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Notice of vacancy OMB/3/2020 - Director of Inquiries (Article 29(1) (a) and (b) of the Staff Regulations)

General information

Title of post Director

Function group and grade

AD 14 or 15[1]
Legal basis Article 29(1) (a) and (b) of the Staff Regulations[2]
Place of work Brussels
Deadline for application 31 May 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 Inquiries Directorate will be in charge of the Office's core activities, which include conducting inquiries into possible cases of maladministration by the EU institutions, bodies and agencies and promoting good administrative practices.

The Director will report to the Secretary-General and work closely with the Ombudsman’s Cabinet.

The Director will ensure the quality of the services delivered by the Directorate, as well as effective communication and cooperation both within the Directorate, and with the Cabinet of the Ombudsman and the General Secretariat.

Given that the Ombudsman intends to implement a policy for mobility for its managers, who should have a broad experience, candidates should be prepared to work in different areas of activity during their career at the Ombudsman.

This selection procedure, which is designed to give the appointing authority the widest possible choice, will be conducted at the same time as an external recruitment procedure in accordance with Article 29(2) of the Staff Regulations.[3]

What we are looking for

We are looking for an experienced manager with a proven understanding of good administration, EU policy-making and EU affairs, experience in inquiries as well as an excellent understanding of EU institutional issues.

The jobholder will need to demonstrate the ability to lead and motivate a strong team of 30-35 staff members; manage change; ensure agility, flexibility and efficiency in the overall functioning of the office.

Knowledge of the areas and activities covered by the Directorate is essential, as well as the ability to manage budget, procurement and other resource-related issues.

Strong commitment to maintaining a positive work environment and ability to resolve conflicts are of core importance.

The Inquiries Director is expected to:

  • contribute strategic input to the development of the Ombudsman’s policies and objectives and to the effective implementation of the Ombudsman’s mission, vision and strategy;
  • plan the directorate’s work by setting objectives for the handling of inquiries on the basis of the Ombudsman's strategic work;
  • ensure consistency in policy objectives and inquiries methodology including inspections;
  • supervise case handling within the Directorate;
  • advise the Secretary-General on all matters related to the Ombudsman's core activities and replace him/her as needed;
  • develop effective channels of communication and cooperation with other institutions and external stakeholders;
  • represent the Ombudsman externally and at public events;
  • act as authorising officer by sub-delegation;
  • carry out specific tasks, at the Ombudsman’s request.

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 also involve missions to other countries in or outside the European Union.

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, grade 14 or 15, or grade 13 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, grade 14 or 15.

(b) Specific conditions

Qualifications and professional experience:

  • hold a university degree;[4]
  • have at least 4 years effectively exercised management responsibilities.

Knowledge and skills required

  • Excellent knowledge of European affairs;
  • Thorough knowledge of good administration theory and practice;
  • Knowledge of European Union law in particular in areas relevant to the activities of the Office;
  • Experience of working in, and ability to adapt to, an international and multi-cultural environment;
  • Thorough knowledge of English and good knowledge of French are required because they are used extensively to communicate within the Office and with other institutions. Knowledge of other official languages of the European Union could be an advantage.

Furthermore, the jobholder will need to possess:

  • the ability to think strategically, anticipate and identify potential problems and propose workable solutions;
  • 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 and the ability to act diplomatically;
  • the ability to manage change and support staff through changes;
  • a strong ability to plan and organise the overall work of the Directorate so as to meet critical deadlines, ensure a fair distribution of workload within the team taking into account the requirements set by the EU Staff and Financial Regulations;
  • 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 invite the top ranked candidates to attend a second interview with the Committee.

Based on the overall performance at the interview(s) 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.

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[5] (senior management post).

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[6].


Candidates must submit their application through the online application system on the Ombudsman’s website ( by 31 May 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/3/2020).

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/3/2020 and explaining their reasons for applying;
  • a copy of their curriculum vitae in English (preferably europass CV:;
  • an official document attesting their status of official, their function and grade;
  • copies of supporting documents relating to their studies,[7] evidence of professional experience and current responsibilities.[8]

Inquiries about technical matters should be addressed to:


Emily O’Reilly


[2] 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).

[3] 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).

[4] 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.

[5] See footnote number 2.

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

[7] See footnote number 3.

[8] Document attesting professional experience should clearly indicate the starting and finishing dates, the job title, and the exact nature of the duties carried out.