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VI. MANAGING THE REFORM PROCESS

180. The proposed reforms imply the need for a well planned and orchestrated adjustment process, aimed at ensuring that changes are introduced in a logical sequence and with minimum interruption to the substantive work of the Organization. It is also vital that the process respects the rights and expectations of staff and be conducted with the full participation of the staff representative bodies.

181. By far the most complex aspect of the change process relates to organizational reform. This will involve large numbers of staff moving between organizational units and establishing new working relationships. Some staff will also face the challenge of moving from where they are now working to other geographic locations. Others will need to acquire new skills through training so as to be able to work effectively on tasks which may differ from those which they are currently undertaking but for which they have the necessary aptitudes. Finally, there is a need to offer staff who are affected by the shift in demand for expertise equitable terms and conditions for separation if the reform process so requires.

182. Intimately associated with the new structure is the need to adjust management processes to the new needs of the Organization in updated versions of the Organization’s manuals. There will also be requirements for investments in improving management and communications-related software and for the setting up of new offices.

183. To manage the process, the Director-General would establish a Change Management Team, under the immediate direction of the Deputy Director-General, assigned with responsibility for detailed planning of the process and with overseeing its implementation.

184. Over the past decade, the Organization has been successful in managing both organizational restructuring and budgetary reductions through a process of vacancy management, natural attrition, placement and redeployment of staff.

185. The organizational reform now being undertaken builds upon this experience and adheres to a phased change management strategy requiring specific interventions at the following stages:

Past experience in redeployment and placement of staff

186. Previous experiences have required a change management system with structured redeployment and placement processes. These processes were formalised through the establishment of Task Forces on Redeployment of Professional and General Service staff. The Task Forces comprised both administration, and staff association representation, and were chaired by the Human Resources Management Division. The Conference approved special transitional resources to fund the placement, redeployment and agreed separation costs in the amount of US$ 12 million in 1998 -99 and US$ 9 million in 2000-01. In 2004-05 an amount of US$ 4.1 million was earmarked for the same purpose.

187. The specific goals of the redeployment and placement processes were to find alternative assignments for staff members on abolished posts; monitor redeployment; ensure full transparency in the application of the processes; advise management on cases where staff members’ conditions of employment were affected by the restructuring or budgetary cuts; make recommendations to management regarding these cases; and identify those staff who could not be redeployed and to whom severance packages should be offered.

188. As a result of budgetary reductions over recent biennia, over 540 Professional and General Service staff were either redeployed within the Organization or were separated on agreed terms with the participation of the staff representative bodies.

Financial implications

189. As in the past, the proposed organizational reform will entail a series of one-time transitional costs resulting from the impact of the restructuring and de-layering processes. The transitional costs affecting staff include the following:

A proposed approach

190. Subject to Members’ approval of the Director-General’s reform proposals, the Organization will undertake a review and make a competency-based inventory of staff requiring redeployment to ensure their appropriate placement.

191. A Redeployment and Placement Task Force led by the Human Resources Management Division and with participation of staff representatives would be entrusted with overseeing all staffing actions flowing from the restructuring exercise, i.e. redeployments, transfers or separations on agreed terms.

192. The Redeployment and Placement Task Force would take stock of all the posts that have been abolished, transferred or modified, review the staff requiring placement or otherwise affected by the restructuring, and match vacant positions with staff who are no longer on posts. When the mix of competencies, qualifications and experience of a staff member is found to match the requirements of a vacant position, the Task Force would recommend the redeployment of the staff member to the said position.

193. In cases where no positions match the specific profile of staff members requiring placement, agreed termination packages would be proposed in line with past practice, based on the provisions on Staff Regulation 301.9.11.

Funding of transition costs

194. As indicated in paragraph 189 above, previous organizational changes in FAO have required special funding for one-time and transition costs. Reform processes in other organizations have also been facilitated through provision of dedicated extra-budgetary resources for this purpose. On the basis of the decision by the governing bodies on his reform proposals, transition costs would be estimated and the Director-General would seek voluntary contributions to cover them from Members wishing to support and facilitate the process of change in the Organization to enable it to face the challenges of the future.

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