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Notice of vacancy OMB/5/2020 - Head of Operational Support Unit in the European Ombudsman’s Office

General information

Title of post

Head of Unit

Function group and grade

AD 9 to AD 14

Legal basis

Article 29(1) (a) and (b) of the Staff Regulations[1]

Place of work


Deadline for application

4 September 2020

Preferred starting date

As soon as possible

Who we are

The European Ombudsman’s mission is to serve democracy by working with the institutions of the European Union (EU) to create a more effective, accountable, transparent and ethical EU administration. The European Ombudsman promotes good administration and strives to identify bad administrative practices with a view to redress them.

The European Ombudsman investigates citizens’ complaints that range from poor communication and service, lack of transparency in decision-making and refusal of access to documents to violations of fundamental rights and contractual matters. The Office also conducts own-initiative inquiries into systemic issues with an impact on the quality of EU administration. The Office’s guiding principles are independence, integrity, fairness, accountability, transparency, dialogue and service.

The European Ombudsman is a small, dynamic office with an establishment plan of roughly 70 posts and an annual budget of approximately EUR 12 million. Its offices are located in Brussels and Strasbourg. It offers a dynamic respectful workplace with flat hierarchies and modern working tools that allow for efficiency, flexibility, good working conditions including a good balance between private and professional life and a pleasant working atmosphere. We have attained gender balance among managers and administrators.

Description of the post

The Head of Unit will oversee and manage the newly established Operational Support Unit, which will be responsible for process management, namely the administrative support of the office core business and other areas such as human resources, finance and procurement; security, health and safety.

The Unit includes around 25 staff members. The Head of Unit will report to the Secretary General and work closely with the Director of Inquiries.

The Head of Unit will ensure the quality of the services delivered by the Unit, as well as effective communication and coordination within the Unit and between the Unit and the rest of the organisation.

What we are looking for

We are looking for a manager with a proven understanding of modern management techniques including change management; drive for innovation; thorough understanding of good administration and EU institutional issues; excellent communication and coordination skills as well as a very good understanding of the work of the Ombudsman.

This job is for highly motivated officials and/or established managers with excellent sense of initiative and responsibility, strong leadership and managerial skills.

The job holder will need to have an excellent understanding of the activities covered by the Unit (such as human resources, finance and procurement, security, health and safety and process management) as well as problem solving skills, including the ability to creatively adapt best practices from other EU institutions (and beyond) to the European Ombudsman size and work culture.

The new manager is expected to ensure the overall functioning of the Office from an administrative viewpoint (including the supervision of the core business tools) by thinking strategically, anticipating and identifying potential problems and proposing workable solutions.

The jobholder shall show commitment to a culture of service towards citizens and institutions and shall be actively involved in the office relations with the various services of other EU institutions and with external stakeholders.

Strong commitment to maintaining a positive work environment and ability to resolve conflicts are essential.

Place of employment

The place of employment will be Brussels. This post will involve missions to the Strasbourg office of the European Ombudsman and to the other working places of the EU institutions; it may involve missions to other countries in or outside the European Union.

Legal Basis

This post is published in accordance with Article 29(1) (a) and (b) of the Staff Regulations of Officials of the European Union[2] (management post).

Who can apply

Applicants must meet the following requirements at the time of applying:

(a) General conditions

Applicants must be established officials of an institution, body, office or agency of the European Union in an administrator grade.

Applications will be accepted from:

  • Officials of the European Ombudsman belonging to function group AD, grades 9 to 14, or grade 8 with at least two years’ seniority in that grade at the closing date for the submission of applications;
  • Officials from other institutions of the European Union belonging to function group AD, grades 9 to 14.

(b) Specific conditions

Qualifications and professional experience:

  • hold a university degree;[3]
  • at least ten years of professional experience after having obtained a university degree, of which at least five years in functions relevant to the job description above. Periods of postgraduate studies attested to by a diploma may be considered as relevant professional experience. Professional experience in management or coordination/supervisory work will be an advantage.

