a&dc improving Civil Service recruitment procedures for Senior Managers in Kosovo
“Thanks for everything… no one else is doing anything like this; it’s an innovative diplomatic project.“ – mention in FCO dispatches for a&dc’s work in Kosovo
a&dc is proud to be working with BDO in the delivery of an 18 month Foreign and Commonwealth Office funded project designed to enhance the rigour, transparency and fairness of recruitment procedures for senior roles in the Civil Service of Kosovo, the world’s newest democracy.
a&dc have collaborated with Civil Service colleagues to design and roll-out a competency-based selection process that complies with national law, but also brings the best of international best practice to the way in which Commission members are trained and execute their role in shortlisting and assessing candidates, usually via interview, presentation and a psychometric test – very different indeed from the previous common practice of 10 minute interviews and success being much more related to who you know and the political party to which candidates belong.
On 30th May, some six months into the project, a&dc were invited to the weekly meeting of Secretaries General (those who head up Government Ministries) to present information about progress to date, but more importantly, to learn from those who have served as Commission members about what they think is working effectively and where there are challenges; as well as to hear from those yet to participate in the new process about how we can best prepare them for this role. We were delighted to receive much positive feedback on our work – some examples included:
“I would like to congratulate you on the presentation by you and Karen West, which was very professional and clear for the selection of high officials in Kosovo’s institutions.”
“You (i.e. the project) can assume the support of the institutions of the Government of Kosovo; you are always welcome to exchange experiences and views with us here at the Council of Secretaries.”
“It was a new experience despite my personal experience of previous recruitment processes. It is more structured, more prepared. It gives candidates an opportunity to show their knowledge and experience.”
“Being convinced that through this process we are contributing that our country and our administration can benefit greatly by increasing the level of accountability, efficiency and increased transparency through fair, professional and fair recruitment processes, especially in key positions that are a guarantee for a better future.”
Best of all, we came away from the meeting with several constructive ideas of how we can work even more effectively with the Council of General Secretaries in the immediate future and a keenness to ensure longer-term sustainability for competency based recruitment processes beyond the life of the project.
Our work benefits from active support from the local British Embassy who are as excited as we, the Kosovo Civil Service and local Civic Society organisations are, about the impact that the project is already having. Independent auditors, tasked with project evaluation noted “We know that this is a really good example of achievement; it’s well known that you have achieved so much in a short space of time”.
As here in the UK, Kosovo awaits a general election in early June, so our work has been temporarily slowed, but once we resume business, a list of something like 30 senior management and public enterprise Board appointments awaits – so there’s plenty of opportunity to put our learning into practice and to continue our work with the Government to bring about changes to the culture and practice of recruitment and selection in the world’s newest democracy. It’s a huge privilege – how often can we claim that our work has this level of impact? Onwards and upwards!
 Ruairi O’Connell, British Ambassador to Kosovo, feedback to the a&dc/BDO project team, May 2017