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Ministers’ Deputies

CM Documents

CM(2012)131      4 October 20121



1153 Meeting, 24 October 2012

11 Administration and Logistics

11.8 Meeting report of the Budget Committee –
September 2012 session

Item to be considered by the GR-PBA at its meeting on 9 and 17 October 2012



The Budget Committee met in Strasbourg on 24 – 28 September 2012.

A. INTRODUCTION

1. Opening of the meeting

1. Mr Åke Hjalmarsson, Chairman of the Budget Committee opened the meeting of the Committee. The list of participants appears in Appendix I.

2. Adoption of the Agenda and of the Annotated Agenda

2. The Committee adopted the Agenda as set out in Appendix II.

3. Examination of the report and minutes of the May 2012 session

3. The Committee took note of the report and the minutes of its May 2012 meeting as set out in documents CM(2012)90 and P-Bud(2012)CR1. It welcomed the resumption of the practice of producing edited minutes and thanked the Secretariat for its efforts in this respect.

4. Presentation of the new website of the Budget Committee

4. The Secretariat presented the new website of the Budget Committee. The Committee welcomed it as a useful tool for its work and as an important means for the Organisation to be transparent and to communicate with the outside world.

5. The Committee was informed by the Secretariat that in the future working documents would only be provided via the website except for exceptionally large ones which could be provided in hard copy.

5. Statement by the Director General of Administration, Ms Ute Dahremöller

6. The Director General of Administration provided the Committee with information in respect of developments that had taken place since the previous meeting of the Committee in particular as regarded the budgetary context.

7. She recalled that during its May meeting, the Committee examined the Programme and Budget 2012-2013 – adjustments to 2013 (document CM(2012)130) and noted that in line with the inflation adjustment retained for 2013, a provision for salary adjustment based on a 2% increase had been included in the budget notwithstanding the fact that the CCR recommendation would only be known later in the autumn.

8. She recalled that the proposed adjustments for 2013, together with the report of the Budget Committee were discussed by the GR-PBA on 19 and 21 June and that the Secretary General would revise his proposal for the adjusted Budget for 2013 in the light inter alia of the CCR recommendation and the proposals expressed by delegations.

9. She also informed the Committee on recent developments concerning partial agreements.

10. She then referred to the management of an increasing volume of extra-budgetary resources and recalled that the level of extra-budgetary receipts had risen from some €15 million in 2005 to more than
€36 million in 2011. She informed the Committee that the Secretariat was conducting an in-depth study on the cost linked to the management of extra-budgetary resources taking into account also the experience of other international organisations and noted that this study would be finalised before the end of the year and would be brought to the attention of the Committee.

11. Concerning the Secretariat, she informed the Committee that following the election of Ms Battaini-Dragoni as Deputy Secretary General, the post of Director General of Programmes (DGProg) had been suppressed although DGProg, in the form of a Directorate, would continue to operate to ensure better coordination at the operational level.

12. Finally, she informed the Committee of changes under way in order to achieve better financial control in the light of a report commissioned by the Secretary General and a policy bringing about a reinforcement of central control while taking due account of the diversity of entities, the prerogatives of institutions and the principles of financial decentralisation. One of the key measures of the new policy was the reinforcement of the role of Local Finance Officer/Local Finance Manager and the creation of a functional link with DPFL so as to strengthen financial processes and support Commitment Officers in managing and optimising financial resources. Another key element of this policy was the introduction of a new budgeting tool. She noted that the policy had been adopted by the Senior Management Group at its meeting of 4 September 2012 and was being gradually implemented .

13. The Committee took note of the developments reported by the Director General and welcomed in particular the actions undertaken in respect of improved financial control.

B. PROGRAMME AND BUDGET 2012-2013

6. Implementation of 2012

14. The Committee held an exchange of views on the state of implementation of the Programme and Budget for the current year.

15. It took note of the Interim Progress Review Report 2012 (CM/Inf(2012)25) and considered that it was a valuable and comprehensive document.

16. The Committee encouraged the Secretariat to consider a revised format for presenting the necessary relevant and essential information and to propose any amendments to the Financial Regulations which might be required in this respect during 2013.

17. The Committee also took note of the budgetary situation at the end of August 2012 (see document P-Bud(2012)23), including detailed information on budget transfers exceeding €100 000 and/or 10% of the receiving or supplying programme line, for which the Committee of Ministers must be informed pursuant to Article 28 of the Financial Regulations.

18. The Committee noted that the implementation of the Programme and Budget 2012 was as planned and welcomed the notification system introduced in respect of significant Ordinary Budget transfers in pursuance of Article 28 of the Financial Regulations (see document CM/Inf(2012)28).

19. The Committee then considered the proposals for carry-forwards of appropriation from 2012 to 2013 presented by the Secretary General pursuant to Article 29 of the Financial Regulations (document CM(2012)128). It agreed that the concept of “exceptional circumstances” should be assessed in the light of the need to ensure the full execution of the Programme for the biennium. Such exceptional circumstances would typically result from external factors beyond the control of the Organisation, they should not be recurrent or have any effect on future budgets. It noted that situations of this type were likely to occur in the future.

20. The Committee agreed that all but one of the requests for carry forward submitted met the above-mentioned criteria. It noted that the proposal to carry forward the unspent balance of the reserve for intergovernmental committees to ensure the implementation of the Brighton Declaration on the future of the Court and the need for additional funding for the steering Committee on Human Rights (CDDH) also included a transfer from one programme line to another. This could be regarded as a unique situation which should therefore not be considered as a precedent.

21. The Committee recommended that the authorisation of carry-forwards proposed (CM(2012)128) be granted on the condition that they be used in 2013 for the purposes specified in the proposal, that there was an underspending on the corresponding programme line in 2012 and there was sufficient overall underspending in the Ordinary Budget in 2012.

22. Finally, the Committee also recommended the modifications proposed to the Investment Programme 2012-2013 (P-Bud(2012)26).

7. Adjustments to 2013

23. The Committee recalled that during its May meeting, it had examined the Programme and Budget 2012-2013 - adjustments to 2013 as set out in document CM(2012)130 and recalled that in line with the inflation adjustment rate retained for 2013, a provision for salary adjustment based on a 2% increase had been included in the proposal notwithstanding the fact that the CCR recommendation on the salary adjustment would only be known later in the autumn.

24. The Committee noted that the Secretary General would be submitting a revised proposal (see document CM(2012)130 rev) taking into account inter alia the CCR recommendation, which was not available at the time the Committee was in session. The Committee regretted that it was not in a position to examine the Secretary General’s revised proposal which, in addition to the revised provision for salary adjustment, would most likely also include any other material and financial factors. The Committee considered that this was not satisfactory and would be reviewing the situation before the end of the biennium to remedy it.

25. The Committee noted that, according to information available to it, the CCR would be recommending a salary increase in the order of 1.3%, which should bring about savings on the Ordinary Budget (some €1 M) and on the budgets of the European Youth Foundation, partial agreements and on the Pension Reserve Fund. The Committee considered that the resulting savings could be used for i) reinforcing some high priority sectors or ii) freezing a corresponding amount of appropriations to be reimbursed to member States at the end of the financial year or iii) reviewing the level of member States’ contributions for 2013. In this respect the Committee recalled that the Committee of Ministers had decided that the total of member States’ contributions to the Ordinary Budget in 2013 should increase by the lower of zero real growth, based on the current inflation method, or 2% if the inflation rate was higher than 2%. The Committee recommended that the Committee of Ministers addressed this issue taking into account the difficult economic and financial situation in several member States. Regard could also be made to the fact that no savings resulting from the pension reform would be available in 2013 and that the credit balance for 2011 available for reimbursement had been reduced by €0.5 M (see paragraph 38).

26. The Committee was also informed of a series of developments occurring since its last meeting including the Secretary General’s replies to the joint proposals by seven delegations as set out in document DD(2012)788.

27. With regard to the reform of the Pensions system, the Committee regretted that the related savings could not be included in the Adjustments for 2013 because the actuarial calculations were not available yet. In this respect, the Committee noted the Secretary General’s proposal for an amendment of the Statute of the Pension Reserve Fund (document DD(2012)788, paragraph 15). This was intended to i) anticipate to 2013 the actuarial study foreseen for 2014 so that it could be used for the calculation of member States’ contributions to the Programme and Budget 2014-2015 and ii) subsequent actuarial studies be prepared every four years. The Committee recommended that the next actuarial study be available no later than March 2013 and further recommended that studies be carried out not only every four years but whenever they were deemed necessary to allow the proper conduct of the budget process.

28. The Committee further recalled that following the sale of the B-Building member States contributions for 2013 to the Pension Reserve Fund would be reduced by some €150 0002 as compared to the figure appearing in document CM(2012)130. It further assumed that in the light of the estimated salary adjustment resulting from the CCR recommendation of some 1.3%, the corresponding savings in the Pension Reserve Fund would reduce member States’ contributions by some additional €151 000.

29. The Committee took note of the proposals to reduce the expenditure relating to experts travelling at the charge of the Council of Europe (see document CM(2012)29add). It recommended that the 2% inflation rate be not applied and that the highest rates (€269) be aligned progressively to the standard reimbursement rate (€175).

30. In the report of its May meeting, the Committee addressed several issues relating to partial agreements, including the External Auditor’s concerns regarding the potential situation of the North-South Centre (document CM(2012)90, paragraphs 65-72). The Committee noted that the situation with regard to partial agreements had worsened given the increasing number of withdrawals announced by member States (see P-Bud(2012)30). The Committee considered that partial agreements continued to be a suitable way for implementing particular activities for the countries interested. However, it noted that in the current regulatory framework, short notice withdrawals, in some cases three months before the beginning of the next budget year, could be made. This could create challenges for the operation of the partial agreements concerned. Accordingly, the Committee recommended that the regulatory framework be reviewed to allow sufficient time for partial agreements to adapt to these new conditions. The Committee stressed that the budgets of partial agreements should remain flexible and adjustable to changing political circumstances as the duration of partial agreements, by definition, does not necessarily coincide with that of the Organisation.

31. The Committee would continue to follow this matter closely.

C. AUDIT

8. Exchange of views with Mr Christophe Rosenau, External Auditor

32. The Committee held an exchange of views with Mr Christophe Rosenau, External Auditor and welcomed the fact that the External Auditor had issued an unqualified opinion on the Organisation’s accounts for the fifth year in a row.

