David Kidger Associates Limited acts on behalf of SOLACE in Business who are contracted to F&CO as one of the UK NGOs to provide observers for EOMs organised by OSCE/ODIHR.
We have over 400 potential observers on our books, and registration is free and quite simple. Please E mail for an application Pack. When you have received the pack, complete the forms, so far as you can. They are designed for those individuals with EOM experience, but can be modified as needed. Secondly we will need a short CV emphasising experience, first hand preferably, of politics, democracy and the election process, and thirdly, a completed motivational form, also in the pack.
Subject to the completion of the forms, and suitability to be considered for future EOMs your name will be included in the data base.
The selection process for actual missions is relatively straightforward. When we are asked to run an EOM, details are circulated to all on the data base. From this information, a short list is chosen, and then a rigorous scoring system is applied. The top scoring applicants will be offered posts, up to the Mission numbers, which are unpaid, except for an allowance for hotels, food and so on.
The role of ODIHR Short Term Observer (STO) is unpaid but a fixed allowance is payable to cover expenses of hotels and food etc. OSCE determines these allowances payable to all UK election observers.
In the case of accommodation and incidentals, OSCE provides guidance relevant to each EOM on the per diem rate in the capital city and also states that it is generally less outside the capital.
OSCE also stipulates allowances for other items to be covered, including some items which may not be required - for example accommodation for drivers or interpreters, petrol, etc
OSCE sets this out, along with other relevant information, in a Note Verbale to the FCO and to SOLACE in Business who then pass this Note Verbale on to UK national election observers.
Once selected and recruited, STOs are advanced funds in accordance with the OSCE stipulated maximum amount (as if based in the capital throughout, and paying out full amounts for all other categories). It is not clear pre-deployment how long the observer will spend in the capital city or what level of other costs will be required. Where observers are deployed away from the capital city, reduced per diem rates are paid to reflect the lower costs incurred outside the capital.
When reporting post mission, UK election observers are therefore required to state how many days were spent in the capital city and how many elsewhere, and their claim is adjusted automatically.
In almost every case, as few observers remain in the capital city throughout the EOM but have received the maximum allowances, this requires a refund to SOLACE in Business from the individual observer reflecting the difference between capital city and other rates of per diems etc.
These refunds are not retained by SOLACE in Business They are refunded to the FCO to offset mission cost or for use in further FCO activity, including future ODIHR election observation missions.
Below is a video taken from the second round of local elections in Ukraine, which gives an insight into the role of a Short Term Observer.
Credit: ODIHR - The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights
An institution of the OSCE - The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe
Tel: 0207 976 3311
Solace in Business - A Company Registered in England and Wales - Reg No 3150254
Registered Office, Off Southgate, Pontefract, WF8 1NT