COUNCIL OF EUROPE
COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS
on service contracts of consultants
(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 24 November 2004
at the 907th meeting of the Ministers' Deputies)
The Committee of Ministers,
Considering that Resolution No. R (76) 4 on consultants no longer corresponds to the needs of the Council of Europe;
Having regard to Resolution Res(2004)26 on outsourcing contracts of external service providers;
Considering that it is necessary to set down the conditions under which service contracts are awarded to third parties;1
Having regard to the relevant provisions of the Financial Regulations, in particular as regards decentralisation of financial management and delegation of authority, and to the principles of results-based budgeting;
In pursuance of Articles 16 and 17 of the Statute,
Resolves as follows:
I. Definition and scope
1. A service contract is an agreement with a third party for the provision of specialised services. The Staff Regulations shall not apply to parties engaged under service contracts.
2. Third parties engaged under service contracts shall be called “consultants”.
3. There shall be three categories of consultants:
consultants for the programmes of activities, for example, intergovernmental cooperation, assistance and monitoring activities, and activities of the Parliamentary Assembly, of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, of the European Court of Human Rights and of the Partial Agreements;
support services consultants, for example, information technologies, buildings and logistics, including contracts concerning activities related to the administrative modernisation of the Organisation;
consultants to the Secretary General assisting him/her with questions of general interest that cannot form part of the terms of reference of a contract awarded to a consultant for the programme of activities or a support services consultant.
4. The tasks concerned shall be essentially non-recurrent and of such a specialised nature that they cannot be performed either by the staff members of the Secretariat of the Council of Europe2 or by a member of the relevant committee. The Secretary General shall establish the necessary written procedures to ensure that these criteria are met whenever a consultant is to be engaged.
5. Experts providing services to the Council of Europe on the basis of reimbursement of travel expenses and a subsistence allowance only do not fall within the scope of this Resolution.
6. All references to the Secretary General in this Resolution shall be subject to the relevant provisions of the Statute of the Council of Europe, the Staff Regulations and the rules on delegation of authority.
II. Selection of consultants and general principles governing contracts with consultants
7. Consultants shall be engaged to perform a clearly defined task within a specific time limit and in return for a specified fee.
8. In the case of activities that fall under the responsibility of Steering or Ad hoc Committees, the latter shall be consulted on the possible use of consultants in accordance with their terms of reference.
9. Consultants shall be selected by the Secretary General to the largest possible extent on a competitive basis bearing in mind the requirement of impartiality and objectivity. In order to identify the most suitable consultants, the Secretary General should when appropriate consult members of relevant committees, national authorities including the Permanent Representations, professional associations and academic bodies.
10. The most important criterion in selecting a consultant shall be his/her competence to carry out the work required.
11. The Secretary General shall endeavour to ensure a fair geographical distribution of service contracts of consultants.
12. Consultants shall be required to carry out their work in an impartial and objective manner and to respect the applicable principles, rules and values of the Council of Europe,3 intellectual property rights and confidentiality.
13. Contracts with consultants shall respect the Financial Regulations of the Council of Europe and the general principles of sound management.
14. Service contracts shall be signed by the Secretary General on behalf of the Council of Europe and by the consultants concerned.
III. Terms of reference
15. The contract shall clearly state the consultant's terms of reference, including the general lines of the work to be done, its purpose and completion date.
16. The content of the terms of reference of consultants for the programmes of activities and for support services shall be determined with reference to the specific objectives and expected results of the projects or investments to which they relate.
17. Fees shall take account, inter alia, of the time required for work completion, the complexity of the tasks involved, and the quality of work required. A written record shall be kept of the procedure applied for determining the level of fees prior to the signature of the contract with the consultant.
V. Supervision and reporting
18. The Secretary General shall ensure that the work assigned to a consultant has been carried out in accordance with the terms of the contract, in particular as regards quality of work.
19. In case of failure of the consultant to perform the duties under the contract or if the consultant's services do not reach a satisfactory level, the Secretary General shall be entitled to regard this as a breach of contract and to refuse payment of the fees and expenses stipulated under the contract. Contracts shall provide for dispute-settlement procedures.
20. The Secretary General shall establish internal procedures for the collection and storing of all relevant information concerning service contracts of consultants.
21. Contracts with consultants shall expressly authorise the Secretary General to disclose any information that would be required by the Internal and External Auditor and the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly (as far as Parliamentary Assembly consultants are concerned) in the discharge of their functions.
22. The Secretary General shall provide the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly (as far as Parliamentary Assembly consultants are concerned) with an annual report, with summary tables, concerning all service contracts of consultants and including the following information: name, nationality and category of consultants, contracting administrative entity, source of funding, type of services provided, object of the contract and fees.
23. In fully justified and exceptional cases, specific confidentiality measures may be taken by the Secretary General in the interest of a consultant's security. In these cases, the identity of a consultant might not be disclosed in the report referred to in paragraph 22.
VI. Application of the Resolution
24. The Secretary General shall ensure the application of the principles outlined in this Resolution by way of an instruction on service contracts of consultants.
VII. Entry into force
25. This Resolution repeals and replaces the Resolution No. R (76) 4 and enters into force on 24 November 2004.