Inspection of the Joint Delegation of Canada to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
March 3-10, 2014
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD)
Office of the Inspector General
- Inspection Scope and Objectives
- Executive Summary
- 1.0 Mission Management
- 2.0 Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service (FPDS)
- 3.0 Common services
- Appendix B: Mission Resources Fact Sheet
- Appendix C: 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 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 bureaux, including briefings by line management and the functional bureaux, review of relevant Headquarters (HQ) and mission documentation, past inspection findings, and an analysis of recurring trends and systemic issues.
Inspection issues and lines of enquiry were further refined during the inspection 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: Headquarters, mission management and mission operations.
An inspection of Mission Management and the Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service (FPDS) and Common Services programs was conducted in Brussels, Belgium, from March 3, 2014 to March 10, 2014. A previous inspection of these programs took place in 2008.
The Joint Delegation of Canada to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is a medium-sized mission located at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. The mission comprises 33 Canada-based staff (CBS) and 12.5 locally engaged staff (LES) from DFATD and the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CF). DFATD personnel account for 19.5 employees.
The mission functions well under the leadership of an EX-04 Head of Mission (HOM) who is viewed as *** and *** by staff at the mission and by NATO colleagues. He is responsible for overall operations and oversees an operational budget of $116,000, as reported by the mission. The HOM is the head of the Joint Delegation and consults regularly with DND and DFATD managers at the mission and at both departmental Headquarters, on matters of policy and operational practice. He is supported by an EX-02 Deputy HOM (DHOM).
The FPDS program is managed by an EX-01 program manager. Both the HOM and DHOM are actively involved in the program’s key files, which align with mission priorities around the NATO agenda. The team work diligently and the program has received positive feedback from stakeholders regarding the quality of reporting. Although communication is good within the program, meetings should be expanded to include discussions on strategic issue, such as policy development.
The mission maintains effective whole-of-government operations with strong communication and collaboration between DFATD and DND. Despite the high pressure and fast pace at the mission, the working environment is positive and productive.
The mission, along with the Embassy of Canada to Belgium and Luxembourg, receive common services from the Canadian Mission to the European Union (mission to the European Union [EU]), which is also based in Brussels. As such, common services will not be covered in this report. The three missions meet regularly and work collectively on areas of mutual interest however, there is no formal agreement in place regarding the overall governance structure, particularly as it pertains to common services. The missions are encouraged to establish a memorandum of understanding to ensure a clear outline of roles and responsibilities.
A total of 12 recommendations are raised in the report: 7 are addressed to the mission and 5 to the three missions in Brussels. 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 3 have been implemented.
1.0 Mission Management
The Joint Delegation of Canada to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is a medium-sized mission located in Brussels, Belgium. It consists of 33 CBS and 12.5 LES; DFATD personnel account for 19.5 employees. When appropriate, the mission will be referred to as the mission to NATO to distinguish it from the Embassy of Canada to Belgium and Luxembourg (the bilateral mission) and the Mission of Canada to the European Union (the mission to the EU), which are also present in Brussels.
1.1.1 The mission is managed by an EX-04 Head of Mission (HOM) who is responsible for overall operations and oversees an operational budget of $116,000, as reported by the mission. An EX-02 Deputy HOM (DHOM) is also present at the mission. The mission manages a property portfolio that includes one Crown-leased official residence (OR) as well as six Crown-leased staff quarters (SQs). The mission is housed at the NATO Headquarters. A new NATO Headquarters building is under construction and is planned to be ready for occupancy in 2016. The project involves moving all 28 member nations, as well as the NATO secretariat and all supporting infrastructure.
1.1.2 The mission represents Canada at the NATO political and military alliance. As a consensus-based multilateral organization, NATO provides a forum for Canada to promote its positions on a full-range of security and defense issues. It is also a venue that can be leveraged to convey Canada’s broader political values to influential key allied decision-makers. The NATO partnerships network facilitates communication and cooperation with another 40 partner nations and organizations, extending further the organization’s relevance and importance. There are typically five ministerial meetings per year as well as a leader-level summit every two years.
1.1.3 The mission operates as a joint delegation that comprises members of DFATD as well as the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CF). The majority of member-stat delegations do not operate in this manner and have clear divisions between military and political representation. Internal and external stakeholders identified the joint delegation approach as an advantage in terms of both policy coherence and internal communications.
1.2 Mission Management
|Key Mission Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|The mission's strategic objectives are consistent with Government and DFATD priorities and guide staff performance measurement objectives.||X|
|The Committee on Mission Management (CMM) is an effective forum to review and make decisions on mission policies and management issues.||X|
|Mission management ensures that employees remain informed of key priorities and common services policy decisions.||X|
|The Locally Engaged Staff Management Consultation Board (LESMCB) is representative of mission programs and employee levels, and is utilized by both LES and mission management to facilitate dialogue.||X|
|Mission committees are meeting regularly and effectively discharging their governance responsibilities.||X|
|Canadian public service values and ethics are promoted and reinforced, and employees are aware of available support resources (values and ethics, staff relations, etc.).||X|
1.2.1 The mission is functioning well under the leadership of an *** HOM, who also serves as Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the North Atlantic Council (NAC). As the principal decision-making body within NATO, the NAC is the forum for discussion on policy and operational questions and consultations among member countries on all issues affecting peace and security. The HOM is widely considered to be an *** and *** leader both among his peers at NATO and within the mission. His management style has been cited as an important element in maintaining good morale; staff appreciates his *** and *** communication in addition to his guidance and coaching on substance.
1.2.2 The DHOM serves as the Deputy Permanent Representative to the NAC and participates in the Deputies Committee, which deals with cross-cutting issues including strategic and political oversight and committee reform. The role also has important internal management responsibilities, including supervising the FPDS program manager. However, during certain periods the DHOM focus will be almost exclusively external, such as when negotiating the text of the communiqué for the 2014 NATO Summit in September. Considering this, it is important the mission communicate the current role of the DHOM, how it will evolve over time and what that means to staff at the mission.
1.2.3 The nature of the work at the mission is often sensitive and important decisions must be frequently made under tight timelines, which can generate significant pressure. Despite this, the overall working environment is reported to be positive and productive; the importance of the mission’s work is considered a motivating factor. Management also makes efforts to mitigate pressures through good communication and advanced planning ahead of major events (e.g. ministerial meetings and summits). The mission is encouraged to maintain good practices in monitoring workloads and stress during intense work periods. Continued mentoring of the FPDS program manager would be of value to assist him in effectively managing in this high-paced environment.
1.2.4 The mission’s strategic objectives are clearly focussed on international security and stability, which is consistent with departmental and government priorities. Staff understand how their work relates to the mission’s priorities and clear roles and responsibilities have been established. However, only a few individuals have set objectives in the department’s Performance Management Program (PMP). Formalizing performance management and ensuring supervisors provide regular feedback will help identify and address performance issues early and outline professional development that could prove beneficial in the short and long term.
1.2.5 The mission follows many good communications practices: a weekly all-staff meeting ensures key messages are communicated in a timely manner; program managers discuss substantive issues and mission management elements on a weekly basis; and e-mail reminders are sent on important decisions or other concerns, such as particular security risks. Overall, staff view the quality and frequency of communication as instrumental factor in performing their jobs effectively.
