Inter-organization transfer, loan and secondment of staff

(1) At its 6th session (July 1949: CC/A.6/SR.1/Rev.1 and CO-ORDINATION-PREP/133) the Committee discussed the conditions in which transfers of staff between agencies should be made.

(2) At the 12th and 15th sessions (April 1952 and 1954: CO-ORDINATION/R.124 and R.162) the Committee considered certain questions arising out of the 1949 Transfer Agreement.

(3) At the first part of the 16th session (April 1955: CO-ORDINATION/R.193/Rev.1, paras. 48-51) it was agreed that the 1949 Agreement should not then be revised, but the Committee discussed a standard terminology for the subject.

(4) At the first part of its 21st session (April 1960: CO-ORDINATION/R.325, paras. 100-104) CCAQ discussed means of fostering transfers. It concluded that informal and consultative arrangements were probably best. Personnel officers at CCAQ should review staff needs to see to what extent they could be met by transfers. Organizations would try to inform each other by correspondence, before the meetings, of possible openings and names of staff who should be considered for transfer.

(5) At the first part of the 22nd session (January and March 1961: CO-ORDINATION/R.351, paras. 51-56) ICAO emphasized the advantages of and need for more staff transfers. It was not consistent with the concept of a unified service that whole new programmes and new organizations should be staffed without notification to all organizations of what the staff needs were. UN reported that it had had difficulty in applying the 1949 Transfer Agreement, which might need revision. In reply to a question from TAB, CCAQ recorded that the "common view" was that movement of an official from one organization to another should take place only through official (personnel) channels. An organization wishing to hire an official of another organization should consult the personnel office of the latter before making a commitment; an official interested in transferring should so inform his own personnel office. The Committee agreed that as a matter of policy no organization would stand in the way of a promotion possibility or a transfer on compassionate grounds.

(6) At its 23rd session (March 1962: CO-ORDINATION/R.391, paras. 93-96) CCAQ, on the basis of a Staff Office draft, agreed (subject to confirmation in writing) on a revised and more detailed transfer agreement (circulated as CO-ORDINATION/CC/SO/12/Rev.1). It reaffirmed its belief that, in the interest of building up an international civil service, transfers and secondments should be facilitated.

(7) At its 24th session (March 1963: CO-ORDINATION/R.430, paras. 69-71) CCAQ agreed on the final text of the new Transfer Agreement referred to in (6) above. The test is in Appendix G, CO-ORDINATION/R.430. It includes, inter alia, revised definitions of the terms "transfer", "loan" and "secondment". The Agreement was to enter into force generally on 1 January 1964, but any two organizations might apply it from an earlier date. The Committee also agreed that when an official was separated from one organization and re-employed by another within twelve months, any entitlement which he might have on account of repatriation grant or service benefit or accrued leave, on separation from the second organization, should be adjusted in such a way that total payments on the two separations did not exceed the amount which would have been paid had his service been continuous. ACC reported its approval of the new Transfer Agreement in its 28th report to ECOSOC (E/3765, para. 200).

(8) At its 25th session (April 1964: CO-ORDINATION/R.451, para. 97) CCAQ noted that the text of the regulations and rules of some organizations might render difficult the full application of parts of the 1963 Transfer Agreement. All organizations would, however, so far as possible follow the terms of the Agreement, which would for the time being be regarded as a memorandum of understanding. The text, with a suitable introductory paragraph, would be made available to staff interested in transfer. Organizations would report their experience of the working of the arrangements in 1966.

(9) At its 27th session (March 1966: CO-ORDINATION/R.532, paras. 71-72) CCAQ reviewed experience of transfers since 1963 and agreed on a procedure and timetable for revision of the Memorandum of Understanding. As a result of additional work imposed on CCAQ by ICSAB, the timetable was subsequently extended to 1968.

(10) A working party in January 1970 discussed revision of the Transfer Agreement, but was unable to reach final conclusions in view of disagreement on a basic question of principle (see CCAQ/S.31/R.2, paras. 52-66), which was whether a receiving organization should have the right to terminate a seconded official before the end of the agreed period of secondment. At its 31st session (March 1970: CO-ORDINATION/R.798, paras. 46-49) CCAQ agreed that (a) secondments should be for a fixed period, normally not exceeding two years, though renewable by agreement among all the parties concerned; (b) during the period of secondment the contractual relationship between the official and the releasing organization should be suspended; and (c) the contractual relationship between the official and the receiving organization should be that of an official on a fixed-term contract except as might be otherwise provided in the Agreement. In line with these principles, the receiving organization would have no right prematurely to return the official to the releasing organization, except of course where the latter agreed; it would have the right to terminate the "fixed-term contract" between it and the seconded official. In such an event terminal benefits would be payable by the receiving organization (if there had not also been a termination by the releasing organization). These would, however, be calculated not on the basis of the total period of service in the two organizations but on the basis only of service under the "fixed-term contract". Such a termination would not have the effect of terminating the (suspended) contract between the official and the releasing organization. The latter might of course decide for itself that the circumstances of termination by the receiving organization also justified a termination of the contract with the releasing organization; but in the absence of termination action by the releasing organization the official retained his right to resume employment in the releasing organization on the date originally agreed for the end of the secondment. CCAQ agreed that the position should be made clear to any official considered for secondment, particularly to those with a permanent appointment in the releasing organization. A text of the complete agreement, based on the above principles, would be circulated by the CCAQ secretariat and reviewed later in the year.

(11) At its 35th session (March 1972: CO-ORDINATION/R.931, para. 38), CCAQ agreed on a revised text of the Inter-organization Transfer Agreement (see CO-ORDINATION/R.931, Add. 1).

(12) During 1972, it was agreed by correspondence that the Transfer Agreement should provide for the transmission under Articles 5 and 7 of medical data relating to the staff member on secondment or transfer (see document CCAQ/SEC/289(PER)).

(13) At its 54th session (March 1981: ACC/1981/7, paras. 98-100), CCAQ noted that inter-agency exchange of personnel was not a major feature of the system. The inter-agency Agreement was an administrative instrument designed to facilitate exchanges that did take place; it was not the appropriate place to include measures to encourage exchanges. CCAQ also agreed that it would not be appropriate to develop an overly sophisticated mechanism for promoting inter-agency exchange (paras. 94-97).

(14) At its 56th session (March 1982: ACC/1982/5, paras. 70-72) CCAQ noted the outcome of consultations which had been carried out by the ICSC secretariat on means of improving the inter-agency Agreement, and agreed to amend the Agreement after consultation of the organizations by incorporating in it any changes agreed on unanimously by the parties to it.

(15) CCAQ also noted the value of the vacancy announcement bulletins initiated by the ICSC secretariat as one measure to enhance inter-agency exchange.

(16) At its 64th session (March 1986: ACC/1986/3, para. 57), CCAQ agreed that the question of inter-organization mobility of women, on which ACC had requested recommendations from CCAQ (ACC decision 1985/21 refers) should be studied in the broader context of mobility (see also 9.2(23) and section 9.7).

(17) At its 66th session (March 1987: ACC/1987/4, para. 128), CCAQ agreed that the Inter-Organization Agreement should be registered with the United Nations secretariat. An amendment to the Agreement providing, under article 5, for the releasing organization to transmit the staff member's pension number to the receiving organization, was accepted by CCAQ by correspondence in April 1987. The Inter-Organization Agreement was sent to the United Nations by the Secretary in August 1987.

(18) At its 73rd session (July 1990: ACC/1990/10, para. 121) CCAQ was informed that amendments to the Inter-Organization Agreement reflecting the outcome of the recent comprehensive review of the conditions of service of staff in the Professional and higher categories would be circulated for clearance by correspondence. The revised text, replacing the version issued as ACC/1982/PER/CM/24 of 2 November 1982, was issued as ACC/1990/PER/CM/21 of 1 October 1990, amended by ACC/1991/PER/CM/10 (see annex III).

(19) At its 87th session (July 1997: ACC/1997/13, paras. 89-92) CCAQ requested the secretariat to pursue the question of the extent of movement between different UN organizations at the policy level, showing the obstacles to inter-agency mobility and the benefits to the organizations arising out of successful inter-agency moves. It should also devise a plan for the temporary exchange of human resources professionals between organizations and between the UN common system and the public and private sectors, taking into account concerns expressed for potential conflict of interest.

(20) At the same session (ibid., paras. 93-95) CCAQ took note of progress in the development of a computerized interagency skills inventory that would allow e-mail submission of curriculum vitae to a central repository from which organizations could search for candidates and raised a number of concerns to be examined in finalizing the feasibility study being undertaken.

(21) At its 89th session (July 1998: ACC/1998/9, paras. 22-24) CCAQ was given a demonstration of the Participating Agencies Mobility System (PAMS), the aim of which was to foster inter-agency mobility but could also be used to share resumés of human resources personnel interested in short-term exchanges. All organizations agreed to participate in piloting the system and to set up dedicated e-mail addresses for the receipt of resumés.

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