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Inspection of the Consulate General of Canada, New York City, New York, USA
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD)
Office of the Inspector General
June 3-7, 2013
- Inspection Scope and Objectives
- Executive Summary
- 1 Mission Management
- 2 Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service (FPDS)
- 3 Commercial Economic (CE)
- 4 Consular
- 5 Common Services
- Appendix A: Mission Resources Fact Sheet
- Appendix B: Frequently Used Acronyms
Inspection Scope and Objectives
The scope of the inspection included a review of Mission Management and the Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service, Commercial Economic, Consular and Common Services programs. The inspection objectives were to:
- Assess the effectiveness of the leadership and management practices of the Head of Mission (HOM) and the mission management team;
- Review the alignment of plans and activities, and program integration to Government of Canada and departmental objectives and priorities;
- Assess the adequacy of management controls and systems, procedures and the reliability of information for decision making and accountability purposes;
- Determine the extent of compliance with legislation, regulations and operating policies;
- Evaluate the use of resources to determine that they are judiciously used and if value-for-money is received; and
- Make recommendations, where warranted, to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the mission and its programs.
The focus and extent of on-site work was based on an assessment of materiality and related risk. This was done through communication with headquarters (HQ) bureaux, including briefings by line management and the functional bureaux, review of relevant HQ and mission documentation, past 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 (LESMCB), individual interviews with staff, and results of other documentation reviewed. The level of inspection work was therefore based on issues and information identified and gathered at all levels: HQ, mission management and mission operations.
An inspection of Mission Management, the Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service (FPDS), Commercial Economic (CE), Consular and Common Services programs was conducted at the Consulate General of Canada, New York from June 3 to 7, 2013. A previous inspection of these programs took place in 2004.
The consulate general is a medium-sized mission with 21 Canada-based Staff (CBS) and 75 locally engaged staff (LES). It is responsible for program delivery in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Bermuda and has representation in Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia managed from the consulate general. Partner departments and agencies represented at the mission include Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), *** Finance Canada and Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), as well as the Bank of Canada and the Province of Ontario.
The mission functions well under the leadership of the Head of Mission (HOM). The mission is operating in line with departmental and government priorities. Its focus is to advance and strengthen Canada's national interests in economic competitiveness and opportunity, national, continental and global security, a smart Canada-United States border, and Canada's position as a stable and secure supplier of energy.
The Consulate General of Canada, New York (CNGNY) has experienced significant changes in recent years. Examples include the consolidation in 2011 of the Common Services programs of the consulate general and the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations (PRMNY), the expansion in 2012 of the mission's territory to include all of New York State, Pennsylvania and Delaware, the creation of quadrants in the U.S. where the mission in New York is responsible for the Northeast Quadrant Common Service Delivery Point (CSDP), assuming financial processing functions for the missions in Boston and Minneapolis, as well as position cuts in several programs.
The HOM recognized areas of concern and implemented a number of management measures to strengthen internal communications. Mission management will need to maintain a focus on morale by increasing the visibility of the HOM and Deputy HOM (DHOM), and provide greater interaction with certain programs, such as CIC, Consular and Common Services to develop a stronger sense of team across the mission.
The expansion of the mission's territory in 2012, and the assumption of financial processing functions for the missions in Boston and Minneapolis, has compounded the pressures resulting from resource reductions and the 2011 consolidation of the Common Services programs of CNGNY and PRMNY into one program. This has particularly affected the workload in Common Services and client service to programs as new processes are being developed and communicated.
Overall, management of the mission is functioning well. Some committees, however, would benefit from meetings that were scheduled and took place frequently enough throughout the year to meet their mandate, including that of its Security and Occupational Health and Safety committees. The mission also needs to address issues related to ***, both in terms of ensuring the plan is up to date, and conducting exercises to ensure staff are aware of the plan and their related responsibilities.
The FPDS program is responsible for advocacy in a territory that includes 5 governors, 10 senators and 63 Congressional representatives, and actively supports other mission programs, most notably CE and RCMP. The mission's social media strategy has received positive recognition from U.S.-based missions and headquarters. Overall, the program functions well, but administrative aspects need more attention, including accuracy in the completion of hospitality forms and more clarity on the use of hospitality advances.
The CE program has undergone significant changes in the past year, with the deletion of three Trade Commissioner and one Trade Commissioner Assistant positions. The closure of offices in the U.S. has resulted in a larger area of responsibility, as well as a significant increase in workload for the program. This increased workload, coupled with the volume of high-level visits, has contributed to an increased level of fatigue among the remaining employees, and affected the program's ability to deliver fully on their mandate within regular working hours. Nevertheless, the program is functioning well. It is aligned with departmental and Government of Canada priorities, delivers on its commitments, and works closely with the FPDS program to deliver on mission priorities.
The Consular program has also had to deal with workload pressures resulting from an expanded territory. The program provides approximately 200 passport services and processes approximately 600 citizenship applications and 150 notarial requests annually. The demand for notarial services has doubled since 2011 and the demand for Emergency Travel Documents (ETD) has increased from 41 to 75 since 2011.
The program is functioning effectively; however, some documentation needs to be updated, and consistent procedures for processes *** needs to be clearly communicated to staff within the program. These issues are known to the Deputy Management Consular Officer (DMCO-Consular) and are being prioritized. Overall, program management requires strengthening and would benefit from increased *** and improved communications within the program.
The Common Services program is responsible for providing services to 122 employees from DFAIT and partner programs that are accommodated in two missions. Overall, program management requires strengthening through *** and improved communications within the program. Morale in the program is considered to be low, although it is slowly improving as staff are adjusting to the many changes that have occurred over the past few years.
The program has assumed functions relating to its designation as the North/East Quadrant CSDP, providing regional financial processing and budgeting support to the missions in Boston and Minneapolis. In fiscal year 2011/12, challenges related to payments for the Quadrant were identified and corrected.
A total of 63 inspection recommendations are raised in the report, 60 are addressed to the mission, one is addressed to the Regional Service Centre and two are addressed to headquarters. 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 49 have been implemented.
1 Mission Management
1.1.1 The Consulate General of Canada, New York (CNGNY) is a medium-sized mission with 21 Canada-based Staff (CBS) and 75 locally engaged staff (LES). It is responsible for departmental program delivery in New York, Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Bermuda and has representation in Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia managed from CNGNY. The mission is a key part of Canada's international platform and includes representatives from five federal departments, the Bank of Canada and the province of Ontario.
1.1.2 The mission is managed by a Head of Mission (HOM) in a substantive EX-04 position who is responsible for overall operations and oversees an operational budget of $16.39 million. At the time of the inspection the mission had not been allocated its capital budget and the amount was unknown. The mission also manages a property portfolio that includes a Crown-leased chancery, two Crown-owned official residences (OR), 23 Crown-owned and five Crown-leased staff quarters (SQs) which accommodate CBS from both CNGNY and the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations, New York (PRMNY).
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 is operating in line with departmental and government priorities and has a strong understanding of its strengths and areas requiring improvement. Included in this report are a number of recommendations to assist the mission in improving its efficiency and addressing morale issues which are described throughout this report.
1.2.2 In the summer of 2012, the mission expanded its territory to include all of New York State, Pennsylvania and Delaware in addition to its existing territory of New York City and environs, New Jersey, Bermuda and Connecticut. The former states were previously covered by missions in Buffalo and Philadelphia, both of which were closed. The Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service (FPDS), Commercial Economic (CE) and Common Service programs are also heavily engaged in active support in the planning and delivery of the busy visit schedule of the mission, as part of policy and program delivery. In addition, the mission assumed financial processing for the missions in Boston and Minneapolis as a result of the implementation of the regional quadrant model in 2012, and the mission absorbed a significant reduction in resources and the consolidation of the Common Services programs of CNGNY and PRMNY (fall 2011). These changes have had a tangible impact on how the mission operates. In addition, these changes have heightened the already present morale problems that result from the physical and psychological separation of mission staff between those located on the concourse level (Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), Common Services and Consular programs) and those working on the more-desirable mezzanine level.
1.2.3 The HOM recognized that mission morale required some attention. He met with all staff soon after his arrival, conducts town hall sessions on a regular basis and has already implemented a number of management measures designed to strengthen internal communications. Increased visibility of the HOM and Deputy HOM (DHOM) and greater interaction with the CIC, Consular and Common Services programs should help to address the morale issues and develop a stronger sense of team across the mission.
1.2.4 The HOM is backed by a dedicated and experienced management team. The prevailing view of staff is that both the HOM and DHOM are *** leaders who are engaged and supportive, particularly of the FPDS and CE programs. The Common Services and Consular programs could benefit from greater engagement and interaction with the HOM and DHOM. These programs would benefit from increased attention from the DHOM to support the Management Consular Officer (MCO) in managing both of these programs and effectively implementing priorities.
1.2.5 The Committee on Mission Management (CMM) is viewed as a useful forum to review and take decisions on mission policies and management issues. An agenda and minutes are routinely circulated and decisions are communicated to all staff. CMMs are held weekly, but attendance of all program managers is only required once per month. This creates risk that discussions or decisions on key management issues may occur without the representation of all programs. Another area for attention is the regular attendance of both the MCO and the Deputy MCO (DMCO) at CMM meetings. This may be worth reconsidering given the demands of the Consular program.
1.2.6 A weekly Operations Committee meeting, which is clearly differentiated from the CMM, is chaired by the DHOM, attended by DFAIT and partner departments' managers, and typically addresses operational and transactional matters.
1.2.7 Most mission committees are meeting regularly and working effectively, however, improvements are needed in a few areas. The *** Committee should meet more frequently to ensure that the mission is adequately prepared to deal with *** situations. The Contract Review Board (CRB) only meets virtually and could benefit from occasional, formal meetings to ensure due diligence and increase overall transparency. The Occupational Health and Safety Committee should also adjust its meeting frequency to meet the mandated levels. The Locally Engaged Staff Management Consultation Board (LESMCB) is functioning effectively with active participation of elected LES representatives.
1.2.8 The mission has actively promoted Public Service Values and Ethics; however, ongoing attention to this area could prove useful to encourage adherence to the expected behaviours of the DFAIT Values and Ethics Code, particularly related to "respect for people", given some interpersonal challenges among employees. Management should ensure that all staff are aware of Values and Ethics resources available online and through the Values and Ethics Division (ZVE) and should encourage the timely completion of the mandatory Values and Ethics online course recently launched by the department.
1.3 Whole of Government
|Key Whole-of-Government Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Mechanisms are in place to ensure a whole-of-government approach is taken for mission and program planning.||X|
|Mission and program plans are implemented in a coordinated manner to ensure policy coherence and effectively leverage the Canadian presence.||X|
|Partner departments contribute to the overall effective governance of the mission and its operations.||X|
|Common services are provided in line with the memorandum of understanding and any issues are addressed at CMM.||X|
1.3.1 The HOM and DHOM strongly promote a whole-of-government approach at the mission. They meet regularly with the PMs of partner departments and agencies and leverage their positions, networks and resources, including the official residence, to help them achieve their program objectives. Prior to making outcalls or undertaking travel, the HOM and DHOM consult with PMs to identify which priorities they may best advance. Social media collaboration and the use of the Resource Centre were identified as key areas of cooperation between programs.
1.3.2 The mission's operational planning captures government-wide interests. However, to ensure greater policy alignment and coherence, the mission should consider a whole-of-mission advocacy plan which builds upon the existing mission strategy document. In addition, more clarity is needed to define the reporting relationship of the CIC and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) programs at the mission.
1.3.3 Discussions with representatives of non-DFAIT mission programs indicated a strong level of satisfaction with mission leadership and delivery of common services.
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 A mission emergency plan (MEP) is in place;***. The mission is working with the Emergency Policy and Planning Division at headquarters (HQ) to make the final adjustments to the plan. Once completed, the mission should ensure all emergency response team (ERT) members are aware of their roles and responsibilities. As well, the roles of Consular, Security and Mission Management in the development of the MEP were unclear to some and need to be established.
1.4.2 The mission should also test *** as per the departmental requirements ***. There is a need for coordination and interaction with like-minded missions and the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations, New York.
1.4.3 ***. The appropriate secondary communications systems are in place;***.
1.5 Official Languages
|Key Official Languages Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|The Official Languages Act is respected and promoted by mission management.||X|
|Mission signage is provided in both English and French and a bilingual Official Languages Co-ordinator has been appointed.||X|
|The mission has sufficient capacity to communicate with and provide services to the public, both orally and in writing, in both official languages.||X|
1.5.1 The Official Languages Act is clearly promoted and respected by mission management. Most CBS and many LES are conversant in both English and French, official signage is bilingual and the mission has sufficient capacity to provide services to the public in the official language of their choice.
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.||X|
1.6.1 Overall, most of the key management controls are in place and working well; however, there are a few areas that require attention.
1.6.2 While security policies are supported by mission management, and are ***.
1.6.3 The Military Police Security Specialist conducts mandatory security briefings for all newly arrived CBS and LES serving at the mission. Town hall style non-mandatory briefings are offered annually in the fall to all CBS, LES and CBS dependents.***.
1.6.4 Although significant improvement has been made in the timely processing *** in the past few months, mission management should ensure that the process is closely monitored to avoid any delays. While all hospitality activities are properly reviewed and documented there is a need for greater clarity and consistency in the completion of hospitality diaries, particularly in identifying event objectives and linking them to program priorities, value for money assessments, and recording results achieved.
1.6.5 Performance Management Plans (PMPs) are used effectively by individual program managers to assess performance, support employee development and reinforce mission priorities. However, certain programs within the mission have not yet finalized performance reviews for the past year. To help with this process, tracking of PMP completion should be improved within individual programs and across the mission. Similarly, greater coordination is required at a mission level to support training.
Recommendations to the Mission
1.7.1 Attendance at CMM meetings by the DMCO Consular should be reviewed to determine if it is necessary.
1.7.2 The practice of holding regular and expanded CMM meetings should be reviewed to ensure that the CMM is functioning effectively as intended.
1.7.3 The mission should review the frequency of meetings for all mission committees to ensure that meetings are held in person on a regular and timely basis, and in keeping with mandated standards. Specific attention should be paid to the Security and Emergency Preparedness Committee and the CRB.
1.7.4 The mission should take steps to *** as well as confirm the roles and responsibilities of ERT members.
1.7.5 The mission, in conjunction with PRMNY, should identify***.
1.7.6 The Mission Security Officer (MSO) should undertake a greater degree *** planning consultation with like-minded missions.
1.7.7 The mission should review security procedures to ensure full compliance. Specific attention should be paid ***.
1.7.8 The mission should review and monitor the *** process to ensure timely and accurate completion.
1.7.9 Hospitality diaries should be completed with greater clarity and consistency particularly in the identification of event objectives, links to program priorities, and in the provision of value for money assessment and record of results achieved.
1.7.10 The mission should implement a mechanism to ensure better coordination and tracking of PMP completion and training initiatives.
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 The DMCO (Consular) attends CMM when acting on behalf of the MCO, but is otherwise briefed by the MCO. Implemented July 2013.
1.7.2 CMM format, frequency and standing agenda items have been reviewed and confirmed. Operations Committee meetings have been adjusted to facilitate greater participation of all partners. Implemented January 2014.
1.7.3 The mission's committee structures are reviewed and memberships are renewed annually. The joint CNGNY/PRMNY Security and Emergency Preparedness Committee met throughout the fall 2013 and will continue regular meetings. The CRB met in person in Nov 2013 and will meet two to three times annually. Implemented January 2014.
1.7.4 The mission *** and the ERT, as well as confirmed the roles and responsibilities of the ERT members. Implemented January 2014.
1.7.5 A *** location was identified in November 2013 and tested in January 2014. Implemented January 2014.
1.7.6 The DHOM, MSO and DMSO hosted an information exchange event with like-minded missions. Like-minded missions and state and federal *** planning agencies participated in a joint mission training, solidifying key contacts. Implemented November 2013.
1.7.7 Security procedures were reviewed and updated to ensure full compliance and approved by both CMMs.***. Implemented January 2014.
1.7.8 The mission reviewed and monitored the *** process to ensure timely and accurate completion. Implemented July 2013.
1.7.9 Hospitality use, due diligence, and processes have been regularly highlighted at CMM and in program meetings. Two questions and answers sessions were hosted by the Finance section for all programs in support of appropriate documenting of hospitality objectives and expenses. Implemented November 2013.
1.7.10 Senior management was provided with status updates of PMPs through the PMP database, and will be provided quarterly updates going forward. Implemented January 2014.
2 Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service (FPDS)
2.1.1 The Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service (FPDS) program is managed by an EX-01 program manager (PM) and supported by seven officers (one FS-02, two LE-09s, two LE-08s, one LE-07 and one LE-06) and two assistants (one LE-06 and one LE-05). An LE-09 officer located in Buffalo also reports to the FPDS PM. The PM is also responsible for a research unit that provides mission-wide support to meet Canadian objectives. The program's financial resources are provided below.
|Operations||$58,088 (includes funding for the research centre)|
|Post Initiative Fund||4,300|
2.1.2 The program's main areas of focus include energy, environment, border security, and economic competitiveness in its recently expanded territory. The FPDS program also actively collaborates and supports other mission programs using its advocacy resources. Through coordinated event planning, social and traditional media engagement, the FPDS section has: supported the Commercial Economic (CE) program's technology initiatives; assisted the Immigration and Consular programs in developing social media content to inform clients regarding service changes; and worked with the RCMP and CBSA to develop common advocacy programming on security issues. Coordinated planning and execution of activities, as well as support for both media and social media outreach, are clearly evident and functioning well.
