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    • BCSP consulted representatives from Serbia’s security sector on the models of measuring progress in security sector reform

    • Date: 21 July 2010

      From July 19 to 21, 2010, the research team of the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy (BCBP) had consulted the representatives of twelve state institutions in the security sector on the models for measuring the security sector reform. Employees working on the senior and middle level of decision-making in the Office of the Council for National Security and Protection of Classified Information of the Republic of Serbia, the Presidency, National Assembly, the Ministry of Justice (Department for European Integration and Project Management), Ministry of Defence (Defence Policy Sector, Human Resources Sector, Military Security Agency and Military Intelligence Agency), Ministry of Interior (Police Department, the Bureau of Strategic Planning, Internal Affairs Sector and the Sector for Analytics, Telecommunications and Information Technology), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Department of the European Union, the Department of NATO and Partnership for Peace), the Ministry of Finance (Treasury Administration, Administration for the Prevention of Money Laundering, Tax Administration and Customs Administration), Office of the Ombudsman, the Office of the Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection, Security Information Agency and the Agency for the Fight against Corruption participated in the consultations.

      The intention of the Centre was to improve the model of measuring the security sector reform (SSR) - which the Centre research team has developed over the past four years within the project Mapping and Monitoring of SSR in Serbia - through work with the representatives of the state institutions. By gathering not only representatives of institutions which are considered traditional actors of the security sector (e.g. military, police and intelligence agencies), but also the representatives of the National Assembly and independent state institutions which are responsible for monitoring their activities, the Centre has managed to assemble in one place the representatives of the widest circle of state actors which are responsible for creation, implementation and monitoring of the  security policy. As the primary benefit of the workshop, participants have singled out the opportunity to meet with colleagues from other parts of the state administration who are dealing with different topics in the security field, within the mandate of the institution where they are working.

      • Comment by participant from the evaluation: “What was most useful was the opportunity to get acquainted with the jurisdiction of other state bodies - the actors in the security sector and to learn about the practical opportunities for co-operation.”

      What do we understand under “security sector”?

      The aim of the workshops held on the first day of consultations was to present the concept and methodology of the research which Centre is using to measure the progress of security sector reform. Miroslav Hadzic presented therefore typology of actors in the security sector adopted by the Centre in its research; context in which the reform may be taking place; as well as the goals of reform itself. This presentation was followed by the first workshop, in which the participants of consultations were expected to make a list of key actors in the sector, as well as the legal documents governing their work. It was immediately clear that, despite the extensive (though preliminary) insight, the researchers of the Centre failed to include some of the actors which would not be included in the traditional notion of security, but are also important in the reform process, either from the point of human rights or from the point of the efficiency of delivery of a certain service. Specifically highlighted was the role of the municipal police, the commissioner for the protection of equality, and the Council (not just the Agency) for the fight against corruption.

      What approach does the Centre use when measuring progress in SSR?

      Sonja Stojanovic opened the presentation of the Security Sector Reform Index with a thesis that an innovation in the instruments used by the Centre is an attempt to access the security sector as a whole, from the perspective of civil society. So far, most of the instruments for measuring the range of reform were produced by the donor community in order to measure the efficiency of aid given to one country. SSR index, which was developed within BCBP, aims to measure the reform from the perspective of citizens in a country that is still in the process of democratization, and therefore the emphasis is on the analysis of the range of introduction of the principles of democratic governance in the security sector.

      She also explained the key changes in the methodology of research. In the initial phase of the study, the evaluation was made for the institutions, for the progress they have made in the reform process. Reports from this pilot phase of the research had been presented in the Yearbook of Security Sector reform in the Republic of Serbia 2008. The Yearbook was introduced at the end of last year to the majority of institutions whose work had been evaluated.  In the meantime the approach was changed. Now it seeks to evaluate the realization of the principles of reform, such as, for example, protection of human rights and effective management of human resources all observed on the basis of the sample from the whole sector. The reason lies in the fact that the numerous problems that have been identified in the security sector reform in Serbia are systemic. For example, most state institutions still don’t have enough developed culture of transparency i.e. public work, and do not provide enough and updated information to citizens about their responsibilities, work and in particular the management of budget funds.

      The newly adopted model allows a holistic view at reform, or in other words it allows recognizing the common trends for the entire sector, as well as key differences between institutions. Finally, we believe that the evaluation results shown by criteria will have a greater comparative value and will be applicable on other countries.

      Sonja then explained why and how a lower or a higher grade is given when applying the SSR Index. For example, the assumption for the grade 3 is that the key laws and institutions are established so that they provide to citizens new rights or service in the appropriate way for at least two years. For grades 4 and 5 in state institutions and among security elites it should not be called into question whether the reforms in security sector are necessary, but what the best way to implement them is. For the grade 5, in addition to good practice, it is essential that adequate resources are provided to state authorities, and that the values of democratic governance are internalized in the institutions themselves. After the introductory presentations, in interactive workshops participants had the opportunity to “test” the methodology of the Centre and to improve it by pointing to the specificity of management in their own institutions, as well as to helpful resources.

      How to determine the “specific weight” of actors?

      Sonja has invited participants of consultations to help the research team of the Centre to establish an evaluation base for highly different actors, to measure (ponder) votes by evaluating whether all actors have the same importance for the reform. Therefore, in determining the “weight”, i.e. the importance of an actor for a particular criteria (e.g. human rights), commonly mentioned factors were whether the actor / organization was financed from the budget, in which proportion it could harm people if it abuses the legal authority of a temporary restriction of human rights and what is the citizens perception about the importance of reforming institution in question.

      How much can we know and how much should we know about the security sector?

      In a workshop that was dedicated to the general and financial transparency the so-called “grey zones” had been discussed, i.e. the situation in which the principle of access to information of public importance can be discarded for the need to protect personal data or information classified as secret. In this discussion most active were representatives of the Office of the Commissioner for free access to information and protection of personal data and on the other side, security-intelligence community. Afterwards in particular it was discussed what citizens need to know about budget being spent on their behalf, as well as about the complexity of public procurement in the security sector.

      Definitions of types of control in the security sector have been amended and specified

      Divided into groups participants had analyzed the instructions for the evaluation of four types of control and supervision of the security sector: the judicial, parliamentary, as well as surveillance and control conducted by the executive and independent state authorities. The group that has analyzed the role of executive power was so much interested in their task that they used the afternoon break for working in the group. In a joint discussion, most attention has raised the question how much can independent state authorities control and monitor the traditionally state agencies. Most participants agreed that this area has to be further examined and improved.

      To what extent is the security sector in Serbia integrated?

      On the last day Sonja Stojanovic introduced to the participants mechanisms for improving the cooperation between various state institutions in the security sector in order to provide a unified response to the specific challenge of human and national security (e.g., organized crime, regional security, trade, commerce and production of armament and special equipment).

      This workshop was evaluated as one of the best, in addition to workshop on the democratic and civilian control and the workshop on the representation of women and ethnic minorities in the security sector. Divided into groups, participants analyzed the quality of cooperation between actors in security sector at the local level in Serbia, as well as at the level of entire country, and finally, cooperation of state authorities with the private security sector and civil society organizations. As work was separated among groups, 12 policies were identified which directly depend on whether horizontal cooperation between different actors of the security sector is functioning. In the end, participants suggested fight against corruption and organized crime, as well as response to emergencies and harmonization with EU policies for the case studies which could help authors qualify the successes and failures of EU and NATO integration.

      What are the next steps?

      In the next phase of research, the Centre plans to send questionnaires with the request for specific information on the performance of these institutions. Also, there is a plan to organize another workshop with representatives of the security sector institutions at the end of the research process in order to verify the results of Centre’s research.

      Report by Sonja Stojanovic and Marko Savkovic

      Translated by Ivana Ukropina

      Related topics:Security, sector, reform, integration
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