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Inspection of the Consulate General of Canada, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
March 24 - 27, 2013
- Inspection Scope and Objectives
- Executive Summary
- 1 Mission Management
- 2 Commercial Economic (CE)
- 3 Consular
- 4 Common services
- Appendix A: Mission Resources Fact Sheet
- Appendix B: Frequently Used Acronyms
Inspection Scope and Objectives
The scope of the Inspection included a review of Mission Management, Commercial Economic, Consular and Common Services programs. The inspection objectives were to:
- Assess the effectiveness of the leadership and management practices of the Head of Mission (HOM) and the mission management team;
- Review the alignment of plans and activities, and program integration to Government of Canada and departmental objectives and priorities;
- Assess the adequacy of management controls and systems, procedures and the reliability of information for decision making and accountability purposes;
- Determine the extent of compliance with legislation, regulations and operating policies;
- Evaluate the use of resources to determine that they are judiciously used and if value-for-money is received; and
- Make recommendations, where warranted, to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the mission and its programs.
The focus and extent of on-site work was based on an assessment of materiality and related risk. This was done through communication with headquarters (HQ) bureaux, including briefings by line management and the functional bureaux, review of relevant HQ and mission documentation, past inspection findings, and an analysis of recurring trends and systemic issues.
During the inspection, inspection issues and lines of enquiry were further refined from information gathered through interviews with the HOM and program managers, a meeting with locally engaged staff (LES) representatives of the LES Management Consultation Board, individual interviews with staff, and results of other documentation reviewed. The level of inspection work was therefore based on issues and information identified and gathered at all levels: HQ, mission management and mission operations.
An inspection of Mission Management, the Commercial Economic (CE), Consular, and Common Services programs was conducted in Dubai, United Arab Emirates from March 24 to 29, 2013. A previous inspection of these programs took place in 2005.
The Consulate General of Canada in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is a medium-sized mission with 9 Canada-based Staff (CBS) and 16 Locally Engaged Staff (LES). It undertakes departmental program delivery in the UAE, with a focus on the Commercial Economic (CE) program, in conjunction with the mission in Abu Dhabi. The Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service (FPDS) program is run out of Abu Dhabi and covers the entire country. Partner departments and agencies represented in Dubai include the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
The mission is under the leadership of an EX-01 Head of Mission (HOM), who is in an EX-02 position, and reports to the Ambassador in ABDBI. ***.
In some respects, mission morale has increased over the past year, with the move to a new chancery, which has significantly improved working conditions. Ongoing cultural sensitivity training has also had a positive impact on relationships among employees. Although some interpersonal frictions remain, most individuals report being able to put their differences aside in order to work together. Further teambuilding activities should be undertaken to build on this positive momentum, and to reduce friction amongst the CBS.
The mission works in concert with ABDBI to advance Canadian interests in the UAE. ABDBI drives the overall strategic direction of the relationship and develops the key corresponding documents, including the Mission Planning and Reporting (MPR) document. Establishing mission-specific objectives would facilitate performance management for staff in Dubai as well as enhance collaboration with the mission in Abu Dhabi.
The mission's committee and management structures generally support mission governance and management. The CMM is serving its purpose as a decision-making body and forum for information exchange however, to help keep meetings focused the mission should develop an agenda and adhere to it during meetings. The LES Management Consultation Board (LESMCB) is newly formed, but the structure and process is sound. Meetings follow an agenda, and minutes are taken. The LES members were elected to their positions and represent a good cross-section of programs and levels. The mission's other governance committees require improvement. The Contract Review Board (CRB) does not currently exist, and the Occupational Health and Safety Committee is not meeting nine times per year as is required.
Overall, the mission is aware of the value and importance of a whole-of-government approach. Program managers communicate openly with one another, and partners are integrated into the CMM. Although each department's mandate is quite specific, programs are implemented in a coordinated fashion whenever possible. Mission governance decisions are taken with the input of partners, and common services are generally delivered in line with expectations. Program managers are, however, not aware of where to find common services policies, procedures or service standards.
Mission management has undertaken the necessary planning for emergency preparedness however there is a need to clarify the distinction between the security committee and the Emergency Response Team (ERT). The mission has taken a number of steps to plan and prepare for an emergency scenario. Following the emergency planning and response training session with the Regional Emergency Management Officer at the end of 2012, the Mission Emergency Plan (MEP) was reviewed and updated. An emergency response team (ERT) is clearly identified and includes representation from DFAIT and partner programs. Roles and responsibilities were reviewed with ERT members following the training session. The mission is aware of the importance ***.
Most of the key management controls are in place, but some require attention. The mission's security culture is positive, and regulations are generally respected and promoted. The bank and passport reconciliations are generally properly completed and signed off. ***. The mission's use of hospitality requires attention and can be improved by updating mission guidelines, respecting established ceilings and fully documenting the purpose and value derived from the events.
The CE program is led by a FS-04 Senior Trade Commissioner (STC). The STC***, has an open door policy, encourages sharing of information and provides support and guidance to officers in their respective sector. The STC has promoted a "one team, one program" approach within both the office in Dubai and the office in Abu Dhabi. The team is dedicated, works well together to effectively carry out activities as per the CEP plan. Communications within the program is effective. The CE program conducts a weekly team meeting and includes the ABDBI CE team via videoconference.
The Consular and Common Services (CS) programs are managed by an AS-05 Management Consular Officer (MCO). There is a need to improve the efficiency and timeliness in the processing of citizenship applications. The mission estimates a six-month backlog of citizenship applications waiting to be mailed to the Citizenship Processing Centre in Sydney, Nova Scotia.
The consular section workload is heavy, and the program has been using short-term contracts to alleviate the pressure. The mission receptionist is trained to provide some support to the consular program by being the initial point of contact for clients at mission. The program benefits from dedicated staff working in a high volume and challenging environment due in part to high client expectations. The closures of missions in Damascus and Tehran have led to an increase in demands on the consular program, particularly resulting from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) related calls with clients who are not aware that Dubai does not process visas.
Overall, the CS program provides a good level of service to clients throughout the mission. The MCO's management style*** by the staff. They indicated that the***. Morale amongst the section staff is high. *** there is a need to enhance the management and oversight of***.
A total of 67 inspection recommendations are raised in the report, 67 are addressed to the mission and 0 are addressed to HQ. Management has responded to each recommendation indicating action already taken or decisions made, as well as future action. At the time of writing, management has stated that 41 have been implemented.
1 Mission Management
1.1.1 The Consulate General of Canada in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is a medium-sized mission with nine Canada-based Staff (CBS) and 16 Locally Engaged Staff (LES). It undertakes program delivery in the UAE, with a focus on the Commercial Economic (CE) program, in conjunction with the mission in Abu Dhabi. The Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service (FPDS) program is run out of Abu Dhabi and covers the entire country. Partner departments and agencies represented in Dubai include the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
1.1.2 The mission is managed by an EX-01 Head of Mission (HOM), who is in an EX-02 position, responsible for overall operations and oversees the operational and capital budgets of $1.44 million and $43,600 respectively. The mission also manages a property portfolio that includes a Crown-leased chancery and nine Crown-leased staff quarters. There is no Official Residence.
1.2 Mission Management
|Key Mission Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|The mission's strategic objectives are consistent with Government and DFAIT priorities and guide staff performance measurement objectives.||X|
|The Committee on Mission Management (CMM) is an effective forum to review and make decisions on mission policies and management issues.||X|
|Mission management ensures that employees remain informed of key priorities and common services policy decisions.||X|
|The Locally Engaged Staff Management Consultation Board (LESMCB) is representative of mission programs and employee levels, and is utilized by both LES and mission management to facilitate dialogue.||X|
|Mission committees are meeting regularly and effectively discharging their governance responsibilities.||X|
|Canadian public service values and ethics are promoted and reinforced, and employees are aware of available support resources (values and ethics, staff relations, etc.).||X|
1.2.1 Overall, the mission is operating without any major structural problems, although interpersonal conflicts may need to be managed. The HOM and the program managers effectively oversee mission and program operations***.
1.2.2 Some aspects of mission morale have increased notably over the past year, with the move to a new chancery, which has significantly improved working conditions. Ongoing cultural sensitivity training has also had a positive impact on relationships among employees. Although some interpersonal frictions remain, most individuals report being able to put their differences aside in order to work together. Further teambuilding activities should be undertaken to build on this positive momentum, and to reduce friction amongst the CBS.
1.2.3 Managers are generally accessible, and the HOM earned the respect of the LES by meeting each of them individually shortly after his arrival. The current chancery lends itself to informal communication, an element of which the HOM could take advantage by walking around and visiting with staff in their work areas. This practice would also provide staff with additional visibility to mission leadership and help build a sense of team.
