Preliminary findings of Institute Alternative (IA) suggest the possibility of abuse of service contracts from the side of the state authorities with an aim of circumventing recruitment procedures defined by the Law on Civil Servants and State Employees – Milena Milošević, public policy researcher at Institute Alternative, has said at the conference held in Sarajevo.
Conference on free access to information, with particular emphasis on availability of service contracts in public administration, was organized by Transparency International Bosnia i Herzegovina and Open Society Fund.
Milena Milošević, public policy researcher at IA, presented the preliminary findings of our research on the service contracting in Montenegrin public administration, which our organization conducts within the regular monitoring of recruitment and promotion in state authorities.
She pinpointed that formally recruitment based on service contracts is not possible in Montenegro, because this contracting is regulated neither by the Labour Law nor by the Law on civil servants and state employees.
“Findings, however, indicate that the practice of undermining Government’s efforts on delimiting public spending and introducing merit-based system in the state administration has continued, because some people are practically being recruited by service contracts although formally this is neither possible nor it is in line with the laws”, she added.
In other words, by paying taxes and social contributions to people hired upon the service contracts, and by making these contracts on a long term basis, people are practically being recruited in state authorities, but not following the relatively strictly procedures prescribed by the Law on Civil Servants and State Employees.
Additionally, very often people are being contracted for services which should be regular activities of certain state authority.
Milošević also recalled earlier findings of State Audit Institution, which suggested that service contracts were being abused by state authorities, which, in some cases, even paid for “official” trips of persons with whom they had signed service contracts.
She has thus highlighted importance of monitoring public administration’s service contracts, as well as contracts with agencies for employment mediation, which are one more potential mechanism for circumvention of qualification assessment of prospective candidates and other procedures defined by the Law on civil servants and state employees.
Representatives of civil sectors of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia also spoke at the conference, which was organized to mark the 28th September, International day of free access to information. One panel was dedicated to the international initiative Open Government Partnership.