ReSPA switch to online
Due to COVID-19 worldwide pandemic crisis, we shift most of our activities online
The COVID-19 global pandemic is not only a health crisis of immense proportion but it also largely determines the change of the way how business operates. Over the recent weeks, as many other institutions over the globe, we had to postpone a number of meetings, continually monitoring developments related to coronavirus outbreak.
Despite the current situation, we are ready for a step forward and shift most of our activities online. Considering the optimal online infrastructure and technical aspects needed for the realization of the online meetings, webinars and other activities we have built a solid base to work within over the next few months.
Our priority is the utilization of a software platform for the organization of online meetings and workshops.
As our response to the situation in Public Administration in the Western Balkans caused by a global pandemic, we established COVID-19 Western Balkans Digital Collaborative Platform initiated with the first Zoom meeting that we jointly organized with Tamara Srzentić, Deputy Director, Office of Innovation, California Health and Human Service agency (CHHS), on the April 16 2020.
During the meeting, more than 40 senior civil servant professionals from the WB countries highlighted twenty important issues that need to be addressed. The regional context has been enriched by Slovenian, the EU as well as the USA experience.
ReSPA will provide various forms for intervention as a response to the identified institutional challenges, such as webinars, in-country support mechanism, mentoring, peer-to-peer learning. etc. In the next period the follow-up meeting will be realized (May 2020) as well as the continuation of the discussion on the formats of further ReSPA and engaged partners (CHHS, etc.) support.
Upcoming online meetings
The preparation of the Manual on How to Make Merit-based recruitment in the Western Balkans work
The preparation of this manual is a joint initiative of ReSPA and the University of Nottingham. The previously postponed meeting of experts which should have gathered the Lead Expert and 6 Regional ReSPA's Experts, one per each ReSPA Member and one from Kosovo*, will be held via Zoom meetings during May. Participation of a limited number of the HRMD Working group Members was also envisaged in one of the meetings.
The Regional Experts will present the inputs gathered from the countries and the Lead Expert will present the Draft Manual on How to Make Merit-based Recruitment Work. In addition to the initial idea to present in the Manual the requirements needed to make the merit-based recruitment work, the Manual shall also address conducting merit-based recruitment during a period of crisis and the effects of COVID-19 in the medium and long term. The meeting will help in finalizing the Manual.
* This designation is used without prejudice to positions or status, and is in line with UNSC 1244 and the ICJ Advisory Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence
Preparation of the Guidelines on how to conduct performance appraisal
In June this year a Zoom meeting will be organized with the expert, a limited number of HRMD WG Members as well as SIGMA. The participants of the meeting will discuss the performance appraisal and the main challenges faced in its implementation. The Expert will present the draft Guidelines and obtain the comments of the participants. The draft Guidelines will be revised based on the comments obtained and presented to the HRMD WG members at the Workshop on performance appraisal.
Advanced phase of Public Administration Awards Ceremony
For almost 10 years we have been supporting WB governments to make complex public administration more effective and people-oriented. That is why we have spread our activities on benchmarking and bench-learning.
Due to the significant role of SIGMA OECD for the WB administration, we have jointly decided to set up Public Awards in the Western Balkans as of 2020.
The entire process is quite complex and apart from a methodological design (different guidelines for the applicants, assessors, judges), it requires significant logistical and organizational preparation which among all includes the digitalization of all foreseen processes. In the light of global pandemic, most likely one of the categories will reflect exactly the adaptability of government in extraordinary situations.
The exact timeline of the activity will be framed following the COVID-19 situation.
Seasonal School on Digital Skills 2020
Last year we designed and implemented a Seasonal School on Digital Transformation to set a model and teach public servants from the WB region how to initiate and maintain multidisciplinary teams. Due to its great success, we have decided to organize an identical event in 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us to redesign the original modality of the Seasonal school by setting so-called preparatory activities foreseen under COVID-19 Western Balkans Digital Collaborative platform. We will increase the capacities in the domain of use of Design Thinking and Agile methodologies.
After the set of events which will be delivered through a collaborative platform, a 5-day seasonal school will be realized either online or face to face. The entire process will require a designer of online content. There is also a possible shift of the 5-day seasonal school to July or September 2020. Certain follow-ups will be also foreseen as well as interconnection between seasonal school and all other digital and service-related activities (reuse of inputs and conclusions).
Preparation and presentation of the Zero Open Data Guideline
The Zero Open data guideline has a genuine purpose to enhance and optimize the digitalization of public administration by using open data. The online preparation of the Guideline will be finished in April and verified in May 2020, we are hoping for it to have its practical use in relevant institutions onwards.
ReSPA/SCRUM Regional gathering
Following intensive work in the areas of Quality Management and digital transformation, we have concluded that it would be useful to introduce agile management and determine how it can be reapplied in the public administration sector.
The Agile concept has been introduced for the very first time in our activities within 2019 Seasonal School on Digital Transformation, followed by Quality management (Danube Governance Hub) meeting at the end of 2019. Both events endorsed the idea that modern PA systems need to integrate aspects of the agile framework.
With the engagement at the SCRUM Regional gathering, we and our delegates will learn about inspiring cases in the agile concept implementation and through our regional panel we will promote our work so far and future activities (Seasonal school, Agile leadership training).
The workshop on the Analytical Paper on Policy coordination
The process of development of the Analytical paper on policy coordination has been started in December last year. In the second week of May the engaged expert, Ms Liis Kasemets from Estonia will have an opportunity to discuss the main topics of this analytical paper with the public servants responsible for policy coordination in our member countries. This workshop will be organized via Zoom platform and will include up to 15 participants.
The workshop agenda will be defined in the near future.
Online preparation of the Monitoring and evaluation toolkit
We will continue with the preparation of the monitoring and evaluation system. In cooperation with the WG members at the Workshop held in Budva in February, and with support of the expert, we jointly envisaged the draft indicators and sub-indicators. Through email correspondence, ReSPA network/WG members, as well as the members of the GB, endorsed the indicators. ReSPA with support of the expert will continue with its work on further development of indicators (their definition and targets) and development of the M&E toolkit, through several online meetings until June 2020.
Hopefully, after June 2020 we shall be able to have a face-to-face presentation of the ReSPA M&E system (framework with indicators and M&E toolkit) to the GB, as well as training on M&E for the ReSPA staff.
Rescheduling of the activities that cannot be shifted online, after stabilization of the Covid-19 pandemic
Continuing with those activities that were postponed and cannot be shifted online such as Working Visit to the Government of the Republic of Estonia, Seminar on Monitoring and Reporting of Public Policies, Digital Summit of Western Balkan, and Panel on RIA of our Better Regulation working group at NISPAcee annual conference will depend on the stabilization of the current situation.
Rescheduling of the meetings will be announced in good time to allow experts and participants to make appropriate arrangements.