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					Autonomous Women’s Center , BUDGET EXECUTION – TOWARDS TRANSPARENT AND ACCOUNTABLE SPENDING

Autonomous Women’s Center

BUDGET EXECUTION – TOWARDS TRANSPARENT AND ACCOUNTABLE
SPENDING 1

The Gender Equality Directorate in the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy is an important
government mechanism, authorized to conduct analysis of the situation, recommend measures
related to the advancement of gender equality, drafting process laws and other regulations in this
field, advancement of the position of women and promotion of gender equality as well as equal
opportunity policy 2. Having that in mind, Autonomous Women’s Center considers it important to
monitor continuously the budget allocations for the Gender Equality Directorate (hereinafter, the
Directorate). At the same time, in order to achieve the given tasks, it is necessary to monitor for
which purposes the funds are being used, as well as the spending tendencies, to analyze the program
implementation according to the amount of expenditures, but also the level of transparency and
possibility of reaching analysis data.

In the analysis of the execution of the budget of the Gender Equality Directorate in the Ministry of
Labor and Social Policy for 2009 3, we will begin with our recommendations based on the analysis
of the execution of the budget of the Directorate for 2008, and which were delivered to the
Directorate. 4

In 2008, only 36% of the allocated funds were executed. Our recommendation was that the
Directorate should raise the level of execution and spend all the funds that have been allocated.
Regarding the budget funds, after the budget revision in 2009 (on April 29) the Directorate was
given 5.156.000,00 dinars. The Directorate spent a total of 2.354.362,00 dinars, which is 45,66%.
We could say that the Directorate raised the execution rate but it is still far from spending all the
allocated funds. There is still a question why the Gender Equality Directorate did not spend all the
funds.

Our second recommendation referred to 1.000.000,00 dinars which were allocated to the
Directorate for the economic classification 481 – subsidy for non-governmental organizations and
which were not spent. We recommended that the Directorate should allocate these funds to NGOs.
In 2009 the same amount was given for this economic classification (budget item), and our
recommendation was completely accepted. After the public call for proposals, the Directorate
granted the funds for organizations An Old Mountain – Association for Environmental Protection
and the Center for Democracy and Development of South of Serbia. The funds were granted based
on the call for proposals for advancement of the position of women from double and/or multiple
discriminated against groups in the Republic of Serbia. During the public call for proposals a total
of 9 proposals were granted. Two project proposals were funded by the Directorate and the
remaining 7 were funded by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Thus, the
Directorate awarded a total of 1.000.000,00 dinars, and the UNDP awarded a total of 3.666.647,00
dinars. Neither of these two organizations which received the budget funding deals primarily with
the advancement of women. That is why it would be important for us to know what is the

1
          Within the project “For Poverty Reduction: Civil Society and the Accountable Vojvodina” implemented by 7
civil society contact organizations in collaboration with the Institute for Sustainable Communities, and financially
supported by the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
2
          From the online presentation of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy
http://www.minrzs.gov.rs/cms/sr/uprave/uprava-za-rodnu-ravnopravnost
3
          The report only covers th period of 2009 and all the data we reached during 2010 are not mentioned in this
document (due to the above mentioned time limitation) and will be presented in the next report.
4
          Document Budget Execution – Implementation of the Adopted Policy can be found online
http://www.womenngo.org.rs/images/zagovaranje/Izvrsenje_budzeta.pdf
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Autonomous Women’s Center , BUDGET EXECUTION – TOWARDS TRANSPARENT AND ACCOUNTABLE SPENDING

experience of these organizations in conducting programs for women, as well as which groups of
women, victims of multiple discrimination, benefit from these programs.

Our third recommendation referred to affirmative action measures for women when it comes to
contracting external consultants by the Gender Equality Directorate. In this case, when we look at
the budget funds, in the economic classification 423599 (other expert services), a male consultant
received a 430.000,00 dinar net fee while a female consultant received a 22.000,00 dinar net fee.
According to the Information Booklet about work of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, 6
people are employed at the Gender Equality Directorate. The funds earmarked for staff salaries are
not visible in the Directorate budget as they are part of the total amount, in the economic
classification 411 – Wages, salaries and other employee benefits expenses of the Ministry. Because
of the lack of complete data, it is impossible to give a valid comment on the issue of affirmative
action measures for women when contracting independent female consultants.


The process of accessing information
For the purpose of monitoring the execution of the budget of the Gender Equality Directorate in the
Ministry of Labor and Social Policy for 2009, the same methodology was used as with the analysis
of the 2008 budget. However, this time we came into possession of information about the spent
funds of the Directorate in 2009 only after we submitted a complaint to the Commissioner for
Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection.

According to the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance, from the Treasury
Administration in the Ministry of Finance we requested for review the accounting pads of the
Treasury Administration’s general ledger accounts for 2009 for the spending unit Gender Equality
Directorate, under a unique number 13402, according to all sources of funding and all economic
classifications. The request was sent to the Treasury Administration on February 2, 2010. However,
the Treasury Administration’s reply this year, unlike previous year, did not meet the procedure
standards of the law 5.

After a suggestion made by the Treasury Administration, we submitted the same request to the
Ministry of Labor and Social Policy on February 17. We did not receive a reply from the Ministry
within the legal deadline, and therefore, on March 30 this year, we submitted a complaint to the
Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection against both the
Treasury Administration and the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy for failure to act upon our
request. After the Commissioner’s intervention both institutions acted according to our request and
delivered the accounting pads to the Autonomous Women’s Center (Treasury Administration did so
on April 12, 2010 and the Ministry on April 15, 2010) 6.

The whole process of accessing information according to the Law on Free Access to Information of
Public Importance lasted longer than the previous year (2,5 months instead of 15 days), which in
this particular case, is of no practical significance. However, there is an impression that some state
institutions are still quite reluctant to act upon requests for information of public importance. And


5
         After we submitted a request to grant us the access to information of public importance, we got a phone call
from the Treasury Administration, as well as an informal written reply (within the legal deadline, but only hand-written,
with no seal or signature) suggesting us that in order to get the Gender Equality Directorate’s accounting pads we
should directly address the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy.
6
         After we acquired the information we needed and after we dropped the complaint, the Commissioner
dismissed the proceedings against Treasury Administration and the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy (the
Commissioner’s conclusion No. 07-00-00624/2010-03 dated April 14, 2010 and the conclusion No. 07-00-00625/2010-
03 as of April 29, 2010)
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Autonomous Women’s Center , BUDGET EXECUTION – TOWARDS TRANSPARENT AND ACCOUNTABLE SPENDING

while the Treasury Administration, in that respect, was a success this year, the Ministry of Labor
and Social Policy did not surprise us at all 7.

Nevertheless, our experience shows us that the obligations under the Law on Free Access to
Information of Public Importance cannot be completely avoided. Government agencies’ failure to
act upon information requests and their avoidance to give information we are entitled to only
unnecessarily make this process last a lot longer. With the help from and after the intervention of
the Commissioner’s for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection sooner or
later one is able to acquire the information.


ANALYSIS OF THE BUDGET EXECUTION

For the year 2009 the Gender Equality Directorate planned a total of 5.156.00,00 dinars of the state
budget (source of funding 01) and only 2.000,00 dinars (20 EUR) from international donations
(source of funding 06). Nevertheless, the Directorate was awarded with a 9.609.500,00 dinar grant
(98.056,00 EUR 8) of international donations, which is a clear indicator that the donations have not
been planned in a systematic way (adequate means for adequate activities, planned in advance), and
which represents a common practice of budgeting in Serbia. The entire donation from international
organizations was for the implementation of the project „Combating Sexual and Gender Based
Violence“

Budget funds for 2009
Section Chapter Function     Economic
                           classification

                                                                                                   Planned from      Budget      Additional
                                                                                       Budget        additional     spending      revenue
                                            DESCRIPTION                                 funds        revenues                    spending

    1     2        3             4          5                                             6             7
         19.6                               GENDER EQUALITY DIRECTORATE
                  410                       General economic,
                                            commercial and labor
                                            affairs
                               414          Employer social benefits                       1.000
                               421          Fixed expenses                               401.000
                               422          Travel expenses                            1.200.000            1.000       47.600
                               423          Contract services                          1.951.000            1.000    1.115.712    9.609.500
                               424          Specialized services                           1.000
                               426          Material                                     401.000                       185.549
                               481          Grants to non-governmental organizations   1.000.000                     1.000.000
                               483          Court imposed fines and penalties              1.000
                               512          Machinery and equipment                      200.000                         5.500
                                            Sources of revenue for chapter 19.6:
                                01          Budget revenue                             5.156.000                     2.354.361
                                06          Grants from international organizations:                        2.000                 9.609.500
                                            Total for chapter 19.6:                    5.156.000            2.000    2.354.361    9.609.500


The accounting pads indicate that the Gender Equality Directorate had the following expenses
under the items 422, 423, 426, 481 and 512:
       - Under the item 422 Travel expenses, which according to plan, makes up almost one fourth
(23,3%) of the allocated funds, a total amount of 47.600,00 dinars was spent on taxi expenses, use
of one’s own personal vehicle for business purposes, per diems for business trips abroad, costs of
board and lodging abroad;
7
         Based on the previous requests, the process of granting us access to information by the Treasury
Administration was complete and within the legal deadline, whereas with the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, due
to lack of coordination between different departments and evasion of obligations, this process took almost a year.
8
         The exchange rate was 1 EUR = 98,00 dinars
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Autonomous Women’s Center , BUDGET EXECUTION – TOWARDS TRANSPARENT AND ACCOUNTABLE SPENDING

        - Under the item 423 Contract services, which according to plan, makes up more than one
third (37,8%) of the allocated funds, a total of 322.329,00 dinars was spent on printing costs, costs
of request for tender, representation costs and 793.383,00 dinars net was spent on other expert
services (fees). As we already mentioned, a male consultant received 95% of all consulting fee
funds;
        - Under the item 426, 185.549,00 dinars was spent on Office material
        - Under the item 481, 1.000.000,00 dinars was spent on Grants to non-governmental
organizations (projects of two organizations)
        - Under the item 512, 5.500,00 dinars was spent on Computer equipment


Project „Combating Sexual and Gender Based Violence“

This is the project implemented by the Gender Equality Directorate in collaboration with the UNDP
and with the financial support from the Royal Norwegian Government. The project total budget is
3.011.141,00 USD for three years.

The funds that were at the Directorate’s disposal were completely spent under the classification
423, for expert services, i.e. fees. Other project costs were paid for directly by the UNDP.

In January 2010, Autonomous Women’s Center addressed the UNDP with a request for reviewing a
report on the conducted project activities. The UNDP gender equality advisor told us 9 that for the
first 6,5 months the project staff conducted the following activities:
     - 9 vacancies for consultants to deliver documents have been announced. Successful
         candidates have been selected.
     - 2 calls for proposals for non-governmental organizations’ projects have been announced (the
         selection was not made in 2009)
     - 18 round tables throughout Serbia have been organized (as part of the campaign „16 Days of
         Activism Against Gender Violence)“

The project staff is made up of 8 people: 7 people were contracted in mid June (therefore they
received 6,5 of monthly fees), and 1 person was contracted at the beginning of August (therefore
he/she received 5 monthly fees). A total of 4.969.904, 00 dinars net (50.713,00 EUR) or
8.165.000,00 dinars gross (83.316,00 EUR) was spent on these fees. The highest fee was
132.800,00 dinars net and was paid to a male consultant and the lowest fee was 62.216,00 dinars net
and was paid to a female consultant.

The accounting pads did not contain personal information (first name and last name) of 3 persons (2
staff members and 1 consultant) to whom the fees were paid, but they only showed the amount that
was transferred to their current accounts, while the names of all other fee recipients were visible (2
male project staff members and 4 female project staff members) 10.

All persons were contracted in compliance with the Temporary Service Agreement. For 5 staff
members, the coefficient for persons without insurance (unemployed) was used, while for the



9
          See Annex
10
          With regard to this, on April 30, 2010, a new request was submitted to the Treasury Administration for
identification of the stated 3 persons. Within the legal deadline, on May 11 2010, we received a reply from the
Administration which informed us that this institution did not have the requested information because the Gender
Equality Directorate, which made the payments, did not enter the names of recipients in the system, which means we
should address this institution.
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Autonomous Women’s Center , BUDGET EXECUTION – TOWARDS TRANSPARENT AND ACCOUNTABLE SPENDING

remaining 3 staff members the coefficient for persons insured via other legal entity (people
employed somewhere else, freelance/self-employed, retired...) was used 11.

As far as the project consultants are concerned, 7 female consultants were contracted, 1 male
consultant was contracted and 1 person whose gender remained unknown. A total of 865.244,00
dinars net (8.829,00 EUR) or 1.444.500,00 dinars gross (14.739,00 EUR) was spend on consulting
fees. The percentage ratio between payments made to the project staff and consultants was 85% to
15%. Still, we do not know if consulting fees are being paid in several installments or if they were
paid in full. We also do not know if any part of the consulting fee was paid from the UNDP
account. The basic assumption is that this is only a part of the fee which was paid in 2009 and that
the remaining part will be paid in 2010, after the end of the consultancy contract, which will be
shown in the accounting pads for 2010. We would like to be able to get the information also about
the payments from the UNDP funds, but the procedure of access to this information seems really
demotivating.

However, the analysis of the costs in terms of the effects of both the Directorate’s and the project
activities is a much more important task. The last publicly available Directorate’s report covers the
period from July 1 2008 to June 30 2009 12. The information about the conducted activities is not
available on any internet presentation, nor is the mandate of the Directorate (its competency and
annual action plan) which employs 6 people, nor any information about the activities of the project
„Combating Sexual and Gender Based Violence“ for the implementation of which 8 people is
responsible. Therefore, a question is raised – what are job descriptions and qualifications of the
staff, if additional consultants are being contracted all the time and who are in most cases paid from
the UN agencies funds. We could not define this as the practice (which is mostly the case) of
„strengthening capacity“ of the Directorate but rather support to non-transparent and unclear roles
and responsibilities.


RECOMMENDATIONS

1. Considering that in two years the Gender Equality Directorate have not entirely executed its
budget (in 2008 the budget execution was 36%, and in 2009 it was 46% of the earmarked funds) we
have no grounds to recommend more government budget appropriations and outlays for the Gender
Equality Directorate. Therefore, we recommend the following alternatively or in combination:
       - that the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy (part of which is the Gender Equality
Directorate) should consider what prevents the budget from being executed and suggest measures to
be taken in order to increase the spending;
       - that part of the funds earmarked for the Gender Equality Directorate should be reallocated
to Gender Equality Council, which is also part of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy. That way
the funds would be spent in order to improve the position of women and at the same time (we
assume) they would be used for conducting a larger number of activities;
       - That the funds should be delegated to local self-governments for their concrete activities
aimed at the advancement of women;
       - that in the future a different redistribution of funds should be made, so that more funds
would be given to women’s non-governmental organizations which would conduct activities in
accordance with the Final Recommendations by the UN Committee on the Elimination of
Discrimination against Women to the Republic of Serbia or with measures envisaged in the
National Strategy for Advancement of the Position of Women and Promotion of Gender Equality;
11
       For example, one of the fees paid to a person insured via other legal entity is 116.200,00 dinars, but we do not
know whether this amount was paid for full working time or for additional consultancy work for a certain number of
hours.
12
       It was last checked out in November 2010.
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Autonomous Women’s Center , BUDGET EXECUTION – TOWARDS TRANSPARENT AND ACCOUNTABLE SPENDING



2. The Gender Equality Directorate should produce all overdue reports on its work, make them
available to public, as well as conduct an analysis of the ratio between the funds spent for salaries
and fees of its staff and effects of their work.

3. The project „Combating Sexual and Gender Based Violence“ should produce and make public
the report on the conducted activities, with clearly measurable indicators which enable monitoring
of the funds spent and effects achieved which are measured against the set up goals in accordance
with the National Strategy for Advancement of the Position of Women and Promotion of Gender
Equality, which, hopefully, was „the framework for planning“.

4. The Gender Equality Directorate should keep gender disaggregated staff records in terms of their
representation and distribution of resources.




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Autonomous Women’s Center , BUDGET EXECUTION – TOWARDS TRANSPARENT AND ACCOUNTABLE SPENDING

Annex:

On January 22, 2010, Autonomous Women’s Center 13 requested both narrative and financial reports on the
conducted activities of the project „Combating Sexual and Gender Based Violence“ in 2009. On January 29
2010, Autonomous Women’s Center received a reply from Bojana Balon, then a gender equality advisor,
containing „a brief overview of all conducted activities so far“, classified in three macro-components:
         1. Activities related to strengthening capacity of institutions and organizations which provide
services to women victims of gender based violence. Within this component the following activities have
been conducted so far:
         - Mapping of services provided by Centers for Social Work to women victims of domestic violence
(this activity has been conducted by a consultant) 14;
         - The call for proposals was announced aimed to support projects of local stakeholders, institutions
and civil society organizations, active in the field of prevention and protection of victims of sexual and
gender based violence; at the moment, a review of all received project applications is in progress;
         - The call for grants was announced aimed at conducting research on prevalence and characteristics
of violence against women; at the moment, a review of all received project applications is in progress;
         - The curricula for gender equality and sexual and gender based violence have been developed for
three institutions: the Judicial Training Center, the Academy of Criminalistic and Police Studies and the
Human Resources Management Service of the Republic of Serbia; (this activity has been conducted by
consultants);
         - Currently, the research is being conducted on the methodology of gathering information about
victims of gender based violence in relevant institutions, aimed at formulating a proposal for uniform
procedures for gathering information in institutions and agencies (this activity has been conducted by a
consultant);
         - Support to local mechanisms for gender equality to organize public discussions on sexual and
gender based violence on the local level and network with relevant institutions on the local level (it is not
specified whether this applies to 18 panel discussions which are mentioned under the point 3 or to some
other networking activities);
         2. Activities related to the improvement of the legislative and strategic framework for sexual and
gender based violence, in the area of protection of victims and prevention, as well as in the establishing of
the foundations for working with perpetrators. So far the following activities have been conducted:
         - The beginning of drafting of a “White Book” about the existing legislative framework for sexual
and gender based violence and drafting of recommendations (this activity has been conducted by a
consultant);
         - Research on the international and national experiences concerning the work with perpetrators (this
activity has been conducted by a consultant);
         - A comparative analysis of national strategies for combating violence against women and domestic
violence in the Western Balkans countries and European Union member states (this activity has been
conducted by a consultant);
         - Beginning of setting up of a working group to draft the National Strategy for Combating Gender
Based Violence and the Protocols of Cooperation between Relevant Institutions;
         3. Activities related to raising public awareness of unacceptability of violence as a model of violent
behavior, which envisage working with media networks and independent media, faculties and educational
institutions, as well as raising public awareness of unacceptability of reproducing patriarchal gender roles
and gender patterns in compliance with the recommendations made by the CEDAW Committee. So far the
following activities have been conducted:
         - Networking with relevant institutions/organizations involved in combating sexual and gender based
violence, among which are state institutions, civil society organizations and international networks (we do
not know what the networking outcomes are – the network composition, goals and planned activities);
         - Participation in public panel discussions and meetings (we do not know the number of these events,
as well as whether these are the same activities mentioned under the following point);
         - Organization of 18 round tables across the country during the international campaign “16 Days of
Activism against Gender Violence”.

13
        ... as one of the organizations which were invited by the UNDP to comment on the proposed project „Combating Sexual
and Gender Based Violence“ and which complied with the project activities;
14
        Comments behind the activities, in cursive brackets, are remarks made by the Autonomous Women’s Center
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Autonomous Women’s Center , BUDGET EXECUTION – TOWARDS TRANSPARENT AND ACCOUNTABLE SPENDING


For further information Bojana Balon referred us to the project Steering Committee and the national project
director Natalija Micunovic, director of the Gender Equality Directorate.




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