1.2.4 The mission works in concert with ABDBI to advance Canadian interests in the UAE. Abu Dhabi drives the overall strategic direction of the relationship and develops the key corresponding documents, including the Mission Planning and Reporting (MPR) document. The mission in Dubai did not provide extensive input into that document or develop its own overarching strategic objectives. The establishment of mission-specific objectives would facilitate performance management for staff in Dubai as well as enhance collaboration with the mission in Abu Dhabi.
1.2.5 Strengthened strategic planning would facilitate meaningful discussion of HOM engagement in mission programs. DUBAI's objectives should be aligned with both the HOM's Performance Management Agreement (PMA), and that of the Ambassador in ABDBI and should serve as the framework for his engagement in the programs. It would also enhance collaboration with ABDBI on FPDS-related objectives. Open discussion of the mission's strategic direction would help to clarify the HOM's roles and responsibilities and develop a common sense of purpose among management. Similarly, distribution of the minutes from the Committee on Mission Management (CMM) would contribute to overall transparency and inform LES of key priorities and decisions.
1.2.6 Overall, the CMM is serving its purpose as a decision-making body and forum for information exchange. To help keep meetings focused, the mission should develop an agenda and adhere to it during meetings. Consideration may also be given to holding a more frequent operations committee meeting, in addition to the CMM which focuses on decision making and mission governance. This would ensure that partners with heavy travel obligations still take part in key decisions while also easing the requirement for weekly meetings.
1.2.7 The LES Management Consultation Board (LESMCB) is newly formed, with a sound structure and process. Meetings follow an agenda, and minutes are taken. The LES members were elected to their positions and represent a good cross-section of programs and levels. They consult their colleagues ahead of meetings, and there is a good overall understanding of the board's purpose. The LES representatives of the Board expressed their appreciation of management's efforts to improve morale and affirmed that the mission was a good place to work with a respectful work environment and fair compensation package. Their only concern was with the data collected for the housing benefit which has not been increased since 2006.
1.2.8 The mission's other governance committees require improvement. The Contract Review Board (CRB) does not currently exist, and the Occupational Health and Safety Committee do not meet the nine times per year as is required. As well, there is some confusion with respect to the distinction between the security committee and the Emergency Response Team (ERT). The HOM Guide on Mission Governance should assist the mission in determining its governance requirements and putting the appropriate structures in place.
1.3 Whole of Government
|Key Whole-of-Government Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Mechanisms are in place to ensure a whole-of-government approach is taken for mission and program planning.||X|
|Mission and program plans are implemented in a coordinated manner to ensure policy coherence and effectively leverage the Canadian presence.||X|
|Partner departments contribute to the overall effective governance of the mission and its operations.||X|
|Common services are provided in line with the memorandum of understanding and any issues are addressed at CMM.||X|
1.3.1 Overall, the mission is aware of the value and importance of a whole-of-government approach. As noted above, the mission has not developed its own strategic planning objectives, and no joint advocacy strategy exists for the two missions in the UAE. As a consequence, there may be missed opportunities for collaboration within the mission or across the country.
1.3.2 Program managers communicate openly with one another, and partners are integrated into the CMM. Although each department's mandate is quite specific, programs are implemented in a coordinated fashion whenever possible. Mission governance decisions are taken with the input of partners, and common services are generally delivered in line with expectations. Program managers are, however, not aware of where to find common services policies, procedures or service standards.
1.4 Emergency Preparedness
|Key Emergency Preparedness Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|The mission emergency plan (MEP) is up to date.||X|
|An emergency response team (ERT) has been identified and members are aware of their roles and responsibilities.||X|
|The MEP is tested regularly through the conduct of exercises and simulations.||X|
|The mission has identified an alternate command post and the appropriate secondary communications systems are in place and tested regularly.||X|
|Consultation occurs with like-minded and neighbouring Canadian missions regarding emergency planning.||X|
1.4.1 The mission has taken a number of steps to plan and prepare for an emergency scenario. Attention to these matters is particularly important given the regional risks and the high number of Canadians resident in the country. Continued work on plans and procedures should be undertaken in conjunction with Abu Dhabi to ensure a cohesive approach across the country.
1.4.2 Following the emergency planning and response training session with the Regional Emergency Management Officer at the end of 2012, the Mission Emergency Plan (MEP) was reviewed and updated. An emergency response team (ERT) is clearly identified and includes representation from DFAIT and partner programs - roles and responsibilities were reviewed with ERT members following the training session. The mission is aware of the importance of ***.
1.4.3 ***. Given the size of the program and its existing heavy workload,***.
1.4.4 At present, the mission has identified***.
1.4.5 The mission maintains good contact with like-minded and neighbouring missions as well as local authorities. Employees have participated in the emergency exercises of other missions, which may be considered to be a good practice.
1.5 Official Languages
|Key Official Languages Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|The Official Languages Act is respected and promoted by mission management.||X|
|Mission signage is provided in both English and French and a bilingual Official Languages Co-ordinator has been appointed.||X|
|The mission has sufficient capacity to communicate with and provide services to the public, both orally and in writing, in both official languages.||X|
1.5.1 Overall, the mission meets expectations with respect to official languages. Services are provided to the public in both official languages, and there is sufficient backup capacity in the case of absences. Although signage is limited, information is posted in a bilingual format. An Official Languages Coordinator has been appointed.
1.6 Management Controls
|Key Management Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Security policies and regulations are respected and promoted.||X|
|Program managers are provided regular financial/budget updates to facilitate effective management and decision making.||X|
|Bank reconciliations are properly reviewed and signed-off on a monthly basis.||X|
|Mission hospitality guidelines are appropriate and reviewed annually by CMM.||X|
|Hospitality activities are properly documented, demonstrate value-for-money and align with mission objectives.||X|
|Mechanisms are in place to monitor the completion of employees' performance evaluations.||X|
|A coordinated approach is taken with regards to training and a budget has been established.||X|
|The quarterly reconciliation of passport inventory is properly completed and certified.||X|
|The Honorary Consul (HonCon) has an up-to-date mandate letter and performance is reviewed annually.||N/A||N/A||N/A|
1.6.1 Most of the key management controls are in place, but some require attention. The mission's security culture is adequate, and regulations are generally respected and promoted. The bank and passport reconciliations are*** properly completed and signed off. *** of the mission would benefit from greater *** dialogue and coordination. Attention to this relationship is especially important considering ***.
1.6.2 The mission's use of hospitality requires attention. Funds are allocated to programs on a case-by-case basis, which limits managers' ability to plan the strategic use of these funds. In addition, hospitality guidelines were last updated in January 2010, but reportedly no longer correspond to market prices. Several hospitality claims were processed with meal rates that exceeded the approved ceilings. Some of the documentation also failed to fully communicate the purpose and value derived from the events. The HOM Guide on Official Hospitality Outside of Canada is a good resource to advise the mission on leveraging funds and documenting activities.
1.6.3 A training coordinator has been identified and funds have been used for common training such as cultural sensitivity, and communications. Employee performance evaluations have been discussed at CMM and reminders have been sent to program managers, but not all employees have set new objectives for the 2013/14 fiscal year or completed reviews of last year's performance with their managers.
1.6.4 The mission has no Honorary Consuls.
Recommendations to the Mission
1.7.1 A plan should be developed to improve mission cohesiveness, which could include teambuilding exercises and strategies to reduce interpersonal conflicts.
1.7.2 The mission should develop whole-of-government, Dubai-specific, strategic objectives aligned with the Mission Planning and Reporting document developed in ABDBI.
1.7.3 Concise minutes of the Committee on Mission Management (CMM) should be prepared and distributed to all staff, redacted if necessary for some.
1.7.4 The mission's committee structure should be reviewed to ensure that each committee is meeting as required and fulfilling its respective governance duty.
1.7.5 A plan should be developed for the regular updating, communicating***.
1.7.6 Plans for DUBAI *** should be reviewed and discussed with other missions***.
1.7.7 The mission must establish***.
1.7.8 There should be greater coordination between ***oversight processes at the mission,***.
1.7.9 The mission should address the following points related to hospitality:
- Hospitality allocations should be provided to program managers based on their objectives and plans.
- The mission's hospitality rates should be reviewed on an annual basis and approved by CMM.
- Hospitality activities should be supported by documentation that outlines the purpose of the event, links it to mission priorities, evaluates its value-for-money and identifies any follow up that was taken or is required.
1.7.10 All employees should have a PMP in place and participate in formal performance discussions with their supervisor in accordance with the performance management cycle.
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 social club held gatherings throughout the year and staff social events were hosted by the HOM. Mission morale diagnostic and team building exercise is scheduled for the fiscal year 2014-15. A comprehensive strategy will be developed following that diagnostic. In Progress for October 2014.
1.7.2 Adoption of Strategia planning tool means that specific mission strategic objectives are developed each year in consultation with Abu Dhabi. Implemented March 2014.
1.7.3 The CMM record of decision had previously been prepared and distributed to CBS, not LES. Somewhat more detailed minutes are now being written and distributed to all staff. Implemented May 2014.
1.7.4 The mission's committee structure has been reviewed. A CRB has been created and Health and Occupational Safety Committee established. A separate security committee has also been set-up with a reduced membership to distinguish it from CMM and a calendar of meetings has been identified. Committees are meeting regularly (or on as needed basis in the case of the CRB). Implemented May 2014.
1.7.5 A plan has been developed and is in place***. In Progress for October 2014.
1.7.6 Plan to review *** after the summer staff changeover in consultation with CED. In Progress for October 2014.
1.7.7 ***. In Progress for September 2014.
1.7.8 *** have regular meetings at which *** planning and oversight are reviewed in depth. Implemented July 2014.
1.7.9 Hospitality budgets allocated per program according to objectives and plans as set out in annual business and budget plan on Strategia. Revision of hospitality rates assigned to HOM assistant. The MCO was assigned the task of reviewing the last quarter of hospitality diaries to evaluate quality of documentation. A plan for improvement is to be developed following review. In Progress for September 2014.
1.7.10 All staff have completed new Public Service Performance Agreements for FY 2014-15. Work objectives and learning plans are in place. Implemented June 2014.
2 Commercial Economic (CE)
2.1.1 The Commercial Economic (CE) program in Dubai is headed by an FS-04 Senior Trade Commissioner (STC). The STC is supported by three Trade Commissioners (TCs) (one FS-02 and two LE-09), two LE-05 Trade Commissioner Assistants (TCAs) as well as a CE team located in Abu Dhabi led by an FS-03 program manager (PM). The program's financial resources are provided below.
|Client Service Fund (CSF) Footnote 1||-|
2.1.2 The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has the third largest gross domestic product (GDP) per person in the Middle-East and North Africa region. Export of petroleum and natural gas continues to play an important role in their economy; however, other sectors such as manufacturing, construction and services sector are growing and allowing the UAE to become less dependent on natural resources as a source of revenue.
2.1.3 Relations between Canada and the UAE have been strong for much of their 39 year relationship. In 2009, Canada and the UAE signed a bilateral agreement to further enhance economic cooperation, trade and investment. ***.The following year, a visa requirement was imposed on Canadians visiting the UAE. In early 2012, the Foreign Affairs Minister, John Baird, and the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, set out an agenda between both countries to strengthen and re-energize the Canada-UAE relationship. One year later the UAE took a decision to revert to the previous visa on entry regime for Canadians
2.2 Planning and Program Management
|Key CE Program Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Program objectives reflect departmental plans and priorities, including partner departments where applicable.||X|
|Performance targets are defined, clear and measurable.||X|
|Internal program communication effectively supports program delivery.||X|
2.2.1 Overall, the program is delivering on its commitments. The Commercial Economic program plan is aligned with the Mission Planning and Reporting (MPR) document, departmental priorities and Government of Canada priorities. The STC *** has an open door policy, encourages sharing of information and provides support and guidance to officers in their respective sector. The STC has promoted a "one team, one program" approach within both the office in Dubai and the office in Abu Dhabi. The team is***, works *** together to effectively carry out activities as per the CEP plan.
2.2.2 The planning process begins with discussions at the trade retreat regarding the program's priorities and the team discuss their respective sectors. This discussion helps shape the strategy that is drafted by the STC. The retreat is then followed by consultations with other programs at the mission, partner departments (AAFC, EDC), provinces, Headquarters and neighbouring missions in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region as well as the Middle-East and North Africa (MENA) region. Both UAE missions, DUBAI and ABDBI, have newly arrived Heads of Missions (HOMs) who are***. Considering this new pace, the program should consult and engage both Heads of Missions (HOMs) in the planning process and identify areas where their participation could help advance the CE program.
2.2.3 Although the STC described the priority sectors as fluid and changing, the program is focussing and proactively working on too many sectors. Some officers are allocated to two priority sectors while the guidelines state one priority sector per officer. In consultation with the mission in Abu Dhabi, the program should consider reducing the number of sectors that are worked on proactively in order to deliver the appropriate level of service to clients within the resourcing allocation.
2.2.4 During the planning process, TCs are responsible for developing their individual sector/functional area action plan. Within each action plan, TCs identify results for the previous year and set performance targets for the coming year. When reviewing the business plans, the results and the targets were not well substantiated. The STC should review the performance assessments and ensure that the appropriate figures were identified.
2.2.5 Communications within the program are effective. The CE program conducts a weekly team meeting and includes the ABDBI CE team via videoconference. The program should consider distributing an agenda ahead of the meeting. In addition to the weekly CE meeting, the CE program attends a weekly trade forward planning and operations meeting via ***which includes the HOMs, CE program managers, the EcoFin officer and the Public Affairs (PA) officer. The CE program might want to consider separating the meeting into two groups: one as the forward planning with the HOMs and the other as the operations with the EcoFin officer and PA officer. This will allow the CE team to discuss strategic topics with the HOMs and to elaborate on the implementation with the other two officers. The STC also promotes an open door policy which allows his team to ask questions and receive informal feedback. Some officers have expressed the interest in having formal bilateral meetings with the STC.
|Key CE Implementation Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Business plan objectives and those outlined in management's Performance Management Agreements(PMAs) / Performance Management Programs(PMPs) appropriately cascade down into staff PMPs.||X|
|Activities and initiatives are aligned with the mission's key priorities.||X|
|TRIO use is monitored to ensure activities are reported appropriately and accurately reflect the work undertaken.||X|
|InfoCentre functions are assigned and facilitate program delivery.||X|
2.3.1 Staff do not have Performance Management Programs (PMPs) in place and formal discussions are not conducted throughout the year. PMPs should be available for each employee. Business plan objectives and objectives outlined in management's Performance Management Agreements (PMAs)/PMPs should appropriately cascade down into staff PMPs.
2.3.2 Overall, the program is providing effective services and is actively working to identify and promote business opportunities for clients. Since mission objectives related to the CE program are changing, activities need to be realigned. The implementation of a regional approach has improved sector planning and overall client service. Sector officers are in continuous consultations within the GCC trade network and with the sector groups at headquarters.
2.3.3 TCs in Dubai are active members of the GCC trade network. TCs share information across the mission network to develop joint initiatives when possible. Certain sectors have a structure GCC network with a dedicated lead officer, such as the agriculture sector, located in Dubai and the education sector located in Abu Dhabi. Other priority sectors would benefit from a structured approach.
2.3.4 Dubai is a hub for most companies, events and shows, the CE program is often obliged to coordinate events and trade shows for other missions in the region including GCC, Middle-East and North Africa (MENA) and Asia. Given the resources available to the program, the STC should encourage his team to be more focussed and targeted in their initiatives.
2.3.5 The new TRIO system, TRIO 2, was rolled out to the GCC missions where the DUBAI mission hosted the training sessions for the STCs and TRIO champions from the region. As most officers in DUBAI received this training, the program should improve the use of TRIO 2 and enter information in a timely manner. The TRIO champion assists officers with their TRIO entries; however, TRIO statistics at the time of the inspection did not accurately reflect the actual services delivered and outcalls that have taken place throughout the year.
2.3.6 The InfoCentre is comprised of one LE-05 TCA who is managed by an FS-01 officer. The InfoCentre position is located in Dubai and provides support to officers in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The program has identified two back-up positions for the InfoCentre, one TCA in Dubai and another TCA in Abu Dhabi. Overall the InfoCentre is functioning well and providing a good level of support to officers.
2.3.7 Market reports were not available on the trade commissioner service (TCS) website. It would be beneficial for clients to have access to market reports for priority sectors and secondary sectors. This will allow clients to gain more information on certain sectors as well as reduce the amount of requests sent to the InfoCentre.
2.4 Performance Measurement
|Key CE Performance Measurement Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Tools and mechanisms are in place to measure and monitor performance of the program.||X|
|Program employees are involved in the performance measurement process.||X|
|Hospitality diaries are maintained in a fashion that demonstrates value-for-money and alignment with priorities.||X|
2.4.1 Performance measurement is taking place at the event level by individual officers. Officers also measure the performance of their sectors by the feedback received from clients regarding a successful business transaction. At the program level, performance measurement as a team was not occurring throughout the year. Discussions of results and successful or unsuccessful initiatives should be taking place.
2.4.2 The STC should also print a snapshot from the International Business Development (IBD) Dashboard system as well as from TRIO and review the data with his team during staff meetings. It would be useful to use the TRIO reports in comparison with the IBD Dashboard to ensure that data is entered appropriately.
2.4.3 Hospitality reporting was generally satisfactory but with a need to make the purpose of events more clear as well as an honest evaluation of results and success. The evaluation of results should extend beyond an acknowledgement that all objectives were met. A good practice in reporting outcomes is to link the event or activity to reporting or other tangible outcomes. The hospitality budget was not distributed among the TCs; it is requested on a case by case basis. The STC should consider distributing a portion to the TCs and holding them accountable for its strategic use.
