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Inspection of the Consulate General of Canada, Denver, Colorado, USA

November 7 to December 3, 2013

Table of Contents

Inspection Scope and Objectives

This inspection was undertaken as a remote inspection following a risk assessment and prioritization exercise by the Missions Inspection Division (ZIV) of the Office of the Inspector General. It was conducted remotely from headquarters using teleconferencing and video conferencing tools for virtual interviews with individuals and for group meetings. Original documents and electronic copies were sent to headquarters for examination.

The scope of the inspection included a review of Mission Management and the Commercial/Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service, as well Consular and Common Services programs. The virtual nature of this inspection placed limits on the scope of work. The inspection was limited to those areas that could be reviewed remotely, and consequently no opinion on the adequacy or effectiveness of controls, or recommendations for improvement, could be undertaken for physical controls such as inventories, nor could properties be inspected.

The inspectors interviewed staff at the Common Service Delivery Point (CSDP) at the Consulate General, Los Angeles and the Regional Service Centre Washington D.C. (RSCEUS) to understand the support provided to the mission and to enquire about processes and controls that affected the mission. This was not an inspection of the CSDP or the RSCEUS.

The inspection objectives were to:

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

Inspection issues and lines of enquiry were further refined during the remote inspection from information gathered through phone interviews with the HOM and program managers, a virtual meeting with locally engaged staff (LES) representatives of the LES Management Consultation Board, individual phone/VCNet 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: Headquarters, mission management and mission operations.

Executive Summary

A remote inspection Footnote 1 of Mission Management, the Commercial/Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service, Consular and Common Services programs was conducted of the Consulate General of Canada in Denver, United States of America from November 7 to December 3, 2013. This is the first inspection of the Consulate General since its opening in 2004.

The Consulate General in Denver is a small mission with three Canada-based Staff (CBS) and 14 locally engaged staff (LES) members. It is responsible for program delivery in Colorado, Kansas, Wyoming, Montana and Utah. It has representation in Montana through an Honorary Consul (HonCon) working on political and trade advocacy issues and a pending representation in Utah. No partner departments are represented at the mission.

The mission is *** managed by an *** EX-02 Head of Mission (HOM) and CMM. Despite budgetary and operational changes, the morale at the mission is good. After arriving in the summer of 2012, the HOM successfully implemented a number of management measures to strengthen internal communications and reduce areas of concern.

As a result of budgetary measures and departmental shifts in policy, the mission in Denver has undergone significant changes in recent years, including: consolidation and regionalization of the Common Services programs across the United States, expansion of the mission's territory to include Kansas, position cuts across programs including the reduction of CBS by 50% - from six to three. It is important that expectations of results are adjusted and communicated, workloads are monitored, and tasks are appropriately prioritized.

This change resulted in the launch of a new pilot in 2012 called I@DENVR, that integrated the resources of both the CE and FPDS Programs. The initiative encompasses not only a shift in program leadership to one manager for both programs but a new way of approaching program delivery. I@DENVR was the name chosen to reflect initiatives to Integrate, Invigorate, Innovate, Influence, Impact and Interconnect. The change within the CE/FPDS Program has created a positive cultural shift that has been embraced by staff across all programs.

Programs within the mission are operating well under the new model and are in line with departmental and government priorities. Internal communications are in place and mission has the capacity to provide services to the public in both official languages. As well, mechanisms are in place to ensure that a whole-of-government approach is facilitated and promoted throughout programs delivered by the mission.

The FPDS section of the amalgamated FPDS/CE program is functioning well with a clearly defined unique planning process that is guided by the Commercial Economic Program Plan (CEP). The CEP objectives are in line with the governmental priorities. The FPDS section executes coordinated planning and outreach with the CE section which is functioning well as is evident through program activities. The FPDS section, however, needs minor improvements including further defining of roles and responsibilities to bring more clarity to the positions across the program.

The CE section of the program is also operating well and is delivering on its commitments. The team is dynamic, works well together and effectively carries out activities per the CEP. The plan is aligned with the mission and Government of Canada priorities and the section is working effectively with the FPDS portion of the program as well as integrating the Consular program into its activities where possible. Improvements are needed in a few areas, including performance targets and indicators, internal communications, and workload issues across this section of the newly amalgamated program.

The day-to-day management of the Consular program is *** undertaken by an *** Consular Officer. The HOM fulfils the role of Consular Program Manager in the absence of a Management Consular Officer at the mission. There is a high profile prisoner case which the HOM is engaged in and reports effectively to headquarters (HQ). Regular Consular program meetings are held, plans and manuals are up-to-date, and services are provided to clients in accordance with the Consular Policy Manual. Some improvements could be put in place related to controls ***.

The Common Services program is *** led by the MAO. The program is currently providing a high level of service to clients. Although the team is new, staff working in the Common Services program have a strong client service focus and are working well together. Certain internal controls should be improved to reflect departmental policies. The mission is served by the Common Services Delivery Point (CSDP) in Los Angeles and the Regional Service Centre in Washington D.C. (RSCEUS). Governing agreements should be put in place to establish relationships and outline the roles and responsibilities related to the mission, for each of these entities.

A total of 61 recommendations are raised in the report: 50 are addressed to the mission, 7 to CSDP/RSCEUS and 4 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 23 have been implemented.

1 Mission Management

1.1 Overview

1.1.1 The Consulate General in Denver is a small mission with three Canada-based Staff (CBS) and 14 locally engaged staff (LES). The mission also has an Honorary Consul based in Montana, supporting the Commercial/Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service programs in the region. The mission is responsible for program delivery in Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Utah and Wyoming.

1.1.2 The mission is managed by an EX-02 Head of Mission (HOM) who is responsible for overall operations and, according to the RSCEUS, oversees a budget of $1.96 million. The mission also manages a property portfolio that includes a Crown-leased chancery and a Crown-owned official residence (OR). Two CBS are in private-leased accommodations.

1.1.3 Three positions within the Commercial Economic (CE) and Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service (FPDS) programs were cut, including the FPDS program manager (PM) position. CE/FPDS resources were integrated under one FS-04 PM, and the scope of the CE/FPDs program was refined to address the reduced resources. As a result the mission also launched a pilot program to bring mission staff together, named I@DENVR. The name, I@DENVR, was chosen to reflect initiatives at the mission to Integrate, Invigorate, Innovate, Influence, Impact and Interconnect. It has created a positive cultural change that has been embraced by staff across all programs. In the CE/FPDS program, this initiative encompasses not only a shift in program leadership to one officer but a refinement in sector coverage, geographic reach and crossover planning. Staff report the primary improvements resulting from the pilot have been improved communication and planning between FPDS and CE activities and mission-wide improved morale as I@DENVR philosophy is lived daily.

1.1.4 The focus of the FS-04 PM who previously held the Senior Trade Commissioner (STC) position, is divided between the CE (60% of time) and FPDS (40%) areas, however there is a strong trade emphasis at the mission. The PM reports that dedication to both programs is strong, but also reports *** in order to manage additional staff, program responsibilities and multiple files. The HOM is also engaged in both the FPDS and CE aspects, and plays a large role in interfacing with the public and with stakeholders.

1.1.5 Notwithstanding the new integrated approach, separate inspections of the two elements of the CE/FPDS combined program were conducted. Comments that relate to specific components of the I@DENVR pilot can be found in the respective CE and FPDS sections.

1.1.6 Another major change in mission management was the elimination of the Management Consular Officer (MCO) position in 2012 and its replacement with an LE-09 Mission Administration Officer (MAO). The remaining three CBS took on the residual "CBS only" tasks in consular and security. It will be important as the mission moves forward that workloads are monitored to assure that program deliverables are realistic and appropriately prioritized.

1.1.7 The FS-03 CBS Trade Commissioner (TC) became the Mission Security Officer (MSO) without having the benefit of training before taking this assignment. The officer has taken on the responsibilities, learned the required task, and obtained subsequent training. However, it would appear that an effective realignment of priorities has not taken place to eliminate the extra hours the officer reportedly is working daily to deliver the I@DENVR program and other CBS-required duties. The CE/FPDS PM is the Deputy Mission Security Officer (DMSO) but reports not having the time to devote to this role.

1.1.8 Other tasks that could not be assumed by the MAO include being present for certain consular services where a Canadian officer is required including some prison visits which U.S. government officials insist are conducted by Canadians, meeting the diplomatic couriers and passport inventory controls.

1.2 Mission Management

Evaluation of Mission Management
Key Mission Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
The mission's strategic objectives are consistent with Government and DFATD 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 The mission is providing quality services despite the recent decrease in staff. The HOM is well supported by her management team, including an *** PM for the amalgamated FPDS and CE program and the MAO. A team culture is reported by the mission as one of the results of I@DENVR. Overall, the team is cohesive, works well together and effectively delivers on its responsibilities in alignment with the priorities of the Government of Canada. ***.

1.2.2 The Mission Planning and Reporting (MPR) tool is in place and is used to coordinate strategic and policy guidance and provide clear direction to mission programs. Outcomes identified in the MPR are derived through consultation with senior staff and approved by the HOM. Departmental priorities and objectives are also reflected in the annual performance management process with HOM performance objectives cascading down to PM and subordinate levels, as appropriate.

1.2.3 Communication within the mission is strong. In addition to team meetings there are also regular Committee on Mission Management (CMM) meetings that are viewed as a valuable forum for the exchange of information on various program activities by managers. There is a clear delineation between CMM and staff meetings, with the former dealing with more strategic issues and the latter a more transactional discussion of upcoming events. Notes and agendas are maintained for both meetings. Sector network communication is also strong. Communication with other missions and the U.S. network is strong in many areas with managers/staff participating in most scheduled U.S.-wide calls. Following the reduction in personnel across the US network, missions in the U.S. formed regional clusters to ensure continued quality sector coverage. The mission in Denver was paired with the Consulate General in Dallas to form the Rocky Mountain cluster. Collaboration within the cluster has seen varying levels of successful interactions.

1.2.4 Overall, the Locally Engaged Staff Management Consultation Board (LESMCB) functions well. The voting mechanism, including validation of uncontested representatives, is seen as a good practice. The LESMCB views their HOM's role as the U.S.-wide LES Champion positively. HQ participates in the monthly U.S. -wide LESMCB Chair meetings.

