COUNCIL OF EUROPE
COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS
on outsourcing contracts to external service providers
(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 24 November 2004
at the 907th meeting of the Ministers' Deputies)
The Committee of Ministers,
Having regard to Resolution Res(2004)25 on service contracts of consultants;
Considering that it is necessary to set down the conditions under which outsourcing contracts are offered 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 the principles of results-based budgeting;
In pursuance of Articles 16 and 17 of the Statute,
Resolves as follows:
I. Definition and scope
1. The term “outsourcing” shall be used to mean the result of a predominantly economic decision to ask a third party to perform totally or partially a general support task rather than using staff members of the Secretariat or investing in the acquisition of technological resources, facilities, etc. The Staff Regulations shall not apply to parties engaged under outsourcing contracts.
2. Third parties contracted under outsourcing contracts shall be called “external service providers”.
3. The tasks concerned shall be essentially ongoing and recurrent ones.2 More specifically, tasks that may be considered for outsourcing solutions are as follows: security, cleaning, catering, complex document production, mail delivery, complex maintenance work of buildings, specialised information technology services, proof-reading services, translation, management of official travel, etc.
4. 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. Reasons for outsourcing
5. Recourse to outsourcing contracts shall be had for the following reasons:
5.1. outsourcing shall allow the Organisation to focus on core issues while having support tasks assumed by an external service provider so that the latter tasks do not require disproportionate amounts of management resources and attention;
5.2. by the very nature of the tasks concerned, external service providers shall bring extensive and specialised resources to meet the needs of the Organisation. This could include access to new technology, tools and techniques that the Organisation does not currently possess;
5.3. outsourcing shall allow the Organisation to realise more quickly the anticipated benefits of process re-engineering by having an external service provider take over the process;
5.4. outsourcing shall allow the Organisation to become more flexible and thus better able to adapt to changing opportunities or priorities;
5.5. outsourcing shall enable the Organisation to reduce or have better control over operating costs;
5.6. outsourcing shall reduce the need to invest capital funds in non-core functions, thus making capital funds available for core areas;
5.7. the Organisation may have recourse to outsourcing because its does not have access to the required resources internally.
III. Selection of external service providers and general principles governing contracts with external service providers
6. External service providers shall be engaged to perform a clearly defined task in return for a specified fee.
7. External service providers 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.
8. The most important criterion in selecting an external service provider shall be his/her competence to perform the task required.
9. The Secretary General shall endeavour to ensure a fair geographical distribution of outsourcing contracts to external service providers.
10. External service providers 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.
11. Contracts with external service providers shall respect the Financial Regulations of the Council of Europe and the general principles of sound management.
12. Outsourcing contracts shall be signed by the Secretary General on behalf of the Council of Europe and by the external service providers concerned.
IV. Terms of reference
13. The contract shall clearly state the external service provider's terms of reference, including a detailed description of services to be rendered and the duration of the contract.
14. The content of the terms of reference shall be determined by the Secretary General.
15 Fees shall take account, inter alia, of the complexity of the tasks involved, the quality of work required and existing market rates for similar services.
VI. Supervision and reporting
16. The Secretary General shall ensure that the work assigned to an external service provider has been carried out in accordance with the terms of the contract, in particular as regards the expected results and quality of work.
17. In case of failure of the external service provider to perform the duties under the contract or if the external service provider's services do not reach a satisfactory level, the Secretary General shall be entitled to regard this as a breach of contract, to refuse payment of the fees and to demand payment of any penalties stipulated under the contract. Contracts shall provide for dispute-settlement procedures.
18. The Secretary General shall establish internal procedures for the collection and storing of all relevant information concerning outsourcing contracts.
19. Contracts with external service providers 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 external service providers are concerned) in the discharge of their functions.
20. On the request of the Budget Committee, the Secretary General shall provide them with information on outsourcing contracts.
21. In fully justified and exceptional cases, specific confidentiality measures may be taken by the Secretary General in the interest of an external service provider's security. In these cases, the identity of an external service provider might not be disclosed.
VII. Application of the Resolution
22. The Secretary General shall ensure the application of the principles outlined in this Resolution by way of an instruction on outsourcing contracts to external service providers.
VIII. Entry into force
23. This Resolution repeals and replaces Resolution No. R (76) 4 and enters into force on 24 November 2004.