Current Draft of the Strategy for Human Resources Management in Judiciary, aimed at improving the situation in this area, is missing the target value and coherence with other key documents and regulations in this area.
The adoption of specific Strategy for Human Resources Management in Judiciary is envisaged by the Government’s Agenda for the second quarter of this year. However, a key part of the draft of this document – strategic guidelines, are only generally defined and do not contain the target value for monitoring the effectiveness of their implementation.
In its comments, Institute Alternative (IA) also pointed out other necessary measures for improving human resources management, which are the backbone of the overall reform of judiciary, given that the overall results of the judicial institutions depend on the integrity and efficiency of judges and prosecutors, as well as their advisors.
We have recommended the adoption of the specific program budgets for courts and prosecutors’ offices. Draft Strategy correctly identifies the need for allocation of budget funds to courts and prosecutors’ offices. However, we believe that specific programs for these consumer units should be clearly defined, with objectives and indicators which would allow monitoring of results of these institutions, and, inter alia, the implementation of the guidelines of the Strategy for Human Resources Management.
Also, current consideration of Amendments to the Law on Wages of Public Sector Employees is the right moment to assess its effects on the performance of employees in judicial institutions. Namely, besides introducing special bonuses for employees working on cases of corruption and organised crime, this Law abolished the wagegrades, and therefore the possibility of promotion for civil servants. If bear in mind tendency to give advisers in judicial system greater powers and more responsibilities, then the problem of practically disabling their promotion should also be reconsidered as well as potential amendments to legislation.
It is extremely important that Judicial Council and the Council for Monitoring the Implementation of Judicial Reform Strategy, when adopting the Framework Standards of judges’ work and the Mid-Term Plan for streamlining judicial network, bear in mind the cross-section and the guidelines from this Draft Strategy. Otherwise, it may happen that we have related, but mutually incompatible documents. Therefore, the issue of coordination of Strategy implementation is central and results of the Strategy will depend on it. The solution of making the Council for Monitoring the Implementation of Judicial Reform Strategy competent for the implementation of this Strategy too, as proposed in the current Draft, is good, because this body has a complete overview of related reforms. However, in order to improve the quality of work of the Council, it is necessary to expand its membership to the non-governmental sector.
The Draft Strategy ignored the entire range of issues referring to civil servants in judiciary that are mainly a result of unclear rules and excessive arbitrariness in employing this staff. Several cases discovered by IA during monitoring of recruitment and promotion in state authorities, based on the decision of the Appeals Commission from 2014, indicate that for certain positions in State Prosecutor’s Office qualification assessment has not even been conducted.
Public Policy Researcher
IA Comments on Draft Strategy for Human Resources Management in Judiciary (only in Montenegrin)