1.2.6 In general, values and ethics are promoted and reinforced. The HOM circulates a message on values and ethics to all staff on an annual basis. No problems or concerns were raised in the context of the inspection. Nonetheless, some employees have yet to take the mandatory online values and ethics training. The mission should ensure this is completed as soon as is feasible.
The Tri-Mission Governance Structure
1.2.7 The three missions in Brussels work together on areas of mutual interest and their governance structures share some common elements, including mission committees. Although the missions work well together, there is no memorandum of understanding to outline the joint governance structure, each mission’s role and responsibilities and the services that are delivered from each mission. Developing a formal agreement would help to ensure that the structure is sustainable, roles are clear and service provision is consistent. This is especially relevant for the Common Services program, which is managed out of the mission to the EU but with staff at both chanceries.
1.2.8 Management decisions affecting all three missions, including the approval of common policies and procedures, are taken by a body made up of the Management Consular Officer, the FPDS program manager at the bilateral mission and the Deputy HOMs (DHOMs) of the missions to NATO and the EU – referred to, henceforth, as the tri-mission Committee on Mission Management (tri-mission CMM). This is complemented by occasional meetings of the three HOMs, who discuss and make decisions regarding any high-level or otherwise sensitive issues.
1.2.9 The tri-mission governance structure works well in this environment. Managers across the three missions are confident that the appropriate management decisions are taken when required. As well, the structure enhances consistency and helps the missions meet their governance obligations in an inclusive and efficient manner. It would nonetheless be beneficial for the tri-mission CMM to meet on a scheduled basis to increase consistency and regularity in decision making.
1.2.10 The missions could also communicate more effectively the discussions and decisions that take place at the tri-mission level. Notes are taken at the tri-mission CMM but minutes from only two meetings are available on the shared network drive. Information on governance committees is not consolidated in one location, and there is inconsistent awareness of the missions’ overall governance structure and what opportunities may exist to participate in committees. Although the work undertaken with NATO is quite distinct from that of the other two missions, increasing the transparency of tri-mission management decisions may also better inform staff of the importance of efficient and effective mission management.
1.2.11 LES across the three missions reported positive rapport and communication with management. The LES Management Consultation Board (LESMCB), which is shared by all three missions, functions well as an official forum for dialogue. The LES representatives conveyed that they feel management takes their views, concerns and suggestions seriously; they consider the Board an improvement over previous structures. However, some technical areas still require attention. For example, the Board has not been meeting on a quarterly basis and not all LES are aware of its mandate. As well, the LES representatives should attempt to consult their colleagues in a consistent manner ahead of board meetings. The LES are also encouraged to select representatives that reflect the diversity of position levels and programs at the missions.
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 Maintaining consistent and effective whole-of-government operations is a core objective of the mission. Structurally it is a joint delegation, but there are many management practices which support the day-to-day cooperation between DFATD and DND. The HOM plays an important role to facilitate policy cohesion and ensure sustained communication among the programs. For example, the HOM reinforces relationships by ensuring that both civilian and military representatives accompany him to important engagements. This practice also provides him with balanced advice from different perspectives.
1.3.2 All programs contribute to shaping Canada’s key objectives for major events such as the ministerial meetings and summits. This inclusive approach early on in the process facilitates close cooperation in the mission’s operations and an overall sense of team. As well, the mission maintains frequent and timely communication with DFATD and DND Headquarters and serves as a policy integrator when appropriate.
1.3.3 Overall, the representatives from DND were satisfied with the common services provided by the mission.
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’s state of preparedness benefits greatly from being embedded in the NATO Headquarters. In the event of a crisis, the mission would follow NATO’s contingency plans, which are well structured and detailed. ***. Staff are provided information on the emergency plans and there are tools and guides to assist with timely and effective responses. Due to the nature of the work, an emergency response team is identified and adjusted on a regular basis. NATO also conducts mandatory emergency drills that serve to test systems and the delegation responses.
1.4.2 One element that could be improved is the *** to those outside of the mission. ***. As well, it was also conveyed that *** are aware of what procedures to follow ***.
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 HOM actively promotes the use of both official languages. English and French are used interchangeably at formal meetings and communications to all staff are sent in a bilingual format. An official languages coordinator has been appointed. The mission has good capacity in both official languages and signage is bilingual.
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.||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Mission hospitality guidelines are appropriate and reviewed annually by CMM.||X|
|Hospitality activities are properly documented, demonstrate value-for-money and align with mission objectives.||X|
|Mechanisms are in place to monitor the completion of employees’ performance evaluations.||X|
|A coordinated approach is taken with regards to training and a budget has been established.||X|
|The quarterly reconciliation of passport inventory is properly completed and certified.||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|The Honorary Consul (HonCon) has an up-to-date mandate letter and performance is reviewed annually.||N/A||N/A||N/A|
1.6.1 Most of the mission’s key management controls are in place and working well. Of note, there is an inherently strong security culture at the mission. Security policies and regulations are respected and promoted and, when appropriate, the HOM reminds staff of sensitivities that are relevant to their *** environment.
1.6.2 The two controls that require attention are:
- PMPs: PMPs have not been formalized this fiscal year for DFATD staff, including LES; and
- Training: the mission does not have a coordinated training plan or a related budget.
16.3 Hospitality documentation generally communicated the outcomes of activities, but the mission is reminded to always clearly state the purpose of any hospitality expenditure.
Recommendations to the Three Missions in Brussels
1.7.1 A formal agreement should be established among the three missions in Brussels to clearly define roles and responsibilities, identify the level of services provided by the Common Services program and outline the agreed upon governance structures.
1.7.2 The tri-mission CMM meetings should take place at least once per quarter. Meeting minutes should be taken and actively distributed to appropriate staff across the three missions.
1.7.3 The three missions should work together to consolidate all committee information in one location for ease of access. Staff should be informed of the missions’ overall governance structure including the tri-mission components.
1.7.4 The mission should review and adhere to the Locally Engaged Staff Bureau’s guiding documents on the LESMCB, including the terms of reference. Some recommended improvements include that:
- the board meet quarterly at minimum;
- the LES across all three missions be informed of the mandate of the board and the terms of reference that govern its operation; and
- a systematic approach be taken by the LES representatives to ensure that all LES are informed of upcoming meetings of the board and consulted on what issues could be raised.
Recommendations to the Mission to NATO
1.7.6 Mission management should ensure that all employees complete the mandatory values and ethics course as soon as possible.
1.7.7 The mission should provide key Headquarters bureaux with a copy of NATO’s contingencies plans to inform them of the procedures that would be followed in case of an emergency and who would be operating from the alternate command post.
1.7.8 The mission should ensure *** and *** are aware of the relevant protocols and procedures to follow in an ***.
1.7.9 Supervisors should formally review performance for this fiscal year with employees and provide feedback. For fiscal year 2014-15, the mission should adhere to the guidelines and timelines for the implementation of the Public Service Performance Management Program, as well as relevant DND performance management instructions.
