Collaborative Audit of the Passport Program for Official Travel
- Canadian Armed Forces
- Department of National Defence
- Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
- Risk-based Audit Plan
- Vice Chief of the Defence Staff
Present the results from the collaborative audit with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on the Passport Program for Official Travel.
- Results in Brief
- Key Findings
- No major concerns with respect to the retention, safekeeping and tracking of the special passports within the Department of National Defence/Canadian Armed Forces (DND/CAF) were identified.
- There were some minor situations of non-compliance noted; these were addressed by the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff (VCDS)/OUTCAN (Out-of-Canada) during the course of the audit.
- IRCC included in its Risk-based Audit Plan (RBAP) an audit of the Passport Program for Official Travel.
- In undertaking this audit, IRCC requested involvement from DND/CAF and three other organizations.
- IRCC’s objective was to assess whether controls were in place to effectively manage the IRCC Passport Program for Official Travel.
- Further information on the IRCC objective, criteria and findings are provided in Annexes A and B.
- While not originally included in the DND/CAF RBAP for 2019/20, ADM(RS) benefited from the opportunity to collaborate with IRCC.
- The objective of the work undertaken within DND/CAF was to ensure the Department is exercising proper stewardship on behalf of IRCC with respect to the management of special passports.
- Further information on the DND/CAF scope and methodology objective is provided in Annexes C and D.
- Approximately 39 authorized DND/CAF units hold more than 18,000 special passports.
- Table 1 provides a high-level overview of IRCC and DND/CAF responsibilities with respect to passports for official travel (special passports).
Table 1. IRCC and DND/CAF Passport Responsibilities. This table outlines IRCC and DND/CAF responsibilities with respect to passports for official travel.
Table 1 Details - IRCC and DND/CAF Passport Responsibilities.
Table 1 Summary: This table shows the roles and responsibilities between the IRCC and DND/CAF for the passport program. There are two main headers in the table. The first is titled IRCC and the second, DND/CAF. Under the IRCC header there are no subcategories, but under the DND/CAF header there are two categories; Base/Wing/Unit and VCDS/OUTCAN. Therefore, there is a total of 3 columns. Under the first column, which is under the IRCC header, there are four bullet points. The Base/Wing/Unit column, under DND/CAF, has three bullet points and the VCDS/OUTCAN column has three points as well. Read across for the responsibilities of each group involved in the passport program.
- IRCC currently has individual agreements with approximately 39 units authorized to retain special passports.
- Of the ten units visited, one has a current signed “Agreement on the Retention and Safekeeping of Special Passports.” This updated agreement contains additional safeguarding measures.
- As a result, some of the additional safeguarding measures (e.g., inventory and transaction records must be stored in separate containers) were not in place in some of the units.
- Despite this fact, no major concerns with respect to the actual safeguarding and tracking of the special passports were identified throughout the course of the audit.
- VCDS OUTCAN has since advised all units of the additional measures.
- IRCC is aiming to sign one agreement between IRCC and DND/CAF, as opposed to one per unit, which will promote consistency and create efficiencies.
- Walkthroughs and file reviewsFootnote 1 demonstrated that special passports are effectively tracked and safeguarded.
- All units visited had implemented varied procedures/tools to monitor the status of special passports retained at their unit.
- To promote and ensure consistency, OUTCAN recently modified Guardian (an electronic database) to allow for tracking special passports across the organization.
- This new approach will provide OUTCAN with passport information from all units that have the authority to hold special passports allowing for greater monitoring and oversight.
Although there were some situations of non-compliance related to the new safety measures for inventory records and transactions records, no concerns with respect to the actual safeguarding and tracking of the special passports were identified.
In addition, having a single agreement, coupled with the tracking and VCDS/OUTCAN monitoring of information within Guardian, will minimize the risk of future non-compliance.
The audit focused on the controls in place within IRCC’s Passport Program for Official Travel for the purpose of maintaining the effectiveness of the program.
The IRCC audit covered the period from April 1, 2016 to December 31, 2018 and included an examination of the following:
- The process of issuing the special diplomatic passports;
- Monitoring of usage and safekeeping of passports for official travel;Footnote 2 and
- Reporting on the performance of the IRCC Passport Program for Official Travel.
IRCC’s overarching finding, as a result of their audit work and the work of the included departments, is as follows:
- Examination of selected passports and review of safekeeping practices in these Departments and the Agency identified that, in the absence of reporting requirements and oversight by IRCC, each of the Departments’ and the Agency’s internal controls, such as inventory records and activity logs, were in place within the organizations.
- The work undertaken within DND/CAF covered the period from April 1, 2016 to December 31, 2018 and included an examination of monitoring the usage and safekeeping of passports for official travel.
- Examination work took place at National Defence Headquarters as well as at various CAF organizational units that retain special passports issued to DND/CAF personnel.
1st Cdn Div HQ
CF MP Gp HQ
2 Fd Amb
Table 2. CAF Organizational Units with Special Passports. This table lists the CAF organizational units that retain special passports issued to DND/CAF personnel.
Table 2 Details - CAF Organizational Units with Special Passports.
- The audit methodology included the following:
- Reviewing applicable legislation and policy documents;
- Reviewing key supporting documents and relevant background documentation;
- Conducting tests and examining steps of key processes, procedures and systems; and
- Conducting interviews with key personnel.
- The findings and conclusions contained in this report are based on sufficient and appropriate evidence gathered in accordance with procedures that meet the Institute of Internal Auditors’ International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing. The audit engagement thus conforms to the Institute of Internal Auditors’ International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing as supported by the results of the quality assurance and improvement program. The opinions expressed in this report are based on conditions as they existed at the time of the advisory engagement and apply only to the consulted entity.
- The 10 units included within the scope were responsible for 2,398 special passports.
- As requested by IRCC, a sample of 20 special passports was selected from each unit (with the exception of one unit where all 39 special passports for which they were responsible were reviewed); thus, 219 special passports were selected for file review.
- This non-representative sample allowed the auditors to gain an understanding of the safekeeping, retention and tracking processes for special passports.
- There were 143 special passports available for file review during the site visits. The remainder were either with a deployed member or with IRCC Official Travel for passport renewal or visa application.
- Tracking records were reviewed for the passports that were off site and in all instances records indicated the date the passport was either sent out or picked up by a member and the expected return date (when known).
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