1.2.5 Most mission committees meet regularly and work effectively. At the time of the inspection the mission Contract Review Board (CRB) was in the process of updating its terms of reference to include a list of participating members. A regional contract review board would facilitate an independent review of contracting processes that take place in small missions.

1.3 Whole of Government

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

1.3.1 Although there are no partner departments, the mission's outreach embraces a whole-of-government approach as evidenced in programming that involves state governors and Canadian federal and provincial stakeholders. The HOM meets regularly with all senior staff and leverages their positions, networks and resources to help achieve program objectives. Prior to making outcalls or undertaking travel, the HOM consults with staff to identify which priorities she could advance most effectively, often reaching far more broadly than the mission's area particularly on topics of importance to the Government of Canada and the Western provinces.

1.3.2 The mission also ensures that mechanisms, including mission-wide retreats, are in place to safeguard the formal planning and to ensure that mission activities support not only a whole-of-government approach to programming but also strategic priorities set out by the mission.

1.4 Emergency Preparedness

Evaluation of Emergency Preparedness
Key Emergency Preparedness CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes 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 Staff report that emergency preparedness at the mission has improved since the arrival of the HOM in 2012. The mission emergency plan (MEP) is up-to-date, an emergency response team has been identified and its members are clear on their roles and responsibilities.***.

1.4.2 ***.

1.4.3 Since the deletion of the MCO position and arrival of the MAO, responsibilities for security, emergency management and business continuity have been changed. As noted earlier, the MSO's role has been assigned to the CBS TC and the Consular program is responsible for providing increased coordination of Emergency Management activities with the MAO providing direction and oversight of business continuity.

1.5 Official Languages

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

1.5.1 The Official Languages Act is promoted and respected by mission management. Through interviews it was determined that all CBS and many LES are conversant in both English and French, and bilingual official signage is being put in place as required. The mission has strong capacity to provide services to the public in both official languages and there is a champion of official languages who is active in this role.

1.6 Management Controls

Evaluation of Management Control
Key Management Control CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes 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.N/A
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, key management controls are in place and operating effectively. In some cases extra controls are being used to mitigate risks. For example, passport inventory reconciliation is done with the HOM's participation monthly instead of quarterly.

1.6.2 All hospitality activities within the mission are properly reviewed and documented. Minor improvements are suggested in capturing objectives, value-for-money and results achieved for individual events.

1.7 Recommendations

Recommendations to the Mission

1.7.1 The mission should ensure ***.

1.7.2 ***.

1.7.3 ***.

1.7.4 ***.

1.7.5 Roles and responsibilities for Emergency Management, including Business Continuity functions, should be clearly defined and acknowledged by each member of the Emergency Response team particularly when new CBS arrive at the mission.

1.7.6 Mission needs to ensure that contracting rules are followed, including a review by a CRB not linked to the specific contract. Assistance from HQ, RSCEUS or the CSDP should be investigated.

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 MEP was recently tested ***. Mission ERT members will participate in ICS training provided by CSRA on April 16, 2014. Mission intends to have a full table-top exercise this FY. In progress for the summer of 2014.

1.7.2 Mission followed the recommendation of the RSCEUS to provision each member of CMM with a portable emergency ***. In progress for May 2014.

1.7.3 Mission acquired *** phones for all members of ***. Implemented March 2014.

1.7.4 ***. Implemented March 2014.

1.7.5 Training was provided to staff at the March 2014 table-top exercise on specific roles and responsibilities. This will be further reinforced at an upcoming staff meeting. New staff will be advised upon arrival of their roles and responsibilities in EM. In progress for October 2014.

1.7.6 MAO is meeting regularly with relevant staff to ensure contract rules are followed. A regional CRB will be launched by the Quadrant to minimize risk that contract review is done by reviewers linked to the contract. It will be implemented in the first quarter of the new fiscal year 2014/2015 by the Quadrant. In progress for June 2014.

2 Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service (FPDS)

2.1 Overview

2.1.1 The Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service (FPDS) element of the CE/FPDS program is managed by an acting FS-04 (substantive FS-03) program manager (PM) who is typically supported by two LE-09 officers and one assistant at the LE-05 level. The program manager has combined responsibility for the joined CE/FPDS program. One LE-09 officer was on *** leave during the inspection and the other on *** leave. The LE-09 consulted during the inspection is a term employee that has been temporarily occupying the position for the Officer on *** leave ***. As a result, at the time of the inspection, the scope of data collected from the FPDS staff was limited.

2.1.2 The program's financial resources are provided below.

Program's Financial Resources
Budget2012-2013
*Figure represents combined FPDS and CE budgets
** Total includes shared budgets
Operations$39,186
Travel19,494
Hospitality15,276
Overtime14,482
North American Partnership Program (NAPP)58,000
North American Partnership Program (NAPP) - Agriculture35,000
General Advocacy17,850
Total$199,288

2.1.3 The I@DENVR pilot initiative, established in fall 2012, seeks to build on synergies and to achieve better coordination and planning to achieve FPDS and CE goals. As a part of the initiative, the FPDS plans have been incorporated into the commercial economic program (CEP) plan. Furthermore, the newly combined CE/FPDS program has also developed in-house performance trackers and has sought to capture advocacy activities in TRIO for both areas, in addition to the MAAT.

2.1.4 The program's main areas of focus include energy, the environment, border security and economic competitiveness within the territory. In addition to the team on the ground, the program also receives support from the HonCon located in Montana in areas of political and trade advocacy. Public affairs efforts during outreach activities are closely coordinated between both CE and FPDS activities. The new program promotes close partnership between the two teams to identify and cultivate key private sector contacts in support of advocacy initiatives and other program objectives. Coordinated planning and execution of activities, as well as support for media outreach, are clearly evident and functioning well.

2.2 Planning and Program Management

Evaluation of FPDS Program Management
Key FPDS Program Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
FPDS plans are aligned with the priorities and objectives outlined in the mission plan and informed by departmental and geographic bureau guidance and objectives.X  
FPDS plans outline intended outcomes and results are measurable.X  
Internal communications within the program effectively support program delivery. X 

2.2.1 The FPDS section is *** managed by a PM who is in the last year of a five year posting. ***. Morale among the team is high despite ongoing human resources issues, changes and the reduction in staff.

2.2.2 Overall, the section is functioning well with a clearly defined planning process that is undertaken in a coordinated manner. Planning is guided by the Commercial Economic Program Plan (CEP plan), with input from the HOM and HQ as necessary. The CEP plan objectives are linked to the Mission Planning and Reporting tool (MPR) and individual Performance Management Program reports (PMPs). The mission also utilizes Mission Advocacy Activity Tracker (MAAT) results from the previous year in the planning process to lay out the strategic overview of the section, outline activities, resources, performance indicators and expected results for the fiscal year. In addition, new employees would benefit from a more formalized orientation plan to ensure their smooth integration into the team.

2.2.3 The section effectively employs both formal and informal communication tools. Weekly meetings are held with staff members to review and prioritize activities and to share items arising from the CMM. Action items are identified as needed. There is some confusion regarding division of roles and responsibilities across the team, but there is progress being made in identifying gaps and finding solutions. In addition, although updating job descriptions was part of I@DENVR planning, a further review and adjustment of job descriptions is required to clearly define what is expected of the team. Similarly, a retreat for those dedicated to the FPDS files could be an opportunity for the section to discuss FPDS program objectives and planning, as will apply to the new departmental planning requirements (Strategia), and their relation to overall I@DENVR and mission objectives.

2.3 Implementation

Evaluation of FPDS Implementation
Key FPDS Implementation CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes 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 FPDS plans and objectives.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 team identifies opportunities for coordinated activities across the mission by providing media relations support and relevant reporting on a regular basis. Ongoing cooperation with the commercial element of the program is aligned with mission objectives and supports the advancement of Canadian priorities in the region. Close collaboration was noted in preparation for events, the promotion of Canadian commercial opportunities and in informing the public of new developments pertaining to the mission's work in the territory. 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 section executes an 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. TRIO is used as a tool to maintain and manage a comprehensive contact list for the region. Contact management, however, lacks coordination. Information should be consolidated into categorized groups and shared between the FPDS and CE members of the program.

2.4 Performance Measurement

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

2.4.1 Performance measurement is monitored through TRIO and the CEP plan with results communicated through the mission reports and the MAAT. Evaluation of the MPR is done in a comprehensive manner which also supports departmental performance measurement.

2.4.2 Program performance is also measured by conducting quantitative and qualitative analysis of the events and identifying success stories. Program activities are being tracked by the PM and discussed in weekly meetings. With the launch of Strategia, there will be the ability to enhance the existing performance targets and better evaluate outcomes against strategic objectives. The new tool will also provide the means to evaluate progress on key priorities, as well as highlight lessons learned to apply to future planning.

2.4.3 Hospitality diaries were generally well documented, but there is some room for improvement. Documentation should provide a clear purpose for events, linking the events to the program strategies and provide an objective evaluation of results. The evaluation of results should extend beyond an acknowledgement that all objectives were met. A good practice in describing outcomes is to link the event or activity to other tangible outcomes, such as follow up reporting to management and subsequent events resulting from the original activity.

2.5 Recommendations

Recommendations to the Mission

2.5.1 The program should clearly communicate roles and responsibilities to bring more clarity to the work across the section.

2.5.2 Lists of contacts across the CE/FPDS program should be readily available to all members of the team to strengthen coordination across both sections of the program. One such mechanism could be a consolidated contact list.

2.5.3 The use of hospitality should ensure funds are strategically and fully leveraged. The associated documentation should be strengthened to clearly state the purpose of each event, link the event to program strategies, provide an accurate evaluation of results including if, and how, value-for-money was achieved, and identify any follow up that was taken or that will be required

Mission Actions and Timeframes

(Please note: The management actions below reflect the initial responses upon receiving the recommendations. They do not reflect the current status of implementation.)

2.5.1 An all staff meeting on roles and responsibilities was held in November 2013, and documented. Part II meeting is being held April 2014 to review and revise. Job descriptions are to be updated by July 2014. In progress for July 2014.