2.1.3 The FPDS program is responsible for security, energy and environment, trade and economic policy advocacy in a territory that includes 5 governors, 10 senators and 63 Congressional representatives. The program also works with policy think tanks, leading academic institutions, and local media to promote Canadian interests in the region. Cultural events are appropriately used as effective tools to support both FPDS and other programs within the mission. The program is also using social media tools (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube platforms) to promote Government of Canada priorities. The mission's social media strategy has received positive recognition from US-based missions and headquarters.
2.1.4 The program partners closely with the CE program to identify and cultivate key private sector contacts in support of advocacy initiatives and other program objectives. Similar partnering with the RCMP in the area of border security has been identified by the RCMP as an effective practice and key to that program's advocacy efforts.
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 *** managed by a PM who is mid-way through a four year posting. He is widely seen as *** leader whose vision and creativity are *** by his team. Morale among the team is high with team members sharing the *** of their PM. The PM is *** to team dynamics and has taken proactive steps to ensure the effective integration within the team of the new LE-09 member who is located in Buffalo. Team members could benefit from greater attention and follow-up ***.
2.2.2 The program effectively employs both formal and informal communication tools. Weekly meetings are held with staff members to review and prioritize program activities and to share items arising from the CMM, with action items identified as needed. The LE-09 located in Buffalo also participates in meetings via telephone. In addition, the PM has implemented a weekly FPDS pulse sheet, a unique tool created by the program that is populated by all team members. It helps the team keep abreast of progress on key priorities and issues, and strengthens internal communications. Meetings with the HOM and DHOM take place on a regular basis and input from both is forthcoming.
2.2.3 Program planning is guided by the Mission Planning and Reporting system (MPR), with input from the HOM and DHOM as necessary. The program uses a project summary form which identifies intended outcomes for all programming activities; however, performance measures are not included. The program would benefit from identifying clear, measurable and attainable indicators to measure and report against their intended outcomes. In addition, the program also uses the advocacy planning template to lay out strategic overview of the program, outline activities, resources, performance indicators and expected results for fiscal year (FY) 2013-14. The program reports its results through the MPR, though the program should report against its expected outcomes highlighted in the advocacy planning template.
2.2.4 Overall, the program is functioning well with a clearly defined planning process which is undertaken in a timely and coordinated manner. The program would benefit from more direct involvement *** in the planning and execution of program activities to help ensure their success. In addition, new employees would benefit from a more formalized orientation to ensure their smooth integration into the team. The program has identified the likely impacts from the pending ***, and has taken steps to reassign key files and re-prioritize tasks in the light of shrinking resources.
|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 fosters a whole-of-mission approach by identifying opportunities for coordinated activities across the mission, the provision of research, social media and media relations support, and relevant political and economic reporting on a regular and timely basis. Ongoing cooperation with other programs, including CE, CIC, and RCMP, is aligned with mission objectives and supports the advancement of Canadian priorities in the region. Close collaboration was noted on the use of social media by FPDS and other programs in preparation for events, promotion of Canadian commercial opportunities and informing the public of new developments pertaining to immigration and consular procedures. Members of the team clearly understand the rationale behind activities undertaken and demonstrate this understanding through targeted reporting aligned to priorities.
2.3.2 The program executes a robust outreach plan across the region, with a view to enhancing opportunities for Canadian businesses, increasing public support and maintaining political momentum for initiatives undertaken at the program and mission level. The program has developed and maintains a comprehensive contact list for the metropolitan New York region as well as a growing list for other areas within the mission's territory. It is, however, lacking coordination to consolidate the contact information and share it between team members.
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 Hospitality events are generally consistent with mission priorities and demonstrate good value for money, although the completion of hospitality forms is inconsistent across the program. The program could benefit from greater consistency and accuracy in the completion of hospitality forms to ensure mandatory requirements are properly documented. Similarly, the program could benefit from more clarity on the use of hospitality advances in the light of a growing reliance on the use of personal funds when advances cannot be arranged in time due to logistical challenges faced in preparation for the events. A larger quarterly advance issued to the PM could resolve this issue. A refresher on hospitality guidelines and procedures could also be considered.
2.4.2 Preparation and completion of PMPs as well as training plans is inconsistent across the program. Although staff are well aware of their roles and responsibilities and have had discussions with the PM concerning objectives, PMPs are not in place for all team members.
Recommendations to the Mission
2.5.1 The program should report on expected outcomes in the advocacy planning template.
2.5.2 Networking objectives should be included in the program's planning process.
2.5.3 Lists of contacts across the program should be consolidated into one contact list for easy access by all staff members.
2.5.4 PMPs should be implemented with performance measurement criteria more clearly defined for all team members to better meet learning, developmental and performance objectives.
2.5.5 Hospitality documentation should be reviewed to clearly state the purpose of each event, evaluate if and how value-for-money was achieved, and identify whether any follow-up action was undertaken or is required.
2.5.6 The PM should ensure that all FPDS staff are aware of the expectation for consistency and accuracy in the completion of hospitality documents and claims, and the efficient use of hospitality advances.
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 Expected Outcomes have been identified and will be included in the new Strategia platform for 2014-15. Implemented January 2014.
2.5.2 Networking objectives will continue to be featured in the "Initiatives" portion of the FPDS input to Strategia for 2014-15. Implemented January 2014.
2.5.3 The FPDS program joined an HQ-led pilot that will allow the program to input into TRIO, thus enabling the consolidation and maximization of the program's collective contacts. Implemented December 2013.
2.5.4 More clearly defined performance measures have been implemented in PMPs, beginning with the FY 2013-2014 mid-year review. Implemented January 2014.
2.5.5 More detailed information is being inputted into hospitality documents to demonstrate value-for-money considerations and identify follow-up as a result of the hospitality event. Implemented January 2014.
2.5.6 The PM ensures that all FPDS staff are aware of the expectation for consistency and accuracy in the completion of hospitality documents and claims, and the efficient use of hospitality advances. Implemented January 2014.
3 Commercial Economic (CE)
3.1.1 The Commercial Economic (CE) program is headed by an EX-01 Senior Trade Commissioner (STC). The STC is supported by four Trade Commissioners (TCs) (one FS-04, one FS-03, one LE-09 and one LE-08) and 3.3 Trade Commissioner Assistants (TCAs) consisting of 2.8 LE-06 and 0.5 LE-05 support positions. The program's coverage has expanded to include Philadelphia, Buffalo, and Pittsburgh with one LE-09 TC located in each city and managed by CNGNY. The program's financial resources are provided below.
|Client Service Fund (CSF)||35,000|
|Integrative Trade Strategy Fund (ITSF)||50,500|
|North American Platform Program (NAPP)||81,200|
|Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)||40,000|
3.1.2 Canada and the United States have a unique bilateral relationship. Their partnership is forged by shared geography, similar values, common interests, deep connections and powerful, multi-layered economic ties. In 2012, Canada and the U.S. were the world's largest trading partners with bilateral trade totalling $742.5 billion in goods and services. The U.S. is the most important destination for Canadian direct investment abroad, totalling $289 billion in 2012.
3.1.3 The program has undergone significant changes in the past year. It has adjusted to the deficit measures with the loss of three TCs and one TCA, closure of offices in other U.S. locations, which has resulted in a larger territory of responsibility, as well as a significant increase in workload of the program. The management team has introduced a mission strategy which means a new way of providing service to Canadian clients, an increase in administrative-oriented work, a faster pace at the mission, and an increase in the number of high-level visits.
3.1.4 The volume of high-level visits has required a great deal of energy from the remaining employees, contributing to a high level of fatigue. The high-level visits have an impact on the program's ability to deliver fully on its mandate within regular working hours.
3.1.5 The TCs in Buffalo and Philadelphia *** and enjoy a fair degree of autonomy. Both were employees of the now-closed Consulate General in Buffalo and the Consulate in Philadelphia respectively. Staffing for the Pittsburgh TC position is currently underway.
3.1.6 The program has changed its focus from traditional priority sector services to providing sector services with an innovation and investment strategy. The underlying value proposition of the CE program is to provide higher value-added services to Canadian clients. In this mission it is manifested by a focus on innovation and the establishment of the Canadian Technology Accelerator (CTA) programs for digital media, clean technology and health information technology. These initiatives have been inspired by a similar program that exists in San Francisco.
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 (CEP) plan is aligned with the Mission Planning and Reporting (MPR) document, departmental and Government of Canada priorities. The *** is *** provides *** direction to the team to facilitate the delivery of services. The team is energetic, dedicated and works well together to effectively carry out activities outlined in the CEP plan. In addition, the team works closely with the FPDS program to deliver on mission priorities.
3.2.2 The program has reduced its priority sectors from six to three and reoriented its focus to innovation and investment. The CEP plan no longer includes agriculture, aerospace and defense, or life sciences as priority sectors. During the planning cycle, the program held a series of meetings to discuss the ongoing focus of innovation and investment for FY 2013-14, while taking into account cutbacks, territory enlargement, best value-added in terms of area of focus and the Government of Canada's energy priority. These changes led to a decision to focus on clean technologies, and information and communications technology (ICT) in New York City, advanced manufacturing and investment in Buffalo, and health information technology in Philadelphia. The program also consulted various stakeholders such as other programs at the mission, partner departments, provinces, HQ and neighbouring missions in the U.S.
