Interim Evaluation of Monitoring the Process of Certification and Competitions for Public Service Employment
Since October 2014, the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy has been monitoring the process of competitions and certification during the stage of tests and interviews throughout Georgia. 73 observers of ISFED are monitoring the process using uniform methodology and questionnaires.
ISFED has already monitored the process of testing in all self-government territories and the process of interviews in 49 municipalities and self-governing cities of Georgia. The report highlights key trends and irregularities detected by the monitoring.
• Obstacles in the process of monitoring
ISFED faced certain obstacles in implementation of monitoring in 14 out of 58 municipalities. 5 local self-government agencies allowed only a few non-governmental organizations to monitor the process of interviews but certain restrictions applied. 9 self-government authorities refused to allow organizations monitor their current or scheduled interviews. Notably, none of the self-governing territories allowed us to monitor the process of decision-making. Further, in addition to restricting our access to interviews, observer of ISFED was subjected to pressure by unauthorized individuals in Terjola Municipality. We believe that the reasons why commissions curtailed rights of monitoring organizations are completely unsubstantiated and groundless.
• Evaluation of the process of testing
Observers have reported that on the most part the process ran smoothly, except for slight technical deficiencies. However, these deficiencies did not influence the overall process of testing. Majority of candidates noted that tests were difficult or somewhat difficult. Minimum threshold score in some self-governments was high. In individual cases, there was a difference in actual scores received by candidates and those published on the official website but it was impossible to prove anything as upon completion of a test, candidate did not receive any document for checking answers and using it as proof.
• Evaluation of the process of interviews
Observers have reported that on the most part interviews ran smoothly, equal time was allocated to all candidates and questions were similar in terms of their content and difficulty. Commission members were mostly positive towards candidates. However, in 8 self-governing territories commission members asked irrelevant questions and discriminated against some candidates based on their political affiliation and gender. The report includes several acts of pressure against candidates on political grounds.
ISFED’s observers reported selective approach of commission members in Akhmeta, Tsageri, Khulo and Gardabani municipality towards candidates based on their political affiliation. Discrimination of candidates based on gender was found in Keda self-governing territory. Pressuring of candidates based on their political affiliation was found in Gori municipality (against members of Free Democrats) and Akhmeta municipality (against members of the Republican Party). Winning candidates were identified based on their political affiliation in Kaspi municipality.
• Evaluation of decision-making by commissions for competition and certification
ISFED found that in 6 municipalities in Adjara-Guria where comparative analysis of the process of recruitment of public servants was possible, members of the commission were objective in their evaluation of interviews and selection of winning candidates. However, we believe that in 26 cases the commission could have made a better choice. Further, ISFED evaluated fairness and objectivity of decisions of Kobuleti Municipality Commission about candidates who alleged lack of objectivity of the commission. We found that in 3 out of 5 cases the commission’s decision about winning candidates was fair; in remaining two cases the decision was not fair.
ISFED welcome’s the decision of Khelvachauri Gamgeoba to change its decision in favor of the best candidate based on ISFED’s recommendation. This is a positive development. It will ensure transparency and fairness of the process.
ISFED continues to monitor the process of certification and competition for employment in public service and will periodically update public about the course of the process, trends identified and violations detected.
Detailed information about trends and incidents identified as well as ISFED’s recommendations about tests and interviews are available on ISFED’s website at www.isfed.ge.