Serbia Justice Functional Review

Internal Performance Assessment > Human Resource Management

a. Introduction

  1. Serbia’s courts and PPOs are labor-intensive public service organizations operating in a resource-constrained environment. The judiciary employs nearly 18,000 individuals across 200 institutions including courts, PPOs, the Supreme Court, the Public Prosecutor, the MOJ, and in two groups of employees directly appointed by courts or PPOs: civil servants (from executive management to clerical staff) and public employees (for example, janitors and drivers). Effective use of these numerous and varied human resources would allow the judiciary to perform efficiently, better use its non-labor resources such as technological and capital assets, and enhance accessibility, efficiency and quality of judicial service delivery.
  2. Resource constraints require that funding for human resources be based on confirmed workload considerations, that the most appropriate individual be assigned to most improve service delivery, and that processes be examined to ensure they are as efficient as possible. Serbia’s judicial sector needs a strategic approach to human resources management that links it to the judicial branch’s organizational strategy, focuses it on providing services to court users in an efficient manner, and recognizes that employees are a key asset of the courts.
  3. Human resources management is composed of several interrelated functions, illustrated at Figure 143 and described in Box 28 below.

Box 28: Strategic HR Management in Courts

In line with this framework, efficient and effective HR management in the judiciary requires:

  1. a strategic vision and an organizational structure that reflects needs and anticipates emerging ones while eliminating unnecessary bureaucracy;
  2. job analyses incorporating essential duties, core competencies (knowledge, skills, and abilities), and rankings reflecting differences between classifications in position descriptions;
  3. salaries set to attract, retain and motivate employees, while ensuring internal equity and budgetary soundness;
  4. recruitment of high-quality applicants, selection using job-relevant, efficient and transparent tools;
  5. employee orientation and training programs to improve justice system performance;
  6. strong performance management, including setting individual performance expectations tied to institutional goals, objectives and appraising performance;
  7. fair and consistent discipline, transfer, demotion, and termination of employees with inferior performance to ensure optimal organizational service delivery; and
  8. promotion of ethical behavior on the part of judges, prosecutors, and staff to enhance public trust and confidence in the judicial sector.
  1. The NJRS’s goals can only be accomplished with better human resources management. The strategy sets the context for human resources management by:
    1. emphasizing efficiency, accountability and transparency;
    2. prioritizing clear productivity and performance standards, effective use of judicial and prosecutorial resources, and a strong system for education and training; and
    3. empowering the HCJ and SPC to improve the effectiveness and performance of the judiciary jointly with Court Presidents and MOJ.
  2. The UNs and CoE standards735 directly address human resources issues for judges and Deputy Prosecutors, and their importance to the independence and service delivery of the judicial system. These standards require transparent and effective appointment, promotion, evaluation, discipline and discharge of judges and prosecutors, and stress the necessity of initial and in-service training.
  3. For civil servants, European good practices focus almost entirely on performance management, including creating pay differentials that provide an incentive for high-quality performance.736 Consistency, fairness, and transparency are the underpinnings of these standards. Although not explicitly addressed by European standards, performance management depends on other elements of the human resources cycle above (e.g., hiring the right individuals impacts their performance).
  4. Human resources management in the judiciary is affected by what happens at the central government level. Human resources policies are set centrally for civil servants even though individuals are employed by individual ministries rather than deployed by the state. Statewide civil service reforms are underway, which aim to strengthen human resources management, including hiring, promotion, evaluation, and performance management. If effective, those reforms could have positive spillover effects to the Serbian judiciary in the longer-term. In the meantime, the judiciary should not wait. Much can be done within the judiciary to pursue HR reforms that better enable its people to perform. Tying human resource management to system performance could yield short and medium term dividends, while the state sector reform is designed.
  5. The current highly decentralized and haphazard human resources system hinders the judiciary’s ability to improve service delivery and transformation. As in the rest of the public sector, individual courts and PPOs directly employ civil servants. However, what is missing from the judiciary is a body that drives human resource policy making. The supervisory bodies (HJC, SPC, SCC and MOJPA) should determine the key areas where human resource management can drive performance, and each should contribute their part to supervising the elevation human resource capacity.