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VIEWS: 45 PAGES: 26

									CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT OF LOCAL SELF
    GOVERNMENT UNITS IN SERBIA
    (TRAINING SYSTEM IN SERBIA)




              Prepared by:



             Tomislav Novovic
            UNDP DLD Advisor




                July 2007
                                                              CONTENT

Local Governance reform process in Serbia ......................................................................... 3
Legal framework for professional development of local government employees ............. 4
Professional development/capacity needs of the local government employees ............... 4
Institutional framwork for capacity development at the local level .......................................... 5
   Municipal Training Center of the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities ............. 8
      Role of the Municipal Training Centre: .............................................................................. 8
      The Mission of the Municipal Training Centre: .................................................................. 8
      Priorities of the Municipal Training Centre: ........................................................................ 9
      Main activity areas of the Municipal Training Center: ........................................................ 9
      Organizational structure of the Municipal Training Centre ............................................... 10
      Legal status and financing- Lessons learned : ................................................................ 10
Assessment of Training Needs at the local level in Serbia ................................................ 11
   Background.......................................................................................................................... 11
   Methodology and sample ..................................................................................................... 11
   Previous training experiences .............................................................................................. 12
   Training Topics .................................................................................................................... 13
   Evaluation of training performance ...................................................................................... 15
   Municipal Training Centre of the SCTM and the training market ......................................... 16
   Planning of training contents................................................................................................ 17
   Organizational aspects of training ........................................................................................ 21
   Municipalities as the location for organizing trainings .......................................................... 23
   Training as a paid service .................................................................................................... 23
   On the job support and consultancy services ...................................................................... 24
   Conclusion ........................................................................................................................... 24
LOCAL GOVERNANCE REFORM PROCESS IN SERBIA
After the democratic changes in the year 2000, the new government of the Republic of Serbia has
initiated a rapid process of changes, giving the priority to macroeconomic stabilisation. With the
macroeconomic policies in place, the first phase of the structural reforms covered privatisation,
institutional reforms, banking sector reforms, social policy reforms, etc. Some of the reforms in this
first phase were advancing in some areas but in other to a lesser extent. However, by 2007 it is
expected that further policy and practice changes will be implemented due to the ongoing reforms
focusing on economic stability, growth and development. Simultaneously the institution building is
expected to come to an end. As of 2007 onwards the reforms should be completed concentrating
on finalisation of the structural reforms, institution building and control mechanisms related to the
implementation of legal frameworks. .
One of the areas still lagging behind is public administration and the thorough reforms in this
particular sector. Before 2000 the Republic of Serbia had no ministry or any other authority for local
government; the greater portion of local governments‟ affairs was under the jurisdiction of the
central government as the managing authority. The organisation and structure of the municipal
administration, work methodology, professional capacities, work conditions and equipment were
poor and obsolete; the old-fashioned/outdated service delivery is completely in discord with the
principles of subsidiarity and demands of modern, decentralised, citizen-oriented governance.
The full pace of decentralisation processes in the Republic of Serbia is still not taking place, though
some activities have been initiated. Implementation of a new legal framework for decentralization
was initiated by adoption of several systemic laws: a new Law on Local Government was adopted
in the beginning of the year 2002 with some provisions defined: extended municipal competencies,
direct election of mayors, establishment of new institutions, certain aspects of fiscal decentralisation
and limited central government control. However, adoption of a new Constitution of the Republic of
Serbia will affect fragile local governance system in Serbia. This is especially obvious in the Article
191, which defines Municipal Assembly as principle decision making organ at the municipal level.
Municipal Assembly, as the article specifies, elects executive organs of municipality, in line with the
Law. In practical terms, this means that the mayors will be elected by the Municipal Assemblies and
not directly as it is by the Law on Local Self Government, and the Law on local elections. At the
moment, members of the municipal assemblies are being elected on the proportional basis
(decision of the political parties); if the subsequent changes in the Law on local elections do not take
place, there will be no genuine citizen representation in municipal assemblies. This will be a huge
step backwards in terms of local democracy.
The national association of local governments, Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities
has been advocating and lobbying for changes in the system of financing of municipal units and for
adoption of a new Law on local finances. The Ministry of Finance, with some addendums and
changes, proposed this Law for official adoption; the Law was adopted by the Parliament of the
Republic of Serbia; implementation of the new Law on local finances will start from January 2007.
This will enable municipalities to have more predictable, sustainable financial resources.
In 2004 a Strategy for Public Administration Reform was adopted and the Ministry for Public
Administration and Local Self-Government (MPALSG- set up in 2003) has finalised an action plan
for development of local governance in Serbia. Evan though the adoption of this plan was expected
to become a factor of cohesion and harmonisation for all ongoing programmes at the local level
(initiatives of the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities (SCTM), other local institutions
and organisations or individual efforts of some local governments towards development and
growth), due to total absence of interest and action from the side of the Ministry, the overall
programme is unlikely to succeed. At the same time, the EU accession processes and potential
funding for the local level programmes can immensely contribute to progressing of local
communities.
As best practices and positive experience of some of the European countries shows association of
local governments usually play central role in the area of professional development of local
government employees, as they are best positioned to respond to the needs of local governments.
The added value of the system where is approach As a result although training systems vary from
country to country depending on the specific context, the tendency towards the decentralized -
market based training system at a local level, with Associations playing major role in defining
training policy and articulating the needs of local governments is clear.


LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT
EMPLOYEES
The Law on Working Relations and Employment, within which the special part entitled The Law on
Working Relations in Public Services1 constituted the skeleton of the legal framework that was
regulating the employment conditions of the central and local government employees. However the
Law did not provide necessary set up for the full implementation of a career-related professional
development system in Serbia. According to this Law, professional development was neither a right
nor a duty of public employees. Consequently public employee may spend their entire professional
career in public sector without raising qualification. Moreover, it was not clear who holds general
responsibility for the training policies of the public employees.
The new Civil Service Act2 envisages trainings and professional advancement within the chapter
eight “Specialized training and upgrading”. This will, at the first glance, look like serious step forward
in terms of possibility for local administrations to improve their capacities. Serbia does not have
integrated civil service system. Namely, the article 2 of the Civil Service Act defines category “civil
servants”, which does not include local administrations. Additional clarity would be needed in this
regards.
However, it is important to mention that at the moment professional development is not supported
by personnel policies and is not supported by incentives such as career development plans, salary
increase and systems for performance evaluation. There is no commitment in the mentioned
systemic Laws to finance professional development of public employees, neither for the central
level, nor for the level of local governments.


PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT/CAPACITY NEEDS OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT
EMPLOYEES
Professional development of capacities at the local level has not been approached systematically;
namely insufficient attention has been given to address capacity needs of the local governments to
implement reform processes, national policies3 and forthcoming decentralization of competencies
and services.

1
  "Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia", br.48/91, 66/91, 44/98 - dr. zakon*, 49/99 - dr. zakon**, 34/2001 -
dr.zakon*** i 39/2002
2
  Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia, Nos. 79/2005, 81/2005, and 83/2005
3
  “Strategy of Public Administration Reform in the Republic of Serbia”, Government of the Republic of Serbia; officially
adopted in November 2004.; National Strategy for Serbia for the Serbia and Montenegro’s Accession to the
European Union, EU Integration Office, 2005
The results of the training needs assessments4 carried out by the Standing Conference of Towns
and Municipalities and discussions with representatives of municipalities have revealed several
areas of utmost importance for capacity development of municipal officials and administrations.
There is a need to develop a wide range of managerial capacities such as strategic planning, public
policy making, leadership and modern management, management of budgets and financial
resources, human resource management, client orientation, citizen participation and overall
municipal service delivery. Municipalities need better understanding of EU institutions, funds,
integrations and practical aspects of EU accession process (especially project management and
management of EU and other donor funding opportunities).
In particular, there is a clear need to further develop capacities and enhance skills at the local level
to implement specific requirements from the new legal framework, related with the newly devolved
responsibilities, financial arrangements and different coordination mechanisms among the levels of
the local government, at the same time prepare the ground for the EU accession process.
The demand for training aiming to change the attitudes of local employees and to build service
oriented value system within local government administrations accountable to their constituencies
and responsive to the needs of the local community have been emphasized by local government
representatives as crucial for success of the reform process.


INSTITUTIONAL FRAMWORK FOR CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT AT THE LOCAL LEVEL
In order to effectively utilize already existing capacities in the country, ensure better coordination of
training activities at the local level and to assess the level of quality of the services provided by
training providers in Serbia, assessment of capacities of local training providers has been carried
out in 20065.
Relevance of training providers has been assessed on the number of qualitative and quantitative
criteria, such as: methods used in training, numbers of training and administrative staff, annual
volume of training delivered, quality of materials, etc6. The assessment has covered some of the
donor organizations.
Key principles guiding this assessment were:
         Objectiveness – all decisions should be made on the carefully formulated set of criteria that
          combines both qualitative and quantitative evidence.
         Exhaustiveness – at all times the assessors should strive to uncover additional sources of
          information and verify judgements rather than solely rely on own knowledge of the market.
         Transparency – all criteria and procedures should be made public thus ensuring trust and
          cooperation of the actors active in the training market. Furthermore active dissemination of
          this information may encourage further development of services in the directions important
          to local governments.



4
  “Evaluation of the training needs of local officials- survey report”; this was result of the project implemented by the
SCTM with expert and financial support of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs; “Training Needs Assessment for
local administrations in Serbia”, implemented by the SCTM with expert support from UNDP

5
 Capacity assessment of local training providers was a part of UNDP project “Capacity Development for Standing
Conference of Towns and Municipalities”; expert support was provided by UNDP, and the field work was done by the
Working group of the SCTM.
6
 Refer to “Local Governments and training providers capacity assessment, methodology paper” prepared by T.
Novovic of UNDP Serbia
The assessment was based on qualitative and quantitative data gathered using a variety of
methods from a variety of sources (donor organisations, government institutions and local
governments, training providers, clients). The main stages in assessment process should were:
      Preliminary identification of potential providers
      Questionnaires distributed to all identified institutions and the receipt of the questionnaires
       confirmed via the telephone
          (Interview questions as per mentioned methodology were :
          Training programmes: How are they developed? Who has the initiative (donor, client in
          public sector, training organisation)? How the topics are chosen? (ad-hoc, TNA, by the
          request of client) How they are offered/ advertised? How are they evaluated? How the
          materials are developed? What methods are used? How many trainings are delivered a
          year? Were some trainings replicated and how many of them?
          Trainers: How trainers are selected? How many trainers are on staff/ on call? How their
          performance is evaluated? How their professional skills are developed? Average fees
          Institutional development: How many administrative staff? Primary sources of funding
          (donors, fees, other)? Existing strategy for further development Does organisation intend
          to remain training provider? Main clients and partners? Communication strategy- how the
          partners find them? Equipment, classrooms, libraries, etc.)
      Personal interviews with all institutions that responded to questionnaires
      Review of supporting materials submitted by training service providers
          Supporting materials are: a) Course outlines for all the topics that were selected in the
          questionnaire as currently delivered; b) Course materials for 1-2 topics that were selected in the
          questionnaire as currently delivered; c) Evaluation reports for 3 most recent training courses
          delivered to this date; d) List of clients to whom training was delivered during last 12 months (lists of
          participants, if available) and contact information; e) annual training units; f) price of training (a
          number or training events*duration of training events in days*number of participants) that the
          organisation is able to deliver and the number of annual training units delivered in 2005/ 2006.
      Follow-up interviews with the training providers (where when needed)7
      Interviews with the identified clients
      Interviews with the partners (and donors) of the training providers


Assessment criteria
      The capacity of each institution was assessed on a number of criteria that combine both
       quantitative and qualitative indicators:
      Quality of materials in terms of content (up to date and relevant to Serbian context) and
       design,
      Methods used in training (suitable for mid-career professional training, awareness of adult
       learning issues),
      Numbers of training and administrative staff,
      Skills of staff needed to design and deliver training as well as manage training process,


7 After the review of the supporting, number of follow-up interviews were carried out in order to cover remaining
information gaps and/ or verify judgements based on initial interviews and supporting materials.
     Annual volume of training delivered in person training units8,
     Training evaluation and trainer performance appraisal systems,
     Understanding of public sector reform
     Commitment to public sector training,
     Existence of strategic vision for further development of the institution.


Individual capacity assessment criteria that were used to compare and assess suitability of
individual trainers included:
     Background (education and professional activities)
     Training experience
     Education and development as trainer (ToT)
     Experience in developing training courses and materials
     Language skills
     Understanding of public sector reform
     Commitment to public sector training


Process of capacity assessment of local training providers was comprehensive, whereby 23 local
training providers have been analysed. The results of quality of different training providers, which
were assessed against the established criteria, showed that majority of training providers would
need intensive capacity/ organizational development support.
The most developed organizations are: PALGO Centre (Public Administration and Local
Government Reform Centre); Team Three of the Civic Initiatives, Centre for Modern Skills,
Educational Centre from South Serbia and the Municipal Training Centre of the Standing
Conference of Towns and Municipalities.
This report will focus on the Municipal Training Centre, which was established with support of
UNDP.
MUNICIPAL TRAINING CENTER OF THE STANDING CONFERENCE OF TOWNS AND MUNICIPALITIES

The Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities (SCTM) is a national association of local
authorities in Serbia founded in 1953. The political changes of 2000, transformed the role and
functioning of the SCTM to a large degree. In order to fulfil its main role, to support member-
municipalities in all local governance issues, to serve their interests and to meet the needs of local
governments, SCTM is becoming modern, capable, competent and efficient association.
SCTM is dedicated to foster cooperation and dialogue among local authorities and to support their
initiatives vis-à-vis the Central Government. SCTM also represents the key node of information
flows on issues relevant to towns and municipalities.
The other services of the SCTM are organized to support the development of local government as
an essential part of democratic processes; promote close cooperation among towns and
municipalities and help them to establish links with local authorities from other countries; represent
the interests of its members at national and international levels; encourage the use of theoretical
and practical know-how in managing municipal functions and promoting specialized education for
local employees; provide technical support to its members, as well as to international donor
organizations in project development and coordination. Currently, the main support of the SCTM to
local governments is focused on the following fields: capacity development of local governments,
organization and functioning of municipal bodies and citizen participation in decision-making
processes, local finances, functioning and management of local public services and municipal
enterprises, town planning, housing, land management, environmental protection, sustainable
development of urban and rural areas, energy efficiency, poverty reduction and social policies, and
other urban and municipal issues.
In order to approach capacity development at the local level in a comprehensive, demand driven
fashion, SCTM, with support of UNDP, has been working on establishment of a training facility, the
Municipal Training Centre (MTC) starting from the beginning of 2005.

Role of the Municipal Training Centre:

As originally designed, the MTC should play twofold role:
a) MTC is a “resource center” responsible for development of local training market. This function is
being performed through different researches (training needs assessment, capacity development
assessments, etc) coordination of training activities and through providing and sharing of
information and know-how to different stakeholders;
b) MTC is a “training facilitator” responding to the urgent capacity development needs of local
governments by developing and providing demanded/ requested training programs. Training
programs and training curricula‟s are being developed to address specific needs of the local
governments and to support local governance reform process in the country.

The Mission of the Municipal Training Centre:

The mission of the Municipal Training Center is to facilitate the process of development of highly
professional, accountable and efficient local self government administration, through establishment
of sustainable training system at local level.
Priorities of the Municipal Training Centre:

Priorities of the Municipal Training Center are the following:
     Carry out different assessments and researches at local level to monitor the changes and
      effectively respond to the needs of the local self governments.
     Develop viable and effective network of information exchange among central and local
      institutions, donor organizations and other stakeholders.
     Facilitate the development and implementation of the National training strategy for local
      governments in Serbia
     Provide inputs and support development of a comprehensive quality assurance mechanism
      (covering training programs, training institutions, trainers and training delivery)
     Facilitate implementation of training initiatives supported by the donor organizations
      (information, logistical support, facilities).
     Strengthen local training providers through provision of technical support and advice
      (information, methodological assistance, etc)
     Strengthen capacities of local self-governments by providing training and consultancy
      services to local self-government officials.
     Strengthen the capacities of the Secretariat of the Standing Conference of Towns and
      Municipalities by providing in-house training and consultancy to the Secretariat staff.

Main activity areas of the Municipal Training Center:

     Carry out necessary assessments and research at the local level in Serbia to monitor
      changes and effectively respond to the changing needs of the local self governments.
     Develop viable and effective network of information exchange between central and local
      institutions as well as donor organizations and other stakeholders;
     Facilitate the development of the National training strategy at local level and to develop
      quality assurance mechanism.
     Facilitate implementation of training initiatives supported by the donor organizations
      (information, logistical support, facilities).
     Enhance and further strengthen capacities at the municipal level through continuous learning
      process for local officials and administrations
     Strengthen the capacities of the General Secretariat of the Standing Conference of Towns
      and Municipalities by providing in-house training and consultancy to the core and project
      staff.


Trainings delivered included: local economic development, project preparation and planning,
promotion and localization of the local and national plans of action for children, assessment and the
process of developing institutional capacity, strategic planning for localization of PRSP, training for
municipal managers, trainings for municipal multiethnic councils and training of mayors and
members of municipal assemblies/ councilors.
Besides the mentioned, some of the training programs have been followed by an extensive
mentorship work during which our local experts have been working directly with the municipal
employees in order to provide guidance and follow-up on training events. In this way the MTC has
created nine local municipal teams to work on a detailed functional analysis as well as development
capacity assessment of their municipalities



Organizational structure of the Municipal Training Centre

Municipal Training Center consists of five permanent (“core”) staff members: MTC general
manager, 3 training coordinators (responsible for trainings, consultations and communications) and
one admin-finance assistant
MTC general manager: responsible for overseeing, monitoring and evaluating of the overall policy
and activities of MTC; quality assurance role (high quality service provision);
Admin- finance assistant: is responsible for smooth everyday functioning of the MTC and provides
operational, financial and logistic support to the trainings/ manager and coordinators.
Training coordinators: are responsible for development of a database, maintaining communications
and constant information exchange with central and local government institutions, donor
organizations, training providers and other stakeholders. Coordinators are managing different
training programs using decentralized and coordinated management approach (this included
development of training curricula, quality assurance of training delivery, selection of trainers from
the database/ training delivery when and if needed). Coordinators are maintaining the library
(physical and electronic) of the Municipal Training Centre.
Municipal Training Centre is intensively working on development of a pool of trainers. Trainers are
mainly recruited from the municipal professionals (with hands-on experience), covering different
areas of expertise.

Legal status and financing- Lessons learned :

Municipal Training Center is a part of the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities (not a
separate entity). Defining the status and exploring possibilities for further development of the MTC
caused serious issues between the UNDP‟s programme “Capacity Development for Standing
Conference of Towns and Municipalities, second phase” which is providing support to the MTC, the
management of the MTC on one side and the management o the SCTM on the other side.
Experience from Serbia proved that the national association of local authorities (Standing
Conference of Towns and Municipalities) is exercising rather old-fashion, centralistic and
bureaucratic management system, which affects functioning of the MTC (centralized decision
making processes are hindering functioning of the MTC to a large extent). In addition, MTC should
be market-driven and self sustainable structure; as a part of the SCTM, the MTC will not be eligible
to use some of the funds.
However, it is worth to consider model from Latvia, with the Local Government Training Centre of
Latvia, whereby the Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments and the number of
Latvian local governments have made decision to establish a separate training centre. The Local
Government Training Centre is an association (society) associating on voluntary basis legal
persons. It operates on a non-profit basis
The idea to gradually move MTC towards an independent entity, closely linked to the Association
SCTM, has been perceived as a non-feasible one by the management of the organization. This will
in a long run jeopardize functioning of both, the MTC and the SCTM..
ASSESSMENT OF TRAINING NEEDS AT THE LOCAL LEVEL IN SERBIA9

BACKGROUND

The research of the professional training needs of local self-governance units is the third research
carried out in a row since 2004, with support of UNDP. The results of the previous two researches
presented in reports entitled ‟Report on Evaluation of Needs for Training of the Local Authorities in
Serbia‟ and ‟Evaluation of Needs for Advanced Training of Local Government Councillors in Serbia‟
provided basic guidelines for defining this research. The samples used in previous researches are
different, so the comparability of results is feasible only to a limited extent. The last research (data
presented in this report) of the training needs of the local government units was carried out in the
first half of 2007.
The objectives of this research include the following:
        Determining previous training experiences of the local governance units
        Determining training needs of local governance units
        Identifying contents and organisational aspects of preferred trainings, and
        Evaluation of prospects of SCTM activities in the training market.

METHODOLOGY AND SAMPLE

The research was based on structured survey questionnaire filled in by the subjects themselves.
The network of SCTM focal points provided a substantive support to this research: the
questionnaires were distributed through the network, while training for the focal points has been
prepared and delivered together with the written.
The sample comprised the total of 785 subjects in 95 municipalities and towns of Serbia; the table
presents the structure of subjects by positions
              Table 1. The structure of sample according to the positions / jobs of subjects

              The POSITION held by the subject                             Number in sample                %
City or Town Mayor                                                               36                       4.6
Chairman of the Town Assembly                                                    51                       6.5
Deputy Mayor                                                                     24                       3.1
Deputy Chairman of the Town Assembly                                             18                       2.3
Member of Town/Municipal Council                                                 33                       4.2
Councillor                                                                      145                       18.5
Secretary of the Assembly                                                        23                       2.9
Secretary of the Municipal Council                                                6                       0.8
Municipal administration manager                                                281                       35.9
Municipal administration employee                                               165                       21.1
Did not state his/her position/job                                                3                       0.4
TOTAL                                                                           785                       100
The sample was represented by 52% of men, and 48% of women.

9   Special thanks to Ms. Olivera Pavlovic, MTC Director and Prof. Slobodan Cvetic, from the Faculty of Philosophy
The educational structure of the sample is: 3% have Master‟s/Doctor‟s degree; the majority of
subjects have university degree (55%); 15% have college degree; 27% have secondary education,
and finally, 0.6% elementary education.
This report intends to summarize answers for the whole sample, for various positions of subjects,
for various regions and for male/female gender.
The positions of the subjects that have participated in the analysis are as follows:
      Elected officials (mayors and deputy-mayors, members of municipal councils and secretaries
       of municipal councils),
      Members of municipal assemblies (councillors, chairmen of assemblies, deputy chairman of
       assemblies),
      Municipal administration managers (municipal managers, administration heads and
       department heads), and
      Municipal administration employees
Municipalities that were participating in this exercise were grouped into 7 regions, actually different
from the administrative division of Serbia (27 districts):
      Belgrade,
      Bačka and Srem (Northern-Bački, Western-Bački, Southern-Bački and Sremski districts)
      Banat (Northern-Banatski, Mid-Banatski and Southern-Banatski districts)
      Western Serbia (Mačvanski, Kolubarski, Zlatiborski and Moravički districts)
      Central Serbia (Šumadijski, Pomoravski, Rasinski and Raški districts)
      Eastern Serbia (Podunavski, Braničevski, Borski and Zaječarski districts), and
      Southern Serbia (Nišavski, Toplički, Jablanički, Pritoski and Pčinjski districts).

PREVIOUS TRAINING EXPERIENCES

There is no dispute among the local governments representatives that the training Is needed: out of
the total sample, 94% of subjects believe that trainings should be attended. However, the number of
those who have either attended any training since assuming their positions or having been
employed with the town/municipality is only 53%. The percentage of those who think trainings
should be attended is evenly distributed by position/jobs of our subjects in the units of local self-
governance.
It is important to stress out that as for a so-far experience in attending training, there is no significant
difference between elected officials – administration managers and administration employees, as
57%-61% have already attended trainings, but councillors and other members of local assembly
have had less training experience – only 38% of them.
Accepting trainings is evenly distributed among regions, but as far as past experience is concerned,
it is somewhat lower in Bačka, Srem and Central Serbia (43% and 46% of subjects; while the
attendance in other regions amounts to 52% - 57%.). Women have attended trainings more often
than men – 57% versus 49%.
TRAINING TOPICS

Training topics were most often related to communication and brand or image creation (18%). Other
topics included: strategic and other planning and local development (16%), while management and
public administration functioning, computer literacy, writing, management and monitoring of
projects, financing, taxes and budget planning were present almost in equal percent (10%-11%).
Training related to various skills appeared in 8% of cases, then training in the field of human and
minority rights in 3%, in the field of regional cooperation and European integrations in 2% of cases.
Other training topics appeared in total 9% of cases.
                                          Graph 1. Training topics

                                                                        other
                                  8.8
                                                                        reg. cooper. and European
                 1.9                                                    integr.
                   2.7                                                  human and minority rights

                                8.2                                     skills
  1
                                                          17.6
                                                                        communication, branding
                                           11.7
                                                       16.2             management and functioning of
                                        10.4                            public administr.
                                                                        strategic and other planning
                                                                        and local development
      0                  5         10             15             20     finances, taxes and budgeting
                                   %




Especially important finding of this research is that the training topics were adjusted to the
position/job of subjects and were well-matched with their needs for acquiring certain skills and
knowledge.
This can be concluded from the following presentation of distribution of the three training topics
that the subjects of various positions/jobs most often attended:
         At trainings for elected officials (mayors and deputy mayors and the like) these were:
            1.     Strategic planning and local development (19%),
            2.     Communication and municipality image creation (18%),
            3.     Finances, taxes and budgeting (12%).
         At trainings for employees occupying managerial positions, these were:
            1. Strategic planning and local development (21%),
            2. Management and public administration functioning (16%), and
            3. Finances, taxes and budgeting (14%).
         At trainings for administration employees, these were:
            1. Communication and image creation (20%),
            2. Computer literacy (18%), and
            3. Various skills (12%).
         And, finally, at trainings for councillors and other members of local assembly, topics of the
          three most frequently attended trainings were:
            1. Communication and image creation (24%),
            2. Strategic planning and local development (16%), and
         3. Management and public administration functioning (13%).
                            Graph 2. Three most often training topics by position/job

  30                                                                                strategic planning and local
                                                                 24                 development
  25
                             21               20                                    Communication and municipality
        1918                                         18                             immage creation
  20
                                    16                          16
                                  14                                  13            Finances, taxes and budgeting
  15         12                                        12

  10                                                                                Management and public administration
                                                                                    functioning
    5
                                                                                    Computer literacy
    0
        Elected officials      Officers -   Administration       Assembly           Various skills
                               managers      employees           members




It is essential to emphasise that the distribution of topics by gender reflects already well-known
gender inequality in access to executive positions.
All training topics are relatively evenly distributed in terms of gender – except for two of them. Men,
who are more likely to attain executive positions, more often attended training in strategic planning
and local development than women (22% and 12% respectively), while women, more likely to
occupy local administration employee positions, more often attended computer literacy courses
than men (17% and 6% respectively).
           Graph 3. Topics of three most often attended training – distribution by gender

                                                       Wom en               Com m unication
                                                                            and im age
                                                                            creation
                                                     16%

                                                             17%            Com puter literacy
                               53%
                                                       14%

                                                                            Managem ent and
                                                                            public
                                                                            adm inistraiton
                                                                            functioning
                                                          Men               Strategig planning
                                                                            Other
                                                                            and local
                                                     22%                    developm ent

                                  49%                                       Com m unication
                                                                            and im age
                                                          19%               form ation
                                               10%
                                                                            Various other
                                                                            topics


                                                                            Other
EVALUATION OF TRAINING PERFORMANCE

In order to evaluate quality of delivered trainings, representative of local governments were asked to
list what they considered positive and what negative regarding the previous training they had
attended. Positive experiences are listed according to their incidence:
     Practical application of knowledge, visits and exchange of experiences (29%)
     Quality of lecturers (25%)
     Training contents (24%),
     High-quality method of work (14%)
     Organisation of training (6%).
Elected officials more often than others emphasise practical application of knowledge, and less
often training contents and method of work. At the same time, heads/chiefs more often than others
give emphasis to training contents, and less often to organisation of training.
As for the negative experiences, the list of answers was the following:
     Poor organisation of training (36%).
     Inadequate contents of training (14%)
     The lack of practical application (7%).
     Poor-quality of lecturers and poor-quality method of work appear in equal percentage (5%).
     33% of answers comprise the answers not related to the contents or organisation of training,
      and they mainly relate to poor attendance and the lack of continuation of training (failure to
      organise the next phase of training).
Members of municipal assemblies do not agree with the above average impression in one element:
less often than others, they complain about the organisation of training, and more often about some
other aspects.
Women were negative about trainings more than men: women objected organization of trainings in
45%; men 27%.
The distributions of positive and negative experiences were also perceived from the point of view of
regional differences. Certain variations were observed. As for the positive experiences in attending
trainings, the following regions deviate from the average opinion:
     Bačka i Srem whose representatives above average emphasised the quality method of work
     Subjects from Banat, above average, stressed the contents of training and practical
      application of knowledge acquired through training,
     Subjects from Western and Eastern Serbia underlined the quality of lecturers,
     Subjects from Central Serbia stressed the quality method of work, and
     Belgrade and Southern Serbia were very close to the above presented picture of distribution
      of answers throughout Serbia.
As for the objections regarding the elements of attended trainings, deviations from the distribution of
answers for the whole sample are as follows:
     Subjects from Belgrade more often than the average complained about the practical
      application of acquired knowledge,
     Subjects from Bačka, Srem and Central Serbia about the organisation of training,
     Subjects from Banat about the quality of lecturers,
     Subjects from Eastern Serbia about the contents of training,
     Subjects from Southern Serbia about the contents of training and the quality of lecturers.

MUNICIPAL TRAINING CENTRE OF THE SCTM AND THE TRAINING MARKET

One of the important objectives of this research was to determine the position of SCTM Municipal
Training Centre in the training market. Due to this reason, the subjects were asked if they are
acquainted with the fact that SCTM organised various kinds of trainings and if they would attend a
training organised by SCTM. 75% of subjects know that SCTM organises trainings, while 86% are
willing to attend SCTM trainings. Those who would more than others like to attend SCTM trainings
are elected officials with as much as 92% of positive answers, while in others the rate is 85%. This
is a good signal in further planning of activities of the Municipal Training Centre, since positive
attitude towards SCTM is most spread among decision-makers in organising training for themselves
or municipal administration employees. Accepting SCTM as an organiser of trainings is equally
distributed by regions.
Another way of evaluating the position of Municipal Training Centre in the market was the question
related to preferred organiser of trainings whereby in the majority of cases the Municipal Training
Centre was mentioned. As the most desirable organiser of training, SCTM was listed by 45% of
subjects, drastically leaving behind certain ministries (25%), international organisations (11%),
university faculties (10%), and some other potential organisers. It is interesting that the elected
officials opt for SCTM more often than other positions/jobs (52% in comparison to 43%-45%).
Besides, subjects from Belgrade and Central Serbia listed SCTM in a below-average percentage
(36% and 38% respectively), while the subjects from Southern Serbia (56%) choose SCTM in an
above-average percentage. In relation to this issue, genders do not differ.

           Graph 4. SCTM as the most desirable organiser of training – by position/job



          Municipal administraiton employees                                   43


                 Municipal officers- managers                                  43


                         Assembly members                                       45


                              Elected officials                                          52


                                                  0   10    20       30   40        50        60
                            % of those who would choose SCTM as training organiser
PLANNING OF TRAINING CONTENTS

As for the planning of training contents, the priority problems were identified on the basis on
demand from municipalities. The trainings could, in terms of their topics, be directed to what our
subjects perceive as the major problem in their work. Therefore, for example, management and
communication training could help with the problems of poor organisation and communication within
municipality, training in public administration functioning and administrative regulations with the
problems with administration regulations, while training in human resources management could
help with the HR problems.
The problems most often mentioned by our subjects are related to management (poor organisation
and communication within municipality, low level of information sharing, etc.). Poor working
conditions, inadequate legal regulations, lack of professional staff and poor employee management
comprise the second group of problems most often listed by our subjects. Less often, subjects
notice the lack of strategic planning, political bias at workplace, and the lack of financial resources.
         Table 2. Problems most frequently faced by our subjects at their jobs/positions

                             Problem                                   Appears in total         %
                                                                            no.
The lack of professional human resources                                    75                   8
Organisation and communication in municipality                              254                 27
Human resources management                                                  74                   8
Finances                                                                    50                   5
Working conditions                                                          101                 10
Political bias                                                              57                   6
Legal regulations                                                           92                  10
Strategic planning                                                          57                   6
Communication with ministries, jurisdiction of municipalities               46                   5
Poorly-informed citizens, work with clients                                 38                   4
The lack of information, knowledge and advanced training in                 24                   3
employees
Other problems (poverty, social and communal problems, and the                90                 9
like)
TOTAL                                                                         958              100

Note: Subjects were asked to list as many as two problems – therefore the total number of answers
exceeds the sample size.
It should be analysed how our subjects, in this context, evaluated the preferred contents of training
by its significance. They were asked to evaluate to what an extent trainings aimed at acquiring
certain skill/knowledge would contribute to their better performance at work in town/municipality by
grading them on the scale from 1 to 5. The contents of the trainings and their average grade are
presented in the table below.
       Table 3. Evaluation of significance of various training contents for better job/position
                                            performance

                               Training contents                            Average significance
                                                                                  grade
       Local economic development                                                    3.96
      Providing services to citizens                                                 3.96
       Management and team work                                                      3.93
      Informing and PR                                                               3.85
       Project development                                                           3.83
      Solving conflicts and crises                                                   3.83
       Legal regulations and regulatory rules                                        3.81
      Strategic planning                                                             3.80
       Project realisation, monitoring and reporting                                 3.64
      Efficient chairing of meetings                                                 3.62
       European integrations                                                         3.59
      Negotiation                                                                    3.58
       Inter-municipal and foreign cooperation                                       3.51
      Environmental protection                                                       3.49
       Public administration and administrative procedure                            3.49
      Budgeting                                                                      3.49
       Local finances and taxes                                                      3.45
      Public utility activities and services                                         3.41
       Human resources management                                                    3.39
      Town planning                                                                  3.18
       Public companies management                                                   3.14
      Structure and jurisdiction of Republic agencies                                3.02
The group of the „most wanted‟ trainings comprises local economic development, providing services
to citizens, management and team work, informing and PR, project development, solving conflicts
and crises, legal regulations and regulatory rules, and strategic planning.
Differences in grading the significance of certain contents of training for subjects‟ jobs and positions
by subjects themselves points to desired differentiation in planning the contents of training for
different jobs/positions. Major differences between different categories of positions/jobs appear in
the following training contents:
       Legal regulations and regulatory rules. Municipal administration managers emphasised
        this training contents significantly more often than elected officials.
       Local economic development. This content is preferred by elected officials and assembly
        members in comparison to both administration managers and administration employees.
       Local finances and taxes. Municipal employees consider this topic less important than other
        categories of subjects.
      European integrations. This training topic is significantly more important for the positions of
       mayors, deputy mayors and other elected officials, than for work performed by administration
       employees.
      Communal activities and services. Municipal employees consider training in this field less
       important to their work than officials and managers.
      Budgeting is also less important to municipal employees.
      The same is valid for environmental protection.
      Human resources management is a topic important to elected officials and heads and
       chiefs of municipal administration, and less important to councillors and municipal
       employees.
      Negotiation is considered more important by elected officials and councillors that municipal
       employees.
      Project development is of more importance to elected officials and heads/chiefs in
       municipal administration than to municipal administration employees.
      Strategic planning is considered important by all categories of officials and managers, but
       not employees.
      The same is valid for town planning.
      Management and team work are significantly more important to heads/chiefs of municipal
       administration than to councillors.
      Public enterprize management is the topic that elected officials and councillors consider
       more important for their positions than administration managers and employees.
In this part of the analysis, a part of data on desired topics for mayors and deputy mayors and
administration heads and chiefs can be compared to corresponding data related to the same group
of officers obtained in SCTM survey on training needs that was carried out by the end of 2005.
      Graph 5. Degree of choosing certain training topics as being the most important to local
                    administration heads and chiefs in performing their work


                        70
                        60      58
                        50           52   51   49
                                     43   47        43
                        40      42                       41                        2005
                                                              38             36
                  %




                                               33   34   34        35   32
                        30                                                         2007
                                                              25   23
                        20                                              19   17
                        10
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The above graph shows that in 2007 survey the chosen topics were generally more often listed as
important, which can result from the differences in question formulation („very important‟ from 2007
survey is a „milder‟ formulation than „priority‟ from 2005 survey). However, it is important to notice a
partial change in the attitude regarding three most often listed topics by local administration heads
and chiefs. Local economic development and local finances are among the first three topics in
both 2005 and 2007 survey. But, today, in comparison to 2005, training topic related to legal
regulations is pushed down the list, and replaced by strategic planning. The major increase in the
interest from 2005 to 2007 is noticed in the fields of strategic planning and chairing of meetings, and
the major drop in interest is noticed in the fields of legal regulations, local finances and public
utilities.
Certain differences between genders are noticeable in evaluating the significance of various training
contents for performance at work. The contents in which this difference appears are the following:
     Legal regulations and regulatory rules are more important to women.
     Public administration and administrative procedure are more important to women.
     Local economic development is more important to men.
     European integrations are more important to men.
     Public utility activities and services are more important to men.
     Environmental protection is more important to men.
     Town planning is more important to men.
     Public enterprises management is more important to men.
First of all, it should be noted that women generally rate as less important training topics related to
performance at their work. Out of nine topics demonstrating significant difference in preferences of
genders, women showed more interest in two „administrative‟ topics only - in legal regulations and
administrative procedure. Men are more interested in „managerial‟ topics: management, planning
and development.
Desirability of certain training topics were measured in yet another way – when directly asking our
subjects to choose from the list one of the offered training topics that they would immediately attend,
distribution by jobs/positions is the following:
     Elected officials most often choose:
        1. Local economic development (24%),
        2. Inter-municipal and foreign cooperation (9%), and
        3. Management and team work.
     Assembly members also most often opted for:
        1. Local economic development (24%), then for
        2. Environmental protection (9%), and
        3. Project development (also 9%).
     Finally, local administration employees select as the most desirable:
        1. Legal regulations and regulatory rules (15%), then
        2. Providing services to citizens (13%), and
        3. Inter-municipal and foreign cooperation (8%).
Differences between genders are also notable in deciding on a single topic that subjects would
immediately attend, as well as in the previous case of evaluating significance of various topics for
successful performance at work.
     The first three trainings that women would immediately attend are related to:
         1. Legal regulations and regulatory rules (17%),
         2. Providing services to citizens (10%), and
         3. Inter-municipal and foreign cooperation (8%).
      Men most often go for:
         1. Local economic development (18%),
         2. Project writing (10%), and
         3. Inter-municipal and foreign cooperation and providing services to citizens (7%
            each).

                      Graph 6. Three most preferred training topics by gender

                                                                          Legal
                                                  Women
                                                                          regulations
                                                                          and regulatory
                                                  17%                     rules
                                                                          Providing
                                                         10%              services to
                                                                          citizens
                         65%                            8%
                                                                          Inter-m unicipal
                                                                          and foreign
                                                                          cooperation

                                                                          Other


                                                                         Local econom ic
                                                   Men
                                                                         develpom ent

                                                  18%                    Project w riting

                                                        10%
                                                                         Inter-m unicipal
                        58%                             7%               and foreign
                                                   7%                    cooperation
                                                                         Providing
                                                                         services to
                                                                         citizens
                                                                         Other

When all proposed training topics are grouped into various fields of knowledge, skills and individual
capacities, it can be noticed that there are no variations by positions/jobs of subjects. Variations in
relation to this division exist, however, between regions – subjects in Bačka and Srem are above
average interested in trainings in various fields of knowledge, while subjects from Western and
Southern Serbia in skills, and Belgrade and Banat subjects in individual capacities.

ORGANIZATIONAL ASPECTS OF TRAINING

Information on certain organisational aspects of training is presented below. As for ideal duration of
training, subjects are almost equally divided between three options:
      Training to last several days over a several-month period (32%),
      Training to last for 3-7 days (29%), and
      Training to last 2 days only (26%).
All other options (training to last a day or half a day) appear significantly less often.
Such a distribution appears in all subjects regardless of their position/job. However, from the point of
view of regions, there is a variation in distribution.
     In both regions of Vojvodina subjects more often go for a single-day training than it is the
      case with the whole sample (17% in Srem and Bačka, and 20% in Banat, in comparison to
      11% for the whole sample).
     Contrary to the above, subjects in Western Serbia more often than the overall sample choose
      training in the duration of several days over a several month-period (45% and 32%
      respectively).
     Subjects of Central Serbia prefer training in the duration of 3-7 days (39% in comparison to
      29% for the whole sample).
     In Eastern Serbia, subjects choose training in the duration of 2 days (37% in comparison to
      26% for the whole sample).
     In Belgrade and Southern Serbia the structure of answers is similar to that of the whole
      sample.
There is no difference between genders in relation to the preferred duration of training.
A very important conclusion for planning trainings is the finding that a working day is a desirable
week day for organising trainings. Only 13% of subjects selected weekend for ideal period of week
for attending training, 50% went for a working day, and 37% both. As for positions/jobs of subjects,
significant divergence from the average picture is observed among assembly members who find
weekend more suitable for training (27% in comparison to 6% of the rest of the sample).
There is no significant divergence from the average picture by regions. The only divergence that is
worth mentioning is that 18% of subjects from Central Serbia prefer training to be held at weekends,
in comparison to 13% of the whole sample.
There is a deference between genders – as for men, weekend is more suitable for training in almost
a double percentage than for women (17% and 9% respectively) – which probably reflects the fact
that women are considerably more than men burdened by household chores that need to be done
at weekends.
As for the location of organising training, 49% of subjects choose a location outside their hometown,
38% would prefer to have the training organised in the premises of their municipalities, while 13% of
them want some other location in their hometown. There are no variations by positions/jobs of
subjects in relation to this aspect of training.
As for the regions, there are several divergences from the average:
     In Banat and Central Serbia subjects more often choose municipal premises (48% and 46%
      respectively in comparison to 38% for the whole sample),
     In Belgrade, subjects prefer some other location within their home city (26% in comparison to
      13% for the whole sample),
     In Western and Southern Serbia, subjects would prefer to have trainings organised outside
      their hometowns (58% and 61% respectively, in comparison to 49% for the whole sample).
There is no difference between genders in relation to the preferred location for attending training.
MUNICIPALITIES AS THE LOCATION FOR ORGANIZING TRAININGS

The research tried to identify if and to which extent municipalities are able to host and organize
trainings. It is interesting from the survey that 81% of municipal managers stated that in case the
training was to be performed in the organisation of their municipality, their municipalities did have
premises needed for organising it, 50% stated that their municipality possessed complete, and 37%
partial technical equipment needed for carrying out the training. Furthermore, on question if
municipalities have qualified human resources for delivery of trainings, 34% answered “yes”.
In relation to the premises for organising training, there is no significant variation by regions, except
for Bačka and Srem, where only 70% of municipal officials stated that their municipalities had
adequate premises for organising trainings. However, the situation with technical equipment is
significantly less favourable in Bačka, Srem and Southern Serbia (23% and 19% respectively stated
they had no adequate technical equipment, in comparison to 13% of the lack of equipment as the
average for the whole Serbia).
As for having human resources qualified to carry out trainings in municipalities, the most favourable
situation is in Belgrade and Central Serbia. In Eastern Serbia, availability of adequate human
resources was confirmed by 23% of municipal officials and managers included into the survey, and
in Western Serbia by 26%.

TRAINING AS A PAID SERVICE

It is important to emphasis that 53% of municipal officials included in this survey stated that their
municipality had already paid for trainings in their municipalities, 25% stated that they had not, and
21% could not provide an answer to this question; this is especially important concerning
sustainability of the MTC.
     Graph 7. Experiences of municipal officials in paying for training services held in their
                                        municipalities


                                                                have already paid for
                                                                training services
                   21%
                                                                have not paid for training
                                                                services so far
                                                 54%
               25%
                                                                do knot know if training
                                                                services have been paid
                                                                for so far




In relation to this issue, Belgrade is by far in the most favourable situation, since 74% of municipal
officials said that their municipalities had already paid for training services, while in other regions,
the percentage ranges between 46% and 56%.
                  Graph 8. Experiences paying for training services – by regions
                          74
               80
               70                                                             56
               60                        53       52                                    50
                                                                  48    46
               50

           %
               40
               30
               20
               10
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ON THE JOB SUPPORT AND CONSULTANCY SERVICES

Finally, as much as 36% of those subjects are of the opinion that they did not get adequate quality
for the paid consultancy services, and 46% think that the services were too expensive. Almost a
quarter of municipal managers (24%) think that the consultancy services they received were too
expensive and that they did not get adequate quality for the paid amount. Unfortunately, out of the
total number of those who expressed their dissatisfaction with the provided service, only 4 agreed to
revel which organisation/institution was providing consultancy services in project writing, and only 7
which organisation/institution was providing services in project implementation. Therefore we
cannot arrive at a reliable conclusion as to whether our subjects were generally more dissatisfied
with foreign or domestic consultants.
On the other hand, 44% of subjects stated that consultancy services were not expensive, and that
they were provided with adequate quality. In the case of consultancy services in project writing, both
domestic and foreign consultants‟ services were met with almost equal satisfaction (55% and 45%
respectively). However, when implementation project is concerned, in the case of subjects who
received a good quality consultancy service for affordable price, 2/3 of service providers were
domestic organisations/institutions.

CONCLUSION

From the above presented findings, several conclusions can be made – on the grounds of which
future SCTM activities in the field of organising trainings should be based.
     There is enough room for introducing trainings, especially to councillors who, out of all groups
      of positions/jobs, have so far had the least experience in training.
     Trainings that the subjects included in this survey have attended so far generally correspond
      to their positions/jobs.
     Special attention should be paid to the role of trainings in decreasing gender differences and
      qualifying women for increased engagement in executive positions/jobs.
     SCTM has a good position in the whole range of organisations/institutions that organise
      trainings, which gives it a good starting position in the training market. As much as 86% of
      subjects would be prepared to attend trainings organised by SCTM, while 45% of subjects
      see SCTM as a desirable organiser of training.
     It should be remembered that the proportion of municipalities that have already had
      experiences with paying for trainings is satisfactory (53%), especially in Belgrade – which is
      the biggest market itself and the least demanding in terms of organisational operations. What
    can partially pose a problem is the fact that among the subjects from Belgrade, SCTM is less
    recognised as a preferred organiser of training. Besides, those 9% of subjects of the overall
    sample who have had experience with SCTM trainings and who have developed a negative
    attitude towards SCTM as training organiser could be the subject of another qualitative study
    that would enable more sophisticated adjusting and more accurate targeting of services.
   As for the training topics, subjects list the following as the most needed for improving their
    performance at work:
          1.   Local economic development
          2.   Providing services to citizens
          3.   Management and team work
          4.   Informing public and PR
          5.   Project development
          6.   Solving conflicts and crises
          7.   Legal regulations and regulatory rules
          8.   Strategic planning
   Some of these topics are required by all categories of positions/jobs, while some of them are
    adequate for only certain categories. Determining a more specific title and more concrete
    contents of training can be determined by a more detailed qualitative research of these
    categories. It could be said that gender differences correspond to differences in jobs,
    resulting in the fact that women more often express a need for „administrative topics‟
    (providing services to citizens, management and team work, legal regulations and regulatory
    rules, informing public and PR), while men go for both „managerial‟ and „administrative‟ topics
    (local development and strategic planning, but also management and team work, and
    providing services to citizens).
   As for the duration of training and the preferred part of the week for organising training, it
    seems that various options are favourable and that these organisational aspects should be
    adjusted to concrete topics and concrete group of users. Similar could be valid for the
    location of training, although two alternatives seem to be the realistic option – premises within
    the municipal building, or some other premises in Belgrade, as a significant number of
    subjects from Belgrade would like to have training organised outside their municipal
    premises, while a significant number of subjects from other regions would prefer to attend
    training outside their hometown.
   It is important to emphasise that municipalities, to a certain degree, dispose of their own
    resources available for organising training, which would significantly decrease total costs and
    facilitate arriving at a decision to pay for having this service provided. The situation with
    premises is better than the situation with equipment, which is a more favourable option for a
    potential organiser than if it were the other way round.
   Human resources available at municipalities, namely employees who have had an
    opportunity to attend training and are able to transfer their knowledge to others, can be a
    significant resource both to SCTM Training Centre and other parts of SCTM.
   A special space for engaging SCTM appears in the project implementation. Units of local
    development have more experience in writing than in implementation of projects. Training of
    municipal administration employees in the field of project writing is organised relatively often,
    which is not the case with project implementation. However, it does not mean that
municipalities engaged out-sourced consultants in the aim of project implementation. On the
contrary – out-sourcing consultants for project writing was confirmed by 48% of municipal
managers included into the survey, and by 32% for project implementation. In both cases
municipalities have enough experience with domestic consultants, and, what‟s more
important, are more satisfied with the quality they received for the paid amount in the case of
domestic than in the case of foreign consultants.

								
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