep track of non-performing ones.
6.3.15 Vehicle logs and mileage should be verified monthly by a CBS to reconcile usage to gas purchases, vehicle performance, and to determine official versus personal usage.
6.3.16 The mission should ensure that clear local guidelines are established for disposals, including the required documentation and manner in which items will be advertised and sold.
6.3.17 The section should develop service standards that will provide clients with processes to follow when dealing with unresponsive repair teams hired by landlords.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
6.3.13 Property activities, including maintenance schedules have been included in the common service workplan. Implemented April 2014.
6.3.14 The Property section keeps a database of contacts and non-competitive or non-compliant organisations are removed. We also share significant findings with like-minded missions. Implemented April 2014.
6.3.15 Vehicle logs which include HOM personal use, are verified on a monthly basis by the DMCO. Implemented April 2014.
6.3.16 Disposal guidelines will be established, distributed to all staff involved in the disposal process, and posted on the mission wiki. In Progress for June 2014.
6.3.17 Clients have been informed to seek out help from Property section through our work request process when problems are not tackled by owners with due regard for the seriousness and emergency level. Implemented September 2013.
6.4.1 The finance section is managed by an AS-06 Management Consular Officer (MCO) with the support of an LE-07 senior accountant and an LE-05 assistant accountant. The mission provides financial services to Doha, Qatar including payroll, payments, Integrated Management System (IMS) entry and banking. Abu Dhabi has been identified as a potential candidate to join the network of missions reporting to London for financial transactions under the Common Service Delivery Point approach.
|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|
6.4.2 Overall the finance function is *** managed by the MCO. The HOM and the MCO are both involved in key aspects of mission financial management such as FINSTAT, payment requisition approval and bank reconciliations. ***.
6.4.3 Mission policies and procedures are available to all staff on the mission wiki, service standards have been communicated to clients and quiet hours are enforced. Detailed written tasks for the accountants have not been prepared nor are they included in their job descriptions or performance management reports. These could be particularly important during ***.
6.4.4 Cash is the preferred method to conduct business in the Arab Emirates. Despite this, over eighty per cent of mission payments for Abu Dhabi are executed through cheques but the mission is having difficulty moving these to electronic payments. The local banking partner provides online access to bank accounts however does not offer online electronic funds transfer (EFT) capabilities.
6.4.5 The section explored alternate methods to minimize transactions and ***. Although the process is far from being fully automated,***. Mission administration also holds *** acquisition cards mostly used for property related expenses. In addition, the recent introduction of Mission Online Payment Services (MOPS), which allows credit cards to be used for consular fees, and the opening of a Visa Application Centers (VACs) on May 1st, will greatly reduce***.
6.4.6 The printing of cheques and the subsequent reconciliations when cheques are not cashed is inefficient compared to EFTs. The mission is proactively requesting banking information from every new supplier in anticipation of having EFT service available from their current bank, or if necessary, from a competitor.***. Alternatively, the mission may want to approach the International Financial Projects Group (SMFB) to explore the feasibility of the Standard Payment System (SPS) platform in the Middle East consulting as appropriate.
Key Processes and Internal Controls
|Key Finance Internal Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Financial signing authorities are exercised by individuals who possess the appropriate delegation of authority.||X|
|The asset and liability report is reviewed on a monthly basis.||X|
|A CBS receives the original monthly bank statement directly from the bank and reviews it prior to giving it to the accountant.||X|
|Revenues are deposited into the mission bank account daily, or if not cost effective, within a week of receipt, per the Financial Administration Act: Receipt and Deposit of Public Money Regulations.||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|
|Travel and hospitality claim processes ensure that policies and guidelines are adhered to and that the completeness and accuracy of the claim is verified.||X|
|Reimbursement of HonCon operational expenses is based on an established agreement.||N/A|
|A percentage of costs for personal use of OR supplies is determined and regular reimbursements are made to the mission.||X|
|A process is in place to ensure that, where applicable, CBS reimburse the mission for any services of a personal nature received at their staff quarters (e.g. television, internet, telephone, etc.).||X|
6.4.7 Overall internal controls are in place; ***.
6.4.8 Monthly bank statements were opened by the assistant accountant instead of being received and opened by the MCO or a CBS. At the time of the inspection the mission advised the bank to send statements directly in care of the MCO. It was noted that the MCO has online access to bank statements but does not use this feature.
