Basic Event Information
Date: February 5–7, 2020
Location: CEF -Center of Excellence in Finance, Ljubljana
Organizer: CEF-Center of Excellence in Finance
Client: CEF-Center of Excellence in Finance
Event Type: Educational Event / Training
Photo gallery: https://cefbox.cef-see.org/index.php/apps/gallery/s/cVuGb7UUhgfHeZV
EVENT CATEGORY: B2B | Best Educational Event / Training
Event description and key objectives
The learning initiative “Managing Financing and Costing of Pension System Reforms” was designed and delivered in the format of a face-to-face workshop. Its key objectives were to:
- address possible approaches to improving the costing and financing of pension system reforms and reducing sector specific fiscal risks
- give an overview of the most common factors causing large inefficiencies of social security and pension schemes
- examine how reforms could respond to the challenges faced
Growing population age, impending retirement of the baby boom generation, increases in life expectancy, and labour market dynamics, which bring new employment formats and career instabilities, create pressures for governments to revise the rules of their pension systems.
At this workshop, we outlined the relationship between pension system reforms and the achievement of countries’ overall fiscal objectives and assessed possible tools for improving the effectiveness and efficiency of this type of public expenditures. We also reviewed the specifics of pension system financing, prospects for the improvement of its coverage and spending efficiency, and coordination of funds at different national levels to ensure the desired policy outcomes. The event combined both theoretical and empirical approaches to pension reforms, with a special emphasis on behavioural economics and analytical tools that can support evidence-based policymaking.
We introduced a new learning format to boost the experience of our participants. We named it impro-drama play.
One of the key challenges was to write a scenario for this game. The making of the scenario is in detail reflected in a blog post of Janez Šušteršič, so we will just highlight some basic features.
• The participants were divided into five groups, presenting the most important stakeholders in enforcing a pension reform: the Government, trade unions, business associations, members of parliament, and the public.
• The scenario included two formal negotiation rounds, staged as meetings of the Social and Economic Council and the Parliamentary Committee.
The main challenges:
1. Dividing the participants into different stakeholder groups based on their real professional background.
Each group had its interests, motivation, and political objectives. These were announced and explained on the first day of the workshop, giving participants enough time to prepare and think about it while listening to the lectures and the roundtable.
2. Overseeing the meeting by game facilitators to ensure a dynamic and intriguing debate among the participants, thus making it as realistic as possible.
3. Designing the game setup and providing incentives for different groups to actually negotiate between themselves.
4. Creating a specific and technically equipped environment in the classroom that would fit a TV show setting and stimulate political debates among the participants.
The group exercise that involved all participants was aimed at a realistic demonstration of a typical process of negotiations between different stakeholders on a certain pension reform that would respond to the critical situation that their country is facing. The activities of this 4-hour long exercise were sequenced in a way that promoted the exchange of ideas, negotiation over different options, creating alliances, creativity, and making compromises.
The idea behind the game was to encourage the creativity of each individual in perusing their role’s objectives. We have gathered some participants’ impressions and views on how they were provoked by the game and what they learned.
- Their feedback is summarized in a Value Creation Story.
- The group exercise combined creativity and innovation.
This format teaches each player how to connect the topic of the game (technical knowledge) with complex interpersonal relationships (soft skills), which are highly important when enforcing new ideas in institutions and wider. One learns how to work with a certain concrete goal – as a motivator in the process – while taking into account the roles, goals, and arguments of other players. In this context, the most important things are the content of the play, addressing a certain topic at the right level of technical knowledge, and the scenario, as realistic as possible, giving the framework of the play, while leaving enough space for improvisation.
The exercise was designed in close cooperation with experts Janez Šušteršič, Saša Jazbec, and Aljuš Pertinač. The delivery was led and facilitated by Janez Šušteršič, Aljuš Pertinač, Nina Agić, Tara Vasiljević, and Ivana Gašparac.
The experience gained in the design and delivery of this exercise was very valuable for the CEF team. The feedback from participants clearly confirms that such a learning format is highly welcomed, encouraging the organisers to incorporate it also in upcoming events. We feel confident to say that this new learning format was an innovation to our existing learning approaches and a significant step forward in designing capacity development learning initiatives for public officials.
The CEF team made sure that the learning initiative was delivered effectively and according to the schedule and outline. We also coordinated the recruitment process, administration of participants and event-related costs, travel arrangements for all funded participants, and event catering, and we created a well-balanced social program (a walking tour in the city) that stimulated networking among all participants and provided a pleasant and favourable atmosphere.
Around four months before the delivery of the workshop, the CEF team performed an extensive analysis of the desired target audience: the relevant contacts and institutions in this area. The CEF team also conducted participant selection, ensured timely receival of all the necessary information, led the design of the workshop program and agenda, facilitated its delivery, and engaged the participants to actively contribute during the workshop. We targeted optimal learning outcomes with time management and stimulating information exchange among participants and the faculty on learning aspirations and processes, allowing reflections on the lessons learned, and feeding the expressed feedback into the delivery of the workshop.
The event brought together finance and policy officials working at ministries of finance and line ministries. The topic arose great interest, which was evident from a high number of applications and positive feedback after the event.
- 32 participants from 11 SEE countries and 11 lecturers from the EU
- 21 participant institutions
The evaluation approach applied for this event is based on Kirkpatrick’s model of training evaluation, inspired by World Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group and ITC ILO. The method was adjusted to fit the CEF’s approach to learning. In total, 30 online evaluation forms were submitted by the participants and experts at the conclusion of the event, which comprise the 97 percent response rate and the basis of this report. Scores were allocated on a scale of 1 (poor or strongly disagree) to 5 (good or strongly agree), with an option to express no opinion. According to the American Society for Training and Development, a score of 4.2 or higher is considered the benchmark of the high quality of training.
- In general, participants were very satisfied with the workshop, rating it with an average score of 4.6.
- The event met their expectations (4.6), while also the quality of the event organization was high (4.9).
- The overall quality of the CEF staff’s support and responsiveness during the event was also at the highest level, scoring 4.9.
- These opinions coincide with the readiness of participants to recommend this learning initiative to their colleagues (4.8).
- Participants considered the workshop useful for their work (4.7), confirmed that they gained new information (Q3–5: 4.3), and emphasized that they felt motivated to use new knowledge and skills at their work (4.5).
- CEF event website containing the event outline – https://www.cef-see.org/20-pensionreforms
- Value Creation Story – https://www.cef-see.org/impro-drama-play-negotiating-a-set-of-pension-system-reforms-2020-03-30
- Blog post by Janez Sustersic – https://www.cef-see.org/impro-drama-play-making-of-a-scenario
- A shared memory of the learning journey, including other social media coverage (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) https://centerofexcellenceinfinance.exposure.co/20_bpe1
The use of sustainable practices
We provided all the learning materials online. There was no need for printing handouts, recycling materials, or organizing transfers.
The CEF serves as a platform for connecting key decision-makers to help create positive changes.
We are one of the official channels for implementing Slovenia’s international development cooperation, and we are stepping up our efforts to support our constituent countries in domestic resource mobilization as a key means for attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). In light of the implementation of SDGs, our learning initiatives contribute to the realization of SDG Number 17: Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.
This learning initiative was delivered as part of the EU funded multi-country three-year project “Strengthening line ministries’ capacities to assess fiscal implications of structural reforms” (see more at www.cef-see.org/fisr), implemented by the CEF. Complementary funding was provided by the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Slovakia