Classification and grading of posts

(1) At the 1st and 2nd sessions (1948: CO-ORDINATION-PREP/16, para. 2; CC/A.1/2/Rev.1; CC/A.2/6/Rev.1) there was an exchange of information on the classification and salary plans in the agencies. At the 13th session (September 1952: CO-ORDINATION/R.132, para. 59) the Committee requested FAO to prepare a statement of the classification methods followed by agencies and analyse the main differences.

(2) The classification system was greatly changed as a result of the report of the Flemming Committee of 1949 (see chapter 4) but has remained virtually unchanged since then. In 1956, the Salary Review Committee observed (see A/3209, chapter VI) that there was evidence that grading standards varied in different organizations. At the special CCAQ session in March 1957, which dealt with salary matters (CO-ORDINATION/R.244, para. 53), the Committee decided to refer the question to ICSAB, which made a preliminary report in 1958 (CO-ORDINATION/R.261) calling for further study. At the 19th session (March 1958: CO-ORDINATION/R.264, para. 35) CCAQ recommended acceptance of the report and UN undertook to gather the required further data.

(3) At the second part of the 21st session (August 1960: CO-ORDINATION/R.336, paras. 24-26) CCAQ agreed a joint policy statement on common grading standards to be submitted to ICSAB (CO-ORDINATION/R.336, Annex II). The Board subsequently issued a report on the subject, in ICSAB/IX/5.

(4) At the first part of the 22nd session (April 1961: CO-ORDINATION/R.351, para. 57) CCAQ decided that the Standing Committee on Common Grading Standards should consist of UN, ILO, FAO, UNESCO, WHO, ICAO, ITU and IAEA; ILO was requested to provide the Chairman of the Committee.

(5) At the 23rd session (March 1962: CO-ORDINATION/R.391, para. 97) an informal progress report was made on the work of the Standing Committee.

(6) At its 24th session (March 1963: CO-ORDINATION/R.430, paras. 72-73) CCAQ took note of the report (CO-ORDINATION/CC.24/3) of the Standing Committee, which put forward basic elements for the various grades (see CO-ORDINATION/R.430, Appendix H). CCAQ agreed that the next step in the Standing Committee should be the formulation of grading standards in particular fields of work. Additional staff assistance would be necessary.

(7) At the same session, CCAQ took note (CO-ORDINATION/R.430, paras. 74 and 75) of grade descriptions (CO-ORDINATION/CC.24/15) adopted by ILO for its General Service staff at Geneva. It felt that it was primarily for the organizations at Geneva, rather than CCAQ, to draw up, if need be, common standards for Geneva as a whole, and noted the view of those organizations that the ILO standards would not prejudice this process.

(8) At its 25th session (March 1964: CO-ORDINATION/R.451, paras. 98-101) CCAQ agreed that the Standing Committee should meet in July 1964 to attempt to draw up common grading standards in the languages field. It was also to consider what the subsequent steps should be, and whether a consultant should be assigned to Staff Office to carry on the work after August. (The Standing Committee's report was later issued as CO-ORDINATION/CC/SO/100).

(9) At the second part of the 25th session (October 1964: CO-ORDINATION/R.480) CCAQ discussed an ICSAB Report on Career Prospects (ICSAB/XII/6) which, if adopted, would have a major impact on the classification system. It agreed that detailed studies should be undertaken.

(10) At its 26th session (March 1965: CO-ORDINATION/R.488, para. 10) CCAQ agreed to give ICSAB an interim report on the state of the career prospects studies - see CO-ORDINATION/CC/SO/118/Rev.2.

(11) At the same session (CO-ORDINATION/R.488, para. 48) the Committee approved the second report of the Standing Committee on Common Grading Standards on grade standards for the languages field (see CO-ORDINATION/CC/SO/100). It agreed also to borrow classification experts from one or two national civil service commissions to survey four fields of work in the organizations with a view to establishment of common grading standards.

(12) At its 27th session (March 1966: CO-ORDINATION/R.532, para. 29) CCAQ agreed the text of an interim report to ICSAB (see ICSAB/XIV/R.12) on the common grading study referred to in para. (11). The report of the two experts was issued as CO-ORDINATION/CC/SO/156.

(13) The Committee discussed (CO-ORDINATION/R.532, para. 65) a proposal to introduce a new level (D.3) between D.2 and Assistant Director-General, but felt that there was no general need for this. Views differed as to whether organizations which felt they needed such a grade should solve the problem by elevating some D.2 posts to Senior Director, utilizing the D.2 salary range but with an additional element of remuneration for special responsibility.

(14) At its 28th session (March 1967: CO-ORDINATION/R.604, paras. 25-31) CCAQ agreed (with IMCO dissenting) that the recommendations of the two experts provided satisfactory guidelines for the classification of posts in Personnel, Budget and Accounts, Statistics and Languages. Organizations should adopt standards in these fields based on the standards proposed. The Committee also agreed to the employment, on a shared cost basis, for two years, of a classification specialist.

(15) At the 29th session (March 1968: CO-ORDINATION/R.669, para. 26) CCAQ agreed the text of a further report to ICSAB (see CO-ORDINATION/R.669/Add.3 and ICSAB/XVI/R.8).

(16) At its 30th session (March 1971: CO-ORDINATION/R.733, paras. 74-75) CCAQ agreed that standards had been drafted for most of the large fields of work common to all organizations. Little more could usefully be done in this direction. Several organizations had however used the services of the CCAQ expert to help in drawing up or revising standards for all their posts and a continuation of this process should lead to greater progress towards consistent grading among organizations. CCAQ felt that sufficient work of this nature remained to justify an extension of the secondment of the expert by one year. The cost, of approximately $28,000, should be subject to existing cost-sharing arrangements.

(17) At is 33rd session (March 1971, CO-ORDINATION/R.863, para. 51) CCAQ decided that funds provided for the Pay Research Unit should be used to strengthen the CCAQ secretariat by recruitment of a classification officer to assist organizations in the development of consistent grading standards and to deal with classification questions arising in the Special Committee for the review of the common system of salaries.

(18) At a special session in July 1972 (CO-ORDINATION/R.947, paras. 7-8) CCAQ agreed that the Standing Committee on Common Grading Standards (see para. (4) above) should be re-activated as a Standing Committee on Job Classification, with amended terms of reference, to advise and make recommendations to CCAQ on (a) guidelines prepared by the CCAQ secretariat for class series at all grade levels and (b) the results of studies undertaken by or for the Committee concerning classification policies or procedures or other matters referred to it by CCAQ.

(19) At its 41st session (March 1975) CCAQ received a report from the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Job Classification regarding the activities of that group and confirmed that the Standing Committee should continue its activity until ICSC was ready to assume responsibility under article 13 of its statute (CO-ORDINATION/R.1087, para. 109). (See also section l.7, para. (7)). At the same time, CCAQ decided that participation of staff representatives in CCAQ job classification matters should be through CCAQ itself.

(20) At its special session No. 1 (January 1976: CO-ORDINATION/R.1133, para. 5 and Add.1 and Add.5) CCAQ agreed on draft ACC texts for ICSC (later cleared by correspondence) on the structure of categories and grades, and on common grading.

(21) At its 43rd session (March 1976: CO-ORDINATION/R.1145, para. 33) CCAQ agreed that the role of the Commission in job classification would be to determine policies, systems and broad standards; the organizations would remain responsible for establishing classification plans, classifying individual posts, and disposing of classification appeals.

(22) At the same session (CO-ORDINATION/R.1145, para. 33) CCAQ concluded that its Standing Committee on Job Classification would have a continuing role to play even after ICSC assumed its functions under article 13 of its statute, since the Commission would need a mechanism for dialogue with the organizations on the subject.

(23) In its second annual report (1976: UN document A/31/30, paras. 49 and 111-117), and on the basis of its review of the UN salary system, ICSC concluded that no change should be made at that time in the number of grades in the Professional and higher categories.

(24) At part II of its 46th session (February-March 1977: CO-ORDINATION/R.1208, paras. 15-19 and Annex III), CCAQ took note of guidelines prepared by its Standing Committee on Job Classification for classifying posts concerned with financial services and with electronic data processing. It agreed on subjects for the Standing Committee's work programme, and it took the position that it was the responsibility of the organizations concerned to submit agreed job descriptions for the General Service category at Geneva. The Committee invited the Geneva-based organizations to consider urgently how to make their different classification methods mutually compatible.

(25) At its 5th session (February-March 1977: ICSC/R.77, para. 34), ICSC urged the organizations to pursue their efforts to establish a classification of occupational groups in the General Service category (see ICSC/R.64). It emphasized that it would always be the responsibility of each organization to apply the standards set by the Commission in classifying its own posts. It approved a division of labour between itself and CCAQ, whereby CCAQ would continue to co-ordinate presentations to the Commission and to elaborate guidelines for common classification standards (UN document A/32/30, paras. 218-220).

(26) At its 6th session the Commission considered the methodology for a further study of grade equivalences between the US Civil Service and the UN system (August-September 1977: ICSC/R.96, paras. 13-20). The relevant CCAQ views are in CO-ORDINATION/R.1237, para. 19.

(27) At the second part of its 47th session (October 1977: CO-ORDINATION/R.1237/Add.1, para. 15) CCAQ decided to establish its Standing Committee on Job Classification as a regular subsidiary body of CCAQ, to be designated as from 1 January 1978 the Sub-Committee on Job Classification.

(28) In connection with the ICSC's plan of action in the area of job classification, the Sub-Committee on Job Classification prepared reports to ICSC on: (a) classification standards for jobs common to several organizations; (b) current classification practices in the organizations of the common system; and (c) the extended general service levels (CCAQ/PER/R.96 and Add.1). CCAQ approved these reports at its 51st session (August 1979: ACC/1975/R.55, para. 32).

(29) At its 52nd session (January/March 1980: ACC/1980/10, paras. 21-22), CCAQ agreed in principle to the job classification standards for Professional and higher category positions proposed to ICSC by its secretariat, but postponed final endorsement until the Sub-Committee on Job Classification and CCAQ had had an opportunity to review a number of difficulties it gave rise to, including a realistic implementation programme. ICSC promulgated the point-factor evaluation system (Master Standard, or Tier I of the three-tier classification system) at its eleventh session (March 1980).

(30) At its 53rd session (July 1980: ACC/1980/17, paras. 19-22) CCAQ agreed, on the basis of conclusions reached by the Sub-Committee, on an implementation programme for the Master Standard, beginning in January 1981. It also agreed on the procedure for developing tier II standards (grade level standards), including the need for the Sub-Committee to meet twice a year to fulfil its obligations in this respect.

(31) ICSC has developed and promulgated tier II standards for: translators and revisers, personnel managements specialists, economists (1981); technical co-operation administrators; electronic data processing specialists (1982); civil engineers, purchasing and contracting specialists (1983); public information specialists and financial management specialists (1985).

(32) At its 56th session (March 1982: ACC/1982/5, para. 61) CCAQ noted the intention of the Sub-Committee on Job Classification to study further the applicability of the Master Standard to project positions. It also agreed that the Sub-Committee should give detailed consideration to difficulties being experienced by organizations in implementing the Master Standard.

(33) At the same session CCAQ noted the intention of the Sub-Committee to develop common job classification standards for General Service posts outside headquarters duty stations.

(34) At its 58th session (March 1983: ACC/1983/9, paras. 56-62) CCAQ noted that the question of a standard number of grades for all General Service scales would not be pursued. It also formulated comments on the undertaking of the United Nations to develop grading standards for General Service staff in Addis Ababa, in particular on the need to avoid duplication of the development of system-wide standards for non-headquarters duty stations.

(35) At its 59th session (July 1983: ACC/1983/18, paras. 54-57) CCAQ noted that in the light of the methodology which had been chosen for the development of common classification standards for non-headquarters duty stations (i.e. excluding certain duty stations with large concentrations of staff), there would be no conflict with the work of the same nature being done in Addis Ababa by the United Nations.

(36) At its 60th and 61st sessions (March 1984: ACC/1984/9, paras. 53-59; June/July 1984: ACC/1984/16, paras. 46-55) CCAQ took positions regarding several aspects of job classification, principally on the basis of work done by the Sub-Committee on Job Classification. The main issues covered were the application of the Master Standard to project positions, the development of common standards for General Service posts at non-headquarters duty stations and the development of further tier II standards.

(37) At its 62nd session (March 1985), CCAQ reviewed the following matters, primarily on the basis of the report of the Sub-Committee on Job Classification, a) review of implementation of the Master Standard. The ICSC secretariat had prepared a progress report on this subject, in accordance with a decision taken at the time it promulgated the standard (see also para. (29) above). The Committee's views are recorded in ACC/1985/6, paras. 85-87; b) the Committee noted the final report of the testing team established to ascertain the applicability of the master standard to project positions. Reservations were expressed by some organizations in this regard (ibid., paras. 88-89); c) CCAQ agreed with the promulgation of the tier II standard for public information specialists and of the classification standards for General Service staff in Addis Ababa (ibid., paras. 90-91). It took note of a progress report on the development of common classification standards for small and medium-sized duty stations (ibid., para. 92).

(38) At its 21st session (March 1985), ICSC promulgated with immediate effect, a) the tier II standard for public information specialists (see ICSC/21/R.15); b) the standards for the General Service in Addis Ababa (ICSC/21/R.24, para. 83); c) a supplement to the Master Standard to determine the job content level of project positions (ICSC/21/24, Annex VI). See also ICSC's eleventh annual report (A/40/30, paras. 214, 220 and 230).

(39) At the 63rd session (July 1985: ACC/1985/14, para. 63), CCAQ endorsed the draft tier II standard for financial management specialists. The standard was promulgated by ICSC at its 22nd session (July 1985) (ICSC/22/R.17; see also A/40/30, para. 224).

(40) At CCAQ's 64th session (March 1986), the Committee reviewed a presentation for ICSC forwarding for promulgation benchmark standards for the classification of GS posts at small and medium-sized duty stations. At the same time, it stressed the need for the early development of a support standard for jobs not covered by the benchmarks, as well as the importance of a link between implementation of the classification standard and the conduct of salary surveys at non-headquarters duty stations (ACC/1986/3, paras. (49) and (50); Annex IV; see also section 2.2, para. (39)).

(41) At the same session, CCAQ also reviewed the job equivalency aspects of the new grade equivalency and remuneration comparison being carried out by the ICSC secretariat, on the basis, inter alia of comments by its Sub-Committee on Job Classification (ACC/1986/3, paras. 12-17; see also section 2.2, para. (39)).

(42) The Committee further noted that the work programme of the Sub-Committee had enabled it to revert to holding one session a year (ACC/1986/3, para. 48).

(43) At its 23rd session (March 1986), ICSC promulgated the benchmark standards for small and medium-sized duty stations and requested the organizations to report back to it on a number of related issues (A/41/30, para. 184).

(44) At its 65th session (July 1986), CCAQ continued its consideration of matters relating to the development of a support standard for small and medium-sized duty stations (ACC/1986/10, paras. 98 and 99). For its further views concerning the new grading equivalency study, see ibid., paras. 28-39. (The Commission's tentative decisions on this latter subject are noted in section 2.2, para. (40)).

(45) At the 24th session (July 1986), ICSC promulgated common classification standards for the General Service and related categories at Vienna (A/41/30, para. 190).

(46) At its 26th session (July 1987), ICSC promulgated the common classification standard for General Service posts at small and medium-sized duty stations (comprising the benchmark standards referred to in paragraph (43) above, as slightly amended, and a point-factor matrix standard). The Commission also reviewed the implementation of the Master Standard and the development/implementation of GS job classification standards at Baghdad, Santiago, New York, Vienna and Addis Ababa (A/42/30, Chapter VI).

(47) Discussing the implementation by the organizations of ICSC recommendations on "linked grades", CCAQ at its 68th session (February-March 1988: ACC/1988/4, paras. 154-156) observed that in many cases there was no policy of linked grades as such but rather a practice of recruiting less-qualified staff at lower than the graded levels of posts, for specified periods.

(48) At its 69th session (July 1988: ACC/1988/12, paras. 103, 104), taking note of a report of its Sub-Committee on Job Classification, CCAQ agreed that any common General Service classification standard emanating from the current exercise at Santiago (see (46) above) should not be accepted unless highly consistent with the standards already developed for Addis Ababa and Baghdad. At the same time, the Committee expressed its willingness to endorse the delegation by ICSC to its Chairman of authority for promulgating Tier II standards and related classification instruments, on the understanding that they were free of controversy.

(49) At its special (1989) session (January) CCAQ agreed that UN should circulate revised proposals for implementing the Addis Ababa scheme, which involved a reduction from 9 to 7 grades (ACC/1989/2, paras. 24, 25).

(50) Because of postponement of a session of the Sub-Committee on Job Classification, CCAQ at its 71st session (July-August 1989: ACC/1989/14, para. 151) agreed that Tier II standards for editors and statisticians developed by working groups might be cleared by correspondence, unless difficulties or controversy arose during that process. The standards were promulgated on 6 February 1990.

(51) At its 72nd session (February-March 1990: ACC/1990/4, paras. 162, 163), CCAQ endorsed procedures developed by UNDP for the implementation of the common classification standard for staff at small and medium-sized duty stations, involving the conversion from more and less than seven to seven grades.

(52) At its 73rd session (July 1990: ACC/1990/10, paras. 100-110) CCAQ dealt with a number of issues raised by its Sub-Committee on Job Classification. Among other matters it endorsed a proposed pilot project for developing automated analytical systems in the organizations for applying Master Standard factors II and IV (ibid., para. 101); endorsed a proposal to apply the same point-factor matrix standard to all non-headquarters locations (para. 102); endorsed the Sub-Committee's conclusion that more drastic measures (e.g. postponement of a salary survey) might be required if problems at some locations in implementing the non-headquarters standard did not improve (para. 105); agreed to field an inter-agency mission to Santiago to develop benchmarks there once a global non-headquarters standard had been promulgated (para. 106); and discussed difficulties facing job classifiers in the United Nations system. On this last subject it concluded that the difficulties were symptomatic of a broader problem: the lack of linkages between personnel sub-systems. There was a lacuna in the common system treatment of personnel management issues, since no forum existed where they could be discussed in depth (paras. 108, 109).

(53) At the same session the Committee confirmed its intention to present to ICSC at its spring 1991 session a modified version of the classification standard for small and medium-sized duty stations, for application at all non-headquarters locations (ACC/1990/10, para. 117). The Commission delegated to its Chairman authority to promulgate the modified standards (A/46/30, para. 190).

(54) In 1991 a draft presentation to ICSC on a global standard for the classification of General Service posts at non-headquarters duty stations (to replace the standard for small and medium-sized duty stations) was cleared with organizations by correspondence, along with supplemental benchmarks for Nairobi (CCAQ(PER)/1991/14; ACC/1991/17, para. 110).

(55) At its 75th session (July-August 1991: ACC/1991/17, para. 113) CCAQ agreed that common job classification standards for General Service and related categories at Addis Ababa and Geneva should be dealt with on the basis of consultations among organizations with such staff at those locations. The new Addis Ababa standards were later implemented by UN; ICSC delegated to its Chairman authority to promulgate those at Geneva (A/46/30, vol. I, para. 188.) CCAQ also approved a revised Tier II standard for procurement and contracting specialists (formerly "purchasing and contracts specialists") (ACC/1991/17, paras. 114, 115). The standard was promulgated by ICSC on 30 August 1991.

(56) At its 76th session (March 1992: ACC/1992/6, paras. 101-104) CCAQ took note of a report of the 19th session of its Sub-Committee on Job Classification, with the conclusions of which it generally agreed, and of a JIU report on advantages and disadvantages of the job classification system, on which organizations would comment in the usual way. UNDP announced that it would be holding two workshops on the application of the common classification standard for non-headquarters duty stations. The Committee requested its sub-committee to evaluate the cost benefits of creating an automated system for applying the Master Standard.

(57) At its 78th session (March 1993: ACC/1993/6, para. 38) CCAQ asked the Sub-Committee on Job Classification was asked to study how the Master Standard would require adaption in the event of the introduction of a P-6 level.

(58) At its 79th session (July 1993: ACC/1993/22, para. 43) CCAQ requested its Sub-Committee on Job Classification to carry out a detailed examination of all the options it was considering for a new P-6 level with a view to assessing their feasibility, the steps involved and the time-frame for their introduction, keeping in mind the linkages to other possible changes in conditions of service. CCAQ also took note of an ICSC secretariat document following up the JIU report on the advantages and disadvantages of post classification and providing an analysis of the benefits of job classification and a review of the status of its application across the common system. CCAQ decided on its priorities and invited its Sub-Committee to look into them and develop a timetable for future action (ibid., paras. 92-94). ICSC noted the progress achieved in the development of job classification standards, decided to pursue the development of practical solutions to problems identified in their administration and reaffirmed that job classification was a prerequisite for the development of effective career planning systems (A/48/30, para. 222).

