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Evaluation report

2012 Global: Review of the Fast Track Recruitment Process (FTRP)



Author: Enrico Leonardi, Jessica Alexander and Dr. David Bassiouni

Executive summary

“With the aim to continuously improve transparency and use of evaluation, UNICEF Evaluation Office manages the "Global Evaluation Reports Oversight System". Within this system, an external independent company reviews and rates all evaluation reports. Please ensure that you check the quality of this evaluation report, whether it is “Outstanding, Best Practice”, “Highly Satisfactory”, “Mostly Satisfactory” or “Unsatisfactory” before using it. You will find the link to the quality rating below, labeled as ‘Part 3’ of the report.”

Background:

Following the earthquake in Haiti in January 2010, and the urgent need to deploy large numbers of high-calibre staff to the field in response to the crisis, UNICEF’s DHR re-established a dedicated emergency unit, and introduced in May of the same year an emergency recruitment process. Based on the experience gained through the application of this process in Haiti, in December 2010 DHR promulgated – with the issuance of the Executive Directive CF/EXD/2010-005 of 31 December 2010 – the "Recruitment and Staffing in Emergency Situations" (known as the "Fast Track"), as the main policy guiding the modus operandi for the recruitment and deployment of staff in humanitarian crises. 

Purpose/Objective:

As an organisation accountable to governments, donors, partners, general public, and ultimately beneficiaries, UNICEF strives to ensure that its services and operations are of maximum efficiency, reliable and of the highest possible standards. In this framework, and as stated in the ToR, the objective of this review is:

"to determine, as systemically and objectively as possible, the overall effectiveness of the Fast Track Recruitment Process in meeting UNICEF’s need for timely, qualified personnel in the emergencies in which it has been used, and in so in a manner consistent with broader organisational priorities (e.g. general rules and regulations governing staffing, risk management, cost-effectiveness, efficiency and competitiveness within the industry)."

Its main purpose being:

"to foster early learning among DHR and other key stakeholders, with a view to suggesting concrete ways to improve its functioning moving forward and ultimately help the Organisation maximise its performance in emergencies."

Methodology:

A more detailed description of the methodologies applied, including a data analysis plan, and of the consultant team is included in Annex to this report. What follows is a synthesis of the main approaches and methods utilised during the exercise, including the description of their challenges and limitations.

Findings and Conclusions:

1. Application of the FTRP
The FTRP has been so far applied in 24 countries in five UNICEF regions, and three ROs . Some COs and ROs have a better understanding of its application than others and there is a need to clarify parts of its supporting policy.

2. Timeliness
According to the majority of every category of staff interviewed, the speed of the FTRP has been its major accomplishment. As one Representative said, comparing the FTRP to the regular recruiting processes, “is like comparing day and night”. The targets established by DHR for the process have not been attained yet, and the analysis of data clearly underlines that there is still room for improvement in certain areas (hiring recommendations at CO level, entitlements) and fine-tuning of certain steps (CRB, short-listing). However, the FTRP demonstrates that UNICEF has the internal capacity to significantly improve its recruitment processes. 

3. Transparency
With all methodologies and tools applied, the Review confirmed that there are no substantial differences between FTRP and non-FTRP recruitments, and that transparency between the two is equivalent.

4. Quality and Performance of Recruits
Analysis of the qualifications based on the comparison of job description and resumes of the candidate shows no significant differences between staff recruited with the FTRP and those recruited with non-FTRP processes. Perception among people interviewed confirms this finding: the majority of them found no noticeable differences in between FTRP and non-FTRP recruits. 

5. Costs and Benefits
According to the interviews and analysis, the broad perception is that the benefits have certainly justified the investment in the FTRP and its supporting structures. 

Recommendations:

- DHR should ensure that all ROs and COs have the same understanding of the application of the FTRP, for all vacant positions, and for specific internal situations and contexts. 

- DHR should clarify the role played by ROs in the application of the FTRP, including in the use of the approach for national staff positions in the COs. 

- EMOPS/DHR should start including specific situations and contexts in the list of COs authorised to use the FTRP, and CO Representatives should advocate with respective ROs, EMOPS and DHR for the inclusion of these specific internal situations and contexts in the official FTRP quarterly list.  

- DHR should continue populating the Talent Groups and provide COs clarity on their purpose and use. Once the utilisation of Talent Groups becomes more operational and frequent, DHR should undertake a review of its efficiency and effectiveness in relation and comparison to other recruitment processes.

- DHR should propose a "communication protocol" – to be potentially included in the review of the FTRP policy – between its Emergency Unit and COs, to help clarifying profile requirements, allow for better targeted short-listing and avoid unnecessary delays. 

- DHR should clarify and widely disseminate the policy regarding SMs on abolished posts, and counterbalance the misconception that these are "poor quality" staff. 

- DHR Emergency Unit should undertake an in-depth financial analysis of its yearly costs (and those of contributing DHR Units) and revise the financial plan for the maintenance of its core team and functions, including yearly targets.

- DED (Management) should ensure regular funding for the maintenance of the core staff and functioning of Emergency Unit.



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