United Nations Common Services in Kenya
Common Services 2015
The United Nations General Assembly and Secretary-General on a number of occasions have stressed the importance of common services as a way to achieve further administrative and technical uniformity, ensure the most efficient use of personnel and resources and avoid establishment and operation of competitive or overlapping facilities and services.
UNON, in line with these considerations, established a Project on UN Common Services in Kenya and assigned a Coordinator, UN Common Services. Offices of United Nations Funds, Programmes and Agencies in or operating from Kenya, in close cooperation with UNON, now have a fully operational Common Services system established, with a governance structure and terms of reference in place. At present there are over 60 offices of UN Funds, Programmes and Agencies in or operating from Kenya. Total number of UN staff working in Kenya is close to 4600. In addition some common services (e.g. Kenya Security Coordination) are provided to Bretton Woods Institutions (IMF, World Bank) and associated international organizations (e.g. IOM, ICC etc.). 15.1 % of the staff members are located outside the UN Gigiri complex in Nairobi and 14.6% outside of Nairobi.
An important role in the process to develop common services in Kenya is carried out by the two tier Common Services Governance Structure (formerly Inter-Agency Administrative Coordination Committee), which is the United Nations inter-agency body in Kenya that includes representatives of all offices of the United Nations Funds, Programmes and Agencies (and associated international organizations). Following a review in 2008 the structure consists of two tiers, formerly three, being the Common Services Management Team (CSMT) and the Common Services Board (CSB). The representation on the CSMT is at the Operational/Administrative Managers’ level, and the CSB is at the Head of Agency level. The CSMT sits once a month and makes recommendations to the CSB that sits twice a year and is the actual decision making body.
The Common Services Governance Structure has approved Guidelines as well as Agreements on the Provision of Common Services to Offices of United Nations Funds, Programmes and Agencies. These Common Services include, but are not limited to: Kenya Security Coordination, Joint Medical Service including Stress Counseling and UNCARES and Information & Communications Technology Services, Host Country Relations, Diplomatic Pouch Services, Staff Bus & Out of Hours Shuttle, Telephone Services and Commercial Operations Unit. In addition, UNON provides these services, plus all main administrative services, to its two core clients, UNEP and UN-Habitat under an overarching MOU, connected with which budgets are agreed on an annual basis. The basis for service provision under Common Services are Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that typically describe the common service, stipulate the budget procedure, including a financial mechanism for cost sharing, and define the oversight and client satisfaction procedures.
In co-ordination with the entities that participate; there is regular review of performance, future requirements and resources.
The collaboration and involvement in the system from UN offices is high and feedback generally very positive. More Offices of UN entities are subscribing to Common Services, resulting in savings while providing better, more efficient and effective services. Some examples: UNON has recruited a Medical Doctor to act as the Chief of the UN Joint Medical Service (previously there was no full time doctor available at the UN Gigiri complex). UNON has also hired a Staff Stress Management Counselor (SSMC). Finally, with an ever increasing number of subscribing UN Offices to the Information Technology Service, the services are being provided at ever lower cost to the subscribers.
The Common Services Governance Structure determined that the next tranche of common services will be drawn from, Hotel Contracts, Taxi Services and Common Procurement.
Coordinator, Common Services