(59) At its 80th session (February 1994: ACC/1994/4, paras. 89-90) CCAQ noted with appreciation the report of the 20th session of the Sub-Committee on Job Classification and endorsed its definition of the Director category, which had been critical to CCAQ's proposals on the Director category. The Committee also concluded that organizations should ensure that the requisite resources for the development of the automated analytical system for the application of common system classification were made available as a matter of priority for the project and requested ICSC, as custodian of common system classification standards, to participate financially in the venture.

(60) ICSC at its 41st session, in reviewing the implementation of its decisions and recommendations, noted a generally satisfactory rate of implementation of job classification standards at headquarters duty stations and the positive experience in the use of the global classification standard for non-headquarters duty stations and requested organizations that had not yet done so to ensure a timely and full implementation of the relevant standards. The Commission also expressed appreciation for the efforts made in the administration of job classification and the implementation of CCOG and repeated that the use of linked grades was unnecessary (ICSC/41/R.19, para. 371).

(61) At its 85th session (July 1996: ACC/1996/14, paras. 18 & 93) CCAQ endorsed the draft Tier II Standard for Human Resources Management Specialists for promulgation by the Chairman of ICSC.

(62) At its 90th session (April 1999: ACC/1999/5, para. 18) CCAQ reviewed a report of a "brainstorming" session on job classification, which was meant as one among other inputs for the Working Group on the HR Framework, and noted that the document did not examine important broader issues related to job classification, such as its link to pay setting and career development. CCAQ therefore decided to request ICSC not to consider the substance of this report at its forthcoming session. CCAQ then requested its secretariat: (a) to carry out a needs analysis across the common system and (b) to organize an ad hoc meeting in autumn 1999 bringing together a cross-section of HR specialists so as to ensure a holistic treatment of the issue. ICSC took note of the work done so far and agreed that the matter should be pursued as part of its work on the integrated Framework for HR management (ICSC/49/R.12, para. 21).

(63) At the same session (ibid., para. 21) CCAQ reviewed a document (ACC/1999/PER/R.3) containing draft competency modules for recruitment, benefits and personnel entitlements specialists and endorsed them as the basis for further work. CCAQ agreed that when the draft modules were all complete a working group should review the overall package for content and style and review the core competency profile for the HR function to ensure consistency and avoid redundancy. In this connection the Committee noted that the CCAQ framework had served as a basis for the development in a number of organizations of more detailed performance-related competency matrices. One prepared by IFAD was presented to the Committee for information (ACC/1999/5, annex III).

(64) At its 91st session (July 1999: ACC/1999/13, para. 7) CCAQ expressed appreciation for the on-going work on the core competency framework and thanked those organizations which had prepared further modules. It endorsed the modules for HR planning specialists and compensation specialists as the basis for further work and again agreed that a working group should review the overall package and review the core competency profile for the HR function to ensure its relevance to more generalist HR jobs. CCAQ requested its secretariat to undertake a feasibility study to see to what extent funds could be raised to develop reliable approaches and tools for the practical application of the core competency framework in respect of both selection and development.

(65) At its 92nd session (March 2000: ACC/2000/5, para. 17) CCAQ expressed appreciation for, and endorsed, the module for staff training and development specialists as the basis for further work. The Committee decided that a Task Force comprised of those organizations' specialists who had developed the draft modules should meet to: (a) finalize the package; and (b) make recommendations on how to move the project further, in particular the development of a validation process with the view to bringing forward the final package at the Committee's 94th Session.

(66) At its first meeting (June 2001: ACC/2001/HLCM/7, paras. 38-39) the Human Resources (HR) Network noted that draft modules had been completed for all the areas of the HR function and, in line with the new arrangements favouring the use of lead agency and task force-based approaches, accepted ILO's proposal to take the lead in carrying this project forward with the support of UNDP and UNICEF.

(67) At its April 2002 meeting (CEB/2002/HLCM/8, para. 5) the HR Network endorsed the work undertaken to date on: (a) the design of the new Master Standard, (b) the introduction of flexible options for professional progression (career streams) and companion broad-banded structures in different organizations and (c) the intention to incorporate performance management into the new system which would ultimately serve to link individual contribution to overall performance. It called on ICSC to ensure close coordination with organizations during the development process, with structured input to refine the system as the working model was completed, and looked forward to receiving a more detailed outline of the new Master Standard, the accompanying grade level descriptors and further information on the development of career and performance management aspects of the new system.

(68) At its July 2002 meeting (CEB/2002/HLCM/14, para. 3) the HR Network, having repeatedly said that the current Master Standard was in need of fundamental overhaul, supported finalization of the proposals by the ICSC secretariat so that the new Standard could be promulgated by the Commission in 2003 under article 13 of its Statute. ICSC decided: (a) to develop further the conceptual model presented; (b) to assess the validity of the model at its 56th session after testing and validation; (c) to urge organizations to proceed with the development of monitoring, training and accountability measures in tandem with the current reform of the system and to report to the Commission on these measures in conjunction with the implementation of any new system and (d) to consider, as part of its 2003 work programme, the possible promulgation of a new system of job evaluation under Article 13 of its Statute, pending the positive findings of the testing and validation of the new system (A/57/30, para. 39).

(69) At its December 2002 video-conference (CEB/2002/HLCM/1, para. 2) the HR Network, recalling that it had repeatedly found the Master Standard in need of fundamental overhaul, agreed to cooperate in the testing and validation of the new standard with a view to its promulgation by the ICSC in 2003. It noted that sufficient time had to be allowed for the consultative and approval process to take place in the organizations once the testing was completed. It called upon ICSC secretariat to provide a detailed timetable and more information on the modalities, including the criteria for the selection of sample jobs. The Network called upon organizations to ensure that up-to-date job descriptions were submitted as soon as possible for their most representative occupational groups and grade levels and urged those who had comments or queries on terminology in the draft standard to submit them before testing commenced.

(70) At its January 2003 meeting (CEB/2003/HLCM/4, paras. 5-8) the HR Network reviewed additional information provided by ICSC secretariat regarding the testing and validation exercise and a breakdown of the job descriptions which organizations had submitted. ICSC secretariat informed the meeting that: (a) a sample of 10 per cent of the jobs submitted by the organizations would be used in the testing and validation of the new Master Standard, selected from the most populous grade levels (i.e. P.3 and P.4), in keeping with the approach used in the equivalency studies with the comparator; (b) job descriptions would be excluded from the testing in cases where the context was unclear (no organization chart provided) or the job descriptions were older than 5 years; (c) two validation workshops would be offered, one in New York and one in Rome with a total of 12-14 representatives nominated from each organization and staff bodies in each workshop; (d) a number of training workshops on the new standard would be carried out in 2003 for staff who required knowledge of the standard as part of their job functions; and (e) organizations would be provided a CD-ROM of the new computer application for applying the Master Standard at the forthcoming session of ICSC.

(71) The Network agreed that in view of the number of European-based organizations interested in participating in the validation exercise, two workshops should be held back to back in Geneva. Each organization would determine who would participate in these workshops, which could include field personnel and non-specialists (i.e. not just job classifiers), especially in view of the expectation that the new Standard could be applied also by non-specialists. In order to ensure that a truly representative sample of jobs (occupations and levels) was included in the test, the Network requested the ICSC secretariat to inform organizations of the job descriptions which had been included in the final sample and which ones had been dropped and to submit the results of the testing back to the organizations. After testing and before promulgation, the final version of the Master Standard should be submitted formally to organizations, with sufficient time for the consultative and approval process within each organization.

(72) At its March 2003 meeting (CEB/2003/HLCM/12, paras. 3-4) the HR Network expressed appreciation for the work accomplished to date on the validation and promulgation of the Master Standard and welcomed the plan to develop briefing programmes for staff and managers. It decided to request that the Chairman of ICSC formally submit the final version of the Standard, along with a brief description of the development and testing process, to the organizations before its promulgation so as to facilitate the consultative and approval process within each organization. The Commission took note with satisfaction of the work completed and looked forward to the completion of the validation process and the system's final development in time for review at its 57th session (ICSC/56/R.11, para. 120). It also decided to request its secretariat to provide it at its 57th session with a document which would address the issues that would be involved in the revision of the job classification system currently applicable to the General Service and related categories along the lines of those considered for the new system of job design and evaluation for the Professional and higher categories (ibid., para. 128).

(73) At its July 2003 meeting (CEB/2003/HLCM/20, para. 4) the HR Network welcomed the progress made and noted that the positive results were testimony to the need for broad consultative processes when introducing changes in the system. Organizations had participated fully at all stages of the development process, most recently, in the validation process, and believed the new Standard would provide a solid underpinning for the pay and benefits system. It recalled that the Network had requested the Chairman of ICSC formally to submit the final version of the Standard to executive heads before its promulgation and looked forward to the formal promulgation of the Standard once the consultation process was completed within each organization. (74) The Network emphasized the utility and cost effectiveness of collaborating in the further development of grade level descriptors for common occupations/job families across the system and expressed concern at the significant training needs that the introduction of the new Standard would generate. While organizations had been assured by the ICSC secretariat that they would be providing training across the system, it was essential that all concerned understood the new Standard inter alia to enhance transparency.

(75) The Network also agreed that work should begin on the reform of job classification for the General Service and related categories as soon as feasible. A number of fundamental, far-reaching conceptual issues raised in the ICSC document would require an intense collaborative process similar to that undertaken in respect of the Professional and higher categories. Organizations looked forward to collaborating in the development of a detailed work plan so as to ensure a thorough examination of all issues.

(76) The Commission decided (A/58/30, para. 35), with regard to the reform of job evaluation within the context of the review of the pay and benefits system, that: (a) authority for the promulgation of the new system of job evaluation, comprising: (i) the Master Standard; (ii) Grade Level Descriptors; and (iii) a new job description format, should be delegated to its Chairman to allow for internal consultation within the organizations with a view towards promulgation as of 1 January 2004; (b) its secretariat should report on an annual basis on the implementation of the new standards in organizations. This information should include: (i) the number of jobs which on application of the new standard are found to be under- or over-graded and the levels affected; (ii) the impact of change on the organizations; and (iii) difficulties encountered; (c) its secretariat should carry out a comprehensive assessment of the job evaluation system after 18 to 24 months and present to the Commission for its review and approval any substantive design changes that might be required; (d) its secretariat, in consultation with organizations and staff representatives, should pursue further research on the proposal to reform the job evaluation system for the General Service and related categories and provide the Commission with a report.

(77) At its July 2004 meeting (CEB/2004/HLCM/25, para. 16) the HR Network noted the contents of a document on Considerations related to reviewing the Job Classification Standards for the General Service and related categories (ICSC/59/R.13) and reiterated that the strategic goal of the review should be one job classification standard for the General Service and related categories and one method for measuring the value of work. It stressed that a major prerequisite for the review, to be included in its terms of reference, should be the implementation of the lessons learned from the implementation of the review of the new job classification standard for the Professional and higher categories; a lengthy and painful process that was still far from complete. It expressed appreciation for the extensive consultations being undertaken with all partners. ICSC took note of a consensus that had emerged that, while broad reform similar to that applied to the Professional category was necessary, as a first step a more cautious approach should be adopted that included a comparative review of the merits and demerits of all existing General Service standards. In this regard, it was agreed to continue discussions with headquarters duty stations on the status of their standards and to continue collaboration with all partners through the sharing of information and documentation. A consultant had begun a comparative study and the report would be completed in August 2004. ICSC decided to reiterate that there should be no compromise of the Flemming and Noblemaire principles and requested its secretariat to report to it in 2005 on further progress (ICSC/59/R.18, para. 161).

(78) At its July 2005 meeting (CEB/2005/HLCM/27, para. 4) the HR Network took note with appreciation of the progress made with regard to the implementation of the new Master Standard for the Professional and higher categories, expressed appreciation for the training provided by the ICSC secretariat, which facilitated the implementation of the Standard and looked forward to the development of a glossary that would enhance understanding and consistency in the interpretation of the definitions used in the grade level descriptors. The Network proposed that the ICSC secretariat seek the advice of the ICT Network through the CEB secretariat with respect to the problems encountered in the area of electronic systems support. It supported the proposed development of an informal group of job classification specialists on the understanding that this group would operate on a virtual basis, which would be in line with the frequently expressed views of executive heads that a proliferation of formal committees should be avoided. ICSC decided to: (a) take note of the report of the status of implementation by the organizations of the new job evaluation standard for the Professional and higher categories; (b) encourage the organizations to increase the rate of implementation while noting the difficulties encountered by them; (c) endorse the approach proposed by its secretariat for the enhancement of the new system; (d) request its secretariat to ensure that a random sample of United Nations jobs was classified by reference to the new job evaluation standard in preparation for the grade equivalency study with the United States federal civil service; and (e) request its secretariat to report on further progress in implementation at the Commission’s summer session in 2006, including the number and grade levels of posts classified and any changes to these grade levels as a result of classification action taken. (A/60/30, para. 246)

(79) Also at its July 2005 meeting (CEB/2005/HLCM/27, para. 10) the HR Network, in considering the review of the Job Evaluation Standards for General Service and related categories expressed appreciation for the work carried out by the ICSC secretariat and in particular, for the thorough and excellent comparative study on the existing eight job classification standards for the General Service and related categories. It agreed that the preferred direction for future work on this matter was the further examination of comprehensive reform for the General Service and related categories. The Network believed that the time had now come to fully integrate the General Service and related categories into the reform agenda. Clearly, the nature of work of the General Service category had undergone as significant a transformation as had the professional category. The competencies and qualifications that the GS workforce was expected and required to bring to their jobs were very different now than they were a decade ago. Most organizations had already moved ahead and reflected this changed nature of the General Service work in a number of ways, such as in the core competencies established for all staff, the competencies used for performance assessment purposes and generic job profiles incorporating updated functions and competencies. In the context of the pilot study on broadbanding and reward for performance, the contribution of General Service staff to the performance of work teams was considered so closely integrated with the contribution made by their Professional colleagues that organizations did not consider it feasible to conduct the pilot studies without including the GS team members. An exercise that focused merely on merging eight job evaluation standards into one would not do justice to the changed realities and to the new and different nature of work of the General Service category – a category, which, after all, comprised such a significant part of the common system workforce. A more holistic approach that would take into account many other dimensions would be advocated. The Network proposed that in order to accelerate the process, a working group of organizations and staff representatives, and the secretariats of the ICSC and CEB, would be best placed to carry out this work. ICSC decided to pursue further research in collaboration with organizations and staff representatives on the reform of the job evaluation system for the General Service and related categories. It therefore decided to establish a working group consisting of representatives of the ICSC and CEB secretariats, administrations and staff representatives for this purpose and approved its terms of reference (ICSC/61/R.18, para. 91 and annex III).

(80) At its twelfth session of July 2006 (CEB/2006/HLCM/17, para.15), in response to the new method of job evaluation for the higher and professional services, the HR Network noted that implementation had increased by 400% and had now been used in evaluating over 8,000 jobs and endorsed the recommendation to provide a follow-up report in 2008.  The Commission encouraged organisations to increase the implementation of job evaluation tools and to provide promptly information to the Commission’s secretariat when requested.  The Commission requested a follow up report be delivered to its 67th session (July 2008) and asked that its secretariat produce a report on enhancements of the job evaluation system.

(81) At the thirteenth session of the HR Network (CEB/2007/HR/8, paras. 31-32), in relation to the review of the Job Evaluation Standards for the General Service and related categories, the Commission (ICSC) took note of the work done by the working group to date and requested its secretariat to present a progress report on the activities of the working group at its spring session in 2008, with a view to finalizing the proposal for the job evaluation system for the General Service and related categories by its summer session in July 2008.

(82) At its spring 2007 session, HLCM was also briefed (CEB/2007/3, paras. 84-85) on the recent conclusions of the HR Network regular session of 14-16 March that encompassed the following key issue, among others:

o    General Service Job Evaluation. This was a common initiative being undertaken by ICSC and HR Network, aimed at developing a single job evaluation and classification standard for the GS staff within the UN.

The Committee endorsed the above substantive priority of the HR Network.

(83) At the 15h session of the HR Network in Rome (CEB/2008/HLCM/HR/17, paras. 14-15), the Commission approved the continued development of the job evaluation system for the General Service and related categories based on the application of the same principles underlying the framework of the job evaluation system for the Professional and higher categories. The working group should take under review the inclusion of language as a factor/sub-factor in the new standard. The secretariat will present a further report to Commission at its 67th session.
(84) At its 16th session (CEB/2008/HLCM/HR/35, paras. 16-17), the HR Network:
    o    Requested a more gradual package of changes and also a complete translation of the document into French in order to facilitate the implementation of the Job Evaluation Master Standard for the Professional and higher categories.
    o    Requested that organizations which have not applied the new master standard commit themselves to apply the method in a timely matter, and requested those organizations that are applying it to re-check the data sent to ICSC;
    o    Requested the ICSC Secretariat to make the standard available in English and French as a minimum and to provide the glossary of terms.

(85) At its same session (CEB/2008/HLCM/HR/35, paras. 19-20), the HR Network:
    o    Expressed its appreciation to the ICSC Secretariat for the progress report and took note of the anticipated promulgation of the new Job Evaluation Standard for General Service in the spring of 2009;
    o    Emphasized that a comprehensive communication strategy should be developed which includes training.  The communication strategy should be clear that the development of the standard had been a true partnership between the ICSC Secretariat, organizations and the staff associations;
    o    Reiterated its full support of the development of a global job evaluation standard which is transparent, flexible and simple and that will support other human resources sub-systems such as competency development and performance appraisal system.
(86) At its seventeenth session (CEB/2009/HLCM/HR/27, para.8), the HR Network noted with disappointment that no progress had been made in pursuing the study on the UN/US grade equivalency for the Professional and higher categories and requested the ICSC Secretariat to move forward as quickly as possible in engaging a suitably qualified consultant to collect job data. After requesting clarifications on the expected work to be carried out by the successful bidder, the Commission took note of the progress report on the United Nations/United States Grade Equivalency Study and requested the secretariat to report on this item at its seventieth session.

(87) At its eighteenth session (CEB/2009/HLCM/HR/46/Rev.1, paras.20-21), the HR Network indicated its commitment to completing the work as soon as possible in order to implement a single Master Standard for the General Service category as of January 2010; Noted that some issues require fine-tuning prior to the promulgation of the new standards and seeks ICSC assurance that these will be completed; Concurred that the Job Evaluation Master Standard for the General Service category will be ready for promulgation as of January 2010, however the actual implementation of the new Master Standard may take place at different times depending on the organization; Informed that organizations need to examine the financial impact of the implementation and requested that training and information sessions be developed and delivered.

The Commission decided to:
    (a)    Approve the new job evaluation system for the General Service and related categories consisting of:
        •    A Master Standard;
        •    Grade Level Descriptors;
    (b)    Approve the new definition of General Service work as set out below:

“Definition of the General Service work

    The General Service category contributes to the execution of the programmes of the organization through work that is procedural, operational and technical. These functions support programme and process continuity and are central to efficient service delivery.  The work ranges from routine or repetitive work undertaken in line with detailed instructions, to functions that are varied, complex and paraprofessional, requiring identification and consideration of alternatives, sometimes requiring analysis, and based on extensive and in-depth knowledge of a specific subject area.

    “General Service work involves the application of specific knowledge gained through experience and familiarity with the procedures of the organization. The performance of General Service functions often requires post-secondary education and technical or administrative training.”

    (c)    Approve the changes to the Common Classification of Occupational Groups (CCOG);
    (d)    Request its secretariat to finalize the work on the new job description format, a glossary and written guidelines in the use of the system, as well as benchmark post descriptions and to present the final elements at its seventieth session for final promulgation of the standard.

(88) At its nineteenth session (CEB/2010/HLCM/HR/18, paras.59-60), the HR Network noted the anticipated promulgation date of the new Job Evaluation Standards for the General Service and related categories with effect from march 2010; Wished to ensure that all components are validated, that a User Guide was available and that training was available prior to any implementation. The Commission decided to promulgate the new General Service job evaluation standards with effect from 15 March 2010.

(89) At its twentieth session (CEB/2010/HLCM/HR/35, paras.41-42), the HR Network was pleased that the review of grade equivalency study between the US federal civil service and the UN common system had taken place after a ten year gap and expressed its concerns about the difficulties encountered in undertaking this study and strongly recommended that the underlying principles be revisited, as the situation had changed significantly since the establishment of the methodology.

The Commission decided:

    (a)    To approve and accept the results of the new grade equivalency study;
    (b)    To request ACPAQ to review statistical methods recommended in the current report to determine their appropriateness for establishing equivalencies and calculating the net remuneration margin, and report to the Commission at its seventy-second session;
    (c)    To request its secretariat to review the methodology for determining the grade equivalencies with the comparator with a view to simplifying it.
    (d)    To report to the General Assembly that it had conducted a new grade equivalency study as part of its regular review.
(90) At its twentieth session (CEB/2010/HLCM/HR/35, paras.49-50), the HR Network welcomed the positive news that all organizations of the UN common system are now implementing the Job Evaluation Master Standard for Professional Staff.

(91) At its twentieth session (CEB/2010/5, paras.80-89), HLCM welcomed the new Job Classification system for the General Service category as a positive step towards harmonization.

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