FICSA standing / permanent committees
One of the strengths of FICSA, in addition to its permanent secretariat, is its permanent standing committees that remain active throughout the year. Each committee deals with a specific subject area and reports back with recommendations to the Plenary session of the Council. Joint sessions of two or more committees may be arranged on matters of common interest. A meeting schedule in the form of a programme of work is adopted and is normally arranged so that no more than two committees are in session at one time to allow small delegations maximum participation (whether virtual or physical meetings).
There are currently three types of FICSA committees which meet either before or during the Council session:
- seven standing committees (SC) which continue to exist throughout the year;
- two permanent technical committees (PTC) which continue to exist throughout the year and which serve as technical advisory committees to their two parent SCs; and
- two ad hoc committees which are constituted at Council and only meet at sessions of Council.
The chairs and two vice‑chairs of the seven SCs as well as the coordinator and two vice-coordinators of the two PTCs are elected at the close of each Council session in order to ensure continuity over the period up to, and including, the next Council.The Chair of the SC on General Service Questions and the Chair of the SC on Professional Salaries and Allowances also assume the function of coordinator of the respective subsidiary PTC.
The two vice-coordinators of each PTC are appointed by the Chair of the respective SC in consultation with the members of the corresponding PTC. For each PTC one of the vice-coordinators shall have the portfolio for headquarters issues and the other vice-coordinator the portfolio for non-headquarters issues. Special sessions of standing committees or permanent technical committees are occasionally held in the period between Council sessions.
The chairs and two vice-chairs of the two ad hoc committees are elected at the beginning of each Council session.
Committee agendas: Draft agendas are prepared in advance. A pre-Council meeting of chairs, vice-chairs, coordinators and vice-coordinators is held with the FICSA Executive Committee prior to council to agree on the final provisional agenda for each committee. During a normal Council session, once the opening session of Council has finished, the Council breaks up into its various committees. It is then the task of each committee to adjust the agenda, if necessary, to reflect the tasks assigned to it by the Council. During a virtual Council, the committees met during pre-meetings prior to Council plenary sessions.
Rapporteurs: Council elects a rapporteur who prepares a report on the proceedings of the plenary sessions of Council. In addition, each committee elects a rapporteur who is entrusted with the preparation of the committee’s report. The rapporteurs play a very important part in the work of the Council and should be able to work quickly, accurately, concisely and, above all, under conditions that are not always ideal for drafting.
Reports: Once approved by the participants of the committees, the reports of the committees are then submitted to the Council for adoption in plenary on the last day of the Council. The importance of timely preparation and submission of those reports cannot be overstressed. Once a report has been approved by a committee, the issues should not normally be reopened for fresh discussion in plenary mainly due to time constraints. The presentation of a delegation’s views during the meetings of the committee therefore takes on particular importance. It is also very important that any committee decision be expressed clearly and concisely, and that the person or group responsible for implementing them also be identified along with any deadline.