Financial Regulations working group - Geneva

Geneva hosted last 23-24 May the 20th meeting of the ITU Council working group on Financial Regulations (FINREGS), held jointly with the eighth meeting of the Council working group on Human Resources. Highlights on the agenda included discussion about the draft budget for the 2012-13 biennium, which should be approved by next October’s 2011 session of the ITU Council. 

The participants indicated their concern about the estimated deficit of 4.085 million Swiss francs. The group also noted the need to prioritise a number of activities not envisaged in the budget and which the ITU intends to accomplish by using additional revenue from voluntary contributions and capital withdrawals from the Union’s reserve account.

Another major issue at this meeting was the ITU secretariat’s proposal to replace the time tracking system (TTS) currently used in the ITU to record the allocation of employees’ service times to different activities, which they consider highly fallible. The ITU holds that a new system using periodic questionnaires regarding the time employees spend on each of the Union’s strategy objectives would be faster and more efficient. But the European countries believe the new system will make the process less transparent, as it allows managers to manipulate working hours. The group concluded that there is general support for the change; but given the concerns still manifested, the secretariat will present more data on advantages of the new system, for final approval at the 2011 session of the ITU Council.

Also approved at the meeting was the establishment of an evaluation committee to study candidates for the position of external auditor. This committee will comprise members from different regions; Europe will be represented by Germany.

Regarding human resources management issues, it was noted that ITU employees are not using the ethics policy implemented in the organisation, basically because they do not trust the impartiality of the person in charge of ethics, to whom the staff should report for that purpose. This lack of confidence is because that person was directly appointed by the secretary-general, and not by a transparent hiring process.

The participants also noted several developments associated to human resources management, specifically the new ITU e-recruitment website, a draft tele-work or distance work policy, and finalisation of the project for Union internships.

Also approved was the proposal for FINREGS and the working group on Human Resources to formally merge, which will be presented to the Council at its 2011 session.

The groups will next meet jointly this coming 10 October to prepare the 2011 session of the ITU Council, which begins the following day.