3.2.3 The STC has introduced a set target for economic outcomes facilitated/opportunities pursued (EOF/OP), service delivery, outcalls and leads for all TCs based on their area of responsibility. However, the targets identified for the majority of indicators in the CEP plan may exceed the program's capacity, when compared to past performance. Reviewing the data to ensure that achievable targets are in place would be beneficial to the program.
3.2.4 Communication within the program is effective. The CE program conducts a weekly team meeting, which includes TCs in Buffalo and Philadelphia via telephone conference. The STC is searching for options for video-conference capabilities to further improve communication. Topics discussed at the team meetings vary from debriefs of CMMs, to cross-program updates and internal program issues such as TRIO results and budgets. The program should consider keeping a short record of decisions.
|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 The CEP plan's objectives are aligned with mission priorities and generally cascade into the Performance Management Programs (PMPs) of the CE team. All employees have PMPs in place and progressing to completion as per the PMP cycle. Activities and initiatives in the plan are also aligned with mission priorities.
3.3.2 The program is providing effective services and actively working to identify and promote business opportunities for clients. As previously mentioned, the program has established three CTA programs: digital media, clean technology and health information technology.
3.3.3 The digital media CTA involves placing six companies within a local incubator - an environment where start-up companies receive support - for a period of three months. This cycle is repeated four times per year. Participating companies are provided with mentoring services, coaching and exposure to potential investors and partners. The incubator location was chosen by a committee which reviewed potential sites against set criteria.
3.3.4 The clean technology CTA, operating in full cooperation with the San Francisco office as a cross network initiative, involves 10 to 12 companies, and is repeated two times per year. The program lasts 16 weeks beginning with a virtual component comprising networking, mentoring, and coaching activities through webinar sessions. Once companies complete this segment, two companies are chosen to continue to the second part of the process involving the in-market experience.
3.3.5 The health information technology CTA, based in Philadelphia, is in the early stages of preparation. The TC responsible is consulting his colleagues within the program to gain knowledge of lessons learned from other CTAs. The health information technology CTA will involve six companies and is planned to be repeated two times per year.
3.3.6 The establishment of the CTAs has resulted in a greater administrative burden to the CE program. This is due to the requirement that service contracts be in place with the service provider and other vendors who provide goods and services for hospitality, networking and events for the demonstration day. This has led to some frustrations for CE officers in relation to contracting processes, the Contract Review Board (CRB ***. However, greater familiarity with the CTA cycle is beginning to streamline the workflow. The CE program continues to work with the finance section and the CRB to identify and explain the various contracting considerations introduced by this program.
3.3.7 The investment program is focused around the ICT, financial services, and energy sectors requiring niche value propositions. The TC responsible *** on guidance and input from HQ Investors Services (BIS) for identification of targets. The Strategic Investment Intelligence System (SIIS) and TRIO are used interchangeably to enter and keep track of data.
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 Overall, team morale is improving, having come through a difficult period with staffing uncertainties. The STC has been supportive and is managing the administrative burden to the extent possible.
3.4.2 Tools and mechanisms are in place to measure and monitor performance of the program. The STC prints a snapshot from the International Business Development (IBD) Dashboard and reviews the data with her team during staff meetings. TRIO2 training was received by all CE program employees and the system has been installed on their computers. Performance measurement is taking place at the event level and client satisfaction is captured in the IBD Dashboard.
3.4.3 In addition, the program ties the CE's budget allocations to the CEP plan. IMS and an excel spreadsheet ensure that the funds are accounted for and properly tied to each TC's initiative. This allows the TCs to better manage their existing initiatives and forward plan if additional resources are available.
3.4.4 Improvements can be made in the reporting of Economic Outcomes Facilitated and Opportunities Pursued (EOF/OP) indicators. The Trade Commissioner Service Renewal Division (BTR) at HQ has identified a large number of EOF/OP entries in TRIO relating to the innovation business line, which they have determined are invalid. They do not meet the current definition for these criteria. Due to the lack of a definition that adequately reflects success in the innovation line, the CE program is unable to successfully record their EOF/OPs in the system and as such, HQ does not have an accurate overview of the performance of the program.
3.4.5 Hospitality diaries were generally well completed, but there is some room for improvement. The CE program's reporting was, at times, not placed in the right areas of the diary causing confusion and uncertainty regarding the purpose of the event and how it links to the program's strategies. The program should strengthen its documentation by providing a clear purpose for events, linking the events to the program strategies within the CEP plan and providing a candid evaluation of results.
Recommendations to the Mission
3.5.1 The STC should review all performance targets to ensure they are accurate and realistic.
3.5.2 A record of decisions should be maintained and circulated to staff after team meetings.
3.5.3 The CE program should document the three CTA processes as well as lessons learned in launching the CTA process.
3.5.4 The CE program in coordination with the Global Business Opportunities (BBD), Invest in Canada (BID), Trade Commissioner Service - Operations (BTD) and North America Programs and Operations Bureau (GND) should develop clearer definitions for EOF/OP in the context of innovation and the CTAs.
3.5.5 The hospitality diaries should clearly state the purpose of each event, evaluate if and how value-for-money was achieved, and identify any follow up action that was taken or will be required.
Recommendations to the Trade Commissioner Service - Operations (BTD)
3.5.6 BTD in coordination with GND and BBD should work with the CE program to identify potential definitions for EOF/OP in innovation in the context of the CTAs.
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.)
3.5.1 Performance targets have been reviewed as part of the new Strategia planning and will be reflected in the program's submission due February 7, 2014. Implemented January 2014.
3.5.2 A system to record decisions of the CE program's meetings was developed in January 2014. Implemented January 2014.
3.5.3 The CE program has developed a Working Manual of the CTA process. A lessons-learned document is being developed for end-April 2014. In Progress for April 2014.
3.5.4 The CE program is pleased to coordinate with BBD, BID, BTD, and GND to develop clearer definitions for EOF/OPs in the context of innovation and the CTAs. BTR was engaged by the CE program in January 2014, opening this discussion. In Progress for June 2014.
3.5.5 The STC has reviewed hospitality reporting at regular program meetings. Through discussion with the team, the program is improving entries for "purpose of events" and "candid evaluation of results". In November 2013 a process to link events to program initiatives within the CEP plan has been instituted. Implemented January 2014.
BTD Actions and Timeframes
3.5.6 As the lead for the CTA Initiative supported in the Global Markets Action Plan, BBD will co-ordinate with GND, BID, the Office of the Chief Trade Commissioner (GPMC) and BTD to identify definitions for EOF/OPs in innovation and international business development in the context of the CTAs with CNGNY's CE program as well as with other missions delivering CTA programming. In progress for September 2014.
4.1.1 The Consular program is managed by an AS-06 Deputy Management Consular Officer (DMCO-Consular) under the general direction of an EX-01 MCO. The program is supported by an LE-09 Consular Officer and five LE-06 Consular Assistants. The program is also supported by an Honorary Consul (HonCon) located in Bermuda. The recent closure of the mission in Buffalo has resulted in the Consulate General of Canada, New York (CNGNY) providing services to New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania in the U.S. and Bermuda.
4.1.2 The mission provides approximately 200 passport services and processes approximately 600 citizenship applications and 150 notarial requests yearly. The demand for notarial services has doubled since 2011 due to a new Internal Revenue Service requirement for Canadians to submit certified copies of their passport. This has to be done at a consulate, which is considered acceptable as the "issuing agency." The demand for Emergency Travel Documents (ETD) has increased from 41 to 75 on an annual basis since 2011.
4.1.3 The closure of the mission in Buffalo in June 2012 resulted in the consular territory expanding to include Pennsylvania and Western and Northern New York State. This has significantly increased detainee-related work for the mission, which is reflected in the number of emergency travel documents (ETDs) issued for deportees. The mission handles approximately 300 prisoner cases at any time which represents 20% of the case load in the U.S.
4.1.4 There are 866 Canadian citizens identified in the Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) database for the states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Based on Statistics Canada information, the estimated number of Canadians residing in these states is 340,000. In addition, there are 100 Canadians identified in the ROCA database in Bermuda out of an estimated 4,000 Canadians living on the island.
4.2 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. (Note: the warden network is in Bermuda, not in the U.S.)||X|
4.2.1 Overall the program is *** managed and the DMCO's *** approach is appreciated by staff who responds well to her management style. The team has experienced considerable change in management, procedures and responsibilities in their program in recent years. The resulting change-fatigue, combined with concerns about job security, have contributed to a generally low level of morale.
4.2.2 The Consular program work plan is well prepared, outlining priorities, goals, key milestones and performance indicators. A review of the plan should be conducted each quarter to discuss progress and keep this document evergreen and relevant. In addition there is a five-week timetable of rotating job responsibilities for the five Consular assistants, which works well and ensures an appropriate back-up capacity.
4.2.3 There is good communication within the program with scheduled meetings where records of decisions are maintained. However, these meetings are frequently cancelled. In addition, currently the MCO does not attend program meetings***.
4.2.4 The mission has established good local contacts in the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, principally due to the long term presence of the Consular Officer. An annual gathering of contacts in New York City, in collaboration with CIC, has been beneficial to the program. In contrast, contacts and positive relationships are developing but are slow to be realized in the former Buffalo mission's areas of accreditation for Pennsylvania, Western and Northern New York State. This is partly due to the negative reaction received by some contacts to the abrupt announcement of that mission's closure.
4.2.5 Currently, the HonCon located in Bermuda fulfills the warden role there. Although the island is geographically small there are 11 districts that could benefit from wardens, particularly in light of the frequency of potential hurricanes in that territory. The DMCO has been active in arranging collaboration *** in case a disaster on the island prompted evacuation.
4.3 Client Service
|Key Consular Client Service Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Services are provided to Canadians in the official language of their choice.||X|
|Service standards, fee schedules and a copy of an official receipt are posted in public areas in both official languages.||X|
|Services are provided in line with established standards.||X|
|Client feedback is reviewed and corrective action is taken when warranted.||X|
4.3.1 The program functions well, provides good service to clients and consistently meets service standards. There is strong French and English language capability with service standards, fees schedules and other information available to clients in both official languages.
4.3.2 Client feedback is reviewed and summarized. When a trend is noticed, the issue is discussed during the program's biweekly meeting.
4.3.3 One of the Consular assistants produced a report for a one-month period that showed 87% of inquiries for information were made by clients using the consular website compared to other means such as in-person visits and telephone calls. The website was described as "an underperforming employee" with the potential of providing much more information to clients. This employee is involved in the U.S. Consular Web-site renewal project which hopes to address this issue.
4.3.4 Consular services are affected by the significant time spent by Consular staff handling a high volume of CIC inquires. Although DFAIT is not involved with CIC program delivery, which is clearly indicated on the telephone script, clients tend to call any number they can find associated to a member in the Consulate General. A significant amount of staff time is spent listening to clients prior to extricating themselves from these calls.
4.4 Internal Controls
|Key Consular Internal Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|A certified CBS signs-off on all passports.||X|
|Client documents and personal information are properly stored and secured.||X|
|Procedures and practices related to the collection of revenues are appropriate.||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|
4.4.1 Overall, controls on *** consular activities were effective with some improvement needed in the application of approval processes***.
4.4.2 The passport approval process is not always applied in a consistent manner ***. Staff need clear guidance in this regard as ***.
4.4.4 ***. The introduction of the Mission Online Payment System, which allows credit card payments, has reduced the handling of cash and has been positively received by mission staff and clients.
4.4.5 *** is controlled by a log sheet that shows the movement of working inventory. A similar log is not kept in the *** where the main ***. Inventory reconciliation and verification is conducted monthly and includes assets held by the HonCon. The Deputy HOM participates in the quarterly reconciliation. Stamps and seals are appropriately inventoried.
Recommendations to the Mission
4.5.1 The Consular program work plan should be reviewed quarterly and updated to keep the document evergreen.
4.5.2 *** should include attendance at program meetings at a minimum quarterly.
4.5.3 The development of a warden network in Bermuda should be investigated and pursued if warranted.
4.5.4 A telephone script to forward CIC calls automatically to a CIC line from the Consular Emergency line should be made operational.
4.5.5 The passport approval process should be agreed upon and documented to ensure consistency.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
4.5.1 The Consular program work plan, to be updated in April 2014, will be reviewed quarterly and updated as required. In Progress for April 2014.
4.5.2 The Consular Program staff meeting schedule has incorporated *** attendance on a bi-monthly basis. Implemented January 2014.
4.5.3 The development of a warden network in Bermuda was fully considered, including in concert with partners and stakeholders in March 2014. Implemented March 2014.
4.5.4 Telephone scripts to forward CIC related calls to the CIC section were updated. Implemented October 2013.
4.5.5 Written instructions on passport approval procedures were agreed upon to ensure consistency. Implemented November 2013.
4.5.6 ***. Implemented February 2014.
4.5.7 ***. Implemented January 2014.
5 Common Services
5.1.1 The Common Services program is managed by an *** EX-01 MCO who is supported by a team of three CBS including a DMCO/Finance/HR, a Foreign Service Information and Technology Professional (FSITP), a Military Police Security Specialist (MPSS) and 22.5 LES members. Integration of Common Services program delivery and mission committee structures for the Consulate General of Canada, New York (CNGNY) and the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations, New York (PRMNY) took place in the fall of 2011, although the missions still occupy two separate and distinctive office facilities. One of the results of the integration of the Common Service program delivery is dual support and reporting to two CMM and management teams.
5.1.2 The program is responsible for providing common services to 122 employees from 6 DFAIT and 8 partner programs that comprise the 2 missions. The program is also the North/East Quadrant Common Service Delivery Point (CSDP), and provides regional financial processing and budgeting support to the missions in Boston and Minneapolis.
5.1.3 Program activities in the areas of Finance, Human Resources Management and Common Services subject matter expertise are supported by the Regional Service Centre USA (RSCEUS) located in Washington, D.C.
|Key Common Services Program Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|A Common Services Business Plan is in place and used to establish priorities and guide operations.||X|
|Common services policies and procedures are documented and communicated to management, staff and clients.||X|
|Internal communications within the program effectively support program delivery.||X|
5.1.4 The program is functioning in an environment that has seen a great deal of change over the past 18 months. The consolidation of the two Common Services programs of CNGNY and PRMNY in the fall of 2011 and the implementation of a regional financial model in early 2012 has vastly changed the way the program is operating. These changes, coupled with *** in a number of key areas such as HR, Finance and Property, has been especially challenging during the initial transition period.
5.1.5 ***. Morale in the program is considered to be quite low, although it is slowly improving as staff are adjusting to the changes. It is also of benefit to the program that the DMCO position responsible for finance is now filled by the incumbent and no longer by temporary duty officers, which was the case in the fall and winter of FY 2012-13. However, job uncertainty pending departmental decisions related to the implementation of global staffing reductions across the mission network has served to further exacerbate the low morale situation. Scope and impact of change, coupled with sick leave, has affected workloads and morale. This places a great deal of pressure on the program and individual staff members having to assume other roles due to staff absences.
5.1.6 A Common Services Business Plan is in place and will be used as a basis for individual section workplans that are currently being developed. Policies and procedures are well documented and are placed on the mission intranet site, although many policies have not been updated since 2011. These policies form part of staff orientation kits provided upon arrival at the missions.
5.1.7 The MCO conducts meetings with section heads, however, due to conflicting agendas, they are mostly bilateral in nature and not held on a regular basis. As well, due to the requirement for common service staff to be available at PRMNY, section managers are not always able to attend meetings. A common ground for meetings should be established to ensure that they take place as scheduled. ***. Staff placed great emphasis in having the ability to discuss issues in a regularly scheduled meeting setting. ***.
5.1.8 The MCO, DMCO Finance/HR and the DMCO Consular have schedules of full or half days when they work from offices at PRMNY. The purpose is to provide personal client service to all PRMNY staff while a Mission Administration Officer is being hired to manage that mission. Although the intention has merit, the practicality and value of the DMCO Consular spending time at PRMNY was being questioned by both missions' staff.
|Key Common Services Client Service Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Service standards have been established and communicated to clients.||X|
|Services provided reflect fair and equitable allocation and access to common services for all mission programs.||X|
|A mechanism is in place to solicit and receive client feedback, and corrective action is taken when warranted.||X|
|Hub-and-spoke relationships are governed by an agreement outlining the roles and responsibilities of each mission.||X|
5.1.9 Overall, service to clients is seen as being proactive and balanced. Service delivery standards were updated in December 2011 and were placed on the mission Wiki for ease of access by clients. Updated finance service delivery standards were introduced in a town hall meeting in May 2013, and will form the basis for a full update of the service standards document scheduled for June 2013.
5.1.10 The program also provides common service support to the missions located in Minneapolis and Boston as part of the Regional Finance Model which was implemented in January 2011. Both missions appeared to be receiving timely services with some transactions being processed.***. While these issues have been addressed and processing of invoices has improved, both missions are aware that the current changes in processes in the finance section at CNGNY are new and are therefore, only cautiously optimistic that these problems are in the past. At the time of the inspection, the realignment of tasks in the finance section, which had been in place a few weeks, produced noticeable efficiencies resulting in the section catching up on a backlog of document entries ***.
5.1.11 The mission is attempting to staff two key positions: an LE-09 Mission Administrative Officer to be located at PRMNY and an LE-07 Property position vacated due to retirement, to be located at CNGNY. Staffing these positions should have a positive effect on workload and will address organizational issues. Meanwhile, the mission should ensure that corporate knowledge is retained as much as possible through this staff transition.
5.1.12 No formal client service feedback mechanism is in place that would assist in gauging program delivery and assessing service standards. Clients should be given the opportunity to provide feedback for all services from all sections.
