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Decision on how the European Parliament took into account technical problems in a selection procedure for intercultural and language professionals (case 718/2022/PL)

Dear Ms X,

On 29 March 2022, you submitted a complaint to the European Ombudsman against the European Parliament concerning its failure to take into account a technical problem you encountered during an online written test in the selection procedure for intercultural and language professionals.[1]

You said that, towards the end of the test, the screen froze as you were about to revise your test. After twelve minutes, you called the support service to report the problem. Before calling, you submitted the test.

The Parliament dismissed your request to retake the test, as it took the view that you had taken too long to report the problem and you had submitted the completed test.

You argued that it had taken you some time to call the support service because candidates had received strict instructions not to leave the desk and not to use their phones. You submitted the test before calling the support service because you did not know the system would submit the test automatically.

After a careful analysis of all the information you provided with your complaint, we find no maladministration by the European Parliament.[2]

The instructions you received, annexed to the test invitation, make it clear that, in case of technical problems, candidates are allowed to use their phones and that they should do so immediately[3]. According to your own account of the events, it took you at least twelve minutes to call the support service.

There was nothing in the instructions to candidates suggesting that they should submit their test before contacting the support service in case of a technical problem. The instructions rather indicated that the test would be submitted automatically[4].

I understand that, in a stressful situation such as an exam, it can be difficult to recall and follow the appropriate procedure. It is nevertheless the responsibility of candidates to be familiar with the rules and conditions of selection procedures in which they participate.

On the basis of the above, it was reasonable for the Parliament not to let you retake the test and the Ombudsman has closed the case.

We understand that you may be disappointed by this decision, but we hope that the above explanations are nevertheless helpful.

Yours sincerely,

Tina Nilsson
Head of the Case-handling Unit

Strasbourg, 01/07/2022


[1] PE/AD/260/2021 – Intercultural and language professional (AD 5)

[2] This complaint has been dealt with under delegated case handling, in accordance with the Decision of the European Ombudsman adopting Implementing Provisions

[3] « Si vous rencontrez des problèmes pour démarrer le test ou si vous rencontrez des problèmes techniques pendant le test, veuillez appeler immédiatement le service d'assistance de TestWe au +33 1 83 62 09 28.

Si vous n'arrivez pas à joindre le service dès votre première tentative, veuillez rappeler jusqu'à ce que vous parveniez à parler avec une personne du service de téléassistance. »

[4] « Après avoir terminé les tests, et dès que vous disposez d'une connexion Internet, le logiciel TestWe enverra vos réponses à TestWe” .»