6.4.11 The auditing of travel and hospitality claims could be improved given the level of scrutiny placed on these budgets. In the relatively small sample reviewed by the inspection team, claims were identified where an incorrect exchange rate was used, coding was to the wrong general ledger account, high transport costs charged by a caterer were not challenged and in one case the hotel room rate exceeded the maximum allowable.
6.4.12 Proper processes are in place for auditing of payment requests and reconciliation of consular and immigration revenues. The mission has cost recovery mechanisms in place for personal telephone calls (Blackberry), courier services and SQ gardening. Canada Based Staff (CBS) are responsible for payment of personal SQ expenses such as cable, land lines and internet
6.4.13 The petty cash log was not up to date at time of inspection, receipts or funds were missing therefore preventing reconciliation.***; some money belonging to the petty cash was in a separate envelope, easily missed in a petty cash count.
Recommendations to the Mission
6.4.14 Detailed written procedures for all finance tasks should be prepared particularly in anticipation of a transition to a CSDP.
6.4.17 The mission should discuss with SMFB the feasibility of the Standard Payment System (SPS) platform in the Middle East.
6.4.18 The mission should explore options to simplify the payroll approval process.
6.4.19 Monthly bank statements should be sent directly to the MCO.
6.4.20 Finance section should provide official receipts immediately when funds are transferred from other sections.
6.4.21 Reconciliation of any funds transferred should always be done in presence of two employees with no exception.
6.4.22 The mission should ensure that travel and hospitality activities are in line with program priorities, expenditures are valid and that entitlements and guidelines have been followed.
6.4.23 The mission should issue individual *** to consular staff.
6.4.24 The Petty Cash log should be completed ***.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
6.4.14 The mission is working with future CSDP hub and using wiki resources to redefine finance tasks post transition. Standard Job Descriptions for new position(s) under CSDP are being used. In Progress for June 2014.
6.4.15 The DMCO is now involved in financial and contracting files along with the MCO. Implemented December 2013.
6.4.16 Payments are now made preferably through the Standard Payment System, a prerequisite for the new financial delivery model. Implemented April 2014.
6.4.17 SPS is fully implemented at the mission. Implemented April 2014.
6.4.18 The payroll process review is part of the analysis and changes in progress with the new Common Service Delivery Point model. In Progress for June 2014.
6.4.19 The bank statement is brought directly to the MCO who does a quick initial review and initials it before passing it to the accountants. Implemented September 2013.
6.4.20 Official receipts are now systematically given upon reception of funds by the finance section. Implemented April 2013.
6.4.21 Consular funds are now reconciled with a CBS present. Other transfers are done with two employees. Implemented April 2014.
6.4.22 The mission will take measures to ensure travel and hospitality activities are in line with program activities and in accordance to Treasury Board guidelines. In Progress for June 2014.
6.4.23 Each employee operating ***. Implemented September 2013.
6.4.24 The employee responsible for the petty cash has been instructed and coached accordingly.***. Implemented January 2014.
6.5 Information Management - Information Technology (IM-IT)
6.5.1 The IM-IT section is under the overall management of the MCO and is led by a CS-02 Foreign Service Information Technology Professional (FSITP) who is supported by an LE-08 Locally Engaged ITP (LEITP). The DMCO also plays a role in the mission's online presence by improving its wiki. The team provides services to approximately ninety clients at two sites in the United Arab Emirates, in Abu Dhabi (sixty clients) and Dubai (thirty clients).
|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 the regional manager is effective.||X|
|The mission uses the required IM-IT service request system and maintains relevant data.||X|
6.5.2 Overall, the IM-IT section is functioning well and is providing a good level of services to clients at both locations. A detailed IM-IT plan has been developed for Abu Dhabi along with a work plan detailing major objectives and most activities and responsibilities.
6.5.3 The MCO and the FSITP do not meet on a regular basis to discuss section priorities and plans.***.
6.5.5 ***. Confirmations of requests for travel have been a recurring challenge to the proper servicing of the Dubai mission. Miscommunications and different expectations in terms of timing for approvals for the FSITP site visits to Dubai have impacted to some extent the cohesion of the section as well as the level of service provided to Dubai.***.
6.5.6 The IT team was found to be hard working and successfully managed a heavy but reasonable workload. Given the lack of meetings between the MCO and the FSITP, forward planning was limited including the scheduling of vacation time to relieve stress related to a demanding work schedule.
6.5.7 The team makes efficient use of the Remedy system to track and follow-up on client requests and address issues. Uptake by clients of the online tool to create IT requests is estimated by the FSITP stands at approximately 20%, which is fairly low. Clients continue to email, call or visit the IT section in order to request assistance for issues. The section should promote the online tools as the proper way to make IT requests.
6.5.8 The DMCO has been active in the development of the mission's online presence by contributing to the expansion of its wiki page. The Common Services policies have been transferred to the mission's wiki page and are now more easily available to staff for references purposes.
Key Processes and Internal Controls
|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|
|Employees formally sign out IT assets (mobility tools) and are advised of their accountabilities.||X|
|Surplus IT assets are disposed with the appropriate approvals per departmental policy.||X|
6.5.9 Overall, IM-IT processes and controls were effective. Recurring tasks were properly performed and control over assets in general was good.
6.5.10 Back-ups were performed regularly and access to the server and communication rooms were appropriate.***.
6.5.11 Employees did not consistently sign for items on loan, although the FSITP did keep a separate tracking list.
6.5.12 The section should be further involved in the development of the program's multi-year acquisition plan by identifying in advance expected replacements of mission-specific items such as mobility tools, surge protection equipment, and other requirements.
6.5.13 Disposing of IT assets is conducted according to existing policies, but has been an issue. The FSITP has made recommendations to the MCO which the MCO has not always approved. The FSITP has found it challenging to accept that she can make recommendations but that these will not necessarily be approved.
6.5.14 Abu Dhabi and Dubai share a number of processes, policies and activities which are currently not available to staff at both sites. Both missions would stand to benefit from the creation of an integrated virtual drive where staff could easily access common policies, country-wide information, etc. instead of duplicating information at both sites.
Recommendations to the Mission
6.5.15 The MCO and regional manager should communicate directly to approve site visits to Dubai.
6.5.16 The section should promote the use of the online tool by clients to enter services requests.
6.5.17 The section should have clients sign out for IT items on loan.
6.5.18 A shared drive between the Abu Dhabi and the Dubai missions should be considered to facilitate communications between the two missions.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
6.5.15 Site visits from the FSITP to Doha and Dubai meet the timely approval from MCOs and regional manager. Process is smoother and more effective. Implemented September 2013.
6.5.16 ITPs and Management frequently remind clients of the online tool. A balance between client service and program requirements demands constant attention. Implemented April 2013.
6.5.17 IT assets loaned to staff are signed out in a log book. Implemented April 2014.
6.5.18 Abu Dhabi's heavy reliance on the wiki makes the information available to all employees on the network, thus shared with Dubai. Email exchanges on draft and final policies are regular and phone meeting with agenda take place every week between both MCOs. Implemented June 2014.
Appendix A: Mission Resources Fact Sheet
|Operating||$ 53,900||$ 2,448,769|
|CBS Salaries||$ 587,724||$ 214,868|
|CBS Overtime||$ 10,000|
|LES Salaries||$ 395,200||$ 1,339,452|
|LES Overtime||$ 18,770|
|Total||$ 1,046,824||$ 4,129,859|
|Head of Mission||6||2||4|
Appendix B: Frequently Used Acronyms
- Canada-based staff
- Commercial Economic
- Committee on Mission Management
- Consular Management Information Program
- Contingency Plan
- Contract Review Board
- Client Service Fund
- Electronic Funds Transfer
- Deputy Management Consular Officer
- Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service
- Foreign Service Information Technology Professional
- Full Time Equivalent
- Fiscal Year
- Global Commerce Strategy
- Global Value Chains
- Head of Mission
- Honorary Consul
- Human Resources
- High Security Zone
- Information Communication Technologies
- Information Management - Information Technology
- Integrated Management System
- Locally Engaged Information Technology Professional
- Locally engaged staff
- LES Management Consultation Board
- Management Consular Officer
- Mission Emergency Plan
- Mission Financial Officer
- MM Module
- Materiel Management Module of IMS
- Mission Maintenance Work plan
- Memorandum of Understanding
- Mission Security Officer
- Mission Property Management Plan
- North American Platform Program
- Official residence
- Operations Zone
- Post Initiative Fund
- Program Manager
- Performance Management Agreement
- Human Resources - Performance Management Program
- Consular - Passport Management Program
- Physical Resources Information - Mission Environment
- Registration of Canadians Abroad
- Science and Technology
- Senior Trade Commissioner
- Staff Quarter
- Security Zone
- Trade Commissioner
- Trade Commissioner Assistant
- Trade Commissioner Service
- The TCS' Client Relationship Management System
- Office of the Inspector General
- Missions Inspection Division
- Date Modified: