Delegation of Authority
ST/SGB/2019/2 outlines the new framework of the delegation of authority, including over staff matters, at a time neither adequate risk mitigation and safeguard measures, nor a mechanism through which effective actions can be taken in cases of mismanagement or abuse of authority exists.
Drawing from experiences, risks in relation to the administration of staff in the field are more complicated than what the current state of accountability accommodates for. In light of such a far-reaching delegation and sub-delegation of authority, moreover, envisaging making exceptions to ST/AIs without a strong mechanism by which such exceptions would be granted and monitored, would potentially lead to an increase in the misuse and abuse of authority. No comprehensive assessment of possible risks to staff under such extended delegation of authority has been carried out.
The current accountability framework lacks preventive measures required to ensure that the delegation of authority does not negatively affect staff. The framework places results and performance management at the center stage supported by internal control systems and oversight functions. The performance management system is currently dysfunctional, internal controls are missing and oversight has been weakened by the delegation of authority. The current state of human resources policies does not provide for necessary checks and balances either, in light of major shortcomings in areas such as staff selection, staff mobility and career development, and performance appraisal. Policies and mechanisms addressing misconduct in the workplace do not yet provide for assuring deterrents to harassment and abuse of authority and therefore make staff subject to possible subversive techniques in abusing the delegation of authority. Some of such shortcomings are already stated in the Secretary-General’s Report (A/73/688).
The efficiency of post-facto internal controls within the accountability system is questionable. The ST/SGB introduced KPIs which are irrelevant to indicate possible abuses to staff and their rights. Time constraints within the Internal Justice System (MEU, UNDT and UNAT) as well as the lengthy investigative time associated with cases of misconduct or protection of whistleblowers by OIOS and the Ethics Office are not conducive to an effective accountability system. Staff is buried under multiple layers in the context of the delegation of authority process. The delegation of authority would bring staff much closer to witnessing possible staff and non-staff related abuses of power and misconduct while staff protection against retaliation for reporting is far from efficient.
We shall pursue a meaningful and holistic accountability system through, but not limited to:
- Reviewing the policy from the perspectives of efficiency, accountability, and transparency, on aspects relating to human resources, staff welfare and conditions of service;
- Carrying out in, closely with Senior Management, detailed risk analysis and assessment of possible implications of the Delegation of Authority with the aim to propose adequate mitigating and safeguard measures and amendment to the ST/SGB if required;
- Analyze human resources policies underlying elements of the internal control system in light of the de-facto delegations as promulgated to identify preventive and post-facto risk mitigation and safeguard measures whether to be implemented immediately or to be incorporated in a revised accountability framework;
- Introduce KPIs that are more relevant to protecting staff rights, such as the number of interventions by managers to address abuse of the Delegation of Authority.
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