2.5.2 All contacts across the Commercial/FPDS program were converted into TRIO 2 in 2013. Implemented December 2013.

2.5.3 The program manager will coordinate with the MAO to provide formal hospitality training to all officers and assistants in FY 2014-15. In progress March 2015.

3 Commercial Economic (CE)

3.1 Overview

3.1.1 The Commercial Economic (CE) element of the CE/FPDS program is headed by an FS-03 Program Manager (PM) in an FS-04 position. The PM is supported by four trade commissioners (TCs), one FS-03 and four LE-09 officers, and two LE-05 Trade Commissioner Assistants (TCAs). As noted in the FPDS section, the program also receives support from the Honorary Consul located in Montana.

3.1.2 The program's financial resources are provided below.

Commercial Economic program financial resources
Budget2013-2014
*Figure represents combined FPDS and CE budgets
** Total includes shared budgets
Operations$39,186
Travel19,494
Hospitality15,276
Client Service Fund (CSF)17,422
Integrative Trade Strategy Fund (ITSF)11,655
North American Partnership Program (NAPP)45,100
NAPP Competitive35,000
Export-USA1,580
Private Sector Investment Champion Speaker Program (PSICSP)4,000
Edu-Canada2,000
Total$190,713

3.1.3 The Denver territory, though large in size, has a relatively small population (12 million) and only ten Fortune 500 companies. Due to its richness of natural resources, the presence of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and its influence on the national scene of key politicians, the territory has strategic importance, and has become a central gateway for Canadian companies to access larger U.S. markets. Canada's presence in the region is significant and growing, and provides access to outside markets through Global Value Chains (GVCs). Denver is targeting Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) especially in western Canada, where there is a natural geographic alignment. In addition, it is an innovation hub with over 30 federal laboratories.

3.1.4 The priority sectors in Denver are agriculture, food and beverages, cleantech, information and communications technology (ICT), infrastructure, building products and related services, and oil and gas.

3.1.5 The CE program has undergone significant changes in the past year in addition to the amalgamation with FPDS and metamorphosis into I@DENVR. The CE coverage has expanded to include Kansas and it has adjusted to the cuts with the loss of one TC, one TCA, and the FPDS program manager. These staffing changes have resulted in a shift in workload of the program and the expansion of the Senior Trade Commissioner's duties to cover the management of the FPDS element.

3.1.6 As noted in the Mission Management section of this report, the PM dedicates approximately 60% of her time to the CE program. It should be noted, however, that trade accounts for a greater portion of the overall work at the mission, due to trade-related activities, including trade advocacy, taken on by the FPDS section.

3.2 Planning and Program Management

Evaluation of CE Program Management
Key CE Program Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Program objectives reflect departmental plans and priorities, including partner departments where applicable.X  
Performance targets are clear and appropriately set. X 
Internal program communication effectively supports program delivery.X  

3.2.1 Overall the CE portion of the program is functioning well and is delivering on its commitments. The team is dedicated, works well together and effectively carries out activities as per the CEP plan. The plan is aligned with the mission planning and reporting (MPR) document and Government of Canada priorities.

3.2.2 The planning process starts with a retreat in the third quarter to discuss results and the strategic direction for the upcoming year. This discussion helps shape the strategy for the CEP plan, which is drafted by the PM. Following the retreat, TCs draft their respective action plans in consultation with colleagues and stakeholders, such as their sector networks, partner departments, provinces, headquarters (HQ) and neighbouring missions in the U.S. The PM meets with each TC to discuss their action plan. As a part of the I@DENVR initiative, the FPDS work plans have also been incorporated into the commercial economic program (CEP) plan.

3.2.3 As a part of measures taken across the mission network to gain efficiencies, the number of priority sectors was trimmed and the list is currently well focused. The mission has created a State Champion initiative whereby the TCs have each been assigned a state within the territory to monitor. As a result, the mission is able to observe new and growing market trends to assist in their day-to-day work. These findings will also help determine emerging markets and future potential areas of focus.

3.2.4 Overall the sector action plans are well focused, however, the performance targets need to be refined. The target number (62) of Economic Outcomes Facilitated and Opportunities Pursued (EOF/OPs), for example, shows a disproportionate increase when compared to last year's results (11). The target number of leads also shows a remarkable leap from the previous year. These forecasted numbers were broadly set due to a reported misinterpretation of performance indicator definitions. Furthermore, the newly combined FPDS and CE programs have also developed in-house performance trackers and have sought to capture advocacy activities for both in TRIO.

3.2.5 Communication is effective however there are a few areas that require improvement. A brief Monday morning huddle allows the I@DENVR team to discuss weekly priorities prior to the regular Monday afternoon meeting where in-depth discussion and planning takes place. The weekly team meetings are structured with an agenda and action items are kept on record for follow-up.

3.2.6 The merging of the FPDS and CE programs has seen improved communication and crossover activities between the two sides; however, there are some challenges regarding the management of workloads. The CEP plan states that the FS-03 TC is counted as 1 full-time equivalent (FTE) dedicated to agriculture, food and beverages though only 4% of the FS-03's time is dedicated to CE trade promotion. The majority (76%) of the officer's time is focused on trade policy and market access and the remaining 20% on security and administration duties, including the supervision of the TCAs. Furthermore, two hours daily of overtime is required for the officer to accomplish these tasks.

3.2.7 There is a need for improved clarity regarding roles and responsibilities. Communication to distinguish the roles and responsibilities between the PM and FS-03, and the HOM and PM is needed. The TCA job descriptions could also benefit from review as there is confusion as to who should be assigned to what task. Also, a decision was made to transfer some trade policy files to an FPDS officer; this transfer will require a review of how the data will be captured and how this position is resourced.

3.3 Implementation

Evaluation of CE Implementation
Key CE Implementation CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes 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 key priorities of the mission and the department.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 team. All employees have PMPs in place and they are progressing to completion as per the PMP cycle. Learning plans are also in place for all employees.

3.3.2 Based on findings within the inspection of the CE/FPDS program, it would be important, should the I@DENVR pilot move forward, to identify the specialization of future PMs - whether they come from the trade or from the political side - taking into consideration the CE or FPDS emphasis at a mission. Currently, the pilot at Denver benefits from a PM with a trade background, which is fitting, given the prominence of CE at the mission. The strengths of the future PM will be a significant determinate of the success of this model.

3.3.3 The program is providing effective services and actively working to identify and promote business opportunities for clients. Activities are well-aligned with mission objectives and are generating results in their respective sectors.

3.3.4 A Canadian Technology Accelerator (CTA) program has been maintained in the area of Cleantech for three years.***. The missions in San Francisco and Palo Alto may be able to provide examples of lessons learned from their formula for success with their CTA.

3.3.5 Officers are collaborating well in their respective sector networks; however, the Rocky Mountain cluster model has reportedly not resulted in the facilitation of strong cross-mission collaboration between the Denver and Dallas mission, as is the intent. The cluster would benefit from more direction from HQ and best practices gleaned from other U.S. clusters.

3.3.6 Although the program is using TRIO, it could be used more effectively. Definitions of performance indicators are not understood by all users which has resulted in high performance targets for the current fiscal year. The TRIO champion regularly provides updates to the team; however, the timeliness of reporting requires improvement.

3.3.7 There is no formal InfoCentre; however, the TD-inbox is monitored by the LE-05 who forwards requests to the appropriate TC based on the sector of responsibility. This approach is working well.

3.4 Performance Measurement

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

3.4.1 Performance targets are set and identified at the start of the fiscal year by the PM and the team who discuss targets as part of the CEP plan review.

3.4.2 The CE program effectively uses a variety of departmental tools to measure performance of the program such as, the CEP plan, TRIO, and client surveys. In-house deliverables are also used, however, in order to streamline workloads the program should only be using TRIO for data tracking of the CE elements of the I@DENVR program.

3.4.3 As reported in the FPDS section, hospitality diaries were generally well maintained; however, there is some room for improvement. The program should strengthen its documentation by providing a clear purpose for each event, linking it to specific program strategies and providing an accurate evaluation of results. The evaluation of results should extend beyond a broad acknowledgement that all objectives were met to include details regarding tangible outcomes that came as a result of the event. A recommendation is in the FPDS section of this report.

3.5 Recommendations

Recommendations to the Mission

3.5.1 The CEP plan should be reviewed to ensure that performance targets are set at the appropriate level.

3.5.2 The program should review performance indicators with the Trade Commissioner Service Renewal Division (BTR).

3.5.3 The PM should re-prioritize the workload of the FS-03 in keeping with the hours of a normal work day.

3.5.4 Roles and responsibilities of the noted positions should be clearly established and communicated to all staff. The PM should ensure that work regarding trade policy is captured in TRIO.

3.5.5 The mission should conduct research to ensure the viability ***.

3.5.6 TRIO data related to all performance indicators should be entered in a timely manner.

Recommendations to the North America Programs and Operations Bureau (GND)

3.5.7 GND should consider the mission's main program focus - currently CE - when selecting the replacement of PM.

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 The STC revised the CEP with new targets. Implemented March 2014.

3.5.2 The STC discussed performance indicators with BTR via telephone in March 2014 and then convened a meeting with the CE team to convey guidance received. Stemming from this discussion revisions for 2013-14 figures took place; BTR's directives also helped to guide planning for 2014-15. Implemented March 2014.

3.5.3 The program manager will review the workload with the HOM and FS-03 with the goal of keeping workload within the hours of a normal work day. In progress for June 2014.

3.5.4 An all staff meeting on roles and responsibilities was held in November 2013, and documented. Part II of the meeting is being held in April 2014 to review and revise as required. Job descriptions are to be updated by June 30, 2014. In progress for June 2014.

3.5.5 Upon further research, ***. Implemented March 2014.

3.5.6 The mission encourages timely entry of TRIO data through on-going reminders by the TRIO champion and PM, monthly review at staff meetings and monitoring linked to PMPs. Implemented March 2014.

GND 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.)

3.5.7 The selection panel to replace the current PM was mindful of the importance of the CE program, but also focussed on selecting a new PM who took an interest in the FPDS program and would quickly learn the new role. Moreover, because of the small size of the CBS cadre at the mission, the new PM needed to demonstrate a range of competencies and management suitabilities necessary to fulfill the range of duties required. Implemented February 2014.