1.7.10 The professional development needs of all employees, including managers, should be reviewed, and a mission-specific training plan should be established, drawing from the learning plans in the Public Service Performance Management Program.
Three Missions 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 A memorandum of understanding has been developed and is under review by the three missions. In progress for September 2014.
1.7.2 The tri-mission CMM meetings are held every 6-8 weeks and complemented by tri-mission HOM meetings each quarter. Minutes from these meetings are posted on the shared wiki. Implemented April 2014.
1.7.3 The wiki has been updated to include a section on tri-mission governance. A list of the committees will be posted there, along with the related minutes (if possible). If it is not appropriate to post committee minutes on the wiki, these will be saved on the shared network drive and the link will be made available on the wiki. In progress for September 2014.
1.7.4 The LESMCB terms of reference and all meeting minutes are posted on the wiki. The committee has met frequently since 2010, although many meetings were informal consultations. Since July 2013, four formal meetings have taken place and the committee will continue to meet quarterly. The LES members of the committee have proposed ideas to reach out to other LES in the missions. In progress for October 2014.
1.7.5 The mission has tested its *** and other and ***. A visit of the regional *** management officer is scheduled for the next fiscal year, at which point a full *** will be conducted. In progress for February 2015.
Mission to NATO 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.)
1.7.6 Mission management will ensure that all employees complete the course. Over 80% have completed the course as of the end of summer, and we are on target for 100 percent compliance by mid-November. In progress for November 2014.
1.7.7 The mission will raise the subject of contingency plans at the next meeting of its security committee. NATO's current contingency plans and information specific to the mission will be compiled and forwarded to Headquarters. In progress for November 2014.
1.7.8 The mission will ensure that *** are aware of the tri-mission *** plans and, more generally, to ensure smoother integration of the mission staff and *** into all aspects of tri-mission *** protocols and procedures. In progress for November 2014.
1.7.9 Most PMPs and PMAs for fiscal year 2013-14 have been completed and feedback was provided to employees. As several employees have refused to provide input despite being asked to do so, management will proceed with submitting PMPs for that year by 31 October 2014. For fiscal year 2014-15, the PMP process was launched and discussions are underway with DND to ensure that their managers of LES comply with their guidelines and HQ guidance. In progress and to be completed according to the normal PMP calendar. In progress for October 2014.
1.7.10 In conjunction with tri-mission management, a review of the professional development needs of all the mission's DFATD employees is underway and will be completed by 31 October 2014, in connection with mid-year PMP discussions. A mission specific training plan will be established by 30 November 2014. In progress for November 2014.
2.0 Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service (FPDS)
2.1.1 The Foreign Policy and Diplomacy Service (FPDS) program is managed by an EX-01 program manager. He is supported by three FS-03 officers, one FS-02 officer (in an FS-01 position), one LE-08 officer and one assistant at the AS-01 level. The program’s financial resources, as reported by the mission, are provided below.
2.1.2 The main focus of the program is to ensure Canada is effectively represented at the North Atlantic Council (NAC) and the other decision-making bodies of NATO. The program works to maintain and develop transatlantic cooperative relations and actively contributes to the implementation of Canadian foreign policy on security and defence. As part of a joint delegation, the program works closely with representatives of DND.
2.2 Planning and Program Management
|Key FPDS Program Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|FPDS plans are aligned with the priorities and objectives outlined in the mission plan and informed by departmental and geographic bureau guidance and objectives.||X|
|FPDS plans outline intended outcomes and results are measurable.||X|
|Internal communications within the program effectively support program delivery.||X|
2.2.1 The FPDS program functions *** under the leadership of the program manager. He is viewed as a ***; his *** feedback and consideration for work-life balance is appreciated by the members of the program. He is also considered to be *** of Canadian interests vis-à-vis NATO, *** in committees and generally *** by both his team and external partners within NATO. Morale within the program was high at the time of the inspection despite tight deadlines, external pressures and high workload.
2.2.2 Program planning revolves around the NATO agenda, which includes five ministerial-level meetings per year and a leader-level summit every two years. The program plans carefully in advance of these events. All members of the program take part in this planning and the process is coordinated with the other mission programs. The plans entered in Strategia for fiscal year 2014-15 were developed by the program manager with the assistance of one FS-03. This could have been an opportunity to engage the entire team in translating planning discussions into strategic objectives that are consistent with the department’s current approach to planning. Group discussions could have reinforced a common understanding of the program’s overall strategy as well as its activities, resources and performance indicators. The program manager plans to ensure the entire team participates in the process next year.
2.2.3 A number of officers conveyed concern that they do not consistently receive an adequate level ***. The program manager is aware of their views and is working with the *** to address expectations. Ahead of an upcoming ***, he has also conveyed to Headquarters the importance that the *** and knowledge to respond to the demands created by short deadlines and high-level events. *** the roles and responsibilities of the position should be reviewed with the entire team to ensure expectations are appropriate and clear to all.
2.2.4 The program has good informal communication, which is supplemented by short meetings each week to prioritize program activities and identify action items. Staff conveyed that formal communication could be improved by including greater discussion on policy issues. Leveraging meetings for strategic discussions could help the team be more effective and understand how issues intersect. There was also interest in discussing program resourcing as a group, which could be considered as an opportunity for professional development.
2.2.5 Both the HOM and DHOM are actively involved in the program’s key files and ensure Canada is represented well on various committees and other decision-making forums. The HOM meets regularly with officers and discusses their committee work. The input from mission management, especially during high-level events, is useful for the advancement of program objectives.
|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 timely, relevant and in line with mission and government objectives.||X|
|Activities and initiatives are aligned with the mission’s key priorities and with FPDS plans and objectives.||X|
|Relations with other mission programs facilitate program delivery (e.g. public affairs).||X|
|The program develops and maintains a contact base that meets program needs and objectives.||X|
2.3.1 The activities of the program are aligned with mission priorities. It successfully leverages its resources to achieve meaningful outcomes and support the advancement of Canadian priorities within NATO. The program is viewed as professional and active on its files; external partners consider both the program manager and the officers to be visible in NATO negotiations and effective in the committees.
2.3.2 It was conveyed that members of the program work diligently, and their efforts are widely appreciated. Headquarters provided positive feedback on the quality of the reporting emanating from the mission, the strength of its analysis and the overall communications on NATO-related initiatives.
2.3.3 As part of a joint delegation, the program fosters a close relationship with colleagues from DND to ensure consistency and efficiency in its activities. Communication is good and the programs across the mission support each other through a formal back-up system.
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 The program’s approach to performance measurement is largely based on discussions but could be improved by formalizing certain elements. For example, the team reviews and evaluates its planning and preparation after high-level events. While the discussions identify valuable lessons learned, observations are not effectively captured. As a result, the program may not be as effective as it could be in adjusting its approach when preparing for the next major event.
2.4.2 Day-to-day activities are *** monitored by the program manager and discussions on outcomes take place with staff. As well, results, such as the advancements of Canada’s positions and other successes, are communicated to Headquarters and other interlocutors through formal written reports.
2.4.3 Individual contributions to the program are monitored informally by the program manager, but are not tracked through PMPs. The new Public Service Performance Agreement is mandatory and should facilitate the setting of meaningful performance targets and evaluating outcomes against objectives.