33. With regard to the Pension Reserve Fund, the Committee noted that the calculation of the total pension commitments was a theoretical one done in compliance with the International Public Sector Accounting Standards, and which presents those commitments on the hypothesis that the Organisation would have ceased operations on 31 December of the financial year.

34. It also noted that the debt of some €1 billion, corresponding to the long-term commitments to the benefit of staff, appeared in the balance sheet as a liability, while the member States’ commitment to carry that debt was not included as an asset, as it was also the case in other international organisations. Given the theoretical nature of this liability, the Committee considered that there was no reason to call for additional contributions in order to balance that liability.

35. The Committee then took note of the recommendations of the External Auditor regarding the management of Special Accounts (see CM(2012)103, recommendations 6-10) and of the Secretary General’s replies.

36. In this respect, the Committee welcomed the new presentation of Special Accounts and called upon the Secretariat to ensure an adequate follow-up to these recommendations, stressing that particular attention should be given to lines which remain inactive for more than one year with a view to possible closure. It also considered that the issue of special accounts management should be addressed in the course of the review of the Financial Regulations which will be carried out by the Committee in 2013.

37. The Committee noted the External Auditor’s comments on the technical abatement in respect of the European Court of Human Rights. The Committee considered that the technical abatement was a useful management tool for the whole Organisation and that its level should be based on statistical evidence correlated to the level of vacancies.

38. The Committee also noted that, following a proposal by the External Auditor a provision of €0.55 M had been made in the 2011 financial statements and budgetary management accounts in order to cover potential financial risks relating to the outstanding litigation with regard to seniority steps, thus bringing the credit balance to be reimbursed to member States from some €2 M to €1.5M.

39. The External Auditor explained that such provision was not included in the accounts of Eurimages and the North-South Centre because the 2011 accounts of these two partial agreements had already been certified and that the amounts concerned were not material. The Committee noted that the provision had been made in respect of all of the other partial agreements and that in respect of one of them it brought about a deficit of some €5 000 which was carried over to 2012.

40. The Committee also noted that according to the External Auditor the risks continued in 2012 pending the decision of the Administrative Tribunal. The Secretariat informed the Committee that the Secretary General was fully aware of the potential financial risks in this matter. The Committee took note of that information.

41. The Committee noted the existence of a balance account amounting to some €3.4 M, created to respond to increases in medical insurance costs (the so-called “van Breda Account”). The Committee examined the External Auditor’s recommendations relating to this account and of the Secretary General’s replies (see CM(2012)103, recommendations 4 and 5) in particular that “the principle of a reserve corresponding to the ‘pensioners solidarity’ account and the upper limit on that reserve should be approved via an official decision” and that “the allocation of the surplus on ‘the pensioners solidarity’ adjustment account should be approved each year under a decision taken by the Committee of Ministers.” In this respect, the Committee was informed that the Secretary General was examining how to best address this issue and he would submit proposals to this effect in 2013.

42. The Committee asked to be kept duly informed about these proposals.

43. Finally, in relation to the budgetary management accounts of the EDQM for 2011, the Committee reiterated the recommendation that it had made at its May meeting to reimburse to member States an additional €1 M from the surplus capital of the EDQM.

9. Exchange of views with Mr Ansgar Eussner, Director of Internal Oversight

44. The Committee held an exchange of views with Mr Ansgar Eussner, Director of Internal Oversight (DIO).

45. It noted that out of the 10 audit reports initially foreseen for 2011 only seven had been carried out. According to the DIO this was due to difficulties in the recruitment of specialised staff. The Committee noted however that evaluation activities were carried out by DIO according to plan. In this respect the Committee noted that the staff available to DIO consisted of 5 auditors and 1 assistant for audit and 3 evaluators and 1 assistant for evaluation excluding the Director. Furthermore, DIO had €100 000 available for hiring consultants. According to Mr Eussner, these resources would be sufficient to allow the DIO to carry out its duties.

46. The DIO informed the Committee about two audits which were currently being carried out with regard to the introduction of System Application and Products (SAP) at the EDQM and to the outsourcing of Information Technologies (IT), and that he intended to audit the functioning of the Tenders Board.

47. The Committee was also informed that the President of the Audit Committee wished that an audit be carried out on IT governance. The DIO believed that the topic was a very wide one but could be subject to an audit. To his knowledge, a cost/benefit evaluation of such an audit had not been performed.

D. HUMAN RESOURCES

10. Human Resources issues: latest developments in respect of:

48. The Committee held an exchange of views with Mr Francis Dangel, Director of Human Resources (DHR) on the reform of the pensions schemes and the latest developments regarding the Council of Europe staff and staff policy, with a particular focus on the use of fixed-term contracts, the payment dates of salaries and the development of staff figures.

      a. Reform of the pension schemes

49. The Committee welcomed the adoption by the Committee of Ministers of the reform of the pensions system3 in the terms that it had recommended during its May meeting. It noted that the implementation required several steps and that the full entry into force of the reform was likely to take place in April 2013.

50. The Committee stressed that the Secretariat should make every effort to ensure that the reform be implemented without delay. If there were possibilities of introducing some elements of the reform at an earlier stage that should be done.

      b. Contractual Policy – Use of fixed term contracts

51. The Committee welcomed the recent temporary freezing of recruitment on the basis of contracts of indefinite duration (CDI) and the increased recourse to fixed-term contracts (CDD) and positions. It noted that this was a temporary step and that the Secretariat was currently examining in detail all possible scenarios in order to adopt a final contractual policy as soon as possible. The decision on whether to recruit on a fixed-term or indefinite-term basis depended on the nature of the jobs concerned which required some thorough analysis.

52. The DHR confirmed that most of the staff members working on the implementation of Joint Programmes or projects financed through voluntary contributions were employed on the basis of CDDs and that the Organisation would have the necessary flexibility should the level of Joint Programmes or voluntary contributions decrease.

53. The Committee also noted that withdrawals of member States from partial agreements have an effect on the staff situation where they require the suppression of posts and when the staff concerned are employed on the basis of a CDD. This allowed the necessary flexibility to the Organisation.

54. The Committee welcomed the fact that new recruitments in partial agreements were mostly done on the basis of CDD only. In its opinion compulsory redundancy was also an option but that would require the use of appropriate resources to cover severance costs.

55. The Committee urged the Secretariat to present a revised contractual policy without delay aiming at increasing the flexibility of the Organisation.

      c. Payment of salaries – Payment date for permanent and non-permanent staff

56. The Committee welcomed the fact that the payment dates for permanent staff would be aligned with those of temporary staff - i.e. at the end of the month as opposed to the beginning - as of 1 April 2013. It noted that some transitional measures, in particular an advance payment of some 80% of the salary, would be in place to help some staff members adapt to the new system.

      d. Development of staff figures/number [2011 – 2012 – 2013]

57. The DHR presented the current staff figures broken down by category, type of contract, posting and financing (P-Bud(2012)29).

      e. Salary ceiling as an active management tool

58. The Committee noted that the Secretary General will be making proposals on the use of the salary ceiling as an active management tool in the context of the preparation of the Programme and Budget 2014-2015.

59. The Committee stressed that the proposals regarding the method to be used should be presented at an early stage of the preparation of the Programme and Budget for 2014-2015 and then be used in the subsequent stages of the budget process.

E. OTHER

11. Exchange of views with the Rapporteurs Group on Programme, Budget and Administration (GR-PBA)

60. The Committee held an exchange of views with the Rapporteur Group on administrative and budgetary questions, during which the Chairman of the Budget Committee outlined the main findings and recommendations of the Committee.

12. Preparation of the Seminar on Result Based Budgeting – Objectives, Expected Results and Performance Indicators

61. At the initiative of the Budget Committee, endorsed by the Committee of Ministers, the Secretariat had organised a seminar on Result Based Budgeting. This seminar was intended for members of the Secretariat, notably programme co-ordinators who are directly responsible for planning, implementing and reporting on the Programme and Budget of the Council of Europe, Senior Managers, members of Permanent Representations to the Council of Europe, members of the Budget Committee and any other interested party.

62. The Committee welcomed the results of the seminar. The programme and Conclusions are appended (see Appendices III and IV).4

13. European Youth Foundation

63. The Committee held an exchange of views with Ms Ólof Ólafsdottir, Director of Democratic Citizenship and participation. The main topic addressed was the budgetary autonomy of the European Youth Foundation vis-à-vis the Ordinary Budget. The Committee noted that at the time of the setting-up the European Youth Foundation, in 1972, the Committee of Ministers insisted that this be a separate structure from the Council of Europe central budget for the following reasons:

      - Autonomy of management: at the time member States contributed to the Foundation on a voluntary basis only. This was a long time before voluntary contributions became a current means of funding and was seen as an innovation within the Council of Europe.

      - Particular decisional process: the decisions regarding the Foundation were taken by the Steering Committee of Youth made up of Governments’ representatives and members of Youth organisations on an equal footing. This new form of management which had been defined for the Youth Foundation was, and still is, referred to as the “co-management” structure.

      - The Foundation was given a special status because of the political importance given to the youth sector. The Youth Foundation was considered by the Council of Europe to be part of the political solution for Europe’s young people, taking into account their concerns and their requests.

64. The Committee noted that if the Foundation’s budget was to be included in the Ordinary Budget, then the co-management system would cease, as the decision-making process would belong directly and exclusively to the Committee of Ministers, therefore excluding the Youth representatives involvement. Furthermore, the Foundation would have to completely review its statutes and review its policy of running projects over several years, which would severely disrupt its current functioning. The Committee therefore agreed that the budgetary autonomy and independent budget of the Foundation should be retained.

14. Situation of the North-South Centre

65. The Committee took note of the evaluation report of the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe prepared by an external consultant.

F. CLOSING

15. Draft meeting report of the Budget Committee – September 2012 session

66. The Committee approved the report of the session as set out in document P-Bud(2012)28.

16. Date, place and agenda of the next meeting

67. The forthcoming meetings of the Budget Committee will take place in Strasbourg from Monday 13 May to Friday 17 May 2013 and from Monday 16 to Friday 20 September 2013.

17. Other business

68. The Committee took note of a letter from the President of the European Court of Human Rights to the Secretary General regarding the transfer of any unspent balance for 2012 to a special account to facilitate the reduction of its backlog. In the Court’s opinion such a transfer would promote the special account and help attract voluntary contributions.

69. The Committee noted that the idea of a special account to attract voluntary contributions had not yet been successful. The Committee considered that this was not a reason to transfer funds from the Ordinary Budget to a special account. Should the Committee of Ministers decide to allocate more funds to the Court’s case-processing activities, this could be done in the budgetary process. Therefore, the Committee did not recommend the proposal.

Appendix I

LIST OF PARTICIPANTS

Mr Christoph JACKWERTH (Austria)

Ms Anne VAN NIEUWENBURG (Belgium)

Mr Jean PARMENTIER (France)

Ms Lisa-Christin RAGOT (Germany) (Substitute)

Mr Claudio DE ROSE (Italy)

Mr Szymon CHOJNOWSKI (Poland) (Substitute)

Mr Evgeny KALUGIN (Russian Federation) (Substitute)

Ms Beatriz GONZALEZ BETANCORT (Spain) (Substitute)

Mr Åke HJALMARSSON, Chair (Sweden)

Mr Fikret DEMIR (Turkey)

Ms Joycelyn BUCHAN, Vice-Chair (United Kingdom)

Appendix II

BUDGET COMMITTEE

Strasbourg, 24-28 September 2012

Room 10, Palais de l’Europe


AGENDA


A. INTRODUCTION

Item 1 Opening of the meeting

Item 2 Adoption of the Agenda

        · P-Bud(2012)OJ2 – Draft Agenda

Item 3 Examination of the report and minutes of the May 2012 session

        · CM(2012)90 – Meeting Report of the Budget Committee – May 2012 session

        · P-Bud(2012)CR1 – Meeting Minutes of the Budget Committee – May 2012 session

Item 4 Presentation of the new website of the Budget Committee

Item 5 Statement by the Director General of Administration, Ms Ute Dahremöller

        · P-Bud(2012)6 – Decisions and documents of the Committee of Ministers concerning the Budget Committee [September 2011 – May 2012]

        · P-Bud(2012)25 – Decisions and documents of the Committee of Ministers concerning the Budget Committee [May-September 2012]

B. PROGRAMME AND BUDGET 2012-2013

Item 6 Implementation of 2012

        · CM/Inf(2012)25 – Council of Europe Interim Progress Review Report 2012

        · P-Bud(2012)23 – Budgetary situation (Ordinary Budget) as of 31 August 2012

        · P-Bud(2012)26 – Modifications to the 2012 and 2013 investment programme

        · CM/Inf(2012)28 – Notification of significant Ordinary Budget transfer

        · P-Bud(2012)6 – Decisions and documents of the Committee of Ministers concerning the Budget Committee [September 2011 – May 2012]

        · P-Bud(2012)25 – Decisions and documents of the Committee of Ministers concerning the Budget Committee [May-September 2012]

Item 7 Adjustments to 2013

        · CM(2012)130 – Programme and Budget 2012-2013 – adjustments to 2013
        (i.a. the North-South Centre)

        · CM(2012)128prov – Programme and Budget 2012-2013 – carry forward from 2012 to 2013

        · P-Bud(2012)26 – Modifications to the 2012 and 2013 investment programme

        · DD(2012)667 – Document distributed at the request of Austria, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Poland, Switzerland and United Kingdom (English only)

        · DD(2012)788 – Replies of the Secretary General to the joint proposals by Austria, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Poland, Switzerland and the United Kingdom concerning the 2013 budget

        · P-Bud(2011)18 – Decisions of the Committee of Ministers concerning the Budget Committee

        · P-Bud(2012)6 – Decisions and documents of the Committee of Ministers concerning the Budget Committee [September 2011 – May 2012]

        · P-Bud(2012)25 – Decisions and documents of the Committee of Ministers concerning the Budget Committee [May-September 2012]

C. AUDIT

Item 8 Exchange of views with Mr Christophe Rosenau, External auditor

        · CM(2012)100 – Consolidated Financial Statements for the year ended 31 December 2011

        · CM(2012)100 add – Budgetary Management Accounts of the Council of Europe for the year ended 31 December 2011

        · CM(2012)101 – Financial Statements and Budgetary Management Accounts of the Partial Agreement establishing the European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity for the year ended 31 December 2011

        · CM(2012)102 – Financial Statements and Budgetary Management Accounts of the Partial Agreement of the European Support Fund for the co-production and distribution of creative cinematographic and audio-visual works “Eurimages” for the year ended 31 December 2011

        · CM(2012)103 and CM(2012)103 corr – Consolidated Financial Statements and Budgetary Management Accounts of the Council of Europe for the year ended 31 December 2011 – Follow up to the Report of the External Auditor

Item 9 Exchange of views with Mr Ansgar Eussner, Director of Internal Oversight

        · CM(2012)84 – Annual report 2011 of the Directorate of Internal Oversight

D. HUMAN RESOURCES

Item 10 Human Resources issues: latest developments in respect of:

      a. Reform of the pension schemes

      b. Contractual Policy – Use of fixed term contracts

      c. Payment of salaries – Payment date for permanent and non-permanent staff

      d. Development of staff figures/number [2011 – 2012 – 2013]

      e. Salary ceiling as an active management tool

E. OTHER

Item 11 Exchange of views with the Rapporteurs Group on Programme, Budget and Administration (GR-PBA)

Item 12 Preparation of the Seminar on Result Based Budgeting – Objectives, Expected Results and Performance Indicators

        · Programme

Item 13 European Youth Foundation

Item 14 Situation of the North-South Centre

        · P-Bud(2012)24 – Evaluation of the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe (English only)

F. CLOSING

Item 15 Draft meeting report of the Budget Committee – September 2012 session

        · P-Bud(2012)28 – Meeting report of the Budget Committee – September 2012 session

Item 16 Date, place and agenda of the next meeting

Item 17 Other business

ORDER OF BUSINESS

 

Monday 24

Tuesday 25

Wednesday 26

Thursday 27

Friday 28

09.00

    1.

    2.

    3.

    4.

    5.

    10.

    Seminar

    (cf.12)

    8.

    9.

    16.

    11. (prepar.)

    15. at 10 am

12.30 -14.30

         

17.30

    13.

    12.

    8. (prepar.)

    14.

    Seminar

    (cf.12)

    6.

    7.

    11.

    17.

ADDITIONAL DOCUMENTS

REFERENCE

TITLE OF THE DOCUMENT

P-Bud(2012)29

Staff data

P-Bud(2012)30

Summary of accessions to and withdrawals from Partial Agreements Situation on 24 September 2012

P-Bud(2012)31

Improvements to the production of financial information: proposed changes to structures and processes (Ernst&Young)

P-Bud(2012)32

Request from the ECHR

P-Bud(2012)33

Discount rate

CM(2012)126

Audit Committee - Annual report 1 May 2011 through 30 June 2012 [1153 meeting]

CM(2012)91rev

Programme and Budget 2012-2013: Subordinate Intergovernmental Committees

SG/Inf(2011)9 FINAL

Proposal by the Secretary General - Reform proposed new set-up for intergovernmental structures

Background

In the context of the reform of the Council of Europe, the introduction of a new, more strategic Programme and Budget, a move to a biennial cycle, a need for focused, precise and measurable objectives and robust follow-up have become all the more important.

The Committee of Ministers has highlighted the need for a common methodology and a common language within the Council of Europe for introducing clear reporting and evaluation, in order to make results more visible and to effectively identify strategic choices for the future Council of Europe Programme and Budget.

From this perspective, it is important to devise SMART - Specific objectives that are Measurable, Attainable at an acceptable cost, Relevant to the objective concerned, and verifiable within a reasonable period of Time - expected results attached to clear objectives. In order to measure whether SMART expected results and, ultimately, objectives are achieved, having relevant indicators is paramount since they form part of the Results Based Budgeting process and allow assessing the implementation of the Programme and Budget inter alia through the Council of Europe Progress Review Report.

    Setting clear objectives, SMART expected results and relevant performance indicators also allows for timely adjustments to programmes and re-allocation of resources to priority areas, and ensures the effective use of human and financial resources of the Organisation, allowing for more strategic planning, evaluation and resource mobilisation. This is even more important in the context of the increasing use of extrabudgetary resources by the Organisation.

    Building on the strategic approach of the new biennial Programme and Budget, with the aim of addressing three fundamental questions: what (does the Organisation do), why (objectives and expected results) and how (structures and resources); or ,in the case of the seminar, what (are objectives, expected results and performance indicators), why (are they relevant and important) and how (can they be defined properly), the one-day seminar on “Objectives, Expected Results and Performance Indicators” aims to:

      · Agree on concepts and definitions: what are clear objectives, SMART expected results and relevant performance indicators and why are they important tools.

      · Understand the challenge of applying these concepts in international organisations and the Council of Europe in particular given the wide diversity of activities and other factors.

      · Define how to build clear objectives, SMART expected results and relevant performance indicators for the preparation of the Programme and Budget and follow-up progress review reports.

      · Identify challenges and best practices in the light of the logframes, objectives, expected results and performance indicators of existing programme lines.

    The Seminar

    The seminar, an initiative of the Budget Committee endorsed by the Committee of Ministers, is intended for members of the Secretariat, notably programme co-ordinators who are directly responsible for planning, implementing and reporting on the Programme and Budget of the Council of Europe, Senior Managers, Permanent Representations to the Council of Europe, members of the Budget Committee and any other interested party.

    The working languages of the seminar are English and French. Simultaneous interpretation will be provided.

      Venue:

      Council of Europe Headquarters

      Room 1, Palais de l'Europe
      Avenue de l'Europe
      67075 STRASBOURG Cedex

      Contacts:

      Directorate of Programme, Finance
      and Linguistic Services (DPFL)

      Stefano.Piedimonte-Bodini@coe.int

      Secretariat: Karolina.Siesse@coe.int

      Tel. +33 (0)3 88 41 29 45


Appendix III

    Result Based Budgeting

    Objectives,

    Expected Results

    and

    Performance Indicators

    Strasbourg, 25 September 2012

    Programme

    www.coe.int/budgetcommittee

9.15 Opening
The Seminar will open with statements by the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe (CoE), the Chairman of the Rapporteur Group on Programme, Budget and Administration of the Committee of Ministers (GR-PBA) and the President of the Budget Committee.

· Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, Deputy Secretary General, CoE
· Amb. Gediminas Šerkšnys, President of the GR-PBA
· Åke Hjalmarsson, Chair of the Budget Committee

10.00 Objectives, expected results and performance indicators – agreeing on terms and understanding why they are important
This session will look at the terms with a view to reaching consensus on what are clear objectives, SMART expected results and relevant performance indicators and understanding as to why they are important tools for efficient resource allocation.

Keynote speaker:
· Virginie Besrest, Director the Economic Policies Department, EUREVAL

Respondents:
· Christophe Rosenau, President of the Regional Court of Accounts of Alsace
· Mário Martins, Director General of the Secretariat of the Parliamentary Assembly, CoE

11.15 Break

11.30 Translating it to international organisations
Building on the findings of the previous session, this session will look at the specifics of international organisations and how clear objectives, SMART expected results and relevant performance indicators can be defined in that context given the various actors and considerations involved. The session will focus in particular on the specificities of the Council of Europe.

Keynote speaker:
· Ian C. Davies, former President of the European Evaluation Society

Respondents:
· Rafael Benitez, Director of Programme, Finance and Linguistic Services, CoE
· Susanne Keitel, Director of the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and Healthcare, CoE

12.45 Lunch break

14.00 Building clear objectives, SMART expected results and relevant performance indicators
Relying on the findings of previous sessions, this session will address how to build clear objectives, SMART expected results and relevant performance indicators.

Keynote speaker:
· Virginie Besrest, Director the Economic Policies Department, EUREVAL

Respondents:
· Erik Fribergh, Registrar of the European Court of Human Rights
· Hanne Juncher, Head of the Justice and Legal co-operation Department, DG I, CoE

15.30 Lessons learned and best practices
This session will look at some programme lines and logframes of the Council of Europe Programme and Budget with a view to identifying possible problems and best practices. Programme lines from various pillars of the Programme and Budget of the Council of Europe will be reviewed for example:

· Human Rights – European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT)
· Rule of Law – Development and Implementation of Common Standards and Policies
· Democracy – Addressing Crisis: Managing Post-conflict Situations
· Democracy – Eurimages

Keynote speaker:
· Ian C. Davies, former President of the European Evaluation Society

Respondents:
· Christophe Moret, Chargé de mission performance au sein de la "Mission Performance de la Gestion Publique et des opérateurs de l'Etat"
· Ansgar Eussner, Director of Internal Oversight, CoE

17.00 Conclusions
In the final session, the President of the Budget Committee and the Director General of Administration will present the conclusions of the Seminar for discussion and adoption by participants.

· Åke Hjalmarsson, Chair of the Budget Committee
· Ute Dahremöller, Director General of Administration, CoE

18.30 Reception hosted by Ambassador Carl Henrik Ehrenkrona, Permanent Representative of Sweden to the Council of Europe

Appendix IV

Seminar

on

Result Based Budgeting:

Objectives, Expected Results and Performance Indicators

Strasbourg, 25 September 2012

CONCLUSIONS

At the initiative of the Budget Committee of the Council of Europe, endorsed by the Committee of Ministers, the Organisation organised a seminar on Result Based Budgeting. This seminar was intended for members of the Secretariat, notably programme co-ordinators who are directly responsible for planning, implementing and reporting on the Programme and Budget of the Council of Europe, Senior Managers, Permanent Representations to the Council of Europe, members of the Budget Committee and any other interested party.

The seminar brought together 115 participants including the members of the Budget Committee, members of Permanent Representations to the Council of Europe and the Secretariat including programme coordinators.

The event was a discussion-orientated forum for exchanging information, experience, ideas a good practices with a view to :

    · Agreeing on concepts and definitions on what are clear objectives, SMART expected results and relevant performance indicators and why are they important tools.

    · Understanding the challenge of applying these concepts in international organisations and the Council of Europe in particular given the wide diversity of activities and other factors.

    · Defining how to build clear objectives, SMART expected results and relevant performance indicators for the preparation of the Programme and Budget and follow-up progress review reports.

    · Identifying challenges and best practices in the light of the logframes, objectives, expected results and performance indicators of existing programme lines.

      The seminar included four sessions. During the first two sessions, Participants held an open debate with a view to reaching consensus on what are clear objectives, SMART expected results and relevant performance indicators and understanding why they are important tools for efficient resource allocation. They looked at the specifics of international organisations, in particular at the Council of Europe, and at how clear objectives, SMART expected results and relevant performance indicators can be defined in that context given the various actors involved (institutions, independent monitoring mechanisms, partial agreements) and types of operational activities involved (standard-setting, monitoring, co-operation, support).

      During the two remaining sessions, Participants agreed on how to best design clear objectives, SMART expected results and relevant performance indicators, focusing on four programme lines of the Council of Europe Programme and Budget 2012-2013, which had been selected for their diversity and specificity;

    · Human Rights – European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT)
    · Rule of Law – Development and Implementation of Common Standards and Policies
    · Democracy – Addressing Crisis: Managing Post-conflict Situations
    · Democracy – Eurimages

In particular, this session was intended to examine the way objectives, expected results and performance indicators had been elaborated for these four programme lines and identify possible problems and best practices which will help improve the quality of the future Programme and Budget, making it more transparent and more effective as an active tool for strategic planning, management and communication.

At the close of the seminar, participants agreed on the following conclusions.

CONCLUSIONS

1. Participants noted that Result Based Budgeting was not an end in itself and reaffirmed its importance not only as a strategic planning and management tool but also as an effective means for the Council of Europe to communicate with its stakeholders and with the outside world.

2. They recalled that the essence of RBB was to move away from input and output accountability – that is how the resources have been spent and the immediate effects of the activities – and place focus on the results i.e changes in relation to the initial state achieved for the resources invested, which is the basis of the culture of result-based accountability characterising modern public administrations and international organisations. Especially in times of economic difficulties.

3. The merger of the Programme with the Budget, the integration of all resources and sectors of the organisation in a comprehensive document and the move to biennial process implemented as from 2011 provide a solid structural basis on which to further develop RBB in the organisation.

4. In this respect, they stressed that a clear understanding of he meaning and use of RBB by all stakeholders was paramount for the effective use of this tool. As was for senior managers, programme coordinators and members of Permanent Representations to take ownership of RBB concepts and their application to the Programme and Budget of the Council of Europe.

5. Participants also stressed that understanding and ownership required a common methodology and a common language within and across all sectors of the Organisation in defining its objectives, expected results and performance indicators, therefore allowing efficient reporting and evaluation.

6. They acknowledged that a common problem faced by governments and governmental multilateral organisations in addressing their performance was finding appropriate and credible ways of valuing and communicating what they do. The great majority of performance monitoring tools and techniques were causal in nature, e.g. program logics, logical frameworks, hierarchy of objectives, results chains, etc. and particularly well-suited to operational "production" processes. However, many governmental multilateral organisations including the Council of Europe, engage in activities that are political and normative in nature. As such, the typical armamentarium of causal techniques may not be particularly well-suited to valuing appropriately and communicating effectively the worth of activities and of the enterprise.

7. Participants underlined that concepts such as objectives, results, and performance indicators were often misunderstood. Therefore, baring in mind the great variety of activities within the scope of the Organisation’s missions, Participants agreed on the following terms and definitions to guide the preparation of the Programme and Budget of the Council of Europe:

    a. Objective: An objective should be a clear and explicit statement of what the Organisation is seeking to obtain through a particular programme. Given the great difference in nature of the Council of Europe missions – standard setting, monitoring and co-operation – objectives cannot always be formulated with the same degree of precision for all programmes.

    b. Expected results: are describable and measurable changes in state induced by the activities carried out within that programme to the direct benefit of the targeted beneficiaries. In some instances, they will be quantified results e.g. numbers of countries reviewed. In the context of the biennial Programme and Budget of the Council of Europe, expected results can be designed as biennial or annual depending of the specificities of the programme concerned.

    c. Performance indicators: are quantitative data used to track changes and assess/measure the progress related to an expected result or an aspect of it. They measure facts or opinions. Each performance indicator must include a baseline (for instance a reference to previous actual results) and a target.

8. Participants agreed that there may be external factors which are crucial for achieving expected results (assumptions) and that these have to be taken into account when assessing the achievement of the expected results.

9. Participants stressed that an effort should be made to design programme objectives in such a way as to clearly indicate, wherever possible, what are the desired effect of each programme.

10. They also stressed that the definition of appropriate performance indicators and targets associated to the expected results was crucial to define the scope of the expected result. An expected result and its performance indicators should not be mixed up. The expected result is the achievement. Performance indicators should tell about the achievement.

11. Participants reaffirmed the need of defining SMART expected results i.e Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound defined as follows:

    a. Specific: Expected results must be exact, distinct and clearly stated. Vague language or generalities are not results. They should express the nature of expected changes, the beneficiaries, the region, etc. They should be as detailed as possible without being wordy.

    b. Measurable: Expected results must be assessable in some meaningful way, involving qualitative and/or quantitative characteristics.

    c. Achievable: They must be realistically achievable using the human, financial and institutional resources available to the programme.

    d. Relevant: They must contribute to the attainment of the strategic objectives and respond to specific and recognised needs or challenges within the Organisation’s mandate.

    e. Time-bound: Expected results must be achievable within a specific timeframe which can be yearly or biennial depending of the programme concerned.

12. Participants strongly encouraged formulating expected results as far as possible from the beneficiaries’ perspective since this will facilitate focusing on the changes expected rather than on what is planned to be done. They should focus on what is to be different rather than what is to be done and should express them as concretely as possible. Completed activities or projects are not results. Results are the actual benefits or effects short , intermediate and long-term of completed activities or projects.

13. Participants agreed that defining expected results required a solid understanding of the socio-economic, political and cultural context, which is influenced by available resources, the degree of beneficiaries reached and potential risk factors and requires participation of key stakeholders (beneficiaries and partners).

14. They also acknowledged that, given the long-term and extremely wide scope of the Council of Europe’s missions and many of its programme lines , the impact of a programme on the beneficiaries cannot always be measured within a short time-frame and at a realistic cost when compared with the resources invested..

15. Participants called upon stakeholders to ensure an effective follow-up of the conclusions of this seminar in particular for the preparation, implementation and follow-up of the Council of Europe Programme and Budget in future biennia.

1 This document has been classified restricted until examination by the Committee of Ministers.

2 See CM/Del/Dec(2012)1140/11.1b.

3 CM/Del/Dec(2012)1146/11.1E / 22 June 2012.

4 The Conclusions of the seminar and all relevant background documents are available on the Budget Committee’s website (www.coe.int/budgetcommittee)



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