4 Consular

4.1 Overview

4.1.1 The Consular program is under the direction of the EX-02 HOM who fulfils the role of Consular Program Manager in the absence of a Management Consular Officer position in the mission. The program is managed on a daily basis by an LE-08 Consular Officer with support from an LE-05 Consular Assistant, who is currently on leave. The LE-04 Receptionist is acting in the position during her absence.

4.1.2 Denver is a full-service, low volume mission providing services in Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Utah and Wyoming. While there is an Honorary Consul in the area, it is associated with the CE/FPDS program and is not providing consular services. Effective in 2013, Citizenship applications originating in the U.S. are submitted directly by clients to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) in Sydney, Nova Scotia. Missions in the U.S. no longer provide CIC support to clients other than to guide them to the correct website. The mission still has some outstanding files from before this change took place, which they will follow to completion.

Consular program financial resources
Budget2013-2014
Travel$4,550
Hospitality1,500
Operations950
Total$7,000

4.1.3 In the 2012-13 fiscal year the program opened 323 new Consular cases, issued 84 regular passports, 68 temporary passports and 22 emergency travel documents. The demand for notarial services in 2013 is already 20% more than in the previous year due to a new Internal Revenue Service requirement for Canadians to submit certified copies of their passports.

4.1.4 The mission manages a very high profile *** and the United States Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility is in the mission's territory in Colorado. There are 223 Canadian citizens in the Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) database for the five states of accreditation. However, this number is not indicative of the Canadians living in the area. For instance, the estimated number of Canadians in the state of Colorado alone was 13,684 according to the 2000 U.S. census.

4.2 Planning and Program Management

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

4.2.1 Overall the program is *** managed and functioning effectively with appropriate support from the HOM. ***. The Consular Officer, who manages the day to day operational activities ***. The officer has a *** having been in the position since the mission opened in 2004. Morale is high in this small team despite the changes that the consular program is witnessing due to the repatriation of Citizenship services and regular passport renewals to Canada and the recent U.S. Consular and Emergency Management Country Manager position filled in the RSCEUS which is expected to support some regionalization of the program.

4.2.2 Daily meetings take place and although no minutes or records of decisions are prepared, major issues affecting the program are discussed with the HOM and at the Committee on Mission Management (CMM) and recorded there. Formalizing some Consular planning meetings and taking notes would document key decisions and program priorities for the program.

4.2.3 At the time of the inspection, headquarters confirmed that they had received the updated Mission Emergency Plan (MEP). The Emergency Watch and Response Centre (EWRC) also confirmed that they received an updated Duty Officer's Manual (DOM). The Emergency Plan has been tested on several occasions due to incidents such as widespread flooding in Colorado during the fall of 2013 and the July 2012 Denver Aurora theatre shooting that resulted in 12 deaths and 70 injuries.***.

4.2.4 Internal communication is strong within the program and within the mission, and the Consular Officer sits on the CMM. The I@DENVR initiative has resulted in the integration of the Consular program in other activities, such as participation in other mission events (e.g. trade shows) as a vehicle for outreach. This is noted as a good practice.

4.2.5 The transfer of regular passport and citizenship services to Canada has meant that the program can devote more time to emergency preparedness, developing local contacts and strategic forward planning. The Consular Officer has relationships with key local authorities including law enforcement agencies such as the Sherriff's offices related to arrest and detention; U.S. government and prison officials and emergency management organizations. These relationships are now expanded to include a wider group of contacts and other participants in emergency management. The mission participates in several networking initiatives including the U.S. Consular Network, the Western Quadrant Regional Emergency Management Group and directly with missions in the quadrant.

4.2.6 The mission's Consular program work plan outlines objectives, metrics/performance indicators and emergency management. This document should cascade down to individual work plans that are evergreen, relevant documents used to assign accountability for tasks and assess progress. Employees are well trained, experienced and capable of backing one another up when necessary.

4.3 Client Service

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

4.3.1 The program has a strong client service attitude demonstrated by initiatives, such as the use of social media and the installation of a computer in the reception area for clients to fill in applications and provide feedback. The mission used social media (Connect2Canada and Twitter) to contact Canadians during the Colorado floods. The team reaches out to learn about good practices in the quadrant, particularly in Seattle and San Francisco related to emergency management. The program functions well and consistently meets service standards.

4.3.2 Interviews with staff showed that there is excellent capacity in French and English. The section can serve clients in Spanish as well. The mission's official languages co-ordinator has ensured that documentation in the consular area is in both official languages as well.

4.3.3 Clients are encouraged to provide feedback using forms that are available in the Consular interview booth or online. There is no drop box in the reception area for them to deposit forms anonymously. The feedback is reviewed by the Consular officer and acted on before being sent to headquarters. It was noted that in the past headquarters provided client feedback statistics and Denver consistently received high ratings. However, this information is no longer being received at the mission.

4.4 Internal Controls

Evaluation of Consular Internal Control
Key Consular Internal Control CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
A certified CBS signs off on all passports. X 
Client documents and personal information are properly stored and secured.X  
Procedures and practices related to the collection of revenues are appropriate.X  
Revenue held in the Consular program is kept to a minimum and are transferred to finance on a regular basis.X  
Upon receiving new inventory, two CBS verify all assets and 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 is provided to designated staff only.X  

4.4.1 *** controls on passport and consular activities are mostly in place and effective. All consular staff have Passport Management Program certifications. Logs are used to record and control ***.

4.4.2 The mission has been reduced from six CBS to three including the HOM who is responsible for the Consular program. Under the MAO model, the LES Consular Officer takes on more responsibility in the area of passport approvals and inventory control than when there was an MCO present.***. Per the Passport Canada policies and procedures, two CBS must open and verify the passport stock, sign and return the transmittal form (PPT300) to HQ immediately.***.

4.4.3 Since the implementation of the Mission Online Payment Services (MOPS), most Consular clients use credit cards and there is *** received at the mission. When *** is received, receipts are issued appropriately. The mission is unable to deposit consular revenues in the Common Service Delivery Point (CSDP) bank account locally as there is no *** branch in Denver. The MAO therefore has to purchase a money order and send it to Los Angeles with the reconciliation document for deposit and recording in IMS.

4.4.4 Files are kept in approved locked cabinets in ***. Passport application files are destroyed according to policy. The mission no longer processes Citizenship applications; however, despite reviewing information in the consular manual and other sources within the departmental, it was not clear how long consular and citizenship files should be maintained.

4.4.5 The HOM recognizes that it is not possible to have the same CBS oversight in the mission, after recent reductions. To mitigate the risk, she reconciles passport inventories with the Consular Officer on a monthly basis rather than quarterly. A log book is used to ***.

4.4.6 An inventory of seals and stamps is maintained and are stored *** accessible only to designated staff.

4.5 Recommendations

Recommendations to the Mission

4.5.1 The program should institute regular consular planning meetings that are agenda-driven and that would document key decisions and program priorities.

4.5.2 ***.

4.5.3 The program should take the consular work plan and develop it into individual staff work plans for the year.

4.5.4 A locked box, accessible to the Consular officer, should be installed in the reception area to allow clients to deposit completed feedback forms anonymously.

4.5.5 ***.

4.5.6 The mission should contact the Consular bureau to determine how long consular and citizenship files should be maintained so files can held or destroyed according to policy.

4.5.7 ***.

Recommendations to the Consular Operations Bureau (CND)

4.5.8 CND should provide regular summaries of feedback to missions so service can be improved as indicated.

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.)

4.5.1 The consular section has instituted weekly, agenda-driven consular planning meetings that documents key decisions and program priorities. The HOM will participate in these meetings monthly. Implemented April 2014.

4.5.2 ***. In progress for the summer 2014.

4.5.3 Individual consular staff work plans were developed from the Consular Workplan and entered into 2014-15 PMPs. Implemented April 2014.

4.5.4 A locked box for clients to deposit completed client feedback forms anonymously was purchased and installed in the consular interview room. Implemented April 2014.

4.5.5 ***. Implemented April 2014.

4.5.6 The Retention Guide for Information - Mission Administration and Consular which the Consular Manual refers to lists the retention period for both consular and citizenship files as 7 years. CNO has also provided a Retention Chart for Consular Affairs. Implemented November 2013

4.5.7 ***. Implemented December 2013.

CND 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.)

4.5.8 While in the past, quarterly feedback reports were submitted to missions by HQ, this process was cumbersome, with little value added as reports are consistently over 90% positive and usually had already been reviewed by missions. Currently, missions wishing to review their feedback are able to request these reports directly from CNA. An email to all mission consular staff will be sent out in mid-April to remind them of this option. CNA also reviews client feedback forms upon receipt, and will be informing missions directly of any negative feedback, for which the missions should be aware immediately. Implemented May 2014.

5 Common Services

5.1 Overview

5.1.1 The Common Services program is managed by an LE-09 Mission Administration Officer (MAO) who is supported by a small team consisting of an LE-05 Management Assistant, an LE-04 Receptionist and an LE-04 Driver/Messenger. The section has been downsized significantly over the past few years with the conversion of the MCO position to MAO (2012), the deletion of the Information Technology Professional (ITP) position (March 2009) and the deletion of the accountant position (November 2011).

5.1.2 The program receives services from both the Regional Service Centre in Washington D.C. (RSCEUS) and from the Common Service Delivery Point (CSDP) in Los Angeles. RSCEUS provides support to 21 points of service across the United States and offers national services in finance and contracting, LES human resources, information management, and CBS relocation and the administration of the Foreign Service Directives. The CSDP provides budget, financial and HR support to the mission.

Program Management

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

5.1.3 Overall, the program is *** managed and staff function effectively as a team. The program has had considerable change over the past few years and has had to adapt to this new reality. The mission has made significant improvement in processes and morale***. The common service team has adapted well to the reduced operations and to the steep learning curve. Feedback from staff and clients indicated that the MAO's *** is appreciated. The MAO had previously been an LE Trade Commissioner (TC) in Miami and accepted the new challenge of being an MAO ***. The MAO's experience as a TC has served well in a better understanding of meeting client needs in this heavily trade-oriented mission.

5.1.4 The mission opened in 2004; however, there was inconsistent management due to a succession of CBS in key management positions who stayed brief periods, including the MCO, resulting in a lack of continuity as the new mission developed.***. The management team reports to have catalogued the gaps and developed and implemented policies over the past 18 months. These policies are posted on the mission wiki so they are easily accessible to staff. The HOM's assignment at the mission is until 2016 and it is expected that this work will continue. It is also hoped that the MAO will remain in the position for some time to provide the stability this mission needs.

5.1.5 Many services are received from the RSCEUS and from the CSDP. While service standards exist for financial and HR transactions provided from these two points of service, there is not a clear understanding of policies and procedures, roles and responsibilities between the mission and service providers. This causes issues in the understanding of accountability and weakens the control framework. For instance, on the HR side, there were differences between the way mission staff and the CSDP understood how LES overtime was to be reported, which resulted in errors. Had procedures been clearly documented and provided to LES at the mission, this problem may not have occurred.

5.1.6 The Management Assistant (LE-05) position was recently filled through a competitive process. As she becomes integrated into the program and trained in all aspects, the team should more fully develop work plans and translate these plans into actions.

5.1.7 The MAO sits on the Committee on Mission Management (CMM) and has frequent contact with the HOM and the two other CBS (the Senior Trade Commissioner-FPDS Program Manager, and a Trade Commissioner). The Senior Consular Officer (LE-08) also sits on the CMM, so there is full program integration in the mission and excellent communication. While the MAO does not hold regular meetings with her small team, there is continual contact and discussion. Regular agenda driven CS team meetings could allow for time to discuss challenges, conduct business and budget planning, and develop work plans.

Client Service

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

5.1.8 Overall, the program is providing a high level of service to clients. Staff working in the CS program have a strong client service focus. The CS staff are well integrated into the Consulate team and have the opportunity to understand client needs from the outset.

5.1.9 Mission service standards were originally developed in 2005 and updated in 2012. However, they require much more detail, incorporating the standards for the services received from the CSDP, the RSCEUS and within the mission.

5.1.10 Many of the Common Services provided in the mission come from other points of service (RSCEUS and CSDP). Service standards exist for financial services as well as HR services and are posted on the RSCEUS website. If these were incorporated into the mission service standard document and available to Denver staff, they would have information pertaining to all common services in one document that could be posted on the mission wiki, making it easier to manage client expectations.

5.1.11 There is no service level agreement or memorandum of understanding between the RSCEUS, the CSDP and the mission. The relationship between the mission and the RSCEUS and CSDP should be governed by agreements which clarify roles and responsibilities.

Procurement and Contracting

Evaluation of Procurement and Contracting
Key Procurement and Contracting CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
A Contract Review Board (CRB) is in place and operating effectively with terms of reference. X 
Procurement and contracting procedures have been documented and communicated to all staff involved in the process. X 
Contracting files demonstrate compliance with policies and procedures. X 
A plan is in place for major acquisitions and is approved by CMM annually.X  

5.1.12 The MAO is the chair of the CRB which is effective in undertaking its role. There are minimal contracts in the mission that meet the threshold of the CRB. Given how small the mission is, it would be desirable to have CRB done regionally as it is difficult to have members on the CRB who are not involved with the actual contract being reviewed. There is discussion at the RSCEUS of a regional CRB model that would allow for segregation.

5.1.13 The mission has generic Terms of Reference (ToR) for the CRB. These should be updated and customized for Denver pending any move towards a regional CRB. The ToRs should show the list of members and the date approved by CMM.

5.1.14 The mission has an obligation to ensure compliance with the Government of Canada Contracting Regulations and associated policies and directives. In some cases, the mission is not setting up contracts where possible, which would allow payments to be made against a purchase order and facilitate the annual mandatory contract reporting. The new directive is for all contracts greater than $2,000 to be entered in the Materiel Management Module (MM) of IMS. This will apply to many recurring expenses in the mission, such as cleaning services.

5.1.15 Many of the common services contracts, such as cleaning, are well below the $25,000 threshold for mandatory competitive bidding stipulated by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) Contracting Policy 10.2.3; however, there was no documentation to indicate that it is not cost effective to do a competitive process. In addition, the mission did not have information on file that demonstrated that it was receiving value for money, or that there were no conflicts of interest.

5.1.16 Competitive processes would ensure that the best value for money is being realized. No competitive process was used when the mission arranged the current cleaning services. This should be rectified and a competitive process put in place in the new fiscal year.

5.1.17 As a trade-focussed mission, it is important that any Event Partner Agreements be recognized as contracts. They should be signed only by officers with the appropriate financial delegations and entered in MM.

5.1.18 During the remote inspection a limited review of two contracting files was conducted. In both cases the files were incomplete, lacking documentation to support an audit of the complete process, including requests for proposal, bid solicitation, evaluation of contenders, and the final CRB approval.

Recommendations

Recommendations to the Mission

5.1.19 The MAO should hold regular agenda-driven CS team meetings.

5.1.20 Service standards should be developed incorporating the standards for the services received from the RSCEUS, the CSDP and the mission.

5.1.21 The generic terms of reference for the CRB should be updated and customized for Denver. The TORs should show the list of members and the date approved by CMM.

5.1.22 The mission must ensure compliance with the Government of Canada contracting regulations and associated policies and directives, regardless of whether the RSCEUS or CSDP is providing service that assists the HOM in exercising mission accountability.

5.1.23 The mission should put contracts in place where practical and ensure they are entered in MM.

5.1.24 The mission should ensure that it uses competitive processes for contracting. Where necessary it should document exceptions per contracting policy.

5.1.25 Event Partner Agreements are contracts and as such must be signed only by officers with the appropriate financial delegations and entered in MM.

5.1.26 The mission must ensure that contracting files contain the required documents to support the awarding of a contract. Checklists could assist in this endeavour.

Recommendations to CSDP/RSCEUS/HQ

5.1.27 Detailed policies and procedures should be developed by both the CSDP and the RSCEUS and provided to the mission for all services provided by each.

5.1.28 An agreement (MOU/SLA) should be put in place between the CSDP and the mission, as well as the RSCEUS and the mission, which clearly outlines roles and responsibilities. It should be signed, at a minimum, by the HOM and the Heads of the CSDP or RSCEUS providing the services.

5.1.29 To ensure officers on a CRB are not involved with the contracting file, small missions such as DENVR require assistance through either a regional- or a HQ-based CRB.

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.)

5.1.19 The Common Services program is now holding bi-weekly meetings governed by an agenda. Implemented April 2014.

5.1.20 The Common Services program will develop comprehensive service standards incorporating standards related to the services provided by the RSC and the CSDP. In progress for July 2014.

5.1.21 A regional CRB is being established by the Quadrant and will be implemented in the first quarter of the new fiscal year 2014/2015. As a result DENVR will not create DENVR specific terms of reference, as it will be customized by the Quadrant for the Quadrant. In progress for June 2014.

5.1.22 The mission has ensured compliance. Implemented April 2014.

5.1.23 The Mission agrees, has been following RSC guidance on contracting and is creating a contracting process map for staff. Mission concurs and is using competitive processes for contracting, and is documenting exceptions. In progress for October 2014.

5.1.24 Mission concurs and is using competitive processes for contracting, and is documenting exceptions. Implemented April 2014.

5.1.25 Mission agrees and will enter EPAs into MM as required. Implemented April 2014.

5.1.26 Mission is developing checklists and other tools to ensure contracting files contain the required documents. October 2014.

CSDP/RSCEUS/HQ Actions, Timeframes, and Responsibility Centre

(Please note: The management actions below reflect the initial responses upon receiving the recommendations. They do not reflect the current status of implementation.)

5.1.27 An HQ-led Working Group is currently updating the global service delivery standards which will help inform our further development of policies and service standards for the US Network missions. The Los Angeles CSDP MCO is part of this working group. The RSCEUS Intranet also has information regarding our other regionalized services, Information Management and CBS Portal, as well as LES HR and finance/contracting information. In progress for October 2014.

5.1.28 As per our business plan and annual report, the creation of Service Level Agreements is an objective for the RSCEUS. 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.

5.1.29 In FY2014-15, a national CRB will be put in place for the US and will be rolled out in a phased approach by CSDP groupings. The Los Angeles CSDP grouping in which Denver is included is targeted for the third quarter. A CSDP CRB will commence May 1, 2014 for the Western Quadrant missions and will function until the national CRB is in place. In progress for October 2014.

5.2 Human Resources

5.2.1 The HR function at the mission is the responsibility of the LE-09 Mission Administration Officer (MAO) who is supported by an LE-05 Management Assistant. Further HR support is received from the LE-07 HR Officer at the Common Service Delivery Point (CSDP) in Los Angeles. There is no dedicated HR resource at the mission. The Regional Service Centre in Washington, D.C. (RSCEUS) and the Locally Engaged Staff Services Bureau (ALD) at headquarters are the remaining partners in the HR function.

5.2.2 There have been four staffing actions in the current fiscal year, and no classification exercises.

Management

Evaluation of HR Management
Key HR Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes 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 Human Resources functions at the mission are being managed effectively. There are well planned, good processes in place and information from the RSCEUS is easily available when new hires start in a position. The mission HR plan was completed and submitted as part of the Common Service Delivery Business plan. The mission was not able to backfill an LES *** leave position due to ***.

5.2.4 Formal agreements (MOU/SLA/etc.) are not in place between the CSDP, the RSCEUS and the mission who are collectively responsible for HR service delivery in the mission. Roles, responsibilities and accompanying processes are not clearly defined resulting in confusion on procedures and delays in obtaining answers before HR actions can be executed.

5.2.5 In addition, the mission reports that on occasion it has not received consistent responses to queries from the CSDP, RSCEUS and HQ. It was not clear whether the CSDP, RSCEUS or HQ was the first point of contact for a particular HR issue and when responses conflicted from the various sources, the mission felt forced to take the best decision possible on their own.

5.2.6 The CSDP provides assistance with recruitment and staffing for the six missions in the quadrant, as well as approving and actioning the Shared Automated Personnel Services (ABRA) transactions. ABRA is the primary Human Resources Management System for the missions in the U.S. Support from the CSDP at the transactional level for HR services, such as pay and leave is good.

5.2.7 The mission developed a learning plan that incorporates individual employee and overarching mission training needs. The completion of free on-line courses offered through the Canadian Foreign Service Institute during work hours is encouraged. The FPDS assistant is the training co-ordinator. All staff interviewed had current PMPs.

5.2.8 Work plans should be updated and priorities realigned when new responsibilities are added (such as assigning MSO responsibilities to the TC or IT duties to the HOM assistant). This should ensure that staff workloads are balanced and the risk of burnout is minimized. In addition, when workloads are reduced, such as with the installation of the auto-attendant for the receptionist, there should be a similar reassignment of tasks and updating of work plans and job descriptions. Currently there is no mechanism in place to ensure that mission-wide job descriptions are updated at a minimum every five years.

5.2.9 Another challenge for this small mission has been the *** during a time when two LES were on *** leave. The funding was found to replace the Consular Assistant but not to replace an FPDS officer, which reportedly negatively impacted the work of the section. Missions have two choices in such situations: a) work with HQ to secure funding, or b) ensure that the expectations of HQ regarding program delivery reflect the reduction in mission staff. The latter approach was required with respect to the FPDS officer leave.

5.2.10 The MAO is looking within her much reduced common services section to see how work can be better distributed for maximum efficiency.***.

5.2.11 The RSCEUS Intranet site is a well-developed resource with detailed information for both LES and management including new employee and departing employee information and checklists that are used by the mission. It would be even more helpful if links were added to guide users to other sites for detailed information related to a specific hiring process (e.g. link to the Protocol page to find information on Green Cards)

5.2.12 The mission has recently conducted a full review of all employee files and noted missing documentation. The recent hiring of the Management Assistant *** will allow the Common Service team to move forward on their goal of addressing these deficiencies. The use of checklists attached to these files will assist in ensuring they contain all required elements. The mission reported that employee and position information is maintained on separate files and secured in approved locked cabinets.

Internal Controls

Evaluation of HR Internal Control
Key HR Internal Control CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Staffing actions are conducted in line with the Locally Engaged Staff Services Bureau (ALD) guidelines.X  
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  

5.2.13 Through discussion with mission management it was determined that the HR processes and internal controls were generally in place. The mission reports that orderly preparation and maintenance of staffing files has been in place since September 2013. Letters of offer are prepared using the departmental template and are signed by the HOM.

5.2.14 LES overtime and leave are managed through ABRA. The audit of ABRA entries, such as a special leave request, is done manually using a report that is not conducive to an efficient audit step. The RSCEUS reports that while they agree with our observation, they are not proposing any revisions of the ABRA system given the development of a new department wide LES management system. The new system will have better reporting capability than current systems.

5.2.15 The RSCEUS Intranet links provide detailed resources that employees can use for information, such as a summary of LES employee sick leave, special leave or vacation leave benefits. In some cases, such as for overtime (OT) inconsistent procedures were followed, resulting in payroll errors. Although the description on the RSCEUS Intranet clearly states that employees should enter into ABRA the time when overtime (OT) begins for the day, the process is not clear for LE-07 and above, as for those employees, OT begins when they work 40 hours, not at the end of their 37.5 hour day. If both the employee and the HR officer at the CSDP reduce the OT submitted by 2.5 hours, errors occur.

Recommendations

Recommendations to the Mission

5.2.16 Staff work plans should be reviewed to ensure there is no imbalance of responsibilities, that staff have reasonable workloads and that the risk of burnout is minimized.

5.2.17 A full review of LES job descriptions should be undertaken.

5.2.18 ***.

5.2.19 The section should proceed with the updating of all personnel files to ensure completeness.

5.2.20 Checklists should be used as tools to ensure that HR files are complete including up to date job descriptions.

5.2.21 When there is a temporary staff reduction, the mission should work with HQ to either a) secure funding for a replacement, or b) manage the expectations regarding program delivery reflect the reduction in mission staff.

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.)

5.2.16 The mission will make decisions to eliminate work that would exceed a level of reasonability. Where ramp-ups are necessary, mission will seek contract or emergency employee support, particularly to ensure no imbalances of responsibilities exist. The risk of burnout will be mitigated through ensuring all staff use all vacation time earned in a fiscal year where operationally feasible. In progress for October 2014.

5.2.17 The mission will review position descriptions and have HR at the RSCEUS review the final draft to leverage their HR expertise and develop the best product. In progress for December 2014.

5.2.18 ***. In progress for May 2014.

5.2.19 The mission is updating the files using checklists provided by the RSC. In progress for May 2014.

5.2.20 The mission is updating the files using checklists provided by the RSC. In progress for May 2014.

5.2.21 The mission will take such action as is applicable. Implemented May 2014.

5.3 Physical Resources

5.3.1 The physical resources functions at the mission are the responsibility of the MAO who is assisted by an LE-05 Management Assistant and an LE-04 Driver/Messenger. The LE-05 is newly hired and currently integrating into the operations. The LE-04 handles all aspects of vehicle and inventory management in addition to his driver/messenger duties, hence the LE-04 rather than a non-office classification.

5.3.2 The section manages the chancery, which is on the 26th floor of a 28 floor office building. It also manages the crown-owned official residence (OR). There are no staff quarters (SQ) as the other two CBS are in private leasing arrangements with little involvement from the mission. The mission fleet consists of two vehicles.

5.3.3 The lease for the chancery expires August 31, 2014. The mission and the Property Strategy Section (ARAK) are in the final stages of renewing the lease, which will include a reduction in space due to significant downsizing over the past years. A reconfiguration of the space will be funded by a tenant incentive allowance. The mission has worked extensively with ARAK to finalize this lease renewal and redesign the office space. This has been a challenge given the limitations on the scope of the reconfiguration and the allocated funding. Construction is expected to take place during the summer of 2014.

5.3.4 The OR in Denver has been identified to be changed ***.

Management

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

5.3.5 Overall physical resource functions are well managed in the mission. We were not able to view the properties, but from all reports, they are in good condition. Significant changes will be made in the chancery in the next months during the downsizing/reconfiguration project.

5.3.6 Clients are satisfied with the level of service provided. The Mission Property Management Plan (MPMP) is up to date. The Mission Maintenance Work plan (MMW) is up to date but is minimal given that the focus is on the chancery, which will be refurbished under the lease renewal/downsizing project.

5.3.7 The mission has worked extensively over the past year with ARAK to separate out the space that will be returned to the landlord and to reconfigure the remaining space to meet operational needs. ARAK is working within the confines of the tenant incentive allowance (TIA) in order to complete the reconfiguration. Attempts to expand the scope would necessitate complicated project approvals, which are not likely to meet with success. The TIA of approximately US$186,000 will not allow all mission needs to be met. The mission is being consulted on the design. A prioritization exercise has taken place and the design goal is to incorporate as many priority items as possible. Construction will be undertaken and paid for by building management through the TIA.

5.3.8 Resource and project limitations have meant that the mission has had to make difficult choices. The current Canada Room will no longer exist in the proposed new design, which limits the amount of event/meeting space in the office. With the future loss of the OR, this will mean that the mission has little available space for in-house events. The mission proposes to use alternate space which they find is readily available in partner and public spaces, restaurants and hotels, consistent with departmental messaging on hospitality expectations. The mission should ensure that these decisions are documented and supportable so that future management at the mission will understand why there is no meeting/event space.

5.3.9 The mission does not have a work order system in place. Given the relatively small size of the mission and the properties managed, a sophisticated system is not required; however, there should be a written record of all requests and actions taken. This will provide an historical base and allow analysis of the demands made on the common services program. It will also allow for better repair/replace analysis to be completed.

Key Processes and Internal Controls

Evaluation of Physical Resources Internal Control
Key Physical Resources Internal Control CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
An inspection is conducted by new SQ occupants and a mission representative within 30 days of occupancy, after which occupancy agreements and distribution accounts are signed.X  
Records of assets located in the chancery, OR and SQs, as well as those in storage, are maintained on an ongoing basis and verified annually. Assets are appropriately safeguarded and controlled.X  
Disposals are appropriately authorized and follow departmental guidelines. X 
Vehicle logs and fuel purchases are verified against consumption (e.g. mileage/usage rates for vehicles and generators).X  

5.3.10 Overall, internal controls were found to be mostly in place and effective; however, there is some room for improvement.

5.3.11 Inventories are maintained by the LE-04 Driver/Messenger but there is no regular oversight by the MAO through inventory checks to ensure that they are up to date and reflective of the holdings.

5.3.12 The mission will be downsizing their office space in the next few months and will have surplus office furniture/furnishings to be disposed. They are compiling a list of items that will be surplus and looking at options for disposal.

5.3.13 There are challenges to disposals as the office is located in a multi-tenant office building with a lease that does not allow them to run sales or have individuals or uninsured companies pick up materiel. The landlord wants to ensure that only qualified haulers who are fully insured are allowed access to the building and that they use appropriate methods to remove items. The mission reports that this has prevented sales and donations. They are looking at the local market to identify companies that meet these criteria and who are willing to take surplus items. Mission documents their efforts to effectively dispose of materiel and keeps such records on file.

5.3.14 In a review of disposal reports for eight disposal exercises (3 in 2012; 5 in 2013), all for IT equipment, problems were found in the completion of the Disposal Report forms in all cases. Items were picked up by an e-disposal company approved by building management and were taken away for scrap. Problems in completion of the forms included the following:

5.3.15 In the review of the cleaning contracts at the mission it was noted that contracts were not in place and competitive processes had not been completed.

5.3.16 Cleaning of the chancery is conducted by a private company that is currently on a month-to-month arrangement with the mission. A competitive process should be conducted to ensure best price and service. However, with the upcoming reconfiguration of the chancery it may be best to wait until the new space is clearly defined before undertaking a full competitive process. In the meantime, the mission should put a contract in place with the company to cover the period up to the prospective end of the construction project. Once a short term contract is in place the design of a competitive process can begin so it can be ready to go as soon as there is a clear path forward at the end of construction. The MAO may consult with her colleagues in other Canadian consulates to obtain sample statements of work and requests for proposal documents/processes to assist her.

5.3.17 Cleaning in the OR is completed by a private cleaning person on a month-to-month basis. Cleaning takes place one day per week. In spite of the low monetary value, a competitive process should be undertaken to ensure best value and a contract put in place.

5.3.18 The LE-04 Driver/Messenger manages the mission vehicles including, usage, and maintenance and gasoline purchase/reconciliation. Vehicle logs are maintained. Gasoline is purchased using a gasoline credit card with security features. The monthly credit card bills are reviewed and reconciled by the Driver/Messenger and approved by the MAO.

Recommendations

Recommendations to the Mission

5.3.19 Inventories of all assets should be reviewed periodically by the MAO to ensure they are up to date and reflective of the holdings.

5.3.20 The mission should ensure that Disposal Reports for the disposal of surplus assets are completed properly, including the signature of the HOM.

5.3.21 A work order system should be put in place, which provides a written, historical record of all requests and actions taken.

5.3.22 A contract should be put into place with the company providing cleaning services at the chancery to regularize the current situation until the end of the construction period.

5.3.23 Work should begin immediately to design a competitive process for cleaning of the chancery following the completion of the construction project so a multi-year contract is put in place.

5.3.24 *** should be launched and a contract put in place.

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.)

5.3.19 The mission will review inventory quarterly. Implemented April 2014.

5.3.20 The mission is researching the requirements for disposal exercises and files, it will ensure the HOM signs the required documentation and that proper records are maintained in accordance with established policies and practices. In progress for August 2014.

5.3.21 Chancery maintenance is managed by Common Services and work orders are processed via email among CS staff. The mission is currently implementing an email work order system for the OR. In progress for May 2014.

5.3.22 The mission is currently negotiating the terms of the contract for cleaning the chancery with the current cleaning company and will enter into a contract when finalized. In progress for May 2014.

5.3.23 The mission has prepared a scope of work and identified potential bidders for a Request For Proposal in August. In progress for September 2014.

5.3.24 Subsequent to the inspection, the OR was identified for disposal. The mission will put a contract in place with the current provider to cover the period from present ***. In progress for May 2014.

5.4 Finance

5.4.1 The regionalization model for common services is in place in the U.S. The Denver mission is part of the West Quadrant served by the Common Services Delivery Point in Los Angeles (CSDP) and nationally by the Regional Service Centre in Washington, D.C. (RSCEUS). At the mission, financial responsibilities are decentralized. An LE-09 Mission Administration Officer (MAO) is supported by an LE-05 Management Assistant who is responsible for transactions and the budget related to common services.

5.4.2 For the programs, the assistants, under the direction of their program managers, and with some guidance from the MAO, interact directly with the CSDP. The LE-08 Financial Management Officer (FMO) and two LE-06 Accountant-Account Managers at the CSDP provide financial transactional services and support.

5.4.3 An FMO and the finance staff at the Regional Service Centre in Washington, D.C. (RSCEUS) provide oversight on financial management for the entire U.S. network of missions. They are the first point of contact for questions from CSDPs and also perform a training function. At HQ, Financial Operations, International (SMFF) supports finance functions through the Regional Manager for the Americas and a team of financial analysts.

Management

Evaluation of Finance Management
Key Finance Management CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Roles and responsibilities ensure adequate segregation of duties.X  
The section employs methods to minimize disruption (e.g. setting of "quiet hours" and controlling access to the Finance section).N/A Financial transactions take place at the CSDP.
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  

5.4.4 Routine financial transactions are being well managed, with the mission reporting good service from the CSDP and the majority of payments being made within service standards. The removal of the accountant position at the mission in November 2012 and the move to the regional model has resulted in a major transition for the mission with the need to define roles and responsibilities. Stronger support for FINSTAT and budget management from the CSDP would be welcomed as some mission staff are challenged by their new financial responsibilities. Although the mission is quite independent in their contracting functions, increased contracting support would assist the programs in following good practices.

5.4.5 New merchants are required to accept electronic funds transfers or accept payment with an acquisition card as part of the mission's move toward simplified and efficient financial transactions. In addition to the reduced payment transactions, the use of the Mission Online Payment Services (MOPS) has resulted in nearly eliminating cash receipts from the Consular program. MOPS also generates the IMS entries. As a result, the reconciliation of consular clients' credit card payments has been centralized at HQ, further reducing the mission's workload.

5.4.6 While roles and responsibilities are clear within the mission and segregation of duties is strong with the regionalization model, as noted in the common services overview, the mission was not clear on financial procedures, roles and responsibilities and the specific support to expect from different members of the financial team at the CSDP.

5.4.7 The responsibility for the administration of program finances has been delegated to the program assistants (PA) supporting the HOM, FPDS, CE, and Common Services programs. In this mission, the PAs in the past had minimal involvement in the payment of invoices, contracting, or tracking their program's budget because there was a mission accountant who managed budgets and financial transactions. PAs require clear definitions of their role and procedures for all types of transactions that they may be exposed to and tools to ensure that they are working as efficiently as possible with the CSDP.

5.4.8 The CSDP has developed job aids to help PAs generate Integrated Management System (IMS) reports. This good initiative should be expanded by the CSDP to include other tools. A payment request check list would further assist PAs. Requiring PAs' signatures on the document as an attestation of the completeness of the payment package would assist the mission and the CSDP in having payments made and recorded efficiently. Complete payment packages arriving at the CSDP would reduce delays in processing and IMS input, reduce the need for follow-up communication between the mission and the CSDP before payments are made, and help in make FINSTAT reports more current.

5.4.9 FINSTAT reports do not reflect timely data partly due to delays in acquisition card expense information being keyed into IMS. Although acquisition cards are the preferred method of payment, and are being encouraged, the lag manifested by the billing cycle and inefficiencies in getting transactions coded and recorded in IMS needs to be addressed. The lag affects the ability of the programs to have up-to-date financial information through IMS. As a result, PAs maintain parallel manual accounting systems to track and reconcile expenditures that have occurred but are not yet included in IMS. Management at the mission reports that it is very time consuming to use a parallel bookkeeping system when up to date budget information is required.

5.4.10 More training for PAs on the policies and procedures for financial file retention and management is required to ensure these files are being safeguarded and stored for required seven years.

5.4.11 As noted elsewhere, a formal agreement between the CSDP and the mission is required to define the agreed-upon service arrangements.

Key Processes and Internal Controls

Evaluation of Finance Internal Control
Key Finance Internal Control CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes 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.N/A
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.).X  

5.4.12 Financial internal controls are exercised both at the mission and at the CSDP, where transactions are being recorded. Section 32 of the Financial Administration Act (FAA) is signed at the mission, certifying there are funds for the payment. In some cases, when accountants at the CSDP entered the mission's invoices for payment, there were not sufficient funds in the fund centre to cover the cost which delays processing.

5.4.13 Section 34 of the FAA, which authorizes a payment by certifying that the goods were received or the service was provided, is delegated to the program managers at missions. Section 33 of the FAA authorization is delegated to the CSDP and certifies that account verification took place, the payment is lawful and there are funds appropriated to cover the cost. It wasn't clear that the extent of account verification at the mission and the extent of the pre-payment audit at the CSDP were known to each other. This has implications for those exercising delegated signing authority for Section 33.

5.4.14 We confirmed that the asset and liability report is being reviewed at the CSDP by the FMO; however it is not sent back to the mission. As a result, management at the mission was not aware of who had this oversight responsibility in the regionalized model, or that the review was being done.

5.4.15 ***. The mission has not had a bank account since the CSDP assumed financial transaction responsibilities for Denver.***.

5.4.16 In order to address the lack of a local *** branch, a money order is purchased and sent to the CSDP for deposit. With the closing of mission bank accounts, communication with the CSDP becomes particularly important as there are multiple deposits, originating from several missions, made to the quadrant bank account. ***.

5.4.17 The CSDP provides a good challenge function when items are missing during the audit of travel and hospitality claims; however, the mission would have more assurance of the completeness of the process and could obtain clearer feedback if the audit was guided by a checklist, which would indicate deficiencies and would form part of a request for further action if a claim had to be returned to the mission as incomplete. It would also provide assurance that adherence to policies as well as the mathematical accuracy of the claim was being examined.

5.4.18 The Honorary Consul (HonCon) in Montana, who provides CE/FPDS program support in that region, visited the mission recently and met with the MAO. A detailed briefing on how to present expenses and what expenses were admissible was provided. A list of admissible expenses was not included as an appendix to the letter of appointment. Misunderstanding could arise if it is not clear in the written agreement, which expenses will be paid by the mission and which remain the responsibility of the HonCon.

5.4.19 ***, issued in 2012 by the International Platform Branch. There were discussions within the U.S. missions, the RSCEUS, and with the North American Programs and Operations Bureau (GND) in relation to consistency of the application of the policy across U.S. missions. To date it would not appear that there have been conclusions to these discussions.

5.4.20 The CBS have private leasing arrangements and no charges of a personal nature are paid by the mission.

Recommendations

Recommendations to the Mission

5.4.21 The mission, working with the CSDP should explore solutions to reduce the delay in recording purchases in IMS that were made with acquisition cards. Recording of larger recurrent payments in particular, such as utility bills, should be addressed.

5.4.22 Mission policies and procedures for financial file management and retention should be developed, documented and communicated to staff to ensure compliance with Government of Canada policies on record retention and protection.

5.4.23 Financial controls should be strengthened so that funds are available in the fund centre to cover approved payments when the payment request is submitted to the CDSP.

5.4.24 ***.

5.4.25 Written instructions should be provided to HonCons that clearly outlines what expenses are admissible and how they should be presented for reimbursement. This should be referred to in their letter of appointment and appended to the letter.

5.4.26 *** retroactive to the implementation of the policy.

Recommendations to the CSDP/RSCEUS

5.4.27 In the absence of a formal agreement, the CSDP/RSEUS/HQ should take steps to ensure that their mission clients are aware of the contracting and other support they provide.

5.4.28 The mission should be provided with a copy of the certified asset and liability report when monthly so they are aware of its contents and can action appropriately.

5.4.29 The CSDP should develop a payment request checklist that the PAs would sign and submit with the financial documents to attest to the completeness of the payment request.

5.4.30 Clearly documented procedures, tools and training need to be provided to PAs to ensure they are working efficiently with the CSDP and RSCEUS. The development of checklists for travel and hospitality claims, which clearly assigns roles, would be a type of tool which would be helpful.

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.)

5.4.21 This is a subject that the CDSP and our mission has raised as a priority. We will continue to press for work towards a more effective system. In progress for June 2014.

5.4.22 The mission will continue to identify training opportunities for those responsible for file management. The mission will develop policies and procedures. In progress for March 2015.

5.4.23 The mission has provided IMS training for assistants that manage budgets. Regular quarterly meetings with the Quadrant to refine procedures and maintain best practices will be implemented. In progress for June 2014.

5.4.24 For the rare instances *** the mission will put in place documented procedures for processing the ***. In progress for June 2014.

5.4.25 Based on HQ guidelines, the mission will provide the HonCon with written instructions which clearly outlines admissible expenses and the procedures for claims. In progress for June 2014.

5.4.26 The mission will consult with the RSCEUS for consistency across the U.S. network. In progress for June 2014.

CSDP/RSCEUS 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.)

5.4.27 Training by the CSDP has started regarding contracting rules and procedures including acquisition cards in support of the CSDP CRB which will commence May 1, 2014 for the Western Quadrant missions. The RSCEUS Intranet includes such tools as sample Request for Proposals, templates such as Event Partnership Agreements and CRB member reference guides. The RSCEUS will work with RSCEMA and AFO to standardize where possible the contracting services and support provided by CSDPs/RSCs to missions and will include this information on the RSCEUS Intranet site. In progress for March 2015.

5.4.28 The CSDP is taking steps to provide this information to missions in the Western Quadrant. In progress for June 2014.

5.4.29 Working with the RSCEUS, the CSDP will formulate a checklist for use nationally. In progress for August 2014.

5.4.30 The CSDP in Los Angeles will leverage the work being done by the CSDP in New York which is developing a travel and hospitality claim checklists and, with all the CSDPs and the RSCEUS, formulate a strategy to share tools for use nationally. The CSDP will consult the mission to determine training needs and develop a plan. In progress for September 2014.

5.5 Information Management - Information Technology (IM-IT)

5.5.1 Services are provided to the mission by the Mission IT Client Support Section in HQ (AISZ) which arranges technical visits four times per year to conduct maintenance, installations and provide support. The Information Technology Professional (ITP) position was deleted effective March 31, 2009 resulting in no dedicated IM-IT resources present in the mission. There are 21 Signet accounts.

Management

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

5.5.2 Requests for services by end-users are to be requested through the on-line service request system. While there have been challenges with not having an on-site IT resource, this has been the situation for some time and the mission has adapted well. Staff use the on-line service request system and were generally satisfied with the service provided.

5.5.3 The mission arranged for an ITP from Los Angeles to come to Denver to conduct a one day IM-IT session for all staff. The session covered an overview of all IM/IT tools, Information Management/Awareness, and Social Media. All members of the mission, including the HOM attended this event, which was very well received. This initiative improved staff knowledge and confidence about all of these systems and increased their ability to use these tools with minimal support. The investment in providing this type of training will ultimately pay off in a reduction of service requests as well as a greater use of the tools available.

5.5.4 The HOM Administrative Assistant is the designated Information Technology Professional Contact Person (ITPCP). This means that he performs regular duties such as weekly back-ups and acts as the "hands and eyes" of the Information Technology Professionals (ITP) in AISZ should there be local actions that must take place to solve a problem. No other services are to be provided by this resource as all other requests from users must go through the on-line service request system. The duties associated with this designation should be included in the job description for this position. Should the designation be changed to another staff member, this portion should be removed from this job description and included in the job description of the staff member now responsible.

Key Processes and Internal Controls

Evaluation of IM-IT Internal Control
Key IM-IT Internal Control CriteriaMeetsNeeds ImprovementDoes Not Meet
Back-ups are performed routinely and tapes are stored appropriately in a secure location away from the primary use area. X 
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 

5.5.5 Overall, IM-IT processes and controls are in place and effective.

5.5.6 ***. In the meantime, AISZ will look to sending out a broadcast message outlining good practices in this regard pending the review and release of a policy. This will bring consistency to the storage of back-up drives.

5.5.7 There were issues related to the documentation around the disposal of obsolete/surplus IT assets, which is outlined in the physical resources section of this report. A recommendation for improvement on this was made in that section.

Recommendations

Recommendations to the Mission

5.5.8 The duties of the ITPCP in the mission should remain restricted to those defined by HQ with all requests for service being routed through the on-line service request system by the individual in need of the service.

5.5.9 The job description of the ITPCP should be updated to reflect the additional duties related to IT.

Recommendations to AID

5.5.10 AID should develop a policy on the *** and promulgate to all missions.

5.5.11 Pending the development of the policy on the ***, AID should send a message to all missions outlining good practices in this regard.

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.)

5.5.8 Mission agrees and will ensure compliance. Implemented March 2014.

5.5.9 The job description of the staff member assigned ITPCP duties has been modified to reflect the additional tasks. Implemented April 2014.

AID 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.)

5.5.10 AISZ will develop a procedure *** and communicate it to the ITPs in the field ***. In progress for April 2014.

5.5.11 See recommendation 5.5.10. Since the procedure will be communicated before end of April 2014, AISZ does not feel that another message is warranted. In progress for April 2014.

Appendix A: Mission Resources Fact Sheet - Denver

Physical Resources
AssetsCrown-OwnedCrown-LeasedPrivate-Lease
Chancery010
Official Residence100
Staff Quarters002
Vehicles200
Storage000
Financial Information 2013/2014
BudgetProgramCommon ServicesProperty
*Extracted from IMS report 17Jan2014
Operating$80,000$93,275$445,000
Capital000
CBS Salaries324,3690n/a
CBS Overtime00n/a
LES Salaries776,000241,762n/a
LES Overtime00n/a
Total$1,180,369$335,037$445,000
Human Resources (FTEs)
ProgramTotalCBSLES
Head of Mission211
FPDS3.5.53
CE5.51.54
Consular202
Common Services404
CIC0  
CIDA0  
CBSA0  
RCMP0  
Public Safety0  
DND0  
Total17314

Appendix B: Frequently Used Acronyms

ABRA
Shared Automated Personnel Services - the primary human resources management system for U.S. Missions
ACP
Alternate Command Post
APT
Advocacy Planning Template
CAMANT
Consular Case Management Program - part of COSMOS
CTA
Canadian Technology Accelerator
CBS
Canada-based staff
CE
Commercial Economic
CEP
Commercial Economic Plan
CFLI
Canada Fund for Local Initiatives
CMM
Committee on Mission Management
COMIP
Consular Management Information Program
CONPLAN
Contingency Plan
COSMOS
Consular Management System
CRB
Contract Review Board
CSDP
Common Service Delivery Point
CSF
Client Service Fund
CSRM
Client Support Regional Manager (IM-IT)
CTA
Canadian Technology Accelerator
DENVR
Denver
DFATD
Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development
DOM
Duty Officer Manual
DMCO
Deputy Management Consular Officer
DMSO
Deputy Mission Security Officer
EOF/OP
Economic Outcomes Facilitated & Opportunities Pursued
EFT
Electronic Funds Transfer
EM
Emergency Management
ERT
Emergency Response Team
FDI
Foreign Direct Investment
FMO
Financial Management Officer
FINSTAT
Financial Status
FPDS
Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service
FSITP
Foreign Service Information Technology Professional
FTE
Full Time Equivalent
FY
Fiscal Year
GCS
Global Commerce Strategy
GSRP
Global Security Report Program
GVC
Global Value Chains
HOM
Head of Mission
HonCon
Honorary Consul
HQ
Headquarters
HR
Human Resources
HSZ
High Security Zone
IBD
International Business Development
ICT
Information Communication Technologies
IM-IT
Information Management - Information Technology
IMS
Integrated Management System
IT
Information Technology
ITP
Information Technology Professional
ITPCP
Information Technology Professional Contact Person
ITSF
Integrative Trade Strategy Fund
LEITP
Locally Engaged Information Technology Professional
LES
Locally engaged staff
LESMCB
LES Management Consultation Board
MAAT
Mission Advocacy Activity Tracker
MAO
Mission Administration Officer
MCO
Management Consular Officer
MEP
Mission Emergency Plan
MFO
Mission Financial Officer
MHC
Mission Housing Committee
MM Module
Materiel Management Module of IMS
MMW
Mission Maintenance Work plan
MOPS
Mission Online Payment Services
MOU
Memorandum of Understanding
MSO
Mission Security Officer
MPMP
Mission Property Management Plan
MPR
Mission Planning and Reporting
NAAP
North American Platform Program
NORAD
North American Aerospace Defense Command
OR
Official residence
OT
Overtime
OZ
Operations Zone
PA
Program Assistant
PIF
Post Initiative Fund
PM
Program Manager
PMA
Performance Management Agreement
PMP (HR)
Human Resources - Performance Management Program
PMP(Consular)
Consular - Passport Management Program
PRIME
Physical Resources Information - Mission Environment
PSICSP
Private Sector Investment Champion Speaker Program
REMO
Regional Emergency Management Officer
RFP
Request for Proposal
RMO
Regional Maintenance Officer
ROCA
Registration of Canadians Abroad
RSC
Regional Service Centre
RSCEUS
Regional Service Centre for the U.S., Washington, D.C.
SLA
Service Level Agreement
SME
Small and Medium Size Enterprises
SPM
Security Program Manager
S&T
Science and Technology
STC
Senior Trade Commissioner
SQ
Staff Quarters
SZ
Security Zone
TC
Trade Commissioner
TCA
Trade Commissioner Assistant
TIA
Tenant Incentive Allowance
ToR
Terms of Reference
TCR
Total Compensation Review
TCS
Trade Commissioner Service
TRIO
The TCS' Client Relationship Management System
U.S.
United States
VCNET
Video Conference Network
ZID
Office of the Inspector General
ZIV
Missions Inspection Division
Date Modified: