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Career Development for Local Agents

Updated: Feb 13

Author: SHRESTHA Ranjan Co-author: THAKKAR Sumeet


Motivating staff through a quality promotion procedure

Promotion in public and private institutions, firms, and organisations is considered a way of recognising and rewarding employees for their dedication, strong performance and loyalty to the institution. It is also a way of making jobs more attractive and of motivating other colleagues to be as productive as possible. It represents the internal, upward mobility of staff that forms part of a career path and encourages staff to remain within a particular institution.

In the case of EU delegations, horizontal promotion is practiced where Local Agents receive a pay increase but there is no career growth.

Indeed, since the unilateral suspension of the reclassification exercise over a decade ago the Promotion procedure for Local Agents (LAs) remains the ONLY WAY to recognise dedicated and hard-working LA staff. In spite of its limited benefits leading to a basic salary increment, promotion in Delegations still holds a certain prestige and is partially a public recognition of a colleague’s contribution towards the work of the Delegation.

Let’s Ensure a Fair Application of the Procedures to promote LAs

Unfortunately some Local Agents sense that Delegations do not always follow the standard practice as outlined in the administrative procedures for promotions. Even, within the same Delegation, there can be an inconsistent procedure between sections. Some LAs consider that their annual assessment is not fully based on their performance but conditioned by quotas for promotion. Despite a number of “excellents”, the promotion exercise is increasingly viewed as a formality within limited links to performance and almost entirely dependent on budget availability. Despite the guidelines, colleagues often perceive that ineligible staff are proposed for promotion. The rules state the following :

A member of local staff is ineligible for promotion when:

i. the latest evaluation report contains at least one 'insufficient' mark;

ii. the latest evaluation report contains more than 4 'sufficient' marks;

iii. they were promoted in the previous year;

iv. they were engaged or changed function group in the current or previous year;

v. they have already been promoted four times within the same function group.

A proposal to promote a member of local staff eligible for promotion who was engaged, changed function group or promoted during the three years preceding the year of the promotion exercise in question shall require an additional note from the Head of Delegation in support of the promotion proposal to explain the exceptional merit of that member of local staff.

It seems that not all Delegations apply the rules in the same manner and that more exceptions are made in certain places of work. For credibility, it would be important for HQ to ensure an oversight role and promote the harmonisation of application of LA Promotion rules.

Indeed, there are mechanisms to complain again proposal for promotion however, colleagues may fear reprisals and few believe Administration will change its decision. Staff Representatives have regularly flagged to the administration the need to adopt standard and consistent procedures across Delegations.

USHU believes the LA promotion procedure needs a serious overhaul to ensure it is merit-based, consistent, and fully respects the Joint Decision on LA promotion (ADMIN(2020) 26 of 04/06/2020.

LA need a promotion procedure that is credible and rewarding for the highest performers who on a daily basis, employ their knowledge and skills to ensure that EU DEL deliver the best possible quality results .

USHU strongly calls for a competitive, fair and transparent system, and suggests the following;

· Review the existing system and make robust and clear rules on evaluations/promotions to avoid nepotism

· Incorporate 360-degree evaluation systems

· Greater oversight by both the HoD and at HQ to ensure a consistent approach and avoid deviations from the rules

· HQ to fully investigate any complaints in relation to the LA Promotion exercise.

· Full consultation of the elected Delegation Staff Representatives (DSRs).

Meet your EEAS USHU team: Contact us whenever you need support!

Meet your CLPHU USHU team: Contact us whenever you need support!

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