Human Resources Strategy adopted, setting corporate priorities on continuity of staffing solutions, mobility, enhanced human resources services and systems, staff welfare and scaled-up capacity-building.
Field vacancy rate reduced from 16 per cent in December 2011 to 7 per cent in December 2012 (with a rate of 5 per cent in non-family duty stations).
Average recruitment timeline with 155 days in 2012, which is 35 per cent lower than in 2010; average field recruitment timeline with less than 100 days over 58 per cent faster than the 2010 OCHA-wide average.
- Eighty-six deployments to emergencies during the year from OCHA-managed surge rosters.
Year In Review
Delivering coordination services is a complex task. To perform effectively in humanitarian crises, OCHA depends on the skills, versatility and creativity of its staff, as well as the systems and tools to efficiently recruit, deploy and administer those people. In 2012, OCHA launched a new Human Resources Strategy, acknowledging the need for a more integrated approach to human resources management. It sets out priorities under five major headings: continuity of staffing solutions; staff mobility; enhanced human resources services and systems; staff welfare; and scaled up capacity-building support (as part of the closely related Organizational Learning Strategy).
In 2012, there was a growing recognition that these systems must be accompanied by improved continuity and reduced turnover in key positions. The response to Typhoon Bopha in the Philippines towards the end of the year was typical of efforts to manage surge deployments in phases, and to minimize disruptions between the initial days of an emergency and the recruitment of longer-term staff.
OCHA managed 86 surge deployments in 2012, of which the Stand-by Partnership Programme accounted for almost half. Surge pools have been deepened, with more technical specialists and greater regional and linguistic diversity. New training programmes were rolled out for surge personnel, including on needs assessment, information management, public information, reporting and civil-military coordination. OCHA routinely carries out detailed pre-deployment briefings and post-deployment debriefings for all surge personnel. Senior-level surge capacity was strengthened with the recruitment of OCHA’s first P5-level Roaming Emergency Surge Officer, who served as the interim Head of OCHA’s office in Sri Lanka before moving to the OCHA Syria support office in Amman, Jordan.
Smooth transitions from the surge phase to the arrival of regular staff depend on effectively functioning recruitment processes. OCHA continues to work through the Secretariat-mandated Inspira system to reduce recruitment timelines. In 2012, it took an average of 155 days from the issuance of a job opening to selection. This represents a 35 per cent reduction since 2010. The average for field posts was even better, with an average time frame of less than 100 days. This was due to investment in dedicated capacity to support recruitment for the field.
OCHA’s field vacancy rate fell from 15.9 per cent at the end of 2011 to 7 per cent in December 2012. The rate for non-family duty stations is 5 per cent. The strategy here was to draw from pre-cleared rosters where possible, but to carry out more targeted outreach for posts with specific language requirements or in hardship duty stations. Rosters were used to fill D1-level Head of Office positions in Somalia and South Sudan. An additional 14 P5-level (Head of Office and Deputy Head of Office) positions in the field were filled–part of an overall total of 184 positions filled in 2012. The percentage of women making up OCHA’s field staff increased from 30 per cent to 33 per cent by the end of the year.
OCHA is committed to implementing systems to facilitate the predictable mobility of staff, both to support equitable sharing of the burden of service in hardship duty stations and to ensure a dynamic and versatile workforce. A total of 103 staff moved in 2012, of whom just over half (52) moved to non-family duty stations. However, 65 per cent of the staff moving to non-family duty stations did so from other non-family duty stations. OCHA will encourage greater movement from non-family duty stations to posts in headquarters or family duty stations. These efforts will form part of a framework for internal mobility that OCHA will develop in 2013, in parallel with discussion of the Secretary-General’s mobility proposal in the General Assembly.
In 2012, OCHA provided greater support to its national staff, including through the Organizational Learning Strategy. This builds on the recommendations of studies on administrative arrangements in the field and enhanced capacity-building. All national staff were granted full access to UNDP’s extensive learning management system, and the first of a series of training workshops for field staff was rolled out in November. In terms of contractual arrangements, in 2012 most country offices were either pursuing or had achieved regularization of national staff contracts. In mid-2012, files for 64 national staff members were submitted to UNDP for conversion to permanent contracts. All 64 were processed by December.
- Objective 1.1 - Member States and Regional Organizations
- Objective 1.2 - Operational Partners
- Objective 1.3 - Preparedness
- Objective 1.4 - Analysis and System-Wide Learning
- Objective 2.1 - Accountable Humanitarian Coordination Leaders
- Objective 2.2 - Scaling Up and Drawing Down Operations
- Objective 2.3 - Tools and Services
- Objective 2.4 - The Humanitarian Programme Cycle
- Objective 3.1 - Funding and Financial Management
- Objective 3.2 - Surge and Staffing Solutions
- Objective 3.3 - Organizational Learning for Results