Q&A for key state administration positions are still secret
The Human Resources Management Administration (HRMA) refused access to the written records of interviews conducted for key management positions in the state administration, under the pretext that they are not compiled, even though we were previously informed otherwise.
The Institute Alternative requested an insight into the written records of interviews conducted with applicants for positions of heads of bodies and senior management personnel in the period from September 1st through December 31st 2022. We filed the Freedom of Information (FoI) request after the previous acting director of HRMA claimed that these records are kept with the approval of applicants in public competitions, which is in line with our earlier recommendations. Former acting director made such claims during our Forum on the fight against corruption and political clientelism during public sector recruitment, in December 2022.
For years now we have been pointing out that the external oversight of recruitment in the state administration is hampered, since the HRMA did not provide insight into complete copies of tests and interview records, but only to scarce testing reports, which do not present specific questions and answers of candidates during the interviews. That is why we welcomed the decision to implement the practice of making written records as it creates better conditions for the protection of candidates’ rights. Only they can prove unequal treatment and omissions when procedures are challenged through potential appeals and court proceedings.
However, the HRMA rejected our FoI request as unfounded. It claims that it does not have such documentation, despite the contrary sayings of the previous acting director, who publicly said in December 2022 that this novelty had been introduced. At our Forum, in December 2022, former acting director stated that “after each testing of a candidate from the category of senior managerial staff or head of the body, records are kept in the presence of an authorised recorder hired by the court, and where each candidate has the opportunity to dictate and record his answer, and at last, he has the obligation to sign that record, whether he agrees with it or not.”
That’s why, in addition to the appeal to the competent Agency for Personal Data Protection and Free Access to Information, we also requested from the Administrative Inspectorate to control office operations in order to determine whether the HRMA has the requested records. Along with the initiative and appeal, a link with a recorded speech of the former acting director, where he claimed that records do exist, was also submitted. Given that the Administrative Inspectorate did not respond to the initiative sent almost a month ago, on March 15, we turned to this body with urgency to carry out the requested inspection.
We appeal to the current management of the HRMA to ensure full transparency of recruitment procedures in the state administration in accordance with the current legal framework, especially bearing in mind that this area is recognised as particularly risky for undue interference, especially politicisation and corruption. According to the findings of the Institute Alternative, which are presented in detail on the special website https://mapa-rizika.me, the state authorities, for which the HRMA is responsible, fulfil only less than a fifth of the basic prerequisites for reducing undue interference and corruption when planning and implementing recruitment procedures and protection of the rights of candidates.