2.4.4 Hospitality diaries were well-documented and showed clear links to program objectives and mission priorities. Historically, hospitality funds have not been assigned to individual officers but were pooled and used on a first-come-first-serve basis. The program manager is taking steps to ensure the team is involved in the planning and managing of hospitality funds for the next fiscal year.
Recommendations to the Mission
2.5.1 Program meetings should be expanded to include more discussion on strategic elements, such as policy development.
2.5.2 The program should ensure performance discussions and lessons learned following high-level events, such as ministerial meetings, are captured and applied to future planning.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
(Please note: The management actions below reflect the initial responses upon receiving the recommendations. They do not reflect the current status of implementation.)
2.5.1 The weekly FPDS meetings are held immediately before the mission's weekly meetings and do not allow time for discussing strategic developments. The programme manager will nevertheless ensure that program discussions on strategic elements such as policy development are conducted regularly. Implemented October 2014.
2.5.2 The HOM has confirmed that mission management will maintain its practice of routinely conducting informal performance and lessons learned discussions, including following high-level events. For example, a "hot wash" discussion was conducted in the week after the 2014 NATO Summit and a written report was prepared to capture findings. These lessons will be applied as appropriate to future planning. Implemented September 2014.
3.0 Common Services
Overall, it was reported that the Common Services program, which is managed out of the mission to the EU, effectively supports the work of the mission to NATO. It is well integrated into the mission’s governance structure and communication with mission management is appropriate. Programs report good client service; the principal complaints relate to the implementation of the private-leasing model and the challenges experienced by CBS in identifying suitable properties, as well as the associated transition into and fitting-up of their chosen SQ. The upcoming move of NATO Headquarters will be a major transition for the mission, and the Common Services program will play an important role in the move of the mission to the new building.
Full reporting on the Common Services program is consolidated in the inspection report on the mission to the EU. Inspection findings are conveyed in this manner to ensure the MCO is provided comprehensive reporting on all aspects of the program. Appendix A is an excerpt from the report on the mission to the EU and addresses the Common Services program in its entirety.
Appendix A: The Mission of Canada to the European Union (Common Services)
Excerpt from the report dated December 16, 2014 on the inspection of the Mission of Canada to the European Union from February 24 to March 10, 2014.
3.1.1 The Common Services program is managed by an EX-01 Management Consular Officer (MCO) supported by an AS-06 and an AS-05 Deputy MCO (DMCO). A CS-02 Foreign Service Information Technology Professional (FSITP) leads the IT section and an AS-02 Head of Registry Services, stationed at the mission to NATO, also reports to the Common Services team. The LES management team consists of the following:
- LE-09 Financial Management Officer
- LE-09 Deputy Director Housing Services
- LE-07 Common Services Officer – Property
- LE-07 Locally Engaged Information Technology Professional (LEITP)
- LE-07 General Services Officer
- LE-07 Office Manager (located at the mission to NATO)
3.1.2 The program is supported by an additional nine LES office and seven non-office staff at the mission to the EU and three LES positions at the mission to NATO.
3.1.3 The program is responsible for providing common services to the three missions in Brussels. The mission to the EU and the bilateral mission share the same chancery downtown; the mission to NATO is located at NATO Headquarters, which is about 6 kilometers away.
|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|
3.1.4 The Common Services program has been faced with *** of challenges in the last 12 to 18 months. These include:
- The transfer of the Common Services program from the bilateral mission to the mission to the EU. The HOM for the mission to the EU now has overall responsibility for Common Service delivery;
- The designation of the mission as a Common Service Delivery Point (CSDP) for financial services, which will eventually entail providing services ***;
- The reduction *** which required common service support and continues to affect resource requirements;
- The undertaking of a renovation project to release surplus space at the chancery following staff reductions. The Common Services program managed the project in partnership with the Regional Service Centre for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (RSCEMA);
- The implementation of the private-leasing model for CBS accommodations. The mission has completed two relocation cycles under this model, which has been a cultural change for some CBS, as well as for the Common Services program;
- A reorganization of the Physical Resources section that involved changes in staffing and roles and responsibilities; and
- Preparations for upcoming moves of both chanceries in Brussels. The lease for the chancery shared by the mission to the EU and the bilateral mission *** and NATO Headquarters will move around the same time, ***.
3.1.5 Notwithstanding the above, the program provides good service under the direction of an *** MCO. The MCO arrived at the mission in 2013 and, although early in her mandate, demonstrates a *** grasp of the program’s challenges, and has developed plans to improve services and review the organizational model for further efficiencies.
3.1.6 The program is appropriately represented in the governance structures of the three missions. The MCO meets frequently with the HOM and DHOM of the mission to the EU to discuss program and provide regular financial updates. As well, she attends the tri-mission CMM in addition to the management meetings of the bilateral mission and the mission to the EU. One of the DMCOs represents the program at the mission to NATO.
3.1.7 An up-to-date business plan for Common Services is in place. The MCO held a series of mini-retreats with each section of the program, which staff indicated was a good opportunity to contribute to the planning commitments. Each section of the program should develop operational workplans that detail the activities that will enable the section will meet its objectives.
3.1.8 Many Common Services policies and procedures exist and are available on a wiki. This provides a good basis for sharing policies and procedures. The ongoing challenge is to keep the site up to date and ensure that clients are aware its contents. A significant number of employees across the three missions are not aware of Common Services policies and procedures or what information is available on the wiki. Proactive communications are required to increase awareness.
3.1.9 In general, internal communications in the Common Services program are good. The MCO holds weekly meetings with section managers and monthly meetings with the entire program. Each section meets regularly, and there is good cooperation among the teams. Of note, the close proximity of finance and physical resources staff facilitates communication and collaboration. The FSITP and LEITP also share an office, which has also helped foster a strong working relationship.
3.1.10 Clarity around roles and responsibilities is an area that requires attention. For example, changes in the organizational model for the Physical Resources section are not fully understood by staff. In addition, *** has become a catch-all for duties that remained from positions that were eliminated or re-assigned during the reorganization. Other shifts in responsibilities have also occurred due to the *** leave of one of the two DMCOs and the elimination of the LES Human Resources Officer position from the mission. A review should be undertaken to ensure an appropriate distribution of duties, and role and responsibilities should be made clear to program staff and their clients.
|Key Common Services Client Service Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Service standards have been established and communicated to clients.||X|
|Services provided reflect fair and equitable allocation and access to common services for all mission programs.||X|
|A mechanism is in place to solicit and receive client feedback, and corrective action is taken when warranted.||X|
|Hub-and-spoke relationships are governed by an agreement outlining the roles and responsibilities of each mission.||X|
3.1.11 The program has a strong client-service orientation and clients reported that they are generally well served.
3.1.12 The service standards were last revised in 2012 and will be updated when the new service standard template is released. There are separate, and out-of-date, service standards for the mission to NATO. The program should create one document that applies to all three missions and, if necessary, add an addendum to cover services that are unique to one particular mission. Once established, standards should be communicated to clients.
3.1.13 The program does not have a formal feedback system or an automated work order system. Service requests are received through a variety of means including verbal requests and e-mail. Some inconsistencies were reported with respect to service delivery and communication from the Physical Resources section, which received an estimated 1,800 work requests over the last year. With this high level of demand, a formal work order system could provide:
- A basis for repair/replace analysis, demand analysis and measurement of performance against service standards; and
- A mechanism for communication with and feedback from the client.
3.1.14 The program provides services in support of mission events and activities that go beyond its responsibilities. For example, the program organizes the provision of refreshments and cleans dishes. This puts pressure on the program, and in particular the handymen, who are frequently tasked with providing event support.
3.1.15 There are Service Level Agreements (SLA) in place under the CSDP model with the client missions receiving financial services (Tunis and Bamako). Plans are in place to add SLAs as new client missions begin to receive financial service from the program.
3.1.16 There is no agreement in place to outline the services provided by the RSCEMA to the missions in Brussels. While the services provided from the RSCEMA are still evolving, it would be advisable to have an agreement in place so that roles and responsibilities are well understood.
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|
3.1.17 In general, contracting and procurement processes are respected and good systems are in place. Purchase orders are used for small purchases and are initiated through the materiel management module (MM) of the Integrated Management System. Contracts are also entered in MM.
3.1.18 Some improvement is required to establish contracts for recurring expenditures, mainly in the Physical Resources section. Examples where contracts could be put in place include property inspection services, security alarm maintenance, and temporary help. The mission has a few standing offers (SO) in place, but it was found that they were not always used properly. For instance, in one case, the mission had an SO with a company but did not use a call-up when requesting services or reference the SO when making payments. It is also important to ensure that SOs accurately reflect vendor names.
3.1.19 The mission has an effective mission Contract Review Board (CRB) that is guided by up-to-date terms of reference. It fulfils a challenge function, documents the contracting process, and has a good mix of virtual and in-person meetings. To ensure consistency, the program has developed a standard contract request package to use when a contract requires CRB approval. The thresholds used to submit contracts to the CRB are ***.
3.1.20 A review of select electronic and paper contracting documents indicated that proper policies were respected. There is an orderly structure to the electronic files on the shared drive and hard copy files provide a historical base.
3.1.21 The mission should look to expand its list of suppliers and contractors. The Physical Resources section, in particular, should look at developing a contractor database and expanding their list of acceptable service and goods providers. The MCO attends a regular meeting with her counterparts from other missions in Brussels. The group is looking at developing a common database of contractors sharing in each other’s experience. This will help the mission achieve a wider span and introduce more competitiveness.
3.1.22 The mission has a significant amount of surplus furniture and furnishings for disposal due to the move to private leasing. In addition, office space at the chancery shared by the mission to the EU and the bilateral mission has recently been downsized from four floors to three. As a result there have been no major acquisitions in the past two years and instead, the mission is challenged with disposal of surplus materials. Further details and recommendations are contained in the Physical Resources section of this report.
Recommendations to the Mission
3.1.23 Workplans related to the program’s planning commitments should be developed by each common services section.
3.1.24 Responsibility for maintaining the common services section of the missions’ wiki should be assigned and strategies put into place to increase client awareness.
3.1.25 Roles and responsibilities should be reviewed and clarified for common services staff as well as communicated so that clients understand who to contact for what service.
3.1.26 Service standards, which are applicable to all three missions, should be updated and made accessible to clients.
3.1.27 Program performance should be monitored against the service standards.
3.1.28 A system should be established to capture and address client feedback.
3.1.29 The mission should review the appropriate level of Common Services support for events.
3.1.30 The mission should put contracts in place when there will be recurring payments for the same service.
3.1.31 The mission should review guidelines on the proper use of standing offers and establish internal procedures to ensure they are followed.
3.1.32 The Terms of Reference for the mission’s CRB should be modified to respect the departmental policy on thresholds for CRB review.
3.1.33 The program should develop and execute a strategy to expand the mission’s contractor and supplier base.
Recommendations to the Regional Service Centre for Europe, the Middle East and Africa RSCEMA
3.1.34 A formal agreement between RSCEMA and the mission should be put in place outlining the services provided.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
3.1.23 Section plans have been integrated in a Consolidated Workplan for Common Services and Consular, based on the guiding principles behind the fiscal year 2014-15 Strategia objectives. Implemented June 2014.
3.1.24 There is now a person in charge of monitoring our wiki on a regular basis to ensure it is updated. Common services have been using this tool for a few years to communicate useful information to employees. We will continue to encourage clients to consult it. Implemented June 2014.
3.1.25 A document outlining 'who is who' in Common Services has been created and will be shared when the wiki is updated. In progress for October 2014.
3.1.26 The mission has updated its service standards; the Tri-Mission CMM will review them prior to distribution. In progress for September 2014.
3.1.27 The Property section has begun using new shared tools (a task list that can be tracked) to organize service requests. The mission plans to implement the "Remedy" work order solution as soon as it is available to missions. In progress for December 2014.
3.1.28 The mission is in touch with the RSCEMA regarding the new "Remedy" work order system under development. In the meantime, the mission will once again conduct a client survey after the relocation season and staff were encouraged and reminded to complete the International Platform Branch survey in the spring of 2014. In progress for December 2014.
3.1.29 The mission will review the support provided to events in preparation for the release of the new Service Standards template. In progress for September 2014.
3.1.30 The mission has completed a review of vendor payments in IMS and has identified a list of goods and services for which a contract or standing offer will be put in place. Four contracts have already been put in place and an additional six vendors are subject to review, with standing offers to be complete by the end of this fiscal year. Contracts with an additional three service providers will also be established in the same timeframe. In progress for March 2015.
3.1.31 The DMCO has held a refresher session with property and contracting staff on the appropriate use of standing offers. For the remainder of the fiscal year, he will pre-approve all call-ups to ensure that they are in line with the terms of Standing Offers. Implemented July 2014.
3.1.32 A new draft Terms of Reference has been developed and will be reviewed at the next CRB meeting. Implemented August 2014.
3.1.33 A new list of suppliers has been initiated by the property team. Additional suppliers will be vetted and added to this list as an ongoing exercise, but the initial push will be complete by the end of the third quarter. In progress for December 2014.
RSCEMA Actions and Timeframes
3.1.34 The services provided by the RSCEMA to missions are outlined on the wiki site of RSCEMA. The corresponding link will be provided to HOMs and MCOs/MAOs of the client missions and an acknowledgement of receipt will be requested from all of the relevant addressees. As well, a wider communication piece will be prepared to ensure that all RSCEMA client missions are aware of the services that the RSCEMA can provide to them with regard to the delivery of Common Services. In progress for December 2014.
3.2 Human Resources
3.2.1 The HR functions at the mission are the responsibility of the AS-05 DMCO, who is assisted by the LE-07 Office Manager at the mission to NATO and an LE-05 HR Assistant at the mission to the EU. The RSCEMA provides staffing, job description and classification services, as well as assistance in interpreting the LES Terms and Conditions of employment.
3.2.2 The HR team at the RSCEMA has conducted staffing actions for the mission since 2013. In the current calendar year, one classification exercise and one staffing action have been processed and staffing for several finance positions was underway. At the end of 2013, the RSCEMA assisted the mission with a review and reorganization of the Physical Resources section that resulted in classification and staffing actions.
|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|
3.2.3 The full roles and responsibilities of the employees who provide HR services ***. The section has yet to fully adapt to the deletion of the HR Officer position almost one year ago and *** has further reduced guidance. Clients at the missions are still uncertain as to which services are provided by the mission and which by the RSCEMA.
3.2.4 The MCO is aware of this issue and has recently re-organized reporting relationships to try and address it. The HR assistant now reports to the office manager at the mission to NATO, who has experience in managing HR. This should facilitate the sharing of procedures, tools and good practices. Although already identified on the missions’ organizational charts, ***.
3.2.5 There is considerable HR information on the administration section of the wiki, which could be built upon to provide clarity regarding the first point of contact for HR issues. A reminder may be needed so that clients access the information already available there, such as the LES Terms and Conditions of Employment. Directing staff to these resources should make staff more self-sufficient while ensuring they know where if further assistance is required.
3.2.6 Some job descriptions throughout the mission need to be updated earlier than the usual five year cycle due to position cuts and the realignment of duties. There are also other examples where staff members are not clear on their current roles and responsibilities. ***.
3.2.7 The Common Services program plans to review employee HR files. Currently, there are two different systems in place across the three missions. These should be standardized with particular attention given to the filing *** such as labour relations issues or performance reviews. ***. The filing system at the mission to NATO is well organized and guided by a checklist. The files there contain all the relevant information and personal information is sealed.
3.2.8 The mission has revised its approach to the provision of uniforms for drivers, OR staff and cleaning staff, and, in some cases, uniforms are no longer being provided. The policy change is not clearly understood by all staff members who may be affected.
|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|
3.2.9 Overall, HR processes and internal controls were found to be working well. The management of staffing actions by the RSCEMA ensures a systematic approach and provides a segregation that enhances the process. However, the procedure is not clear for assembling documents and completing staffing files when staffing actions are undertaken at the mission with the involvement of the RSCEMA. This should be clarified to ensure that a complete staffing file is held in one location for historical and audit purposes.
3.2.10 LES leave is tracked and PMs are provided with updates of outstanding balances. It was noted that in the last month of the FY some staff still had high leave balances; 15 staff members exceeded the carry-forward allowance. The DHOMs of the mission to the EU and the mission to NATO are developing a policy to restrict the carry-over of leave to one year and the missions will pay out some leave to reduce the amount of carried forward. The mission should enforce the terms of the employment which states that vacation should be taken in the fiscal year in which it was earned.
Recommendations to the Mission
3.2.11 The DMCO should evaluate what training may be necessary ***.
3.2.12 The mission should ensure up-to-date HR information is posted in an easily accessible location and that clients are aware of what is available.
3.2.13 An evaluation should take place to determine which job description require updating, and a process should be put in place to reviews take place, at minimum, every five years.
3.2.14 A standardized system for the management of HR files across the three missions should be established.
3.2.15 Procedures for the maintenance of staffing files should be clarified with the RSCEMA to ensure a complete file is maintained in one location.
3.2.16 Managers should be held accountable for monitoring leave balances throughout the year to ensure leave is used in the fiscal year it is earned.
3.2.17 The mission’s policy on the provision of uniforms should be clearly communicated to the appropriate members of staff.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
3.2.11 Following an assessment of training needs, ***. Implemented June 2014.
3.2.12 LES terms and conditions, salary scales, pension and insurance information, LESMCB minutes, overtime and acting pay information, Org Charts, PMP instructions, staffing and training information is all available on the missions’ Common Services wiki page. Employees have been reminded of this and the LESMCB will be encouraged to further publicize this with their colleagues. Implemented June 2014.
3.2.13 The mission has developed a table indicating when each work description was last reviewed. As of September, we will begin a project to have each work description systematically reviewed. To facilitate the process, we will encourage program managers to use generic job descriptions where appropriate. In progress for March 2015.
3.2.14 A major clean-up of HR files was completed on July 17th. We are now working on keeping current files up to date. Implemented July 2014.
3.2.15 Procedures for maintaining staffing files is under discussion with RSCEMA. In progress for September 2014.
3.2.16 Managers are aware that they will be accountable for leave management and a new tool has been developed to make it easier to provide reports on leave balances. This is an ongoing commitment. Implemented July 2014.
3.2.17 A meeting on the provision of uniforms was held with all staff concerned to explain the mission’s uniform policy and address questions and concerns. Implemented April 2014.
3.3 Physical Resources
3.3.1 The MCO has the overall responsibility for the management of the section and the services provided. Responsibility for operations is divided between the AS-06 DMCO and the LE-09 Deputy Housing Officer, both of whom report to the MCO. In the fall of 2013, the mission reviewed positions in the Physical Resources section with the assistance of the RSCEMA. As a result, in January 2014, a new organizational design that included an LE-07 Common Services Officer – Property position was established.
3.3.2 The section is responsible for service delivery to all three missions in Brussels. The property portfolio across the three missions includes two chanceries, two ORs, a warehouse facility, 10 official vehicles, 3 Crown-owned SQs and 27 Crown-leased SQs. Two vacant ORs, which are on the market for sale, are also managed by the section. In addition, some support is provided to 17 CBS living in private-leased accommodations.
3.3.3 The lease of the chancery shared by the mission to the EU and the bilateral mission expires on *** and will not be renewed because the building will undergo major renovations. The Property Strategy Section (ARAK) ***.
3.3.4 The mission to NATO will *** move to a new chancery. NATO is building a new headquarters complex which will be ready for occupancy in 2016. The fit-up of the Canadian delegation offices will be managed by ARAK and supported by the mission.
|Key HR Internal Control 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|
3.3.5 The move to the private-leasing model in 2012 has entailed significant change for the section; it is now responsible for guiding incoming CBS in identifying appropriate private-leasing accommodation while also continuing with their role in vacating, emptying and releasing Crown-leased properties. Challenges associated with the process of finding and fitting up private-lease accommodations are a source of discontent for a number of CBS.
3.3.6 Employees of the section are still adapting to new roles and responsibilities following the reorganization of the section in January 2014, but the MCO indicated that additional refinements may be implemented in the future. Establishing some stability soon will be important in positioning the section well to help manage the chancery moves.
3.3.7 There are currently four Crown-owned ORs across the three missions in Brussels. Two are assigned to the HOMs of the mission to the EU and the mission to NATO respectively and the other two are no longer in use and are on the market for sale.
3.3.8 The representational space of the mission to the EU’s OR is not used effectively to support the objectives of all three missions, in particular the bilateral mission. In the longer term, including appropriate representational space in the design of the new chancery for the mission to the EU and the bilateral mission could be an appropriate solution. However, in the meantime, the missions should establish a model to better manage the Government of Canada assets currently available. As the OR of the mission to the EU is best suited for this purpose, its representational space should be leveraged more effectively.
3.3.9 The OR assigned to the HOM of the mission to the EU is a large and classic OR that is well situated and provides good representational and family space. The Property Bureau (ARD) ***. The OR assigned to the HOM of the mission to NATO is well located and is a good family home but its representational space is less useable. ***.
3.3.10 The remaining two properties that are for sale were previously used as ORs but have since been vacated and are not equipped for use. ARAK is managing their sale. ***.
3.3.11 The HOM to the bilateral mission is housed in a Crown-leased SQ apartment in a good neighbourhood close to the mission. This apartment was selected prior to his arrival at the mission in 2012 ***.
3.3.12 Another area where Government of Canada assets can be used more effectively is with respect to driver resources. There is concern that the number of drivers assigned to the mission to the EU and the bilateral mission is inadequate for their needs. Two drivers service these missions. One is allocated exclusively to the HOM of the mission to the EU, leaving only one resource to serve all other programs of the two missions. Furthermore, the HOM of the bilateral mission, who has responsibility for travel throughout Belgium and Luxembourg, makes substantial use this driver, which further reduces the availability of a driver in support of the programs. ***.
3.3.13 The Mission Maintenance Workplan and the Mission Property Management Plan are up to date. A selection of SQs and both ORs were visited and found to be well maintained and managed.
3.3.14 As noted in the Common Services Overview of this report, the section manages a large volume of work orders and could benefit from an automated system. In the meantime, a plan should be established to better manage work orders received through current processes and systems.
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|
3.3.15 Overall, internal controls are effective. Crown-managed properties are in good condition and well managed. All inventories have been completed under the Radio Frequency Identification project and fine art inventories are also up to date.
3.3.16 The mission has been challenged with disposing of all the surplus furniture and furnishings resulting from the missions move to private leasing. In fiscal year 2012-13, 27 Crown-managed properties were vacated and all contents were declared surplus. In addition, the chancery shared by the mission to the EU and the bilateral mission was downsized from four to three floors in 2013, which resulted in additional surplus furnishings. The RSCEMA has helped the mission transfer some surplus to other missions (mainly in Africa). Due to a lack of demand for *** furniture, which tends to be larger than that available on the local market, other items have been sold with minimal return realized.
3.3.17 As the missions previously had a large inventory of SQs, the program manages a warehouse to store standard replacement items (e.g. mattresses, small and large appliances). For the most part, these items are no longer required and must be disposed of as well. As they approach the 2014 relocation season, when another ***, managing this large volume of surplus continues to be a challenge. The RSCEMA indicated it will place some furnishings in other missions, but it may not be possible to dispose of all in this manner.
3.3.18 The mission has undertaken a market study to analyse the disposal options that exist locally. It identifies that auction sales do not realize adequate returns to justify the effort and sales through local furniture resellers offer very little proceeds. Considering this, it is reasonable to continue to try to reuse these items in missions that are not under the private-leasing model.
3.3.19 A review of disposal files indicated inconsistent and incomplete files, which did not allow for a full analysis to ensure that disposals were completed in accordance with Chapter 7 of the Materiel Management manual. Files should contain all aspects of the disposal including:
- Details on the methodology for disposal and why this methodology was chosen;
- Correspondence related to the disposal (e.g. advertisements);
- The method for evaluating bids received and who performed the analysis;
- Evidence that payments were received and accounted for;
- Detail on any costs incurred to carry out the disposal exercise; and
- A completed EXT 369 Disposal Report signed by the HOM.
This would also apply to materiel transferred to other missions.
3.3.20 Vehicle logs and gasoline records, and the maintenance of the vehicles were found to be in good order. Each vehicle *** to make gas purchases. Maintaining individual cards assists in tracking costs for each vehicle.***.
Recommendations to the Mission
3.3.21 Lessons learned on private leasing should continue to be collected, as well as communicated to the appropriate stakeholders, so further refinements can be made to the services and support provided to incoming CBS.
3.3.22 As a Government of Canada asset, a framework should be developed to make better use of the representational space of the mission to the EU’s OR to support the program objectives of the three missions.
3.3.23 The missions should develop a plan to better leverage the driver resources available in the city to meet the business needs of the three missions.
3.3.24 The mission, in consultation with the RSCEMA, should develop a strategy for the disposition of surplus assets currently in the warehouse and those generated by the continuing implementation of private leasing.
3.3.25 The mission should ensure that complete files are maintained for disposal of Crown assets.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
3.3.21 Results of the private leasing survey for the two first years have been used to change the way this model is administered in Brussels for the summer of 2014. Success on house-hunting trips has been more consistent and initial feedback has been positive. The mission will conduct formal survey post-relocation season to better gauge results. In progress for November 2014.
3.3.22 Discussions have begun on the use of the OR of the mission to the EU, and work will be done with the other two missions in Brussels to develop an acceptable framework for occasional use of the OR in the future. This will build on existing cooperative efforts. This framework will, inter alia, address various pertinent logistical / practical / payment issues, e.g., security and privacy matters. It must also be consistent with decisions which involved downsizing assets and operational capacity as well as corresponding reductions to operational activities to reflect the decisions of ministers and the department. In progress for November 2014.
3.3.23 An updated draft of the Transportation Policy is being prepared for review by the Tri-Mission CMM. Discussion on *** has been ongoing at the mission but there are still issues to be addressed by Headquarters ***. In progress for November 2014.
3.3.24 The mission has developed a strategy for disposals for fiscal year 2014-15, and the strategy has been approved by the HOM. It encompasses a hybrid of re-allocation and sale of assets, with contingencies in place for material that cannot be sold. The mission is pursuing an option *** in the short-term with a further reduction envisaged ***. In progress for September 2014.
3.3.25 Thorough documentation is now completed for all disposal files. Implemented June 2014.
3.3.26 ***. Implemented February 2014.
3.4.1 The Finance section is overseen by the MCO with day-to-day management by the LE-09 Financial Management Officer (FMO). The section is also supported by one LE-06 and two LE-05 Accountants. In addition to providing financial services to the three missions in Brussels, the section is a CSDP for the processing of financial transactions for the missions in Bamako and Tunis. There are plans for the CSDP to provide financial services ***.
3.4.2 The RSCEMA supports the mission in its role as a CSDP and assesses missions ahead of their transition to receiving service from the CSDP. The Financial Operations, International (SMFF) division also supports the mission in this role.
|Key Finance Management Criteria||Meets||Needs Improvement||Does Not Meet|
|Roles and responsibilities ensure adequate segregation of duties.||X|
|The section employs methods to minimize disruption (e.g. setting of "quiet hours" and controlling access to the Finance section).||X|
|The section has explored alternate methods to minimize transactions and reduce reliance on cash (i.e. acquisition cards, electronic fund transfers).||X|
|Payment runs are kept to a minimum, but are sufficient to provide good client service.||X|
3.4.4 The Finance section is *** managed by the LE-09 FMO, who demonstrates *** technical and leadership skills. The team is expected to be client-focused and pro-active, and to address problems quickly while also educating clients. Service is good, and clients are provided tools to help make them more self-sufficient. Finance staff and clients *** the LE-09 FMO’s management style and ***. Members of the section are motivated and morale is positive.
3.4.5 Communication in the section is strong, both internally and externally. In addition to monthly section meetings, regular communication is maintained with the DHOM, the MCO, client missions and the RSCEMA. Minutes of meetings are recorded in an evergreen document that has a rolling account of previous discussions and decisions. Members of the section also attend meetings of the Common Services program.
3.4.6 The roles and responsibilities of each member of the section are clearly communicated and charted on a grid. This is of particular importance during the transition to the CSDP role. Some advantages that come with this are standardization of processes and improved segregation of duties and continuity during absences. However, the evolution of roles has not been captured in employees’ job descriptions. As well, advertisements to recruit for CSDP positions have relied upon the standard benchmark job descriptions because no specific descriptions are available for CSDP positions.
3.4.7 The section currently exceeds service standards. While positive, it should be careful not to generate unrealistic expectations. Once all CSDP clients are receiving full service, it is not likely that the section will continue to exceed service standards to the same degree due to the increased workload. Clear communication and expectation management will be important to avoid this being perceived as poor service.
3.4.8 Overall, the Finance section has managed its move to become a CSDP. The mission has had the time to effectively assimilate the financial operations of two missions in Africa. The section has been able to develop mission-specific tools in support of the transition and continues to address issues as they arise. It was identified that ahead of transitioning it would be beneficial to identify what residual work will remain at a client mission to help accurately assess its future resource requirements. As well, the system could benefit from a mechanism to share the tools, practices and procedures missions have developed in support of CSDP operations.
3.4.9 Client missions now all use *** whereby clients scan documents from their sections/mission for processing and the status of payments can be tracked in real time. This reduces the need for clients to contact the Finance section. Even at the same mission, clients no longer need to provide signed documents and receipts before payment processes can be initiated. The Finance section reports that they do not have a problem with disruptions.
3.4.10 The use of electronic funds transfers, credit cards, bank transfers and the Mission Online Payment Services ***.
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|
3.4.11 Internal controls are in place with minor improvement required in the following areas:
- Bank statement: ***. Standard practice is for the MCO to receive the statement and initial the pages to indicate that he/she has reviewed it before providing it to the accountant. It was noted that the MCO can check balances online, but the DFATD guidelines state that a CBS must receive the bank statement directly.
- HonCons: the reimbursement of HonCon expenses, which applies to the bilateral mission, is not based on an established agreement. A recommendation has been made to the bilateral mission to establish guidelines for reimbursement and to communicate them to the Finance section.
- Petty Cash: *** as required by policy, are undertaken by the MCO, DMCO or LE-09 FMO.
Recommendations to the Mission
3.4.13 In accordance with the Petty Cash – Missions policy 4.3.1, all petty cash ***.
Recommendation to the Corporate Accounting Bureau (SMD)
3.4.14 Standardized job descriptions for finance positions at CSDPs should be developed and formalized in consultation with the Locally Engaged Staff Bureau.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
3.4.12 ***. Implemented February 2014.
3.4.13 Petty cash practices have been reviewed and updated, ***. Implemented February 2014.
SMD Actions and Timeframes
3.4.14 SMD has started to develop job descriptions for each position level created in CSDPs. SMD will ensure the Locally Engaged Staff Services Bureau is involved to confirm the appropriateness of the classification. All Positions should have job description by March 31, 2015. In progress for March 2015.
3.5 Information Management – Information Technology (IM-IT)
3.5.1 The IT section is led by a CS-02 Foreign Service Information Technology Professional (FSITP) who reports to the MCO. He is supported by an LE-07 Locally Engaged ITP (LEITP). The team supports approximately 125 Signet users across the three missions in Brussels. There is a Client Support Regional Manager (CSRM) based in London, England at the RSCEMA.
3.5.2 An AS-02 Head of Registry at the mission to NATO works with an LE-04 Registry Assistant and provides Information Management (IM) services at that mission. He also supports IM projects at the other two missions.
3.5.3 The IT and IM components at the mission to NATO are complex due to the need to handle high volumes of classified information and the numerous computer systems specific to NATO, DND and DFATD.
|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|
3.5.4 Overall, the IT section is *** managed by the FSITP; his *** approach *** by his colleagues and clients. Mission staff characterized IT service providers as engaged, client-service oriented and pro-active. The RSCEMA also reports that the FSITP and LEITP maintain *** formal and informal communication with them.
3.5.5 An IM-IT committee for the three missions in Brussels was established in August 2013 to guide colleagues on IM/IT best practices. According to the minutes, it meets bi-monthly. There is reported good engagement of the group, particularly in terms of social media which is of increasing importance to the missions. This could be a good forum to discuss IT related issues such as when program managers wished to procure *** as a program tool.
3.5.6 The IT section has successfully implemented several new technologies but without the benefit of advanced technical training. This included Windows 7, a new phone system, and the Multifunctional Devices (MFD) that are replacing most printers. The FSITP and LEITP provided brief individual coaching to the staff when each phone was installed and had small group training at the MFDs when they were put into service to assist clients with these transitions.
3.5.7 Improving IM at the mission to the EU and the bilateral mission is a program objective for the 2014-15 fiscal year. Currently, information is stored across several platforms, including a shared network drive and the wiki. As well, some information is stored according to reporting responsibilities that are no longer valid. For example, the tri-mission administration section of the wiki site is embedded in the bilateral mission’s wiki. Clients would be better served if the administration wiki was stand alone and accessible to all three missions.
3.5.8 The missions have several organizational email boxes that are not monitored. This includes an IT-Organizational box that clients still use despite the move to manage work requests through Remedy.
3.5.9 The IM function at NATO has been updated to almost universally disperse information in an electronic format, which has dramatically reduced the use of paper at the mission. There is an annual cull of information on the shared drives. The head of registry has also initiated projects at both chanceries to cull files. ***.
3.5.10 Both the head of registry and the registry assistant will finish their duties at the missions in the summer of 2014. This will be a shift and good handover notes should be prepared to ensure the sustainability of practices and procedures.
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|
3.5.11 Overall, IM-IT processes and controls are strong with only minor suggestions for improvement. Back-ups at both chanceries are performed regularly ***.
3.5.12 The IT Asset Management Solutions (ITAMS) system provides inventory control for ***, cell phones and ***. However, the mission is still in the process of developing a Mobile Device Policy that users would be required to read and sign to acknowledge their accountabilities.
3.5.13 Appropriate approvals for the disposal of surplus IT assets are obtained. ***. The mission is aware that a new policy comes in effect on April 1, 2014 ***.
Recommendations to the Mission
3.5.14 Unmonitored organizational email boxes should be closed.
3.5.15 An effective handover plan should be implemented to ensure key information management practices are sustained following the 2014 summer rotation.
3.5.16 Employees should formally acknowledge their accountabilities when they take responsibilities for IT assets.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
3.5.14 All unmonitored organizational email boxes have been closed. Implemented June 2014.
3.5.15 ***. Implemented July 2014.
3.5.16 The missions' IM/IT committee proposed a new mobile device policy that contains a signed acknowledgement by the custodian. The policy was approved by the Tri-Mission CMM in May. Implemented May 2014.
Appendix B: Mission Resources Fact Sheet
|*Note: Staff Quarters numbers are for DFATD staff only; DND arranges housing for their CBS.|
|Head of Mission||4||3||1.5|
Appendix C: 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 Workplan
- 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: