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Inspection of the Embassy of Canada, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
- Inspection Scope and Objectives
- Executive Summary
- 1 Mission Management
- 2 Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service (FPDS)
- 3 Commercial Economic (CE)
- 4 Consular
- 5 Common Services
- Appendix A: Mission Resources Fact Sheet
- Appendix B: Frequently Used Acronyms
Inspection Scope and Objectives
The scope of the Inspection included a review of Mission Management and the Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service, Commercial Economic, Consular and Common Services programs. The inspection objectives were to:
- Assess the effectiveness of the leadership and management practices of the Head of Mission (HOM) and the mission management team;
- Review the alignment of plans and activities, and program integration to Government of Canada and departmental objectives and priorities;
- Assess the adequacy of management controls and systems, procedures and the reliability of information for decision making and accountability purposes;
- Determine the extent of compliance with legislation, regulations and operating policies;
- Evaluate the use of resources to determine that they are judiciously used and if value-for-money is received; and
- Make recommendations, where warranted, to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the mission and its programs.
The focus and extent of on-site work was based on an assessment of materiality and related risk. This was done through communication with headquarters (HQ) bureaux, including briefings by line management and the functional bureaux, review of relevant HQ and mission documentation, past inspection findings, and an analysis of recurring trends and systemic issues.
During the inspection, inspection issues and lines of enquiry were further refined from information gathered through interviews with the HOM and program managers, a meeting with locally engaged staff (LES) representatives of the LES Management Consultation Board, individual interviews with staff, and results of other documentation reviewed. The level of inspection work was therefore based on issues and information identified and gathered at all levels: HQ, mission management and mission operations.
An inspection of Mission Management, the Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service (FPDS), Commercial Economic (CE), Consular and Common Services programs was conducted in Riyadh from April 1 to 8, 2013. A previous inspection of these programs took place in 2007.
The Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia is a medium-sized mission with 18 Canada-based Staff (CBS) and 40 locally engaged staff (LES). It is responsible for departmental program delivery in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman and Yemen. Partner departments and agencies represented at the mission include Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and ***. There are Honorary Consuls (HonCons) in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), Manama (Bahrain) and Sana'a (Yemen). The HonCon position in Muscat, Oman, is currently vacant.
The mission operates in a difficult and complex environment under the leadership of an EX-03 Head of Mission (HOM) and it is still recovering from extended periods over the last few years when key management positions were vacant. The HOM and his current management team are working together to improve management practices and the administration of the mission, address ongoing morale problems, and deliver on the mission's core mandate to protect and promote Canadian interests.
Although staff have identified that mission morale has improved greatly over the past year, it still requires ongoing attention. The appointment of an accredited HOM was important to re-establishing leadership and addressing ongoing issues, but a CBS/LES divide still persists and affects mission cohesion. There is a perception among some LES that the mission has a bad reputation and few CBS***. Morale among CBS is also low. They have faced challenges in rebuilding programs and establishing policies following long periods of high-turnover and critical staff absences. On a more personal level, many CBS or their family members have had difficulty adapting to the country ***.
Effective communications and management are areas of importance given the upcoming ***. A major midlife refit project expected to last between 12 to 18 months, is scheduled to start in September, and is expected to be highly disruptive. The projects could disrupt operations significantly and are anticipated to displace staff to temporary working spaces until September 2016. The HOM's leadership will be important to mitigate the adverse effects on mission programs and staff.
The governance structure at the mission serves the mission well. The Committee on Mission Management (CMM) generally functions as a decision-making body for policies and procedures as well as a forum for information exchange. The HOM identifies important events and upcoming priorities and discussion is relevant to both DFATD and partner departments. Meetings follow an agenda and minutes are shared. The CMM is complemented by a suite of mission governance committees and champions on key issues. Representatives of partner departments actively contribute to mission governance. The LES members who sit on the LES Management Consultation Board are elected and come from a variety of mission programs. The LES are generally satisfied with its role in facilitating dialogue with management.
Overall, the mission promotes a whole-of-government approach and leverages its resources to advance Canadian interests in Saudi Arabia and its other countries of accreditation. The program managers generally work well together, cooperating on activities when appropriate and sharing information across both DFATD and partner programs. The HOM has ensured that partners are integrated into the CMM and participate in mission governance decisions to the extent possible.
The mission meets most of the criteria with respect to emergency preparedness ***. A mission Emergency Response Team has been identified and the majority of the CBS, including those from partner departments, are on the team. Roles and responsibilities were clarified during a training session that took place in November.
The FPDS program is headed by an FS-03 in an FS-04 program manager position. The program monitors positions and developments in the country, advocates on human rights issues and seeks to build the influence and credibility necessary to advance Canadian positions and interests in the region. Roles and responsibilities are generally understood by all members of the program. However, *** should report to the FPDS program manager. Given the nature of his work, *** should be organized to permit him to maintain the networks necessary to cover all the mission's countries of accreditation.
The Commercial Economic (CE) Program in Riyadh is headed by an EX-01 Senior Trade Commissioner (STC). The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), as the world's leading oil exporter, holds 25% of the world's known oil reserves and plays a key role in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). KSA is Canada's largest trading partner in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region. It is also the fourth largest source of foreign students for Canada. Overall, the program is functioning well and delivering on its commitments. The Commercial Economic program plan (CEP plan) is aligned with the Mission Planning and Reporting (MPR) document, departmental priorities and Government of Canada priorities.
The CE program is focused on seven priority sectors: agriculture; food and beverages; defence and security; education; information and communications technology (ICT); infrastructure; building products and related services such as life sciences and oil and gas. This number was determined to be too high resulting in a re-evaluation of the current plan. The program faces the challenge that women are restricted from attending some events. As a result, female Trade Commissioners must often rely on second-hand sources of information. The use of TRIO is strongly encouraged by the STC; however, TRIO data is not monitored and does not accurately reflect the work undertaken. TRIO statistics at the time of the inspection were lower than the actual services delivered and outcalls that had taken place throughout the year.
The Consular Program is overseen by the Management Consular Officer (MCO), with the daily management conducted by the AS-04 DMCO who is a non-rotational PE-04 on his second posting. Overall, controls on passport and consular activities are in place;***. The program is providing a good level of service to consular clients.
The Common Services Program is managed by an AS-04 acting in the AS-06 MCO position. The program has been in a state of flux in the last two years, with extended gaps in the staffing of key management positions. There have been four MCOs over the course of a two-year period resulting in a lack of continuity. With the mission recently joining the Common Service Delivery Point network (CSDP), key financial processes have been transferred under London's responsibility. Accordingly, during the first half of 2013 both accountant and assistant-accountant positions have been eliminated.
A number of key financial controls***. The mission has a backlog***, and hospitality allocations have not been provided to program managers. As a result, the programs are not properly planning their use of hospitality and the documentation of activities is inconsistent across the mission. Some of the hospitality diary entries for example, did not fully communicate the purpose and value derived from the events. In addition, contracting and procurement processes at mission need improvement.
Overall, internal controls in certain areas of the physical resources section require improvement. The DMCO plays an *** role managing property functions on a day-to-day basis***. For instance, a recent reorganization of the consular section resulted in inefficient space usage and negatively impacted morale.
A total of 71 inspection recommendations are raised in the report, 68 are addressed to the mission and 3 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 40 have been implemented.
1 Mission Management
1.1.1 The Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia is a medium-sized mission with 18 Canada-based Staff (CBS) and 40 locally engaged staff (LES). It is responsible for program delivery in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman and Yemen. Partner departments and agencies represented at the mission include Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)***. There are Honorary Consuls (HonCons) in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), Manama (Bahrain) and Sana'a (Yemen). The HonCon position in Muscat, Oman, is currently vacant.
1.1.2 The mission is managed by an EX-03 Head of Mission (HOM) who is responsible for overall operations and oversees the operational and capital budgets of $930,000 and $80,000 respectively. The mission also manages a property portfolio that includes a chancery, a Crown-owned official residence (OR), a Crown-leased temporary OR as well as 15 Crown-leased staff quarters (SQs).
1.1.3 International security, counter-terrorism, energy security and the promotion of peace and stability in the Middle East are among the interests shared by Canada and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is also the world's leading petroleum exporter, and its economic prowess generates opportunities that fit Canadian competencies. Politically speaking, Saudi Arabia yields significant influence and has useful insight into the region. Thousands of Canadians visit the country annually to perform hajj or umrah.
1.1.4 Canadian interests in Bahrain, Oman and Yemen are more limited but also link to global issues, such as economic development, regional stability and international security.
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 The mission operates in a difficult and complex environment that can place significant stress on employees' personal and professional lives. Furthermore, the mission is still recovering from extended periods over the last few years when key management positions were left vacant. The HOM and his current management team are working together to improve management practices and the administration of the mission, address the ongoing morale problems, and deliver on the mission's core mandate to protect and promote Canadian interests.
1.2.2 Effective communications and management are areas of importance given the upcoming***. The projects could disrupt operations significantly and are anticipated***. The HOM's leadership will be important to mitigate the adverse effects on mission programs and staff.
1.2.3 Although staff have identified that mission morale has improved greatly over the past year, it still requires ongoing attention. The appointment of an accredited HOM was important to re-establishing leadership and addressing ongoing issues, but a CBS/LES divide still persists and affects mission cohesion. There is a perception among some LES that the *** and few CBS***. As well, the exclusion of LES from certain social activities of the CBS-managed Maple Leaf Club has been taken personally.
1.2.4 Morale among CBS is also low. They have faced challenges in rebuilding programs and establishing policies following long periods of high-turnover and critical staff absences. On a more personal level, many CBS or their family members have had difficulty adapting to the country ***.
1.2.5 Efforts to increase transparency have improved morale somewhat and one-on-ones with LES, town halls and other efforts to bolster communication are appreciated. A focus on team-building, conflict prevention and developing a joint sense of purpose would be advisable ahead of moving to temporary facilities.
1.2.6 The HOM has put in place a number of good practices in terms of communication. He holds all-staff meetings on important issues and met with all LES individually shortly after his arrival. Overall, he is considered to be accessible and appropriately engaged in both DFATD and partner programs. To reinforce good communication it would be advisable that he also hold bilateral meetings with program managers. Regularly meeting the DFATD managers on an individual basis would provide for more structured engagement and effective decision making on program priorities and implementation. Consideration could be given to meeting the FPDS and CE PMs together to reinforce linkages between their programs.
1.2.7 The mission uses the Mission Planning and Reporting (MPR) document to identify Canadian interests in the mission's countries of accreditation, and the related strategic commitments are consistent with governmental priorities. There is, however, room for improvement in translating the high-level document to the planning and delivery of programs. The FPDS and CE programs would both benefit from greater specificity and focus in their planning documents, which would improve the mission's ability to monitor and measure success.
1.2.8 The governance structure at the mission serves the mission well. The Committee on Mission Management (CMM) generally functions as a decision-making body for policies and procedures as well as a forum for information exchange. The HOM identifies important events and upcoming priorities and discussion is relevant to both DFAIT and partner departments. Meetings follow an agenda and minutes are shared. The CMM is complemented by a suite of mission governance committees and champions on key issues. Representatives of partner departments actively contribute to mission governance.
1.2.9 The LES members who sit on the LES Management Consultation Board are elected and come from a variety of mission programs. Although the HOM would like to see the Board discuss more issues, the LES are generally satisfied with its role in facilitating dialogue. Nonetheless, management is encouraged to continue consulting LES ahead of the meetings and to work with them to jointly develop an agenda. Minutes are taken at the meetings and distributed to all LES. Key issues identified by the LES representatives include: the sponsorship of third-country nationals working in Saudi Arabia; changes to LES benefits as a result of the Total Compensation Review; interest in further training opportunities; and the perception of an ongoing divide between CBS and LES.
1.2.10 The mission formally promotes the public service values and ethics. Following the recent revision to the code, an electronic copy was distributed to all staff and program managers were encouraged to discuss it with their staff. The mission has also distributed messages designed to educate staff about harassment and promote a healthy work environment. However, some staff raised a need to reinforce official messaging with open dialogue on the Canadian culture and the meaning of a respectful workplace as it relates to the mission. The memory of incidents that occurred years ago and concerns over the CBS/LES divide have led some LES to believe that there is a gap between theory and practice.
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 promotes a whole-of-government approach and leverages its resources to advance Canadian interests in Saudi Arabia and its other countries of accreditation. The program managers generally work well together, cooperating on activities when appropriate and sharing information across both DFAIT and partner programs. The HOM has ensured that partners are integrated into the CMM and participate in mission governance decisions to the extent possible.
1.3.2 At present, the MPR is the principal vehicle for whole-of-government planning. Representatives of partner programs are consulted during the drafting of the document, but more should be done to identify common interests and take advantage of synergies. For example, commentary *** is limited to one line, despite it managing a key relationship with the Government of Saudi Arabia. Consideration could be given to developing a plan to enhance the mission's credibility and influence, a common challenge across many programs. Greater coordination in planning could also benefit the implementation of joint activities, such as high-level visits.
1.3.3 Overall, partners are satisfied with the common services provided to their programs. The distribution of SQs was seen as being equitable among all staff and there were no ongoing issues. The chief complaints related to restrictions imposed by the mission's transportation policy and delays in the clearance of shipments and vehicles.
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 meets most of the criteria with respect to emergency preparedness***. Nonetheless, ongoing attention to emergency preparedness is important given the mission's ***.
1.4.2 Emergency preparedness training was delivered at the mission in November 2012. Following this, the mission emergency plan (MEP) was adapted to incorporate some lessons learned. However, input from the Consular program still needs to be added. As well, the MEP was prepared using an incorrect template. Considering that new software is expected to be introduced for the MEP, if Headquarters agrees, the mission could adjust the document's format at that time.
1.4.3 A mission Emergency Response Team has been identified. The majority of the CBS, including those from partner departments, are on the team. Roles and responsibilities were clarified during the training session that took place in November.
1.4.5 Good consultation occurs with like-minded and neighbouring missions on both the consular and security fronts.
1.5 Official Languages
|Key Official Languages Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|The Official Languages Act is respected and promoted by mission management.||X|
|Mission signage is provided in both English and French and a bilingual Official Languages Co-ordinator has been appointed.||X|
|The mission has sufficient capacity to communicate with and provide services to the public, both orally and in writing, in both official languages.||X|
1.5.1 The mission has appointed an Official Languages Coordinator, but more could be done to promote the profile of French within the mission. At present, English is the default internal language for day-to-day operations. Increasing the use of French would help reinforce the importance of Canada's bilingual culture and build capacity among staff. As well, although official signage directed at the public is bilingual, much of the internal postings, including fire orders and emergency procedures, are in English only.
1.5.2 Services can be provided to the public in both official languages, and there is sufficient backup capacity in case of absences. Both the receptionist and consular assistants are bilingual***. This may be a risk given the local context and high-profile consular cases.
1.6 Management Controls
|Key Management Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Security policies and regulations are respected and promoted.||X|
|Program managers are provided regular financial/budget updates to facilitate effective management and decision making.||X|
|Bank reconciliations are properly reviewed and signed-off on a monthly basis.||X|
|Mission hospitality guidelines are appropriate and reviewed annually by CMM.||X|
|Hospitality activities are properly documented, demonstrate value-for-money and align with mission objectives.||X|
|Mechanisms are in place to monitor the completion of employees' performance evaluations.||X|
|A coordinated approach is taken with regards to training and a budget has been established.||X|
|The quarterly reconciliation of passport inventory is properly completed and certified.||X|
|The Honorary Consul (HonCon) has an up-to-date mandate letter and performance is reviewed annually.||X|
1.6.1 A number of key management controls***.
1.6.2 Hospitality is allocated in a central pool of funds rather than specific program allocation; therefore the programs are not properly planning their use of hospitality. In addition, the documentation of activities is inconsistent across the mission. Some of the hospitality diary entries did not fully communicate the purpose and value derived from the events. The HOM Guide on Official Hospitality Outside Canada is a good resource to advise the mission on leveraging funds and documenting activities.
1.6.3 The performance management cycle has been raised at CMM meetings, but there are still some employees who have not set objectives in the Performance Management Program (PMP) with their manager. PMPs are used by the mission's training coordinator to try to identify common professional development needs, but no consolidated training plan or dedicated budget exists.
1.6.4 All HonCons are provided with annual tasking letters outlining their roles and responsibilities. All indicated performance evaluations are done regularly, but not contained on file. The mandate letter did not reflect the current expectations regarding service standards, advances or expenses.
Recommendations to the Mission
1.7.1 The mission should, in consultation with Headquarters, organize activities to focus on team building and conflict prevention.
1.7.2 The MEP should be updated to capture all lessons learned and communicated through the appropriate channels to Headquarters.
1.7.3 In addition to CMM, the HOM should formally meet all DFATD program managers on a regular basis and discuss ongoing priorities and program implementation. Consideration could be given to meeting the FPDS and CE program managers together.
1.7.4 The mission's overall strategic objectives should be reviewed to ensure they effectively guide staff performance measurement objectives.
1.7.5 Discussions on values and ethics should continue, possibly through an annual town-hall meeting, and staff should be reminded of the various resources available to address questions or concerns.
1.7.6 Whole-of-government collaboration during key planning periods should be improved to ensure that mission-wide priorities and strategies are clear across all programs.
1.7.7 The MEP should be updated to capture lessons learned identified by the Consular program following the emergency preparedness training.
1.7.9 The mission should encourage the use of both official languages within the mission, and key internal documents, such as fire orders and emergency procedures, should be posted in a bilingual format.
1.7.10 Management controls, with particular focus on***, should be improved, including the following points:
- *** should be addressed;
- Hospitality allocations should be provided to program managers based on their objectives and plans;
- 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;
- All employees should have a PMP in place and participate in formal performance discussions with their supervisor in accordance with the performance management cycle;
- A formal all-of-mission training/learning plan should be developed and funds allocated accordingly; and
- The mission should establish an agreement with the HonCons on the reimbursement of expenditures; and
- A review of each HonCon's performance should take place annually and be retained on file.
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 mission organizes frequent team-building events but has also engaged in discussions with DRCC to organize a team-building retreat and conflict management training opportunity. In Progress for September 2014.
1.7.2 The MEP has been updated, in consultation with headquarters. The updated MEP captures all lessons learned including the identification of and installation of an ACP and the identification of a network of like-minded countries. Implemented January 2014.
1.7.3 In addition to bi-weekly CMM, the HOM meets with DFATD program managers individually at least once a week to discuss priorities. The HOM has also initiated a weekly meeting with the entire Political section in view of Inspection team comments about the need for greater focus there. Joint meetings with FPDS and CE program managers or sections are held when appropriate where program activities intersect. Implemented April 2013.
1.7.4 The mission's overall objectives have been reviewed in the context of the Strategia planning process for 2014/2015. Implemented May 2014.
1.7.5 Discussions on Values and Ethics are continuing through a variety of fora. The subject was a central focus in a recent town hall meeting held during the visit of Geographic DG from HQ. Implemented April 2013.
1.7.6 Whole-of-government collaboration is very close in the mission and has been integrated into the mission Strategia planning process while respecting the limits of that exercise in relation to certain OGDs. Implemented April 2014.
1.7.7 The MEP was updated to capture lessons identified by the Consular program following the emergency preparedness training. Implemented January 2014.
1.7.8 ***. The MEP was updated to capture lessons learned by the Consular program following the emergency preparedness training. Implemented January 2014.
1.7.9 Use of both official languages is encouraged in the mission. Managers are informing employees that they can be managed in the official language of their choice; Second official language training is being considered for LES. Communication to the public is done in both official languages. Documents such as orders and emergency procedures are being reviewed to ensure that they are in a bilingual format. In Progress for December 2014.
1.7.10 The mission is in the process of implementing all management control requirements. To date, *** has been addressed, hospitality allocations are provided to program managers and agreements and an annual assessment process have been established for HonCons. In Progress for December 2014.
2 Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service (FPDS)
2.1.1 The FPDS program is headed by an FS-03 in an FS-04 program manager position. She is supported by an FS-03 *** officer, an FS-02 political officer, an LE-06 Information and Liaison Officer and an LE-05 Program Assistant. The program's financial resources are provided below.
|Post Initiative Fund||3,000|
|Global Security Reporting Program Travel||4,100|
|Global Security Reporting Program Hospitality||500|
2.1.2 Saudi Arabia is an important base from which to understand regional issues and report on developments related to security and stability.***, Saudi Arabia has been increasingly active in recent years on regional issues and has clout with Bahrain, Yemen, Syria, the Arabian Gulf, Libya and Egypt.***. The FPDS program monitors positions and developments in the country, advocates on human rights issues and seeks to build the influence and credibility necessary to advance Canadian positions and interests in the region.
2.2 Planning and Program Management
|Key FPDS Program Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|FPDS plans are aligned with the priorities and objectives outlined in the mission plan and informed by departmental and geographic bureau guidance and objectives.||X|
|FPDS plans outline intended outcomes and results are measurable.||X|
|Internal communications within the program effectively support program delivery.||X|
2.2.1 The program requires attention to improve internal planning and rebuilding its external networks. As a result of a significant period of time between the departure of the previous program manager and the arrival of the current one, there were disruptions to the program's internal leadership and external representation. The current program manager has had to rebuild internal management structures while familiarizing herself with the team and their files.
2.2.2 In general, the program manager is *** she demonstrates for her staff and other employees at the mission. She is clear when tasking and active in communicating and sharing with other programs. The FPDS team did, however, identify that ***.
2.2.3 In terms of planning, the program relies largely on the MPR document to guide its priorities. However, the MPR commitments for the mission do not address all the key elements of the FPDS program and there are no other formal planning documents. Activities generally align with high-level priorities and planning tools, but operational planning is largely ad hoc and focussed on the short term. For example, in absence of an FPDS plan or a role-specific mandate letter, the *** officer relies upon regional priorities to guide his proactive reporting.
2.2.4 The development of a strategic program plan would add focus to operational planning and ensure that activities and resources are tied to strategic objectives. It would also serve as a tool to communicate concrete objectives, outline expected outcomes and monitor performance. The FPDS program manager's PMP has a number of elements that could be used in the elaboration of this tool. Furthermore, a retreat to review the program's overall performance and apply lessons learned to future planning could be used to establish the plan with input from the entire team. This approach would reinforce roles and responsibilities and clarify priorities for the short and medium terms.
2.2.5 Overall, internal communications support program delivery, but some improvements could be made. Weekly meetings are useful for information exchange, but no agenda is followed and records of decision are not kept. Vertical communications could be improved as well. Tasking does not always go through the program manager, which can lead to ineffective workload management and mixed messages on priorities. As mentioned under mission management, regular meetings between the HOM and the program manager could be used to discuss priorities and program implementation.
2.2.6 Roles and responsibilities are generally understood by all members of the program. However, given the nature of his work, the *** officer's responsibilities should be organized to permit him to maintain the networks necessary to cover all the mission's countries of accreditation.***.
2.2.7 As well, although most employees have PMP documents, not all members of the team have had performance discussions with the program manager.
|Key FPDS Implementation Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|The program facilitates a mission-wide coordinated approach to advocacy and common messaging.||X|
|Program reporting is in line with mission and government objectives, timely and relevant.||X|
|Activities and initiatives are aligned with the mission's key priorities and with the principles of the New Way Forward FPDS Renewal initiative.||X|
|Relations with other mission programs facilitate program delivery (e.g. public affairs).||X|
|The program develops and maintains a contact base that meets program needs and objectives.||X|
2.3.1 The program actively shares information across the mission, assists in managing high-level visits (e.g. the recent visit to Bahrain by the Minister of Foreign Affairs), produces reports, delivers public affairs activities and responds to other demands as required.
2.3.2 The mission does not have an advocacy plan and common messaging has not been developed for key topics. As a result, there is increased risk that opportunities to advance Canadian interests could be missed or that messaging could be inconsistent. The FPDS program should lead in the development of a strategy/plan that articulates the advocacy priorities that exist across all mission programs. Such a tool could also prove useful in ***
2.3.3 The *** reporting is good overall; it is targeted, concise and tied to government of Canada priorities. Some of the other reporting reviewed, on the other hand, was lengthier and the summaries did not always capture the key observations or analysis. The mission prepared a draft reporting agreement, a tool which should help ensure that reporting is relevant to stakeholders.
2.3.4 As identified under mission management, the mission has recognized a need to develop its networks and generate influence with decision makers. Networking could be a central component of the FPDS workplan and advocacy strategy. As early steps, key targets could be identified and mission resources, such as hospitality, could be allocated to enhance connections and build relationships.
2.4 Performance Measurement
|Key FPDS Performance Measurement Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|The program has an established performance measurement system in place to monitor activities towards the achievement of objectives.||X|
|The program assesses performance against strategies / objectives and plans, and provides a high-level assessment of performance through the Mission Planning and Reporting (MPR) system at the end of the fiscal year.||X|
|Hospitality diaries demonstrate value-for-money and alignment with priorities.||X|
2.4.1 Performance is reviewed at the individual level but not at the program level. No program-wide performance measurement system is in place to review activities and measure progress towards goals.
2.4.2 As noted under planning and program management, strengthening planning will also facilitate more meaningful performance measurement. Results should be reviewed on an ongoing basis, and an annual retreat could be used to validate the related strategies and activities as well as incorporate lessons learned into future planning. Such a retreat would also permit the program to evaluate its progress on FPDS-related MPR commitments ahead of establishing new objectives for the following fiscal year.
2.4.3 The program's reporting on hospitality was inconsistent. Some of the documentation reviewed did not fully communicate the purpose and value derived from the events in question. A good practice in reporting outcomes is to link the event or activity to reporting or other tangible products. Allocating hospitality to individuals and holding them accountable for its strategic planning and use could assist with targeted network building.
Recommendations to the Mission
2.5.1 The program should develop a workplan that outlines key activities and links human and financial resources to strategic and measurable objectives. This workplan should cascade into employees' individual workplans in order to maintain a coherent strategic focus.
2.5.2 The mission should consult the *** to verify priorities *** reporting and activities.
2.5.3 Existing communication practices should be reinforced by:
- Following an agenda during regular FPDS meetings;
- Disseminating a short record of decision; and
- Ensuring the *** to the FPDS program manager.
2.5.4 A whole-of-government advocacy strategy and plan should be developed and supported by common messaging on key subjects.
2.5.5 Reporting should be reviewed to ensure it is concise and effectively communicates key observations and analysis that is relevant to stakeholders.
2.5.6 Networking objectives should be included within the program's workplan.
2.5.7 A performance measurement system should be implemented to monitor program activities on an ongoing basis and assess results against strategic objectives. Lessons learned should be captured and applied to future planning.
2.5.8 All employees should have clear PMP objectives and participate in formal performance discussions with their supervisor in accordance with the performance management cycle.
2.5.9 The use of hospitality should be planned in order to ensure funds are strategically and fully leveraged. The associated documentation should outline the purpose of the event, link it to mission priorities, evaluate its value-for-money and identify any follow up that was taken or is required.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
(Please note: The management actions below reflect the initial responses upon receiving the recommendations. They do not reflect the current status of implementation.)
2.5.1 A draft program work plan is to be prepared by the Political Counsellor, to be discussed within section, consulted with HoM, and provided to successor for further refinement and implementation after the summer changeover in the section. In Progress for September 2014.
2.5.2 The mission is fully familiar with *** priorities***, which are circulated to all missions with *** officers. Quarterly *** priorities and travel plans are consulted with HQ, the HOM and the FPDS counsellor. Subsequent reports are consulted with the HOM, the FPDS counsellor, ***, and once complete, shared with the mission management team. Implemented May 2014.
2.5.3 Agendas will be prepared for staff meetings. Records of decision will be distributed. *** reports to PM *** also receives guidance and budget allocations *** mandate directly from HQ/ Program. Efforts will be made to further formalize and clarify the reporting relationship. In Progress for September 2014.
2.5.4 An FPDS draft advocacy strategy and plan are to be prepared for discussion in the section and with other sections to capture whole-of-government synergies. Plan will be consulted with HOM and passed on to successor for refinement and implementation after summer changeover in the section. In Progress for September 2014.
2.5.5 All reporting is being reviewed. Feedback on substance and distribution lists is sought on an ongoing basis. Implemented May 2014.
2.5.6 Networking objectives to be included in a draft program workplan. In Progress for September 2014.
2.5.7 Program activities are guided by government priorities and strategic objectives articulated in the mission's annual management plan. A draft FPDS workplan will be prepared, with key deliverables and standards. These will be incorporated into a finalized plan, progress monitored regularly and lessons learned will be applied to future planning. In Progress for September 2014.
2.5.8 Prior to departure from the mission this summer, the FPDS manager will ensure that all PMPs are completed and new PMP objectives for 2014/15 in the new government-wide system are clearly articulated. In Progress for June 2014.
2.5.9 FPDS and *** hospitality expenditures are focused on building and maintaining a network of contacts in KSA, Yemen, Bahrain, and Oman to deliver on government, department, bureau (GMD***), and mission priorities. Quarterly reports and documentation for expenditures routinely outline the purpose of the hospitality, how it supports government priorities, and provides an evaluation of value for money for the expenditure. Implemented May 2014.
3 Commercial Economic (CE)
3.1.1 The Commercial Economic (CE) Program in Riyadh is headed by an EX-01 Senior Trade Commissioner (STC). The STC is supported by four trade commissioners (TCs) (one FS-02 and three LE-09s) and three LE-05 trade commissioner assistants (TCAs). Two of the three LE-09 TC positions are currently vacant but in the process of being staffed. The CE program in Riyadh is responsible for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman and Bahrain. The program's financial resources are provided below.
|Client Service Fund (CSF)||21,000|
|Integrative Trade Strategy Fund (ITSF)||12,000|
|Private Sector Investment Champion Speaker Program||10,000|
3.1.2 The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is the world's leading oil exporter. It holds 25% of the world's known oil reserves and plays a key role in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). KSA is Canada's largest trading partner in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region. It is also the fourth largest source of foreign students for Canada. There are more than 15,000 Saudi students in Canada, including 800 resident physicians and specialists who provide care to the Canadian population.
3.1.3 The CE program is focused on seven priority sectors. The program's priority sectors are agriculture, food and beverages, defence and security, education, information and communications technology (ICT), infrastructure, building products and related services, life sciences and oil and gas.
3.2 Planning and Program Management
|Key CE Program Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Program objectives reflect departmental plans and priorities, including partner departments where applicable.||X|
|Performance targets are defined, clear and measurable.||X|
|Internal program communication effectively supports program delivery.||X|
3.2.1 Overall, the program is functioning well and delivering on its commitments. The Commercial Economic program plan (CEP plan) is aligned with the Mission Planning and Reporting (MPR) document, departmental priorities and Government of Canada priorities. The STC is *** sharing of information and provides support and guidance to officers in their respective sector. The team is dedicated and working to effectively carry out activities as per the CEP plan.
3.2.2 The planning process begins in December when the STC drafts the strategy and TCs develop their individual action plans. TCs consult various stakeholders such as partner departments, provinces, Headquarters and neighbouring missions in the GCC region as well as the Middle-East and North Africa (MENA) region. Discussions between the STC and individual TCs occur, however, discussions as a team do not. It would be beneficial for the team to discuss, plan and share best practices from the previous year to help shape the strategy, identify program priorities and collaborate when possible.
3.2.3 Although the program is revisiting its priority sectors, the current plan contains too many priority sectors. Some officers are allocated to two priority sectors while the guidelines are for one priority sector per officer. In setting new priority sectors, the STC should consider the resources, both human and financial, dedicated to the program.
3.2.4 During the planning process, TCs are responsible for developing their individual sector/functional area action plan. Within each action plan, TCs identify results for the previous year and set performance targets for the coming year. When reviewing the business plans, the results and the targets were not well substantiated. The STC should review the performance targets and results and ensure that the appropriate figures are identified.
3.2.5 Top-down communication within the program is effective. The STC holds a weekly team meeting. An agenda is distributed in advance and meeting minutes are posted on the shared drive. Horizontal communication within the program, however, needs improvement. Some TCs and TCAs refuse to share information with other team members. The program should adopt a more open form of information sharing to reduce duplications and maximize team efforts. TCs and TCAs should also enter all of their active contacts into the TRIO system and indicate any recent interactions.
3.2.6 The CE program is active in the education sector and in the attraction of foreign investors to Canada which has produced a high volume of requests for visa application assistance. This could be particularly problematic to the program given the amount of time and effort required in assisting and filling out visa applications for clients and local contacts. It will be important for the program to work with CIC towards a system whereby the provision of visa services helps facilitate Canada's economic prosperity agenda.
|Key CE Implementation Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Business plan objectives and those outlined in management's Performance Management Agreements(PMAs) / Performance Management Programs(PMPs) appropriately cascade down into staff PMPs.||X|
|Activities and initiatives are aligned with the mission's key priorities.||X|
|TRIO use is monitored to ensure activities are reported appropriately and accurately reflect the work undertaken.||X|
|InfoCentre functions are assigned and facilitate program delivery.||X|
3.3.1 Overall, staff have Performance Management Programs (PMPs) in place and formal discussions are conducted throughout the year. Business plan objectives and those outlined in the STC's Performance Management Agreement (PMA) cascade down into staff PMPs. The program is providing effective services and actively working to identify and promote business opportunities for clients.
3.3.2 The program faces the challenge that women are restricted from attending some events. As a result, female TCs must often rely on second-hand sources of information. Therefore it is extremely important for them to nourish relationships to maintain and grow their contact network.
3.3.3 TCs in Riyadh are active members of the GCC trade network. TCs share information across the mission network to develop joint initiatives when possible. Certain sectors have a structured GCC network with a dedicated lead officer, such as the agriculture sector in Dubai and the education sector in Abu Dhabi.
3.3.4 The education sector in Riyadh is extremely active in attracting Saudi Arabian students to Canada. Riyadh is the number one source of foreign students for Canada in the GCC region. The TC and TCA responsible for the education sector actively communicate and participate in the GCC trade network and with the regional education officer, based in Abu Dhabi. However, the mandate and the level of support provided by the regional education officer are unclear to both the STC and the TC responsible for the education sector in Riyadh. Guidance was sought from Headquarters regarding the role of the regional officer versus the role of the TC in Riyadh, however a clear response was lacking. The lack of clarity leaves the CE program in Riyadh questioning the level of support that can be expected from the regional officer.
3.3.5 The use of TRIO is strongly encouraged by the STC; however, TRIO data is not monitored and does not accurately reflect the work undertaken. TRIO statistics at the time of the inspection were lower than the actual services delivered and outcalls that had taken place throughout the year. The new TRIO system, TRIO 2, was rolled out to the GCC missions, and the mission in Dubai hosted training sessions for the STCs and TRIO champions from the region. All employees now have access to the new system and should make an effort to incorporate its use into their daily routine.
3.3.6 Market reports for the program's priority sectors were not available on the trade commissioner service (TCS) website. It would be beneficial for clients to have access to market reports for priority sectors and secondary sectors. This will allow clients to gain more information on certain sectors as well as reduce the amount of requests sent to the InfoCentre.
3.3.7 The InfoCentre is functioning well and providing a good level of support to officers. The InfoCentre is comprised of one LE-05 TCA who is managed by an FS-02 TC. The TCA is new to the CE program and is adapting well. As a starting point, her main functions are to provide support to officers and respond to requests related to non-priority sectors. Once the TCA is more familiar with the TRIO system, she will be providing the STC with TRIO reports.
3.4 Performance Measurement
|Key CE Performance Measurement Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Tools and mechanisms are in place to measure and monitor performance of the program.||X|
|Program employees are involved in the performance measurement process.||X|
|Hospitality diaries are maintained in a fashion that demonstrates value-for-money and alignment with priorities.||X|
3.4.1 Performance measurement at the program level is not done with the use of departmental tools such as TRIO or the IBD Dashboard. It is, however, accomplished through the assessment of results achieved of planned activities, the number of high level visits received at the mission, the number of incoming requests from clients and repeat clients. However, the tracking of these results is inconsistent throughout the CE program and not easily substantiated. The use of departmental tools such as TRIO would facilitate this task and would capture all the relevant data.
3.4.2 Performance measurement at the program level as well as at the sector level should be discussed as a team throughout the year, not only at time of planning. We would encourage discussion of results for successful and unsuccessful initiatives during CE meetings. The STC should present TRIO data at team meetings and discuss the quality and quantity of entries into the system. In addition, the STC should print a snapshot from the International Business Development (IBD) Dashboard system as well as from TRIO and compare both systems to ensure that data is entered properly.
3.4.3 Hospitality reporting needs improvement by identifying a clear purpose for events as well as providing an honest evaluation of results. The evaluation of results should extend beyond an acknowledgement that all objectives were met. A good practice in reporting outcomes is to link the event or activity to reporting or other tangible outcomes. In addition, the hospitality budget was not distributed among the TCs; it is requested on a case-by-case basis. The STC should consider distributing a portion to the TCs and holding them accountable for its strategic use.
Recommendations to the Mission
3.5.1 The STC should review the performance indicators and ensure that the appropriate figures were identified.
3.5.2 The STC should ensure that TRIO data is entered in a timely manner.
3.5.3 The CE program should include market reports on the TCS website for their priority sectors.
3.5.4 The STC should ensure that employees are involved in the performance measurement process.
3.5.5 The use of hospitality should be planned in order to ensure funds are strategically and fully leveraged. The associated documentation should clearly state the purpose of each event, evaluate if, and how, value-for-money was achieved and identify any follow up that was taken or will be required.
Recommendations to Edu-Canada (International Promotion of Education in Canada (GLEC)
3.5.6 Edu-Canada (International Promotion of Education in Canada) Unit (GLEC) should outline the mandate, role and responsibilities of the regional education position and how it can support the CE program in Riyadh.
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 Key performance indicators have been reviewed and reported figures are more appropriate because there is consistency between TRIO data and reported figures in the CEP Plan and PMPs. Implemented May 2014.
3.5.2 As TRIO data can no longer be back-dated beyond two weeks all services are entered within 2 weeks of an event or receipt of the client's inquiry. To ensure timely entry the STC presents TRIO data during team meetings and shares success stories. The STC also reserves dedicated time for TRIO entry. Implemented February 2014.
3.5.3 Four market profiles were drafted, translated and uploaded in 2014, bringing the total number of online market profiles to six, covering four of RYADH's five priority sectors. A new oil & gas profile (a priority sector) will be finalized this summer. Profiles will be updated every two years. In Progress for July 2014.
3.5.4 Progress on performance measurement is reviewed during trade team meetings. TRIO Key Performance Indicators (KPI) totals, broken down by individual officer for the previous month as well as for the year-to-date, are presented, and the team's performance is compared against RYADH's annual target and discussed. TCs set targets individually for each of their CE plan initiatives and report the results. Targets are set under the supervision of, and with the approval of, the STC. Measurement and reporting is tied to TRIO records. Implemented December 2013.
3.5.5 RYADH CE program's hospitality budget for FY 2014-15 has been planned, and hospitality funds are fully accounted for in the 2014-15 CE plan in Strategia. In-house training on hospitality reporting and evaluation, including the appropriate use of funds, is planned as part of the CE program retreat in late June. The STC assistant has been instructed to take online hospitality training to assist with quality control for reporting purposes. Implemented June 2014.
HQ Actions and Timeframes
3.5.6 In fall 2014, EMC and missions, with support from BBY, ***. This will entail an assessment of the resources available in the GCC region for the education sector, including the Health/Education Officer in RYADH, workload factors, market competition and opportunities and travel considerations, together with discussions with stakeholders and partners. In Progress for December 2014.
4.1.1 The Consular Program is overseen by the Management Consular Officer (MCO), with the daily management conducted by the AS-04 DMCO who is a non-rotational PE-04 on his second posting. The program is supported by an LE-08 Consular Officer with delegated signing authority for notarial services, two LE-06 Passport Examiners/Consular Assistants and one LE-04 Consular Assistant. The CBS HOM Assistant has received passport certification and has also been providing assistance with the passport approvals.
4.1.2 The program oversees an Honorary Consul in Jeddah and is responsible for consular and passport service delivery to Canadians in Yemen, Bahrain and Oman. There are Honorary Consuls in Yemen and Bahrain. There is currently no Honorary Consul in Oman.
4.1.3 The mission provides approximately 3,600 passport services and processes approximately 400 citizenship applications and 400 notarial requests yearly. There are 3,851 Canadian citizens registered in Saudi Arabia in the Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) database. The estimated number of Canadians residing in Saudi Arabia is 25,000, with an annual tourist volume of 16,000. There are 126 Canadian citizens registered in Yemen, 203 Canadian citizens registered in Oman and 527 Canadian citizens registered in Bahrain in the ROCA database.
4.1.4 The program has a very active consular and passport workload. In addition to a steady number of general inquiries by email and telephone, routine and distress cases dealing with domestic abuse, financial employment disputes, there have been a number of high profile and complex cases which have taken up a large amount of time and resources. The program has a high volume of passports, and while the introduction of the simplified passport renewal process has assisted to reduce some of the workload, there is still a significant number of children's passport applications received.
4.1.5 It should be noted that the DMCO was not present during the inspection; however, a videoconference interview was held with him prior to the visit.
4.2 Planning and Program Management
|Key Consular Program Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Mission consular plans and manuals are up to date.||X|
|Internal communications within the program effectively support program delivery.||X|
|The mission has ongoing dialogue with key local authorities to facilitate program delivery.||X|
|A warden network is in place and properly maintained.||X|
4.2.1 Consular program operations are functioning well, although internal communication issues in the past two years and the reconfiguration of the closed office space to an open concept workspace created morale problems in the section.***. However, the MCO, and the HOM, are highly involved in the complex and sensitive consular cases. Some improvement is required to reinvigorate the warden network and further enhance revenue controls and inventory reconciliation.
4.2.2 The DMCO has reviewed work processes and implemented a number of changes to improve the efficiency of the operations. Passport duties have been documented and a roster has been developed for sharing consular reception coverage on a rotating basis every few days. Staff are aware of their roles and responsibilities, and the workload is shared equitably. Consular plans and manuals are up to date. The Duty Officer Manual (DOM) was updated in December 2012, and the Mission Emergency Plan (MEP) was developed last year with a Consular lead using a mission template, rather than the HQ template. With the MSO taking the lead for this year's MEP, the Consular section will provide input for the update and the headquarters MEP format will be used.
4.2.3 The DMCO has identified a number of key activities for the current fiscal year, such as the training of the newly-hired LE-04 Consular Assistant, updating the DOM, passport-related training (Mission On-line Payment System and Passport Integrity Program), etc. To help ensure that all staff are aware of key deliverables and better able to contribute to program priorities, a Consular section workplan could be developed and shared with staff to identify key activities and initiatives, as well as assign responsibilities and timelines for completion.
4.2.4 While informal communication has been increased with the open concept area, and section staff participate in the all-staff meetings held by the MCO bi-weekly, program meetings are held on an ad-hoc basis. Formal section meetings would provide an opportunity to discuss policy and procedural changes as well as to discuss any problems involving program delivery.
4.2.5 The program maintains a good network of contacts with like-minded missions such as the U.S, UK and Australia. The MCO and DMCO have recently expanded their network outside the like-minded network to include contacts with Japan, Turkey and some Middle East countries to gain different perspectives. Contacts are also maintained with local authorities in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, police, Diplomatic Quarter security, Ministry of Justice and other local officials.
4.2.6 The program manages a warden network that consists of 136 districts in Saudi Arabia, 14 districts in Oman and 24 districts in Bahrain. There is currently no warden network maintained in Yemen. Maintaining the network has been challenging due to the mobile nature of the expatriate community. There are a number of districts without coverage as many wardens and deputy wardens have left the country, and a wardens conference has not been held since 2008. Contact with the wardens is maintained on an ad-hoc basis, as required. The HOM sent messages to all wardens and registrants in July 2012 shortly after he arrived which is a good practice. The program has had challenges conducting outreach activities due to resourcing issues, although the DMCO has visited some of the consulates. Efforts should also be made to conduct more outreach activities.
4.2.7 There is a good working relationship between the mission and the Honorary Consuls. Their primary function is to assist with the delivery of consular and passport services. They also work closely with other sections to provide support for trade and political activities. The mission has been satisfied with the services from the Honorary Consuls, and the Honorary Consuls indicated their satisfaction with the level of communication, support and cooperation with mission contacts.
4.3 Client Service
|Key Consular Client Service Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Services are provided to Canadians in the official language of their choice.||X|
|Service standards, fee schedules and a copy of an official receipt are posted in public areas in both official languages.||X|
|Services are provided in line with established standards.||X|
|Client feedback is reviewed and corrective action is taken when warranted.||X|
4.3.1 The program is providing a good level of service to its clients. The program experienced a backlog during a gap in MCO staffing in the last two years, and Passport Canada temporarily provided assistance remotely. However, service standards are currently met. The program has the capacity to provide service in both official languages. While the LE-08 Consular Officer received consular training, the other section staff have not yet received consular training which would enhance the capacity and flexibility in the consular program.
4.3.2 Bilingual signage and information is available for clients in the consular booth/reception area. However, a copy of the fee schedule, service standards and official receipt are not posted. A copy of the service standards and fee schedule in both official languages should be posted in the consular waiting area.
4.3.3 Clients are invited to complete feedback forms provided to them at the reception window and there is a locked drop box located in the consular waiting area. However, there were no feedback forms available in the reception area. As a good practice, the program could further promote feedback and ROCA registration by including forms with completed passport or citizenship services and providing feedback forms in the reception area.
4.4 Internal Controls
|Key Consular Internal Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|A certified CBS signs-off on all passports.||X|
|Client documents and personal information are properly stored and secured.||X|
|Procedures and practices related to the collection of revenues are appropriate.||X|
|Revenues held in the consular section are kept to a minimum and are transferred to finance on a regular basis.||X|
|Upon receipt of inventory two CBS verify the receipt of all assets, sign and return the transmittal note.||X|
|Inventory is appropriately secured and removal of assets is appropriately recorded.||.||X|
|Working inventories provided to staff are appropriate and controlled by a daily log.||X|
|Monthly and quarterly reconciliations of inventory are properly completed and certified.||X|
|Official seals and stamps are properly inventoried, secured and access provided to designated staff only.||X|
4.4.1 Overall, controls on passport and consular activities are in place***.
4.4.2 All other staff involved in the passport program have received passport certification and have recently taken the on-line Passport Program Integrity course. Passports are authorized by the DMCO or the HOM Assistant. The HOM Assistant has been increasingly involved in the passport approvals. While this arrangement is very beneficial in enhancing capacity in peak periods and DMCO absences, this arrangement should not be used for extended periods of time and in lieu of MCO certification. It creates an over-reliance on the HOM Assistant whose successor may not be as willing or trained to assist.
4.4.3 ***. The mission should ensure that appropriate security-approved filing cabinets are used to store documents ***.
4.4.5 The month-end passport inventory reconciliations are conducted by the DMCO in the presence of another member of staff, usually the HOM Assistant. The HOM has participated in the quarterly reconciliation only once since his arrival. Improvement is required to ensure that inventory reconciliations are conducted quarterly with the HOM. ***.
4.4.6 Although controls for the *** are generally in place, with sufficient involvement and oversight by the DMCO, some minor improvement is required to ensure that ***. The implementation of the mission online payment system (MOPS) option to pay with a credit card is expected***.
4.4.7 Access to the seals is restricted to designated staff and an inventory is maintained***.
Recommendations to the Mission
4.5.2 A Consular section workplan should be developed and shared with staff.
4.5.3 More formal consular meetings should be scheduled with records of decisions or minutes documented.
4.5.4 The program should review and consolidate the number of districts, continue its efforts to recruit wardens and increase communication. More outreach activities should be conducted.
4.5.5 Consular training should be provided to other section staff.
4.5.6 A copy of the service standards and fee schedule in both official languages should be posted in the consular waiting area.
4.5.8 The mission should obtain *** information and documents.
4.5.10 To further improve compliance and strengthen passport inventory controls:
- A log for the removal of the *** material *** should be maintained.
4.5.11 The inventory of seals/stamps should be improved***.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
4.5.1 ***. In Progress for September 2014.
4.5.2 A formal workplan, including role clarification and business processes is under development. In Progress for December 2014.
4.5.3 Sections meetings are currently held as needed. Formal section meetings will be implemented following relocation season and the arrival the new MCO. In Progress for September 2014.
4.5.4 Section has been without a Senior Consular officer for nine months; provided that mission is able to recruit a suitable candidate, they will be able to lead this initiative starting later this year, after sufficient training and orientation. In Progress for March 2014.
4.5.5 The section's new LE04 Consular Assistant was the priority in the last FY, and has received the consular specialist training at HQ in February 2014. Training of the new LE08 officer will be the priority this FY, provided that a suitable candidate can be identified.***, and the section will pursue in-class training for them once the section is back to a full staff complement and work pressures for individual staff return to normal levels. In Progress for March 2015.
4.5.6 A copy of the service standards and fee schedule in both official languages are posted in the consular waiting area. Implemented May 2014.
4.5.7 ***. In Progress for December 2014.
4.5.8 The section is coordinating with***. If not available, it would require ordering from HQ. In Progress for June 2014.
4.5.9 The DMCO has implemented procedures to remove ***. Implemented August 2014.
4.5.10 The *** is now participating in reconciliations, and a log is in place to capture ***. Implemented August 2014.
4.5.11 Inventory of seals/stamps has been improved ***. Implemented September 2013.
5 Common Services
5.1.1 The Common Services Program is managed by an AS-04 acting in the AS-06 MCO position. He is supported by a team of two CBS and 14 LES. The program is responsible for providing common services to 57.5 full-time equivalents (FTEs) spread over six DFAIT and two partner programs.
5.1.2 The Common Services program has experienced a number of challenges and has been operating in a state of flux in the last two years, with extended gaps in the staffing of key management positions. There have been four MCOs over the course of a two-year period and a lack of continuity. The program operates in a complex and challenging local environment. It has also faced a large-scale reorganization with position cuts, is in transition to the London Common Service Delivery Point (CSDP) model for financials services, has an upcoming chancery/OR project, and lingering HR issues.
5.1.3 The transition to the London CSDP in January 2013 was not realized as fully as expected, with unforeseen local banking and other challenges that manifested themselves post implementation. The mission will continue to consult and collaborate with the Regional Services Centre Europe Middle East and Africa (RSCEMA) and headquarters to identify solutions for successful full implementation.
|Key Common Services Program Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|A Common Services Business Plan is in place and used to establish priorities and guide operations.||X|
|Common services policies and procedures are documented and communicated to management, staff and clients.||X|
|Internal communications within the program effectively support program delivery.||X|
5.1.4 Overall, the Common Services program is functioning well enough to provide a good level of service to its clients. The arrival of the MCO in September 2012, after a gap between MCOs of over five months, has created some stability in the program. The MCO has spent a significant amount of time focused on immediate human resources-mission management issues. He has done a lot of work to align mission practices, procedures and management controls in the Common Services program, although there is still some improvement required to further enhance overall program and client service delivery.
5.1.5 Staff indicated their appreciation of the MCO's *** management style. The MCO and DMCO work *** together, although the DMCO indicated that he would appreciate more clarification of the roles/responsibilities to avoid double tasking and overlap of responsibilities. As a good practice, the division of roles/responsibilities could be documented. This will also assist to ensure appropriate mentoring of the new DMCO is planned.
5.1.6 A Common Service Business Plan is in place and is used to guide operations. The next step would be to develop individual section work plans that would assist to manage the operational workflow and planning. This will be important in light of the upcoming relocation season, the full transition to the CSDP and the upcoming chancery/OR project.
5.1.7 The program has worked hard to rebuild mission policies and procedures and has implemented new property/materiel request forms, transportation request forms, documented logistics procedures, and improved financial processes and controls. The program should continue to update, formalize or develop policies, guidelines and procedures that are not in place. These documents should be consolidated into an easily accessible file, made available on a shared drive or the Wiki and communicated to clients and staff. This will strengthen client service delivery by the program and will help to manage client expectations. It will also enhance transparency and ensure equitable treatment of all programs.
5.1.8 The MCO meets with common services and consular staff bi-weekly, and minutes are maintained. It was noted however that the receptionist has not been able to attend and arrangements should be made so that she could have a chance to attend. The MCO or DMCO should also ensure that there are periodic meetings with the OR staff to allow them the opportunity to raise any issues.
|Key Common Services Client Service Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Service standards have been established and communicated to clients.||X|
|Services provided reflect fair and equitable allocation and access to common services for all mission programs.||X|
|A mechanism is in place to solicit and receive client feedback, and corrective action is taken when warranted.||X|
|Hub-and-spoke relationships are governed by an agreement outlining the roles and responsibilities of each mission.||N/A||N/A||N/A|
5.1.9 Partners are generally satisfied with the services provided to programs, however, support provided to CBS upon transitioning to the country (shipments and vehicle clearances) were identified as more challenging, as were the restrictions imposed by the current transportation policy. The mission report has now been updated to reflect a more accurate description of the hardship environment.
5.1.10 Service standards have not been updated in some time, and the mission plans to review them this year. It will also be important to ensure that the service standards reflect any changes resulting from the CSDP implementation. Roles/responsibilities will have to be reviewed and realigned within the section and communicated to all staff and clients.
5.1.11 A formal client service feedback mechanism is not currently in place. One should be developed in order to assist the program in recognizing successes as well as any deficiencies in service delivery.
Procurement and Contracting
|Key Procurement and Contracting Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|A Contract Review Board (CRB) is in place and operating effectively with terms of reference.||X|
|Procurement and contracting procedures have been documented and communicated to all staff involved in the process.||X|
|Contracting files demonstrate compliance with policies and procedures.||X|
|A plan is in place for major acquisitions and is approved by CMM annually.||X|
5.1.12 Contracting and procurement processes at mission need improvement.
5.1.13 The mission has a formal Contract Review Board (CRB) in place consisting of five CBS members. The standard Terms of Reference available on the departmental Intranet are used to guide CRB members, but this document has not been adapted to reflect the local contracting environment. Proposals are forwarded electronically to members along with supporting documentation, however; members never meet in person to discuss proposals. Contracts below the CRB threshold involving spouses of CBS are not currently being reviewed by CRB.
5.1.14 The mission does not have documents in place to properly guide staff involved in the contracting process. There is no formal training in place for new CRB members.
5.1.15 A review of files indicated that contracting policies and procedures were not always followed. Here are some examples of anomalies identified in one file:
- The mission launched an RFP in 2012 for cleaning services at the chancery. The invitation was sent by email to 3 potential bidders, however; 1 declined and 1 did not respond. There is no indication in contract files that the mission did any follow up with the last bidder to confirm if the invitation was ever received.
- The RFP was sent by email on February 29, 2012, however; the only supplier who responded, and who ultimately won the contract, refers to a bid invitation received on February26, 2012.
- The RFP closing date was 2PM March 11, 2012, however; the winning bid is dated March 13, 2012. There is no indication in contract files that an extension was granted or when the bid was received at the mission.
5.1.16 The following documents were not found in some of the contract files reviewed:
- Records in contract files of CRB's involvement and decisions.
- Date stamps showing when proposals from bidders were received at mission and an indication of who opened each proposal.
- Records of proponent meetings prior to closing of RFP as well as record of issues raised by bidders.
- RFP evaluation criteria and evaluation grids with final results signed by members of the evaluation team.
5.1.17 The program has established an acquisition plan, although it does not provide for a multi-year forecast of anticipated expenditures.
Recommendations to the Mission
5.1.18 A consolidated work plan should be developed with staff assigned and deadlines associated with each task to assist with the planning, organization and service delivery.
5.1.19 The program should continue to update, formalize or develop policies, guidelines and procedures that are not in place. These documents should be centralized in one location and communicated to all staff and clients.
5.1.20 Arrangements should be made so that the receptionist can also attend the bi-weekly staff meetings, and the MCO or DMCO should ensure there are meetings with OR staff periodically.
5.1.21 Service standards should be reviewed, updated and communicated to all staff and clients after CMM approval.
5.1.22 A formal client feedback mechanism should be developed.
5.1.23 In order to strengthen and improve contracting processes:
- CRB members should meet in person periodically to discuss contracting issues and review contracts.
- Mission specific Terms of Reference should be developed.
- The mission should organise formal training periodically for new CRB members.
- Key procurement and contracting procedures should be documented and shared with CRB members and staff involved in the contracting process.
- Contract files should include all documentation supporting every step of the process leading to the selection of a successful bidder.
- Considering the sensitive nature of spousal employment, all contracts involving spouses of CBS should be reviewed by CRB for transparency.
5.1.24 A multi-year acquisition plan should be developed and presented to CMM for approval on an annual basis.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
5.1.18 The section has continued to plan according to priorities; a mid-term plan to cover the relocation season is being prepared. Implemented June 2014.
5.1.19 Updates and development of policies, guidelines and procedures is ongoing, particularly with new LES in the section's four key roles (finance, property, HR, logistics). Key documentation is already captured on the mission's i-drive. The new MCO will determine the best means to consolidate information once staffing has stabilized, staff members are all well-familiarized with their duties, and the program is in a position to refine back-end documentation. In Progress for December 2014.
5.1.20 The receptionist is attending staff meetings, and the reception coverage calendar will now identify replacements for section meetings. OR staff members are being invited to participate in meetings such as the LES Management Consultation Board, all staff meetings and social events. Implemented June 2014.
5.1.21 The section has been working on refining service standards, and plans to roll-out a consolidated Service Delivery Standard (SDS) document. In Progress for June 2014.
5.1.22 Client feedback is formally welcomed and often received. A more systematic feedback process will be developed once updated SDSs are in place for staff to reference. An interim system will be rolled out in tandem with the new SDS document. In Progress for June 2014.
5.1.23 Efforts to strengthen and improve contracting processes in the noted areas are ongoing. Role clarification is ongoing as RSCEMA assumes accountability for procurement functions. In Progress for January 2015.
5.1.24 As the current FY budget has been approved based on requirements identified through Strategia, the CSO will prepare a multi-year plan ahead of the next annual planning cycle. In Progress for January 2015.
5.2 Human Resources
5.2.1 The human resource (HR) function at the mission is the responsibility of the MCO who is supported by the LE-05 Common Services Assistant (HR). There have been a number of staffing actions over the past two years with three staffing actions to date and eight more expected this year; two staffing actions last year; two classification actions and one labour relations case in the last two years.
5.2.2 The LES complement at the mission is comprised of non-nationals. Regulations imposed by the host country provide for a challenging HR environment and include the requirement for all LES to be sponsored. ***. The mission has been working closely with the Locally Engaged Staff Services Bureau (ALD) and the Regional Services Centre Europe Middle East and Africa (RSCEMA) on this issue.
|Key HR Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|A mission HR plan has been developed and submitted to headquarters.||X|
|New LES are provided with an information package on the working conditions, benefits and regulations pertaining to employment at the mission.||X|
|Employee and position files are complete, maintained separately and properly secured.||X|
5.2.3 Overall, the HR functions are well managed. Given the challenging operational context, the increased work permit enforcement, and a general turnover (a number of staff left over the past year), succession planning is a key concern. It will be important to document processes and enhance internal communications in order to ensure continuity of operations and mitigate potential loss of corporate knowledge.
5.2.4 PMPs are in place for most staff. While many job descriptions have been updated as a result of the common services reorganization, or for newer staff as they were hired, many longer-serving LES may have out-dated job descriptions. There is currently no process in place to ensure a systematic review is conducted every five years or whenever significant changes occur.
5.2.5 The mission has good orientation documentation for new CBS and LES. Arrival and departures checklists have been developed for CBS. One has also been developed for LES, however, many staff indicated that they were not aware of its existence.
5.2.6 The MCO is the mission training coordinator. A budget is not yet established. The mission is in the process of establishing a comprehensive training plan and has compiled all employees' previous and future training needs. The use of CFSI on-line training is encouraged. A mission-wide training plan would enhance management of training and facilitate budgeting as well as serve to coordinate and prioritize needs for all programs, for example training on client service, intercultural effectiveness, conflict management would benefit the entire mission.
5.2.7 LES leave is monitored and an excel spreadsheet is maintained. Leave balances are provided to program managers and LES at the beginning of the year and at mid-year
5.2.8 The mission maintains separate position, employee and competition files. The HR Assistant has started the process of reviewing and reorganizing all files***.
5.2.9 A review of a sample of files found that in general the personnel files were well maintained and contained key documents. Position files reviewed, however, contained inconsistent documentation. For example, while job descriptions, the EXT 145 and organizational charts were maintained on file, there were a number of files that had old staffing documents such as letters of offers, included in the files. The ALD checklist should be used as a reference.
|Key HR Internal Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Staffing actions are conducted in line with the Locally Engaged Staff Services Bureau(ALD) guidelines. Written records supporting the process are maintained and contain required documents and approvals.||X|
|Letters of offer are signed by the appropriate authority and include the appropriate clauses (e.g. values and ethics, etc.).||X|
|LES accrued leave and deductions are recorded and the related liabilities are monitored.||X|
5.2.10 Overall, HR processes and internal controls were in place. A review of competition files revealed that most documents were maintained, although a few were still missing key documents such as the final report to the HOM with recommendations. While not all files had full documentation, the recent files demonstrated that procedures followed were in accordance with ALD guidelines. Letters of Offer are signed by the HOM.
5.2.11 A number of staff indicated that they were not aware of the mission's staffing procedures and that they would welcome further information on how processes are conducted at the mission. Documenting the process would provide clearer guidance and assure consistency and transparency in the staffing process
Recommendations to the Mission
5.2.12 The mission should ensure that a succession plan is in place to ensure continuity of operations.
5.2.13 Job descriptions should be reviewed every five years or whenever there have been significant changes to position duties.
5.2.14 The mission should ensure that appropriate documents are maintained in position, employee and staffing files. The Locally Engaged Staff Services Bureau (ALD) checklist should be used as a reference.
5.2.15 The mission staffing process should be documented and communicated to all staff to provide clearer guidance and assure consistency and transparency in the staffing process
Mission Actions and Timeframes
5.2.12 Operational continuity planning through capturing corporate knowledge and processes is already underway in Common Services. A broader, mission-wide plan will be evaluated by next CMM cohort. In Progress for January 2015.
5.2.13 A job description review has taken place for the majority of Common Services and Consular, as well as for the majority of the CE and CIC section. CMM has agreed to undertake an immediate review of JDs not reviewed in last 2 years. In Progress for July 2014.
5.2.14 HR has worked to maintain files updated, and will be implementing the ALD checklist effective immediately. Implemented June 2014.
5.2.15 Parameters of staffing processes are clearly articulated in competition posters, and staff impacted by staffing procedures may enquire with HR or the MCO, and even RSCEMA. The need for augmented staff engagement to be determined by CMM based upon needs. Implemented June 2014.
5.3 Physical Resources
5.3.1 The physical resources functions at the mission are the overall responsibility of the AS-06 MCO with day-to-day management by the AS-04 DMCO, who is supported by an LE-08 Property Manager, an LE-05 Materiel Manager, a GS-04 Dispatcher, and an additional 5 drivers. The mission has a vehicle fleet of 15 vehicles including property and materiel section transportation vehicles, repairs and vehicles owned by other programs.
5.3.2 The section is responsible for the chancery, the official residence, a temporary official residence and fifteen SQs. All properties are based on ninety-nine year leases, which in effect are equivalent to ownership in terms of responsibility for maintenance, repairs and upkeep. The section is also responsible for transportation and materiel management. The section has received 450 work orders during the past year.
|Key Physical Resources Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Mission property and maintenance plans are up to date.||X|
|The chancery and official residence (OR) are well maintained and maintenance schedules are in place.||X|
|An efficient process in place for receiving, processing and monitoring work orders.||X|
|Annual inspections are conducted to assess the state of staff quarters(SQs) and input into maintenance and acquisition planning.||X|
5.3.3 The section is functioning well although a number of challenges exist creating a situation where the quality of services to clients is expected to be affected. The deletion of the property manager position, to be replaced by a financial/property officer position, will require at least a significant transition period. Roles of staff in the interim were not clearly defined. A major midlife refit project expected to last between 12 to 18 months, is scheduled to start in September, and is expected to be highly disruptive. The transportation policy in the context of local laws remains one of the challenges affecting staff morale.
5.3.4 ***. A recent reorganization of the consular section resulted in inefficient space use and a set-up which did not adapt effectively to privacy and local customs in a way covered by Workplace 2.0 standards. This may have resulted in perceptions of marginalization by staff.
5.3.5 The upcoming property projects and changes listed will represent significant challenges and are expected to prove particularly difficult for the section already under stress.
5.3.6 The fifteen SQs under the section's management are in good condition and well maintained. While ownership by foreign governments is not possible, a ninety-nine year lease rental situation agreement is in place for each SQ. This, in effect, makes the mission fully responsible for all SQs including the full maintenance of all systems. The maintenance of this SQ portfolio requires a full team of managers and technicians to plan works and execute a number of them.
5.3.7 At the time of the inspection there remained only a couple of days left for the incumbent property manager in this position, but the hiring process for the new finance/property officer position had not yet begun, leaving an expected gap of several weeks between the two. It is also expected to be difficult for the section to identify a candidate with the right set of skills to take on roles related to finance and property at the same time.
5.3.8 Initial interviews with staff previously reporting directly to the property manager indicated that at the time of the inspection they were mostly unaware of the expectations or changes in requirements for their respective position and how work would be re-distributed given the property manager position's deletion. The section should review roles and responsibilities and ensure staff is aware and provided with the necessary training to take on new roles. A difficult transition, major projects and confusion in roles would prove to be significant burden for a section currently restructuring.
5.3.9 The section lacks an established work order management system. Tracking of clients service requests were not in formally in place. The use of email items reviewed from time to time served as the primary means by which to track the completion of various client requests.
5.3.10 The lack of a detailed system assigning priorities to client requests contributed to an uneven approach to client service where the most insistent clients ended up with quicker service than those more patiently waiting.
5.3.11 This challenge will become greater given the midlife chancery refit project expected to start in September. For the duration of the project, mission staff will be relocated to temporary offices located on the mission's tennis court. The project will also impact the official residence, requiring the HOM to move to a temporary one.
5.3.12 Access to the current parking spaces on mission grounds is expected to become limited to mission vehicles only. A tentative plan would see a *** put in place as parking would become mostly impossible for a portion if not the entire time of the project. This issue should be seen in conjunction with the challenges currently faced by the mission as related to its transportation policy within the local context.
5.3.13 The lack of a clearly defined and updated transportation policy addressing local environment in terms of restrictions placed on women driving, mostly affects female CBS. Indirectly, it also affects their spouses. Were single female CBS able to import a vehicle and hire a driver, it could have alleviated pressures on the program. Mission has sought input from clients and the regional service centre to review and implement a new transportation policy to address existing concerns. Further consideration should be given to identify RYADH as a post with unique challenges and to provide specific guidelines and resources to address this situation which is affecting mission morale.
5.3.14 The section is expected to have to increase the level of communication with clients, especially in light of major projects coming. The change of office setting for a period expected to last between 12 to 18 months will require the section to provide frequent updates to clients on project progression as well as the need to address effectively concerns that may occur with a temporary chancery and OR. The loss of the tennis court and parking lot are also matters that may affect morale further, (as well as potentially impacting the access to the Canada Club). It will be necessary for the section to closely manage and effectively communicate with clients at all times.
5.3.15 The section efficiently manages the OR and the fifteen SQs for which it is responsible. Clear schedules exist to check and maintain the various systems in place in those residences. Given the climate, this preventive approach to maintenance involving frequent visits to SQs is largely responsible for keeping the housing in good condition.
5.3.16 Significant changes are expected to the Diplomatic Quarter (DQ) in the coming months. A number of construction projects have recently been started where construction companies work six days a week, starting early in the morning and ending relatively late. This has started to impact the quality of life of CBS. At the time of the inspection, one accommodation deficiency adjustment (ADA) request had been approved due to the inability of CBS family to enjoy their SQ due to noise, dust and increased presence of workers. More ADAs were being submitted at the time of the inspection for similar reasons. Given the noise and dust generated by construction, this may well become a trend.
5.3.17 The first ADA submitted was for the MCO's SQ and was also accompanied by various small repair works to his SQ. Care should be given to avoid giving the impression that the MCO's SQ issues are addressed on a priority basis. The section should be proactive during its regular SQ visits, and ensure that arising issues are addressed quickly and that repair projects are done where needed.
5.3.18 The current new constructions in the DQ are expected to welcome a number of locals, as these new apartments are not being built by other diplomatic missions or the government. A significant increase in the number of locals could in turn translate in a stricter application of local rules to the residents of the DQ, who are mostly diplomats or expatriates working for local firms. This change may result in an environment that may further contribute to the challenges of postings due to the significantly different lifestyle of diplomats and expatriates in comparison with that of the locals.
5.3.19 The mission rents one SQ outside the DQ in a small but pleasant compound. This SQ is well maintained and offers a relatively pleasant environment. Off-site SQs may become an increasingly interesting option should the environment in the DQ become significantly changed where diplomats and their families find themselves in surroundings that are very different from those currently offered by the DQ.
5.3.20 The MCO is not meeting with drivers regularly, which would be an opportunity for them to discuss any ongoing challenges in addition to their regular meetings with their direct supervisor.
5.3.21 A number of drivers have been with the mission for many years and are expected to retire in the coming years. Given their vast experience, network of contacts, and overall expertise, and in order to avoid the loss of these resources within a short period of time, it is advisable for the section to develop a retirement plan in order to manage the change.
5.3.22 The dispatcher position has not been regularized, this as well as sponsorship issues and long working hours, have negatively impacted the morale of drivers. To improve morale and safety of clients, the section should seek to regularize pending sponsorship issues where possible and put in place regulations to ensure that drivers are provided with enough rest for their own and clients' safety. The use of staggered hours as well as the staffing of the vacant driver position should be explored.
Key Processes and Internal Controls
|Key Physical Resources Internal Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|An inspection is conducted by new SQ occupants and a mission representative within 30 days of occupancy, after which occupancy agreements and distribution accounts are signed.||X|
|Records of assets located in the chancery, OR and SQs, as well as those in storage, are maintained on an ongoing basis and verified annually. Assets are appropriately safeguarded and controlled.||X|
|Disposals are appropriately authorized and follow departmental guidelines.||X|
|Vehicle logs and fuel purchases are verified against consumption (e.g. mileage/usage rates for vehicles and generators).||X|
5.3.23 Overall, internal controls were found to be in need of improvement in certain areas. Frequent visits to SQs, maintenance of equipment and sufficient supplies are all indicative of good processes.
5.3.24 Records of assets were in need of improvement. While access to assets was not immediately possible for clients, the management and recording of these assets was not well established either***.
5.3.25 The mission's large fleet operated well with properly timed tune ups and appropriately maintained by the mission's drivers. The section has more vehicles than drivers, which is indicative of the need to assess whether all mission vehicles are indeed needed by the mission. Drivers' logs were found to be mostly complete although clients should be reminded to sign off the log when using a mission vehicle***.
Recommendations to the Mission
5.3.26 The mission should review roles and responsibilities for section staff and ensure that roles previously under the responsibility of the property manager are accounted for and that there is full delivery of services to clients.
5.3.27 The mission should review communication measures in order to ensure clients are aware of the progress and status of major projects.
5.3.28 The MCO should meet with drivers on a regular basis.
5.3.29 A system should be put in place to track client requests.
5.3.30 The vacant driver position should be filled to alleviate current demands on drivers and ensure sufficient rest time is provided.
5.3.31 The section should develop internal processes or policies to ensure sufficient rest time for drivers.
5.3.32 A review of the fleet size should be conducted in consultation with the RSCEMA.
5.3.33 The section should put in place a system to track and review assets.
5.3.34 The mission should ensure that vehicle logs are complete, and include passenger signatures.
Recommendations to the Physical Resources Bureau (ARD)
5.3.35 ARD should communicate with the mission to address what resources mission will need to ensure regular operations in the context of midlife refit project.
5.3.36 ARD should assess the situation on the DQ and review if the current SQ portfolio should be adjusted in light of current and coming construction projects and on the DQ.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
5.3.26 Roles and responsibilities for section staff have been thoroughly reviewed, updated, documented and communicated by the new CS Officer (CSO). Implemented October 2013.
5.3.27 Staff members are apprised through all-staff messages, meetings with LESMCB and townhall meetings of projects and any events that may impact the premises. Implemented April 2013.
5.3.28 MCO will be meeting with drivers bi-weekly. Implemented May 2014.
5.3.29 A service tracking system is in place and managed by the new CSO; information is captured by SQ, client, category, and priority. Implemented September 2013.
5.3.30 Consultation with RSCEMA initiated, and the section is preparing a case for staffing the vacant driver position. In Progress for December 2014.
5.3.31 An interim approach of a designated on call dispatcher/driver on a rotation basis has been implemented to partially distribute the burden. Drivers have been instructed to report to the DMCO and the Logistics Manager when any given driver is anticipated to work beyond a set weekly threshold. A more comprehensive solution will depend on the outcome of staffing the vacant position and the profile of service pressures once the new CBS cohort is in place. Implemented May 2014.
5.3.32 A review of the fleet size will be undertaken as part of a transportation resource evaluation and rationalization project following the relocation season, once the new Logistics Manager has become more familiarized with section operations, to be ready in time for annual planning. In Progress for January 2015.
5.3.33 Assets are being captured with a RFID system, and other assets that are managed by property/materiel are being documented through a different system. Implemented August 2014.
5.3.34 The new standard for sign-off on all taskings has been put in place. Implemented May 2014.
ARD Actions and Timeframes
5.3.35 The work on site will start in August 2014 with the installation of the prefab building to be used as swing space. The Portfolio Manager (ARAK) will organise, in collaboration with the Project Manager (ARPA) and the Regional Maintenance Manager (ARAF), a conference call with the Mission to discuss the issue by the end of June 2014.
5.3.36 The Portfolio Manager (ARAK) will initiate in collaboration with the Mission the review of the SQ portfolio. In progress for September 2014.
5.4.1 The finance section is managed by an AS-06 Management and Consular Officer (MCO) with the support of an LE-05 Common Service Assistant. With the mission recently joining the Common Service Delivery Point network (CSDP), key financial processes have been transferred under London's responsibility. Accordingly, during the first half of 2013 both accountant and assistant-accountant positions have been eliminated.
|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.||N/A|
5.4.2 Overall, the section is adapting to the transition to CSDP. However, improvements could be made in segregation of duties and issues still need to be resolved regarding the process for paying suppliers.
5.4.3 The move to CSDP has mitigated many of the financial risks commonly found in missions. The residual functions, however, still represent some degree of risk and responsibilities for these processes need to be better defined***.
5.4.4 The finance section has service standards communicated to clients and quiet hours are enforced.
5.4.5 The mission has made a lot of progress recently in implementing new methods to minimize transactions and reduce reliance on cash in the following areas:
- The Consular Program is implementing Mission Online Payment Services (MOPS) for consular fees in an effort to reduce cash collected at mission.
- The property section recently started using acquisition cards.
5.4.6 Improvements are still required, to streamline the processing of payments to suppliers. So far, London has been unsuccessful in opening a bank account in Saudi Arabia to process SAR payments electronically.***.
Key Processes and Internal Controls
|Key Finance Internal Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Financial signing authorities are exercised by individuals who possess the appropriate delegation of authority.||X|
|The asset and liability report is reviewed on a monthly basis.||X|
|A CBS receives the original monthly bank statement directly from the bank and reviews it prior to giving it to the accountant.||X|
|Revenues are deposited into the mission bank account daily, or if not cost effective, within a week of receipt, per the Financial Administration Act: Receipt and Deposit of Public Money Regulations.||X|
|Official receipts are provided to clients at the time of payment and to internal staff when funds are transferred (i.e. from Consular to Finance).||X|
|Reconciliations of any funds transferred within the mission are conducted in the presence of two staff.||X|
|Travel and hospitality claim processes ensure that policies and guidelines are adhered to and that the completeness and accuracy of the claim is verified.||X|
|Reimbursement of HonCon operational expenses is based on an established agreement.||X|
|A percentage of costs for personal use of OR supplies is determined and regular reimbursements are made to the mission.||X|
|A process is in place to ensure that, where applicable, CBS reimburse the mission for any services of a personal nature received at their staff quarters (e.g. television, internet, telephone, etc.).||X|
5.4.7 While, internal controls are generally in place *** there is a need for improvement in areas such***, supporting documentation for travel and hospitality claims, and cost recovery for private use of mission vehicles.
5.4.8 Financial signing authorities are exercised by individuals with proper delegation. Local banking signing authorities are up to date with the proper number of authorized CBS signatures. The back statements are received electronically by the MCO at month end.
5.4.9 Revenues are deposited into the mission bank account on a regular basis. However, several examples were noticed***.
5.4.11 The mission provides official receipts to clients at the time of payment and to internal staff when funds are transferred. The petty cash custodian *** however uses single copy commercial receipts***.
5.4.12 When programs revenues are transferred to the finance section, funds are counted in the presence of two staff. Finance then provides an official receipt.
5.4.13 In general, the travel and hospitality claims reviewed at mission included all the relevant supporting documentation. The bulk wine inventory is kept using a remarkably well designed Excel spreadsheet. Nonetheless, there are a few areas where the mission could focus more attention to improve its track record:
- The original bill for hotel accommodations on an official business trip was not attached to the travel claim. The mission simply based the refund on a copy of the employee's credit card statement.
- The mission reimbursed the cost of airfare for a spouse who accompanied the employee on an official business trip. This is not an admissible expense under the GOC travel policy. A corrected claim was submitted during the inspection.
- Hospitality rates were updated in January 2013, however; there was a gap of more than 2 years since the previous update.
5.4.14 The records provided for inspection showed gaps in renewal of HonCon assignments. Instructions to HONCONS detailing what are admissible operating costs in addition to mission expectations in terms of periodic financial reporting were not available.
5.4.15 The mission invoices the HOM on a periodic basis for his personal share of OR consumables.
5.4.16 The mission coordinates payment of SQ phone, cable and internet bills and recovers all costs from CBS. Staff are also asked to review telecommunication invoices each month to identify personal calls. In accordance with the mission transportation policy, CBS can hire mission drivers and vehicles for personal use, however; the rates do not always reflect actual vehicle operating costs.
5.4.18 Overall, the Maple Leaf Club (MLC) is well managed by the elected board members. Revenues are deposited in a bank account and transactions require 2 signatories. The Club recently purchased a new software application to maintain club alcohol inventories and produce invoices. MLC accounts however are maintained manually in a black book. This process is cumbersome and does not allow for proper audit trail.
Recommendations to the Mission
5.4.20 The mission should continue to explore solutions to facilitate electronic funds transfers (EFTs).
5.4.21 The MCO should review the asset and liability report on a monthly basis.
5.4.22 The mission should ensure that *** are recorded into IMS before being deposited in the mission bank account.
5.4.23 Numbered official receipts should always be used when funds are transferred, including petty cash transactions.
5.4.24 Hospitality rates should be updated every year and approved by CMM.
5.4.25 The mission should ensure that expense claims are only processed with appropriate supporting documentation.
5.4.26 The mission should ensure that agreements with HonCons are renewed in a timely fashion and that clear instructions on admissible operating costs and expectations in terms of periodic financial reporting are included.
5.4.27 The mission should ensure that the transportation policy is reviewed and rates adjusted as appropriate for the personal use of mission vehicles, per the new Mission Fleet Management Guidelines.
5.4.29 To further strengthen and enhance internal controls, the Maple Leaf Club (MLC) board should consider implementing financial and inventory systems that provide audit trails, and produce regular financial reports to be distributed to members.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
5.4.19 The MCO had consolidated and normalized previous, separate ECP and standing advances; these were transferred to the new MCO in Sept. 2014. The ECP was counted, and a report was provided to SMFF. This quarterly review will continue, with the next count in Jan. 2015. Spot checks are ongoing. Implemented May 2014.
5.4.20 Mission is a leader among missions in its implementation of electronic solutions such as P2P. Through active tracking and management, the use of petty cash and cheques continues to decrease ***. Remaining barriers to full use of EFTs due to key organizations (airport, customs) requiring cash. Implemented April 2013.
5.4.21 The MCO continues to review the asset and liability report on a monthly basis. Implemented April 2014.
5.4.22 Under CSDP, consular deposits must be done prior to IMS submission, as the bank receipts are used as supporting documentation to corroborate the transaction. For Immigration, this recommendation is being followed. Implemented Fall 2013.
5.4.23 Numbered official receipts are already in place for transactions managed by the Finance section, as well as a detailed registry for petty cash which is working effectively. Implemented January 2014.
5.4.24 Hospitality rates are updated yearly and approved by CMM on an ongoing basis. Implemented April 2013.
5.4.25 Expense claims are processed with appropriate supporting documentation; all documentation is uploaded into P2P. Mission also works with LDN CSDP when possible discrepancies arise. Implemented December 2013.
5.4.26 An agreement and annual assessment process has been established for HonCons. Implemented August 2014.
5.4.27 The CS section will review and update the transportation policy and rates following the summer turn-over. In Progress for October 2014.
5.4.28 ***. Procedures will be updated when the mission relocates to temporary offices that are open concept. Implemented May 2014.
5.4.29 The MLC operates independently from the Embassy of Canada. MLC Funds are kept separate from Embassy accounts. All expenses are authorized through a collective vote of the membership. The Treasurer maintains an ongoing account of expenses and income, with receipts. The periodic financial reports will be made available to all members. Inventory is maintained by the MLC Board. In Progress for June 2014.
5.5 Information Management - Information Technology (IM-IT)
5.5.1 IM-IT support to the mission is provided by a CS-02 Foreign Service Information Technology Professional (FSITP), who reports to the MCO. The mission has 52 Signet accounts and provides support to the Embassy of Canada in Kuwait.
|Key IM-IT Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|An Information Management - Information Technology (IM-IT) plan exists and includes regional activities.||X|
|The liaison between the mission, HQ and the regional manager is effective.||X|
|The mission uses the required IM-IT service request system and maintains relevant data.||X|
5.5.2 Overall the management of IM-IT is effective, and the mission is aware of and taking action on areas where it needs improvement.
5.5.3 While the mission's IM-IT plan needs improvement, an updated plan was created during the mission's 2013-14 Business planning cycle. In addition to this update, an IM-IT Committee has been created, providing more effective governance of the service at the mission. The IM-IT plan should also contribute to the mission's capital acquisition plan.
5.5.4 While there is a plan in place, it does not necessarily manage the pressures on the FSITP. It was noted that he was unable to take leave due to a combination of the workload and the lack of an available FSITP in the region to cover the missions while he is absent.
5.5.5 While the mission does use the departmental service request system, this does not necessarily result in the resolution of requests in a timely manner. The inspection team was made aware of one example of an employee's Blackberry being offline for two months, until a solution was identified, and then having to wait another month to have the solution (replacement of the device) implemented. At the time of the inspection, it was observed that there were 40 open service request tickets for RYADH, and another 15 to 20 for KWAIT.
5.5.6 ***. As such, *** has been noted as a concern. The service requests system is used by most users, but the number left pending at the time of the inspection appeared relatively high given the size of the mission and its number of users.
Key Processes and Internal Controls
|Key IM-IT Internal Control Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Back-ups are performed routinely and tapes are stored appropriately in a secure location away from the primary use area.||X|
|Employees formally sign out IT assets (mobility tools) and are advised of their accountabilities.||X|
|Surplus IT assets are disposed with the appropriate approvals per departmental policy.||X|
5.5.7 Overall, IM-IT processes and controls were effective and the IM-IT program adequately supports emergency preparedness by keeping the***.
Recommendations to the Mission
5.5.8 The mission should ensure that the IM-IT plan feeds into the capital acquisition planning exercise.
5.5.9 The mission should consult with the regional manager to ensure coverage of periods of the FSITP's leave.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
5.5.8 The FSITP feeds into the acquisition consultative process for Common Services, however, the bulk of IM/IT material is procured through cyclical replacement process. Implemented March 2014.
5.5.9 A process is in place for remote coverage, with support from CSRM. Implemented May 2013.
Appendix A: Mission Resources Fact Sheet
|Head of Mission||6.5||2||4.5|
Appendix B: Frequently Used Acronyms
- Canada-based staff
- Commercial Economic
- Committee on Mission Management
- Consular Management Information Program
- Contingency Plan
- Contract Review Board
- Client Service Fund
- Electronic Funds Transfer
- 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: