Other management questions

(1)      At its 82nd session (February 1995), participants in CCAQ(FB) exchanged information on organizations' experience in introducing time reporting systems by function for Professional staff. It also decided to set up at its next session a work programme for future discussions, on a regular basis, of management subjects (ACC/1995/6, paras. 46 and 47).

(2)     At its 83rd session (August-September 1995), CCAQ(FB) examined a list of management subjects for future discussion, including decentralization of financial controls to field offices, programming and budgeting methods, accountability and productivity improvements in conference services and document distribution. It decided to hold initial discussions on these subjects at its next session on the basis of background information to be provided by organizations (ACC/1995/20, paras. 50-52).

(3)     At its first high level meeting (June 1995: ACC/1995/CCAQ/SM/2, paras. 1-7 & 46-51) CCAQ-HL, which was convened as an occasion for reflection by senior administrators on the management of change in the organizations of the common system, including the contributions of ICSC and JIU, invited the Chairmen of ICSC and JIU and the staff representatives. The meeting also began to examine strategies that had proved most successful in introducing improved efficiency measures in the organizations, hearing from UN, FAO and ILO.

(4)     At its second high level meeting (September 1996: CCAQ/W/1996/10/Rev.1, paras. 1-13) CCAQ-HL exchanged experiences on management reforms and decided to compile a compendium of practices of the Organizations for submission to ACC's second regular session in October, differentiating between managerial reforms, organizational reforms and intergovernmental reforms. It suggested reforms that should be contemplated, if not already introduced, such as the introduction of limited duration contracts for service, more flexible working arrangements, the appropriateness of introducing more flexible pay systems in the United Nations common system, the recognition of performance, be it through pay or some other form of reward, partnership agreements for programme delivery with member countries and outside institutions and the more economical use of retirees, both from within the United Nations system and from Member States. CCAQ-HL decided to report to ACC that the process of reform and the introduction of organizational change had become important features of the organizational landscape system-wide and was ongoing. The best practice in the area of management reform should be institutionalized and new ideas should be developed and tested on an interagency basis to encourage economies of scale. CCAQ-HL also decided to request the inter-agency bodies to report on all actions taken in the area of management reform on a regular basis, to request the secretary of CCAQ to review the feasibility of introducing a system-wide redeployment scheme for which the CCAQ Secretariat would provide a clearing house function, to ask CCAQ(PER) to review each of the suggested reforms proposed above and to ask ISCC to compile a directory of management information systems being used or introduced across the United Nations system.

(5)     At its 86th session (April 1997: ACC/1997/6, paras. 6-22) CCAQ reviewed new approaches to human resources management, within the overall context of the strengthening and reform of the United Nations common system, within the framework of the international civil service and with as its ‘leitmotiv' the introduction of greater flexibility as human resources management initiatives were being introduced. The Committee decided to put forward to ACC after the 87th session a draft policy statement on the reform of human resources management. Three areas were identified in which greater flexibility might be introduced (a) the structure of pay, classification and contract systems, (b) strategies for attracting, retaining and rewarding staff and (c) streamlining and simplifying administrative processes. The Committee also took a first step in differentiating the core and non-core functions within organizations and requested its secretariat to study the matter further.

(6)     At its 87th session (July 1997: ACC/1997/13, paras. 10-13 & 23-27) CCAQ prepared a policy statement for ACC to adopt on new approaches to human resources management, underlining the priority ACC attributed to the function and pointing to eight areas in which executive heads would consider introducing further human resource management reforms. CCAQ also adopted a plan of action (ibid., annex III) to advance the new approaches, including an annual conference with outside human resource experts and the development of a common profile for UN human resource managers and the related competencies. As a first step in tackling the subject of core-common system issues, a case study approach would be used and job classification, linked grades, personal promotions and broad-banding were singled out for possible study. The secretariat was charged with keeping all aspects of the matter under review and requested to take further initiatives to promote the UN personnel profession.

(7)     At its third high level meeting (February 1998: ACC/1998/CCAQ-HL/9, para. 15) CCAQ-HL adopted a statement on behalf of ACC attributing the highest priority to the reform of human resources management. Such reform was key to improving the capacity of organizations to fulfil their mandates effectively and efficiently, while upholding the fabric of the international civil service and the Charter principles on which it was founded. The statement set out the objectives of such reforms in the common system organizations.

(8)     At its 88th session (April 1998: ACC/1998/5, paras. 9-12 & annex III) CCAQ endorsed a proposal to hold the first annual conference for Human resource specialists, within and outside the common system, at its 89th session and decided it should be on the subject of using competencies to select and develop a senior management cadre in the context of creating a common management culture. CCAQ also endorsed the proposed core competency framework for Human resource specialists as the basis for future work and invited designated lead agencies to develop, in cooperation with its secretariat, competency modules for each specialist occupation specified for the field of work in CCOG (ibid., annex IV).

(9)     At the same session, CCAQ further requested its secretariat to pursue contacts with other international organizations in order to develop detailed proposals for the creation and financing of an Institute for Human Resources in International Organizations. Following a presentation on the practices of the UN organizations in human resources management, CCAQ concluded that it could review further the classification structure and the use of information technology in human resources management. In the context of consideration of new approaches to human resource management, reports were received on other related activities and CCAQ expressed concern that adequate funding would be provided for human resources reform. It recommended that the interrelationship between reforms in the financial and human resources areas should be taken up by CCAQ-HL (ibid., paras. 13-16).

(10)     At its 89th session (July 1998: ACC/1998/9, paras. 13-14) CCAQ agreed to provide names of eminent human resource professionals who might be speakers at the first annual conference for human resource specialists. The subject of the Conference would be the use of competencies to select and develop a senior management cadre in the context of creating a management culture in the international civil service, with emphasis on the role of line managers in human resources management and on ethical considerations. It requested the secretariat to investigate the availability of extra-budgetary resources to cover extraordinary expenses.

(11)     At the same session CCAQ reviewed draft competencies developed by UNHCR and ILO for a job classification specialist and a staff relations specialist and noted that work was under way to develop modules for other human resources specialists. It also noted that certain core human resources competencies needed to be integrated in the comptencies required of line managers (ibid., paras. 15-16).

(12)     CCAQ also confirmed the value of analyses derived from the survey of UN organizations' practices in human resources management for its future development and the importance of detailed statistical and comparative information that would permit organizations to "benchmark" themselves against the generality of the UN family and other relevant organizations. CCAQ agreed that a "publication standard" report should be prepared to serve as a basis for discussions and endorsed the publication of such a report through equal extraordinary contributions. It requested its secretariat to investigate the feasibility of including a clearing house of best practices in the CCAQ web site. CCAQ also decided that a meeting of recruitment and selection specialists should take place to provide specialized input in the area of testing and assessment of competencies (ibid., paras. 17-20).

(13)     Also at this session, CCAQ, noting the expressions of interest in the project, welcomed the progress achieved in respect to the definition of the aims and goals of the proposed Association for Human Resources Management in International Organizations (AHRMIO) and expressed support for CCAQ's involvement in the further development of the project with a view to its launch in Spring 2000 (ibid., paras. 38-39).

(14)     At the same session CCAQ reported to ICSC that new approaches to human resources management were taking place in all the organizations and were key to organizational reform. CCAQ would support focusing action on job classification and the updating of the 1954 Standards of Conduct but would suggest a more cautious approach to developmental work on career development. CCAQ could not agree to the adoption of broad principles put forward by ICSC secretariat. They should be developed in consultation with all partners, preferably in accordance with procedures put forward by the Working Group on the Consultative Process in ICSC (ibid., paras. 40-42). ICSC decided to create a working group to examine a framework for human resources management (A/53/30, para. 274). The General Assembly by resolution 53/209 V welcomed ICSC's initiative and invited ICSC to examine inter alia the reform initiatives of all organizations as well as efforts outside the common system.

(15)     At its 90th session (April 1999: ACC/1999/5, para. 20) CCAQ was briefed on the status of the Cranfield Study on HR management practices in UN system organizations. Stressing in particular the differences, both in mandate and in size, between organizations of the system, CCAQ provided the representatives of Cranfield University with a series of comments to be incorporated in the final report, which would be presented at the CCAQ Conference in July, and requested its secretariat to work in the closest cooperation with the University in finalizing the report.

(16)     At the same session (ibid., para. 23) CCAQ was briefed by one of its members who had participated in the first meeting of the Tripartite Working Group on a Framework for Human Resources Management created by ICSC at its July 1998 session. The Group had been requested to develop an operational agenda for its meeting by first identifying the issues to be included in a framework and ranking them in terms of priority. The Report of the Working Group would only be finalized in the course of ICSC's session and after CCAQ was concluded. However, on the basis of the draft prepared by the ICSC secretariat and being put before the Working Group, the Committee considered that the work being undertaken by the Working Group represented a positive first step in the process of developing such a framework and in the development of the new tripartite consultative process. It would be necessary for consultations to take place within organizations and in CCAQ and, to this end, the Committee decided to place the matter on the agenda of its next session. Accordingly, it would request the Commission to continue its consideration of this matter in the context of the Working Group, taking into account the views of organizations and staff associations. ICSC considered that the development of a human resources framework was a work in progress on which the Working Group had provided an interim report and requested the group to continue its work and report its progress at the July session of the Commission (ICSC/49/R.12, paras. 131-132).

(17)     Also at this session (ACC/1999/5, para 31) CCAQ welcomed the plans for the forthcoming CCAQ HR Conference in July 1999 at which three eminent HR specialists were to speak on "HR Performance, Competencies and Practices: the Vital Links," and agreed to support the event through extraordinary contributions.

(18)     At its 91st session (July 1999: ACC/1999/13, para. 3) CCAQ held an extensive review - organization by organization - of efforts being made to simplify the administration of entitlements and other processes in the HR area and requested its secretariat to develop a matrix outlining these areas of simplification which after clearance with organizations should be regularly updated. The Committee also requested its Chairperson and Secretary to make contact with their counterparts in CCAQ(FB) with a view to organizing a joint session of CCAQ(PER) and (FB) at which these matters could be reviewed and further joint action developed. It also requested organizations to share through the CCAQ secretariat their arrangements for the administration of leave in a bid to streamline outmoded administrative arrangements. It also took note of concerns raised in respect of the simplification of the administration of the education grant and in this connection requested its secretariat carefully to monitor progress in this area in order to ensure compatibility with the methodology for revising the levels of the education grant. Finally the Committee underlined that in all attempts to reform and simplify HRM processes and administrative arrangements, the training of staff was an essential component.

(19)     At the same session (ibid., para. 6) the Committee continued its examination of new approaches to HRM and, noting the success of the July 1999 Conference on "HR Performance, Competencies and Practices - the Vital Links" and the Cranfield Study on HRM Practices in the UN system organizations, concluded that the secretariat should work towards organizing further such conferences on topics relevant to international organizations which would meet emerging organizational needs. The periodicity of such events should reflect organizational needs and the resources available to bring together eminent specialists on a given subject matter. The Committee considered that the momentum engendered by the July 1999 conference should be built upon to the maximum extent possible and to this end, the Committee made a number of suggestions for action by the secretariat: (a) establish bulletin boards on the CCAQ web site which would enable organizations to put forward details of their reform initiatives and allow for exchanges between organizations on different topics of common concern, such as: (i) the work/family agenda, (ii) the use of new selection tools, (iii) staff-management dialogue, particularly in the context of the changing role of staff representatives and (iv) compensation and benefits and the related contractual arrangements; (b) create groups of organizations (including non-common system organizations) with common interests (communities of interest) in the above and additional areas to share developments and reform initiatives and encourage new thinking.

(20)     With respect to the Cranfield survey, the Committee agreed that: (a) Cranfield University should be invited to consider surveying organizations in 2000/2001 (i.e. three years after the initial review); (b) the secretariat should work together with Cranfield University in order to prepare a more comprehensive analysis of the structures, programmes, functions and deliverables of HR departments across the UN family of organizations; (c) individual organizations should contact the University of Cranfield to investigate how best and at what cost the data for their particular organization might be further analysed and (d) requested the secretariat to review with Cranfield University the possible development of training programmes for organizations' staff representatives that would take into account new developments in human resources management. The secretariat was further requested to report back to organizations as soon as possible on this initiative and to liaise closely with FICSA and CCISUA on it.

(21)     At the same meeting (ibid., para. 9) CCAQ took note of a draft report of the tripartite Working Group Report on the Framework for HR Management and considered that the development of such a strategic framework for HR management was one of the most important ventures upon which ICSC had embarked in recent years. It expressed appreciation for the serious, rigorous effort put into the development of the framework thus far and noted that further work was required to develop the principles which flowed from the framework. It decided to ask ICSC to entrust the Working Group with the completion of this work and noted that, in the elaboration of these principles, extensive consultation with organizations' line managers and staff representatives would be essential if the framework were to become a dynamic template for future HR management reforms. It did not agree that contractual arrangements were a core area and would so advise ICSC; in some organizations, for example, such arrangements had been formally established by the governing bodies and were contained in their staff regulations. The executive heads had all expressed the need to ensure that, in order to attain their organizational goals, they retained the flexibility to introduce arrangements to meet emerging programme needs effectively and quickly. These needs were not common because of the great differences in the mandates, structures, workforce size, composition and location of the organizations.

(22)     In connection with the same report CCAQ strongly supported the concept of a core HR information management policy but considered that it would be essential to undertake an examination of which databases already existed in the common system; in this connection, consideration should also be given to the involvement of CCAQ's sister Committee, the Information Systems Coordination Committee (ISCC), in such a review. It decided to request ICSC to undertake, with professional support, an in-depth review of the current status of human resources management databases throughout the common system with a view to examining how the information contained in these systems might be brought together to promote modelling or other human resources management reforms.

(23)     At its 92nd session (March 2000: ACC/2000/5, paras. 5-7), following an examination of the secretariat's analysis of the questionnaires completed by a number of organizations about their efforts to simplify the administration of entitlements and the degree to which the administration of entitlements was being devolved and decentralised, the Committee was informed of initiatives already undertaken or being considered by other organizations of the common system. The Chairman and Secretary of CCAQ(FB) joined in the discussion. In particular, the Committee noted that this was a key area of reform given: (a) the new – strategic – role of HR management which required that organizations (i) direct resources to upstream activities and divest themselves of low value labour intensive processing activities, (ii) align their services with programme objectives and (iii) enhance flexibility in the services provided to clients; (b) the increasing empowerment of managers and the de-centralization of tasks out of the central HR management area which required simpler systems; (c) the need to reduce administrative costs; and (d) calls for greater transparency of entitlements from management and staff alike. The Committee noted a number of barriers to attaining simplification and a number of factors to consider in working to simplify entitlements and processes and agreed that this was an area in which it was crucial for HR specialists to work together with their colleagues in the financial, audit and legal areas, within organizations and at the inter-agency level. Joint sessions of CCAQ(PER) and CCAQ(FB) would be beneficial to bring about greater synergy in moving forward on simplification or other measures to improve productivity that had been the focus of CCAQ(FB)'s ongoing attention.

(24)     In light of the above, the Committee decided: (a) to express its appreciation to UNDP for preparing the document (ACC/2000/PER/R.2???) which was a most useful starting point; (b) that interested organizations should move ahead with pilot projects for the simplification of the administration of entitlements in the areas of education grant processing and shipping (processing and consideration of lump sum) and report back to CCAQ on implementation; (c) that UN and UNDP would chair working groups on education grant and shipping respectively with a view to reforming the entitlements themselves and making recommendations to CCAQ on simplification - the working group on shipping entitlements would also resolve the seeming contradiction between net and gross weights relating to containerisation which had impeded introduction of earlier simplification efforts (See section 4.4., para. (29)); (d) to convene a working group jointly with CCAQ(FB) to develop the proposals for shared service delivery services along the lines set out in document ACC/2000/PER/R.2 of the secretariat; (e) to request its secretariat to develop proposals for increased collaboration in the areas of IT and HR; and (f) to invite organizations to use the CCAQ Web Site Bulletin Board to ensure that work in this area would remain a high priority and benefit from broad and timely input from staff across the system.

(25)     At the same session (ibid., para. 18) CCAQ recalled its appreciation of the progress accomplished by the Working Group on the Framework for HR Management, which it deemed to be a most important project. The Committee noted that representatives of five organizations and the CCAQ secretariat had worked with the other members of the Working Group on this project and were grateful for the rigorous and serious manner in which this task had been accomplished. It underlined its appreciation for the positive and collaborative spirit in which the Working Group had taken place and acknowledged that the Framework was a dynamic instrument which would need to be updated as issues, events and the body of knowledge relevant to the profession evolved over time. There was also a need to ensure that the text on specific issues (e.g. staff/management relations) was consistent with that of other relevant documents such as the Commission's revision of the Standards of Conduct.

(26)     At its 51st session (April 2000: ICSC/51/R.13, para.54 & A/55/30, paras. 14-19 & annex II) ICSC had before it the completed draft Framework for HR Management and expressed its appreciation to all members of the working group. The Framework identified the internal and external forces that impacted on human resources strategies and contained six major HR areas with a number of sub-areas. The major areas were: (a) Ethics/standards of conduct for the international civil service, (b) Compensation and benefits, (c) Employment, (d) Career management, (e) Good governance and (f) Human resources information management. The Commission considered that the Framework had been strengthened by the definitions that had been developed for each major area, the identification of core/non-core areas, the linkages to other components and the underlying guiding principles. Core areas were defined as those that bound the United Nations family together in order to: (i) avoid any competition in the employment of staff that might arise from fundamental differences in the compensation package, (ii) promote common values of the international civil service and (iii) facilitate mobility of staff across the system. The Commission adopted the Framework for HR Management as set out in annex II to its report and concluded that it was a dynamic tool which should be continuously updated as needed. The General Assembly endorsed the conclusions of the Commission (resolution 55/223 I A).

(27)     At its 91st session (August-September 2000: ACC/2000/6, para. 26) CCAQ(FB) discussed follow-up to the consideration by CCAQ(PER) of the simplification of entitlements. Pilot schemes were already being undertaken in a number of areas. The Committee welcomed CCAQ(PER)'s initiatives, stated that it was ready to contribute to this work and encouraged CCAQ(PER) to establish a joint working group as soon as possible. It was agreed that it was up to CCAQ(PER) to take the lead in looking at simplification, bearing in mind staff interests and existing entitlements. The concern of CCAQ(FB) would be to see that any changes did not increase overall costs to organizations and, in calculating such costs, both CCAQ(FB) and (PER) should take into account any savings or increases in costs of processing and auditing claims.

(28)     At its first meeting (June 2001: ACC/2001/HLCM/7, paras. 20-23) the Human Resources (HR) Network noted that sustainable employability had been identified by HLCM as a priority project and focussed primarily on the identification and introduction of "new" employment models (i.e. no more lifelong jobs with a single employer) and their consequences inter alia for conditions of employment, contractual policy and exit strategies. Organizations requiring greater workforce flexibility were increasingly resorting to time-limited contracts while social and demographic trends pointed to significant changes in the relationship between a younger workforce and the workplace.

(29)     The HR Network confirmed that there were a number of impediments in UN system workplaces to realizing sustainable or "transferable" employability but considered that remedial steps could be taken. Some were more fundamental and related to the overall reform of HR management in general and the reform of the system that underpinned pay and benefits in particular. A new set of tools was required to reward, motivate and organize employees along with the introduction of approaches which would improve the image of organizations as places where individuals acquired skills and competencies which were highly valued in other work environments such as, for example, adaptability to diverse and multi-cultural environments and relational skills in work relationships with a range of interlocutors and ‘clients.' The new paradigm demanded a win-win situation in which the employer and the employee achieved mutual success.

(30)     The HR Network recognized that other remedial steps that could be taken were more immediate, such as defining the nature of work, jobs and job titles in a manner which was readily comprehensible to other organizations as well as to employers in the outside world, abolishing policies which limited the use of professional titles (e.g. Dr., Ph.D., Prof.), ensuring that competency projects helped to broaden the notion of jobs and were backed up with opportunities to enhance and broaden skills and competencies, designing and packaging staff training programmes so that such investments also carried value for other employers, developing partnerships with NGO's and the private sector for secondments and bringing together at the inter-agency level a number of specialists from the corporate sector as well as management specialists from the organizations to develop a better understanding of approaches which would ensure that other sectors recognized what skills and competencies had been acquired in the UN system workplace.

(31)     At the same meeting (ibid., para. 37) the HR Network confirmed its support for a follow-up survey for the 1997 study "Human Resource Management Policies & Practices in the United Nations Family of Organizations and Related Agencies: A Comparative Analysis with European Government Institutions." Such studies helped to further best practices and also provided solid evidence where UN Family organizations policies and practices were in advance of those in Member States. The International Monetary Fund and the Bank for International Settlements had already communicated their interest in participating in the new survey and it was agreed that others should be urged to participate as this would enlarge the comparison and lower the cost of the study for participating organizations.

(32)     At the same session (ibid., para. 40) the HR Network took note of a report by UNDP on its experience with the introduction of a "relocation grant," a lump sum approach for travel, which had been highly successful, especially for field duty stations. UNICEF had already implemented the simplification and UNHCR intended also to do likewise. Following certain refinements which UNDP intended to introduce, it would share its experience with all organizations. A full cost analysis would only be available at year end but savings in processing costs were already apparent.

(33)     At the same session (ibid., paras. 45-46) the Network was given an update on the Association for Human Resources Management in International Organizations (AHRMIO) which now had 43 organizational members in addition to well over 100 individual members who came from a broad spectrum of international not-for-profit organizations. Participants who had attended AHRMIO's first executive development programme in April confirmed that it had been a resounding success and appreciated especially the quality of the lecturers who came from four of the world's top management schools (Wharton, Cranfield, ESADE, and HEC/Paris) and the opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences with senior administrators and HR directors from a broad spectrum of other international organizations (e.g. IMF, OECD, BIS, NATO). The AHRMIO annual conference would be hosted by UNESCO from 17 to 19 September.

(34)     At its September 2001 session (ACC/2001/12, paras. 12-13) HLCM was given a presentation of the lump sum relocation grant arrangements by UNDP. The Committee took note with appreciation of the introduction of UNDP's pilot lump sum relocation grant; a project which inter alia exchanged absolute precision and control for efficiency, simplicity and greater user satisfaction. It acknowledged that, in this as in other areas, it was important to review what greater simplifications of the UN family's complex entitlement system were feasible, desirable and cost effective whilst ensuring that staff were not disadvantaged. It decided to invite a Task Force, led by UNDP, to undertake such a review as soon as possible and to put forward modalities for the introduction of such simplified arrangements. The Committee decided also to inform ACC of the importance of taking a vigorous approach to simplification within a tight time frame without trying to seek perfection.

(35)     At its March 2002 session (CEB/2002/3, para. 29) HLCM was informed by UNDP that the evaluation of the 560 cases in the first year of operation of the lump sum relocation grant showed that: (a) 94% of staff had availed themselves of the lump sum option and were satisfied with it; (b) the costs incurred in the evaluation year (2001) were less than those in the year preceding the introduction of the lump sum option; (c) there had been significant reductions in staff costs (4½ person years at headquarters and 2½ person years in country offices). The Committee noted that the lump sum system resulted in giving up absolute fairness and control in return for cost savings and invited the HR network to review further the implications for all organizations of the introduction of the lump sum relocation grant by UNDP as well as by UNICEF and UNHCR, which had not evaluated their schemes. The Committee further invited the HR network to review what other areas were susceptible to simplification and to bring appropriate proposals to the Committee at a future session.

(36)     At its April 2002 meeting (CEB/2002/HLCM/8, para. 18) the HR Network was informed by UNDP that the evaluation of the first year of implementation of the relocation grant pilot scheme had been positive and the scheme would therefore be extended for another year. Data allowing for a more precise analysis of both the tangible and intangible benefits of the approach was not readily available and an enhanced baseline data and monitoring system would therefore be introduced during 2002 to enable it to better track, monitor and report on each item in the package. At the beginning of 2003 a new evaluation would be conducted and the final results presented to the HR Network in Spring 2003 along with final recommendations. The Network commended UNDP for undertaking this pioneering initiative, in view of the additional burden of work which would ultimately be a service to all organizations through its piloting experience, and invited input and support from other organizations as appropriate. It recognized that further analyses would be required so as to respond fully to the request of HLCM and noted that a body of research had developed in HR metrics which could serve as models for measuring the utility of both tangible and intangible benefits. It therefore requested that the CEB secretariat place the subject of HR metrics on the program of the HR Network for a future event.

(37)     At the same meeting (ibid., para. 27) the HR Network noted that the membership of the AHRMIO continued to grow and comprised 48 organizational members, in addition to its individual members, who came from a broad spectrum of international not-for-profit organizations. It expressed satisfaction that its training and development activities would soon be expanded to include topics such as "HR aspects of risk management" and "rewards strategies."

(38)     At its March 2003 meeting (CEB/2003/HLCM/12, para. 22) the HR Network noted with appreciation that the membership of the AHRMIO continued to grow and that its training and development activities, which were of very high calibre, continued to flourish. These provided HR specialists of the UN system with the opportunity to network with those from a broader range of international not-for-profit organizations. It also noted that with the growth in sponsorship of the Association, activities and tools - such as the AHRMIO web site - were available to HR specialists from the UN system which would not otherwise have been the case.

(39)     At its July 2004 meeting (CEB/2004/HLCM/25, para. 20) the HR Network noted with appreciation the presentation from UNDP on the piloting of a lump sum relocation grant that had been introduced in 2001 (see para. (32) above), the main objectives of which were to: (a) utilize the existing entitlement structure more purposefully/practically; (b) discourage unnecessary shipments; (c) provide staff members with the financial means and range of options to enable them to more effectively manage their lives in the context of geographical mobility; and (d) facilitate reassignments by providing staff members with the choice as to how best to re establish their household. It further noted that the UNDP scheme had been almost cost neutral, that more than 95% of staff had opted for the relocation grant (the main exceptions being those staff member with large families, or where the shipment costs were higher than the level of the grant, which principally occurred in land locked countries) and that staff satisfaction, including those staff administering the grant and those in receipt of it, had been very high. The Network thanked UNDP and the other organizations involved in piloting the grant (UNICEF, UNOPS and UNHCR) for their substantial efforts in this area and agreed to report to HLCM that the pilot was successful and to recommend that the scheme be extended to all UN organizations within the context of the need for organizations to be more mobile and in order to promote a common approach, which would facilitate inter agency mobility. It requested the CEB secretariat to work in consultation with UNDP and the other piloting agencies to prepare a document for the 2004 fall session of HLCM and agreed that the issue of the element of full removal should be considered as a possible item in the future work plan of the Network.

(40)     At its 8th session (October 2004: CEB/2004/6, paras. 39-41) HLCM received a presentation summarizing the experience gained by organizations during the pilot phase of the relocation grant. The findings confirmed that the lump sum scheme had proven to be an effective new approach to entitlement design and administration for organizations and staff alike. The pilot scheme had been a success in that it had: (a) contributed to increasing organizational effectiveness in meeting the increasingly critical challenge of moving staff quickly and efficiently to new duty stations, (b) enhanced staff satisfaction and staff morale, (c) met with positive feedback from HR administrators and practitioners and (d) yielded a favourable cost benefit ratio, particularly if indirect cost savings and intangible benefits were added to the direct cost calculations. The Committee thanked UNICEF, UNDP and UNHCR for their inputs to the review of the pilot scheme, endorsed the lump sum approach as an option for staff in those organizations who felt ready for its formal introduction and encouraged each agency to report back next year to the HR Network on its decisions and experience within its specific organizational context.

 (41) In light of a General Assembly Resolution (A57/278) – which had instituted the setting up of a multi-disciplinary working group examining accountability mechanisms in its organisations – and the World Summit Outcome document that had called for an external evaluation of audit and oversight, the Secretary-General submitted a report to the GA (A/60/568), which included the proposed terms of reference for a comprehensive review of governance arrangements, including an independent external evaluation of the auditing and oversight system.

(42) At its eleventh session, the Committee (CEB/2006/3, paras.10-15), introducing the discussion on this item, considered it necessary to carry out separate consultations within an ad-hoc working group to review the Terms of Reference submitted by the Secretary-General. The ad-hoc group met and produced a statement, which the Committee adopted and further:
    (a)    Requested the CEB to consult with members in order to allow for the designation of an HLCM ad hoc working group to serve as focal point for the Steering Committee to ensure the views of HLCM were fully represented to the Steering Committee and to the consultants doing the study;
    (b)    Noted that the UN Secretariat would ensure the HLCM was kept informed of the study’s progress;
    (c)    Noted that the Steering Committee would submit reports to the Secretary General, who would then share them with the Executive Heads of UN system organisations.

(43) At the same meeting, with regard to the ongoing management reform, the Committee recognised a need for systematic sharing principles and asked that the Secretariat survey the existing efforts of organisations in this area.  The Committee agreed to the convening of inter-sessional video conferences on specific emerging issues and urged that reform relate directly to improved functionality and not as a formulaic exercise.   

(44) At its meeting in Vienna in March 2006 (CEB/2006/HLCM/12), the HR Network agreed with the UNDP that the CEB Secretariat should undertake work to broaden the SMN beyond the Leadership Development Programme and the Commission requested that the HR Network present reports at its meetings on the progress of the SMN

(45) At its Videoconference, 26 July 2006 (CEB/2006/HLCM/R.9), having been updated on Management Reform in the UN system by the USG and ASG, the HLCM Chair emphasised the importance of a move towards results based management (RBM).  This would feature in the High Level Panel on System-wide Coherence and the Committee agreed that the issues should be explored in the joint session with HLCP in the twelfth session of the HLCM.  The Committee thanked the USG and ASG for comprehensive updates and agreed to make information on reform among its organisations available on the CEB website.  

(46) At its HLCM session,in Rome, 30 September   1 October 2006 (CEB/2006/5, Section IV, p.7-9, paras.37-49), Following up on a suggestion by WIPO, the CEB Secretariat had opened a section of the HLCM website dedicated to information sharing on management reform by UN organisations: https://hlcm.unsystemceb.org/reform/.  The Committee invited organisations to provide relevant information to the CEB Secretariat for inclusion on the site.  The Committee invited organisations to nominate representatives to take part in a working group for the evaluation of a new ERP system; 14 organisations had yet to choose an ERP system, so this represented an important area for system-wide cooperation.

PricewaterhouseCoopers carried out the independent evaluation of Governance and Oversight systems under the guidance of a Steering Committee of six independent experts. The results of the study were published in a Secretary-General’s report (A/60/883 and addenda 1 and 2) of 10 July 2006. ACABQ would examine the report in October, which would be considered by the General Assembly at its Fall session (whether in the Fifth Committee or in the Plenary was yet to be determined), with an expectation to complete the discussion in March next year. With regard to the review of the OIOS, the Under-Secretary-General for Internal Oversight Services had provided separately her comments in a report entitled “Proposals for strengthening the Office of Internal Oversight Services” (A/60/901). On the specific subject of OIOS, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Management noted that the study’s recommendations had faced strong criticism, both by Member States and by the OIOS itself. Numerous organizations judged the conclusions and recommendations of the study to be superficial, poorly supported, and lacking an appropriate consideration of the specificities and requirements of the UN system’s organizations. At its twelfth session in Rome in 2006 (CEB/2006/5, paras.37-49), the Committee further asked the UN to provide an update on the General Assembly’s discussion of the study on Governance and Oversight at the next HLCM session.

Following meetings between the HLCM and UNDG Management Group Chairpersons, the UNDG Management Group presented the outcomes of these meetings at the twelfth session of HLCM. The Committee expressed appreciation for any efforts towards increased dialogue between the UNDG and the HLCM, and endorsed the conclusions and decisions outlined in Annex 6 of the report CEB/2006/5.

The Committee also noted that such conclusions and decisions should be considered as transitional and would have to be re-examined in the light of actions affecting inter-agency structures that may be taken in the process of follow-up to the outcome of the High Level Panel on System wide Coherence.  

(47) At its thirteenth session in New York (CEB/2007/HR/8, paras. 4-11) In reference to the development of the SMN, the Network agreed to (a) advise the HLCM of its conclusions; (b) to create with HLCM a steering committee to take leadership over the next stages of development of the project; (c) to support the ongoing developing of the Leadership Development Programme by UNSSC.

Extract from the report of the 13th session of the HLCM on Senior Management Network (SMN):
    •    Some suggestions were made on the need to cater to the bilingual needs of participants; to tag this effort to the Resident Coordinator assessment; and to assign a critical importance to the development of a comprehensive communication strategy to ensure internal buy-in by each organization.
    •    Many comments focused on the funding requirements of the overall SMN project, as well as on the expected cost per participant in the Leadership Development Programme. It was unanimously suggested that the budgetary constraints of organizations be taken in due consideration when deciding the expected number of participants in the first phase of the Programme. Also, it was suggested that a detailed cost plan for the overall SMN be submitted to the Committee for approval.
    •    The Committee fully endorsed the launching of the Senior Management Network and its Leadership Development Programme. The UNSSC may proceed with the development and delivery stages with the RSM and its consortium.
    •    The Committee would expect a request from the Secretary General to Executive Heads asking them to nominate members of the Senior Management Network.

(48) At its 13th session (CEB/2007/3, paras. 97-111), the Committee fully endorsed the launching of the Senior Management Network (SMN) and its Leadership Development Programme. The SMN comprises four elements: a set of Core Competencies; a system-wide Programme for Leadership Development; Networking Tools to provide a communications channel; and Global Management Fora as a means of bringing together members of the Network for knowledge sharing.

The CEB had approved the creation of the SMN and had also agreed that the CEB machinery would be responsible for supporting its establishment, guided by the HR Network on behalf of the CEB and HLCM.

Among the main issues to be noted by the Committee were the following:

    a)    SMN Membership: it will consist of approximately 600 to 1,000 senior staff. Executive Heads will be responsible for the selection (typically D1 and above). Membership will be defined by functions and roles rather than by grades.
    b)    Networking tools: will provide a communications channel, act as the portal to resource materials on management and leadership, provide the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) for participants in the leadership development programme and help facilitate the global management fora. This component of the SMN requires urgent funding to develop the electronic platform for such tool (funding requirement USD 170,000 one-time).
    c)    Global Management Fora: will be a means of bringing together members of the Network for knowledge sharing and building esprit de corps across the system, including an annual senior leaders’ conference as well as periodic events on a thematic level to discuss cross-functional and inter-disciplinary issues (funding requirement USD 70,000 on an annual basis).
    d)    Establishment of a position for a SMN project manager, possibly to be based in Geneva within the offices of the CEB Secretariat, reporting to the HLCM through the Secretary of the HLCM. He/she would work closely with the CEB Webmaster and the UNSSC Coordinator of the Leadership Development Programme, to coordinate and manage the SMN (funding requirement USD 320,000 on an annual basis, including support and travel costs).
    e)    Development of a comprehensive communication strategy.

The UNSSC may proceed with the development and delivery stages with the Erasmus Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) and its consortium.
The Committee would expect a request from the Secretary General to Executive Heads asking them to nominate members of the Senior Management Network.
The UNSSC, in coordination with the CEB Secretariat, would develop a detailed cost plan for the whole SMN and its individual components, for inclusion in the Business Practices proposal and approval by the Committee.

(49) At its fifteenth session in Rome, 2008 (CEB/2008/3, paras. 31-38), the Committee thanked UN/DESA for the comprehensive briefing. The Committee noted that the management-related recommendations included in the Triennial Comprehensive Policy Review (TCPR) document had many links to the Plan of Action for the Harmonization of Business Practices. This indicated that HLCM was already acting in line with the TCPR resolution. The TCPR resolution included a number of recommendations. Among these, the following were highlighted:

    a)    Financing
        •    Need for a comprehensive data and reporting system on financing of operational activities;
        •    Linkage of resources with increased effectiveness, efficiency, effectiveness and coherence of the UN development system;

    b)    Human Resources
        •    Secretary-General to improve the transparency and competitiveness of the recruitment process for senior posts in the UN development system;
        •    Heads of agencies, funds and programmes to fully cooperate with the Secretary-General, through CEB, in harmonizing recruitment processes for senior staff by 2009;
        •    UN system to adopt comprehensive policies for human resources and workforce planning and development; Secretary-General to prepare a report identifying human resources challenges within the development system at the country level;
        •    Secretary-General, through CEB, to intensify efforts on inter-agency staff mobility, re-profiling and training.

    c)    Measures related to transaction costs and efficiency
        •    Agencies, funds and programmes to accrue to development programme any savings resulting from reductions in transaction and overhead costs;
        •    Governing Bodies to review cost recovery policies to ensure that core resources do not subsidize projects undertaken through extra-budgetary resources;
        •    UN system organizations to make further progress on the harmonization of cost recovery policies;
        •    UN system organizations to continue harmonization efforts such as IPSAS; standardization of audit and ratings; and HACT;
        •    Agencies, funds and programmes to harmonize and simplify their business practices in the areas of human resources, ERP systems, finance, administration, procurement, security, IT, telecommunications, travel and banking.

    d)    ICT
        •    UN system organizations to increase usage of ICT to facilitate the contribution of agencies, funds and programmes to the UNDAF, as well as to enhance overall information sharing.
        •    United Nations development system to continue efforts to strengthen evaluation across the system and to promote a culture of evaluation.
The various HLCM Networks, in cooperation with relevant UNDG mechanisms, would conduct a detailed analysis of the TCPR recommendations in their respective areas, with a view to evaluating the feasibility, resource requirements and possible timeframes of any required follow-up actions that were not already part of their programmes of work. Networks would report back on this to HLCM at its next session.

(50) At the same session (CEB/2008/3, paras. 58-62), the Committee thanked Ms. Malcorra and Mr. Nigam for presenting the draft UNDG programme of work on management matters and an update on the new proposed UNDG structure and took note of them. HLCM and UNDG would pursue the maximum level of coordination in all management policy and guidance issues with relevance at the system-wide level. In particular, any discussions leading to implications for the UN system would be coordinated through HLCM and its Networks for comprehensive consideration and buy-in, while UNDG would ensure guidance and support for piloting solutions in countries and, more in general, for the requirements emerging from the country level.

(51) Further at the same session (CEB/2008/3, paras. 88-99), the Committee thanked the HR Network for the extensive work it is undertaking, and suggested that an effort of prioritization be made in order to ensure that adequate consideration be given to issues to be addressed, depending of their urgency and importance. On the Senior Management Network Leadership Programme, a Steering Group with a strong oversight role and decision-making authority would be formed with representatives of HLCM and of the Staff College, and including the Spokespersons of the HR Network. The Steering Group would be tasked with the following specific mandates:

    •    Undertake a comprehensive assessment of the Senior Management Leadership Programme in light of the objectives originally set by CEB;
    •    Examine the various options available to meet such objectives, including a minor re-readjustment of the current Programme, a major re-design as proposed by the Staff College, and alternative leadership development tools and modalities, either internally-developed or partly/entirely outsourced;
    •    Assess the capacity and availability of the Staff College to undertake the implementation of any suggested options;
    •    Develop recommendations for HLCM, to be considered at an inter-sessional meeting of the Committee.

(52) At the HR Network’s sixteenth session (CEB/2008/HLCM/HR/35, paras. 30-33), the Commission decided:
    (a)    To keep performance management under continuing review;
    (b)    To request its secretariat to upgrade the performance management guidelines set out by the Commission in 1997, with emphasis on the culture and environment and the leadership that must come from the top level of each organization;
    (c)    To emphasize the role of the leadership at the top level in sustaining such a culture and environment.
    (d)    To request its secretariat to monitor developments in the organizations in this regard and provide, as far as possible, value-added assistance to organizations in the form of studies and surveys to be shared among organizations, workshops and other forums for discussions and the sharing of best practices.

(53) At its sixteenth session in New York (CEB/2008/5, paras.50-51), the Committee recommended that the CEB Secretariat, DOCO and the Chairs and Conveners of Networks, Task Teams and Working Groups conduct a comprehensive exercise of stock-taking and prioritization of the initiatives in the Management area included in their programmes of work, and develop a booklet providing a snapshot picture of all such initiatives, their relationships and objectives, to be reviewed by HLCM at its next meeting, with a view to also addressing the need to fine tune information flow, communication and working relations between the different entities of UNDG and HLCM.
DOCO would also prepare and share with HLCM members a summary on progress, major challenges and constraints from the pilot countries in the area of business practices.

(54) At its sixteenth session in New York (CEB/2008/5, para. 139-141), the Committee re-iterated that it attached great importance to the evaluation function, and that enhancing the capacity and strength of this function across the UN system was critical to increase the credibility and impact of UN system organizations’ programmes. In this respect, the Committee broadly supported the need for a mechanism to manage and implement system-wide evaluations.

(55) At the same sessoin, the HLCM requested UNEG to consider hosting and managing the process of system wide evaluation with capacity drawn from existing entities. Funding would come from individual agencies’ work programmes, based on their incorporation of subjects for evaluation agreed upon by CEB.
The Committee thanked UNEG for its paper and requested the Group to take forward the ideas expressed at the meeting and revert to it with a response.

(56) At its seventeenth session (CEB/2009/3, paras.30-31), the Committee took note of a progress report by Deputy Director of the UNSSC on the redesigned Leadership Programme and requested the Staff College to report to the Committee on the outcome of the upcoming cohorts at the next Session.
The Committee also asked UNSSC to place particular attention to the choice of the right candidates for the first cohort of the Programme in May 2009, in order to receive the quality feedback necessary to conduct a good evaluation of the cohort, and to carry out an in-depth activity of monitoring and evaluation for the entire duration of the Programme, in consultation with the HLCM Reference Group.

(57) At its seventeenth session (CEB/2009/HLCM/HR/27, para.5), the HR Network believed that effective performance management was key in improving organizational capacity for the accomplishment of organizations’ mandates; It reviewed the twelve Principles as set out by the Commission in 1997 and outlined in ICSC/68/R.3 and agreed that these principles are still relevant today; with the exception of Principle 7. This principle should be reviewed and updated with a view to involving staff in the planning and priority setting of work, which would lead to greater commitment and motivation.
The Network was of the view that the problem was not related to the systems and processes in place, these had been continually reviewed, updated and refined over the years.  In doing so, organizations may have over-complicated the process by trying to address too many issues.  Managers often felt that the process was too bureaucratic, paper driven and time-consuming.  The aim should be to simplify as much as possible and concentrate on what was most important for the effectiveness of the organization and the development of staff. The Network also suggested to address the root causes or major problems, such as culture, lack of accountability, lack of incentives and disincentives, motivation and engagement of staff, and rewards and sanctions; agreed on the importance of the Network and the ICSC Secretariat collaborating in a joint analysis and review focusing on issues mentioned; And also noted that ICSC planned to undertake research on the practices of external organizations with the assistance of a consultant.

The Commission decided to:

    (a)    Request its secretariat to work with organizations and staff federations to conduct a common system staff survey on performance management;

    (b)    Establish a task force consisting of representatives from the secretariat of the Commission, the HR Networks and staff federations to conduct a fact-finding and benchmarking exercise on performance management practices and reward schemes in the common system organizations and comparable institutions, and identify issues which impact on the effective implementation of such practices and schemes in the United Nations common system, with a view to developing mechanisms for better differentiating levels of staff performance and identifying workable means of rewarding performance;

    (c)    Report to the Commission at its seventieth session, proposing a performance management framework for adoption by the Commission for submission to the General Assembly.

(58) At the same session (CEB/2009/HLCM/HR/27, paras.26-27), the HR Network thanked the Staff College for the update and requested to be kept informed on the outcome of the first cohort; The Network also stressed the importance of selecting the right candidates for the first cohort in order to have a good evaluation.  Candidates also should be informed of the reason for their nomination and this should be linked to a specific career development initiative; and noted that the Leadership Programme will be de-linked from the Senior Management Network as it is expected that the ‘Network’ will grow organically from the Programme’s alumni.  Therefore the HR Network will end any activities in this area.

(59) At its eighteenth session (CEB/2009/HLCM/HR/46/Rev.1, paras.26-27), the HR Network agreed that it would inform the Commission that the United Nations System Staff College had redesigned the UN Leadership Programme, now called UN Leaders Programme:  Developing Strategic Leaders”. The Staff College recently initiated the first course of  the  UN Leaders Programme and received positive feedback from the participants. The Network further stated that it is expected that a senior managers network would grow from the course’s alumni.  Therefore, the Network believed that it was more appropriate and effective that the senior managers network developed from the alumni of the programme and supported this bottom-up approach to developing a network of senior managers. The Network was encouraged by this development and would urge senior staff to undertake the UN Leaders course and concluded that direct CEB involvement in managing a separate network programme would no longer be required and will report this to HLCM. The Commission decided to report to the General Assembly that CEB had decided to discontinue further work on the SMN.

(60) At its eighteenth session (CEB/2009/6, paras.42-44), the Committee took note of the report from the first cohort of the UN Leaders Programme, which took place in Turin on 11-15 May 2009, and of the Staff College plans to further develop the Programme by delivering a second cohort from 30 November to 4 December 2009 on Accountability & Ethics, and by offering another three courses in 2010 with an estimated participation of about 40 people each time.
HLCM congratulated UNSSC on the success, and encouraged the College to continue along this path in planning and designing additional sessions of the Programme, to cover the entire audience of UN leaders as well as asked the Business Practices Steering Committee to give due consideration to including the UN Leaders Programme among its priority projects when allocating funds for the implementation of the HLCM Plan of Action for the Harmonization of Business Practices.

(61) Prior to its eighteenth session (CEB/2009/6, paras.67-71), a questionnaire had been sent to all organizations asking for the organizational perspective on a range of issues pertaining to performance management and inter-agency mobility. The Committee took note of the upcoming launch of the ICSC surveys and encouraged HLCM organizations to assist in identifying small focus groups of 2-3 line managers for joint meetings with the ICSC Secretariat to gain the management perspective on the two subjects under review.
HLCM was of the view to concentrate on better means to implement the respective policies, on the support and training required for staff and management, as well as on identifying obstacles/issues in the implementation of current performance management policies and systems, and on lessons learned and any required changes in the organizational and staff culture.
It encouraged the HR Network to work in cooperation with the ICSC when carrying out its Comparative Review of HR Policies and Practices, which will cover some of the same subject areas addressed by the surveys.

(62) During its eighteenth session (CEB/2009/6, paras.78-80), the Committee noted that several UN System organizations had made considerable progress in the past years with establishing accountability frameworks, including the development and implementation of Enterprise Risk Management systems; Acknowledged the wide range of issues, concepts and subjects that could potentially fall under the umbrella of an accountability framework. These included, inter alia: accountability, enterprise risk management, internal control, results-based management, governance, policies and procedures, roles and responsibilities, and other transparency related subjects.
It appreciated the potential value of defining the terms of a common agenda at the system-wide level on the subject of accountability and risk management, and encouraged member organizations that were interested in developing such an agenda, to convey their interest to the CEB Secretariat and nominate focal points.

(63) At its twentieth session (CEB/2010/HLCM/HR/35, paras.15-16), the HR Network thanked the ICSC secretariat for the document (ICSC/71/R.3) and supported the updated framework and; Was of the view that some issues could be addressed in more detail such as how to deal with underperformance, with linkages to the new system of administration of justice.

The Commission took note of the effort that had gone into preparing the elements of a performance management framework, which it saw as a work in progress at this stage.  The Commission decided to request its secretariat to fine-tune the elements in the framework and present the updated framework in a format that was more accessible and user-friendly at its seventy-second session.

It further decided to request its secretariat to conduct further studies on the use of step increments in the common system for recognition and rewards and to report thereon at its seventy-second session.

(64) At its 21th session in Paris (CEB/2011/3, paras. 57-71), the Committee:
Took note of the presentation offered by DFID on its Multilateral Aid Review (MAR) framework for assessing effectiveness and efficiency, that could help inform the UN system's efforts in developing and adopting tools for pursuing institutional reform.

Acknowledged the central role of HLCM in leading the effort by the UN system towards greater accountability and towards developing and implementing tools for better understanding and measuring its efficiency and effectiveness.

Agreed to form a special Task Force, led by the HLCM Chair, to identify and share approaches and to develop quick and actionable proposals to: a) pursue efficiency and cost savings; b) develop self-pacing, internal benchmarks of effectiveness and efficiency that can serve as a benchmark for all the UN system; c) identify basic common principles for reporting results to the donor community and the Member States that can be adopted throughout the UN system; and, d) analyse the process aspects of inclusive and successful institutional reform.

As part of this Task Force and with the immediate objective to bring a preliminary set of recommendations to the Chief Executives Board Meeting of 1-2 April, the HLCM Chair appointed a Sub-Committee, convened by Martin Mogwanja, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, and supported by UNHCR and WHO. This Sub-Committee would rapidly prepare recommendations on how the UN System could improve efficiency and control costs that do not contribute directly to results.

Requested all HLCM members to provide quick, actionable and high yielding ideas/summaries of experience on how their organizations have successfully increased efficiency or controlled costs in the last one or two years. Organizations could also put forward experiences on ideas that did not work or were found to be inappropriate for a UN entity to undertake, or ideas for increasing efficiency or controlling costs that they would like to pursue but are blocked from doing so for some specific administrative or legislative reason beyond their control.

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