Recommendations to the Mission
2.5.1 The STC should review the performance indicators and ensure that the appropriate figures were identified.
2.5.2 The STC should ensure that PMPs are put in place and completed in a timely manner.
2.5.3 The CE program should include both HOMs in the business planning process and align activities and initiatives with mission priorities.
2.5.4 The STC should ensure that TRIO data is entered in a timely manner.
2.5.5 The CE program should include market reports on the TCS website for the mission's priority sectors.
2.5.6 The STC should ensure that existing tools and mechanisms are used to measure the performance of the program.
2.5.7 The STC should ensure that employees are involved in the performance measurement process.
2.5.8 The use of hospitality should be planned in order to ensure funds are strategically and fully leveraged. The associated documentation should clearly state the purpose of each event, evaluate if, and how, value-for-money was achieved and identify any follow up that was taken or will be required.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
(Please note: The management actions below reflect the initial responses upon receiving the recommendations. They do not reflect the current status of implementation.)
2.5.1 The CE program reviewed and adjusted all CEP performance indicators and key performance indicator targets to more accurately reflect the resources available and the efforts to deliver the CE program. Implemented September 2013.
2.5.2 The Commercial Economic program's PMPs are in place in hard-copy format. Some have been entered into the on-line PMP system; some have yet to be entered electronically. In Progress for July 2014.
2.5.3 The CE program included both HOMs in the business planning process by having a day-long strategic planning retreat between both HOMs and the PMs to review program objectives, priority sectors and areas where HOMs support was needed. In addition, the Commercial program held a one-day planning meeting with both HOMs where officers presented objectives, priority sectors, projects and activities. Implemented March 2014.
2.5.4 The STC discusses TRIO data entry requirements on a regular basis, at weekly CE program meetings, prior to the end of each month, and prior to the end of each quarter. Dashboard/TRIO results were reviewed on a regular basis with the team. All team members were regularly reminded to set aside specific time in their weekly Outlook calendars to allow for timely TRIO data entry. Trade Assistant and Info Centre Manager resources were made available to Commercial officers during particularly busy periods around major delegation and trade show events to "blitz" TRIO data entries and client service follow up. Implemented March 2014.
2.5.5 Operational budget funds will be allocated for official translation of market reports. Market reports will be posted on the TCS website. In Progress for January 2015.
2.5.6 Dashboard performance measurement results have been shared with the CE program team members at various planning and training retreat meetings. Specific team training and review of reporting criteria for Economic Outcomes Facilitated and Opportunities Pursued (EOF/OP), critical KPI references, was held as part of the mid-year planning retreat. Implemented March 2014.
2.5.7 CE program has collectively reviewed TRIO 2 targets, objectives and Dashboard results at several key intervals during the fiscal year. Team members have created personal PMP objectives in relation to Government of Canada, TCS and the CE program's objectives. All CE program team members have a good understanding of the individual, group and program performance measurement process and expectations. Implemented September 2013.
2.5.8 More fulsome explanation of the purpose, evaluation, value-for-money and initial results achieved (where applicable) has been incorporated in the event and quarterly reporting forms. Implemented September 2013.
3.1.1 The Consular program is managed by the AS-05 Management Consular Officer (MCO) who is supported by an LE-08 Consular Officer with ***, and an LE-06 Passport Assistant. The mission receptionist also provides support to the program. The program is responsible Dubai and for the coverage of the five northern Emirates of the UAE. The program's financial resources are provided below.
3.1.2 The mission provides approximately 3,600 passport services and processes approximately 500 citizenship applications yearly. There are 2,600 Canadian citizens in the Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) database. The estimated number of Canadians residing in Dubai is 25,000, including the northern Emirates.
3.1.3 The consular section workload is heavy, and the program has been using short-term contracts to alleviate the pressure. The closure of the missions in Damascus and Tehran has led to an increase in demands upon the program from the high number of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) related calls that come from clients not aware that Dubai does not process visas.
3.1.4 The introduction of the simplified passport renewal process has helped to reduce the workload to a limited extent, given that a significant number of passport applications are for newborns. ***has been granted notarial signing authority on an exceptional basis with approval from the Passport Canada Security Bureau (PPSD).
3.2 Planning and Program Management
|Key Consular Program Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Mission consular plans and manuals are up to date.||X|
|Internal communications within the program effectively support program delivery.||X|
|The mission has ongoing dialogue with key local authorities to facilitate program delivery.||X|
|A warden network is in place and properly maintained.||X|
3.2.1 Overall the program is ***managed and benefits from dedicated staff working in a high volume and challenging environment due in part to high client expectations. Efficient processes and controls are in place with improvements needed in relation to *** and client privacy.
3.2.2 The program has developed a general workplan which outlines the basic key tasks and areas of responsibilities of staff. This tool is useful in the program's direction and should be further detailed and regularly revised for greater control. Listing of recurring tasks and activities should be incorporated, as well as planned activities such as outreach to local authorities, file clearing, communications with wardens, addressing backlogs, etc.
3.2.3 Bi-monthly meetings are scheduled but do not always take place; however ad hoc meetings to discuss specific cases do occur. Minutes of meetings are not taken, rather each staff member takes note of required actions.
3.2.4 The mission receptionist is trained to provide some support to the consular program by being the initial point of contact for clients at mission. The program would benefit from the receptionist receiving additional training related to the review of passport applications, as it would reduce the amount of time spent by consular staff assisting clients through the process or returning incomplete applications.
3.2.5 ***. While a majority of Canadians are established in Dubai, many are called upon to travel throughout the country frequently. Many also work for smaller size employers, making it more difficult to identify them and their current location. This impacts the program's ability to create a strong warden network. Registrants also relocate relatively regularly, which adds to the challenges faced by the program to put in place an efficient warden network.
3.2.6 The development of a strategy for the management and communications with wardens and registrants would enhance the warden network and make it more responsive in times of crises.
3.2.7 The program faces a significant backlog in processing citizenship applications. There are high numbers of passport services and complex consular cases, which program staff are working hard to keep up with. There is a backlog of over 200 citizenship applications, representing approximately three to four months' worth of applications. Given the amount of time dedicated to immediately "actionable" requests such as passport services, certification and attestation services , the program doesn't have the resources to address this backlog.
3.3 Client Service
|Key Consular Client Service Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Services are provided to Canadians in the official language of their choice.||X|
|Service standards, fee schedules and a copy of an official receipt are posted in public areas in both official languages.||X|
|Services are provided in line with established standards.||X|
|Client feedback is reviewed and corrective action is taken when warranted.||X|
3.3.1 With the exception of the backlog of citizenship applications, the program is providing a good level of service to clients. Staff are experienced, dedicated and professional in light of a heavy workload and demanding clients. Overall service standards are met. The program has the capacity to provide service to clients in both official languages
3.3.2 While client feedback forms are located in the reception area, they are not readily handed out to clients. Relatively few clients appear to have been aware of their presence, therefore limiting the opportunity for feedback for program improvement.
3.3.3 As noted above, there is a significant backlog of citizenship applications that have been brought in by clients. On previous occasions, the DUBAI program relied on the consular program located in Abu Dhabi (ABDBI) to assist with backlogs. Given the size and pressures on the Abu Dhabi program, such assistance has not been forthcoming. A memorandum of understanding with the London office allows for support in times of increased workload.
3.3.4 Given the workload experienced by both DUBAI and ABDBI, considerations towards streamlining services have been explored. *** in the other mission might be beneficial to clients and the overall program delivery.
3.3.5 The program receives a fairly significant number of visa-related enquiries. These are forwarded to the receptionist to provide basic replies to clients. With no on-site visa program these enquiries increase the burden on the program. Discussion to re-direct queries to the Visa program in Abu Dhabi, or improved telephone scripts, should be considered.
3.4 Internal Controls
|Key Consular Internal Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|A certified CBS signs-off on all passports.||X|
|Client documents and personal information are properly stored and secured.||X|
|Procedures and practices related to the collection of revenues are appropriate.||X|
|Revenues held in the consular section are kept to a minimum and are transferred to finance on a regular basis.||X|
|Upon receipt of inventory two CBS verify the receipt of all assets, sign and return the transmittal note.||X|
|Inventory is appropriately secured and removal of assets is appropriately recorded.||.|
|Working inventories provided to staff are appropriate and controlled by a daily log.||X|
|Monthly and quarterly reconciliations of inventory are properly completed and certified.||X|
|Official seals and stamps are properly inventoried, secured and access provided to designated staff only.||X|
3.4.1 Overall, controls on passport and consular activities were effective, but additional attention is needed in order to strengthen the ***procedures and to ensure that the privacy of clients is maintained.
3.4.2 Consular revenues generated are transferred from *** staff to the *** without the direct involvement***. Reports are initialled by consular staff going to the ***section. The use of simple receipts from ***or controlled creation summary reports, does not allow for sufficient oversight. To partly mitigate this, the *** should conduct regular oversight of *** the consular staff to the accounts and conduct sporadic spot checks, to ensure procedures are followed.
3.4.3 The scheduled introduction of the MOPS system, where clients will be able to make payments via credit cards, is expected to reduce *** at mission and therefore also reduce the associated risks.
3.4.4 Both the Consular Officer and Passport Assistant are located in an open office area, along with all staff from the common services program, on either side of the route to other programs' offices. A clean desk policy is in effect, which limits the risk of information on paper being accidentally compromised. The location of staff does; however, mean that staff and visitors alike can easily overhear consular staff phone conversations. The office has a small "quiet room" which should be fully fitted up to allow for more sensitive conversations that do not take place in the MCO's closed office.
Recommendations to the Mission
3.5.1 The program's workplan should be expanded to include all program key activities.
3.5.2 Minutes of staff meetings should be kept to facilitate forward planning.
3.5.3 Consular staff should use the "quiet office" when discussing consular cases.
3.5.4 A strategy should be developed to address the backlog of citizenship applications.
3.5.5 A review of the warden network should be completed to assess best ways to manage it.
3.5.6 More frequent communications with wardens and registrants should be put in place.
3.5.7 Client feedback forms should be made readily available and reviewed on a regular basis.
3.5.8 *** should conduct regular oversight of funds transfer from the *** and conduct sporadic spot checks, to ensure procedures are followed.
3.5.9 The MCO should ensure that ***.
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 Consular section will draft a new section workplan which will include key program activities. In Progress for June 2014.
3.5.2 Minutes of team meetings will be kept. Implemented May 2014.
3.5.3 Instructions have been issued to consular staff to make use of quiet room whenever feasible. MCO continuously monitors whether these instructions are followed. Implemented April 2014.
3.5.4 The backlog of citizenship applications has been resolved since the mission inspection. The task of entering data into COSMOS for CIC applications has been delegated to receptionist and training has been provided. Implemented July 2013.
3.5.5 Review of warden network will be undertaken and an action plan will be developed to reach out to new and existing wardens. In Progress for September 2014.
3.5.6 Under the leadership of the consular section in ABDBI, a quarterly consular newsletter has been developed which is sent to all registrants. The mission will develop a communication strategy to further improve outreach to registrants and wardens. In Progress for September 2014.
3.5.7 Feedback forms have been made available to clients and are reviewed by MCO on a regular basis. Implemented April 2014.
3.5.8 *** now conducts regular oversight *** and conduct spot checks to ensure procedures are followed. Implemented April 2014.
3.5.9 *** are performed and certified***. The Consular officer will co-sign ***where HOM signature is not required. Implemented June 2014.
4 Common Services
4.1.1 The Common Services Program is managed by an AS-05 MCO, who is supported by a team of six LES. The program is responsible for providing common services to 25 employees spread over three DFAIT and three partner programs.
4.1.2 The mission has undergone the assessment for the Common Services Delivery Point (CSDP) model and will transition to the London CSDP in the near future.
|Key Common Services Program Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|A Common Services Business Plan is in place and used to establish priorities and guide operations.||X|
|Common services policies and procedures are documented and communicated to management, staff and clients.||X|
|Internal communications within the program effectively support program delivery.||X|
4.1.3 Overall, the program is functioning well and is providing a good level of service to clients throughout the mission. The MCO, along with the HOM, has focussed the majority of her efforts to address the longstanding morale and labour-relations issues, the chancery relocation project and the high-volume consular program. However, more *** involvement is required in the management and oversight *** as detailed further under the *** section of the report.
4.1.4 The MCO's management style is *** by her staff***. Morale amongst the section staff is high and staff are dedicated, knowledgeable and motivated. As with many small missions, all are multi-tasked and provide back up support for each other.
4.1.5 PMPs are in place for all Common Services and Consular staff. While most job descriptions have been updated for newer staff as they were hired, some longer-serving LES have out dated job descriptions. There has been no systematic review of job descriptions; the mission is working with the HR officer in Abu Dhabi to ensure that a process is in place.
4.1.6 The Common Service Business Plan is used to guide overall program objectives. While a workplan has been developed for the Finance and Property sections, workplans for other areas of the program have not yet been created. A consolidated work plan that identifies staff assigned and deadlines associated with each task would help with planning, organization and service delivery.
4.1.7 The MCO has implemented a number of measures and practices since her arrival in 2009 such as the development of mission policies/procedures on overtime, office rules and guidelines for a respectful workplace, mission use of social media, handover notes from departing staff, and a draft acquisition card policy. While there have been many improvements, not all clients were aware of where these documents were stored. Staff also indicated that they would like to have more documented policies and procedures to help guide staff and manage expectations, in particular with regards to travel and hospitality claims. The mission should make use of documents already developed and available on the Abu Dhabi or other mission Wiki sites. In order to have a one-stop shop for policies and procedures, these should be consolidated in one area and communicated to staff and clients.
4.1.8 Regular formal and informal meetings take place. The MCO meets weekly with officer level staff and monthly with all program staff. Minutes are maintained. While the MCO meets regularly with the drivers, these meetings are not formally scheduled.
|Key Common Services Client Service Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Service standards have been established and communicated to clients.||X|
|Services provided reflect fair and equitable allocation and access to common services for all mission programs.||X|
|A mechanism is in place to solicit and receive client feedback, and corrective action is taken when warranted.||X|
|Hub-and-spoke relationships are governed by an agreement outlining the roles and responsibilities of each mission.||N/A||N/A||N/A|
4.1.9 Overall, client service is effective, and positive feedback was received from program and partner clients. The service standards were updated in January 2013 and are awaiting HOM approval. Once approved, they should be distributed to all staff.
4.1.10 Feedback is solicited via email and the MCO has advised that a general relocation survey was undertaken in 2011 following the relocation season. A formal client service feedback mechanism for all services should be developed in order to assist the program in recognizing successes as well as any deficiencies in overall service delivery.
4.1.11 As the mission will transition to the London CSDP for financial services, it will be important that the service standards be revisited to reflect changes. Roles/responsibilities will have to be reviewed and realigned within the section and communicated to all staff and clients.
Procurement and Contracting
|Key Procurement and Contracting Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|A Contract Review Board (CRB) is in place and operating effectively with terms of reference.||X|
|Procurement and contracting procedures have been documented and communicated to all staff involved in the process.||X|
|Contracting files demonstrate compliance with policies and procedures.||X|
|A plan is in place for major acquisitions and is approved by CMM annually.||X|
4.1.12 In general, contracting and procurement processes require improvement.
4.1.13 The mission does not have a formal Contract Review Board with written Terms of Reference or documents to guide staff involved in the contracting process. The *** provide oversight on the contracting process, and meetings are held with three CBS when and as required to review contracts.
4.1.14 The volume of mission contracts in Dubai is relatively low. However, the sample of files reviewed during the inspection revealed that *** indicating the need for the mission to strengthen and tighten the contracting procedures. For instance, the mission signed a first agreement with *** at the chancery 11 years ago. Since then, the mission has renewed the contract each year on a sole-source basis without going through a formal tendering process. Rates were last increased at renewal in 2010.
4.1.15 The Mission also signed an agreement for cleaning services at the chancery 13 years ago. Ever since, the contract has been renewed periodically on a sole-source basis. Rates were last increased on September 2012 from AED 1,770 to AED 2,770 or a 56% increase. In all appearance,***; however, a competitive process would be wise. The mission must ensure that Government of Canada contract rules and regulations as well as those of the department, are respected and documented.
4.1.16 The mission may wish to continue exploring options for streamlining the contracting process, particularly in view of the transition to CSDP. If local contracting laws and regulations permit, the mission could look for areas for collaboration between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, such as launching single RFPs for services common to both missions (e.g. security and cleaning).
Recommendations to the Mission
4.1.17 Workplans should be developed for all sections of the program.
4.1.18 Mission policies and procedures, and service standards should be consolidated into one area and communicated to staff and clients.
4.1.19 Periodic formal staff meetings should be scheduled to include the drivers.
4.1.20 A formal feedback mechanism should be put in place.
4.1.21 The mission should establish a CRB with written Terms of Reference and should discuss with the mission in Abu Dhabi the possibility of creating a single CRB to oversee contracts for both UAE missions.
4.1.22 The mission should ensure that key procurement and contracting procedures should be developed and made available to all staff.
4.1.23 The mission should ensure that contracts are compliant with departmental and central agency contracting policies and directives, particularly in relation to sole source.
4.1.24 The mission should ensure that contract files include all documentation supporting each step of the process leading to award of contract to successful bidder.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
4.1.17 Workplans will be developed for all sections of the program. In Progress for September 2014.
4.1.18 Mission policies have been consolidated onto the I: drive and shared with all staff. Implemented June 2014.
4.1.19 Regular all-staff meetings including all members of the Consular and CS teams, including drivers, have now been scheduled. Implemented August 2013.
4.1.20 The CS program has developed a formal feedback tool using Survey Monkey to track client satisfaction on various CS business lines. The first request for feedback will be sent on June 25, 2014. The CS team will plan similar surveys every December and June. In Progress for June 2014.
4.1.21 A CRB has been established in Dubai. Feasibility of cooperation with Abu Dhabi will be examined between both MCOs and HOMs. Implemented April 2014.
4.1.22 Key procedures have been developed and included in CS policy I: drive consolidation. Implemented June 2014.
4.1.23 The mission will issue RFPs for guard service and cleaning contracts in coming months. In Progress for September 2014.
4.1.24 New common service officer position has been assigned the task of maintaining contracting files to ensure proper documentation of the process. In Progress for September 2014.
4.2 Human Resources
4.2.1 The Human Resource (HR) functions are the responsibility of the AS-05 MCO, with assistance provided by the LE-05 Administrative Assistant, and the LE-07 Finance Assistant. There have been three staffing and two classification actions in the last two years. The mission has used the Regional Services Centre Europe, Middle East and Africa Virtual Classification Committee since early 2012 and has been satisfied with the services received.
4.2.2 The mission's LES are comprised of non-UAE nationals who must be sponsored to work and reside in the UAE. The majority of the LES are ***. Due to the rotational nature of this community, there is a higher than average turnover. Despite this, the mission has been able to fill vacancies with qualified candidates. As a good practice, all departing LES are asked to provide a succession plan and handover notes to minimize the learning curve of successors as well as to minimize the risk to the loss of corporate knowledge.
|Key HR Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|A mission HR plan has been developed and submitted to headquarters.||X|
|New LES are provided with an information package on the working conditions, benefits and regulations pertaining to employment at the mission.||X|
|Employee and position files are complete, maintained separately and properly secured.||X|
4.2.3 Overall, human resource common service functions are *** managed with improvement required in the maintenance of records and documentation.
4.2.4 There is a good orientation package for new CBS and LES. Arrival and departure checklists have been developed for CBS, however, there are no such checklists for LES. This would be useful for employees and staff involved in the process to assist them in understanding who to contact and what is required.
4.2.5 The mission maintains separate position, employee and competition files. Personnel files are retained in the secure area, while the MCO retains the position and staffing files. A review of a sample of files found that many employee files had incomplete and inconsistent documentation. The position files reviewed were more complete and contained job descriptions, EXT 145s and org charts.
|Key HR Internal Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Staffing actions are conducted in line with the Locally Engaged Staff Services Bureau(ALD) guidelines. Written records supporting the process are maintained and contain required documents and approvals.||X|
|Letters of offer are signed by the appropriate authority and include the appropriate clauses (e.g. values and ethics, etc.).||X|
|LES accrued leave and deductions are recorded and the related liabilities are monitored.||X|
4.2.6 Overall, HR processes and internal controls are effective and in place. More attention to the completeness of HR files, however, is required.
4.2.7 The mission has been working closely with the mission in Abu Dhabi to establish a consistent UAE-wide compensation package and to harmonize and collaborate on policy administration. They have been working to develop a common competencies-based recruitment strategy to establish pools of prequalified candidates.
4.2.8 Competitions are conducted in accordance with ALD guidelines on staffing, and the Letters of Offer are signed by the HOM. While the competition files did not contain all required documentation, the MCO outlined procedures followed during recent staffing processes assisted by ABDBI to demonstrate that ALD staffing guidelines are followed. Examples of missing documentation include the Statement of merit criteria, copy of advertisement (or how it was advertised), correspondence to unsuccessful candidates, and final report to the HOM with recommendations.
4.2.9 LES leave is monitored and an excel spreadsheet is maintained. Program managers and LES are provided with leave balance information when requested. To allow for better management of leave, program managers and LES should be provided with the leave balance at the beginning of each year and mid-year. Password protected access could also be provided to program managers.
Recommendations to the Mission
4.2.10 An LES arrival/departure checklist should be developed.
4.2.11 The mission should ensure that appropriate documents are maintained in position and employee files. The Locally Engaged Staff Services Bureau (ALD) checklist should be used as a reference.
4.2.12 Job descriptions should be reviewed every five years or whenever there have been significant changes to position duties. The mission should continue to work with Abu Dhabi to ensure that a process is in place.
4.2.13 Written records to support the staffing process should be maintained on file. The ALD checklist should be used as a reference.
4.2.14 LES and their program managers should be provided with the leave balance at the beginning of each year and mid-year to allow for better leave management.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
4.2.10 An LES arrival package has been compiled including checklist. A departure checklist will be developed. A single document should be shared by DUBAI and ABDBI. In Progress for August 2014.
4.2.11 The task of maintaining HR files (position, employee and staffing) will be assigned to the newly created Common Service Officer position. In Progress for September 2014.
4.2.12 All program managers will be provided with the most recent copies of LES job descriptions. These will be updated as deemed necessary by PMs in consultation with affected LES. The CSO has been assigned the ongoing task of reviewing the status of job descriptions. In Progress for October 2014.
4.2.13 The task of maintaining HR files (position, employee and staffing) will be assigned to the newly created Common Service Officer position. In Progress for September 2014.
4.2.14 The CSO has begun providing PMs with bi-annual updates on LES leave balances. Implemented June 2014.
4.3 Physical Resources
4.3.1 The physical resources functions at the mission are the responsibility of the MCO who is assisted by a property and materiel assistant. The property section is responsible for the Crown leased Chancery and nine staff quarters (SQs). A regional property maintenance officer is based in Dubai and provides support to various missions in the region. Last year the section handled 720 work orders. The section also includes two drivers and maintains two vehicles.
4.3.2 The Consulate General is located in new office space in a modern building office in the business district of Dubai. The relocation from the previous, poorly maintained and ill located office space has positively impacted staff morale.
4.3.3 The introduction of rent ceilings along with the one year lease format commonly used in Dubai will require the currently leased staff quarters (SQs) be changed to ones less centrally located. The mission expects to be able to work within its allocation and estimates that current rent ceilings will have to be regularly assessed to keep with market trends.
|Key Physical Resources Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Mission property and maintenance plans are up to date.||X|
|The chancery and official residence (OR) are well maintained and maintenance schedules are in place.||X|
|An efficient process in place for receiving, processing and monitoring work orders.||X|
|Annual inspections are conducted to assess the state of staff quarters (SQs) and input into maintenance and acquisition planning.||X|
4.3.4 The section functions well with proactive staff addressing client concerns in a timely manner. Property plans and a list of tasks guide the section in the completion of various requests and requirements. The development of a detailed workplan would further assist the mission in the planning of its various activities.
4.3.5 The SQ portfolio includes a mix of apartments and houses, varying in style, and located in different parts of Dubai. The workmanship and finishing are for the most part basically satisfactory. The section does endeavour to maintain good communications with clients and with landlords' representatives to address issues as they arise. Direct access to landlords is limited given the ownership of the properties is often by high ranking locals who are not necessarily easily available to mission.
4.3.6 While there are frequent visits by property staff during the period an occupant resides at any SQ, the initial visit after the arrival of a new occupant is not consistently completed within 30 days to address early issues and complete the inventory of goods in the SQ with a CBS.
4.3.7 Quarterly visits to SQs are conducted to ensure that electrical, AC and other systems are functional with a preventive approach to their management. These visits are in part supported by the local practice to renew leases one a yearly basis.
4.3.8 The section's role in managing Crown leased assets is limited given the relatively good relationship with landlords. The presence of the regional property specialist is also helpful to the section when more complex projects are to be undertaken.
4.3.9 Client requests are received primarily via email. Work requests are submitted via email to the property and materiel clerk with some urgent requests received by phone. While the section is responsive to clients' requests, the tracking of requests is not conducted in a systematic manner. Email functions are used to partially keep track of work orders. Overall the section manages to address all requests but a more consistent approach would allow for better clients service.
4.3.10 The section is also responsible for various other administrative functions such as shipment clearing, vehicle registrations, visa requests for LES, and others. The section does not have in place detailed workplans to track its planned activities and processes. Developing such a tool would assist the section.
Key Processes and Internal Controls
|Key Physical Resources Internal Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|An inspection is conducted by new SQ occupants and a mission representative within 30 days of occupancy, after which occupancy agreements and distribution accounts are signed.||X|
|Records of assets located in the chancery, OR and SQs, as well as those in storage, are maintained on an ongoing basis and verified annually. Assets are appropriately safeguarded and controlled.||X|
|Disposals are appropriately authorized and follow departmental guidelines.||X|
|Vehicle logs and fuel purchases are verified against consumption (e.g. mileage/usage rates for vehicles and generators).||X|
4.3.11 Overall, internal controls were found to be appropriate with shortcomings identified in the areas of SQ management and controls related to vehicles use.
4.3.12 Some SQs rented by mission are part of clusters of 6 to 8 villas with a central area for leisure and children playground. One SQ visited, which is part of a cluster of villas, had a common centrally-located in-ground swimming pool. The pool did not have safety barriers. Attempts by the mission to request the landlord to install a barrier was not approved and further efforts to convince other occupants of the other villas cluster did not prove successful. Given the risk the mission should make this part of their assessment prior to renting SQs.
4.3.13 Records of assets at the chancery and SQs are not complete. This is in part due to the lack of such a system in the past. The current management has been in the process of creating such an inventory. The section manages its current inventories well, by limiting access to them and updating and integrating older items in the current system. The MCO and property/material clerk have exclusive access to stored items.
4.3.14 The disposal of assets follow departmental guidelines but decisions are made essentially in a centralized manner, where the MCO assesses whether outright disposal or sale of an item is to take place. There is scope for an approach which would incorporate a strategy to use charity as a means of disposals as well, where feasible.
4.3.15 Vehicle logs were found to be mostly complete but entries did not include passengers' signatures in order to fully validate the transportation requests. Also, some activities attributed to CBS spouse have been considered as part of official activities when this should seldom be the case. Cases of CBS spouse given precedence over a CBS use of mission vehicle for official business were raised during the inspection process. Precedence should be given to CBS or LES conducting official business even when a case can be made for a CBS spouse to attend an activity which could be assessed by mission management to be of official value. Differentiation between different types of activities should be discussed at the CMM and advice from the RSC should be sought as required to clarify official requests from social engagements that are not representational in nature.
4.3.16 The mission uses different gas stations from the main three companies in Dubai. Drivers make use of gas stations based on whatever happens to be their location when low on fuel. Not all gas stations are equipped to provide clients with printed receipts, which increase the risk of improper billing. The mission should ensure that instructions are in place to avoid the use of gas stations that are unable to provide printed receipts.
Recommendations to the Mission
4.3.17 The section should ensure SQs with pools have appropriate access-control prior to renting or as part of negotiations.
4.3.18 The CMM should review the use of mission vehicle to ensure use for official work by CBS and LES. Vehicle use should be for official business conducted by CBS or LES.
4.3.19 Vehicle logs should include passengers' signature to validate use of mission vehicles.
4.3.20 The section should avoid using gas stations that cannot provide printed receipts.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
4.3.17 Appropriate access control barrier have been included in all SQs with pool. Implemented August 2013.
4.3.18 A new vehicle assignment policy in development. Official use of vehicles is given priority at all times. In Progress for July 2014.
4.3.19 A column has been added to vehicle logs to include passenger certification of vehicle use. Implemented July 2013.
4.3.20 Instructions were passed on to drivers. Manual receipts to cease being accepted as of May 2014. Implemented May 2014.
4.4.1 The finance section is managed by an AS-05 Management and Consular Officer (MCO) with the support of an LE-07 senior accountant***. As part of the Common Service Delivery Point (CSDP) network, London will eventually take over Dubai's financial operations. *** to handle, among other responsibilities, the remaining financial tasks.
|Key Finance Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Roles and responsibilities ensure adequate segregation of duties.||X|
|The section employs methods to minimize disruption (e.g. setting of "quiet hours" and controlling access to the finance section).||X|
|The section has explored alternate methods to minimize transactions and reduce reliance on cash (i.e. acquisition cards, electronic fund transfers).||X|
|Payment runs are kept to a minimum, but are sufficient to provide good client service.||X|
4.4.2 The finance section has managed to keep a good balance between client expectations and operational requirements by streamlining the payment run process. Improvements could be made in the segregation of duties, and there are challenges in the open concept work environment. While many key processes and controls are in place, they do require improvement,***. Although there are no written service standards for the section, the mission has put in place solid processes to monitor budgets and expenditures.
4.4.3 The MCO recognizes the *** experience of the accountant and therefore her involvement in the financial operations of the mission has been limited. According to the accountant, ***.
4.4.4 The HOM delegates the system approval of FINSTAT monthly financial forecasts to the MCO. The FINSTAT is a fundamental element of budgeting and expenditure management and input from all of the key players is crucial for its success.
4.4.5 The accountant is responsible for the contracting process at mission, ***. Presently, the accountant is unable to enter mission contracts in IMS increasing the risk that contracting irregularities go undetected. Moreover, contracts may not be captured properly for disclosure.
4.4.6 There is no position assigned as replacement for the accountant when he is away from the office***. These issues of segregation of duties and backfilling should be alleviated once functions are shifted to CSDP.
4.4.7 The floor space for the new Dubai chancery was configured using the Government of Canada Workplace 2.0 Fit-up standards. As a result, *** is in an open office space next to the Consular section. While the new configuration has many advantages, it has created issues***. Quiet hours are very difficult to enforce***.
4.4.8 Ninety-five per cent of payments to suppliers are processed through cheques, and the mission collects *** in consular revenues each week. The section explored alternate methods (such as acquisition cards) to streamline the payment process ***. However, local banking partners are showing resistance in introducing online access to electronic fund transfers (EFT). *** collected at mission nonetheless is expected to drop by *** with the implementation of Mission Online Payment Services (MOPS), which allows credit cards to be used for consular fees.
Key Processes and Internal Controls
|Key Finance Internal Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Financial signing authorities are exercised by individuals who possess the appropriate delegation of authority.||X|
|The asset and liability report is reviewed on a monthly basis.||X|
|A CBS receives the original monthly bank statement directly from the bank and reviews it prior to giving it to the accountant.||X|
|Revenues are deposited into the mission bank account daily, or if not cost effective, within a week of receipt, per the Financial Administration Act: Receipt and Deposit of Public Money Regulations.||X|
|Official receipts are provided to clients at the time of payment and to internal staff when funds are transferred (i.e. from Consular to Finance).||X|
|Reconciliations of any funds transferred within the mission are conducted in the presence of two staff.||X|
|Travel and hospitality claim processes ensure that policies and guidelines are adhered to and that the completeness and accuracy of the claim is verified.||X|
|Reimbursement of HonCon operational expenses is based on an established agreement.||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|A percentage of costs for personal use of OR supplies is determined and regular reimbursements are made to the mission.||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|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|
4.4.9 While finance recognizes the importance of official receipts as a key control when handling funds, improvement is needed in the areas listed in the table above. In particular, processes need to include *** as part of the bank reconciliation process.
4.4.10 Financial signing authorities in general are exercised by individuals with proper delegation. ***.
4.4.11 The MCO does not review the *** on a monthly basis as part of the bank reconciliation process and the accountant is the main point of contact with the bank***.
4.4.12 Consular revenues are deposited *** on average, except when ***is on vacation - when it is longer***.
4.4.13 Official receipts are provided to consular clients and internal clients at the time of transactions, however, the MCO does not approve the cancellation of consular receipts which are unusable for any reason.
4.4.15 The petty cash maintained in the *** was verified to be correct However, *** does not conduct random reviews to ensure that expenses paid through petty cash are for official business only or that transactions are supported by receipts.
4.4.16 The majority of the hospitality claims reviewed included supporting documentation. In a few cases, the Official Hospitality Outside Canada Reporting form (EXT2043) was not completed properly. For example, the budget allocation was not included in Section I; the breakdown of bulk alcohol inventory figures was not included in Section IV and the link between hospitality events and program priorities was not always clear in the diaries examined.
4.4.17 There is no Honorary Consul attached to Dubai, and there is no Official Residence for the mission.
4.4.18 The mission has implemented a cost recovery policy for personal long distance telephone calls (Blackberry) and courier services. Canada Based Staff (CBS) are responsible for payment of personal staff quarter expenses such as cable, land line telephones and internet. There is no cost recovery in place, however, for personal use of mission vehicles.
4.4.19 A review of the mission's social club operations did not raise any issue of concern. Operations of the club are transparent and information on revenues and expenses is shared with all members. There is not a clear definition however of the conditions for membership in the Social Club Rules or any mention that joining the club is on a voluntary basis.
Recommendations to the Mission
4.4.20 Service standards for common services should be documented and communicated to clients.
4.4.22 The HOM should approve the FINSTAT monthly financial forecasts in the system.
4.4.23 The mission should consult with HQ Contracting Policy, Monitoring and Operations (SPP) to determine a workable method to enter contracts *** while maintaining appropriate segregation of duties.
4.4.24 The mission should train a backup to handle *** in the absence***.
4.4.25 The mission should address the need of the accountant to have privacy when completing tasks requiring concentration - e.g. installing a sliding opaque door on the cubicle opening.
4.4.26 The mission should seek out proposals from local banks to find a partner able to support an online EFT payment platform, ideally in partnership with Abu Dhabi if banking regulations permit. Alternatively, the mission may want to approach the International Financial Projects Group (SMFB) to explore the feasibility of the Standard Payment System (SPS) platform in the Middle East. The mission should first consult with the Regional Service Centre - Europe, Middle East and Africa (RSCEMA) and their Financial Operations - International (SMFF) advisor.
4.4.27 The MCO's specimen signature card should be updated.
4.4.28 Mission banking signing authorities should be updated to allow the HOM to approve bank transactions alone in case of emergency.
4.4.29 The MCO should review the asset & liability report on a monthly basis as part of the bank reconciliation process.
4.4.30 Monthly bank statements should be sent directly to the MCO who should review and initial each page before providing them to the accountant.
4.4.31 The mission should improve the ***.
4.4.32 The MCO should approve the cancellation of consular receipts.
4.4.33 Reconciliation of any funds transferred should always be done in presence of two employees, with no exception.
4.4.34 The MCO should conduct random reviews of the petty cash.
4.4.35 The mission should provide checklists to assist employees when completing hospitality (and travel) claims. Collaboration with Abu Dhabi could be useful for this project.
4.4.36 The mission should update the mission transportation policy to reflect the new Mission Fleet Management Guidelines and recover costs for acceptable personal use of mission vehicles.
4.4.37 The social club board members should review club rules to include a definition of membership with the emphasis that participation is strictly voluntary.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
4.4.20 Service standards will be updated and posted to the I:/ drive along with collected mission policies. In Progress for July 2014.
4.4.22 The HOM approves all FINSTAT submissions before they are filed. Implemented April 2013.
4.4.23 The mission is transitioning to financial service delivery from CSP LDN in June 2014. CSDP has advised mission to hold off implementation of MM use for contracts until further notice. That said, transition to CSDP will resolve segregation issues. In Progress for January 2015.
4.4.24 The mission is seeking a *** to help us ***. In Progress for August 2014.
4.4.25 ***. In Progress for August 2014.
4.4.26 In advance of DUBAI's transition, nearly all vendors are now being paid by ETF through the SPS payment method. Only a handful of suppliers (telecoms and utilities) continue to receive payment by cheque. Mission has managed this transition with minimal impact. Implemented April 2014.
4.4.27 The MCO specimen card is up to date. Implemented July 2013.
4.4.28 The mission has made a request to the bank to provide the HOM with authority to act as *** signatory on cheques and transfer requests. Implemented May 2014.
4.4.29 The MCO reviews asset/liability reports with each bank reconciliation. In Progress for August 2014.
4.4.30 The mission will stop performing bank reconciliations with the transfer of financial services to CSDP LDN. On-line access to bank statements will be provided to the CSDP. The MCO now receives and initials original bank statements before the bank reconciliation is prepared by the finance officer. In Progress for August 2014.
4.4.31 The Mission ***. Implemented April 2014.
4.4.32 MCO now approves all cancellations of consular receipts. Notice has been communicated to staff. Implemented April 2014.
4.4.33 Reminder of existing policy sent to staff who handle cash. Two employees are present and sign off on all cash transfers. Implemented April 2014.
4.4.34 MCO now implements regular schedule of petty cash verifications and perform random spot checks. Implemented April 2014.
4.4.35 The mission directs staff to existing tools, such as CFSI tutorials and on-line courses for training on filling out travel and hospitality claims. Implemented April 2014.
4.4.36 A new transportation policy is to be developed and implemented. In Progress for August 2014.
4.4.37 Social club rules have been reviewed and communicated to all staff. Implemented June 2014.
4.5 Information Management - Information Technology (IM-IT)
4.5.1 The IM-IT section is under the overall management of the MCO. The FSITP in Abu Dhabi is responsible for the delivery of IM-IT services for the mission. The MCO's assistant as mission's Signet Support Assistant (SSA), under the direction of the FSITP in Dubai, contributes to the onsite upkeep of equipment and processes as well as services to clients. Together they provide services to approximately 30 clients onsite.
|Key IM-IT Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|An Information Management - Information Technology (IM-IT) plan exists and includes regional activities.||X|
|The liaison between the mission, HQ and the regional manager is effective.||X|
|The mission uses the required IM-IT service request system and maintains relevant data.||X|
4.5.2 The delivery of IM-IT functions at the mission is good overall. The FSITP *** and provides guidance to the mission from her Abu Dhabi office, with the MCO and the SSA ***doing the necessary work to ensure quality services for its clients.
4.5.3 The mission has an IM-IT plan in place linked to the FSITP's plan for Dubai, which describes general objectives and activities. The execution of various activities and the reporting on these do not fully address projects, their progress and completion. For instance, the installation of equipment and software in one consular booth has been left incomplete for months with no clear target date for completion.
4.5.4 The FSITP visits the mission on a mostly responsive basis. The planning of FSITP visits should be done well in advance by the MCOs in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the regional manager. Improved communication would facilitate such visits and should also spell out processes to put conduct non-routine visits for instance when high level visits occur and onsite IT presence is required and when major IT works have to be completed.
4.5.6 A list of pending tasks should be developed by the MCO and addressed regularly with the FSITP from Abu Dhabi to ensure tasks are completed according to schedule. Mission indicated that some projects listed for completion had yet to be addressed by the FSITP without the mission getting a clear indication as to why these tasks had yet to be completed. The Dubai and Abu Dhabi MCOs and the regional IT Manager should communicate to discuss pending works and assess proper level of resources needed to address them fully.
Key Processes and Internal Controls
|Key IM-IT Internal Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Back-ups are performed routinely and tapes are stored appropriately in a secure location away from the primary use area.||X|
|Employees formally sign out IT assets (mobility tools) and are advised of their accountabilities.||X|
|Surplus IT assets are disposed with the appropriate approvals per departmental policy.||X|
4.5.7 Overall, IM-IT processes and controls were effective. Regular processes and controls over access to equipment were found to be in place.
4.5.8 The disposal of surplus IT assets was not planned in advance, but items identified for disposal were cleaned according to policy. The proposed manner in which items are disposed of, whether through sale or charity should be decided on and discussed as part of management decisions.
Recommendations to the Mission
4.5.9 The SSA's responsibilities should be limited to routine tasks.
4.5.10 A list of tasks to be completed by the FSITP should be put in place and reviewed periodically.
4.5.11 The MCO in Dubai should propose a scheduled list of visits with clear deliverables and discuss its implementation with the MCO in Abu Dhabi and the regional manager.
4.5.12 The disposal of IT assets should be scheduled in advance and part of a larger approach by mission to decide most useful way to dispose of assets.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
4.5.9 Better programming and preparation for FSITP visits may reduce over reliance on SSA. SSA tasks are limited to routine and essential tasks. Implemented September 2014.
4.5.10 Lists of tasks are prepared by the FSITP before each site visit. The MCO has an opportunity to review it before the trip and suggest additional items as required. Implemented August 2013.
4.5.11 The MCO in Dubai will propose a scheduled list of visits with clear deliverables and discuss its implementation with the MCO in Abu Dhabi and the regional manager. In Progress for August 2014.
4.5.12 Disposal of IT assets planned at earliest opportunity and will be done in the context of a wider asset disposal. In Progress for September 2014.
Appendix A: Mission Resources Fact Sheet
|Head of Mission||2||1||1|
|DFAIT Regional Property||1||1||0|
Appendix B: Frequently Used Acronyms
- Canada-based staff
- Commercial Economic
- Committee on Mission Management
- Consular Management Information Program
- Contingency Plan
- Contract Review Board
- Client Service Fund
- Electronic Funds Transfer
- Deputy Management Consular Officer
- Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service
- Foreign Service Information Technology Professional
- Full Time Equivalent
- Fiscal Year
- Global Commerce Strategy
- Global Value Chains
- Head of Mission
- Honorary Consul
- Human Resources
- High Security Zone
- Information Communication Technologies
- Information Management - Information Technology
- Integrated Management System
- Locally Engaged Information Technology Professional
- Locally engaged staff
- LES Management Consultation Board
- Management Consular Officer
- Mission Emergency Plan
- Mission Financial Officer
- MM Module
- Materiel Management Module of IMS
- Mission Maintenance Work Plan
- Memorandum of Understanding
- Mission Security Officer
- Mission Property Management Plan
- North American Platform Program
- Official residence
- Operations Zone
- Post Initiative Fund
- Program Manager
- Performance Management Agreement
- Human Resources - Performance Management Program
- Consular - Passport Management Program
- Physical Resources Information - Mission Environment
- Registration of Canadians Abroad
- Science and Technology
- Senior Trade Commissioner
- Staff Quarter
- Security Zone
- Trade Commissioner
- Trade Commissioner Assistant
- Trade Commissioner Service
- The TCS' Client Relationship Management System
- Office of the Inspector General
- Missions Inspection Division
- Date Modified: