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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 0 nt ns s i es ns ing ts s s ... ng me ce ce ito fl ic tio ve til it nn eti rv i an ge gra ul a on de cu pla me fin se na gc reg nte ic bl i gic ma in g al ing om lv in pu ni lo c al ate vi d air HR on ea le g so ch s tr pro ec rop al Eu lo c 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 0 ia a em de ia t ia na bi rb rb rb ra er Sr Ba Se Se Se lg lS d Be n an rn rn tra er te he en st a es ck ut Ea C W Ba So 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.