Knowledge and skills required

  • A very good understanding of the European Ombudsman’s mission and strategy, and a very good knowledge of the functioning of the EU institutions.
  • Experience in implementing forward-looking HR policies including staff development and retention, well-being and training policies.
  • Experience in budget implementation and procurement.
  • Experience in business continuity planning and execution.
  • In-depth knowledge of the EU Staff Regulations and of the Financial Regulation, as well as the EU public procurement rules and the EU budgetary rules.
  • Thorough knowledge of English and good knowledge of French are required for practical reasons. Knowledge of other official languages of the European Union could be an advantage.
  • Experience in knowledge management would be an asset.
  • Experience in EU corporate tools would be an asset.

Furthermore, the jobholder will need to possess:

  • leadership and management skills;
  • excellent communication skills, including inter-personal communication skills;
  • the ability to promote a strong team spirit and to maintain good working relationships with internal and external interlocutors;
  • the ability to manage change and support staff through changes;
  • the ability to show commitment to a culture of service towards citizens and institutions.

Selection procedure

In choosing the successful candidate the Appointing Authority shall be assisted by an Advisory Selection Committee.

The Advisory Selection Committee will initially evaluate and compare the qualifications, experience and motivation of all the applicants, on the basis of their applications. Based on this comparative assessment, the Advisory Selection Committee will shortlist the most suitable candidates to be invited to the first interview.

This first selection is based on a comparative assessment of the applications. The fulfilment of the requirements does not guarantee invitation to the first interview. Among the interviewed candidates, the Advisory Selection Committee may decide to pre-select candidates who may attend a second interview with the Committee.

Based on the overall results, the best-ranked candidates will take part in a final interview with the Ombudsman.

Should containment measures against coronavirus continue to be in place at the time of interviews, candidates could be interviewed by video-conference.

All applicants will be informed of the outcome of each step of the selection procedure.

Equal Opportunities

The European Ombudsman is an equal opportunity employer who encourages applications from qualified people and seeks to actively promote diversity in the workplace.

Independence and declaration of interests

Before taking up their duties, candidates are required to declare that they will act independently in the public interest and have no interests, which might be considered prejudicial to their independence.

Data protection

Personal data which candidates provide for the purposes of this selection procedure will be processed in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2018/1725 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2018 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data by the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 and Decision No 1247/2002/EC.[4]


Candidates must submit their application through the online application system on the Ombudsman’s website ( by 4 September 2020 at 12.00 noon (Brussels time).

Late applications will not be considered.

Any correspondence concerning the selection procedure should be addressed to the following e-mail address: (the email must have in the subject the following title: OMB/5/2020).

Before submitting their application, candidates should carefully check whether they meet all the eligibility criteria in order to avoid automatic exclusion from the selection procedure.

In order to be valid, applications must include:

  • a letter in English referring to the notice of vacancy OMB/5/2020 and explaining their reasons for applying;
  • a copy of their curriculum vitae in English (preferably europass CV:;
  • the three most recent staff reports.

Inquiries about technical matters should be addressed to:


Strasbourg, 20/07/2020

Emily O’Reilly


[1] Regulation (EEC, Euratom, ECSC) No 259/68 of the Council of 29 February 1968 laying down the Staff Regulations of Officials and the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants of the European Communities and instituting special measures temporarily applicable to officials of the Commission (OJ L 56, 4.3.1968, p. 1), last amended by Regulation (EU, Euratom) No 1023/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 287, 29.10.2013, p. 15).

[2] See footnote number 1.

[3] Article 5(3)(c) of the Staff Regulations of Officials of the European Union require applicants to have at least:

(i) a level of education which corresponds to completed university studies attested by a diploma when the normal period of university education is four years or more, or

(ii) a level of education which corresponds to completed university studies attested by a diploma and appropriate professional experience of at least one year when the normal period of university education is at least three years.

[4] OJ L 295, 21.11.2018, p. 39.