5.1.13 Hub and spoke agreements between the mission and quadrant missions (PRMNY, BOSTN and MNPLS) that would outline process and procedures concerning financial management service delivery have not yet been developed, although these are being prepared by the RSCEUS to address this issue.
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|
5.1.14 In general, contracting and procurement processes are consistent, and proper controls are in place to ensure compliance with departmental policies and procedures. The CRB is a committee comprised of members from both the CNGNY and PRMNY missions. The committee provides a robust challenge function, is diligent in exercising its mandate and is enhanced by the inclusion of members with particular expertise suited to this oversight role, such as a legal background.
5.1.15 The CRB operates and is guided by a terms of reference (TOR) document which includes an appendix that clearly indicates, in chart form, the contract value thresholds and contract types which are the criteria which determine the division of roles and responsibilities for contract approval between the mission and HQ. At the time of the inspection, the TOR document was being updated and prepared for CMM approval.
5.1.16 Along with the decision chart, excellent tools have been prepared by the mission in the form of management check lists and quick reference forms to assist managers and guide the contracting process.
5.1.17 The complete contracting process, from solicitation to CRB approval is well-documented and executed. The contract information is filed electronically in a consistent and orderly manner in InfoBank, along with related correspondence and approvals. This virtual format is particularly efficient considering the two physical locations of members. However, the committee should meet in person regularly during the year to discuss overall contracting trends and issues that they might not otherwise address.
5.1.18 The mission has developed an annual acquisition spending plan which includes operational and minor capital expenditures. The approval for expenditures at the chancery were recently included in the minutes of the CMM, although there was no approval recorded at CMM for planned major acquisitions during the past year or looking forward to this fiscal year.
Recommendations to the Mission
5.1.19 Policies and procedures should be reviewed, updated and communicated on an annual basis.
5.1.20 The MCO should ensure that regular meetings with staff take place as scheduled.
5.1.21 The MCO should arrange to meet with staff from all sections on a regular basis.
5.1.22 The value of the DMCO Consular working from PRMNY each week should be assessed against her consular responsibilities and appropriate steps taken to use resources where they are most needed.
5.1.23 Service standards should be reviewed, updated and communicated on an annual basis.
5.1.24 The MCO should ensure that corporate knowledge is captured from departing staff members, particularly in the area of materiel management and physical resources.
5.1.25 The mission should develop a formal client feedback mechanism.
5.1.26 Members of the CRB should arrange to meet in person periodically.
Recommendations to the Regional Service Centre
5.1.27 Formal service level agreements between the CSDP and the missions in the Northeast Quadrant should be developed and implemented.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
5.1.19 Policies and procedures are reviewed and updated on an annual basis and approved by CMM. Implemented June 2013.
5.1.20 The MCO adjusted the Common Service teams' office hours maintained at PRMNY and CNGNY in coordination with meeting times to mitigate the possibility of delay or postponement. Implemented July 2013.
5.1.21 The MCO has arranged to meet with staff from all sections on a regular basis. Implemented July 2013.
5.1.22 The DMCO Consular no longer maintains office hours at PRMNY. Her participation in bilateral and section team meetings ensures awareness of common services issues to fulfill the backup role during MCO absences. Implemented June 2013.
5.1.23 CNGNY, a member of the AFR-led Working Group, is currently working on a new streamlined Service Delivery Standards template. An updated version for New York is planned for June 2014. In Progress for June 2014.
5.1.24 The mission has implemented the requirement for a handover file for all departing employees. Corporate memory is also maintained through ongoing efforts to maximize use of InfoBank to capture key policy documents and correspondence. Implemented July 2013.
5.1.25 A client satisfaction survey will be launched to NY missions in April 2014. In Progress for April 2014.
5.1.26 In-person meetings will be scheduled two to three times per year going forward. Implemented November 2013.
Regional Service Centre Actions and Timeframes
5.1.27 A draft agreement has been developed; however, RSCEUS is awaiting the final evaluation report on the RSCs to incorporate any of their suggestions before sending to HOMs and MCOs/MAOs for finalization. In Progress for October 2014.
5.2 Human Resources
5.2.1 The human resources (HR) functions at the mission are the responsibility of the AS-05 DMCO-Finance-HR who is assisted by an LE-07 HR Officer. Routine tasks are divided among members of the Common Service team. The section provides services to employees from both the PRMNY and CNGNY missions. The payroll function in the US is provided by the RSCEUS which also provides HR subject matter expertise.
5.2.2 The amalgamation of the Common Services programs of PRMNY and CNGNY in 2011 contributed to the need for 9 staffing actions in FY 2011-12 and 12 staffing actions in FY 2012-13. There were 12 reclassifications, *** in FY 2012-13. Performance management issues in several *** positions *** also required considerable attention.
|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|
5.2.3 The HR component in the common service business plan is detailed. It describes the history, current situation and future plans; however, this document does not outline specific action at the employee workplan level. For instance, the LES HR Officer is the mission Training Coordinator. However, no mission training plan, draft or otherwise, has been developed. Due to the unpredictability of future staffing needs, positions are being filled on a term basis.
5.2.4 Employee, position and competition files were separate and generally complete, although some inconsistencies were found. Not all classification decisions had accompanying documentation with the reclassification notice, and not all employee and position files contained updated job descriptions. Several staff at the mission voiced concerns that they are performing tasks which are not part of their listed responsibilities.
5.2.5 The last major job description updating project was conducted in 2008. Job descriptions are the foundation of the Performance Management Program (PMP) and provide the criteria for measurement if a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) is needed. Without accurate and up-to-date job descriptions, it is difficult to address performance or reclassification issues.
5.2.6 Although PMPs from several years ago were in files, copies of recently completed PMPs were not found in the personnel files examined. Some staff reported they had discussed their PMP with their managers recently, while others had not had a performance review conducted for two years. The HR Officer is able to print a PMP tracking report for employees at the Consulate General; however she did not have the same access to the report for PRMNY.
5.2.8 The mission has been engaged with the Locally Engaged Staff Services Bureau (ALD) on long-standing *** that have not been fully addressed. When managing particularly complex and unique HR issues, *** cases combined with other HR issues, the mission has not always had clarity on how to proceed or which bureaux and government departments should be involved, despite extensive communication with stakeholders. Over the past year, the mission has also worked with ALD and RSCEUS on *** these have yet to reach conclusion despite efforts to manage them. The RSCEUS provides the mission with subject matter expertise and has participated in the mission's staffing actions, which has been welcome assistance.
5.2.9 The division of tasks in the HR section at the mission level appears to be ad hoc in nature and disorganized. It involves staff from several Common Service sections who contribute to the HR process but these tasks are not documented in job descriptions. This results in confused roles and responsibilities, and ultimately staff do not accept accountability for HR functions. There is also confusion among clients, particularly from managers at PRMNY, regarding who to approach at the mission regarding HR issues. The result is that some find it more efficient to address their needs directly to the RSCEUS.
|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|
5.2.10 Overall, HR processes and internal controls were found to be in place. The RSCEUS and ALD continue to work closely with the mission providing support where expertise is lacking.
5.2.11 Although management of the HR section is challenging, most inspection criteria have been met and the section is providing the required services. Staffing actions are being completed and payroll and leave information is provided to clients as required through the combined efforts of the MCO, DMCO, Common Service staff, RSCEUS and ALD, ***. This has been due in part to the extended *** leave of the LES HR Officer, and complicated by the issues of continuity of oversight resulting from the absence of an MCO (due to transition period), as well as the DMCO-Finance/HR being on *** leave and a number of short term replacements in her position.
5.2.12 The mission has prepared a clear, step-by-step guide to the staffing process that starts with the program manager reviewing the current job description and guides the staffing team through the process with roles and responsibilities delineated and service standards identified.
5.2.13 The payroll function for the US is centralized in RSCEUS with information fed from the missions using the HR management software, ABRA. The ABRA database is a paperless solution for HR transactions including leave and payroll. It generates reports on accrued leave and overtime liabilities. These are provided to the mission from RSCEUS monthly and circulated to program mangers throughout the fiscal year.
Recommendations to the Mission
5.2.14 A mission-wide training plan should be developed with input from all programs.
5.2.15 Classification decisions and accompanying documentation should be included in classification files.
5.2.16 Employee and position files should contain the current job descriptions.
5.2.17 Job descriptions for all staff should be reviewed every five years (at minimum) or when substantial changes to duties occur. A review should be completed and all job descriptions currently not up-to-date should be revised.
5.2.18 PMPs for all staff should be completed on an annual basis. Administrative access to the PMP database should be provided to the MCO so that status reports can be provided to the CMM. A review of all PMPs should be completed and all brought up-to-date.
5.2.20 The MCO, in liaison with the RSCEUS, should conduct an organizational assessment of HR functions and assignment of associated duties required to properly organize the section.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
5.2.14 Consultations with program managers resulted in a whole of mission training plan. A Training Committee will also be launched in February 2014 to configure a training plan for the new FY following PMP cycles identifying individual employee learning plans. Implemented November 2013.
5.2.15 The employee, position and competition files will be reconciled for completeness of supporting documentation. In Progress for June 2014.
5.2.16 The HR Officer will be assigned responsibility to review all files to ensure current job descriptions are on file for all employees. In Progress for March 2014.
5.2.17 The mission initiated a comprehensive review of all position descriptions in CNGNY/PRMNY. In Progress for June 2014.
5.2.18 Senior management was provided with status updates of PMPs and will be provided with quarterly updates going forward. CMM has a standing agenda item to review the status of PMPs. Implemented January 2014.
5.2.19 ***. Implemented October 2013.
5.2.20 Following a visit by RSCEUS HR experts, the MCO and DMCOs reviewed all position descriptions and business processes, particularly with the HR function, and met with employees to clarify roles, responsibilities, and expectations for performance against standards going forward. Implemented July 2013.
5.3 Physical Resources
5.3.1 The physical resources functions for both the CNGNY and PRMNY missions are delivered mainly from the PRMNY site but are directed by the MCO who is located at CNGNY. The MCO is currently assisted by an LE-07 Property/Maintenance Officer, an LE-06 Protocol Assistant, an LE-05 Property/Materiel Assistant (located at CNGNY) and two handymen. The section is in transition following consolidation of common service programs for the two missions, the retirement of the LE-07 Property/Materiel Manager, whose position remains vacant, and the vacancy in the newly created LE-09 MAO position at PRMNY.
5.3.2 Staff are struggling with the fact that they are located at the PRMNY offices which physically separates them from the rest of the Common Services program that is located within a 20 minute walk from CNGNY. The physical separation makes it more complex for management to fulfill an oversight function and for section staff to carry out their duties. Due to the retirement of the long serving LE-07 Property/Materiel Manager the mission has lost a considerable amount of corporate knowledge. If additional staff leave their positions in the property section before corporate knowledge has been passed on, this will pose a significant risk to the Common Services program.
5.3.3 The section is responsible for management of separate chancery facilities for CNGNY and PRMNY, two official residences that are located in the same apartment building, 23 Crown-owned staff quarters (SQs), and indirectly provides support for 10 private-leased staff quarters. All properties are located in Manhattan with the exception of a Crown-owned house that is located in Rye, New York. The section also manages an official vehicle fleet consisting of seven vehicles.
5.3.5 Location, layout and configuration of the office space at the CNGNY mission are less than ideal with approximately 60% of staff located on the below-ground concourse level and the balance on the upper mezzanine level. The office location and configuration which results in an "upstairs/downstairs" divide, contributes directly to poor staff morale and an increased rate of absenteeism particularly staff located on the concourse level. There is a lack of natural light, poor ventilation and temperature control issues, as well as problems associated with water infiltration and pest control issues affecting the concourse level offices.
|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|
5.3.6 Overall, the section is functioning well given staff shortages and common service consolidation issues. Some key processes and internal controls require strengthening, particularly in the area of asset inventory control and tracking. Staff located at the PRMNY mission voiced concern over the lack of overall management presence given the split office set-up. Arranging formal meetings *** could alleviate some of this concern.
5.3.7 The mission does not currently have an electronic service request system in place and uses a simple email system to receive, action and track service requests. The mission was using the Crow Canyon system for this purpose although this was discontinued due to technical problems encountered by staff and users. The Mission IT Client Support Section (AISZ) advises that fixes to this system have been found and that the system will be reintroduced to the mission shortly. This program could be used as a formal client feedback mechanism.
5.3.8 Both ORs (apartments located in the same building) are well maintained from a day-to-day management point of view. As indicated in CNGNY's Mission Property Management Plan (2013/14), both ORs have aging building electrical wiring infrastructure, plumbing, as well as auxiliary central air conditioning, which will need to be addressed in the form of project submissions under the Mission Maintenance Workplan.
5.3.10 Four Crown-owned and two private leased SQs were visited as part of the inspection process. All properties were well maintained and modest in size. The two private lease properties were leased prior to the implementation of rent ceilings at costs approximately 5% higher than the current rent ceiling. The mission anticipates that with rising rental rates in Manhattan some CBS may not be able to find reasonably affordable accommodation in the same area of the city. The consequence may be that some staff live in areas outside Manhattan, which would entail greater distances and commuting time to the chancery. This may have operational, security and/or emergency response implications that would require careful consideration.
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|
5.3.11 Overall, internal controls were found to be inconsistent and require more attention to detail. Several occupancy agreements were signed well after occupation date. These should be signed within a month after CBS take possession of an SQ. As well, some inventories of SQ furnishings were not signed. Each mission maintains on-site storage facilities. Each facility also has a list that identifies items being stored; however, custodial responsibility for these items has not been designated resulting in little control over their movement or disposal.
5.3.12 The mission has opted to dispose of most surplus assets as scrap. They reported that New York City does not appear to offer a market to sell used furnishings, appliances or office equipment. Some donations are made to charitable organizations, although the Client Relations and Missions Operations Bureau (AFD) is not consulted even though the value of these assets is over $1,000. Disposal forms have been properly completed and signed.
5.3.13 Official vehicle logs *** require improvement. Official vehicle monthly operating reports are prepared by the LES Protocol Assistant ***. Vehicle logs are maintained by all drivers, but there are issues with tracking of mileage. Tracking of personal use of vehicles by HOMs and DHOMs is in place.***..
5.3.14 The CNGNY mission is forced to use additional cleaning/janitorial services outside of services provided through the lease contract, as services provided do not meet the mission's requirements. The mission should arrange to enter into a contract for these supplemental services instead of paying on a monthly basis.
Recommendations to the Mission
5.3.15 The MCO should arrange to have formal meetings with property staff located at PRMNY.
5.3.16 The mission should track service requests and measure against service standards.
5.3.17 Inventories and occupancy agreements should be prepared and signed off within 30 days of occupancy.
5.3.19 Approval from AFD should be obtained to donate assets with a value of more than $1,000 to comply with section 7.5 of the Materiel Management Manual, the Treasury Board Directive on Disposal of Surplus Materiel and government reporting requirements.
5.3.20 A CBS officer should be involved in the monthly reconciliation of vehicle usage and fuel purchases to ensure compliance and consistency.
5.3.21 The mission should locate a commercial garage facility either near the chanceries or near the ORs in which to park official vehicles overnight.
5.3.22 A contract for additional janitorial services should be prepared using a competitive process.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
5.3.15 The MCO implemented weekly written sitreps from the property team as well as biweekly property team meetings. Implemented October 2013.
5.3.16 The missions (CNGNY/PRMNY) are participating in the European pilot to use Remedy for property/materiel and transportation requests. Implemented February 2014.
5.3.17 The mission put in place controls to ensure occupancy agreements and distribution account inventories are completed and signed by the CBS occupant within 30 days of occupancy of their permanent staff quarter accommodation. Implemented June 2013.
5.3.18 *** required to ensure acknowledgement of custodial responsibility by the relevant party. In Progress for February 2014.
5.3.19 The Property/Materiel team will comply with the procedural requirements for AFD approval for disposal of surplus materiel (as appropriate). Implemented January 2014.
5.3.20 The MCO will review the monthly reconciliation of vehicle usage and fuel purchases to ensure compliance and consistency. In addition, a central dispatcher role was implemented to coordinate the official fleet vehicles. Implemented January 2014.
5.3.21 The mission will ensure appropriate commercial garage facilities are identified. In progress for June, 2014
5.3.22 The mission is consulting with the chancery building management and SPP to establish the correct form of standalone service contract (sole source or competitive) for cleaning services given the constraints placed by building management on unionized labour. In Progress for April 2014.
5.4.1 The finance section is managed by the AS-05 DMCO Finance/HR with an LE-07 Finance Officer responsible for budgeting, materiel management and contracting and a second LE-07 Finance Officer responsible for transactions. In addition, there are three LE-05 Accountants who would normally report to the LE-07 responsible for transactions, but who currently report directly to the DMCO.
5.4.2 The section faced the following challenges since the fall of 2011:
- The finance sections from the PRMNY and CNGNY merged in the fall of 2011;
- In the spring of 2012, the section was identified as the Common Service Delivery Point (CSDP) for regional financial processing for Northeast U.S. The *** of Boston's accountant resulted in both Boston and Minneapolis accounting services transferred to the section at the same time, coinciding with the fiscal year end;
- The DMCO Finance/HR went on *** leave in July 2012 and was intermittently replaced by temporary duty officers. The MCO position was vacant for a lengthy period during the summer leaving the DMCO Consular managing Common Services and Consular programs at that time;
- The LE-07 accountant responsible for transactions went on *** leave in December 2012 and had not returned to work at the time of the inspection.
5.4.3 In addition, at the time of the merger in 2011, the roles of the two LE-07 accountants were redefined. Client impatience, ***, added to stress in the team resulting in *** and low morale. The section was not able to meet service standards, *** resulted in managers using *** budget information at the fiscal year end. ***.
5.4.4 Temporary duty officers from HQ *** assisted the mission between September 2012 and March 2013. They identified significant issues, took steps to address ***, and supported and trained the accountants. Audits conducted in the spring of 2013 by DFAIT and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) also resulted in recommendations, which the mission implemented immediately with the guidance of the RSCEUS. This is reflected in the scoring of criteria listed in the tables below.
|Key Finance Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Roles and responsibilities ensure adequate segregation of duties.||X|
|The section employs methods to minimize disruption (e.g. setting of "quiet hours" and controlling access to the finance section).||X|
|The section has explored alternate methods to minimize transactions and reduce reliance on cash (i.e. acquisition cards, electronic fund transfers).||X|
|Payment runs are kept to a minimum, but are sufficient to provide good client service.||X|
5.4.5 At the time of the inspection, the section was operating *** under the direction of the DMCO Finance/HR. The dedication of the finance team and support from the RSCEUS for streamlining processes resulted in routine transaction workload and bank reconciliations being up-to-date. Some clients acknowledged that service had improved since the reorganization of tasks and morale in the section was improving.
5.4.6 Work stations were changed to accommodate three accountants in the same work area, segregated from clients by a Dutch door which had "quiet hours" posted prominently. A town hall in May 2013 provided clients with information on new service standards and procedures such as the "open hours" for client service. The mission is increasingly using acquisition cards and electronic payments to vendors to minimize transactions. During FY 2012-13 the section processed 5,818 transactions, 264 travel claims, 178 hospitality claims and 210 cheques/electronic funds transfers monthly.
5.4.7 Program assistants have been provided with read-only Integrated Management System (IMS) access and have been trained by the LE-07 Finance Officer to access and generate regular reports. This has allowed program managers to track expenditures and budgets, making them more independent and further reducing demands on the finance section.
5.4.8 The DMCO Finance/HR has recently *** which allows her to execute payment runs *** and independently review reports in the system. The MCO has also taken recent *** him to provide backup for both **** aspects ***.
5.4.9 Management of the five finance positions at this CSDP and the models at CSDPs throughout the U.S. will require an assessment of the tasks, the volume of transactions, and the responsibilities entailed. *** as the result of the new configuration of the finance section as a CSDP will require a coordinated approach with input from the mission, RSCEUS and ALD.
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.||X|
|A percentage of costs for personal use of OR supplies is determined and regular reimbursements are made to the mission.||X|
|A process is in place to ensure that, where applicable, CBS reimburse the mission for any services of a personal nature received at their staff quarters (e.g. television, internet, telephone, etc.).||N/A|
5.4.10 The section has received *** management support from the DMCO Finance/HR, RSCEUS and HQ resulting in improved processes, success in overcoming a significant backlog of transactions and improved morale. Further work needs to be done to realign reporting relationships, ensure backup for all positions and improve section communication. Bi-weekly section meetings were started in May which have been advantageous and should be continued.
5.4.12 The following items related to CIC transactions were noted:
- CIC has not explored the feasibility of using electronic funds transfers for clients' CIC refunds.
5.4.13 Reimbursement cheques from staff for recoverable items at times do not include backup documents making it unclear to the finance section what the payment is for. If a request for payment or reimbursement is received in the Finance section without appropriate supporting documentation, it should be returned to the originating section/employee.
5.4.14 The reimbursement of the HonCon's expenses in Bermuda is based on a historical understanding of what is acceptable, not a written list forming part of the annual tasking letter.
Recommendations to the Mission
5.4.15 The mission should ensure that the section has back-up capacity in place for all positions including MCO/DMCO role in financial oversight.
5.4.16 The DMCO should ensure that bi-weekly meetings with staff are continued.
5.4.17 The section should routinely monitor CIC transactions ***.
5.4.18 Supporting documentation should accompany recoverable transactions.
5.4.19 A written list of allowable reimbursable costs submitted by the HonCon should form part of the annual tasking letter.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
5.4.15 Backup capacity has been ensured through new procedures for distribution of work, and regular meetings with DMCO/MCO to ensure delivery against service standards. Implemented June 2013.
5.4.16 The DMCO HR/Finance will ensure that bi-weekly meetings with staff continue. Implemented May 2013.
5.4.17 The MCO/DMCO and Finance team has continued to monitor CIC transactions *** are only undertaken by delegated officers. Implemented June 2013.
5.4.18 The mission will exercise increased vigilance to ensure all relevant and required supporting documentation accompany all transactions. Implemented January 2014.
5.4.19 The mission will establish with the Bermuda HonCon the formalized listing of permissible expenditures for reimbursement which will form part of the annual tasking letter. In Progress for March 2014.
5.5 Information Management - Information Technology (IM-IT)
5.5.1 The IM-IT section is managed by a CS-02 Foreign Service Information and Technology Professional (FSITP) and is supported by an LE-08 Locally Engaged Information and Technology Professional (LEITP) and an LE-07 LEITP. The FSITP operates out of the PRMNY mission, while the two LEITPs operate out of the CNGNY mission.
|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|
5.5.2 Overall, the section is *** managed with key processes and controls in place. The FSITP arranges to be present at the CNGNY mission two mornings per week. Meetings between section staff are ad hoc in nature and would benefit from a formal meeting structure being implemented. This would provide the FSITP with an opportunity to discuss planning and organizational issues and to involve the LEITPs in the planning process.
5.5.3 This section received positive comments from all clients interviewed and is considered to be proactive and providing a high level of service. The section has a workplan in place that outlines all activities and initiatives that will be undertaken throughout the year. Staff PMPs are prepared based on objectives derived from the workplan.
5.5.4 The section is proactive in providing an IM-IT welcome kit to new employees outlining process and procedures as well as an orientation to equipment and systems. This is seen as a good practice.
5.5.5 The mission has an IM-IT committee in place and meets on a quarterly basis. The committee is guided by a terms of reference document and minutes are produced after each meeting. InfoBank is used extensively by CNGNY, although staff at PRMNY do not use this system; rather the shared drive is used as a filing system. There is an IM working group in place and each section has a specific resource person identified to assist users.
5.5.6 The section has *** portable emergency communications kits assembled and ready for use.***. The kits are tested quarterly by the FSITP and LEITPs. Other staff such as the MCO, DMCOs and the MPSS would benefit from participating in the testing of this equipment. Set-up procedures and operating checklists should be prepared for ease of testing and potential use.
5.5.7 The telephone switchboard *** and voice management systems ***. The mission has been working through problems, but consideration should be given by the Information Management and Technology Bureau (AID) to replacing or updating these systems. The systems are stable ***.
5.5.8 The main server room (MSR) and dedicated communications closet (DCC) rooms are being used as a storage area for surplus and obsolete materiel. These rooms should remain clean and access to them restricted - which is compromised if they are used as storage facilities.
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|
5.5.9 Overall, IM-IT processes and controls are effective.
5.5.11 The section has developed a loan-to-staff sign-out sheet for items such as cellular telephones, BlackBerrys, laptop computers, etc. Staff are also provided with a loan agreement document outlining their responsibilities. This is seen as a good practice.
5.5.12 Disposal of surplus IT equipment is conducted through donation or equipment is simply scrapped. There is no market for used IT equipment especially since the hard drives from computers must be wiped clean resulting in no operating system being provided with the unit. Previous donations have been made to schools in the New York City area when possible.
Recommendations to the Mission
5.5.13 Formal meetings should be arranged for section staff.
5.5.16 Set-up procedures for the emergency communications kits should be documented.
5.5.17 Server and communications rooms should be cleared of surplus materiel.
Recommendations to the Information Management and Technology Bureau (AID)
5.5.18 AID should liaise with Shared Services Canada and request the replacement of the existing *** as part of SSC's ongoing lifecycle replacement program.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
5.5.13 The FSITP has been conducting biweekly meetings with the LEITPs since June 2013. Implemented June 2013.
5.5.14 ***. Implemented April 2014.
5.5.15 ***. Implemented January 2014.
5.5.16 Set-up procedures for the emergency communications kits have been documented. Implemented January 2014.
5.5.17 The server and communications rooms will be cleared of surplus materiel during clean up days in February 2014. In Progress for April 2014.
AID Actions and Timeframes
5.5.18 AID will make a formal request to Shared Service Canada for the replacement of the existing ***. In Progress. Implemented May 2014.
Appendix A: Mission Resources Fact Sheet
|Staff Quarters (CNGNY CBS)||14||5|
|Presences in Buffalo, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh||3|
|*1 FTE in Buffalo|
**1 FTE each in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Buffalo***Total of joint CNGNY-PRMNY Common Services team (10.5 LES FTEs reside in PRMNY)
|Head of Mission||5||1||4|
|Bank of Canada||1.5||1||0.5|
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
- Emergency Travel Document
- 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
- Mission Advocacy Activity Tracker
- Mission Administration Officer
- 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
- Mission Planning and Reporting system
- 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: